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War And Peace 198

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War And Peace

and as if about to tell a good story he put down the cards, leaned back in his chair, and began deliberately with a smile: "Yes, gentlemen, Ive been told theres a rumor going about Moscow that Im a sharper, so I advise you to be careful." "Come now, deal!" exclaimed Rostov. "Oh, those Moscow gossips!" said Dolokhov, and he took up the cards with a smile. "Aah!" Rostov almost screamed lifting both hands to his head. The seven he needed was lying uppermost, the first card in the pack. He had lost more than he could pay. "Still, dont ruin yourself!" said Dolokhov with a side glance at Rostov as he continued to deal. CHAPTER XIV An hour and a half later most of the players were but little interested in their own play. The whole interest was concentrated on Rostov. Instead of sixteen hundred rubles he had a long column of figures scored against him, which he had reckoned up to ten thousand, but that now, as he vaguely supposed, must have risen to fifteen thousand. In reality it already exceeded twenty thousand rubles. Dolokhov was no longer listening to stories or telling them, but followed every movement of Rostovs hands and occasionally ran his eyes over the score against him. He had decided to play until that score reached forty-three thousand. He had fixed on that number because forty-three was the sum of his and Sonyas joint ages. Rostov, leaning his head on both hands, sat at the table which was scrawled over with figures, wet with spilled wine, and littered with cards. One tormenting impression did not leave him: that those broad-boned reddish hands with hairy wrists visible from under the shirt sleeves, those hands which he loved and hated, held him in their power. "Six hundred rubles, ace, a corner, a nine... winning it backs impossible... Oh, how pleasant it was at home!... The knave, double or quits... it cant be!... And why is he doing this to me?" Rostov pondered. Sometimes he staked a large sum, but Dolokhov refused to accept it and fixed the stake himself. Nicholas submitted to him, and at one moment prayed to God as he had done on the battlefield at the bridge over the Enns, and then guessed that the card that came first to hand from the crumpled heap under the table would save him, now counted the cords on his coat and took a card with that number and tried staking the total of his losses on it, then he looked round for aid from the other players, or peered at the now cold face of Dolokhov and tried to read what was passing in his mind. "He knows of course what this loss means to me. He cant want my ruin. Wasnt he my friend? Wasnt I fond of him? But its not his fault. Whats he to do if he has such luck?... And its not my fault either," he thought to himself, "I have done nothing wrong. Have I killed anyone, or insulted or wished harm to anyone? Why such a terrible misfortune? And when did it begin? Such a little while ago I came to this table with the thought of winning a hundred rubles to buy that casket for Mammas name day and then going home. I was so happy, so free, so lighthearted! And I did not realize how happy I was! When did that end and when did this new, terrible state of things begin? What marked the change? I sat all the time in this same place at this table, chose and placed cards, and watched those broad-boned agile hands in the same way. When did it happen and what has happened? I am well and strong and still the same and in the same place. No, it cant be! Surely it will all end in nothing!" He was flushed and bathed in perspiration, though the room was not hot. His face was terrible and piteous to see, especially from its helpless efforts to seem calm. The score against him reached the fateful sum of forty-three thousand. Rostov had just prepared a card, by bending the corner of which he meant to double the three thousand just put down to his score, when Dolokhov, slamming down the pack of cards, put it aside and began rapidly adding up the total of Rostovs debt, breaking the chalk as he marked the figures in his clear, bold hand. "Supper, its time for supper! And here are the gypsies!" Some swarthy men and women were really entering from the

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