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War And Peace 199

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War And Peace

cold outside and saying something in their gypsy accents. Nicholas understood that it was all over; but he said in an indifferent tone: "Well, wont you go on? I had a splendid card all ready," as if it were the fun of the game which interested him most. "Its all up! Im lost!" thought he. "Now a bullet through my brain--thats all thats left me!" And at the same time he said in a cheerful voice: "Come now, just this one more little card!" "All right!" said Dolokhov, having finished the addition. "All right! Twenty-one rubles," he said, pointing to the figure twenty-one by which the total exceeded the round sum of forty-three thousand; and taking up a pack he prepared to deal. Rostov submissively unbent the corner of his card and, instead of the six thousand he had intended, carefully wrote twenty-one. "Its all the same to me," he said. "I only want to see whether you will let me win this ten, or beat it." Dolokhov began to deal seriously. Oh, how Rostov detested at that moment those hands with their short reddish fingers and hairy wrists, which held him in their power.... The ten fell to him. "You owe forty-three thousand, Count," said Dolokhov, and stretching himself he rose from the table. "One does get tired sitting so long," he added. "Yes, Im tired too," said Rostov. Dolokhov cut him short, as if to remind him that it was not for him to jest. "When am I to receive the money, Count?" Rostov, flushing, drew Dolokhov into the next room. "I cannot pay it all immediately. Will you take an I.O.U.?" he said. "I say, Rostov," said Dolokhov clearly, smiling and looking Nicholas straight in the eyes, "you know the saying, Lucky in love, unlucky at cards. Your cousin is in love with you, I know." "Oh, its terrible to feel oneself so in this mans power," thought Rostov. He knew what a shock he would inflict on his father and mother by the news of this loss, he knew what a relief it would be to escape it all, and felt that Dolokhov knew that he could save him from all this shame and sorrow, but wanted now to play with him as a cat does with a mouse. "Your cousin..." Dolokhov started to say, but Nicholas interrupted him. "My cousin has nothing to do with this and its not necessary to mention her!" he exclaimed fiercely. "Then when am I to have it?" "Tomorrow," replied Rostov and left the room. CHAPTER XV To say "tomorrow" and keep up a dignified tone was not difficult, but to go home alone, see his sisters, brother, mother, and father, confess and ask for money he had no right to after giving his word of honor, was terrible. At home, they had not yet gone to bed. The young people, after returning from the theater, had had supper and were grouped round the clavichord. As soon as Nicholas entered, he was enfolded in that poetic atmosphere of love which pervaded the Rostov household that winter and, now after Dolokhovs proposal and Iogels ball, seemed to have grown thicker round Sonya and Natasha as the air does before a thunderstorm. Sonya and Natasha, in the light-blue dresses they had worn at the theater, looking pretty and conscious of it, were standing by the clavichord, happy and smiling. Vera was playing chess with Shinshin in the drawing room. The old countess, waiting for the return of her husband and son, sat playing patience with the old gentlewoman who lived in their house. Denisov, with sparkling eyes and ruffled hair, sat at the clavichord striking chords with his short fingers, his legs thrown back and his eyes rolling as he sang, with his small, husky, but true voice, some verses called "Enchantress," which he had composed, and to which he was trying to fit music: Enchantress, say, to my forsaken lyre What magic power is this recalls me still? What spark has set my inmost soul on fire, What is this bliss that makes my fingers thrill? He was singing in passionate tones, gazing with his sparkling black-agate eyes at the frightened and happy Natasha. "Splendid! Excellent!" exclaimed Natasha. "Another verse," she said, without noticing Nicholas. "Everythings still the same with them," thought Nicholas, glancing into the drawing room, where he saw Vera and his mother with the old lady. "Ah, and heres Nicholas!" cried Natasha, running up to him. "Is Papa at home?" he asked. "I am so glad youve come!" said Natasha, without answering him. "We are

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