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countess smiling. "No, I will do it myself, only tell me what to say. Its all very well for you," said Natasha, with a responsive smile. "You should have seen how he said it! I know he did not mean to say it, but it came out accidently." "Well, all the same, you must refuse him." "No, I mustnt. I am so sorry for him! Hes so nice." "Well then, accept his offer. Its high time for you to be married," answered the countess sharply and sarcastically. "No, Mamma, but Im so sorry for him. I dont know how Im to say it." "And theres nothing for you to say. I shall speak to him myself," said the countess, indignant that they should have dared to treat this little Natasha as grown up. "No, not on any account! I will tell him myself, and youll listen at the door," and Natasha ran across the drawing room to the dancing hall, where Denisov was sitting on the same chair by the clavichord with his face in his hands. He jumped up at the sound of her light step. "Nataly," he said, moving with rapid steps toward her, "decide my fate. It is in your hands." "Vasili Dmitrich, Im so sorry for you!... No, but you are so nice... but it wont do...not that... but as a friend, I shall always love you." Denisov bent over her hand and she heard strange sounds she did not understand. She kissed his rough curly black head. At this instant, they heard the quick rustle of the countess dress. She came up to them. "Vasili Dmitrich, I thank you for the honor," she said, with an embarrassed voice, though it sounded severe to Denisov--"but my daughter is so young, and I thought that, as my sons friend, you would have addressed yourself first to me. In that case you would not have obliged me to give this refusal." "Countess..." said Denisov, with downcast eyes and a guilty face. He tried to say more, but faltered. Natasha could not remain calm, seeing him in such a plight. She began to sob aloud. "Countess, I have done wong," Denisov went on in an unsteady voice, "but believe me, I so adore your daughter and all your family that I would give my life twice over..." He looked at the countess, and seeing her severe face said: "Well, good-by, Countess," and kissing her hand, he left the room with quick resolute strides, without looking at Natasha. Next day Rostov saw Denisov off. He did not wish to stay another day in Moscow. All Denisovs Moscow friends gave him a farewell entertainment at the gypsies, with the result that he had no recollection of how he was put in the sleigh or of the first three stages of his journey. After Denisovs departure, Rostov spent another fortnight in Moscow, without going out of the house, waiting for the money his father could not at once raise, and he spent most of his time in the girls room. Sonya was more tender and devoted to him than ever. It was as if she wanted to show him that his losses were an achievement that made her love him all the more, but Nicholas now considered himself unworthy of her. He filled the girls albums with verses and music, and having at last sent Dolokhov the whole forty-three thousand rubles and received his receipt, he left at the end of November, without taking leave of any of his acquaintances, to overtake his regiment which was already in Poland. BOOK FIVE: 1806 --07 CHAPTER I After his interview with his wife Pierre left for Petersburg. At the Torzhok post station, either there were no horses or the postmaster would not supply them. Pierre was obliged to wait. Without undressing, he lay down on the leather sofa in front of a round table, put his big feet in their overboots on the table, and began to reflect. "Will you have the portmanteaus brought in? And a bed got ready, and tea?" asked his valet. Pierre gave no answer, for he neither heard nor saw anything. He had begun to think of the last station and was still pondering on the same question--one so important that he took no notice of what went on around him. Not only was he indifferent as to whether he got to Petersburg earlier or later, or whether he secured accommodation at this station, but compared to the thoughts that now occupied him it was a matter of indifference whether he remained there for a few hours or for the rest of his life. The postmaster,

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