Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
some means. In our times that is
worth something, isnt it? But above all, she is a handsome, estimable
girl, and she loves me..."
Berg blushed and smiled.
"And I love her, because her character is sensible and very good.
Now the other sister, though they are the same family, is quite
different--an unpleasant character and has not the same
intelligence. She is so... you know?... Unpleasant... But my
fiancee!... Well, you will be coming," he was going to say, "to dine,"
but changed his mind and said "to take tea with us," and quickly
doubling up his tongue he blew a small round ring of tobacco smoke,
perfectly embodying his dream of happiness.
After the first feeling of perplexity aroused in the parents by
Bergs proposal, the holiday tone of joyousness usual at such times
took possession of the family, but the rejoicing was external and
insincere. In the familys feeling toward this wedding a certain
awkwardness and constraint was evident, as if they were ashamed of not
having loved Vera sufficiently and of being so ready to get her off
their hands. The old count felt this most. He would probably have been
unable to state the cause of his embarrassment, but it resulted from
the state of his affairs. He did not know at all how much he had, what
his debts amounted to, or what dowry he could give Vera. When his
daughters were born he had assigned to each of them, for her dowry, an
estate with three hundred serfs; but one of these estates had
already been sold, and the other was mortgaged and the interest so
much in arrears that it would have to be sold, so that it was
impossible to give it to Vera. Nor had he any money.
Berg had already been engaged a month, and only a week remained
before the wedding, but the count had not yet decided in his own
mind the question of the dowry, nor spoken to his wife about it. At
one time the count thought of giving her the Ryazan estate or of
selling a forest, at another time of borrowing money on a note of
hand. A few days before the wedding Berg entered the counts study
early one morning and, with a pleasant smile, respectfully asked his
future father-in-law to let him know what Veras dowry would be. The
count was so disconcerted by this long-foreseen inquiry that without
consideration he gave the first reply that came into his head. "I like
your being businesslike about it.... I like it. You shall be
And patting Berg on the shoulder he got up, wishing to end the
conversation. But Berg, smiling pleasantly, explained that if he did
not know for certain how much Vera would have and did not receive at
least part of the dowry in advance, he would have to break matters
"Because, consider, Count--if I allowed myself to marry now
without having definite means to maintain my wife, I should be
The conversation ended by the count, who wished to be generous and
to avoid further importunity, saying that he would give a note of hand
for eighty thousand rubles. Berg smiled meekly, kissed the count on
the shoulder, and said that he was very grateful, but that it was
impossible for him to arrange his new life without receiving thirty
thousand in ready money. "Or at least twenty thousand, Count," he
added, "and then a note of hand for only sixty thousand."
"Yes, yes, all right!" said the count hurriedly. "Only excuse me, my
dear fellow, Ill give you twenty thousand and a note of hand for
eighty thousand as well. Yes, yes! Kiss me."
Natasha was sixteen and it was the year 1809, the very year to which
she had counted on her fingers with Boris after they had kissed four
years ago. Since then she had not seen him. Before Sonya and her
mother, if Boris happened to be mentioned, she spoke quite freely of
that episode as of some childish, long-forgotten matter that was not
worth mentioning. But in the secret depths of her soul the question
whether her engagement to Boris was a jest or an important, binding
promise tormented her.
Since Boris left Moscow in 1805 to join the army he had not seen
the Rostovs. He had been in Moscow several times, and had passed
near Otradnoe, but had never been to see them.
Sometimes it occurred to Natasha that he did not wish to see her, and
this conjecture was confirmed by the sad tone
War And Peace page 263 War And Peace page 265