Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
Council of State
to be held next day. Prince Andrew, as one closely connected with
Speranski and participating in the work of the legislative commission,
could give reliable information about that sitting, concerning which
various rumors were current. But not listening to what Firhoff was
saying, he was gazing now at the sovereign and now at the men
intending to dance who had not yet gathered courage to enter the
Prince Andrew was watching these men abashed by the Emperors
presence, and the women who were breathlessly longing to be asked to
Pierre came up to him and caught him by the arm.
"You always dance. I have a protegee, the young Rostova, here. Ask
her," he said.
"Where is she?" asked Bolkonski. "Excuse me!" he added, turning to
the baron, "we will finish this conversation elsewhere--at a ball
one must dance." He stepped forward in the direction Pierre indicated.
The despairing, dejected expression of Natashas face caught his
eye. He recognized her, guessed her feelings, saw that it was her
debut, remembered her conversation at the window, and with an
expression of pleasure on his face approached Countess Rostova.
"Allow me to introduce you to my daughter," said the countess,
with heightened color.
"I have the pleasure of being already acquainted, if the countess
remembers me," said Prince Andrew with a low and courteous bow quite
belying Peronskayas remarks about his rudeness, and approaching
Natasha he held out his arm to grasp her waist before he had completed
his invitation. He asked her to waltz. That tremulous expression on
Natashas face, prepared either for despair or rapture, suddenly
brightened into a happy, grateful, childlike smile.
"I have long been waiting for you," that frightened happy little
girl seemed to say by the smile that replaced the threatened tears, as
she raised her hand to Prince Andrews shoulder. They were the
second couple to enter the circle. Prince Andrew was one of the best
dancers of his day and Natasha danced exquisitely. Her little feet
in their white satin dancing shoes did their work swiftly, lightly,
and independently of herself, while her face beamed with ecstatic
happiness. Her slender bare arms and neck were not beautiful--compared
to Helenes her shoulders looked thin and her bosom undeveloped. But
Helene seemed, as it were, hardened by a varnish left by the thousands
of looks that had scanned her person, while Natasha was like a girl
exposed for the first time, who would have felt very much ashamed
had she not been assured that this was absolutely necessary.
Prince Andrew liked dancing, and wishing to escape as quickly as
possible from the political and clever talk which everyone addressed
to him, wishing also to break up the circle of restraint he
disliked, caused by the Emperors presence, he danced, and had
chosen Natasha because Pierre pointed her out to him and because she
was the first pretty girl who caught his eye; but scarcely had he
embraced that slender supple figure and felt her stirring so close
to him and smiling so near him than the wine of her charm rose to
his head, and he felt himself revived and rejuvenated when after
leaving her he stood breathing deeply and watching the other dancers.
After Prince Andrew, Boris came up to ask Natasha for a dance, and
then the aide-de-camp who had opened the ball, and several other young
men, so that, flushed and happy, and passing on her superfluous
partners to Sonya, she did not cease dancing all the evening. She
noticed and saw nothing of what occupied everyone else. Not only did
she fail to notice that the Emperor talked a long time with the French
ambassador, and how particularly gracious he was to a certain lady, or
that Prince So-and-so and So-and-so did and said this and that, and
that Helene had great success and was honored by the special attention
of So-and-so, but she did not even see the Emperor, and only noticed
that he had gone because the ball became livelier after his departure.
For one of the merry cotillions before supper Prince Andrew was again
her partner. He reminded her of their first encounter in the Otradnoe
avenue, and how she had been unable to sleep that moonlight night, and
told her how he had involuntarily overheard her. Natasha blushed at
that recollection and tried to excuse herself, as if there had been
something to be ashamed of in what Prince Andrew had overheard.
Like all men who have grown up in society, Prince Andrew liked
meeting someone there not of the conventional society stamp.
War And Peace page 271 War And Peace page 273