Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
living in it aimed at keeping it spotless--but
neither was it noticeably neglected. In the entry there was a smell of
fresh apples, and wolf and fox skins hung about.
"Uncle" led the visitors through the anteroom into a small hall with
a folding table and red chairs, then into the drawing room with a
round birchwood table and a sofa, and finally into his private room
where there was a tattered sofa, a worn carpet, and portraits of
Suvorov, of the hosts father and mother, and of himself in military
uniform. The study smelt strongly of tobacco and dogs. "Uncle" asked
his visitors to sit down and make themselves at home, and then went
out of the room. Rugay, his back still muddy, came into the room and
lay down on the sofa, cleaning himself with his tongue and teeth.
Leading from the study was a passage in which a partition with
ragged curtains could be seen. From behind this came womens
laughter and whispers. Natasha, Nicholas, and Petya took off their
wraps and sat down on the sofa. Petya, leaning on his elbow, fell
asleep at once. Natasha and Nicholas were silent. Their faces
glowed, they were hungry and very cheerful. They looked at one another
(now that the hunt was over and they were in the house, Nicholas no
longer considered it necessary to show his manly superiority over
his sister), Natasha gave him a wink, and neither refrained long
from bursting into a peal of ringing laughter even before they had a
pretext ready to account for it.
After a while "Uncle" came in, in a Cossack coat, blue trousers, and
small top boots. And Natasha felt that this costume, the very one
she had regarded with surprise and amusement at Otradnoe, was just the
right thing and not at all worse than a swallow-tail or frock coat.
"Uncle" too was in high spirits and far from being offended by the
brothers and sisters laughter (it could never enter his head that
they might be laughing at his way of life) he himself joined in the
"Thats right, young countess, thats it, come on! I never saw
anyone like her!" said he, offering Nicholas a pipe with a long stem
and, with a practiced motion of three fingers, taking down another
that had been cut short. "Shes ridden all day like a man, and is as
fresh as ever!"
Soon after "Uncles" reappearance the door was opened, evidently
from the sound by a barefooted girl, and a stout, rosy, good-looking
woman of about forty, with a double chin and full red lips, entered
carrying a large loaded tray. With hospitable dignity and cordiality
in her glance and in every motion, she looked at the visitors and,
with a pleasant smile, bowed respectfully. In spite of her exceptional
stoutness, which caused her to protrude her chest and stomach and
throw back her head, this woman (who was "Uncles" housekeeper) trod
very lightly. She went to the table, set down the tray, and with her
plump white hands deftly took from it the bottles and various hors
doeuvres and dishes and arranged them on the table. When she had
finished, she stepped aside and stopped at the door with a smile on
her face. "Here I am. I am she! Now do you understand Uncle?" her
expression said to Rostov. How could one help understanding? Not
only Nicholas, but even Natasha understood the meaning of his puckered
brow and the happy complacent smile that slightly puckered his lips
when Anisya Fedorovna entered. On the tray was a bottle of herb
wine, different kinds of vodka, pickled mushrooms, rye cakes made with
buttermilk, honey in the comb, still mead and sparkling mead,
apples, nuts (raw and roasted), and nut-and-honey sweets. Afterwards
she brought a freshly roasted chicken, ham, preserves made with honey,
and preserves made with sugar.
All this was the fruit of Anisya Fedorovnas housekeeping,
gathered and prepared by her. The smell and taste of it all had a
smack of Anisya Fedorovna herself: a savor of juiciness,
cleanliness, whiteness, and pleasant smiles.
"Take this, little Lady-Countess!" she kept saying, as she offered
Natasha first one thing and then another.
Natasha ate of everything and thought she had never seen or eaten
such buttermilk cakes, such aromatic jam, such honey-and-nut sweets,
or such a chicken anywhere. Anisya Fedorovna left the room.
After supper, over their cherry brandy, Rostov and "Uncle" talked of
past and future hunts, of Rugay and Ilagins dogs, while Natasha sat
upright on the sofa and listened with sparkling eyes. She tried
War And Peace page 302 War And Peace page 304