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War And Peace 336


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came to the Rostovs box, received their congratulations very simply, and raising his eyebrows with an absent-minded smile conveyed to Natasha and Sonya his fiancees invitation to her wedding, and went away. Natasha with a gay, coquettish smile talked to him, and congratulated on his approaching wedding that same Boris with whom she had formerly been in love. In the state of intoxication she was in, everything seemed simple and natural. The scantily clad Helene smiled at everyone in the same way, and Natasha gave Boris a similar smile. Helenes box was filled and surrounded from the stalls by the most distinguished and intellectual men, who seemed to vie with one another in their wish to let everyone see that they knew her. During the whole of that entracte Kuragin stood with Dolokhov in front of the orchestra partition, looking at the Rostovs box. Natasha knew he was talking about her and this afforded her pleasure. She even turned so that he should see her profile in what she thought was its most becoming aspect. Before the beginning of the second act Pierre appeared in the stalls. The Rostovs had not seen him since their arrival. His face looked sad, and he had grown still stouter since Natasha last saw him. He passed up to the front rows, not noticing anyone. Anatole went up to him and began speaking to him, looking at and indicating the Rostovs box. On seeing Natasha Pierre grew animated and, hastily passing between the rows, came toward their box. When he got there he leaned on his elbows and, smiling, talked to her for a long time. While conversing with Pierre, Natasha heard a mans voice in Countess Bezukhovas box and something told her it was Kuragin. She turned and their eyes met. Almost smiling, he gazed straight into her eyes with such an enraptured caressing look that it seemed strange to be so near him, to look at him like that, to be so sure he admired her, and not to be acquainted with him. In the second act there was scenery representing tombstones, there was a round hole in the canvas to represent the moon, shades were raised over the footlights, and from horns and contrabass came deep notes while many people appeared from right and left wearing black cloaks and holding things like daggers in their hands. They began waving their arms. Then some other people ran in and began dragging away the maiden who had been in white and was now in light blue. They did not drag her away at once, but sang with her for a long time and then at last dragged her off, and behind the scenes something metallic was struck three times and everyone knelt down and sang a prayer. All these things were repeatedly interrupted by the enthusiastic shouts of the audience. During this act every time Natasha looked toward the stalls she saw Anatole Kuragin with an arm thrown across the back of his chair, staring at her. She was pleased to see that he was captivated by her and it did not occur to her that there was anything wrong in it. When the second act was over Countess Bezukhova rose, turned to the Rostovs box--her whole bosom completely exposed--beckoned the old count with a gloved finger, and paying no attention to those who had entered her box began talking to him with an amiable smile. "Do make me acquainted with your charming daughters," said she. "The whole town is singing their praises and I dont even know then!" Natasha rose and curtsied to the splendid countess. She was so pleased by praise from this brilliant beauty that she blushed with pleasure. "I want to become a Moscovite too, now," said Helene. "How is it youre not ashamed to bury such pearls in the country?" Countess Bezukhova quite deserved her reputation of being a fascinating woman. She could say what she did not think--especially what was flattering--quite simply and naturally. "Dear count, you must let me look after your daughters! Though I am not staying here long this time--nor are you--I will try to amuse them. I have already heard much of you in Petersburg and wanted to get to know you," said she to Natasha with her stereotyped and lovely smile. "I had heard about you from my page, Drubetskoy. Have you heard he is getting married? And also from my husbands friend Bolkonski, Prince Andrew Bolkonski," she went on with special emphasis, implying that she knew of his relation to Natasha. To get better acquainted she asked that one

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