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War And Peace 38


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thee thus swells her heart, Sighing its message out to thee... A day or two, then bliss unspoilt, But oh! till then I cannot live!... He had not finished the last verse before the young people began to get ready to dance in the large hall, and the sound of the feet and the coughing of the musicians were heard from the gallery. Pierre was sitting in the drawing-room where Shinshin had engaged him, as a man recently returned from abroad, in a political conversation in which several others joined but which bored Pierre. When the music began Natasha came in and walking straight up to Pierre said, laughing and blushing: "Mamma told me to ask you to join the dancers." "I am afraid of mixing the figures," Pierre replied; "but if you will be my teacher..." And lowering his big arm he offered it to the slender little girl. While the couples were arranging themselves and the musicians tuning up, Pierre sat down with his little partner. Natasha was perfectly happy; she was dancing with a grown-up man, who had been abroad. She was sitting in a conspicuous place and talking to him like a grown-up lady. She had a fan in her hand that one of the ladies had given her to hold. Assuming quite the pose of a society woman (heaven knows when and where she had learned it) she talked with her partner, fanning herself and smiling over the fan. "Dear, dear! Just look at her!" exclaimed the countess as she crossed the ballroom, pointing to Natasha. Natasha blushed and laughed. "Well, really, Mamma! Why should you? What is there to be surprised at?" In the midst of the third ecossaise there was a clatter of chairs being pushed back in the sitting room where the count and Marya Dmitrievna had been playing cards with the majority of the more distinguished and older visitors. They now, stretching themselves after sitting so long, and replacing their purses and pocketbooks, entered the ballroom. First came Marya Dmitrievna and the count, both with merry countenances. The count, with playful ceremony somewhat in ballet style, offered his bent arm to Marya Dmitrievna. He drew himself up, a smile of debonair gallantry lit up his face and as soon as the last figure of the ecossaise was ended, he clapped his hands to the musicians and shouted up to their gallery, addressing the first violin: "Semen! Do you know the Daniel Cooper?" This was the counts favorite dance, which he had danced in his youth. (Strictly speaking, Daniel Cooper was one figure of the anglaise.) "Look at Papa!" shouted Natasha to the whole company, and quite forgetting that she was dancing with a grown-up partner she bent her curly head to her knees and made the whole room ring with her laughter. And indeed everybody in the room looked with a smile of pleasure at the jovial old gentleman, who standing beside his tall and stout partner, Marya Dmitrievna, curved his arms, beat time, straightened his shoulders, turned out his toes, tapped gently with his foot, and, by a smile that broadened his round face more and more, prepared the onlookers for what was to follow. As soon as the provocatively gay strains of Daniel Cooper (somewhat resembling those of a merry peasant dance) began to sound, all the doorways of the ballroom were suddenly filled by the domestic serfs--the men on one side and the women on the other--who with beaming faces had come to see their master making merry. "Just look at the master! A regular eagle he is!" loudly remarked the nurse, as she stood in one of the doorways. The count danced well and knew it. But his partner could not and did not want to dance well. Her enormous figure stood erect, her powerful arms hanging down (she had handed her reticule to the countess), and only her stern but handsome face really joined in the dance. What was expressed by the whole of the counts plump figure, in Marya Dmitrievna found expression only in her more and more beaming face and quivering nose. But if the count, getting more and more into the swing of it, charmed the spectators by the unexpectedness of his adroit maneuvers and the agility with which he capered about on his light feet, Marya Dmitrievna produced no less impression by slight exertions--the least effort to move her shoulders or bend her arms when turning, or stamp her foot--which everyone appreciated in view of her size and habitual severity. The dance grew

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