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War And Peace 510


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pleasure in it--then his mother thought she loved him more, much more, than all her other children. The nearer the time came for Petya to return, the more uneasy grew the countess. She began to think she would never live to see such happiness. The presence of Sonya, of her beloved Natasha, or even of her husband irritated her. "What do I want with them? I want no one but Petya," she thought. At the end of August the Rostovs received another letter from Nicholas. He wrote from the province of Voronezh where he had been sent to procure remounts, but that letter did not set the countess at ease. Knowing that one son was out of danger she became the more anxious about Petya. Though by the twentieth of August nearly all the Rostovs acquaintances had left Moscow, and though everybody tried to persuade the countess to get away as quickly as possible, she would not hear of leaving before her treasure, her adored Petya, returned. On the twenty-eighth of August he arrived. The passionate tenderness with which his mother received him did not please the sixteen-year-old officer. Though she concealed from him her intention of keeping him under her wing, Petya guessed her designs, and instinctively fearing that he might give way to emotion when with her--might "become womanish" as he termed it to himself--he treated her coldly, avoided her, and during his stay in Moscow attached himself exclusively to Natasha for whom he had always had a particularly brotherly tenderness, almost lover-like. Owing to the counts customary carelessness nothing was ready for their departure by the twenty-eighth of August and the carts that were to come from their Ryazan and Moscow estates to remove their household belongings did not arrive till the thirtieth. From the twenty-eighth till the thirty-first all Moscow was in a bustle and commotion. Every day thousands of men wounded at Borodino were brought in by the Dorogomilov gate and taken to various parts of Moscow, and thousands of carts conveyed the inhabitants and their possessions out by the other gates. In spite of Rostopchins broadsheets, or because of them or independently of them, the strangest and most contradictory rumors were current in the town. Some said that no one was to be allowed to leave the city, others on the contrary said that all the icons had been taken out of the churches and everybody was to be ordered to leave. Some said there had been another battle after Borodino at which the French had been routed, while others on the contrary reported that the Russian army had been destroyed. Some talked about the Moscow militia which, preceded by the clergy, would go to the Three Hills; others whispered that Augustin had been forbidden to leave, that traitors had been seized, that the peasants were rioting and robbing people on their way from Moscow, and so on. But all this was only talk; in reality (though the Council of Fili, at which it was decided to abandon Moscow, had not yet been held) both those who went away and those who remained behind felt, though they did not show it, that Moscow would certainly be abandoned, and that they ought to get away as quickly as possible and save their belongings. It was felt that everything would suddenly break up and change, but up to the first of September nothing had done so. As a criminal who is being led to execution knows that he must die immediately, but yet looks about him and straightens the cap that is awry on his head, so Moscow involuntarily continued its wonted life, though it knew that the time of its destruction was near when the conditions of life to which its people were accustomed to submit would be completely upset. During the three days preceding the occupation of Moscow the whole Rostov family was absorbed in various activities. The head of the family, Count Ilya Rostov, continually drove about the city collecting the current rumors from all sides and gave superficial and hasty orders at home about the preparations for their departure. The countess watched the things being packed, was dissatisfied with everything, was constantly in pursuit of Petya who was always running away from her, and was jealous of Natasha with whom he spent all his time. Sonya alone directed the practical side of matters by getting things packed. But of late Sonya had been particularly sad and silent. Nicholas letter in which he mentioned Princess Mary had elicited, in her presence, joyous comments from the countess, who saw an intervention of Providence in

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