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this meeting of the princess and Nicholas. "I was never pleased at Bolkonskis engagement to Natasha," said the countess, "but I always wanted Nicholas to marry the princess, and had a presentiment that it would happen. What a good thing it would be!" Sonya felt that this was true: that the only possibility of retrieving the Rostovs affairs was by Nicholas marrying a rich woman, and that the princess was a good match. It was very bitter for her. But despite her grief, or perhaps just because of it, she took on herself all the difficult work of directing the storing and packing of their things and was busy for whole days. The count and countess turned to her when they had any orders to give. Petya and Natasha on the contrary, far from helping their parents, were generally a nuisance and a hindrance to everyone. Almost all day long the house resounded with their running feet, their cries, and their spontaneous laughter. They laughed and were gay not because there was any reason to laugh, but because gaiety and mirth were in their hearts and so everything that happened was a cause for gaiety and laughter to them. Petya was in high spirits because having left home a boy he had returned (as everybody told him) a fine young man, because he was at home, because he had left Belaya Tserkov where there was no hope of soon taking part in a battle and had come to Moscow where there was to be fighting in a few days, and chiefly because Natasha, whose lead he always followed, was in high spirits. Natasha was gay because she had been sad too long and now nothing reminded her of the cause of her sadness, and because she was feeling well. She was also happy because she had someone to adore her: the adoration of others was a lubricant the wheels of her machine needed to make them run freely--and Petya adored her. Above all, they were gay because there was a war near Moscow, there would be fighting at the town gates, arms were being given out, everybody was escaping--going away somewhere, and in general something extraordinary was happening, and that is always exciting, especially to the young. CHAPTER XIII On Saturday, the thirty-first of August, everything in the Rostovs house seemed topsy-turvy. All the doors were open, all the furniture was being carried out or moved about, and the mirrors and pictures had been taken down. There were trunks in the rooms, and hay, wrapping paper, and ropes were scattered about. The peasants and house serfs carrying out the things were treading heavily on the parquet floors. The yard was crowded with peasant carts, some loaded high and already corded up, others still empty. The voices and footsteps of the many servants and of the peasants who had come with the carts resounded as they shouted to one another in the yard and in the house. The count had been out since morning. The countess had a headache brought on by all the noise and turmoil and was lying down in the new sitting room with a vinegar compress on her head. Petya was not at home, he had gone to visit a friend with whom he meant to obtain a transfer from the militia to the active army. Sonya was in the ballroom looking after the packing of the glass and china. Natasha was sitting on the floor of her dismantled room with dresses, ribbons, and scarves strewn all about her, gazing fixedly at the floor and holding in her hands the old ball dress (already out of fashion) which she had worn at her first Petersburg ball. Natasha was ashamed of doing nothing when everyone else was so busy, and several times that morning had tried to set to work, but her heart was not in it, and she could not and did not know how to do anything except with all her heart and all her might. For a while she had stood beside Sonya while the china was being packed and tried to help, but soon gave it up and went to her room to pack her own things. At first she found it amusing to give away dresses and ribbons to the maids, but when that was done and what was left had still to be packed, she found it dull. "Dunyasha, you pack! You will, wont you, dear?" And when Dunyasha willingly promised to do it all for her, Natasha sat down on the floor, took her old ball dress,

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