Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
and fell into a reverie quite
unrelated to what ought to have occupied her thoughts now. She was
roused from her reverie by the talk of the maids in the next room
(which was theirs) and by the sound of their hurried footsteps going
to the back porch. Natasha got up and looked out of the window. An
enormously long row of carts full of wounded men had stopped in the
The housekeeper, the old nurse, the cooks, coachmen, maids, footmen,
postilions, and scullions stood at the gate, staring at the wounded.
Natasha, throwing a clean pocket handkerchief over her hair and
holding an end of it in each hand, went out into the street.
The former housekeeper, old Mavra Kuzminichna, had stepped out of
the crowd by the gate, gone up to a cart with a hood constructed of
bast mats, and was speaking to a pale young officer who lay inside.
Natasha moved a few steps forward and stopped shyly, still holding her
handkerchief, and listened to what the housekeeper was saying.
"Then you have nobody in Moscow?" she was saying. "You would be more
comfortable somewhere in a house... in ours, for instance... the
family are leaving."
"I dont know if it would be allowed," replied the officer in a weak
voice. "Here is our commanding officer... ask him," and he pointed
to a stout major who was walking back along the street past the row of
Natasha glanced with frightened eyes at the face of the wounded
officer and at once went to meet the major.
"May the wounded men stay in our house?" she asked.
The major raised his hand to his cap with a smile.
"Which one do you want, Maamselle?" said he, screwing up his
eyes and smiling.
Natasha quietly repeated her question, and her face and whole manner
were so serious, though she was still holding the ends of her
handkerchief, that the major ceased smiling and after some
reflection--as if considering in how far the thing was possible--replied
in the affirmative.
"Oh yes, why not? They may," he said.
With a slight inclination of her head, Natasha stepped back
quickly to Mavra Kuzminichna, who stood talking compassionately to the
"They may. He says they may!" whispered Natasha.
The cart in which the officer lay was turned into the Rostovs yard,
and dozens of carts with wounded men began at the invitation of the
townsfolk to turn into the yards and to draw up at the entrances of
the houses in Povarskaya Street. Natasha was evidently pleased to be
dealing with new people outside the ordinary routine of her life.
She and Mavra Kuzminichna tried to get as many of the wounded as
possible into their yard.
"Your Papa must be told, though," said Mavra Kuzminichna.
"Never mind, never mind, what does it matter? For one day we can
move into the drawing room. They can have all our half of the house."
"There now, young lady, you do take things into your head! Even if
we put them into the wing, the mens room, or the nurses room, we
must ask permission."
"Well, Ill ask."
Natasha ran into the house and went on tiptoe through the
half-open door into the sitting room, where there was a smell of
vinegar and Hoffmans drops.
"Are you asleep, Mamma?"
"Oh, what sleep-?" said the countess, waking up just as she was
dropping into a doze.
"Mamma darling!" said Natasha, kneeling by her mother and bringing
her face close to her mothers, "I am sorry, forgive me, Ill never do
it again; I woke you up! Mavra Kuzminichna has sent me: they have
brought some wounded here--officers. Will you let them come? They have
nowhere to go. I knew youd let them come!" she said quickly all in
"What officers? Whom have they brought? I dont understand
anything about it," said the countess.
Natasha laughed, and the countess too smiled slightly.
"I knew youd give permission... so Ill tell them," and, having
kissed her mother, Natasha got up and went to the door.
In the hall she met her father, who had returned with bad news.
"Weve stayed too long!" said the count with involuntary vexation.
"The Club is closed and the police are leaving."
"Papa, is it all right--Ive invited some of the wounded into the
house?" said Natasha.
"Of course it is," he answered absently. "Thats not the point. I
beg you not to indulge in trifles now, but to help to pack, and
tomorrow we must go, go, go!...."
And the count gave a similar order to the major-domo and the
At dinner Petya having returned
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