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War And Peace 514

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War And Peace

packed, repacked, pressed, made the butlers assistant and Petya--whom she had drawn into the business of packing--press on the lid, and made desperate efforts herself. "Thats enough, Natasha," said Sonya. "I see you were right, but just take out the top one." "I wont!" cried Natasha, with one hand holding back the hair that hung over her perspiring face, while with the other she pressed down the carpets. "Now press, Petya! Press, Vasilich, press hard!" she cried. The carpets yielded and the lid closed; Natasha, clapping her hands, screamed with delight and tears fell from her eyes. But this only lasted a moment. She at once set to work afresh and they now trusted her completely. The count was not angry even when they told him that Natasha had countermanded an order of his, and the servants now came to her to ask whether a cart was sufficiently loaded, and whether it might be corded up. Thanks to Natashas directions the work now went on expeditiously, unnecessary things were left, and the most valuable packed as compactly as possible. But hard as they all worked till quite late that night, they could not get everything packed. The countess had fallen asleep and the count, having put off their departure till next morning, went to bed. Sonya and Natasha slept in the sitting room without undressing. That night another wounded man was driven down the Povarskaya, and Mavra Kuzminichna, who was standing at the gate, had him brought into the Rostovs yard. Mavra Kuzminichna concluded that he was a very important man. He was being conveyed in a caleche with a raised hood, and was quite covered by an apron. On the box beside the driver sat a venerable old attendant. A doctor and two soldiers followed the carriage in a cart. "Please come in here. The masters are going away and the whole house will be empty," said the old woman to the old attendant. "Well, perhaps," said he with a sigh. "We dont expect to get him home alive! We have a house of our own in Moscow, but its a long way from here, and theres nobody living in it." "Do us the honor to come in, theres plenty of everything in the masters house. Come in," said Mavra Kuzminichna. "Is he very ill?" she asked. The attendant made a hopeless gesture. "We dont expect to get him home! We must ask the doctor." And the old servant got down from the box and went up to the cart. "All right!" said the doctor. The old servant returned to the caleche, looked into it, shook his head disconsolately, told the driver to turn into the yard, and stopped beside Mavra Kuzminichna. "O, Lord Jesus Christ!" she murmured. She invited them to take the wounded man into the house. "The masters wont object..." she said. But they had to avoid carrying the man upstairs, and so they took him into the wing and put him in the room that had been Madame Schoss. This wounded man was Prince Andrew Bolkonski. CHAPTER XV Moscows last day had come. It was a clear bright autumn day, a Sunday. The church bells everywhere were ringing for service, just as usual on Sundays. Nobody seemed yet to realize what awaited the city. Only two things indicated the social condition of Moscow--the rabble, that is the poor people, and the price of commodities. An enormous crowd of factory hands, house serfs, and peasants, with whom some officials, seminarists, and gentry were mingled, had gone early that morning to the Three Hills. Having waited there for Rostopchin who did not turn up, they became convinced that Moscow would be surrendered, and then dispersed all about the town to the public houses and cookshops. Prices too that day indicated the state of affairs. The price of weapons, of gold, of carts and horses, kept rising, but the value of paper money and city articles kept falling, so that by midday there were instances of carters removing valuable goods, such as cloth, and receiving in payment a half of what they carted, while peasant horses were fetching five hundred rubles each, and furniture, mirrors, and bronzes were being given away for nothing. In the Rostovs staid old-fashioned house the dissolution of former conditions of life was but little noticeable. As to the serfs the only indication was that three out of their huge retinue disappeared during the night, but nothing was stolen; and as to the value of their possessions, the thirty peasant carts that had come in from their estates and which many people envied proved to be extremely valuable and they

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