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as a precursor of news of something detrimental to the childrens interests, such as the building of a new gallery or conservatory, the inauguration of a private theater or an orchestra. She was accustomed always to oppose anything announced in that timid tone and considered it her duty to do so. She assumed her dolefully submissive manner and said to her husband: "Listen to me, Count, you have managed matters so that we are getting nothing for the house, and now you wish to throw away all our--all the childrens property! You said yourself that we have a hundred thousand rubles worth of things in the house. I dont consent, my dear, I dont! Do as you please! Its the governments business to look after the wounded; they know that. Look at the Lopukhins opposite, they cleared out everything two days ago. Thats what other people do. Its only we who are such fools. If you have no pity on me, have some for the children." Flourishing his arms in despair the count left the room without replying. "Papa, what are you doing that for?" asked Natasha, who had followed him into her mothers room. "Nothing! What business is it of yours?" muttered the count angrily. "But I heard," said Natasha. "Why does Mamma object?" "What business is it of yours?" cried the count. Natasha stepped up to the window and pondered. "Papa! Heres Berg coming to see us," said she, looking out of the window. CHAPTER XVI Berg, the Rostovs son-in-law, was already a colonel wearing the orders of Vladimir and Anna, and he still filled the quiet and agreeable post of assistant to the head of the staff of the assistant commander of the first division of the Second Army. On the first of September he had come to Moscow from the army. He had nothing to do in Moscow, but he had noticed that everyone in the army was asking for leave to visit Moscow and had something to do there. So he considered it necessary to ask for leave of absence for family and domestic reasons. Berg drove up to his father-in-laws house in his spruce little trap with a pair of sleek roans, exactly like those of a certain prince. He looked attentively at the carts in the yard and while going up to the porch took out a clean pocket handkerchief and tied a knot in it. From the anteroom Berg ran with smooth though impatient steps into the drawing room, where he embraced the count, kissed the hands of Natasha and Sonya, and hastened to inquire after "Mammas" health. "Health, at a time like this?" said the count. "Come, tell us the news! Is the army retreating or will there be another battle?" "God Almighty alone can decide the fate of our fatherland, Papa," said Berg. "The army is burning with a spirit of heroism and the leaders, so to say, have now assembled in council. No one knows what is coming. But in general I can tell you, Papa, that such a heroic spirit, the truly antique valor of the Russian army, which they--which it" (he corrected himself) "has shown or displayed in the battle of the twenty-sixth--there are no words worthy to do it justice! I tell you, Papa" (he smote himself on the breast as a general he had heard speaking had done, but Berg did it a trifle late for he should have struck his breast at the words "Russian army"), "I tell you frankly that we, the commanders, far from having to urge the men on or anything of that kind, could hardly restrain those... those... yes, those exploits of antique valor," he went on rapidly. "General Barclay de Tolly risked his life everywhere at the head of the troops, I can assure you. Our corps was stationed on a hillside. You can imagine!" And Berg related all that he remembered of the various tales he had heard those days. Natasha watched him with an intent gaze that confused him, as if she were trying to find in his face the answer to some question. "Altogether such heroism as was displayed by the Russian warriors cannot be imagined or adequately praised!" said Berg, glancing round at Natasha, and as if anxious to conciliate her, replying to her intent look with a smile. "Russia is not in Moscow, she lives in the hearts of her sons! Isnt it so, Papa?" said he. Just then the countess came in from the sitting room with a weary and dissatisfied expression. Berg hurriedly jumped up, kissed her hand, asked about her health, and,

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