Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
swaying his head from side to
side to express sympathy, remained standing beside her.
"Yes, Mamma, I tell you sincerely that these are hard and sad
times for every Russian. But why are you so anxious? You have still
time to get away...."
"I cant think what the servants are about," said the countess,
turning to her husband. "I have just been told that nothing is ready
yet. Somebody after all must see to things. One misses Mitenka at such
times. There wont be any end to it."
The count was about to say something, but evidently restrained
himself. He got up from his chair and went to the door.
At that moment Berg drew out his handkerchief as if to blow his nose
and, seeing the knot in it, pondered, shaking his head sadly and
"And I have a great favor to ask of you, Papa," said he.
"Hm..." said the count, and stopped.
"I was driving past Yusupovs house just now," said Berg with a
laugh, "when the steward, a man I know, ran out and asked me whether I
wouldnt buy something. I went in out of curiosity, you know, and
there is a small chiffonier and a dressing table. You know how dear
Vera wanted a chiffonier like that and how we had a dispute about it."
(At the mention of the chiffonier and dressing table Berg
involuntarily changed his tone to one of pleasure at his admirable
domestic arrangements.) "And its such a beauty! It pulls out and
has a secret English drawer, you know! And dear Vera has long wanted
one. I wish to give her a surprise, you see. I saw so many of those
peasant carts in your yard. Please let me have one, I will pay the man
The count frowned and coughed.
"Ask the countess, I dont give orders."
"If its inconvenient, please dont," said Berg. "Only I so wanted
it, for dear Veras sake."
"Oh, go to the devil, all of you! To the devil, the devil, the
devil..." cried the old count. "My heads in a whirl!"
And he left the room. The countess began to cry.
"Yes, Mamma! Yes, these are very hard times!" said Berg.
Natasha left the room with her father and, as if finding it
difficult to reach some decision, first followed him and then ran
Petya was in the porch, engaged in giving out weapons to the
servants who were to leave Moscow. The loaded carts were still
standing in the yard. Two of them had been uncorded and a wounded
officer was climbing into one of them helped by an orderly.
"Do you know what its about?" Petya asked Natasha.
She understood that he meant what were their parents quarreling
about. She did not answer.
"Its because Papa wanted to give up all the carts to the
wounded," said Petya. "Vasilich told me. I consider..."
"I consider," Natasha suddenly almost shouted, turning her angry
face to Petya, "I consider it so horrid, so abominable, so... I
dont know what. Are we despicable Germans?"
Her throat quivered with convulsive sobs and, afraid of weakening
and letting the force of her anger run to waste, she turned and rushed
headlong up the stairs.
Berg was sitting beside the countess consoling her with the
respectful attention of a relative. The count, pipe in hand, was
pacing up and down the room, when Natasha, her face distorted by
anger, burst in like a tempest and approached her mother with rapid
"Its horrid! Its abominable!" she screamed. "You cant possibly
have ordered it!"
Berg and the countess looked at her, perplexed and frightened. The
count stood still at the window and listened.
"Mamma, its impossible: see what is going on in the yard!" she
cried. "They will be left!..."
"Whats the matter with you? Who are they? What do you want?"
"Why, the wounded! Its impossible, Mamma. Its monstrous!... No,
Mamma darling, its not the thing. Please forgive me, darling....
Mamma, what does it matter what we take away? Only look what is
going on in the yard... Mamma!... Its impossible!"
The count stood by the window and listened without turning round.
Suddenly he sniffed and put his face closer to the window.
The countess glanced at her daughter, saw her face full of shame for
her mother, saw her agitation, and understood why her husband did
not turn to look at her now, and she glanced round quite disconcerted.
"Oh, do as you like! Am I hindering anyone?" she said, not
surrendering at once.
"Mamma, darling, forgive me!"
But the countess pushed her daughter away and went up to
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