Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
waiting for the household to
assemble for the usual silent prayer with closed doors before
starting. Natasha was not in the room.
"Mamma," said Sonya, "Prince Andrew is here, mortally wounded. He is
going with us."
The countess opened her eyes in dismay and, seizing Sonyas arm,
"Natasha?" she murmured.
At that moment this news had only one significance for both of them.
They knew their Natasha, and alarm as to what would happen if she
heard this news stifled all sympathy for the man they both liked.
"Natasha does not know yet, but he is going with us," said Sonya.
"You say he is dying?"
The countess put her arms around Sonya and began to cry.
"The ways of God are past finding out!" she thought, feeling that
the Almighty Hand, hitherto unseen, was becoming manifest in all
that was now taking place.
"Well, Mamma? Everything is ready. Whats the matter?" asked
Natasha, as with animated face she ran into the room.
"Nothing," answered the countess. "If everything is ready let us
And the countess bent over her reticule to hide her agitated face.
Sonya embraced Natasha and kissed her.
Natasha looked at her inquiringly.
"What is it? What has happened?"
"Is it something very bad for me? What is it?" persisted Natasha
with her quick intuition.
Sonya sighed and made no reply. The count, Petya, Madame Schoss,
Mavra Kuzminichna, and Vasilich came into the drawing room and, having
closed the doors, they all sat down and remained for some moments
silently seated without looking at one another.
The count was the first to rise, and with a loud sigh crossed
himself before the icon. All the others did the same. Then the count
embraced Mavra Kuzminichna and Vasilich, who were to remain in Moscow,
and while they caught at his hand and kissed his shoulder he patted
their backs lightly with some vaguely affectionate and comforting
words. The countess went into the oratory and there Sonya found her on
her knees before the icons that had been left here and there hanging
on the wall. (The most precious ones, with which some family tradition
was connected, were being taken with them.)
In the porch and in the yard the men whom Petya had armed with
swords and daggers, with trousers tucked inside their high boots and
with belts and girdles tightened, were taking leave of those remaining
As is always the case at a departure, much had been forgotten or put
in the wrong place, and for a long time two menservants stood one on
each side of the open door and the carriage steps waiting to help
the countess in, while maids rushed with cushions and bundles from the
house to the carriages, the caleche, the phaeton, and back again.
"They always will forget everything!" said the countess. "Dont
you know I cant sit like that?"
And Dunyasha, with clenched teeth, without replying but with an
aggrieved look on her face, hastily got into the coach to rearrange
"Oh, those servants!" said the count, swaying his head.
Efim, the old coachman, who was the only one the countess trusted to
drive her, sat perched up high on the box and did not so much as
glance round at what was going on behind him. From thirty years
experience he knew it would be some time yet before the order, "Be
off, in Gods name!" would be given him: and he knew that even when it
was said he would be stopped once or twice more while they sent back
to fetch something that had been forgotten, and even after that he
would again be stopped and the countess herself would lean out of
the window and beg him for the love of heaven to drive carefully
down the hill. He knew all this and therefore waited calmly for what
would happen, with more patience than the horses, especially the
near one, the chestnut Falcon, who was pawing the ground and
champing his bit. At last all were seated, the carriage steps were
folded and pulled up, the door was shut, somebody was sent for a
traveling case, and the countess leaned out and said what she had to
say. Then Efim deliberately doffed his hat and began crossing himself.
The postilion and all the other servants did the same. "Off, in
Gods name!" said Efim, putting on his hat. "Start!" The postilion
started the horses, the off pole horse tugged at his collar, the
high springs creaked, and the body of the coach swayed. The footman
sprang onto the box of the moving coach
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