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War And Peace 550


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and buried her face in the pillow. The countess, Madame Schoss, and Sonya undressed hastily and lay down. The small lamp in front of the icons was the only light left in the room. But in the yard there was a light from the fire at Little Mytishchi a mile and a half away, and through the night came the noise of people shouting at a tavern Mamonovs Cossacks had set up across the street, and the adjutants unceasing moans could still be heard. For a long time Natasha listened attentively to the sounds that reached her from inside and outside the room and did not move. First she heard her mother praying and sighing and the creaking of her bed under her, then Madame Schoss familiar whistling snore and Sonyas gentle breathing. Then the countess called to Natasha. Natasha did not answer. "I think shes asleep, Mamma," said Sonya softly. After a short silence the countess spoke again but this time no one replied. Soon after that Natasha heard her mothers even breathing. Natasha did not move, though her little bare foot, thrust out from under the quilt, was growing cold on the bare floor. As if to celebrate a victory over everybody, a cricket chirped in a crack in the wall. A cock crowed far off and another replied near by. The shouting in the tavern had died down; only the moaning of the adjutant was heard. Natasha sat up. "Sonya, are you asleep? Mamma?" she whispered. No one replied. Natasha rose slowly and carefully, crossed herself, and stepped cautiously on the cold and dirty floor with her slim, supple, bare feet. The boards of the floor creaked. Stepping cautiously from one foot to the other she ran like a kitten the few steps to the door and grasped the cold door handle. It seemed to her that something heavy was beating rhythmically against all the walls of the room: it was her own heart, sinking with alarm and terror and overflowing with love. She opened the door and stepped across the threshold and onto the cold, damp earthen floor of the passage. The cold she felt refreshed her. With her bare feet she touched a sleeping man, stepped over him, and opened the door into the part of the hut where Prince Andrew lay. It was dark in there. In the farthest corner, on a bench beside a bed on which something was lying, stood a tallow candle with a long, thick, and smoldering wick. From the moment she had been told that morning of Prince Andrews wound and his presence there, Natasha had resolved to see him. She did not know why she had to, she knew the meeting would be painful, but felt the more convinced that it was necessary. All day she had lived only in hope of seeing him that night. But now that the moment had come she was filled with dread of what she might see. How was he maimed? What was left of him? Was he like that incessant moaning of the adjutants? Yes, he was altogether like that. In her imagination he was that terrible moaning personified. When she saw an indistinct shape in the corner, and mistook his knees raised under the quilt for his shoulders, she imagined a horrible body there, and stood still in terror. But an irresistible impulse drew her forward. She cautiously took one step and then another, and found herself in the middle of a small room containing baggage. Another man--Timokhin--was lying in a corner on the benches beneath the icons, and two others--the doctor and a valet--lay on the floor. The valet sat up and whispered something. Timokhin, kept awake by the pain in his wounded leg, gazed with wide-open eyes at this strange apparition of a girl in a white chemise, dressing jacket, and nightcap. The valets sleepy, frightened exclamation, "What do you want? Whats the matter?" made Natasha approach more swiftly to what was lying in the corner. Horribly unlike a man as that body looked, she must see him. She passed the valet, the snuff fell from the candle wick, and she saw Prince Andrew clearly with his arms outside the quilt, and such as she had always seen him. He was the same as ever, but the feverish color of his face, his glittering eyes rapturously turned toward her, and especially his neck, delicate as a childs, revealed by the turn-down collar of his shirt, gave him a peculiarly innocent, childlike look, such as she had never seen on him before. She went up to him

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