Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
spacious and had rooms for the house serfs and apartments for
visitors. Whole families of the Rostovs and Bolkonskis relations
sometimes came to Bald Hills with sixteen horses and dozens of
servants and stayed for months. Besides that, four times a year, on
the name days and birthdays of the hosts, as many as a hundred
visitors would gather there for a day or two. The rest of the year
life pursued its unbroken routine with its ordinary occupations, and
its breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and suppers, provided out of the
produce of the estate.
It was the eve of St. Nicholas, the fifth of December, 1820. Natasha
had been staying at her brothers with her husband and children
since early autumn. Pierre had gone to Petersburg on business of his
own for three weeks as he said, but had remained there nearly seven
weeks and was expected back every minute.
Besides the Bezukhov family, Nicholas old friend the retired
General Vasili Dmitrich Denisov was staying with the Rostovs this
fifth of December.
On the sixth, which was his name day when the house would be full of
visitors, Nicholas knew he would have to exchange his Tartar tunic for
a tail coat, and put on narrow boots with pointed toes, and drive to
the new church he had built, and then receive visitors who would
come to congratulate him, offer them refreshments, and talk about
the elections of the nobility; but he considered himself entitled to
spend the eve of that day in his usual way. He examined the
bailiffs accounts of the village in Ryazan which belonged to his
wifes nephew, wrote two business letters, and walked over to the
granaries, cattle yards and stables before dinner. Having taken
precautions against the general drunkenness to be expected on the
morrow because it was a great saints day, he returned to dinner,
and without having time for a private talk with his wife sat down at
the long table laid for twenty persons, at which the whole household
had assembled. At that table were his mother, his mothers old lady
companion Belova, his wife, their three children with their
governess and tutor, his wifes nephew with his tutor, Sonya, Denisov,
Natasha, her three children, their governess, and old Michael
Ivanovich, the late princes architect, who was living on in
retirement at Bald Hills.
Countess Mary sat at the other end of the table. When her husband
took his place she concluded, from the rapid manner in which after
taking up his table napkin he pushed back the tumbler and wineglass
standing before him, that he was out of humor, as was sometimes the
case when he came in to dinner straight from the farm--especially
before the soup. Countess Mary well knew that mood of his, and when
she herself was in a good frame of mind quietly waited till he had had
his soup and then began to talk to him and make him admit that there
was no cause for his ill-humor. But today she quite forgot that and
was hurt that he should be angry with her without any reason, and
she felt unhappy. She asked him where he had been. He replied. She
again inquired whether everything was going well on the farm. Her
unnatural tone made him wince unpleasantly and he replied hastily.
"Then Im not mistaken," thought Countess Mary. "Why is he cross
with me?" She concluded from his tone that he was vexed with her and
wished to end the conversation. She knew her remarks sounded
unnatural, but could not refrain from asking some more questions.
Thanks to Denisov the conversation at table soon became general
and lively, and she did not talk to her husband. When they left the
table and went as usual to thank the old countess, Countess Mary
held out her hand and kissed her husband, and asked him why he was
angry with her.
"You always have such strange fancies! I didnt even think of
being angry," he replied.
But the word always seemed to her to imply: "Yes, I am angry but I
wont tell you why."
Nicholas and his wife lived together so happily that even Sonya
and the old countess, who felt jealous and would have liked them to
disagree, could find nothing to reproach them with; but even they
had their moments of antagonism. Occasionally, and it was always
just after they had been happiest together, they suddenly had a
feeling of estrangement and hostility, which occurred most
frequently during Countess Marys pregnancies, and this was such a
"Well, messieurs et mesdames," said Nicholas
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