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War And Peace 689


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loudly and with apparent cheerfulness (it seemed to Countess Mary that he did it on purpose to vex her), "I have been on my feet since six this morning. Tomorrow I shall have to suffer, so today Ill go and rest." And without a word to his wife he went to the little sitting room and lay down on the sofa. "Thats always the way," thought Countess Mary. "He talks to everyone except me. I see... I see that I am repulsive to him, especially when I am in this condition." She looked down at her expanded figure and in the glass at her pale, sallow, emaciated face in which her eyes now looked larger than ever. And everything annoyed her--Denisovs shouting and laughter, Natashas talk, and especially a quick glance Sonya gave her. Sonya was always the first excuse Countess Mary found for feeling irritated. Having sat awhile with her visitors without understanding anything of what they were saying, she softly left the room and went to the nursery. The children were playing at "going to Moscow" in a carriage made of chairs and invited her to go with them. She sat down and played with them a little, but the thought of her husband and his unreasonable crossness worried her. She got up and, walking on tiptoe with difficulty, went to the small sitting room. "Perhaps he is not asleep; Ill have an explanation with him," she said to herself. Little Andrew, her eldest boy, imitating his mother, followed her on tiptoe. She did not notice him. "Mary, dear, I think he is asleep--he was so tired," said Sonya, meeting her in the large sitting room (it seemed to Countess Mary that she crossed her path everywhere). "Andrew may wake him." Countess Mary looked round, saw little Andrew following her, felt that Sonya was right, and for that very reason flushed and with evident difficulty refrained from saying something harsh. She made no reply, but to avoid obeying Sonya beckoned to Andrew to follow her quietly and went to the door. Sonya went away by another door. From the room in which Nicholas was sleeping came the sound of his even breathing, every slightest tone of which was familiar to his wife. As she listened to it she saw before her his smooth handsome forehead, his mustache, and his whole face, as she had so often seen it in the stillness of the night when he slept. Nicholas suddenly moved and cleared his throat. And at that moment little Andrew shouted from outside the door: "Papa! Mammas standing here!" Countess Mary turned pale with fright and made signs to the boy. He grew silent, and quiet ensued for a moment, terrible to Countess Mary. She knew how Nicholas disliked being waked. Then through the door she heard Nicholas clearing his throat again and stirring, and his voice said crossly: "I cant get a moments peace.... Mary, is that you? Why did you bring him here?" "I only came in to look and did not notice... forgive me..." Nicholas coughed and said no more. Countess Mary moved away from the door and took the boy back to the nursery. Five minutes later little black-eyed three-year-old Natasha, her fathers pet, having learned from her brother that Papa was asleep and Mamma was in the sitting room, ran to her father unobserved by her mother. The dark-eyed little girl boldly opened the creaking door, went up to the sofa with energetic steps of her sturdy little legs, and having examined the position of her father, who was asleep with his back to her, rose on tiptoe and kissed the hand which lay under his head. Nicholas turned with a tender smile on his face. "Natasha, Natasha!" came Countess Marys frightened whisper from the door. "Papa wants to sleep." "No, Mamma, he doesnt want to sleep," said little Natasha with conviction. "Hes laughing." Nicholas lowered his legs, rose, and took his daughter in his arms. "Come in, Mary," he said to his wife. She went in and sat down by her husband. "I did not notice him following me," she said timidly. "I just looked in." Holding his little girl with one arm, Nicholas glanced at his wife and, seeing her guilty expression, put his other arm around her and kissed her hair. "May I kiss Mamma?" he asked Natasha. Natasha smiled bashfully. "Again!" she commanded, pointing with a peremptory gesture to the spot where Nicholas had placed the kiss. "I dont know why you think I am cross," said Nicholas, replying to the question he knew was in his wifes mind. "You have no idea how unhappy, how

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