Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
it was only for buying too many and too expensive things. To her other
defects (as most people thought them, but which to Pierre were
qualities) of untidiness and neglect of herself, she now added
From the time that Pierre began life as a family man on a footing
entailing heavy expenditure, he had noticed to his surprise that he
spent only half as much as before, and that his affairs--which had
been in disorder of late, chiefly because of his first wifes
debts--had begun to improve.
Life was cheaper because it was circumscribed: that most expensive
luxury, the kind of life that can be changed at any moment, was no
longer his nor did he wish for it. He felt that his way of life had
now been settled once for all till death and that to change it was not
in his power, and so that way of life proved economical.
With a merry, smiling face Pierre was sorting his purchases.
"What do you think of this?" said he, unrolling a piece of stuff
like a shopman.
Natasha, who was sitting opposite to him with her eldest daughter on
her lap, turned her sparkling eyes swiftly from her husband to the
things he showed her.
"Thats for Belova? Excellent!" She felt the quality of the
material. "It was a ruble an arshin, I suppose?"
Pierre told her the price.
"Too dear!" Natasha remarked. "How pleased the children will be
and Mamma too! Only you need not have bought me this," she added,
unable to suppress a smile as she gazed admiringly at a gold comb
set with pearls, of a kind then just coming into fashion.
"Adele tempted me: she kept on telling me to buy it," returned
"When am I to wear it?" and Natasha stuck it in her coil of hair.
"When I take little Masha into society? Perhaps they will be
fashionable again by then. Well, lets go now."
And collecting the presents they went first to the nursery and
then to the old countess rooms.
The countess was sitting with her companion Belova, playing
grand-patience as usual, when Pierre and Natasha came into the drawing
room with parcels under their arms.
The countess was now over sixty, was quite gray, and wore a cap with
a frill that surrounded her face. Her face had shriveled, her upper
lip had sunk in, and her eyes were dim.
After the deaths of her son and husband in such rapid succession,
she felt herself a being accidentally forgotten in this world and left
without aim or object for her existence. She ate, drank, slept, or
kept awake, but did not live. Life gave her no new impressions. She
wanted nothing from life but tranquillity, and that tranquillity
only death could give her. But until death came she had to go on
living, that is, to use her vital forces. A peculiarity one sees in
very young children and very old people was particularly evident in
her. Her life had no external aims--only a need to exercise her
various functions and inclinations was apparent. She had to eat,
sleep, think, speak, weep, work, give vent to her anger, and so on,
merely because she had a stomach, a brain, muscles, nerves, and a
liver. She did these things not under any external impulse as people
in the full vigor of life do, when behind the purpose for which they
strive that of exercising their functions remains unnoticed. She
talked only because she physically needed to exercise her tongue and
lungs. She cried as a child does, because her nose had to be
cleared, and so on. What for people in their full vigor is an aim
was for her evidently merely a pretext.
Thus in the morning--especially if she had eaten anything rich the
day before--she felt a need of being angry and would choose as the
handiest pretext Belovas deafness.
She would begin to say something to her in a low tone from the other
end of the room.
"It seems a little warmer today, my dear," she would murmur.
And when Belova replied: "Oh yes, theyve come," she would mutter
angrily: "O Lord! How stupid and deaf she is!"
Another pretext would be her snuff, which would seem too dry or
too damp or not rubbed fine enough. After these fits of irritability
her face would grow yellow, and her maids knew by infallible
symptoms when Belova would again be deaf, the snuff damp, and the
countess face yellow. Just as she needed to work off her spleen so
she had sometimes to exercise her still-existing
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