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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 6
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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 6 Post by :shark Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :649

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 6 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 6

At the end of January old Count Rostov went to Moscow with Natasha
and Sonya. The countess was still unwell and unable to travel but it
was impossible to wait for her recovery. Prince Andrew was expected in
Moscow any day, the trousseau had to be ordered and the estate near
Moscow had to be sold, besides which the opportunity of presenting his
future daughter-in-law to old Prince Bolkonski while he was in
Moscow could not be missed. The Rostovs' Moscow house had not been
heated that winter and, as they had come only for a short time and the
countess was not with them, the count decided to stay with Marya
Dmitrievna Akhrosimova, who had long been pressing her hospitality
on them.

Late one evening the Rostovs' four sleighs drove into Marya
Dmitrievna's courtyard in the old Konyusheny street. Marya
Dmitrievna lived alone. She had already married off her daughter,
and her sons were all in the service.

She held herself as erect, told everyone her opinion as candidly,
loudly, and bluntly as ever, and her whole bearing seemed a reproach
to others for any weakness, passion, or temptation- the possibility of
which she did not admit. From early in the morning, wearing a dressing
jacket, she attended to her household affairs, and then she drove out:
on holy days to church and after the service to jails and prisons on
affairs of which she never spoke to anyone. On ordinary days, after
dressing, she received petitioners of various classes, of whom there
were always some. Then she had dinner, a substantial and appetizing
meal at which there were always three or four guests; after dinner she
played a game of boston, and at night she had the newspapers or a
new book read to her while she knitted. She rarely made an exception
and went out to pay visits, and then only to the most important
persons in the town.

She had not yet gone to bed when the Rostovs arrived and the
pulley of the hall door squeaked from the cold as it let in the
Rostovs and their servants. Marya Dmitrievna, with her spectacles
hanging down on her nose and her head flung back, stood in the hall
doorway looking with a stern, grim face at the new arrivals. One might
have thought she was angry with the travelers and would immediately
turn them out, had she not at the same time been giving careful
instructions to the servants for the accommodation of the visitors and
their belongings.

"The count's things? Bring them here," she said, pointing to the
portmanteaus and not greeting anyone. "The young ladies'? There to the
left. Now what are you dawdling for?" she cried to the maids. "Get the
samovar ready!... You've grown plumper and prettier," she remarked,
drawing Natasha (whose cheeks were glowing from the cold) to her by
the hood. "Foo! You are cold! Now take off your things, quick!" she
shouted to the count who was going to kiss her hand. "You're half
frozen, I'm sure! Bring some rum for tea!... Bonjour, Sonya dear!" she
added, turning to Sonya and indicating by this French greeting her
slightly contemptuous though affectionate attitude toward her.

When they came in to tea, having taken off their outdoor things
and tidied themselves up after their journey, Marya Dmitrievna
kissed them all in due order.

"I'm heartily glad you have come and are staying with me. It was
high time," she said, giving Natasha a significant look. "The old
man is here and his son's expected any day. You'll have to make his
aquaintance. But we'll speak of that later on," she added, glancing at
Sonya with a look that showed she did not want to speak of it in her
presence. "Now listen," she said to the count. "What do you want
tomorrow? Whom will you send for? Shinshin?" she crooked one of her
fingers. "The sniveling Anna Mikhaylovna? That's two. She's here
with her son. The son is getting married! Then Bezukhov, eh? He is
here too, with his wife. He ran away from her and she came galloping
after him. He dined with me on Wednesday. As for them"- and she
pointed to the girls- "tomorrow I'll take them first to the Iberian
shrine of the Mother of God, and then we'll drive to the
Super-Rogue's. I suppose you'll have everything new. Don't judge by
me: sleeves nowadays are this size! The other day young Princess Irina
Vasilevna came to see me; she was an awful sight- looked as if she had
put two barrels on her arms. You know not a day passes now without
some new fashion.... And what have you to do yourself?" she asked
the count sternly.

"One thing has come on top of another: her rags to buy, and now a
purchaser has turned up for the Moscow estate and for the house. If
you will be so kind, I'll fix a time and go down to the estate just
for a day, and leave my lassies with you."

"All right. All right. They'll be safe with me, as safe as in
Chancery! I'll take them where they must go, scold them a bit, and pet
them a bit," said Marya Dmitrievna, touching her goddaughter and
favorite, Natasha, on the cheek with her large hand.

Next morning Marya Dmitrievna took the young ladies to the Iberian
shrine of the Mother of God and to Madame Suppert-Roguet, who was so
afraid of Marya Dmitrievna that she always let her have costumes at
a loss merely to get rid of her. Marya Dmitrievna ordered almost the
whole trousseau. When they got home she turned everybody out of the
room except Nataisha, and then called her pet to her armchair.

"Well, now we'll talk. I congratulate you on your betrothed.
You've hooked a fine fellow! I am glad for your sake and I've known
him since he was so high." She held her hand a couple of feet from the
ground. Natasha blushed happily. "I like him and all his family. Now
listen! You know that old Prince Nicholas much dislikes his son's
marrying. The old fellow's crotchety! Of course Prince Andrew is not a
child and can shift without him, but it's not nice to enter a family
against a father's will. One wants to do it peacefully and lovingly.
You're a clever girl and you'll know how to manage. Be kind, and use
your wits. Then all will be well."

Natasha remained silent, from shyness Marya Dmitrievna supposed, but
really because she disliked anyone interfering in what touched her
love of Prince Andrew, which seemed to her so apart from all human
affairs that no one could understand it. She loved and knew Prince
Andrew, he loved her only, and was to come one of these days and
take her. She wanted nothing more.

"You see I have known him a long time and am also fond of Mary, your
future sister-in-law. 'Husbands' sisters bring up blisters,' but
this one wouldn't hurt a fly. She has asked me to bring you two
together. Tomorrow you'll go with your father to see her. Be very nice
and affectionate to her: you're younger than she. When he comes, he'll
find you already know his sister and father and are liked by them.
Am I right or not? Won't that be best?"

"Yes, it will," Natasha answered reluctantly.

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Next day, by Marya Dmitrievna's advice, Count Rostov took Natasha tocall on Prince Nicholas Bolkonski. The count did not set outcheerfully on this visit, at heart he felt afraid. He wellremembered the last interview he had had with the old prince at thetime of the enrollment, when in reply to an invitation to dinner hehad had to listen to an angry reprimand for not having provided hisfull quota of men. Natasha, on the other hand, having put on herbest gown, was in the highest spirits. "They can't help liking me,"she thought. "Everybody always has liked me, and I am so willing
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Boris had not succeeded in making a wealthy match in Petersburg,so with the same object in view he came to Moscow. There he waveredbetween the two richest heiresses, Julie and Princess Mary. ThoughPrincess Mary despite her plainness seemed to him more attractive thanJulie, he, without knowing why, felt awkward about paying court toher. When they had last met on the old prince's name day, she hadanswered at random all his attempts to talk sentimentally, evidentlynot listening to what he was saying.Julie on the contrary accepted his attentions readily, though in amanner peculiar to herself.She was twenty-seven. After the death of her
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