In the middle of this fresh tale Pierre was summoned to the commander in chief.
When he entered the private room Count Rostopchin, puckering his face, was rubbing his forehead and eyes with his hand. A short man was saying something, but when Pierre entered he stopped speaking and went out.
"Ah, how do you do, great warrior?" said Rostopchin as soon as the short man had left the room. "We have heard of your prowess. But that's not the point. Between ourselves, mon cher, do you belong to the Masons?" he went on severely, as though there were something wrong about it which he nevertheless intended to pardon. Pierre remained silent. "I am well informed, my friend, but I am aware that there are Masons and I hope that you are not one of those who on pretense of saving mankind wish to ruin Russia."
"Yes, I am a Mason," Pierre replied.
"There, you see, mon cher! I expect you know that Messrs. Speranski and Magnitski have been deported to their proper place. Mr. Klyucharev has been treated in the same way, and so have others who on the plea of building up the temple of Solomon have tried to destroy the temple of their fatherland. You can understand that there are reasons for this and that I could not have exiled the Postmaster had he not been a harmful person. It has now come to my knowledge that you lent him your carriage for his removal from town, and that you have even accepted papers from him for safe custody. I like you and don't wish you any harm and--as you are only half my age- I advise you, as a father would, to cease all communication with men of that stamp and to leave here as soon as possible."
"But what did Klyucharev do wrong, Count?" asked Pierre.
"That is for me to know, but not for you to ask," shouted Rostopchin.
"If he is accused of circulating Napoleon's proclamation it is not proved that he did so," said Pierre without looking at Rostopchin, "and Vereshchagin..."
"There we are!" Rostopchin shouted at Pierre louder than before, frowning suddenly. "Vereshchagin is a renegade and a traitor who will be punished as he deserves," said he with the vindictive heat with which people speak when recalling an insult. "But I did not summon you to discuss my actions, but to give you advice--or an order if you prefer it. I beg you to leave the town and break off all communication with such men as Klyucharev. And I will knock the nonsense out of anybody"--but probably realizing that he was shouting at Bezukhov who so far was not guilty of anything, he added, taking Pierre's hand in a friendly manner, "We are on the eve of a public disaster and I haven't time to be polite to everybody who has business with me. My head is sometimes in a whirl. Well, mon cher, what are you doing personally?"
"Why, nothing," answered Pierre without raising his eyes or changing the thoughtful expression of his face.
The count frowned.
"A word of friendly advice, mon cher. Be off as soon as you can, that's all I have to tell you. Happy he who has ears to hear. Good-by, my dear fellow. Oh, by the by!" he shouted through the doorway after Pierre, "is it true that the countess has fallen into the clutches of the holy fathers of the Society of Jesus?"
Pierre did not answer and left Rostopchin's room more sullen and angry than he had ever before shown himself.
When he reached home it was already getting dark. Some eight people had come to see him that evening: the secretary of a committee, the colonel of his battalion, his steward, his major-domo, and various petitioners. They all had business with Pierre and wanted decisions from him. Pierre did not understand and was not interested in any of these questions and only answered them in order to get rid of these people. When left alone at last he opened and read his wife's letter.
"They, the soldiers at the battery, Prince Andrew killed... that old man... Simplicity is submission to God. Suffering is necessary... the meaning of all... one must harness... my wife is getting married... One must forget and understand..." And going to his bed he threw himself on it without undressing and immediately fell asleep.
When he awoke next morning the major-domo came to inform him that a special messenger, a police officer, had come from Count Rostopchin to know whether Count Bezukhov had left or was leaving the town.
A dozen persons who had business with Pierre were awaiting him in the drawing room. Pierre dressed hurriedly and, instead of going to see them, went to the back porch and out through the gate.
From that time till the end of the destruction of Moscow no one of Bezukhov's household, despite all the search they made, saw Pierre again or knew where he was.
The Rostovs remained in Moscow till the first of September, that is, till the eve of the enemy's entry into the city.
After Petya had joined Obolenski's regiment of Cossacks and left for Belaya Tserkov where that regiment was forming, the countess was seized with terror. The thought that both her sons were at the war, had both gone from under her wing, that today or tomorrow either or both of them might be killed like the three sons of one of her acquaintances, struck her that summer for the first time with cruel clearness. She tried to get Nicholas back and wished to go herself to join Petya, or to get him an appointment somewhere in Petersburg, but neither of these proved possible. Petya could not return unless his regiment did so or unless he was transferred to another regiment on active service. Nicholas was somewhere with the army and had not sent a word since his last letter, in which he had given a detailed account of his meeting with Princess Mary. The countess did not sleep at night, or when she did fall asleep dreamed that she saw her sons lying dead. After many consultations and conversations, the count at last devised means to tranquillize her. He got Petya transferred from Obolenski's regiment to Bezukhov's, which was in training near Moscow. Though Petya would remain in the service, this transfer would give the countess the consolation of seeing at least one of her sons under her wing, and she hoped to arrange matters for her Petya so as not to let him go again, but always get him appointed to places where he could not possibly take part in a battle. As long as Nicholas alone was in danger the countess imagined that she loved her first-born more than all her other children and even reproached herself for it; but when her youngest: the scapegrace who had been bad at lessons, was always breaking things in the house and making himself a nuisance to everybody, that snub-nosed Petya with his merry black eyes and fresh rosy cheeks where soft down was just beginning to show- when he was thrown amid those big, dreadful, cruel men who were fighting somewhere about something and apparently finding pleasure in it--then his mother thought she loved him more, much more, than all her other children. The nearer the time came for Petya to return, the more uneasy grew the countess. She began to think she would never live to see such happiness. The presence of Sonya, of her beloved Natasha, or even of her husband irritated her. "What do I want with them? I want no one but Petya," she thought.
At the end of August the Rostovs received another letter from Nicholas. He wrote from the province of Voronezh where he had been sent to procure remounts, but that letter did not set the countess at ease. Knowing that one son was out of danger she became the more anxious about Petya.
Though by the twentieth of August nearly all the Rostovs' acquaintances had left Moscow, and though everybody tried to persuade the countess to get away as quickly as possible, she would not bear of leaving before her treasure, her adored Petya, returned. On the twenty-eighth of August he arrived. The passionate tenderness with which his mother received him did not please the sixteen-year-old officer. Though she concealed from him her intention of keeping him under her wing, Petya guessed her designs, and instinctively fearing that he might give way to emotion when with her--might "become womanish" as he termed it to himself--he treated her coldly, avoided her, and during his stay in Moscow attached himself exclusively to Natasha for whom he had always had a particularly brotherly tenderness, almost lover-like.
Owing to the count's customary carelessness nothing was ready for their departure by the twenty-eighth of August and the carts that were to come from their Ryazan and Moscow estates to remove their household belongings did not arrive till the thirtieth.
From the twenty-eighth till the thirty-first all Moscow was in a bustle and commotion. Every day thousands of men wounded at Borodino were brought in by the Dorogomilov gate and taken to various parts of Moscow, and thousands of carts conveyed the inhabitants and their possessions out by the other gates. In spite of Rostopchin's broadsheets, or because of them or independently of them, the strangest and most contradictory rumors were current in the town. Some said that no one was to be allowed to leave the city, others on the contrary said that all the icons had been taken out of the churches and everybody was to be ordered to leave. Some said there had been another battle after Borodino at which the French had been routed, while others on the contrary reported that the Russian army bad been destroyed. Some talked about the Moscow militia which, preceded by the clergy, would go to the Three Hills; others whispered that Augustin had been forbidden to leave, that traitors had been seized, that the peasants were rioting and robbing people on their way from Moscow, and so on. But all this was only talk; in reality (though the Council of Fili, at which it was decided to abandon Moscow, had not yet been held) both those who went away and those who remained behind felt, though they did not show it, that Moscow would certainly be abandoned, and that they ought to get away as quickly as possible and save their belongings. It was felt that everything would suddenly break up and change, but up to the first of September nothing had done so. As a criminal who is being led to execution knows that he must die immediately, but yet looks about him and straightens the cap that is awry on his head, so Moscow involuntarily continued its wonted life, though it knew that the time of its destruction was near when the conditions of life to which its people were accustomed to submit would be completely upset.
During the three days preceding the occupation of Moscow the whole Rostov family was absorbed in various activities. The head of the family, Count Ilya Rostov, continually drove about the city collecting the current rumors from all sides and gave superficial and hasty orders at home about the preparations for their departure.
The countess watched the things being packed, was dissatisfied with everything, was constantly in pursuit of Petya who was always running away from her, and was jealous of Natasha with whom he spent all his time. Sonya alone directed the practical side of matters by getting things packed. But of late Sonya had been particularly sad and silent. Nicholas' letter in which he mentioned Princess Mary had elicited, in her presence, joyous comments from the countess, who saw an intervention of Providence in this meeting of the princess and Nicholas.
"I was never pleased at Bolkonski's engagement to Natasha," said the countess, "but I always wanted Nicholas to marry the princess, and had a presentiment that it would happen. What a good thing it would be!"
Sonya felt that this was true: that the only possibility of retrieving the Rostovs' affairs was by Nicholas marrying a rich woman, and that the princess was a good match. It was very bitter for her. But despite her grief, or perhaps just because of it, she took on herself all the difficult work of directing the storing and packing of their things and was busy for whole days. The count and countess turned to her when they had any orders to give. Petya and Natasha on the contrary, far from helping their parents, were generally a nuisance and a hindrance to everyone. Almost all day long the house resounded with their running feet, their cries, and their spontaneous laughter. They laughed and were gay not because there was any reason to laugh, but because gaiety and mirth were in their hearts and so everything that happened was a cause for gaiety and laughter to them. Petya was in high spirits because having left home a boy he had returned (as everybody told him) a fine young man, because he was at home, because he had left Belaya Tserkov where there was no hope of soon taking part in a battle and had come to Moscow where there was to be fighting in a few days, and chiefly because Natasha, whose lead he always followed, was in high spirits. Natasha was gay because she had been sad too long and now nothing reminded her of the cause of her sadness, and because she was feeling well. She was also happy because she had someone to adore her: the adoration of others was a lubricant the wheels of her machine needed to make them run freely--and Petya adored her. Above all, they were gay because there was a war near Moscow, there would be fighting at the town gates, arms were being given out, everybody was escaping--going away somewhere, and in general something extraordinary was happening, and that is always exciting, especially to the young.
On Saturday, the thirty-first of August, everything in the Rostovs' house seemed topsy-turvy. All the doors were open, all the furniture was being carried out or moved about, and the mirrors and pictures had been taken down. There were trunks in the rooms, and hay, wrapping paper, and ropes were scattered about. The peasants and house serfs carrying out the things were treading heavily on the parquet floors. The yard was crowded with peasant carts, some loaded high and already corded up, others still empty.
The voices and footsteps of the many servants and of the peasants who had come with the carts resounded as they shouted to one another in the yard and in the house. The count bad been out since morning. The countess had a headache brought on by all the noise and turmoil and was lying down in the new sitting room with a vinegar compress on her head. Petya was not at home, he had gone to visit a friend with whom he meant to obtain a transfer from the militia to the active army. Sonya was in the ballroom looking after the packing of the glass and china. Natasha was sitting on the floor of her dismantled room with dresses, ribbons, and scarves strewn all about her, gazing fixedly at the floor and holding in her hands the old ball dress (already out of fashion) which she had worn at her first Petersburg ball.
Natasha was ashamed of doing nothing when everyone else was so busy, and several times that morning had tried to set to work, but her heart was not in it, and she could not and did not know how to do anything except with all her heart and all her might. For a while she had stood beside Sonya while the china was being packed and tried to help, but soon gave it up and went to her room to pack her own things. At first she found it amusing to give away dresses and ribbons to the maids, but when that was done and what was left had still to be packed, she found it dull.
"Dunyasha, you pack! You will, won't you, dear?" And when Dunyasha willingly promised to do it all for her, Natasha sat down on the floor, took her old ball dress, and fell into a reverie quite unrelated to what ought to have occupied her thoughts now. She was roused from her reverie by the talk of the maids in the next room (which was theirs) and by the sound of their hurried footsteps going to the back porch. Natasha got up and looked out of the window. An enormously long row of carts full of wounded men had stopped in the street.
The housekeeper, the old nurse, the cooks, coachmen, maids, footmen, postilions, and scullions stood at the gate, staring at the wounded.
Natasha, throwing a clean pocket handkerchief over her hair and holding an end of it in each hand, went out into the street.
The former housekeeper, old Mavra Kuzminichna, had stepped out of the crowd by the gate, gone up to a cart with a hood constructed of bast mats, and was speaking to a pale young officer who lay inside. Natasha moved a few steps forward and stopped shyly, still holding her handkerchief, and listened to what the housekeeper was saying.
"Then you have nobody in Moscow?" she was saying. "You would be more comfortable somewhere in a house... in ours, for instance... the family are leaving."
"I don't know if it would be allowed," replied the officer in a weak voice. "Here is our commanding officer... ask him," and he pointed to a stout major who was walking back along the street past the row of carts.
Natasha glanced with frightened eyes at the face of the wounded officer and at once went to meet the major.
"May the wounded men stay in our house?" she asked.
The major raised his hand to his cap with a smile.
"Which one do you want, Ma'am'selle?" said he, screwing up his eyes and smiling.
Natasha quietly repeated her question, and her face and whole manner were so serious, though she was still holding the ends of her handkerchief, that the major ceased smiling and after some reflection- as if considering in how far the thing was possible--replied in the affirmative.
"Oh yes, why not? They may," he said.
With a slight inclination of her head, Natasha stepped back quickly to Mavra Kuzminichna, who stood talking compassionately to the officer.
"They may. He says they may!" whispered Natasha.
The cart in which the officer lay was turned into the Rostovs' yard, and dozens of carts with wounded men began at the invitation of the townsfolk to turn into the yards and to draw up at the entrances of the houses in Povarskaya Street. Natasha was evidently pleased to be dealing with new people outside the ordinary routine of her life. She and Mavra Kuzminichna tried to get as many of the wounded as possible into their yard.
"Your Papa must be told, though," said Mavra Kuzminichna.
"Never mind, never mind, what does it matter? For one day we can move into the drawing room. They can have all our half of the house."
"There now, young lady, you do take things into your head! Even if we put them into the wing, the men's room, or the nurse's room, we must ask permission."
"Well, I'll ask."
Natasha ran into the house and went on tiptoe through the half-open door into the sitting room, where there was a smell of vinegar and Hoffman's drops.
"Are you asleep, Mamma?"
"Oh, what sleep-?" said the countess, waking up just as she was dropping into a doze.
"Mamma darling!" said Natasha, kneeling by her mother and bringing her face close to her mother's, "I am sorry, forgive me, I'll never do it again; I woke you up! Mavra Kuzminichna has sent me: they have brought some wounded here--officers. Will you let them come? They have nowhere to go. I knew you'd let them come!" she said quickly all in one breath.
"What officers? Whom have they brought? I don't understand anything about it," said the countess.
Natasha laughed, and the countess too smiled slightly.
"I knew you'd give permission... so I'll tell them," and, having kissed her mother, Natasha got up and went to the door.
In the hall she met her father, who had returned with bad news.
"We've stayed too long!" said the count with involuntary vexation. "The Club is closed and the police are leaving."
"Papa, is it all right--I've invited some of the wounded into the house?" said Natasha.
"Of course it is," he answered absently. "That's not the point. I beg you not to indulge in trifles now, but to help to pack, and tomorrow we must go, go, go!...."
And the count gave a similar order to the major-domo and the servants.
At dinner Petya having returned home told them the news he had heard. He said the people had been getting arms in the Kremlin, and that though Rostopchin's broadsheet had said that he would sound a call two or three days in advance, the order had certainly already been given for everyone to go armed to the Three Hills tomorrow, and that there would be a big battle there.
The countess looked with timid horror at her son's eager, excited face as he said this. She realized that if she said a word about his not going to the battle (she knew he enjoyed the thought of the impending engagement) he would say something about men, honor, and the fatherland--something senseless, masculine, and obstinate which there would be no contradicting, and her plans would be spoiled; and so, hoping to arrange to leave before then and take Petya with her as their protector and defender, she did not answer him, but after dinner called the count aside and implored him with tears to take her away quickly, that very night if possible. With a woman's involuntary loving cunning she, who till then had not shown any alarm, said that she would die of fright if they did not leave that very night. Without any pretense she was now afraid of everything.
Madame Schoss, who had been out to visit her daughter, increased the countess' fears still more by telling what she had seen at a spirit dealer's in Myasnitski Street. When returning by that street she had been unable to pass because of a drunken crowd rioting in front of the shop. She had taken a cab and driven home by a side street and the cabman had told her that the people were breaking open the barrels at the drink store, having received orders to do so.
After dinner the whole Rostov household set to work with enthusiastic haste packing their belongings and preparing for their departure. The old count, suddenly setting to work, kept passing from the yard to the house and back again, shouting confused instructions to the hurrying people, and flurrying them still more. Petya directed things in the yard. Sonya, owing to the count's contradictory orders, lost her head and did not know what to do. The servants ran noisily about the house and yard, shouting and disputing. Natasha, with the ardor characteristic of all she did suddenly set to work too. At first her intervention in the business of packing was received skeptically. Everybody expected some prank from her and did not wish to obey her; but she resolutely and passionately demanded obedience, grew angry and nearly cried because they did not heed her, and at last succeeded in making them believe her. Her first exploit, which cost her immense effort and established her authority, was the packing of the carpets. The count had valuable Gobelin tapestries and Persian carpets in the house. When Natasha set to work two cases were standing open in the ballroom, one almost full up with crockery, the other with carpets. There was also much china standing on the tables, and still more was being brought in from the storeroom. A third case was needed and servants had gone to fetch it.
"Sonya, wait a bit--we'll pack everything into these," said Natasha.
"You can't, Miss, we have tried to," said the butler's assistant.
"No, wait a minute, please."
And Natasha began rapidly taking out of the case dishes and plates wrapped in paper.
"The dishes must go in here among the carpets," said she.
"Why, it's a mercy if we can get the carpets alone into three cases," said the butler's assistant.
"Oh, wait, please!" And Natasha began rapidly and deftly sorting out the things. "These aren't needed," said she, putting aside some plates of Kiev ware. "These--yes, these must go among the carpets," she said, referring to the Saxony china dishes.
"Don't, Natasha! Leave it alone! We'll get it all packed," urged Sonya reproachfully.
"What a young lady she is!" remarked the major-domo.
But Natasha would not give in. She turned everything out and began quickly repacking, deciding that the inferior Russian carpets and unnecessary crockery should not be taken at all. When everything had been taken out of the cases, they recommenced packing, and it turned out that when the cheaper things not worth taking had nearly all been rejected, the valuable ones really did all go into the two cases. Only the lid of the case containing the carpets would not shut down. A few more things might have been taken out, but Natasha insisted on having her own way. She packed, repacked, pressed, made the butler's assistant and Petya--whom she had drawn into the business of packing--press on the lid, and made desperate efforts herself.
"That's enough, Natasha," said Sonya. "I see you were right, but just take out the top one."
"I won't!" cried Natasha, with one hand bolding back the hair that hung over her perspiring face, while with the other she pressed down the carpets. "Now press, Petya! Press, Vasilich, press hard!" she cried.
The carpets yielded and the lid closed; Natasha, clapping her hands, screamed with delight and tears fell from her eyes. But this only lasted a moment. She at once set to work afresh and they now trusted her completely. The count was not angry even when they told him that Natasha had countermanded an order of his, and the servants now came to her to ask whether a cart was sufficiently loaded, and whether it might be corded up. Thanks to Natasha's directions the work now went on expeditiously, unnecessary things were left, and the most valuable packed as compactly as possible.
But hard as they all worked till quite late that night, they could not get everything packed. The countess had fallen asleep and the count, having put off their departure till next morning, went to bed.
Sonya and Natasha slept in the sitting room without undressing.
That night another wounded man was driven down the Povarskaya, and Mavra Kuzminichna, who was standing at the gate, had him brought into the Rostovs' yard. Mavra Kuzminichna concluded that he was a very important man. He was being conveyed in a caleche with a raised hood, and was quite covered by an apron. On the box beside the driver sat a venerable old attendant. A doctor and two soldiers followed the carriage in a cart.
"Please come in here. The masters are going away and the whole house will be empty," said the old woman to the old attendant.
"Well, perhaps," said he with a sigh. "We don't expect to get him home alive! We have a house of our own in Moscow, but it's a long way from here, and there's nobody living in it."
"Do us the honor to come in, there's plenty of everything in the master's house. Come in," said Mavra Kuzminichna. "Is he very ill?" she asked.
The attendant made a hopeless gesture.
"We don't expect to get him home! We must ask the doctor."
And the old servant got down from the box and went up to the cart.
"All right!" said the doctor.
The old servant returned to the caleche, looked into it, shook his head disconsolately, told the driver to turn into the yard, and stopped beside Mavra Kuzminichna.
"O, Lord Jesus Christ!" she murmured.
She invited them to take the wounded man into the house.
"The masters won't object..." she said.
But they had to avoid carrying the man upstairs, and so they took him into the wing and put him in the room that had been Madame Schoss'.
This wounded man was Prince Andrew Bolkonski.
Moscow's last day had come. It was a clear bright autumn day, a Sunday. The church bells everywhere were ringing for service, just as usual on Sundays. Nobody seemed yet to realize what awaited the city.
Only two things indicated the social condition of Moscow--the rabble, that is the poor people, and the price of commodities. An enormous crowd of factory hands, house serfs, and peasants, with whom some officials, seminarists, and gentry were mingled, had gone early that morning to the Three Hills. Having waited there for Rostopchin who did not turn up, they became convinced that Moscow would be surrendered, and then dispersed all about the town to the public houses and cookshops. Prices too that day indicated the state of affairs. The price of weapons, of gold, of carts and horses, kept rising, but the value of paper money and city articles kept falling, so that by midday there were instances of carters removing valuable goods, such as cloth, and receiving in payment a half of what they carted, while peasant horses were fetching five hundred rubles each, and furniture, mirrors, and bronzes were being given away for nothing.
In the Rostovs' staid old-fashioned house the dissolution of former conditions of life was but little noticeable. As to the serfs the only indication was that three out of their huge retinue disappeared during the night, but nothing was stolen; and as to the value of their possessions, the thirty peasant carts that had come in from their estates and which many people envied proved to be extremely valuable and they were offered enormous sums of money for them. Not only were huge sums offered for the horses and carts, but on the previous evening and early in the morning of the first of September, orderlies and servants sent by wounded officers came to the Rostovs' and wounded men dragged themselves there from the Rostovs' and from neighboring houses where they were accommodated, entreating the servants to try to get them a lift out of Moscow. The major-domo to whom these entreaties were addressed, though he was sorry for the wounded, resolutely refused, saying that he dare not even mention the matter to the count. Pity these wounded men as one might, it was evident that if they were given one cart there would be no reason to refuse another, or all the carts and one's own carriages as well. Thirty carts could not save all the wounded and in the general catastrophe one could not disregard oneself and one's own family. So thought the major-domo on his master's behalf.
On waking up that morning Count Ilya Rostov left his bedroom softly, so as not to wake the countess who had fallen asleep only toward morning, and came out to the porch in his lilac silk dressing gown. In the yard stood the carts ready corded. The carriages were at the front porch. The major-domo stood at the porch talking to an elderly orderly and to a pale young officer with a bandaged arm. On seeing the count the major-domo made a significant and stern gesture to them both to go away.
"Well, Vasilich, is everything ready?" asked the count, and stroking his bald head he looked good-naturedly at the officer and the orderly and nodded to them. (He liked to see new faces.)
"We can harness at once, your excellency."
"Well, that's right. As soon as the countess wakes we'll be off, God willing! What is it, gentlemen?" he added, turning to the officer. "Are you staying in my house?"
The officer came nearer and suddenly his face flushed crimson.
"Count, be so good as to allow me... for God's sake, to get into some corner of one of your carts! I have nothing here with me.... I shall be all right on a loaded cart..."
Before the officer had finished speaking the orderly made the same request on behalf of his master.
"Oh, yes, yes, yes!" said the count hastily. "I shall be very pleased, very pleased. Vasilich, you'll see to it. Just unload one or two carts. Well, what of it... do what's necessary..." said the count, muttering some indefinite order.
But at the same moment an expression of warm gratitude on the officer's face had already sealed the order. The count looked around him. In the yard, at the gates, at the window of the wings, wounded officers and their orderlies were to be seen. They were all looking at the count and moving toward the porch.
"Please step into the gallery, your excellency," said the major-domo. "What are your orders about the pictures?"
The count went into the house with him, repeating his order not to refuse the wounded who asked for a lift.
"Well, never mind, some of the things can be unloaded," he added in a soft, confidential voice, as though afraid of being overheard.
At nine o'clock the countess woke up, and Matrena Timofeevna, who had been her lady's maid before her marriage and now performed a sort of chief gendarme's duty for her, came to say that Madame Schoss was much offended and the young ladies' summer dresses could not be left behind. On inquiry, the countess learned that Madame Schoss was offended because her trunk had been taken down from its cart, and all the loads were being uncorded and the luggage taken out of the carts to make room for wounded men whom the count in the simplicity of his heart had ordered that they should take with them. The countess sent for her husband.
"What is this, my dear? I hear that the luggage is being unloaded."
"You know, love, I wanted to tell you... Countess dear... an officer came to me to ask for a few carts for the wounded. After all, ours are things that can be bought but think what being left behind means to them!... Really now, in our own yard--we asked them in ourselves and there are officers among them.... You know, I think, my dear... let them be taken... where's the hurry?"
The count spoke timidly, as he always did when talking of money matters. The countess was accustomed to this tone as a precursor of news of something detrimental to the children's interests, such as the building of a new gallery or conservatory, the inauguration of a private theater or an orchestra. She was accustomed always to oppose anything announced in that timid tone and considered it her duty to do so.
She assumed her dolefully submissive manner and said to her husband: "Listen to me, Count, you have managed matters so that we are getting nothing for the house, and now you wish to throw away all our- all the children's property! You said yourself that we have a hundred thousand rubles' worth of things in the house. I don't consent, my dear, I don't! Do as you please! It's the government's business to look after the wounded; they know that. Look at the Lopukhins opposite, they cleared out everything two days ago. That's what other people do. It's only we who are such fools. If you have no pity on me, have some for the children."
Flourishing his arms in despair the count left the room without replying.
"Papa, what are you doing that for?" asked Natasha, who had followed him into her mother's room.
"Nothing! What business is it of yours?" muttered the count angrily.
"But I heard," said Natasha. "Why does Mamma object?"
"What business is it of yours?" cried the count.
Natasha stepped up to the window and pondered.
"Papa! Here's Berg coming to see us," said she, looking out of the window.