Before two o'clock in the afternoon the Rostovs' four carriages, packed ful_nd with the horses harnessed, stood at the front door. One by one the cart_ith the wounded had moved out of the yard.
The caleche in which Prince Andrew was being taken attracted Sonya's attentio_s it passed the front porch. With the help of a maid she was arranging a sea_or the countess in the huge high coach that stood at the entrance.
"Whose caleche is that?" she inquired, leaning out of the carriage window.
"Why, didn't you know, Miss?" replied the maid. "The wounded prince: he spen_he night in our house and is going with us."
"But who is it? What's his name?"
"It's our intended that was—Prince Bolkonski himself! They say he is dying,"
replied the maid with a sigh.
Sonya jumped out of the coach and ran to the countess. The countess, tired ou_nd already dressed in shawl and bonnet for her journey, was pacing up an_own the drawing room, waiting for the household to assemble for the usua_ilent prayer with closed doors before starting. Natasha was not in the room.
"Mamma," said Sonya, "Prince Andrew is here, mortally wounded. He is goin_ith us."
The countess opened her eyes in dismay and, seizing Sonya's arm, glance_round.
"Natasha?" she murmured.
At that moment this news had only one significance for both of them. They kne_heir Natasha, and alarm as to what would happen if she heard this new_tifled all sympathy for the man they both liked.
"Natasha does not know yet, but he is going with us," said Sonya.
"You say he is dying?"
The countess put her arms around Sonya and began to cry.
"The ways of God are past finding out!" she thought, feeling that the Almight_and, hitherto unseen, was becoming manifest in all that was now taking place.
"Well, Mamma? Everything is ready. What's the matter?" asked Natasha, as wit_nimated face she ran into the room.
"Nothing," answered the countess. "If everything is ready let us start."
And the countess bent over her reticule to hide her agitated face. Sony_mbraced Natasha and kissed her.
Natasha looked at her inquiringly.
"What is it? What has happened?"
"Nothing… No… "
"Is it something very bad for me? What is it?" persisted Natasha with he_uick intuition.
Sonya sighed and made no reply. The count, Petya, Madame Schoss, Mavr_uzminichna, and Vasilich came into the drawing room and, having closed th_oors, they all sat down and remained for some moments silently seated withou_ooking at one another.
The count was the first to rise, and with a loud sigh crossed himself befor_he icon. All the others did the same. Then the count embraced Mavr_uzminichna and Vasilich, who were to remain in Moscow, and while they caugh_t his hand and kissed his shoulder he patted their backs lightly with som_aguely affectionate and comforting words. The countess went into the orator_nd there Sonya found her on her knees before the icons that had been lef_ere and there hanging on the wall. (The most precious ones, with which som_amily tradition was connected, were being taken with them.)
In the porch and in the yard the men whom Petya had armed with swords an_aggers, with trousers tucked inside their high boots and with belts an_irdles tightened, were taking leave of those remaining behind.
As is always the case at a departure, much had been forgotten or put in th_rong place, and for a long time two menservants stood one on each side of th_pen door and the carriage steps waiting to help the countess in, while maid_ushed with cushions and bundles from the house to the carriages, the caleche, the phaeton, and back again.
"They always will forget everything!" said the countess. "Don't you know _an't sit like that?"
And Dunyasha, with clenched teeth, without replying but with an aggrieved loo_n her face, hastily got into the coach to rearrange the seat.
"Oh, those servants!" said the count, swaying his head.
Efim, the old coachman, who was the only one the countess trusted to driv_er, sat perched up high on the box and did not so much as glance round a_hat was going on behind him. From thirty years' experience he knew it woul_e some time yet before the order, "Be off, in God's name!" would be give_im: and he knew that even when it was said he would be stopped once or twic_ore while they sent back to fetch something that had been forgotten, and eve_fter that he would again be stopped and the countess herself would lean ou_f the window and beg him for the love of heaven to drive carefully down th_ill. He knew all this and therefore waited calmly for what would happen, wit_ore patience than the horses, especially the near one, the chestnut Falcon, who was pawing the ground and champing his bit. At last all were seated, th_arriage steps were folded and pulled up, the door was shut, somebody was sen_or a traveling case, and the countess leaned out and said what she had t_ay. Then Efim deliberately doffed his hat and began crossing himself. Th_ostilion and all the other servants did the same. "Off, in God's name!" sai_fim, putting on his hat. "Start!" The postilion started the horses, the of_ole horse tugged at his collar, the high springs creaked, and the body of th_oach swayed. The footman sprang onto the box of the moving coach which jolte_s it passed out of the yard onto the uneven roadway; the other vehicle_olted in their turn, and the procession of carriages moved up the street. I_he carriages, the caleche, and the phaeton, all crossed themselves as the_assed the church opposite the house. Those who were to remain in Mosco_alked on either side of the vehicles seeing the travelers off.
Rarely had Natasha experienced so joyful a feeling as now, sitting in th_arriage beside the countess and gazing at the slowly receding walls o_orsaken, agitated Moscow. Occasionally she leaned out of the carriage windo_nd looked back and then forward at the long train of wounded in front o_hem. Almost at the head of the line she could see the raised hood of Princ_ndrew's caleche. She did not know who was in it, but each time she looked a_he procession her eyes sought that caleche. She knew it was right in front.
In Kudrino, from the Nikitski, Presnya, and Podnovinsk Streets came severa_ther trains of vehicles similar to the Rostovs', and as they passed along th_adovaya Street the carriages and carts formed two rows abreast.
As they were going round the Sukharev water tower Natasha, who wa_nquisitively and alertly scrutinizing the people driving or walking past, suddenly cried out in joyful surprise:
"Dear me! Mamma, Sonya, look, it's he!"
"Look! Yes, on my word, it's Bezukhov!" said Natasha, putting her head out o_he carriage and staring at a tall, stout man in a coachman's long coat, wh_rom his manner of walking and moving was evidently a gentleman in disguise, and who was passing under the arch of the Sukharev tower accompanied by _mall, sallow-faced, beardless old man in a frieze coat.
"Yes, it really is Bezukhov in a coachman's coat, with a queer-looking ol_oy. Really," said Natasha, "look, look!"
"No, it's not he. How can you talk such nonsense?"
"Mamma," screamed Natasha, "I'll stake my head it's he! I assure you! Stop, stop!" she cried to the coachman.
But the coachman could not stop, for from the Meshchanski Street came mor_arts and carriages, and the Rostovs were being shouted at to move on and no_lock the way.
In fact, however, though now much farther off than before, the Rostovs all sa_ierre—or someone extraordinarily like him—in a coachman's coat, going dow_he street with head bent and a serious face beside a small, beardless old ma_ho looked like a footman. That old man noticed a face thrust out of th_arriage window gazing at them, and respectfully touching Pierre's elbow sai_omething to him and pointed to the carriage. Pierre, evidently engrossed i_hought, could not at first understand him. At length when he had understoo_nd looked in the direction the old man indicated, he recognized Natasha, an_ollowing his first impulse stepped instantly and rapidly toward the coach.
But having taken a dozen steps he seemed to remember something and stopped.
Natasha's face, leaning out of the window, beamed with quizzical kindliness.
"Peter Kirilovich, come here! We have recognized you! This is wonderful!" sh_ried, holding out her hand to him. "What are you doing? Why are you lik_his?"
Pierre took her outstretched hand and kissed it awkwardly as he walked alon_eside her while the coach still moved on.
"What is the matter, Count?" asked the countess in a surprised an_ommiserating tone.
"What? What? Why? Don't ask me," said Pierre, and looked round at Natash_hose radiant, happy expression—of which he was conscious without looking a_er—filled him with enchantment.
"Are you remaining in Moscow, then?"
"In Moscow?" he said in a questioning tone. "Yes, in Moscow. Goodby!"
"Ah, if only I were a man? I'd certainly stay with you. How splendid!" sai_atasha. "Mamma, if you'll let me, I'll stay!"
Pierre glanced absently at Natasha and was about to say something, but th_ountess interrupted him.
"You were at the battle, we heard."
"Yes, I was," Pierre answered. "There will be another battle tomorrow… " h_egan, but Natasha interrupted him.
"But what is the matter with you, Count? You are not like yourself… ."
"Oh, don't ask me, don't ask me! I don't know myself. Tomorrow… But no! Good- by, good-by!" he muttered. "It's an awful time!" and dropping behind th_arriage he stepped onto the pavement.
Natasha continued to lean out of the window for a long time, beaming at hi_ith her kindly, slightly quizzical, happy smile.