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Chapter 2

  • After reaching home Nicholas was at first serious and even dull. He wa_orried by the impending necessity of interfering in the stupid busines_atters for which his mother had called him home. To throw off this burden a_uickly as possible, on the third day after his arrival he went, angry an_cowling and without answering questions as to where he was going, t_itenka's lodge and demanded an account of everything. But what an account o_verything might be Nicholas knew even less than the frightened and bewildere_itenka. The conversation and the examination of the accounts with Mitenka di_ot last long. The village elder, a peasant delegate, and the village clerk,
  • who were waiting in the passage, heard with fear and delight first the youn_ount's voice roaring and snapping and rising louder and louder, and the_ords of abuse, dreadful words, ejaculated one after the other.
  • "Robber!… Ungrateful wretch!… I'll hack the dog to pieces! I'm not my father!…
  • Robbing us!… " and so on.
  • Then with no less fear and delight they saw how the young count, red in th_ace and with bloodshot eyes, dragged Mitenka out by the scruff of the nec_nd applied his foot and knee to his behind with great agility at convenien_oments between the words, shouting, "Be off! Never let me see your face her_gain, you villain!"
  • Mitenka flew headlong down the six steps and ran away into the shrubbery.
  • (This shrubbery was a well-known haven of refuge for culprits at Otradnoe.
  • Mitenka himself, returning tipsy from the town, used to hide there, and man_f the residents at Otradnoe, hiding from Mitenka, knew of its protectiv_ualities.)
  • Mitenka's wife and sisters-in-law thrust their heads and frightened faces ou_f the door of a room where a bright samovar was boiling and where th_teward's high bedstead stood with its patchwork quilt.
  • The young count paid no heed to them, but, breathing hard, passed by wit_esolute strides and went into the house.
  • The countess, who heard at once from the maids what had happened at the lodge,
  • was calmed by the thought that now their affairs would certainly improve, bu_n the other hand felt anxious as to the effect this excitement might have o_er son. She went several times to his door on tiptoe and listened, as h_ighted one pipe after another.
  • Next day the old count called his son aside and, with an embarrassed smile,
  • said to him:
  • "But you know, my dear boy, it's a pity you got excited! Mitenka has told m_ll about it."
  • "I knew," thought Nicholas, "that I should never understand anything in thi_razy world."
  • "You were angry that he had not entered those 700 rubles. But they wer_arried forward—and you did not look at the other page."
  • "Papa, he is a blackguard and a thief! I know he is! And what I have done, _ave done; but, if you like, I won't speak to him again."
  • "No, my dear boy" (the count, too, felt embarrassed. He knew he had mismanage_is wife's property and was to blame toward his children, but he did not kno_ow to remedy it). "No, I beg you to attend to the business. I am old. I… "
  • "No, Papa. Forgive me if I have caused you unpleasantness. I understand it al_ess than you do."
  • "Devil take all these peasants, and money matters, and carryings forward fro_age to page," he thought. "I used to understand what a 'corner' and th_takes at cards meant, but carrying forward to another page I don't understan_t all," said he to himself, and after that he did not meddle in busines_ffairs. But once the countess called her son and informed him that she had _romissory note from Anna Mikhaylovna for two thousand rubles, and asked hi_hat he thought of doing with it.
  • "This," answered Nicholas. "You say it rests with me. Well, I don't like Ann_ikhaylovna and I don't like Boris, but they were our friends and poor. Wel_hen, this!" and he tore up the note, and by so doing caused the old countes_o weep tears of joy. After that, young Rostov took no further part in an_usiness affairs, but devoted himself with passionate enthusiasm to what wa_o him a new pursuit—the chase—for which his father kept a larg_stablishment.