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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 t_ait for her recovery. Prince Andrew was expected in Moscow any day, th_rousseau had to be ordered and the estate near Moscow had to be sold, beside_hich the opportunity of presenting his future daughter-in-law to old Princ_olkonski while he was in Moscow could not be missed. The Rostovs' Mosco_ouse had not been heated that winter and, as they had come only for a shor_ime and the countess was not with them, the count decided to stay with Mary_mitrievna Akhrosimova, who had long been pressing her hospitality on them.
  • Late one evening the Rostovs' four sleighs drove into Marya Dmitrievna'_ourtyard in the old Konyusheny street. Marya Dmitrievna lived alone. She ha_lready married off her daughter, and her sons were all in the service.
  • She held herself as erect, told everyone her opinion as candidly, loudly, an_luntly as ever, and her whole bearing seemed a reproach to others for an_eakness, passion, or temptation—the possibility of which she did not admit.
  • From early in the morning, wearing a dressing jacket, she attended to he_ousehold affairs, and then she drove out: on holy days to church and afte_he service to jails and prisons on affairs of which she never spoke t_nyone. On ordinary days, after dressing, she received petitioners of variou_lasses, of whom there were always some. Then she had dinner, a substantia_nd appetizing meal at which there were always three or four guests; afte_inner she played a game of boston, and at night she had the newspapers or _ew book read to her while she knitted. She rarely made an exception and wen_ut 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 th_all 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 hea_lung back, stood in the hall doorway looking with a stern, grim face at th_ew arrivals. One might have thought she was angry with the travelers an_ould immediately turn them out, had she not at the same time been givin_areful instructions to the servants for the accommodation of the visitors an_heir belongings.
  • "The count's things? Bring them here," she said, pointing to the portmanteau_nd not greeting anyone. "The young ladies'? There to the left. Now what ar_ou dawdling for?" she cried to the maids. "Get the samovar ready!… You'v_rown plumper and prettier," she remarked, drawing Natasha (whose cheeks wer_lowing from the cold) to her by the hood. "Foo! You are cold! Now take of_our 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 he_lightly contemptuous though affectionate attitude toward her.
  • When they came in to tea, having taken off their outdoor things and tidie_hemselves up after their journey, Marya Dmitrievna kissed them all in du_rder.
  • "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 hi_on's expected any day. You'll have to make his acquaintance. But we'll spea_f that later on," she added, glancing at Sonya with a look that showed sh_id not want to speak of it in her presence. "Now listen," she said to th_ount. "What do you want tomorrow? Whom will you send for? Shinshin?" sh_rooked one of her fingers. "The sniveling Anna Mikhaylovna? That's two. She'_ere with her son. The son is getting married! Then Bezukhov, eh? He is her_oo, with his wife. He ran away from her and she came galloping after him. H_ined with me on Wednesday. As for them"—and she pointed to th_irls—"tomorrow I'll take them first to the Iberian shrine of the Mother o_od, and then we'll drive to the Super-Rogue's. I suppose you'll hav_verything new. Don't judge by me: sleeves nowadays are this size! The othe_ay young Princess Irina Vasilevna came to see me; she was an awfu_ight—looked as if she had put two barrels on her arms. You know not a da_asses now without some new fashion… . And what have you to do yourself?" sh_sked the count sternly.
  • "One thing has come on top of another: her rags to buy, and now a purchase_as 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 lassie_ith you."
  • "All right. All right. They'll be safe with me, as safe as in Chancery! I'l_ake them where they must go, scold them a bit, and pet them a bit," sai_arya Dmitrievna, touching her goddaughter and favorite, Natasha, on the chee_ith her large hand.
  • Next morning Marya Dmitrievna took the young ladies to the Iberian shrine o_he Mother of God and to Madame Suppert-Roguet, who was so afraid of Mary_mitrievna that she always let her have costumes at a loss merely to get ri_f her. Marya Dmitrievna ordered almost the whole trousseau. When they go_ome she turned everybody out of the room except Nataisha, and then called he_et to her armchair.
  • "Well, now we'll talk. I congratulate you on your betrothed. You've hooked _ine 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 Nichola_uch dislikes his son's marrying. The old fellow's crotchety! Of course Princ_ndrew is not a child and can shift without him, but it's not nice to enter _amily 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 you_its. Then all will be well."
  • Natasha remained silent, from shyness Marya Dmitrievna supposed, but reall_ecause she disliked anyone interfering in what touched her love of Princ_ndrew, which seemed to her so apart from all human affairs that no one coul_nderstand it. She loved and knew Prince Andrew, he loved her only, and was t_ome 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 futur_ister-in-law. 'Husbands' sisters bring up blisters,' but this one wouldn'_urt a fly. She has asked me to bring you two together. Tomorrow you'll g_ith your father to see her. Be very nice and affectionate to her: you'r_ounger than she. When he comes, he'll find you already know his sister an_ather and are liked by them. Am I right or not? Won't that be best?"
  • "Yes, it will," Natasha answered reluctantly.