“What is it?” he said angrily, and his hand shaking, he accidentally poured too many drops from the bottle into the glass. He tipped the medicine out of the glass on to the floor and asked for some more water. The maid gave it him.

In the room were a couple of armchairs, a child’s crib, a table and a child’s table and a little chair, on which Prince Andrey was sitting. The windows were curtained, and on the table a single candle was burning, screened by a note-book, so that the light did not fall on the crib.

“My dear,” said Princess Marya, turning to her brother from beside the crib where she was standing, “it would be better to wait a little…later.”

“Oh, please, do as I say, what nonsense you keep talking, you have kept putting things off, and see what’s come of it!” said Prince Andrey in an exasperated whisper, evidently meaning to wound his sister.

“My dear, it’s really better not to wake him, he has fallen asleep,” said the princess in a voice of entreaty.

Prince Andrey got up and went on tiptoe to the crib with the glass in his hand.

“Should we really not wake him?” he said, hesitating.

“As you think—really…I believe so…but as you think,” said Princess Marya, obviously intimidated and ashamed that her opinion should triumph. She drew her brother’s attention to the maid, who was summoning him in a whisper.

It was the second night that they had been without sleep looking after the baby, who was feverish. Mistrusting their own household doctor and expecting the doctor they had sent from the town, they had spent all that time trying first one remedy and then another. Agitated and worn out by sleeplessness, they vented their anxiety on each other, found fault with each other, and quarrelled.

“Petrusha with papers from your papa,” whispered the maid. Prince Andrey went out.

“Damn them all!” he commented angrily, and after listening to the verbal instructions sent him from his father, and taking the correspondence and his father’s letter, he went back to the nursery. “Well?” queried Prince Andrey.

“No change, wait a little, for God’s sake. Karl Ivanitch always says sleep is better than anything,” Princess Marya whispered with a sigh. Prince Andrey went up to the baby and felt him. He was burning hot. “Bother you and your Karl Ivanitch!” He took the glass with the drops of medicine in it and again went up to the crib.

“Andryusha, you shouldn’t!” said Princess Marya. But he scowled at her with an expression of anger and at the same time of anguish, and bent over the child with the glass.

“But I wish it,” he said. “Come, I beg you, give it him…”

Princess Marya shrugged her shoulders but obediently she took the glass, and calling the nurse, began giving the child the medicine. The baby screamed and wheezed. Prince Andrey, scowling and clutching at his head, went out of the room and sat down on the sofa in the adjoining one.

The letters were still in his hand. Mechanically he opened them and began to read. The old prince in his big, sprawling hand, making use of occasional abbreviations, wrote on blue paper as follows:

“I have this moment received, through a special messenger, very joyful news, if it’s not a falsehood. Bennigsen has gained it seems a complete victory over Bonaparte near Eylau. In Petersburg every one’s jubilant and rewards have been sent to the army without stint. Though he’s a German—I congratulate him. Commander in Kortchevo, a certain Handrikov, I can’t make out what he’s about; full contingent of

  By PanEris using Melati.

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