Chapter 12

THE NEXT DAY the Rostovs did not go anywhere, and no one came to see them. Marya Dmitryevna had a discussion with Natasha’s father, which she kept secret from her. Natasha guessed they were talking of the old prince and making some plan, and she felt worried and humiliated by it. Every minute she expected Prince Andrey, and twice that day she sent a man to Vosdvizhenka to inquire whether he had not arrived. He had not arrived. She felt more dreary now than during the first days in Moscow. To her impatience and pining for him there were now added the unpleasant recollections of her interview with Princess Marya and the old prince, and a vague dread and restlessness, of which she did not know the cause. She was continually fancying either that he would never come or that something would happen to her before he came. She could not brood calmly for long hours over his image by herself as she had done before. As soon as she began to think of him, her memory of him was mingled with the recollection of the old prince and Princess Marya, and of the theatre and of Kuragin. Again the question presented itself whether she had not been to blame, whether she had not broken her faith to Prince Andrey, and again she found herself going over in the minutest detail every word, every gesture, every shade in the play of expression on the face of that man, who had known how to awaken in her a terrible feeling that was beyond her comprehension. In the eyes of those about her, Natasha seemed livelier than usual, but she was far from being as serene and happy as before.

On Sunday morning Marya Dmitryevna invited her guests to go to Mass to her parish church of Uspenya on Mogiltse.

“I don’t like those fashionable churches,” she said, obviously priding herself on her independence of thought. “God is the same everywhere. Our parish priest is an excellent man, and conducts the service in a suitable way, so that is all as it should be, and his deacon too. Is there something holier about it when there are concerts in the choir? I don’t like it; it’s simply self-indulgence!”

Marya Dmitryevna liked Sundays, and knew how to keep them as holidays. Her house was always all scrubbed out and cleaned on Saturday; neither she nor her servants did any work, and every one wore holiday-dress and went to service. There were additional dishes at the mistress’s dinner, and the servants had vodka and roast goose or a suckling-pig at theirs. But in nothing in the whole house was the holiday so marked as in the broad, severe face of Marya Dmitryevna, which on that day wore a never-varying expression of solemnity.

When after service they were drinking coffee in the drawing-room, where the covers had been removed from the furniture, the servant announced that the carriage was ready, and Marya Dmitryevna, dressed in her best shawl in which she paid calls, rose with a stern air, and announced that she was going to call on Prince Nikolay Andreitch Bolkonsky to ask for an explanation of his conduct about Natasha. After Marya Dmitryevna had gone, a dressmaker waited upon the Rostovs from Madame Chalmey, and Natasha, very glad of a diversion, went into a room adjoining the drawing-room, and shutting the door between, began trying on her new dresses. Just as she had put on a bodice basted together, with the sleeves not yet tacked in, and was turning her head to look at the fit of the back in the looking-glass, she caught the sound of her father’s voice in the drawing-room in eager conversation with another voice, a woman’s voice, which made her flush red. It was the voice of Ellen. Before Natasha had time to take off the bodice she was trying on, the door opened, and Countess Bezuhov walked into the room, wearing a dark heliotrope velvet gown with a high collar, and beaming with a good-natured and friendly smile.

“O my enchantress!” she said to the blushing Natasha. “Charming! No, this is really beyond anything, count,” she said to Count Ilya Andreitch, who had followed her in. “How can you be in Moscow, and go nowhere? No, I won’t let you off! This evening we have Mademoiselle George giving a recitation, and a few people are coming; and if you don’t bring your lovely girls, who are much prettier than Mademoiselle George, I give up knowing you! My husband’s not here, he has gone away to Tver, or I should have sent him for you. You must come, you positively must, before nine o’clock.”

She nodded to the dressmaker, who knew her, and was curtseying respectfully, and seated herself in a low chair beside the looking-glass, draping the folds of her velvet gown picturesquely about her. She

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