pills were to be given out of the gilt pill-box? Even Natasha herself, though she did declare that no medicines could do her any good, and that it was all nonsense, was glad to see so many sacrifices being made for her, and glad to have to take medicines at certain hours. And she was even glad, indeed, to be able by her disregard of the doctors’ prescription to show how little faith she put in them, and how little she cared for life.

The doctor came every day, felt her pulse, looked at her tongue, and made jokes, regardless of her dejected face. But then when he had gone into the next room, and the countess had hastily followed him, he assumed a serious face, and shaking his head gravely, said that though there was indeed danger, he had hopes from the effect of the most recent medicine, and that they could only wait and see; that the illness was more due to moral than physical causes, but … The countess slipped some gold into his hand, trying to conceal the action from herself and from him, and always went back to the sick-room with a lighter heart.

The symptoms of Natasha’s illness were loss of appetite, sleeplessness, a cough, and continual depression. The doctors declared that she must have medical treatment, and therefore kept her in the stifling atmosphere of the town. And all the summer of 1812 the Rostovs did not visit the country.

In spite of the numerous little bottles and boxes of pills, drops, and powders, of which Madame Schoss, who had a passion for them, made a complete collection, in spite of the loss of the country life to which she was accustomed, youth gained the upper hand; Natasha’s grief began to be covered up by the impressions of daily life; it ceased to lie like an aching load on her heart; it began to fade into the past; and Natasha began to return to physical health again.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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