about him; everywhere in the yard, at the gates, at the windows of the lodge—he saw wounded men and orderlies. They were all gazing at him and moving up towards the steps.

“Will you please walk into the gallery, your excellency; what are your orders about the pictures there?” said the butler. And the count went into the house with him, repeating his instructions that they were not to refuse the wounded men who begged to go with them.

“You can take something out of the loads, you know,” he added, in a subdued and mysterious voice, as though he were afraid of being overheard.

At nine o’clock the countess woke up, and Matrona Timofyevna, who had been her maid before her marriage, and now performed the duties of a sort of chef de gendarmes for the countess, came in to report to her that Madame Schoss was very much aggrieved, and that the young ladies’ summer dresses could not possibly be left behind. On the countess inquiring the cause of Madame Schoss’s resentment, it appeared that that lady’s trunk had been taken out of the waggon, and that all the waggons were being unloaded, and that the luggage was being taken out, as the waggons were to be given up to the wounded men, whom the count, with his usual readiness to be imposed upon, had consented to take away with them. The countess sent for her husband to come to her.

“What’s this, my dear? I hear the luggage is being unloaded.”

“Do you know, ma chère, I wanted to speak to you about it … dear little countess … an officer came up to me—they are imploring us to let them have a few waggons for the wounded. It’s all a question of money loss to us, of course, but to be left behind … think what it means to them! … Here they are in our very yard; we asked them in ourselves; here are officers.… You know, I really think, ma chère … well, let them take them. We are in no hurry.”

The count spoke timidly, as he always did when the subject was in any way connected with money. The countess was used to that tone, which always ushered in some matter prejudicial to her children’s interests, such as the building of a new gallery, or conservatory, or a new theatre in the house, or the training of an orchestra; and she made it a habit, and regarded it as a duty, to oppose everything that was communicated in that tone.

She assumed her air of tearful resignation, and said to her husband:

“Listen, count, you have mismanaged things so, that we are getting nothing for the house, and now you want to throw away all our—all the children’s—property. Why, you told me yourself that we have a hundred thousand roubles’ worth of valuables in the house. I protest, and protest, my love. What would you have! It’s for the Government to look after the wounded. They know that. Only think, the Lopuhins opposite cleared everything to the last stick out of their house the day before yesterday. That’s how other people manage. It’s only we who are such fools. If you have no consideration for me, do at least think of your children.”

The count waved his hands in despair, and went out of the room without a word.

“Papa! why do you do that?” said Natasha, who had followed him into her mother’s room.

“Nothing! It’s no business of yours!” the count said angrily.

“But I heard,” said Natasha. “Why won’t mamma have it?”

“It’s no business of yours!” cried the count.

Natasha walked away to the window and pondered.

“Papa, here’s Berg coming to see us,” she said, looking out of the window.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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