The count was the first to get up. With a loud sigh he crossed himself before the holy picture. All the others did the same. Then the count proceeded to embrace Mavra Kuzminishna and Vassilitch, who were to remain in Moscow; and while they caught at his hand and kissed his shoulder, he patted them on the back with vaguely affectionate and reassuring phrases. The countess went off to the little chapel, and Sonya found her there on her knees before the holy pictures, that were still left here and there on the walls. All the holy pictures most precious through association with the traditions of the family were being taken with them.

In the porch and in the yard the servants who were going—all of whom had been armed with swords and daggers by Petya—with their trousers tucked in their boots, and their sashes or leather belts tightly braced, took leave of those who were left behind.

As is invariably the case at starting on a journey, a great many things were found to have been forgotten, or packed in the wrong place; and two grooms were kept a long while standing, one each side of the open carriage door, ready to help the countess up the carriage steps, while maids were flying with pillows and bags from the house to the carriages, the coach, and the covered gig, and back again.

“They will always forget everything as long as they live!” said the countess. “You know that I can’t sit like that.” And Dunyasha, with clenched teeth and an aggrieved look on her face, rushed to the carriage to arrange the cushions again without a word.

“Ah, those servants,” said the count, shaking his head.

The old coachman Efim, the only one whom the countess could trust to drive her, sat perched up on the box, and did not even look round at what was passing behind him. His thirty years’ experience had taught him that it would be some time yet before they would say, “Now, in God’s name, start!” and that when they had said it, they would stop him at least twice again to send back for things that had been forgotten; and after that he would have to pull up once more for the countess herself to put her head out of window and beg him, for Christ’s sake, to drive carefully downhill. He knew this, and therefore awaited what was to come with more patience than his horses, especially the left one, the chestnut Falcon, who was continually pawing the ground and champing at the bit. At last all were seated; the carriage steps were pulled up, and the door slammed, and the forgotten travelling-case had been sent for and the countess had popped her head out and given the usual injunctions. Then Efim deliberately took his hat off and began crossing himself. The postillion and all the servants did the same.

“With God’s blessing!” said Efim, putting his hat on. “Off!” The postillion started his horse. The right- shaft horse began to pull, the high springs creaked, and the carriage swayed. The footman jumped up on the box while it was moving. The carriage jolted as it drove out of the yard on to the uneven pavement; the other vehicles jolted in the same way as they followed in a procession up the street. All the occupants of the carriages, the coach and the covered gig, crossed themselves on seeing the church opposite. The servants, who were staying in Moscow, walked along on both sides of the carriages to see them off.

Natasha had rarely felt such a joyful sensation as she experienced at that moment sitting in the carriage by the countess and watching, as they slowly moved by her, the walls of forsaken, agitated Moscow. Now and then she put her head out of the carriage window and looked back, and then in front of the long train of waggons full of wounded soldiers preceding them. Foremost of them all she could see Prince Andrey’s closed carriage. She did not know who was in it, and every time she took stock of the procession of waggons she looked out for that coach. She knew it would be the foremost. In Kudrino and from Nikitsky Street, from Pryesny, and from Podnovinsky several trains of vehicles, similar to the Rostovs’, came driving out, and by the time they reached Sadovoy Street the carriages and carts were two deep all along the road.

As they turned round Suharev Tower, Natasha, who was quickly and inquisitively scrutinising the crowd driving and walking by, uttered a cry of delight and surprise:

  By PanEris using Melati.

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