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War and Peace. Book eight: 1811 - 12

CHAPTER XVII

Anatole went out of the room and returned a few minutes later wearing a fur coat girt with a silver belt, and a sable cap jauntily set on one side and very becoming to his handsome face. Having looked in a mirror, and standing before Dólokhov in the same pose he had assumed before it, he lifted a glass of wine.

“Well, good-by, Theodore. Thank you for everything and farewell!” said Anatole. “Well, comrades and friends...” he considered for a moment “... of my youth, farewell!” he said, turning to Makárin and the others.

Though they were all going with him, Anatole evidently wished to make something touching and solemn out of this address to his comrades. He spoke slowly in a loud voice and throwing out his chest slightly swayed one leg.

“All take glasses; you too, Balagá. Well, comrades and friends of my youth, we’ve had our fling and lived and reveled. Eh? And now, when shall we meet again? I am going abroad. We have had a good time—now farewell, lads! To our health! Hurrah!...” he cried, and emptying his glass flung it on the floor.

“To your health!” said Balagá who also emptied his glass, and wiped his mouth with his handkerchief.

Makárin embraced Anatole with tears in his eyes.

“Ah, Prince, how sorry I am to part from you!

“Let’s go. Let’s go!” cried Anatole.

Balagá was about to leave the room.

“No, stop!” said Anatole. “Shut the door; we have first to sit down. That’s the way.”

They shut the door and all sat down.

“Now, quick march, lads!” said Anatole, rising.

Joseph, his valet, handed him his sabretache and saber, and they all went out into the vestibule.

“And where’s the fur cloak?” asked Dólokhov. “Hey, Ignátka! Go to Matrëna Matrévna and ask her for the sable cloak. I have heard what elopements are like,” continued Dólokhov with a wink. “Why, she’ll rush out more dead than alive just in the things she is wearing; if you delay at all there’ll be tears and ‘Papa’ and ‘Mamma,’ and she’s frozen in a minute and must go back—but you wrap the fur cloak round her first thing and carry her to the sleigh.”

The valet brought a woman’s fox-lined cloak.

“Fool, I told you the sable one! Hey, Matrëna, the sable!” he shouted so that his voice rang far through the rooms.

A handsome, slim, and pale-faced gypsy girl with glittering black eyes and curly blue-black hair, wearing a red shawl, ran out with a sable mantle on her arm.

“Here, I don’t grudge it—take it!” she said, evidently afraid of her master and yet regretful of her cloak.

Dólokhov, without answering, took the cloak, threw it over Matrëna, and wrapped her up in it.

“That’s the way,” said Dólokhov, “and then so!” and he turned the collar up round her head, leaving only a little of the face uncovered. “And then so, do you see?” and he pushed Anatole’s head forward to meet the gap left by the collar, through which Matrëna’s brilliant smile was seen.

“Well, good-by, Matrëna,” said Anatole, kissing her. “Ah, my revels here are over. Remember me to Stëshka. There, good-by! Good-by, Matrëna, wish me luck!”

“Well, Prince, may God give you great luck!” said Matrëna in her gypsy accent.

Two troykas were standing before the porch and two young drivers were holding the horses. Balagá took his seat in the front one and holding his elbows high arranged the reins deliberately. Anatole and Dólokhov got in with him. Makárin, Khvóstikov, and a valet seated themselves in the other sleigh.

“Well, are you ready?” asked Balagá.

“Go!” he cried, twisting the reins round his hands, and the troyka tore down the Nikítski Boulevard.

“Tproo! Get out of the way! Hi!... Tproo!...” The shouting of Balagá and of the sturdy young fellow seated on the box was all that could be heard. On the Arbát Square the troyka caught against a carriage; something cracked, shouts were heard, and the troyka flew along the Arbát Street.

After taking a turn along the Podnovínski Boulevard, Balagá began to rein in, and turning back drew up at the crossing of the old Konyúsheny Street.

The young fellow on the box jumped down to hold the horses and Anatole and Dólokhov went along the pavement. When they reached the gate Dólokhov whistled. The whistle was answered, and a maidservant ran out.

“Come into the courtyard or you’ll be seen; she’ll come out directly,” said she.

Dólokhov stayed by the gate. Anatole followed the maid into the courtyard, turned the corner, and ran up into the porch.

He was met by Gabriel, Márya Dmítrievna’s gigantic footman.

“Come to the mistress, please,” said the footman in his deep bass, intercepting any retreat.

“To what Mistress? Who are you?” asked Anatole in a breathless whisper.

“Kindly step in, my orders are to bring you in.”

“Kurágin! Come back!” shouted Dólokhov. “Betrayed! Back!”

Dólokhov, after Anatole entered, had remained at the wicket gate and was struggling with the yard porter who was trying to lock it. With a last desperate effort Dólokhov pushed the porter aside, and when Anatole ran back seized him by the arm, pulled him through the wicket, and ran back with him to the troyka.

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Overall 365 pages


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