War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy Book XI: Chapters 13–29

The count nodded affirmatively, and Natasha, at the rapid pace at which she used to run when playing at tag, ran through the ballroom to the anteroom and downstairs into the yard.

The servants gathered round Natasha, but could not believe the strange order she brought them until the count himself, in his wife's name, confirmed the order to give up all the carts to the wounded and take the trunks to the storerooms. When they understood that order the servants set to work at this new task with pleasure and zeal. It no longer seemed strange to them but on the contrary it seemed the only thing that could be done, just as a quarter of an hour before it had not seemed strange to anyone that the wounded should be left behind and the goods carted away but that had seemed the only thing to do.

The whole household, as if to atone for not having done it sooner, set eagerly to work at the new task of placing the wounded in the carts. The wounded dragged themselves out of their rooms and stood with pale but happy faces round the carts. The news that carts were to be had spread to the neighboring houses, from which wounded men began to come into the Rostovs' yard. Many of the wounded asked them not to unload the carts but only to let them sit on the top of the things. But the work of unloading, once started, could not be arrested. It seemed not to matter whether all or only half the things were left behind. Cases full of china, bronzes, pictures, and mirrors that had been so carefully packed the night before now lay about the yard, and still they went on searching for and finding possibilities of unloading this or that and letting the wounded have another and yet another cart.

"We can take four more men," said the steward."They can have my trap, or else what is to become of them?"

"Let them have my wardrobe cart," said the countess."Dunyasha can go with me in the carriage."

They unloaded the wardrobe cart and sent it to take wounded men from a house two doors off. The whole household, servants included, was bright and animated. Natasha was in a state of rapturous excitement such as she had not known for a long time.

"What could we fasten this onto?" asked the servants, trying to fix a trunk on the narrow footboard behind a carriage."We must keep at least one cart."

"What's in it?" asked Natasha.

"The count's books."

"Leave it, Vasilich will put it away. It's not wanted."

The phaeton was full of people and there was a doubt as to where Count Peter could sit.

"On the box. You'll sit on the box, won't you, Petya?" cried Natasha.

Sonya too was busy all this time, but the aim of her efforts was quite different from Natasha's. She was putting away the things that had to be left behind and making a list of them as the countess wished, and she tried to get as much taken away with them as possible.

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