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

In fact, however, though now much farther off than before, the Rostovs all saw Pierre — or someone extraordinarily like him — in a coachman's coat, going down the street with head bent and a serious face beside a small, beardless old man who looked like a footman. That old man noticed a face thrust out of the carriage window gazing at them, and respectfully touching Pierre's elbow said something to him and pointed to the carriage. Pierre, evidently engrossed in thought, could not at first understand him. At length when he had understood and looked in the direction the old man indicated, he recognized Natasha, and following his first impulse stepped instantly and rapidly toward the coach. But having taken a dozen steps he seemed to remember something and stopped.

Natasha's face, leaning out of the window, beamed with quizzical kindliness.

"Peter Kirilovich, come here! We have recognized you! This is wonderful!" she cried, holding out her hand to him."What are you doing? Why are you like this?"

Pierre took her outstretched hand and kissed it awkwardly as he walked along beside her while the coach still moved on.

"What is the matter, Count?" asked the countess in a surprised and commiserating tone.

"What? What? Why? Don't ask me," said Pierre, and looked round at Natasha whose radiant, happy expression — of which he was conscious without looking at her — filled him with enchantment.

"Are you remaining in Moscow, then?"

Pierre hesitated.

"In Moscow?" he said in a questioning tone."Yes, in Moscow. Goodby!"

"Ah, if only I were a man? I'd certainly stay with you. How splendid!" said Natasha."Mamma, if you'll let me, I'll stay!"

Pierre glanced absently at Natasha and was about to say something, but the countess interrupted him.

"You were at the battle, we heard."

"Yes, I was," Pierre answered."There will be another battle tomorrow . . ." he began, but Natasha interrupted him.

"But what is the matter with you, Count? You are not like yourself . . . ."

"Oh, don't ask me, don't ask me! I don't know myself. Tomorrow . . . But no! Good-by, good-by!" he muttered."It's an awful time!" and dropping behind the carriage he stepped onto the pavement.

Natasha continued to lean out of the window for a long time, beaming at him with her kindly, slightly quizzical, happy smile.

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