The mother was quite ill if she did not get news for some time, and when I came with tidings she was interested in the smallest details, and inquired with trembling curiosity. My accounts relieved her heart; she almost died of fright once when Natasha had fallen ill, and was on the point of going to her herself. But this was an extreme case. At first she was not able to bring herself to express even to me a desire to see her daughter; and almost always after our talk
And he hurried away, trying not even to look at us, as though ashamed of having brought us together. On such occasions, and especially when he came back, he was always very curt and gloomy, both with me and Anna Andreyevna, even fault-finding, as though vexed and angry with himself for his own softness and consideration.
gauze and damask silk to paste on various articles, and that they requested lady Feng to go and open the dep?t for them to take the gauze and silk, while another servant also came to ask lady Feng to open the treasury for them to receive the gold and silver ware. And as Madame Wang, the waiting-maids and the other domestics of the upper rooms had all no leisure, Pao-ch’ai suggested: “Don’t let us remain in here and be in the way of their doing what there is to be done, and of going where they have to go,” and saying this, she betook herself, escorted by Pao-yü and the rest, into Ying Ch’un’s rooms.
“You see how he is,” said Anna Andreyevna, who had of late laid aside all her stiffness with me, and all her mistrust of me; “that’s how he always is with me; and yet he knows we understand all his tricks. Why should he keep up a pretence with me? Am I a stranger to him? He’s just the same about his daughter. He might forgive her, you know, perhaps he even wants to forgive her. God knows! He cries at night, I’ve heard him. But he keeps up outwardly. He’s eaten up with pride. Ivan Petrovitch, my dear, tell me quick, where was he going?”
“Nikolay Sergeyitch? I don’t know. I was going to ask you.”
“I was dismayed when he went out. He’s ill, you know, and in such weather, and so late! I thought it must be for something important; and what can be more important than what you know of? I thought this to myself, but I didn’t dare to ask. Why, I daren’t question him about anything nowadays. My goodness! I was simply terror-stricken on his account and on hers. What, thought I, if he has gone to her? What if he’s made up his mind to forgive her? Why, he’s found out everything, he knows the latest news of her; I feel certain he knows it;
but how the news gets to him I can’t imagine. He was terribly depressed yesterday,
and today too. But why don’t you say something? Tell me, my dear,
what has happened? I’ve been longing for you like an angel of God. I’ve been all eyes watching for you. Come,
will the villain abandon Natasha?”