"Soldier!" said Korney contemptuously, and he turned to the nurse
who was coming in. "Here, what do you think, Marya Efimovna: he
let her in without a word to anyone," Korney said addressing
her. "Alexey Alexandrovitch will be down immediately--and go
into the nursery!"
"A pretty business, a pretty business!" said the nurse. "You,
Korney Vassilievitch, you'd best keep him some way or other, the
master, while I'll run and get her away somehow. A pretty
When the nurse went into the nursery, Seryozha was telling his
mother how he and Nadinka had had a fall in sledging downhill,
and had turned over three times. She was listening to the sound
of his voice, watching his face and the play of expression on it,
touching his hand, but she did not follow what he was saying.
She must go, she must leave him,--this was the only thing she was
thinking and feeling. She heard the steps of Vassily Lukitch
coming up to the door and coughing; she heard, too, the steps of
the nurse as she came near; but she sat like one turned to stone,
incapable of beginning to speak or to get up.
"Mistress, darling!" began the nurse, going up to Anna and
kissing her hands and shoulders. "God has brought joy indeed to
our boy on his birthday. You aren't changed one bit."
"Oh, nurse dear, I didn't know you were in the house," said Anna,
rousing herself for a moment.
"I'm not living here, I'm living with my daughter. I came for
the birthday, Anna Arkadyevna, darling!"
The nurse suddenly burst into tears, and began kissing her hand
Seryozha, with radiant eyes and smiles, holding his mother by one
hand and his nurse by the other, pattered on the rug with his fat
little bare feet. The tenderness shown by his beloved nurse to
his mother threw him into an ecstasy.