BOOK ELEVEN: 1812
17. CHAPTER XVII
Before two o'clock in the afternoon the Rostovs' four carriages,
packed full and with the horses harnessed, stood at the front door.
One by one the carts with the wounded had moved out of the yard.
The caleche in which Prince Andrew was being taken attracted Sonya's
attention as it passed the front porch. With the help of a maid she
was arranging a seat for the countess in the huge high coach that
stood at the entrance.
"Whose caleche is that?" she inquired, leaning out of the carriage
"Why, didn't you know, Miss?" replied the maid. "The wounded prince:
he spent the night in our house and is going with us."
"But who is it? What's his name?"
"It's our intended that was- Prince Bolkonski himself! They say he
is dying," replied the maid with a sigh.
Sonya jumped out of the coach and ran to the countess. The countess,
tired out and already dressed in shawl and bonnet for her journey, was
pacing up and down the drawing room, waiting for the household to
assemble for the usual silent prayer with closed doors before
starting. Natasha was not in the room.
"Mamma," said Sonya, "Prince Andrew is here, mortally wounded. He is
going with us."
The countess opened her eyes in dismay and, seizing Sonya's arm,
"Natasha?" she murmured.
At that moment this news had only one significance for both of them.
They knew their Natasha, and alarm as to what would happen if she
heard this news stifled all sympathy for the man they both liked.
"Natasha does not know yet, but he is going with us," said Sonya.
"You say he is dying?"