The Beauty of the Night

Prince Andrey Bolkonsky’s duties as trustee of his son’s Ryazan estates necessitated an interview with the marshal of the district. This marshal was Count Ilya Andreivitch Rostov, and in the middle of May Prince Andrey went to see him.

It was by now the hot period of spring. The forest was already in full leaf. It was dusty, and so hot that at the sight of water one longed to bathe.

Prince Andrey drove along the avenue leading to the Rostovs’ house at Otradnoe, depressed and absorbed in considering what questions he must ask the marshal about his business. Behind some trees on the right he heard merry girlish cries, and caught sight of a party of girls running across the avenue along which his coach was driving. In front of all the rest there ran towards the coach a black-haired, very slender, strangely slender, black-eyed girl in a yellow cotton gown. On her head was a white pocket-handkerchief, from under which strayed locks of her loose hair. The girl was shouting something, but perceiving a stranger, she ran back laughing, without glancing at him.

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