Not only Nicholas, but even Natasha understood the meaning of his puckered brow and the happy complacent smile that slightly puckered his lips when Anisya Fedorovna entered.
All this was the fruit of Anisya Fedorovna's housekeeping, gathered and prepared by her.
The smell and taste of it all had a smack of Anisya Fedorovna herself: a savor of juiciness, cleanliness, whiteness, and pleasant smiles.
Anisya Fedorovna left the room.
Anisya Fedorovna came in and leaned her portly person against the doorpost.
Anisya, go and see if the strings of my guitar are all right.
Anisya Fedorovna, with her light step, willingly went to fulfill her errand and brought back the guitar.
He took the guitar a little above the fingerboard, arching his left elbow with a somewhat theatrical gesture, and, with a wink at Anisya Fedorovna, struck a single chord, pure and sonorous, and then quietly, smoothly, and confidently began playing in very slow time, not My Lady, but the well-known song: Came a maiden down the street.
The tune, played with precision and in exact time, began to thrill in the hearts of Nicholas and Natasha, arousing in them the same kind of sober mirth as radiated from Anisya Fedorovna's whole being.
Anisya Fedorovna flushed, and drawing her kerchief over her face went laughing out of the room.
"Uncle" continued to play correctly, carefully, with energetic firmness, looking with a changed and inspired expression at the spot where Anisya Fedorovna had just stood.
Anisya Fedorovna's smiling face reappeared in the doorway and behind hers other faces...
She did the right thing with such precision, such complete precision, that Anisya Fedorovna, who had at once handed her the handkerchief she needed for the dance, had tears in her eyes, though she laughed as she watched this slim, graceful countess, reared in silks and velvets and so different from herself, who yet was able to understand all that was in Anisya and in Anisya's father and mother and aunt, and in every Russian man and woman.
And then I was saying to myself all the way, 'How well Anisya carried herself, how well!'