The mummers from the count's.
Before Natasha had finished singing, fourteen-year-old Petya rushed in delightedly, to say that some mummers had arrived.
The mummers (some of the house serfs) dressed up as bears, Turks, innkeepers, and ladies--frightening and funny--bringing in with them the cold from outside and a feeling of gaiety, crowded, at first timidly, into the anteroom, then hiding behind one another they pushed into the ballroom where, shyly at first and then more and more merrily and heartily, they started singing, dancing, and playing Christmas games.
Half an hour later there appeared among the other mummers in the ballroom an old lady in a hooped skirt--this was Nicholas.
Nicholas, who, as the roads were in splendid condition, wanted to take them all for a drive in his troyka, proposed to take with them about a dozen of the serf mummers and drive to "Uncle's."
Surrounded by the screaming children the mummers, covering their faces and disguising their voices, bowed to their hostess and arranged themselves about the room.
Pelageya Danilovna, having given orders to clear the rooms for the visitors and arranged about refreshments for the gentry and the serfs, went about among the mummers without removing her spectacles, peering into their faces with a suppressed smile and failing to recognize any of them.
Pelageya Danilovna began to recognize the mummers, admired their cleverly contrived costumes, and particularly how they suited the young ladies, and she thanked them all for having entertained her so well.