You see... was all Natasha managed to utter (to her everything seemed funny).
Natasha, raising her face for a moment from her mother's mantilla, glanced up at her through tears of laughter, and again hid her face.
"Tell me, my dear," said she to Natasha, "is Mimi a relation of yours?
Natasha did not like the visitor's tone of condescension to childish things.
When Natasha ran out of the drawing room she only went as far as the conservatory.
At this Natasha dashed swiftly among the flower tubs and hid there.
Natasha, very still, peered out from her ambush, waiting to see what he would do.
Natasha was about to call him but changed her mind.
Natasha checked her first impulse to run out to her, and remained in her hiding place, watching--as under an invisible cap--to see what went on in the world.
"Oh, how nice," thought Natasha; and when Sonya and Nicholas had gone out of the conservatory she followed and called Boris to her.
"Natasha," he said, "you know that I love you, but..."
Boris and Natasha were at the other window and ceased talking when Vera entered.
Sonya and Natasha looked at Vera with guilty, happy faces.
And at your age what secrets can there be between Natasha and Boris, or between you two?
"Now, Vera, what does it matter to you?" said Natasha in defense, speaking very gently.
"All have secrets of their own," answered Natasha, getting warmer.
This was Lieutenant Berg, an officer in the Semenov regiment with whom Boris was to travel to join the army, and about whom Natasha had teased her elder sister Vera, speaking of Berg as her "intended."
(Marya Dmitrievna always called Natasha a Cossack) and she stroked the child's arm as she came up fearless and gay to kiss her hand.
She took a pair of pear-shaped ruby earrings from her huge reticule and, having given them to the rosy Natasha, who beamed with the pleasure of her saint's-day fete, turned away at once and addressed herself to Pierre.
Boris was telling his new friend Pierre who the guests were and exchanging glances with Natasha, who was sitting opposite.
Natasha, who sat opposite, was looking at Boris as girls of thirteen look at the boy they are in love with and have just kissed for the first time.
I have asked, whispered Natasha to her little brother and to Pierre, glancing at him again.
Natasha saw there was nothing to be afraid of and so she braved even Marya Dmitrievna.
Natasha only desisted when she had been told that there would be pineapple ice.
After she had played a little air with variations on the harp, she joined the other young ladies in begging Natasha and Nicholas, who were noted for their musical talent, to sing something.
Natasha, who was treated as though she were grown up, was evidently very proud of this but at the same time felt shy.
Running into Sonya's room and not finding her there, Natasha ran to the nursery, but Sonya was not there either.
Natasha concluded that she must be on the chest in the passage.
Natasha wept, sitting on the blue-striped feather bed and hugging her friend.
Natasha, what have I done to deserve it?...
Natasha lifted her up, hugged her, and, smiling through her tears, began comforting her.
Natasha kissed her on the hair.
"Really, truly!" answered Natasha, pushing in a crisp lock that had strayed from under her friend's plaits.
"Do you know, that fat Pierre who sat opposite me is so funny!" said Natasha, stopping suddenly.
Sonya, shaking off some down which clung to her and tucking away the verses in the bosom of her dress close to her bony little chest, ran after Natasha down the passage into the sitting room with flushed face and light, joyous steps.
When the music began Natasha came in and walking straight up to Pierre said, laughing and blushing:
Natasha was perfectly happy; she was dancing with a grown-up man, who had been abroad.
Natasha blushed and laughed.
"Look at Papa!" shouted Natasha to the whole company, and quite forgetting that she was dancing with a grown-up partner she bent her curly head to her knees and made the whole room ring with her laughter.
Natasha kept pulling everyone by sleeve or dress, urging them to "look at Papa!" though as it was they never took their eyes off the couple.
Bold as she was, Natasha, who knew how sensitive her mother was to anything relating to Nikolenka, did not venture to ask any questions at dinner, but she was too excited to eat anything and kept wriggling about on her chair regardless of her governess' remarks.
I'm sure of it! exclaimed Natasha, reading confirmation in Anna Mikhaylovna's face.
"No, on my true word of honor," said Natasha, crossing herself, "I won't tell anyone!" and she ran off at once to Sonya.
Natasha, seeing the impression the news of her brother's wound produced on Sonya, felt for the first time the sorrowful side of the news.
Natasha smiled through her tears.
Natasha suddenly asked, after a moment's silence.
"No, Sonya, but do you remember so that you remember him perfectly, remember everything?" said Natasha, with an expressive gesture, evidently wishing to give her words a very definite meaning.
"Oh, Natasha!" said Sonya, looking ecstatically and earnestly at her friend as if she did not consider her worthy to hear what she meant to say and as if she were saying it to someone else, with whom joking was out of the question, "I am in love with your brother once for all and, whatever may happen to him or to me, shall never cease to love him as long as I live."
Natasha looked at Sonya with wondering and inquisitive eyes, and said nothing.
But Natasha had not yet felt anything like it.