In 1809 Count Ilya Rostov was living at Otradnoe just as he had done in former years, that is, entertaining almost the whole province with hunts, theatricals, dinners, and music.
Though Nicholas Rostov had kept firmly to his resolution and was still serving modestly in an obscure regiment, spending comparatively little, the way of life at Otradnoe--Mitenka's management of affairs, in particular--was such that the debts inevitably increased every year.
Country neighbors from Otradnoe, impoverished old squires and their daughters, Peronskaya a maid of honor, Pierre Bezukhov, and the son of their district postmaster who had obtained a post in Petersburg.
He had been in Moscow several times, and had passed near Otradnoe, but had never been to see them.
He reminded her of their first encounter in the Otradnoe avenue, and how she had been unable to sleep that moonlight night, and told her how he had involuntarily overheard her.
In Natasha Prince Andrew was conscious of a strange world completely alien to him and brimful of joys unknown to him, a different world, that in the Otradnoe avenue and at the window that moonlight night had already begun to disconcert him.
It seemed to Natasha that even at the time she first saw Prince Andrew at Otradnoe she had fallen in love with him.
"You know that from the very day you first came to Otradnoe I have loved you," she cried, quite convinced that she spoke the truth.
During the first half of the journey--from Kremenchug to Kiev--all Rostov's thoughts, as is usual in such cases, were behind him, with the squadron; but when he had gone more than halfway he began to forget his three roans and Dozhoyveyko, his quartermaster, and to wonder anxiously how things would be at Otradnoe and what he would find there.
At the last post station before Otradnoe he gave the driver a three-ruble tip, and on arriving he ran breathlessly, like a boy, up the steps of his home.
She told him about her romance with Prince Andrew and of his visit to Otradnoe and showed him his last letter.
Mitenka himself, returning tipsy from the town, used to hide there, and many of the residents at Otradnoe, hiding from Mitenka, knew of its protective qualities.)
He says she's moved them into the Otradnoe enclosure.
(This meant that the she-wolf, about whom they both knew, had moved with her cubs to the Otradnoe copse, a small place a mile and a half from the house.)
He had a look at all the details of the hunt, sent a pack of hounds and huntsmen on ahead to find the quarry, mounted his chestnut Donets, and whistling to his own leash of borzois, set off across the threshing ground to a field leading to the Otradnoe wood.
As soon as they had passed the fence they all spread out evenly and quietly, without noise or talk, along the road and field leading to the Otradnoe covert.
The oasis of the Otradnoe covert came in sight a few hundred yards off, the huntsmen were already nearing it.
A huntsman was sent to Otradnoe for a trap, while Nicholas rode with Natasha and Petya to "Uncle's" house.
And Natasha felt that this costume, the very one she had regarded with surprise and amusement at Otradnoe, was just the right thing and not at all worse than a swallow-tail or frock coat.
Yes, first I thought that we are driving along and imagining that we are going home, but that heaven knows where we are really going in the darkness, and that we shall arrive and suddenly find that we are not in Otradnoe, but in Fairyland.
It was not necessary to entertain so freely as when the count had been Marshal, and life at Otradnoe was quieter than in former years, but still the enormous house and its lodges were full of people and more than twenty sat down to table every day.
My advice to you is finish your business and go back home to Otradnoe... and wait there.
The autumn in Otradnoe with the hunting, and the winter with the Christmas holidays and Sonya's love, had opened out to him a vista of tranquil rural joys and peace such as he had never known before, and which now allured him.
The previous autumn, the hunting, "Uncle," and the Christmas holidays spent with Nicholas at Otradnoe were what she recalled oftenest and most painfully.
You remember when I looked in the mirror for you... at Otradnoe at Christmas?
In another three years, by 1820, he had so managed his affairs that he was able to buy a small estate adjoining Bald Hills and was negotiating to buy back Otradnoe--that being his pet dream.
And with an eager face Nicholas began to speak of the possibility of repurchasing Otradnoe before long, and added: "Another ten years of life and I shall leave the children... in an excellent position."