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Page:Complete Works of Count Tolstoy - 02.djvu/93

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75
A MORNING OF A LANDED PROPRIETOR

"But I am not sad. What makes you think so, Mother Malánya Finogénovna?" answered Nekhlyúdov, trying to smile.

"Yes, you are. Don't I see it?" the nurse began to speak with animation. "You are day in, day out, all alone. And you take everything to heart, and attend to everything yourself. You have even quit eating. Is this right? If you only went to visit the city, or your neighbours, — but this is an unheard-of thing. You are young, so why should you worry about everything? Forgive me, sir, I will sit down," continued the nurse, seating herself near the door. "You have been so indulgent with them, that nobody is afraid of you. Is this the way masters do? There is nothing good in it. You are ruining yourself, and the people are getting spoilt. You know, our peasants do not understand what you are doing for them, really they don't. Why do you not go to see your aunty: she wrote you the truth — "the nurse admonished him.

Nekhlyúdov kept growing more and more despondent. His right hand, which was resting on his knee, fell flaccidly upon the keys. They gave forth a chord, a second, a third — Nekhlyúdov moved up, drew his other hand from his pocket, and began to play. The chords which he took were sometimes unprepared, and not always correct; they were often common enough to be trite, and did not display the least musical talent; but this occupation afforded him a certain indefinable melancholy pleasure.

At every change of harmony, he waited in breathless expectancy what would come out of it, and, when something came, his imagination dimly supplied what was lacking. It seemed to him that he heard hundreds of melodies; a chorus and an orchestra, in conformity with his harmony.

But he derived his chief pleasure from the intensified