Friday, April 16, 2010

Volume II, Book I, Chapter XII

Time for a merry ball hosted by Iogel, the dancemaster, at the Rostov. The Rostov girls are the belles of the ball, especially prized student Natasha. Nikolai and Denisov are there, and Natasha asks Denisov to dance, hearing from Nikolai how famous he was for his Polish mazurka. Nikolai told her that.

I love Denisov, who drinks too much and is a little wild. He has a big heart and easy joy, it seems. And a great way of speaking - when Natasha is trying to get him to dance, he demurs with "No, ghreally. Spaghre me, Countess." I love that speech impediment. He sits with the older women and jokes with them and he stomps his saber in time.

He agrees to dance, whipping off his saber, and "in the mazurka did Denisov's small stature not show, and he looked like the fine fellow he felt himself to be." He springs across the floor, flying in a circle, bringing Natasha with him. She is so stunned by the end of it she doesn't even curtsey to him. She is amazed, and he doesn't leave her side for the rest of the ball.

Natasha casts a spell, it seems. So energetic. And it's great to see Denisov get some time. You can feel his energy, and the relief after the dance. Beautifully done - describing him and his spurs dancing wildly but in control.

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