Six weeks! and the sporting season good, and flights of partridges started every minute by the count's dogs, hunting now for their own pleasure, the door of the kennel being seldom closed; the horses neighing from sheer weariness, and the grooms giving themselves lumbago brightening up trappings that were now to lie unused.
The countess was a good reader, in spite of her eyeglass; she read untiringly, the result of which was to send the patient to sleep--infallible result; simply an affair of time; often in ten minutes, sometimes an hour Serge's breathing would become regular, the fever that colored his cheek bones would gradually disappear, and then the good mother, closing the book, would go about her duties as mistress of the house, leaving Mavra in charge of her son.
Gradually the needle of Mavra's embroidery work would slacken its motion, and for long hours her eyes remain fixed on the face of the sleeping young count. Daylight would decline, and no candles be brought, lest the he