From Chapter 5:
She fingered through the books in the last stack and pulled out one of her favorite books by Mark Twain. She smiled at the book, caressing it and sighed. The stack of books that it seemed he was getting rid of was easily as large as the next two largest piles, but she was pleased to know that he wasn’t getting rid of everything. It gave her hope that he might be a bit more understanding than her father was about literature. When she realized that there was an eighth stack of books, she also noted that they were Russian works and she smiled at the one that was open. It was a Serov book and she picked it up, noting the page, and began to read.
10:30 Friday, May 27, 1921
Andrei watched his little mate from the doorway as she took note of the pillars and columns and groupings. He felt her disappointment and momentary fear when she saw the pile of books that he had decided to take a more in depth look at before returning them to her or not, but then he felt her acceptance and hope. The longing he saw on her face when she caressed the book by Mark Twain panged in his chest, and he reminded himself that that was the main reason that he wasn’t asking her to go through the books with him on the first go round.
She picked up the book he’d been reading and unknowingly gave a contented sigh. A sweet smile crossed her features and she began moving her lips as she read the text. He drew away from the door and stepped heavily on his way back to alert her that he was coming, but he was surprised to find that she didn’t put down the book. Instead, she held up a finger and continued reading for a moment before returning the book to the page she’d found it at.
Andrei chuckled and the spell was broken, her fear flaring for a moment. He lifted the basket in his hands and asked, “Is this large enough?”
“You’re not angry that I was reading or that I didn’t stop as soon as you came in?” Tatiana asked cautiously and he shook his head.
He told her, “If you would like, you could pick a story to read to us on the way. It will take us nearly three hours, perhaps a little more to reach the city.”
“What would you have me read?” Tatiana asked and Andrei moved to the book she’d been touching.
He asked, “Is it any good?”
She beamed at him and said, “It is good, but not suitable for little girls. Perhaps this,” she held up a Beatrix Potter book, “would be better? I would love to read Mr. Twain to you, but I’m not certain that Lorelei is old enough for it just now.”
“You will be a great mother to our child, Tatiana. Still, we need to be moving. Collect what books and supplies you need and I will load them for you,” Andrei instructed, and she quickly moved to the education stack and pulled out the primers she and her sister had been working through.
She handed them to Andrei and then looked around for the slate and chalk that she had brought from Carmeli. Andrei asked, “What is it that you are missing?”
“The slate and chalk and cloth that we use for her arithmetic. I want her to practice, and it is helpful to have something reusable to write on, since paper and pencils can be so expensive. The slate is what we use to record the questions she answers incorrectly, and then she practices those until she knows them by heart,” Tatiana explained and Andrei left the room for a moment, returning with a bound pad of paper, three pencils, and an eraser.
He showed them to her and added them to the basket saying, “There is money enough to have the things you need. Use the slate and chalk if you like, but now you have a more permanent alternative. If you could track her mistakes over several days or weeks, you might be able to see better where she is having difficulties.”