Count Arakcheev's anteroom had quite a special character.
And like a practical Petersburg lady who knows how to make the most of time, Anna Mikhaylovna sent someone to call her son, and went into the anteroom with him.
Boris, hearing a strange voice in the anteroom, came out to meet him.
The mummers (some of the house serfs) dressed up as bears, Turks, innkeepers, and ladies--frightening and funny--bringing in with them the cold from outside and a feeling of gaiety, crowded, at first timidly, into the anteroom, then hiding behind one another they pushed into the ballroom where, shyly at first and then more and more merrily and heartily, they started singing, dancing, and playing Christmas games.
While still in the anteroom Prince Andrew heard loud voices and a ringing staccato laugh--a laugh such as one hears on the stage.