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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 13
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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 13 Post by :mugaan Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2260

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 13 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 13

Count Rostov took the girls to Countess Bezukhova's. There were a
good many people there, but nearly all strangers to Natasha. Count
Rostov was displeased to see that the company consisted almost
entirely of men and women known for the freedom of their conduct.
Mademoiselle George was standing in a corner of the drawing room
surrounded by young men. There were several Frenchmen present, among
them Metivier who from the time Helene reached Moscow had been an
intimate in her house. The count decided not to sit down to cards or
let his girls out of his sight and to get away as soon as Mademoiselle
George's performance was over.

Anatole was at the door, evidently on the lookout for the Rostovs.
Immediately after greeting the count he went up to Natasha and
followed her. As soon as she saw him she was seized by the same
feeling she had had at the opera- gratified vanity at his admiration
of her and fear at the absence of a moral barrier between them.

Helene welcomed Natasha delightedly and was loud in admiration of
her beauty and her dress. Soon after their arrival Mademoiselle George
went out of the room to change her costume. In the drawing room people
began arranging the chairs and taking their seats. Anatole moved a
chair for Natasha and was about to sit down beside her, but the count,
who never lost sight of her, took the seat himself. Anatole sat down
behind her.

Mademoiselle George, with her bare, fat, dimpled arms, and a red
shawl draped over one shoulder, came into the space left vacant for
her, and assumed an unnatural pose. Enthusiastic whispering was
audible.

Mademoiselle George looked sternly and gloomily at the audience
and began reciting some French verses describing her guilty love for
her son. In some places she raised her voice, in others she whispered,
lifting her head triumphantly; sometimes she paused and uttered hoarse
sounds, rolling her eyes.

"Adorable! divine! delicious!" was heard from every side.

Natasha looked at the fat actress, but neither saw nor heard nor
understood anything of what went on before her. She only felt
herself again completely borne away into this strange senseless world-
so remote from her old world- a world in which it was impossible to
know what was good or bad, reasonable or senseless. Behind her sat
Anatole, and conscious of his proximity she experienced a frightened
sense of expectancy.

After the first monologue the whole company rose and surrounded
Mademoiselle George, expressing their enthusiasm.

"How beautiful she is!" Natasha remarked to her father who had
also risen and was moving through the crowd toward the actress.

"I don't think so when I look at you!" said Anatole, following
Natasha. He said this at a moment when she alone could hear him.
"You are enchanting... from the moment I saw you I have never
ceased..."

"Come, come, Natasha!" said the count, as he turned back for his
daughter. "How beautiful she is!" Natasha without saying anything
stepped up to her father and looked at him with surprised inquiring
eyes.

After giving several recitations, Mademoiselle George left, and
Countess Bezukhova asked her visitors into the ballroom.

The count wished to go home, but Helene entreated him not to spoil
her improvised ball, and the Rostovs stayed on. Anatole asked
Natasha for a valse and as they danced he pressed her waist and hand
and told her she was bewitching and that he loved her. During the
ecossaise, which she also danced with him, Anatole said nothing when
they happened to be by themselves, but merely gazed at her. Natasha
lifted her frightened eyes to him, but there was such confident
tenderness in his affectionate look and smile that she could not,
whilst looking at him, say what she had to say. She lowered her eyes.

"Don't say such things to me. I am betrothed and love another,"
she said rapidly.... She glanced at him.

Anatole was not upset or pained by what she had said.

"Don't speak to me of that! What can I do?" said he. "I tell you I
am madly, madly, in love with you! Is it my fault that you are
enchanting?... It's our turn to begin."

Natasha, animated and excited, looked about her with wide-open
frightened eyes and seemed merrier than usual. She understood hardly
anything that went on that evening. They danced the ecossaise and
the Grossvater. Her father asked her to come home, but she begged to
remain. Wherever she went and whomever she was speaking to, she felt
his eyes upon her. Later on she recalled how she had asked her
father to let her go to the dressing room to rearrange her dress, that
Helene had followed her and spoken laughingly of her brother's love,
and that she again met Anatole in the little sitting room. Helene
had disappeared leaving them alone, and Anatole had taken her hand and
said in a tender voice:

"I cannot come to visit you but is it possible that I shall never
see you? I love you madly. Can I never...?" and, blocking her path, he
brought his face close to hers.

His large, glittering, masculine eyes were so close to hers that she
saw nothing but them.

"Natalie?" he whispered inquiringly while she felt her hands being
painfully pressed. "Natalie?"

"I don't understand. I have nothing to say," her eyes replied.

Burning lips were pressed to hers, and at the same instant she
felt herself released, and Helene's footsteps and the rustle of her
dress were heard in the room. Natasha looked round at her, and then,
red and trembling, threw a frightened look of inquiry at Anatole and
moved toward the door.

"One word, just one, for God's sake!" cried Anatole.

She paused. She so wanted a word from him that would explain to
her what had happened and to which she could find no answer.

"Natalie, just a word, only one!" he kept repeating, evidently not
knowing what to say and he repeated it till Helene came up to them.

Helene returned with Natasha to the drawing room. The Rostovs went
away without staying for supper.

After reaching home Natasha did not sleep all night. She was
tormented by the insoluble question whether she loved Anatole or
Prince Andrew. She loved Prince Andrew- she remembered distinctly
how deeply she loved him. But she also loved Anatole, of that there
was no doubt. "Else how could all this have happened?" thought she.
"If, after that, I could return his smile when saying good-by, if I
was able to let it come to that, it means that I loved him from the
first. It means that he is kind, noble, and splendid, and I could
not help loving him. What am I to do if I love him and the other one
too?" she asked herself, unable to find an answer to these terrible
questions.

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Morning came with its cares and bustle. Everyone got up and began tomove about and talk, dressmakers came again. Marya Dmitrievnaappeared, and they were called to breakfast. Natasha kept lookinguneasily at everybody with wide-open eyes, as if wishing tointercept every glance directed toward her, and tried to appear thesame as usual.After breakfast, which was her best time, Marya Dmitrievna satdown in her armchair and called Natasha and the count to her."Well, friends, I have now thought the whole matter over and this ismy advice," she began. "Yesterday, as you know, I went to see PrinceBolkonski. Well, I had a talk with
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The day after the opera the Rostovs went nowhere and nobody cameto see them. Marya Dmitrievna talked to the count about somethingwhich they concealed from Natasha. Natasha guessed they were talkingabout the old prince and planning something, and this disquieted andoffended her. She was expecting Prince Andrew any moment and twicethat day sent a manservant to the Vozdvizhenka to ascertain whether hehad come. He had not arrived. She suffered more now than during herfirst days in Moscow. To her impatience and pining for him were nowadded the unpleasant recollection of her interview with PrincessMary and the old prince, and a fear
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