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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 14
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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 14 Post by :padin Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :3053

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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 14

Morning came with its cares and bustle. Everyone got up and began to
move about and talk, dressmakers came again. Marya Dmitrievna
appeared, and they were called to breakfast. Natasha kept looking
uneasily at everybody with wide-open eyes, as if wishing to
intercept every glance directed toward her, and tried to appear the
same as usual.

After breakfast, which was her best time, Marya Dmitrievna sat
down in her armchair and called Natasha and the count to her.

"Well, friends, I have now thought the whole matter over and this is
my advice," she began. "Yesterday, as you know, I went to see Prince
Bolkonski. Well, I had a talk with him.... He took it into his head to
begin shouting, but I am not one to be shouted down. I said what I had
to say!"

"Well, and he?" asked the count.

"He? He's crazy... he did not want to listen. But what's the use
of talking? As it is we have worn the poor girl out," said Marya
Dmitrievna. "My advice to you is finish your business and go back home
to Otradnoe... and wait there."

"Oh, no!" exclaimed Natasha.

"Yes, go back," said Marya Dmitrievna, "and wait there. If your
betrothed comes here now- there will be no avoiding a quarrel; but
alone with the old man he will talk things over and then come on to

Count Rostov approved of this suggestion, appreciating its
reasonableness. If the old man came round it would be all the better
to visit him in Moscow or at Bald Hills later on; and if not, the
wedding, against his wishes, could only be arranged at Otradnoe.

"That is perfectly true. And I am sorry I went to see him and took
her," said the old count.

"No, why be sorry? Being here, you had to pay your respects. But
if he won't- that's his affair," said Marya Dmitrievna, looking for
something in her reticule. "Besides, the trousseau is ready, so
there is nothing to wait for; and what is not ready I'll send after
you. Though I don't like letting you go, it is the best way. So go,
with God's blessing!"

Having found what she was looking for in the reticule she handed
it to Natasha. It was a letter from Princess Mary.

"She has written to you. How she torments herself, poor thing! She's
afraid you might think that she does not like you."

"But she doesn't like me," said Natasha.

"Don't talk nonsense!" cried Marya Dmitrievna.

"I shan't believe anyone, I know she doesn't like me," replied
Natasha boldly as she took the letter, and her face expressed a cold
and angry resolution that caused Marya Dmitrievna to look at her
more intently and to frown.

"Don't answer like that, my good girl!" she said. "What I say is
true! Write an answer!" Natasha did not reply and went to her own room
to read Princess Mary's letter.

Princess Mary wrote that she was in despair at the
misunderstanding that had occurred between them. Whatever her father's
feelings might be, she begged Natasha to believe that she could not
help loving her as the one chosen by her brother, for whose
happiness she was ready to sacrifice everything.

"Do not think, however," she wrote, "that my father is
ill-disposed toward you. He is an invalid and an old man who must be
forgiven; but he is good and magnanimous and will love her who makes
his son happy." Princess Mary went on to ask Natasha to fix a time
when she could see her again.

After reading the letter Natasha sat down at the writing table to
answer it. "Dear Princess," she wrote in French quickly and
mechanically, and then paused. What more could she write after all
that had happened the evening before? "Yes, yes! All that has
happened, and now all is changed," she thought as she sat with the
letter she had begun before her. "Must I break off with him? Must I
really? That's awful... and to escape from these dreadful thoughts she
went to Sonya and began sorting patterns with her.

After dinner Natasha went to her room and again took up Princess
Mary's letter. "Can it be that it is all over?" she thought. "Can it
be that all this has happened so quickly and has destroyed all that
went before?" She recalled her love for Prince Andrew in all its
former strength, and at the same time felt that she loved Kuragin. She
vividly pictured herself as Prince Andrew's wife, and the scenes of
happiness with him she had so often repeated in her imagination, and
at the same time, aglow with excitement, recalled every detail of
yesterday's interview with Anatole.

"Why could that not be as well?" she sometimes asked herself in
complete bewilderment. "Only so could I be completely happy; but now I
have to choose, and I can't be happy without either of them. Only,"
she thought, "to tell Prince Andrew what has happened or to hide it
from him are both equally impossible. But with that one nothing is
spoiled. But am I really to abandon forever the joy of Prince Andrew's
love, in which I have lived so long?"

"Please, Miss!" whispered a maid entering the room with a mysterious
air. "A man told me to give you this-" and she handed Natasha a

"Only, for Christ's sake..." the girl went on, as Natasha, without
thinking, mechanically broke the seal and read a love letter from
Anatole, of which, without taking in a word, she understood only
that it was a letter from him- from the man she loved. Yes, she
loved him, or else how could that have happened which had happened?
And how could she have a love letter from him in her hand?

With trembling hands Natasha held that passionate love letter
which Dolokhov had composed for Anatole, and as she read it she
found in it an echo of all that she herself imagined she was feeling.

"Since yesterday evening my fate has been sealed; to be loved by you
or to die. There is no other way for me," the letter began. Then he
went on to say that he knew her parents would not give her to him- for
this there were secret reasons he could reveal only to her- but that
if she loved him she need only say the word yes, and no human power
could hinder their bliss. Love would conquer all. He would steal her
away and carry her off to the ends of the earth.

"Yes, yes! I love him!" thought Natasha, reading the letter for
the twentieth time and finding some peculiarly deep meaning in each
word of it.

That evening Marya Dmitrievna was going to the Akharovs' and
proposed to take the girls with her. Natasha, pleading a headache,
remained at home.

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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 15 War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 15

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 15
On returning late in the evening Sonya went to Natasha's room, andto her surprise found her still dressed and asleep on the sofa. Openon the table, beside her lay Anatole's letter. Sonya picked it upand read it.As she read she glanced at the sleeping Natasha, trying to find inher face an explanation of what she was reading, but did not findit. Her face was calm, gentle, and happy. Clutching her breast to keepherself from choking, Sonya, pale and trembling with fear andagitation, sat down in an armchair and burst into tears."How was it I noticed nothing? How could it go so

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

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 13
Count Rostov took the girls to Countess Bezukhova's. There were agood many people there, but nearly all strangers to Natasha. CountRostov was displeased to see that the company consisted almostentirely of men and women known for the freedom of their conduct.Mademoiselle George was standing in a corner of the drawing roomsurrounded by young men. There were several Frenchmen present, amongthem Metivier who from the time Helene reached Moscow had been anintimate in her house. The count decided not to sit down to cards orlet his girls out of his sight and to get away as soon as MademoiselleGeorge's performance was over.Anatole