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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 15
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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 15 Post by :Lurker Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :3328

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 15 (Format : PDF)

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

On returning late in the evening Sonya went to Natasha's room, and
to her surprise found her still dressed and asleep on the sofa. Open
on the table, beside her lay Anatole's letter. Sonya picked it up
and read it.

As she read she glanced at the sleeping Natasha, trying to find in
her face an explanation of what she was reading, but did not find
it. Her face was calm, gentle, and happy. Clutching her breast to keep
herself from choking, Sonya, pale and trembling with fear and
agitation, sat down in an armchair and burst into tears.

"How was it I noticed nothing? How could it go so far? Can she
have left off loving Prince Andrew? And how could she let Kuragin go
to such lengths? He is a deceiver and a villain, that's plain! What
will Nicholas, dear noble Nicholas, do when he hears of it? So this is
the meaning of her excited, resolute, unnatural look the day before
yesterday, yesterday, and today," thought Sonya. "But it can't be that
she loves him! She probably opened the letter without knowing who it
was from. Probably she is offended by it. She could not do such a
thing!"

Sonya wiped away her tears and went up to Natasha, again scanning
her face.

"Natasha!" she said, just audibly.

Natasha awoke and saw Sonya.

"Ah, you're back?"

And with the decision and tenderness that often come at the moment
of awakening, she embraced her friend, but noticing Sonya's look of
embarrassment, her own face expressed confusion and suspicion.

"Sonya, you've read that letter?" she demanded.

"Yes," answered Sonya softly.

Natasha smiled rapturously.

"No, Sonya, I can't any longer!" she said. "I can't hide it from you
any longer. You know, we love one another! Sonya, darling, he
writes... Sonya..."

Sonya stared open-eyed at Natasha, unable to believe her ears.

"And Bolkonski?" she asked.

"Ah, Sonya, if you only knew how happy I am!" cried Natasha. "You
don't know what love is...."

"But, Natasha, can that be all over?"

Natasha looked at Sonya with wide-open eyes as if she could not
grasp the question.

"Well, then, are you refusing Prince Andrew?" said Sonya.

"Oh, you don't understand anything! Don't talk nonsense, just
listen!" said Natasha, with momentary vexation.

"But I can't believe it," insisted Sonya. "I don't understand. How
is it you have loved a man for a whole year and suddenly... Why, you
have only seen him three times! Natasha, I don't believe you, you're
joking! In three days to forget everything and so..."

"Three days?" said Natasha. "It seems to me I've loved him a hundred
years. It seems to me that I have never loved anyone before. You can't
understand it.... Sonya, wait a bit, sit here," and Natasha embraced
and kissed her.

"I had heard that it happens like this, and you must have heard it
too, but it's only now that I feel such love. It's not the same as
before. As soon as I saw him I felt he was my master and I his
slave, and that I could not help loving him. Yes, his slave!
Whatever he orders I shall do. You don't understand that. What can I
do? What can I do, Sonya?" cried Natasha with a happy yet frightened
expression.

"But think what you are doing," cried Sonya. "I can't leave it
like this. This secret correspondence... How could you let him go so
far?" she went on, with a horror and disgust she could hardly conceal.

"I told you that I have no will," Natasha replied. "Why can't you
understand? I love him!"

"Then I won't let it come to that... I shall tell!" cried Sonya,
bursting into tears.

"What do you mean? For God's sake... If you tell, you are my enemy!"
declared Natasha. "You want me to be miserable, you want us to be
separated...."

When she saw Natasha's fright, Sonya shed tears of shame and pity
for her friend.

"But what has happened between you?" she asked. "What has he said to
you? Why doesn't he come to the house?"

Natasha did not answer her questions.

"For God's sake, Sonya, don't tell anyone, don't torture me,"
Natasha entreated. "Remember no one ought to interfere in such
matters! I have confided in you...."

"But why this secrecy? Why doesn't he come to the house?" asked
Sonya. "Why doesn't he openly ask for your hand? You know Prince
Andrew gave you complete freedom- if it is really so; but I don't
believe it! Natasha, have you considered what these secret reasons can
be?"

Natasha looked at Sonya with astonishment. Evidently this question
presented itself to her mind for the first time and she did not know
how to answer it.

"I don't know what the reasons are. But there must be reasons!"

Sonya sighed and shook her head incredulously.

"If there were reasons..." she began.

But Natasha, guessing her doubts, interrupted her in alarm.

"Sonya, one can't doubt him! One can't, one can't! Don't you
understand?" she cried.

"Does he love you?"

"Does he love me?" Natasha repeated with a smile of pity at her
friend's lack of comprehension. "Why, you have read his letter and you
have seen him."

"But if he is dishonorable?"

"He! dishonorable? If you only knew!" exclaimed Natasha.

"If he is an honorable man he should either declare his intentions
or cease seeing you; and if you won't do this, I will. I will write to
him, and I will tell Papa!" said Sonya resolutely.

"But I can't live without him!" cried Natasha.

"Natasha, I don't understand you. And what are you saying! Think
of your father and of Nicholas."

"I don't want anyone, I don't love anyone but him. How dare you
say he is dishonorable? Don't you know that I love him?" screamed
Natasha. "Go away, Sonya! I don't want to quarrel with you, but go,
for God's sake go! You see how I am suffering!" Natasha cried angrily,
in a voice of despair and repressed irritation. Sonya burst into
sobs and ran from the room.

Natasha went to the table and without a moment's reflection wrote
that answer to Princess Mary which she had been unable to write all
the morning. In this letter she said briefly that all their
misunderstandings were at an end; that availing herself of the
magnanimity of Prince Andrew who when he went abroad had given her her
she begged Princess Mary to forget everything and forgive her if she
had been to blame toward her, but that she could not be his wife. At
that moment this all seemed quite easy, simple, and clear to Natasha.


On Friday the Rostovs were to return to the country, but on
Wednesday the count went with the prospective purchaser to his
estate near Moscow.

On the day the count left, Sonya and Natasha were invited to a big
dinner party at the Karagins', and Marya Dmitrievna took them there.
At that party Natasha again met Anatole, and Sonya noticed that she
spoke to him, trying not to be overheard, and that all through
dinner she was more agitated than ever. When they got home Natasha was
the first to begin the explanation Sonya expected.

"There, Sonya, you were talking all sorts of nonsense about him,"
Natasha began in a mild voice such as children use when they wish to
be praised. "We have had an explanation today."

"Well, what happened? What did he say? Natasha, how glad I am you're
not angry with me! Tell me everything- the whole truth. What did he
say?"

Natasha became thoughtful.

"Oh, Sonya, if you knew him as I do! He said... He asked me what I
had promised Bolkonski. He was glad I was free to refuse him."

Sonya sighed sorrowfully.

"But you haven't refused Bolkonski?" said she.

"Perhaps I have. Perhaps all is over between me and Bolkonski. Why
do you think so badly of me?"

"I don't think anything, only I don't understand this..."

"Wait a bit, Sonya, you'll understand everything. You'll see what
a man he is! Now don't think badly of me or of him. I don't think
badly of anyone: I love and pity everybody. But what am I to do?"

Sonya did not succumb to the tender tone Natasha used toward her.
The more emotional and ingratiating the expression of Natasha's face
became, the more serious and stern grew Sonya's.

"Natasha," said she, "you asked me not to speak to you, and I
haven't spoken, but now you yourself have begun. I don't trust him,
Natasha. Why this secrecy?"

"Again, again!" interrupted Natasha.

"Natasha, I am afraid for you!"

"Afraid of what?"

"I am afraid you're going to your ruin," said Sonya resolutely,
and was herself horrified at what she had said.

Anger again showed in Natasha's face.

"And I'll go to my ruin, I will, as soon as possible! It's not
your business! It won't be you, but I, who'll suffer. Leave me
alone, leave me alone! I hate you!"

Natasha!" moaned Sonya, aghast.

"I hate you, I hate you! You're my enemy forever!" And Natasha ran
out of the room.

Natasha did not speak to Sonya again and avoided her. With the
same expression of agitated surprise and guilt she went about the
house, taking up now one occupation, now another, and at once
abandoning them.

Hard as it was for Sonya, she watched her friend and did not let her
out of her sight.

The day before the count was to return, Sonya noticed that Natasha
sat by the drawingroom window all the morning as if expecting
something and that she made a sign to an officer who drove past,
whom Sonya took to be Anatole.

Sonya began watching her friend still more attentively and noticed
that at dinner and all that evening Natasha was in a strange and
unnatural state. She answered questions at random, began sentences she
did not finish, and laughed at everything.

After tea Sonya noticed a housemaid at Natasha's door timidly
waiting to let her pass. She let the girl go in, and then listening at
the door learned that another letter had been delivered.

Then suddenly it became clear to Sonya that Natasha had some
dreadful plan for that evening. Sonya knocked at her door. Natasha did
not let her in.

"She will run away with him!" thought Sonya. "She is capable of
anything. There was something particularly pathetic and resolute in
her face today. She cried as she said good-by to Uncle," Sonya
remembered. "Yes, that's it, she means to elope with him, but what
am I to do?" thought she, recalling all the signs that clearly
indicated that Natasha had some terrible intention. "The count is
away. What am I to do? Write to Kuragin demanding an explanation?
But what is there to oblige him to reply? Write to Pierre, as Prince
Andrew asked me to in case of some misfortune?... But perhaps she
really has already refused Bolkonski- she sent a letter to Princess
Mary yesterday. And Uncle is away...." To tell Marya Dmitrievna who
had such faith in Natasha seemed to Sonya terrible. "Well, anyway,"
thought Sonya as she stood in the dark passage, "now or never I must
prove that I remember the family's goodness to me and that I love
Nicholas. Yes! If I don't sleep for three nights I'll not leave this
passage and will hold her back by force and will and not let the
family be disgraced," thought she.

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Anatole had lately moved to Dolokhov's. The plan for NatalieRostova's abduction had been arranged and the preparations made byDolokhov a few days before, and on the day that Sonya, after listeningat Natasha's door, resolved to safeguard her, it was to have beenput into execution. Natasha had promised to come out to Kuragin at theback porch at ten that evening. Kuragin was to put her into a troykahe would have ready and to drive her forty miles to the village ofKamenka an unfrocked priest was in readiness to perform amarriage ceremony over them. At Kamenka a relay of horses was towait
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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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