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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 12
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War And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 12 Post by :Roy_Claridge Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1030

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 12 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 12

When they all drove back from Pelageya Danilovna's, Natasha, who
always saw and noticed everything, arranged that she and Madame Schoss
should go back in the sleigh with Dimmler, and Sonya with Nicholas and
the maids.

On the way back Nicholas drove at a steady pace instead of racing
and kept peering by that fantastic all-transforming light into Sonya's
face and searching beneath the eyebrows and mustache for his former
and his present Sonya from whom he had resolved never to be parted
again. He looked and recognizing in her both the old and the new
Sonya, and being reminded by the smell of burnt cork of the
sensation of her kiss, inhaled the frosty air with a full breast
and, looking at the ground flying beneath him and at the sparkling
sky, felt himself again in fairyland.

"Sonya, is it well with thee?" he asked from time to time.

"Yes!" she replied. "And with thee?"

When halfway home Nicholas handed the reins to the coachman and
ran for a moment to Natasha's sleigh and stood on its wing.

"Natasha!" he whispered in French, "do you know I have made up my
mind about Sonya?"

"Have you told her?" asked Natasha, suddenly beaming all over with
joy.

"Oh, how strange you are with that mustache and those eyebrows!...
Natasha- are you glad?"

"I am so glad, so glad! I was beginning to be vexed with you. I
did not tell you, but you have been treating her badly. What a heart
she has, Nicholas! I am horrid sometimes, but I was ashamed to be
happy while Sonya was not," continued Natasha. "Now I am so glad!
Well, run back to her."

"No, wait a bit.... Oh, how funny you look!" cried Nicholas, peering
into her face and finding in his sister too something new, unusual,
and bewitchingly tender that he had not seen in her before.
"Natasha, it's magical, isn't it?"

"Yes," she replied. "You have done splendidly."

"Had I seen her before as she is now," thought Nicholas, "I should
long ago have asked her what to do and have done whatever she told me,
and all would have been well."

"So you are glad and I have done right?"

"Oh, quite right! I had a quarrel with Mamma some time ago about it.
Mamma said she was angling for you. How could she say such a thing!
I nearly stormed at Mamma. I will never let anyone say anything bad of
Sonya, for there is nothing but good in her."

"Then it's all right?" said Nicholas, again scrutinizing the
expression of his sister's face to see if she was in earnest. Then
he jumped down and, his boots scrunching the snow, ran back to his
sleigh. The same happy, smiling Circassian, with mustache and
beaming eyes looking up from under a sable hood, was still sitting
there, and that Circassian was Sonya, and that Sonya was certainly his
future happy and loving wife.

When they reached home and had told their mother how they had
spent the evening at the Melyukovs', the girls went to their
bedroom. When they had undressed, but without washing off the cork
mustaches, they sat a long time talking of their happiness. They
talked of how they would live when they were married, how their
husbands would be friends, and how happy they would be. On Natasha's
table stood two looking glasses which Dunyasha had prepared
beforehand.

"Only when will all that be? I am afraid never.... It would be too
good!" said Natasha, rising and going to the looking glasses.

"Sit down, Natasha; perhaps you'll see him," said Sonya.

Natasha lit the candles, one on each side of one of the looking
glasses, and sat down.

"I see someone with a mustache," said Natasha, seeing her own face.

"You mustn't laugh, Miss," said Dunyasha.

With Sonya's help and the maid's, Natasha got the glass she held
into the right position opposite the other; her face assumed a serious
expression and she sat silent. She sat a long time looking at the
receding line of candles reflected in the glasses and expecting
(from tales she had heard) to see a coffin, or him, Prince Andrew,
in that last dim, indistinctly outlined square. But ready as she was
to take the smallest speck for the image of a man or of a coffin,
she saw nothing. She began blinking rapidly and moved away from the
looking glasses.

"Why is it others see things and I don't?" she said. "You sit down
now, Sonya. You absolutely must, tonight! Do it for me.... Today I
feel so frightened!"

Sonya sat down before the glasses, got the right position, and began
looking.

"Now, Miss Sonya is sure to see something," whispered Dunyasha;
"while you do nothing but laugh."

Sonya heard this and Natasha's whisper:

"I know she will. She saw something last year."

For about three minutes all were silent.

"Of course she will!" whispered Natasha, but did not finish...
suddenly Sonya pushed away the glass she was holding and covered her
eyes with her hand.

"Oh, Natasha!" she cried.

"Did you see? Did you? What was it?" exclaimed Natasha, holding up
the looking glass.

Sonya had not seen anything, she was just wanting to blink and to
get up when she heard Natasha say, "Of course she will!" She did not
wish to disappoint either Dunyasha or Natasha, but it was hard to
sit still. She did not herself know how or why the exclamation escaped
her when she covered her eyes.

"You saw him?" urged Natasha, seizing her hand.

"Yes. Wait a bit... I... saw him," Sonya could not help saying,
not yet knowing whom Natasha meant by him, Nicholas or Prince Andrew.

"But why shouldn't I say I saw something? Others do see! Besides who
can tell whether I saw anything or not?" flashed through Sonya's mind.

"Yes, I saw him," she said.

"How? Standing or lying?"

"No, I saw... At first there was nothing, then I saw him lying
down."

"Andrew lying? Is he ill?" asked Natasha, her frightened eyes
fixed on her friend.

"No, on the contrary, on the contrary! His face was cheerful, and he
turned to me." And when saying this she herself fancied she had really
seen what she described.

"Well, and then, Sonya?..."

"After that, I could not make out what there was; something blue and
red..."

"Sonya! When will he come back? When shall I see him! O, God, how
afraid I am for him and for myself and about everything!..." Natasha
began, and without replying to Sonya's words of comfort she got into
bed, and long after her candle was out lay open-eyed and motionless,
gazing at the moonlight through the frosty windowpanes.

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Soon after the Christmas holidays Nicholas told his mother of hislove for Sonya and of his firm resolve to marry her. The countess, whohad long noticed what was going on between them and was expecting thisdeclaration, listened to him in silence and then told her son thathe might marry whom he pleased, but that neither she nor his fatherwould give their blessing to such a marriage. Nicholas, for thefirst time, felt that his mother was displeased with him and that,despite her love for him, she would not give way. Coldly, withoutlooking at her son, she sent for her husband and, when
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War And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 11 War And Peace - Book Seven: 1810-11 - Chapter 11

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Pelageya Danilovna Melyukova, a broadly built, energetic womanwearing spectacles, sat in the drawing room in a loose dress,surrounded by her daughters whom she was trying to keep from feelingdull. They were quietly dropping melted wax into snow and looking atthe shadows the wax figures would throw on the wall, when they heardthe steps and voices of new arrivals in the vestibule.Hussars, ladies, witches, clowns, and bears, after clearing theirthroats and wiping the hoarfrost from their faces in the vestibule,came into the ballroom where candles were hurriedly lighted. Theclown- Dimmler- and the lady- Nicholas- started a dance. Surrounded bythe screaming children the
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