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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 17
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War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 17 Post by :pcmatt Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2998

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War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 17

After Prince Andrew, Boris came up to ask Natasha for dance, and
then the aide-de-camp who had opened the ball, and several other young
men, so that, flushed and happy, and passing on her superfluous
partners to Sonya, she did not cease dancing all the evening. She
noticed and saw nothing of what occupied everyone else. Not only did
she fail to notice that the Emperor talked a long time with the French
ambassador, and how particularly gracious he was to a certain lady, or
that Prince So-and-so and So-and-so did and said this and that, and
that Helene had great success and was honored was by the special
attention of So-and-so, but she did not even see the Emperor, and only
noticed that he had gone because the ball became livelier after his
departure. For one of the merry cotillions before supper Prince Andrew
was again her partner. He reminded her of their first encounter in the
Otradnoe avenue, and how she had been unable to sleep that moonlight
night, and told her how he had involuntarily overheard her. Natasha
blushed at that recollection and tried to excuse herself, as if
there had been something to be ashamed of in what Prince Andrew had

Like all men who have grown up in society, Prince Andrew liked
meeting someone there not of the conventional society stamp. And
such was Natasha, with her surprise, her delight, her shyness, and
even her mistakes in speaking French. With her he behaved with special
care and tenderness, sitting beside her and talking of the simplest
and most unimportant matters; he admired her shy grace. In the
middle of the cotillion, having completed one of the figures, Natasha,
still out of breath, was returning to her seat when another dancer
chose her. She was tired and panting and evidently thought of
declining, but immediately put her hand gaily on the man's shoulder,
smiling at Prince Andrew.

"I'd be glad to sit beside you and rest: I'm tired; but you see
how they keep asking me, and I'm glad of it, I'm happy and I love
everybody, and you and I understand it all," and much, much more was
said in her smile. When her partner left her Natasha ran across the
room to choose two ladies for the figure.

"If she goes to her cousin first and then to another lady, she
will be my wife," said Prince Andrew to himself quite to his own
surprise, as he watched her. She did go first to her cousin.

"What rubbish sometimes enters one's head!" thought Prince Andrew,
"but what is certain is that that girl is so charming, so original,
that she won't be dancing here a month before she will be
married.... Such as she are rare here," he thought, as Natasha,
readjusting a rose that was slipping on her bodice, settled herself
beside him.

When the cotillion was over the old count in his blue coat came up
to the dancers. He invited Prince Andrew to come and see them, and
asked his daughter whether she was enjoying herself. Natasha did not
answer at once but only looked up with a smile that said
reproachfully: "How can you ask such a question?"

"I have never enjoyed myself so much before!" she said, and Prince
Andrew noticed how her thin arms rose quickly as if to embrace her
father and instantly dropped again. Natasha was happier than she had
ever been in her life. She was at that height of bliss when one
becomes completely kind and good and does not believe in the
possibility of evil, unhappiness, or sorrow.

At that ball Pierre for the first time felt humiliated by the
position his wife occupied in court circles. He was gloomy and
absent-minded. A deep furrow ran across his forehead, and standing
by a window he stared over his spectacles seeing no one.

On her way to supper Natasha passed him.

Pierre's gloomy, unhappy look struck her. She stopped in front of
him. She wished to help him, to bestow on him the superabundance of
her own happiness.

"How delightful it is, Count!" said she. "Isn't it?"

Pierre smiled absent-mindedly, evidently not grasping what she said.

"Yes, I am very glad," he said.

"How can people be dissatisfied with anything?" thought Natasha.
"Especially such a capital fellow as Bezukhov!" In Natasha's eyes
all the people at the ball alike were good, kind, and splendid people,
loving one another; none of them capable of injuring another- and so
they ought all to be happy.

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War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 18 War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 18

War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 18
Next day Prince Andrew thought of the ball, but his mind did notdwell on it long. "Yes, it was a very brilliant ball," and then..."Yes, that little Rostova is very charming. There's something fresh,original, un-Petersburg-like about her that distinguishes her." Thatwas all he thought about yesterday's ball, and after his morning teahe set to work.But either from fatigue or want of sleep he was ill-disposed forwork and could get nothing done. He kept criticizing his own work,as he often did, and was glad when he heard someone coming.The visitor was Bitski, who served on various committees, frequentedall the societies in Petersburg,

War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 16 War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 16

War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 16
Suddenly everybody stirred, began talking, and pressed forward andthen back, and between the two rows, which separated, the Emperorentered to the sounds of music that had immediately struck up.Behind him walked his host and hostess. He walked in rapidly, bowingto right and left as if anxious to get the first moments of thereception over. The band played the polonaise in vogue at that time onaccount of the words that had been set to it, beginning: "Alexander,Elisaveta, all our hearts you ravish quite..." The Emperor passed onto the drawing room, the crowd made a rush for the doors, andseveral persons with excited