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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 21
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War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 21 Post by :macleod Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :3300

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War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 21

Pierre, as one of the principal guests, had to sit down to boston
with Count Rostov, the general, and the colonel. At the card table
he happened to be directly facing Natasha, and was struck by a curious
change that had come over her since the ball, She was silent, and
not only less pretty than at the ball, but only redeemed from
plainness by her look of gentle indifference to everything around.

"What's the matter with her?" thought Pierre, glancing at her. She
was sitting by her sister at the tea table, and reluctantly, without
looking at him, made some reply to Boris who sat down beside her.
After playing out a whole suit and to his partner's delight taking
five tricks, Pierre, hearing greetings and the steps of someone who
had entered the room while he was picking up his tricks, glanced again
at Natasha.

"What has happened to her?" he asked himself with still greater

Prince Andrew was standing before her, saying something to her
with a look of tender solicitude. She, having raised her head, was
looking up at him, flushed and evidently trying to master her rapid
breathing. And the bright glow of some inner fire that had been
suppressed was again alight in her. She was completely transformed and
from a plain girl had again become what she had been at the ball.

Prince Andrew went up to Pierre, and the latter noticed a new and
youthful expression in his friend's face.

Pierre changed places several times during the game, sitting now
with his back to Natasha and now facing her, but during the whole of
the six rubbers he watched her and his friend.

"Something very important is happening between them," thought
Pierre, and a feeling that was both joyful and painful agitated him
and made him neglect the game.

After six rubbers the general got up, saying that it was no use
playing like that, and Pierre was released. Natasha on one side was
talking with Sonya and Boris, and Vera with a subtle smile was
saying something to Prince Andrew. Pierre went up to his friend and,
asking whether they were talking secrets, sat down beside them.
Vera, having noticed Prince Andrew's attentions to Natasha, decided
that at a party, a real evening party, subtle allusions to the
tender passion were absolutely necessary and, seizing a moment when
Prince Andrew was alone, began a conversation with him about
feelings in general and about her sister. With so intellectual a guest
as she considered Prince Andrew to be, she felt that she had to employ
her diplomatic tact.

When Pierre went up to them he noticed that Vera was being carried
away by her self-satisfied talk, but that Prince Andrew seemed
embarrassed, a thing that rarely happened with him.

"What do you think?" Vera was saying with an arch smile. "You are so
discerning, Prince, and understand people's characters so well at a
glance. What do you think of Natalie? Could she be constant in her
attachments? Could she, like other women" (Vera meant herself),
"love a man once for all and remain true to him forever? That is
what I consider true love. What do you think, Prince?"

"I know your sister too little," replied Prince Andrew, with a
sarcastic smile under which he wished to hide his embarrassment, "to
be able to solve so delicate a question, and then I have noticed
that the less attractive a woman is the more constant she is likely to
be," he added, and looked up Pierre who was just approaching them.

"Yes, that is true, Prince. In our days," continued Vera- mentioning
"our days" as people of limited intelligence are fond of doing,
imagining that they have discovered and appraised the peculiarities of
"our days" and that human characteristics change with the times- "in
our days a girl has so much freedom that the pleasure of being courted
often stifles real feeling in her. And it must be confessed that
Natalie is very susceptible." This return to the subject of Natalie
caused Prince Andrew to knit his brows with discomfort: he was about
to rise, but Vera continued with a still more subtle smile:

"I think no one has been more courted than she," she went on, "but
till quite lately she never cared seriously for anyone. Now you
know, Count," she said to Pierre, "even our dear cousin Boris, who,
between ourselves, was very far gone in the land of tenderness..."
(alluding to a map of love much in vogue at that time).

Prince Andrew frowned and remained silent.

"You are friendly with Boris, aren't you?" asked Vera.

"Yes, I know him..."

"I expect he has told you of his childish love for Natasha?"

"Oh, there was childish love?" suddenly asked Prince Andrew,
blushing unexpectedly.

"Yes, you know between cousins intimacy often leads to love. Le
cousinage est un dangereux voisinage.* Don't you think so?"

*"Cousinhood is a dangerous neighborhood."

"Oh, undoubtedly!" said Prince Andrew, and with sudden and unnatural
liveliness he began chaffing Pierre about the need to be very
careful with his fifty-year-old Moscow cousins, and in the midst of
these jesting remarks he rose, taking Pierre by the arm, and drew
him aside.

"Well?" asked Pierre, seeing his friend's strange animation with
surprise, and noticing the glance he turned on Natasha as he rose.

"I must... I must have a talk with you," said Prince Andrew. "You
know that pair of women's gloves?" (He referred to the Masonic
gloves given to a newly initiated Brother to present to the woman he
loved.) "I... but no, I will talk to you later on," and with a strange
light in his eyes and restlessness in his movements, Prince Andrew
approached Natasha and sat down beside her. Pierre saw how Prince
Andrew asked her something and how she flushed as she replied.

But at that moment Berg came to Pierre and began insisting that he
should take part in an argument between the general and the colonel on
the affairs in Spain.

Berg was satisfied and happy. The smile of pleasure never left his
face. The party was very successful and quite like other parties he
had seen. Everything was similar: the ladies' subtle talk, the
cards, the general raising his voice at the card table, and the
samovar and the tea cakes; only one thing was lacking that he had
always seen at the evening parties he wished to imitate. They had
not yet had a loud conversation among the men and a dispute about
something important and clever. Now the general had begun such a
discussion and so Berg drew Pierre to it.

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War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 22 War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 22

War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 22
Next day, having been invited by the count, Prince Andrew dined withthe Rostovs and spent the rest of the day there.Everyone in the house realized for whose sake Prince Andrew came,and without concealing it he tried to be with Natasha all day. Notonly in the soul of the frightened yet happy and enraptured Natasha,but in the whole house, there was a feeling of awe at somethingimportant that was bound to happen. The countess looked with sad andsternly serious eyes at Prince Andrew when he talked to Natasha andtimidly started some artificial conversation about trifles as soonas he looked her way. Sonya

War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 20 War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 20

War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 20
One morning Colonel Berg, whom Pierre knew as he knew everybody inMoscow and Petersburg, came to see him. Berg arrived in animmaculate brand-new uniform, with his hair pomaded and brushedforward over his temples as the Emperor Alexander wore his hair."I have just been to see the countess, your wife. Unfortunatelyshe could not grant my request, but I hope, Count, I shall be morefortunate with you," he said with a smile."What is it you wish, Colonel? I am at your service.""I have now quite settled in my new rooms, Count" (Berg said thiswith perfect conviction that this information could not but beagreeable),