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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 22
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War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 22 Post by :myonlineincome Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1868

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

Next day, having been invited by the count, Prince Andrew dined with
the 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. Not
only in the soul of the frightened yet happy and enraptured Natasha,
but in the whole house, there was a feeling of awe at something
important that was bound to happen. The countess looked with sad and
sternly serious eyes at Prince Andrew when he talked to Natasha and
timidly started some artificial conversation about trifles as soon
as he looked her way. Sonya was afraid to leave Natasha and afraid
of being in the way when she was with them. Natasha grew pale, in a
panic of expectation, when she remained alone with him for a moment.
Prince Andrew surprised her by his timidity. She felt that he wanted
to say something to her but could not bring himself to do so.

In the evening, when Prince Andrew had left, the countess went up to
Natasha and whispered: "Well, what?"

"Mamma! For heaven's sake don't ask me anything now! One can't
talk about that," said Natasha.

But all the same that night Natasha, now agitated and now
frightened, lay long time in her mother's bed gazing straight before
her. She told her how he had complimented her, how he told her he
was going abroad, asked her where they were going to spend the summer,
and then how he had asked her about Boris.

"But such a... such a... never happened to me before!" she said.
"Only I feel afraid in his presence. I am always afraid when I'm
with him. What does that mean? Does it mean that it's the real
thing? Yes? Mamma, are you asleep?"

"No, my love; I am frightened myself," answered her mother. "Now

"All the same I shan't sleep. What silliness, to sleep! Mummy!
Mummy! such a thing never happened to me before," she said,
surprised and alarmed at the feeling she was aware of in herself. "And
could we ever have thought!..."

It seemed to Natasha that even at the time she first saw Prince
Andrew at Otradnoe she had fallen in love with him. It was as if she
feared this strange, unexpected happiness of meeting again the very
man she had then chosen (she was firmly convinced she had done so) and
of finding him, as it seemed, not indifferent to her.

"And it had to happen that he should come specially to Petersburg
while we are here. And it had to happen that we should meet at that
ball. It is fate. Clearly it is fate that everything led up to this!
Already then, directly I saw him I felt something peculiar."

"What else did he say to you? What are those verses? Read them..."
said her mother, thoughtfully, referring to some verses Prince
Andrew had written in Natasha's album.

"Mamma, one need not be ashamed of his being a widower?"

"Don't, Natasha! Pray to God. 'Marriages are made in heaven,'"
said her mother.

"Darling Mummy, how I love you! How happy I am!" cried Natasha,
shedding tears of joy and excitement and embracing her mother.

At that very time Prince Andrew was sitting with Pierre and
telling him of his love for Natasha and his firm resolve to make her
his wife.

That day Countess Helene had a reception at her house. The French
ambassador was there, and a foreign prince of the blood who had of
late become a frequent visitor of hers, and many brilliant ladies
and gentlemen. Pierre, who had come downstairs, walked through the
rooms and struck everyone by his preoccupied, absent-minded, and
morose air.

Since the ball he had felt the approach of a fit of nervous
depression and had made desperate efforts to combat it. Since the
intimacy of his wife with the royal prince, Pierre had unexpectedly
been made a gentleman of the bedchamber, and from that time he had
begun to feel oppressed and ashamed in court society, and dark
thoughts of the vanity of all things human came to him oftener than
before. At the same time the feeling he had noticed between his
protegee Natasha and Prince Andrew accentuated his gloom by the
contrast between his own position and his friend's. He tried equally
to avoid thinking about his wife, and about Natasha and Prince Andrew;
and again everything seemed to him insignificant in comparison with
eternity; again the question: for what? presented itself; and he
forced himself to work day and night at Masonic labors, hoping to
drive away the evil spirit that threatened him. Toward midnight, after
he had left the countess' apartments, he was sitting upstairs in a
shabby dressing gown, copying out the original transaction of the
Scottish lodge of Freemasons at a table in his low room cloudy with
tobacco smoke, when someone came in. It was Prince Andrew.

"Ah, it's you!" said Pierre with a preoccupied, dissatisfied air.
"And I, you see, am hard at it." He pointed to his manuscript book
with that air of escaping from the ills of life with which unhappy
people look at their work.

Prince Andrew, with a beaming, ecstatic expression of renewed life
on his face, paused in front of Pierre and, not noticing his sad look,
smiled at him with the egotism of joy.

"Well, dear heart," said he, "I wanted to tell you about it
yesterday and I have come to do so today. I never experienced anything
like it before. I am in love, my friend!"

Suddenly Pierre heaved a deep sigh and dumped his heavy person
down on the sofa beside Prince Andrew.

"With Natasha Rostova, yes?" said he.

"Yes, yes! Who else should it be? I should never have believed it,
but the feeling is stronger than I. Yesterday I tormented myself and
suffered, but I would not exchange even that torment for anything in
the world, I have not lived till now. At last I live, but I can't live
without her! But can she love me?... I am too old for her.... Why
don't you speak?"

"I? I? What did I tell you?" said Pierre suddenly, rising and
beginning to pace up and down the room. "I always thought it....
That girl is such a treasure... she is a rare girl.... My dear friend,
I entreat you, don't philosophize, don't doubt, marry, marry,
marry.... And I am sure there will not be a happier man than you."

"But what of her?"

"She loves you."

"Don't talk rubbish..." said Prince Andrew, smiling and looking into
Pierre's eyes.

"She does, I know," Pierre cried fiercely.

"But do listen," returned Prince Andrew, holding him by the arm. "Do
you know the condition I am in? I must talk about it to someone."

"Well, go on, go on. I am very glad," said Pierre, and his face
really changed, his brow became smooth, and he listened gladly to
Prince Andrew. Prince Andrew seemed, and really was, quite a
different, quite a new man. Where was his spleen, his contempt for
life, his disillusionment? Pierre was the only person to whom he
made up his mind to speak openly; and to him he told all that was in
his soul. Now he boldly and lightly made plans for an extended future,
said he could not sacrifice his own happiness to his father's caprice,
and spoke of how he would either make his father consent to this
marriage and love her, or would do without his consent; then he
marveled at the feeling that had mastered him as at something strange,
apart from and independent of himself.

"I should not have believed anyone who told me that I was capable of
such love," said Prince Andrew. "It is not at all the same feeling
that I knew in the past. The whole world is now for me divided into
two halves: one half is she, and there all is joy, hope, light: the
other half is everything where she is not, and there is all gloom
and darkness...."

"Darkness and gloom," reiterated Pierre: "yes, yes, I understand

"I cannot help loving the light, it is not my fault. And I am very
happy! You understand me? I know you are glad for my sake."

"Yes, yes," Pierre assented, looking at his friend with a touched
and sad expression in his eyes. The brighter Prince Andrew's lot
appeared to him, the gloomier seemed his own.

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War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 23 War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 23

War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 23
Prince Andrew needed his father's consent to his marriage, and toobtain this he started for the country next day.His father received his son's communication with external composure,but inward wrath. He could not comprehend how anyone could wish toalter his life or introduce anything new into it, when his own lifewas already ending. "If only they would let me end my days as I wantto," thought the old man, "then they might do as they please." Withhis son, however, he employed the diplomacy he reserved forimportant occasions and, adopting a quiet tone, discussed the wholematter.In the first place the marriage was not

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

War And Peace - Book Six 1808-10 - Chapter 21
Pierre, as one of the principal guests, had to sit down to bostonwith Count Rostov, the general, and the colonel. At the card tablehe happened to be directly facing Natasha, and was struck by a curiouschange that had come over her since the ball, She was silent, andnot only less pretty than at the ball, but only redeemed fromplainness by her look of gentle indifference to everything around."What's the matter with her?" thought Pierre, glancing at her. Shewas sitting by her sister at the tea table, and reluctantly, withoutlooking at him, made some reply to Boris who sat down beside her.After