You see... was all Natasha managed to utter (to her everything seemed funny).
Natasha, raising her face for a moment from her mother's mantilla, glanced up at her through tears of laughter, and again hid her face.
"Tell me, my dear," said she to Natasha, "is Mimi a relation of yours?
Natasha did not like the visitor's tone of condescension to childish things.
When Natasha ran out of the drawing room she only went as far as the conservatory.
At this Natasha dashed swiftly among the flower tubs and hid there.
Natasha, very still, peered out from her ambush, waiting to see what he would do.
Natasha was about to call him but changed her mind.
Natasha checked her first impulse to run out to her, and remained in her hiding place, watching--as under an invisible cap--to see what went on in the world.
"Oh, how nice," thought Natasha; and when Sonya and Nicholas had gone out of the conservatory she followed and called Boris to her.
"Natasha," he said, "you know that I love you, but..."
Boris and Natasha were at the other window and ceased talking when Vera entered.
Sonya and Natasha looked at Vera with guilty, happy faces.
And at your age what secrets can there be between Natasha and Boris, or between you two?
"Now, Vera, what does it matter to you?" said Natasha in defense, speaking very gently.
"All have secrets of their own," answered Natasha, getting warmer.
This was Lieutenant Berg, an officer in the Semenov regiment with whom Boris was to travel to join the army, and about whom Natasha had teased her elder sister Vera, speaking of Berg as her "intended."
(Marya Dmitrievna always called Natasha a Cossack) and she stroked the child's arm as she came up fearless and gay to kiss her hand.
She took a pair of pear-shaped ruby earrings from her huge reticule and, having given them to the rosy Natasha, who beamed with the pleasure of her saint's-day fete, turned away at once and addressed herself to Pierre.
Boris was telling his new friend Pierre who the guests were and exchanging glances with Natasha, who was sitting opposite.
Natasha, who sat opposite, was looking at Boris as girls of thirteen look at the boy they are in love with and have just kissed for the first time.
I have asked, whispered Natasha to her little brother and to Pierre, glancing at him again.
Natasha only desisted when she had been told that there would be pineapple ice.
After she had played a little air with variations on the harp, she joined the other young ladies in begging Natasha and Nicholas, who were noted for their musical talent, to sing something.
Natasha, who was treated as though she were grown up, was evidently very proud of this but at the same time felt shy.
Natasha wept, sitting on the blue-striped feather bed and hugging her friend.
Natasha, what have I done to deserve it?...
Natasha lifted her up, hugged her, and, smiling through her tears, began comforting her.
Natasha kissed her on the hair.
"Really, truly!" answered Natasha, pushing in a crisp lock that had strayed from under her friend's plaits.
"Do you know, that fat Pierre who sat opposite me is so funny!" said Natasha, stopping suddenly.
When the music began Natasha came in and walking straight up to Pierre said, laughing and blushing:
Natasha was perfectly happy; she was dancing with a grown-up man, who had been abroad.
Natasha blushed and laughed.
"Look at Papa!" shouted Natasha to the whole company, and quite forgetting that she was dancing with a grown-up partner she bent her curly head to her knees and made the whole room ring with her laughter.
Natasha kept pulling everyone by sleeve or dress, urging them to "look at Papa!" though as it was they never took their eyes off the couple.
I'm sure of it! exclaimed Natasha, reading confirmation in Anna Mikhaylovna's face.
"No, on my true word of honor," said Natasha, crossing herself, "I won't tell anyone!" and she ran off at once to Sonya.
Natasha, seeing the impression the news of her brother's wound produced on Sonya, felt for the first time the sorrowful side of the news.
Natasha smiled through her tears.
Natasha suddenly asked, after a moment's silence.
"No, Sonya, but do you remember so that you remember him perfectly, remember everything?" said Natasha, with an expressive gesture, evidently wishing to give her words a very definite meaning.
Natasha looked at Sonya with wondering and inquisitive eyes, and said nothing.
But Natasha had not yet felt anything like it.
Vera, Natasha, Sonya, and Petya now entered the room, and the reading of the letter began.
After a brief description of the campaign and the two battles in which he had taken part, and his promotion, Nicholas said that he kissed his father's and mother's hands asking for their blessing, and that he kissed Vera, Natasha, and Petya.
This was quite true, but the count, the countess, and Natasha looked at her reproachfully.
Natasha... sister, black eyes...
Natasha... sabretache... saber them...
He could not distinguish which was Papa, which Natasha, and which Petya.
Sonya, Natasha, Petya, Anna Mikhaylovna, Vera, and the old count were all hugging him, and the serfs, men and maids, flocked into the room, exclaiming and oh-ing and ah-ing.
Natasha, after she had pulled him down toward her and covered his face with kisses, holding him tight by the skirt of his coat, sprang away and pranced up and down in one place like a goat and shrieked piercingly.
"Darling Denisov!" screamed Natasha, beside herself with rapture, springing to him, putting her arms round him, and kissing him.
It was Natasha, Sonya, and Petya, who had come to see whether they were getting up.
Natasha had put on one spurred boot and was just getting her foot into the other.
Sonya ran away, but Natasha, taking her brother's arm, led him into the sitting room, where they began talking.
Isn't it? asked Natasha, so seriously and excitedly that it was evident that what she was now saying she had talked of before, with tears.
"No, no!" cried Natasha, "she and I have already talked it over.
"Oh, what nonsense!" cried Natasha, laughing.
Curving her arms, Natasha held out her skirts as dancers do, ran back a few steps, turned, cut a caper, brought her little feet sharply together, and made some steps on the very tips of her toes.
"But that's all rubbish," Natasha chattered on.
And Natasha rose and went out of the room on tiptoe, like a ballet dancer, but smiling as only happy girls of fifteen can smile.
Vera's remark was correct, as her remarks always were, but, like most of her observations, it made everyone feel uncomfortable, not only Sonya, Nicholas, and Natasha, but even the old countess, who--dreading this love affair which might hinder Nicholas from making a brilliant match-- blushed like a girl.
He was pointedly attentive to Sonya and looked at her in such a way that not only could she not bear his glances without coloring, but even the old countess and Natasha blushed when they saw his looks.
He called Natasha and asked her what was the matter.
"And I was looking for you," said Natasha running out to him.
He tried to say, "That's capital; of course she'll forget her childish promises and accept the offer," but before he had time to say it Natasha began again.
And Natasha kissed her brother and ran away.
Natasha no less proud of her first long dress and of being at a real ball was even happier.
Natasha fell in love the very moment she entered the ballroom.
"Countess Natasha," answered Denisov.
Denisov sat down by the old ladies and, leaning on his saber and beating time with his foot, told them something funny and kept them amused, while he watched the young people dancing, Iogel with Natasha, his pride and his best pupil, were the first couple.
Noiselessly, skillfully stepping with his little feet in low shoes, Iogel flew first across the hall with Natasha, who, though shy, went on carefully executing her steps.
"Please, Vasili Dmitrich," Natasha was saying, "do come!"
Natasha guessed what he meant to do, and abandoning herself to him followed his lead hardly knowing how.
When at last, smartly whirling his partner round in front of her chair, he drew up with a click of his spurs and bowed to her, Natasha did not even make him a curtsy.
Denisov, flushed after the mazurka and mopping himself with his handkerchief, sat down by Natasha and did not leave her for the rest of the evening.
With a sinking heart he watched Dolokhov's hands and thought, "Now then, make haste and let me have this card and I'll take my cap and drive home to supper with Denisov, Natasha, and Sonya, and will certainly never touch a card again."
At that moment his home life, jokes with Petya, talks with Sonya, duets with Natasha, piquet with his father, and even his comfortable bed in the house on the Povarskaya rose before him with such vividness, clearness, and charm that it seemed as if it were all a lost and unappreciated bliss, long past.
"Ah, and here's Nicholas!" cried Natasha, running up to him.
"I am so glad you've come!" said Natasha, without answering him.
Natasha was preparing to sing.
Natasha too, with her quick instinct, had instantly noticed her brother's condition.
Natasha took the first note, her throat swelled, her chest rose, her eyes became serious.
Natasha, that winter, had for the first time begun to sing seriously, mainly because Denisov so delighted in her singing.
Now then, Natasha, now then, dearest!
But no sooner had Natasha finished her barcarolle than reality again presented itself.
Natasha came running to her mother, quite excited.
I am telling you the fact, said Natasha indignantly.
"No, he's not a fool!" replied Natasha indignantly and seriously.
It's all very well for you, said Natasha, with a responsive smile.
I shall speak to him myself, said the countess, indignant that they should have dared to treat this little Natasha as grown up.
I will tell him myself, and you'll listen at the door, and Natasha ran across the drawing room to the dancing hall, where Denisov was sitting on the same chair by the clavichord with his face in his hands.
Natasha could not remain calm, seeing him in such a plight.
During the dull day, in the course of which he was entertained by his elderly hosts and by the more important of the visitors (the old count's house was crowded on account of an approaching name day), Prince Andrew repeatedly glanced at Natasha, gay and laughing among the younger members of the company, and asked himself each time, What is she thinking about?
Natasha was sixteen and it was the year 1809, the very year to which she had counted on her fingers with Boris after they had kissed four years ago.
The memory of Natasha was his most poetic recollection.
But he went with the firm intention of letting her and her parents feel that the childish relations between himself and Natasha could not be binding either on her or on him.
When he entered the Rostovs' drawing room Natasha was in her own room.
Natasha sat down and, without joining in Boris' conversation with the countess, silently and minutely studied her childhood's suitor.
This Natasha noticed at once.
All this time Natasha sat silent, glancing up at him from under her brows.
Boris made up his mind to avoid meeting Natasha, but despite that resolution he called again a few days later and began calling often and spending whole days at the Rostovs'.
It seemed to him that he ought to have an explanation with Natasha and tell her that the old times must be forgotten, that in spite of everything... she could not be his wife, that he had no means, and they would never let her marry him.
It seemed to her mother and Sonya that Natasha was in love with Boris as of old.
Natasha jumped on it, sank into the feather bed, rolled over to the wall, and began snuggling up the bedclothes as she settled down, raising her knees to her chin, kicking out and laughing almost inaudibly, now covering herself up head and all, and now peeping at her mother.
In her behavior to her mother Natasha seemed rough, but she was so sensitive and tactful that however she clasped her mother she always managed to do it without hurting her or making her feel uncomfortable or displeased.
Natasha put her hand on her mother's mouth.
Natasha, you are sixteen.
Natasha was lying looking steadily straight before her at one of the mahogany sphinxes carved on the corners of the bedstead, so that the countess only saw her daughter's face in profile.
Natasha was listening and considering.
"Why not?" said Natasha, without changing her position.
Natasha did not let her finish.
But this is what I'll do, Natasha, I'll have a talk with Boris.
What nonsense! said Natasha in the tone of one being deprived of her property.
Natasha smiled and looked at her mother.
Natasha continued: Don't you really understand?
Natasha jumped up, snatched up her slippers, and ran barefoot to her own room.
Natasha was going to her first grand ball.
Sonya was finishing dressing and so was the countess, but Natasha, who had bustled about helping them all, was behindhand.
"That's not the way, that's not the way, Sonya!" cried Natasha turning her head and clutching with both hands at her hair which the maid who was dressing it had not time to release.
Sonya sat down and Natasha pinned the ribbon on differently.
They had decided to be at the ball by half past ten, and Natasha had still to get dressed and they had to call at the Taurida Gardens.
When her hair was done, Natasha, in her short petticoat from under which her dancing shoes showed, and in her mother's dressing jacket, ran up to Sonya, scrutinized her, and then ran to her mother.
Natasha began putting on the dress.
Charming! cried Natasha, as she stood in the middle of the room smoothing out the folds of the gauze.
"Say what you like," exclaimed Sonya, in a despairing voice as she looked at Natasha, "say what you like, it's still too long."
Natasha had not had a moment free since early morning and had not once had time to think of what lay before her.
Natasha looked in the mirrors and could not distinguish her reflection from the others.
On entering the ballroom the regular hum of voices, footsteps, and greetings deafened Natasha, and the light and glitter dazzled her still more.
The host also followed Natasha with his eyes and asked the count which was his daughter.
Natasha heard and felt that several people were asking about her and looking at her.
Natasha at once recognized the shorter and younger man in the white uniform: it was Bolkonski, who seemed to her to have grown much younger, happier, and better-looking.
"There's someone else we know--Bolkonski, do you see, Mamma?" said Natasha, pointing out Prince Andrew.
The handsome Anatole was smilingly talking to a partner on his arm and looked at Natasha as one looks at a wall.
This family gathering seemed humiliating to Natasha--as if there were nowhere else for the family to talk but here at the ball.
Natasha gazed at them and was ready to cry because it was not she who was dancing that first turn of the waltz.
"I have the pleasure of being already acquainted, if the countess remembers me," said Prince Andrew with a low and courteous bow quite belying Peronskaya's remarks about his rudeness, and approaching Natasha he held out his arm to grasp her waist before he had completed his invitation.
Prince Andrew was one of the best dancers of his day and Natasha danced exquisitely.
And such was Natasha, with her surprise, her delight, her shyness, and even her mistakes in speaking French.
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.
When her partner left her Natasha ran across the room to choose two ladies for the figure.
Such as she are rare here, he thought, as Natasha, readjusting a rose that was slipping on her bodice, settled herself beside him.
On her way to supper Natasha passed him.
Natasha was one of the first to meet him.
After dinner Natasha, at Prince Andrew's request, went to the clavichord and began singing.
He looked at Natasha as she sang, and something new and joyful stirred in his soul.
As soon as Natasha had finished she went up to him and asked how he liked her voice.
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.
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.
Natasha on one side was talking with Sonya and Boris, and Vera with a subtle smile was saying something to Prince Andrew.
"Well?" asked Pierre, seeing his friend's strange animation with surprise, and noticing the glance he turned on Natasha as he rose.
"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.
Everyone in the house realized for whose sake Prince Andrew came, and without concealing it he tried to be with Natasha all day.
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.
In the evening, when Prince Andrew had left, the countess went up to Natasha and whispered: "Well, what?"
But all the same that night Natasha, now agitated and now frightened, lay a long time in her mother's bed gazing straight before her.
It seemed to Natasha that even at the time she first saw Prince Andrew at Otradnoe she had fallen in love with him.
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.
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.
"With Natasha Rostova, yes?" said he.
Next day after her talk with her mother Natasha expected Bolkonski all day, but he did not come.
Pierre did not come either and Natasha, not knowing that Prince Andrew had gone to see his father, could not explain his absence to herself.
Natasha had no desire to go out anywhere and wandered from room to room like a shadow, idle and listless.
The countess began to soothe Natasha, who after first listening to her mother's words, suddenly interrupted her:
"How charming that Natasha is!" she said again, speaking as some third, collective, male person.
Natasha was looking at the mirror, but did not see herself.
Pale and agitated, Natasha ran into the drawing room.
As soon as he saw Natasha his face brightened.
I only got back last night," he said glancing at Natasha; "I want to have a talk with you, Countess," he added after a moment's pause.
Natasha glanced with frightened imploring eyes at Prince Andrew and at her mother and went out.
It is true that Natasha is still young, but--so long as that?...
Sonya said that Natasha was in her bedroom.
Natasha was sitting on the bed, pale and dry eyed, and was gazing at the icons and whispering something as she rapidly crossed herself.
Natasha never remembered how she entered the drawing room.
Natasha murmured as if in vexation.
Natasha listened with concentrated attention, trying but failing to take in the meaning of his words.
Natasha repeated suddenly, only now realizing that the marriage was to be postponed for a year.
Natasha did not hear him.
Natasha suddenly cried, and again burst into sobs.
Naturally neither Natasha nor her parents wished to hear of this, but Prince Andrew was firm.
He came every day to the Rostovs', but did not behave to Natasha as an affianced lover: he did not use the familiar thou, but said you to her, and kissed only her hand.
At first the family felt some constraint in intercourse with Prince Andrew; he seemed a man from another world, and for a long time Natasha trained the family to get used to him, proudly assuring them all that he only appeared to be different, but was really just like all of them, and that she was not afraid of him and no one else ought to be.
He could talk about rural economy with the count, fashions with the countess and Natasha, and about albums and fancywork with Sonya.
Natasha shared this as she did all his feelings, which she constantly divined.
Prince Andrew blushed, as he often did now--Natasha particularly liked it in him--and said that his son would not live with them.
"Why not?" asked Natasha in a frightened tone.
When Prince Andrew spoke (he could tell a story very well), Natasha listened to him with pride; when she spoke she noticed with fear and joy that he gazed attentively and scrutinizingly at her.
He was talking to the countess, and Natasha sat down beside a little chess table with Sonya, thereby inviting Prince Andrew to come too.
He informed her of his engagement to Natasha Rostova.
Petya and Natasha surprised Nicholas most.
As for Natasha, for a long while Nicholas wondered and laughed whenever he looked at her.
"Yes, yes, yes!" cried Natasha, joyfully.
But just as Daniel was about to go Natasha came in with rapid steps, not having done up her hair or finished dressing and with her old nurse's big shawl wrapped round her.
"Yes, we are going," replied Nicholas reluctantly, for today, as he intended to hunt seriously, he did not want to take Natasha and Petya.
I shall certainly go, said Natasha decisively.
Nicholas, with a stern and serious air which showed that now was no time for attending to trifles, went past Natasha and Petya who were trying to tell him something.
Natasha, muffled up in shawls which did not hide her eager face and shining eyes, galloped up to them.
Natasha sat easily and confidently on her black Arabchik and reined him in without effort with a firm hand.
He knew me, said Natasha, referring to her favorite hound.
Rostov, having finally settled with "Uncle" where they should set on the hounds, and having shown Natasha where she was to stand--a spot where nothing could possibly run out--went round above the ravine.
The old count went home, and Natasha and Petya promised to return very soon, but as it was still early the hunt went farther.
Nicholas sent the man to call Natasha and Petya to him, and rode at a footpace to the place where the whips were getting the hounds together.
Nicholas dismounted, and with Natasha and Petya, who had ridden up, stopped near the hounds, waiting to see how the matter would end.
Natasha, afraid that her brother would do something dreadful, had followed him in some excitement.
(he again raised his cap to Natasha) "but as for counting skins and what one takes, I don't care about that."
Natasha saw and felt the agitation the two elderly men and her brother were trying to conceal, and was herself excited by it.
At the same moment Natasha, without drawing breath, screamed joyously, ecstatically, and so piercingly that it set everyone's ear tingling.
A huntsman was sent to Otradnoe for a trap, while Nicholas rode with Natasha and Petya to "Uncle's" house.
"How is it you didn't go head over heels?" asked the boldest of all, addressing Natasha directly.
"Uncle" lifted Natasha off her horse and taking her hand led her up the rickety wooden steps of the porch.
Natasha, Nicholas, and Petya took off their wraps and sat down on the sofa.
Natasha and Nicholas were silent.
They looked at one another (now that the hunt was over and they were in the house, Nicholas no longer considered it necessary to show his manly superiority over his sister), Natasha gave him a wink, and neither refrained long from bursting into a peal of ringing laughter even before they had a pretext ready to account for it.
And Natasha felt that this costume, the very one she had regarded with surprise and amusement at Otradnoe, was just the right thing and not at all worse than a swallow-tail or frock coat.
"Take this, little Lady-Countess!" she kept saying, as she offered Natasha first one thing and then another.
Natasha ate of everything and thought she had never seen or eaten such buttermilk cakes, such aromatic jam, such honey-and-nut sweets, or such a chicken anywhere.
After supper, over their cherry brandy, Rostov and "Uncle" talked of past and future hunts, of Rugay and Ilagin's dogs, while Natasha sat upright on the sofa and listened with sparkling eyes.
Natasha felt so lighthearted and happy in these novel surroundings that she only feared the trap would come for her too soon.
"More, please, more!" cried Natasha at the door as soon as the balalayka ceased.
The tune, played with precision and in exact time, began to thrill in the hearts of Nicholas and Natasha, arousing in them the same kind of sober mirth as radiated from Anisya Fedorovna's whole being.
Go on, Uncle, go on! shouted Natasha as soon as he had finished.
"Go on, Uncle dear," Natasha wailed in an imploring tone as if her life depended on it.
"Now then, niece!" he exclaimed, waving to Natasha the hand that had just struck a chord.
Natasha threw off the shawl from her shoulders, ran forward to face "Uncle," and setting her arms akimbo also made a motion with her shoulders and struck an attitude.
Natasha was in ecstasies over "Uncle's" singing.
Natasha and Nicholas got into the other.
"Uncle" wrapped Natasha up warmly and took leave of her with quite a new tenderness.
"Good-bye, dear niece," his voice called out of the darkness--not the voice Natasha had known previously, but the one that had sung As 'twas growing dark last night.
"What a darling Uncle is!" said Natasha, when they had come out onto the highroad.
I feel so comfortable! answered Natasha, almost perplexed by her feelings.
"I know, I expect you thought of him," said Nicholas, smiling as Natasha knew by the sound of his voice.
"Rubbish, nonsense, humbug!" exclaimed Nicholas, and he thought: "How charming this Natasha of mine is!
Natasha and Nicholas often noticed their parents conferring together anxiously and privately and heard suggestions of selling the fine ancestral Rostov house and estate near Moscow.
Natasha was still as much in love with her betrothed, found the same comfort in that love, and was still as ready to throw herself into all the pleasures of life as before; but at the end of the fourth month of their separation she began to have fits of depression which she could not master.
Natasha came into the room, went up to Sonya, glanced at what she was doing, and then went up to her mother and stood without speaking.
I want him! said Natasha, with glittering eyes and no sign of a smile.
Having released Mavrushka, Natasha crossed the dancing hall and went to the vestibule.
Natasha liked to test her power over him.
No one in the house sent people about or gave them as much trouble as Natasha did.
Natasha sat down, listened to their talk with a serious and thoughtful air, and then got up again.
Natasha glanced at her and at the crack in the pantry door, and it seemed to her that she remembered the light falling through that crack once before and Sonya passing with a glass in her hand.
That's just how she started and just how she came up smiling timidly when all this happened before," thought Natasha, "and in just the same way I thought there was something lacking in her."
"Ah, here she is!" said the old count, when he saw Natasha enter.
But Natasha stayed by her mother and glanced round as if looking for something.
The same faces, the same talk, Papa holding his cup and blowing in the same way! thought Natasha, feeling with horror a sense of repulsion rising up in her for the whole household, because they were always the same.
After tea, Nicholas, Sonya, and Natasha went to the sitting room, to their favorite corner where their most intimate talks always began.
Dimmler struck a chord and, turning to Natasha, Nicholas, and Sonya, remarked: "How quiet you young people are!"
"Yes, we're philosophizing," said Natasha, glancing round for a moment and then continuing the conversation.
Dimmler began to play; Natasha went on tiptoe noiselessly to the table, took up a candle, carried it out, and returned, seating herself quietly in her former place.
"Do you know," said Natasha in a whisper, moving closer to Nicholas and Sonya, "that when one goes on and on recalling memories, one at last begins to remember what happened before one was in the world..."
"No, I don't believe we ever were in animals," said Natasha, still in a whisper though the music had ceased.
Natasha rejoined with conviction.
"Mamma, I don't at all want to," replied Natasha, but all the same she rose.
None of them, not even the middle-aged Dimmler, wanted to break off their conversation and quit that corner in the sitting room, but Natasha got up and Nicholas sat down at the clavichord.
Standing as usual in the middle of the hall and choosing the place where the resonance was best, Natasha began to sing her mother's favorite song.
She thought of Natasha and of her own youth, and of how there was something unnatural and dreadful in this impending marriage of Natasha and Prince Andrew.
Her maternal instinct told her that Natasha had too much of something, and that because of this she would not be happy.
Before Natasha had finished singing, fourteen-year-old Petya rushed in delightedly, to say that some mummers had arrived.
An hussar was Natasha, and a Circassian was Sonya with burnt-cork mustache and eyebrows.
Natasha was foremost in setting a merry holiday tone, which, passing from one to another, grew stronger and reached its climax when they all came out into the frost and got into the sleighs, talking, calling to one another, laughing, and shouting.
"I think this used to be Natasha," thought Nicholas, "and that was Madame Schoss, but perhaps it's not, and this Circassian with the mustache I don't know, but I love her."
"Ah! ah!" screamed Natasha, rolling her eyes with horror.
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.
"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.
Natasha--are you glad?
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"You saw him?" urged Natasha, seizing her hand.
Is he ill? asked Natasha, her frightened eyes fixed on her friend.
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.
Natasha set to work to effect a reconciliation, and so far succeeded that Nicholas received a promise from his mother that Sonya should not be troubled, while he on his side promised not to undertake anything without his parents' knowledge.
Natasha, who had borne the first period of separation from her betrothed lightly and even cheerfully, now grew more agitated and impatient every day.
So the countess remained in the country, and the count, taking Sonya and Natasha with him, went to Moscow at the end of January.
At the end of January old Count Rostov went to Moscow with Natasha and Sonya.
You've grown plumper and prettier, she remarked, drawing Natasha (whose cheeks were glowing from the cold) to her by the hood.
When they got home she turned everybody out of the room except Natasha, and then called her pet to her armchair.
Natasha remained silent, from shyness Marya Dmitrievna supposed, but really because she disliked anyone interfering in what touched her love of Prince Andrew, which seemed to her so apart from all human affairs that no one could understand it.
"Yes, it will," Natasha answered reluctantly.
Natasha, on the other hand, having put on her best gown, was in the highest spirits.
If you'll allow me to leave my Natasha in your hands for a quarter of an hour, Princess, I'll drive round to see Anna Semenovna, it's quite near in the Dogs' Square, and then I'll come back for her.
He did not mention this to his daughter, but Natasha noticed her father's nervousness and anxiety and felt mortified by it.
Natasha felt offended by the hesitation she had noticed in the anteroom, by her father's nervousness, and by the unnatural manner of the princess who--she thought--was making a favor of receiving her, and so everything displeased her.
Natasha suddenly shrank into herself and involuntarily assumed an offhand air which alienated Princess Mary still more.
God is my witness, I did not know, muttered the old man, and after looking Natasha over from head to foot he went out.
Natasha and Princess Mary looked at one another in silence, and the longer they did so without saying what they wanted to say, the greater grew their antipathy to one another.
When the count returned, Natasha was impolitely pleased and hastened to get away: at that moment she hated the stiff, elderly princess, who could place her in such an embarrassing position and had spent half an hour with her without once mentioning Prince Andrew.
When the count was already leaving the room, Princess Mary went up hurriedly to Natasha, took her by the hand, and said with a deep sigh:
Natasha glanced at her ironically without knowing why.
Natasha noticed this and guessed its reason.
They waited a long time for Natasha to come to dinner that day.
"Natasha, what is it about?" she asked.
Natasha raised her head and, kissing her friend on the lips, pressed her wet face against her.
No one's to blame," said Natasha--"It's my fault.
Marya Dmitrievna, who knew how the prince had received the Rostovs, pretended not to notice how upset Natasha was and jested resolutely and loudly at table with the count and the other guests.
Natasha did not want to go, but could not refuse Marya Dmitrievna's kind offer which was intended expressly for her.
Natasha and Sonya, holding up their dresses, jumped out quickly.
"Natasha, your hair!..." whispered Sonya.
Natasha, smoothing her gown, went in with Sonya and sat down, scanning the brilliant tiers of boxes opposite.
Their box was pervaded by that atmosphere of an affianced couple which Natasha knew so well and liked so much.
Natasha involuntarily gazed at that neck, those shoulders, and pearls and coiffure, and admired the beauty of the shoulders and the pearls.
While Natasha was fixing her gaze on her for the second time the lady looked round and, meeting the count's eyes, nodded to him and smiled.
Natasha too began to look at it.
And feeling the bright light that flooded the whole place and the warm air heated by the crowd, Natasha little by little began to pass into a state of intoxication she had not experienced for a long while.
Having looked at Natasha he approached his sister, laid his well gloved hand on the edge of her box, nodded to her, and leaning forward asked a question, with a motion toward Natasha.
"Mais charmante!" said he, evidently referring to Natasha, who did not exactly hear his words but understood them from the movement of his lips.
Shinshin, lowering his voice, began to tell the count of some intrigue of Kuragin's in Moscow, and Natasha tried to overhear it just because he had said she was "charmante."
The scantily clad Helene smiled at everyone in the same way, and Natasha gave Boris a similar smile.
Natasha knew he was talking about her and this afforded her pleasure.
His face looked sad, and he had grown still stouter since Natasha last saw him.
On seeing Natasha Pierre grew animated and, hastily passing between the rows, came toward their box.
While conversing with Pierre, Natasha heard a man's voice in Countess Bezukhova's box and something told her it was Kuragin.
During this act every time Natasha looked toward the stalls she saw Anatole Kuragin with an arm thrown across the back of his chair, staring at her.
Natasha rose and curtsied to the splendid countess.
I have already heard much of you in Petersburg and wanted to get to know you, said she to Natasha with her stereotyped and lovely smile.
To get better acquainted she asked that one of the young ladies should come into her box for the rest of the performance, and Natasha moved over to it.
Natasha no longer thought this strange.
"Let me introduce my brother to you," said Helene, her eyes shifting uneasily from Natasha to Anatole.
Natasha turned her pretty little head toward the elegant young officer and smiled at him over her bare shoulder.
Natasha knew for certain that he was enraptured by her.
Natasha kept turning to Helene and to her father, as if asking what it all meant, but Helene was engaged in conversation with a general and did not answer her look, and her father's eyes said nothing but what they always said: Having a good time?
During one of these moments of awkward silence when Anatole's prominent eyes were gazing calmly and fixedly at her, Natasha, to break the silence, asked him how he liked Moscow.
Natasha did not understand what he was saying any more than he did himself, but she felt that his incomprehensible words had an improper intention.
Natasha went back to her father in the other box, now quite submissive to the world she found herself in.
That was the only part of the fourth act that Natasha saw.
As he was putting Natasha in he pressed her arm above the elbow.
Only after she had reached home was Natasha able clearly to think over what had happened to her, and suddenly remembering Prince Andrew she was horrified, and at tea to which all had sat down after the opera, she gave a loud exclamation, flushed, and ran out of the room.
Only to the old countess at night in bed could Natasha have told all she was feeling.
So Natasha tried to solve what was torturing her by herself.
Natasha had made a strong impression on Kuragin.
Natasha guessed they were talking about the old prince and planning something, and this disquieted and offended her.
To the family Natasha seemed livelier than usual, but she was far less tranquil and happy than before.
After she had gone, a dressmaker from Madame Suppert-Roguet waited on the Rostovs, and Natasha, very glad of this diversion, having shut herself into a room adjoining the drawing room, occupied herself trying on the new dresses.
Natasha had not time to take off the bodice before the door opened and Countess Bezukhova, dressed in a purple velvet gown with a high collar, came into the room beaming with good-humored amiable smiles.
She looked at Natasha's dresses and praised them, as well as a new dress of her own made of "metallic gauze," which she had received from Paris, and advised Natasha to have one like it.
Natasha brightened up and felt almost in love with this woman, who was so beautiful and so kind.
Helene for her part was sincerely delighted with Natasha and wished to give her a good time.
Anatole had asked her to bring him and Natasha together, and she was calling on the Rostovs for that purpose.
The idea of throwing her brother and Natasha together amused her.
Natasha blushed scarlet when she heard this.
And why not enjoy myself? thought Natasha, gazing at Helene with wide-open, wondering eyes.
Immediately after greeting the count he went up to Natasha and followed her.
Helene welcomed Natasha delightedly and was loud in admiration of her beauty and her dress.
Anatole moved a chair for Natasha and was about to sit down beside her, but the count, who never lost sight of her, took the seat himself.
Natasha looked at the fat actress, but neither saw nor heard nor understood anything of what went on before her.
Natasha remarked to her father who had also risen and was moving through the crowd toward the actress.
"Come, come, Natasha!" said the count, as he turned back for his daughter.
Natasha without saying anything stepped up to her father and looked at him with surprised inquiring eyes.
Anatole asked Natasha for a valse and as they danced he pressed her waist and hand and told her she was bewitching and that he loved her.
Natasha, animated and excited, looked about her with wide-open frightened eyes and seemed merrier than usual.
Natasha looked round at her, and then, red and trembling, threw a frightened look of inquiry at Anatole and moved toward the door.
Helene returned with Natasha to the drawing room.
After reaching home Natasha did not sleep all night.
Natasha kept looking uneasily at everybody with wide-open eyes, as if wishing to intercept every glance directed toward her, and tried to appear the same as usual.
After breakfast, which was her best time, Marya Dmitrievna sat down in her armchair and called Natasha and the count to her.
Natasha did not reply and went to her own room to read Princess Mary's letter.
Whatever her father's feelings might be, she begged Natasha to believe that she could not help loving her as the one chosen by her brother, for whose happiness she was ready to sacrifice everything.
Princess Mary went on to ask Natasha to fix a time when she could see her again.
After reading the letter Natasha sat down at the writing table to answer it.
After dinner Natasha went to her room and again took up Princess Mary's letter.
"A man told me to give you this-" and she handed Natasha a letter.
With trembling hands Natasha held that passionate love letter which Dolokhov had composed for Anatole, and as she read it she found in it an echo of all that she herself imagined she was feeling.
I love him! thought Natasha, reading the letter for the twentieth time and finding some peculiarly deep meaning in each word of it.
Natasha, pleading a headache, remained at home.
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.
Sonya wiped away her tears and went up to Natasha, again scanning her face.
"Natasha!" she said, just audibly.
Natasha awoke and saw Sonya.
Sonya stared open-eyed at Natasha, unable to believe her ears.
But, Natasha, can that be all over?
Natasha looked at Sonya with wide-open eyes as if she could not grasp the question.
Don't talk nonsense, just listen! said Natasha, with momentary vexation.
Natasha, I don't believe you, you're joking!
Sonya, wait a bit, sit here, and Natasha embraced and kissed her.
"I told you that I have no will," Natasha replied.
Natasha did not answer her questions.
Natasha, have you considered what these secret reasons can be?
Natasha looked at Sonya with astonishment.
But Natasha, guessing her doubts, interrupted her in alarm.
Natasha repeated with a smile of pity at her friend's lack of comprehension.
Natasha, I don't understand you.
Natasha cried angrily, in a voice of despair and repressed irritation.
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.
Natasha, how glad I am you're not angry with me!
Sonya did not succumb to the tender tone Natasha used toward her.
"Natasha," said she, "you asked me not to speak to you, and I haven't spoken, but now you yourself have begun.
Natasha, I am afraid for you!
"Natasha!" moaned Sonya, aghast.
And Natasha ran out of the room.
Natasha did not speak to Sonya again and avoided her.
The day before the count was to return, Sonya noticed that Natasha sat by the drawing-room 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.
Then suddenly it became clear to Sonya that Natasha had some dreadful plan for that evening.
Natasha did not let her in.
To tell Marya Dmitrievna who had such faith in Natasha seemed to Sonya terrible.
Natasha had promised to come out to Kuragin at the back porch at ten that evening.
Marya Dmitrievna, having found Sonya weeping in the corridor, made her confess everything, and intercepting the note to Natasha she read it and went into Natasha's room with it in her hand.
Natasha lying on the sofa, her head hidden in her hands, and she did not stir.
Natasha did not change her position, but her whole body heaved with noiseless, convulsive sobs which choked her.
Both Marya Dmitrievna and Sonya were amazed when they saw how Natasha looked.
Who asked you to? shouted Natasha, raising herself on the sofa and looking malignantly at Marya Dmitrievna.
"He is better than any of you!" exclaimed Natasha getting up.
Marya Dmitrievna was to speak again but Natasha cried out:
Marya Dmitrievna went on admonishing her for some time, enjoining on her that it must all be kept from her father and assuring her that nobody would know anything about it if only Natasha herself would undertake to forget it all and not let anyone see that something had happened.
Natasha did not reply, nor did she sob any longer, but she grew cold and had a shivering fit.
"Well, let her sleep," said Marya Dmitrievna as she went out of the room supposing Natasha to be asleep.
But Natasha was not asleep; with pale face and fixed wide-open eyes she looked straight before her.
Natasha had not left her room that morning.
After a moment's silence Natasha answered: "Yes, ill."
Soon after the Rostovs came to Moscow the effect Natasha had on him made him hasten to carry out his intention.
When he opened the ballroom door Pierre saw Natasha sitting at the window, with a thin, pale, and spiteful face.
That Prince Andrew's deeply loved affianced wife--the same Natasha Rostova who used to be so charming--should give up Bolkonski for that fool Anatole who was already secretly married (as Pierre knew), and should be so in love with him as to agree to run away with him, was something Pierre could not conceive and could not imagine.
He could not reconcile the charming impression he had of Natasha, whom he had known from a child, with this new conception of her baseness, folly, and cruelty.
But still he pitied Prince Andrew to the point of tears and sympathized with his wounded pride, and the more he pitied his friend the more did he think with contempt and even with disgust of that Natasha who had just passed him in the ballroom with such a look of cold dignity.
That morning Natasha had told him that she had rejected Bolkonski.
Natasha is not quite well; she's in her room and would like to see you.
Natasha, pale and stern, was sitting beside Marya Dmitrievna, and her eyes, glittering feverishly, met Pierre with a questioning look the moment he entered.
Natasha looked from one to the other as a hunted and wounded animal looks at the approaching dogs and sportsmen.
Old Prince Bolkonski heard all the rumors current in the town from Mademoiselle Bourienne and had read the note to Princess Mary in which Natasha had broken off her engagement.
Pierre saw that Prince Andrew was going to speak of Natasha, and his broad face expressed pity and sympathy.
Natasha was in bed, the count at the club, and Pierre, after giving the letters to Sonya, went to Marya Dmitrievna who was interested to know how Prince Andrew had taken the news.
"Natasha insists on seeing Count Peter Kirilovich," said she.
Natasha was standing in the middle of the drawing room, emaciated, with a pale set face, but not at all shamefaced as Pierre expected to find her.
Natasha was evidently dismayed at the thought of what he might think she had meant.
I am not worth it! exclaimed Natasha and turned to leave the room, but Pierre held her hand.
For the first time for many days Natasha wept tears of gratitude and tenderness, and glancing at Pierre she went out of the room.
On receiving this letter, Nicholas did not even make any attempt to get leave of absence or to retire from the army, but wrote to his parents that he was sorry Natasha was ill and her engagement broken off, and that he would do all he could to meet their wishes.
Doctors came to see her singly and in consultation, talked much in French, German, and Latin, blamed one another, and prescribed a great variety of medicines for all the diseases known to them, but the simple idea never occurred to any of them that they could not know the disease Natasha was suffering from, as no disease suffered by a live man can be known, for every living person has his own peculiarities and always has his own peculiar, personal, novel, complicated disease, unknown to medicine--not a disease of the lungs, liver, skin, heart, nerves, and so on mentioned in medical books, but a disease consisting of one of the innumerable combinations of the maladies of those organs.
The doctors were of use to Natasha because they kissed and rubbed her bump, assuring her that it would soon pass if only the coachman went to the chemist's in the Arbat and got a powder and some pills in a pretty box for a ruble and seventy kopeks, and if she took those powders in boiled water at intervals of precisely two hours, neither more nor less.
Even to Natasha herself it was pleasant to see that so many sacrifices were being made for her sake, and to know that she had to take medicine at certain hours, though she declared that no medicine would cure her and that it was all nonsense.
Natasha was calmer but no happier.
Natasha unconsciously felt this delicacy and so found great pleasure in his society.
Sometimes Natasha noticed embarrassment and awkwardness on his part in her presence, especially when he wanted to do something to please her, or feared that something they spoke of would awaken memories distressing to her.
After those involuntary words--that if he were free he would have asked on his knees for her hand and her love--uttered at a moment when she was so strongly agitated, Pierre never spoke to Natasha of his feelings; and it seemed plain to her that those words, which had then so comforted her, were spoken as all sorts of meaningless words are spoken to comfort a crying child.
She suggested that Natasha should fast and prepare for Holy Communion, and Natasha gladly welcomed the idea.
On her way home at an early hour when she met no one but bricklayers going to work or men sweeping the street, and everybody within the houses was still asleep, Natasha experienced a feeling new to her, a sense of the possibility of correcting her faults, the possibility of a new, clean life, and of happiness.
As Natasha, at her mother's side, passed through the crowd behind a liveried footman who cleared the way for them, she heard a young man speaking about her in too loud a whisper.
With a sinking heart, wretched as she always was now when she found herself in a crowd, Natasha in her lilac silk dress trimmed with black lace walked- -as women can walk--with the more repose and stateliness the greater the pain and shame in her soul.
"Commit ourselves to God," Natasha inwardly repeated.
Take me, take me! prayed Natasha, with impatient emotion in her heart, not crossing herself but letting her slender arms hang down as if expecting some invisible power at any moment to take her and deliver her from herself, from her regrets, desires, remorse, hopes, and sins.
Unexpectedly, in the middle of the service, and not in the usual order Natasha knew so well, the deacon brought out a small stool, the one he knelt on when praying on Trinity Sunday, and placed it before the doors of the sanctuary screen.
His love for Natasha, Antichrist, Napoleon, the invasion, the comet, 666, L'Empereur Napoleon, and L'russe Besuhof--all this had to mature and culminate, to lift him out of that spellbound, petty sphere of Moscow habits in which he felt himself held captive and lead him to a great achievement and great happiness.
"I don't know myself," Natasha answered quickly, "but I should not like to do anything you disapproved of.
Natasha entered with a softened and agitated expression of face and sat down looking silently at Pierre.
Natasha sat erect, gazing with a searching look now at her father and now at Pierre.
Before Shinshin had time to utter the joke he was ready to make on the count's patriotism, Natasha jumped up from her place and ran to her father.
Why are you upset? asked Natasha, and she looked challengingly into Pierre's eyes.
Natasha began resolutely and suddenly stopped.
Prince Andrew knew Denisov from what Natasha had told him of her first suitor.
He smiled at the recollection of that time and of his love for Natasha, and passed at once to what now interested him passionately and exclusively.
Natasha with animated and excited face was telling him how she had gone to look for mushrooms the previous summer and had lost her way in the big forest.
The presence of Sonya, of her beloved Natasha, or even of her husband irritated her.
Though she concealed from him her intention of keeping him under her wing, Petya guessed her designs, and instinctively fearing that he might give way to emotion when with her--might "become womanish" as he termed it to himself--he treated her coldly, avoided her, and during his stay in Moscow attached himself exclusively to Natasha for whom he had always had a particularly brotherly tenderness, almost lover-like.
The countess watched the things being packed, was dissatisfied with everything, was constantly in pursuit of Petya who was always running away from her, and was jealous of Natasha with whom he spent all his time.
"I was never pleased at Bolkonski's engagement to Natasha," said the countess, "but I always wanted Nicholas to marry the princess, and had a presentiment that it would happen.
Natasha got up and looked out of the window.
Natasha, throwing a clean pocket handkerchief over her hair and holding an end of it in each hand, went out into the street.
Natasha moved a few steps forward and stopped shyly, still holding her handkerchief, and listened to what the housekeeper was saying.
Natasha glanced with frightened eyes at the face of the wounded officer and at once went to meet the major.
Natasha quietly repeated her question, and her face and whole manner were so serious, though she was still holding the ends of her handkerchief, that the major ceased smiling and after some reflection-- as if considering in how far the thing was possible--replied in the affirmative.
With a slight inclination of her head, Natasha stepped back quickly to Mavra Kuzminichna, who stood talking compassionately to the officer.
Natasha was evidently pleased to be dealing with new people outside the ordinary routine of her life.
Natasha ran into the house and went on tiptoe through the half-open door into the sitting room, where there was a smell of vinegar and Hoffman's drops.
Natasha laughed, and the countess too smiled slightly.
"I knew you'd give permission... so I'll tell them," and, having kissed her mother, Natasha got up and went to the door.
When Natasha set to work two cases were standing open in the ballroom, one almost full up with crockery, the other with carpets.
And Natasha began rapidly taking out of the case dishes and plates wrapped in paper.
And Natasha began rapidly and deftly sorting out the things.
But Natasha would not give in.
"That's enough, Natasha," said Sonya.
"I won't!" cried Natasha, with one hand holding back the hair that hung over her perspiring face, while with the other she pressed down the carpets.
The count was not angry even when they told him that Natasha had countermanded an order of his, and the servants now came to her to ask whether a cart was sufficiently loaded, and whether it might be corded up.
Sonya and Natasha slept in the sitting room without undressing.
"Papa, what are you doing that for?" asked Natasha, who had followed him into her mother's room.
Natasha stepped up to the window and pondered.
From the anteroom Berg ran with smooth though impatient steps into the drawing room, where he embraced the count, kissed the hands of Natasha and Sonya, and hastened to inquire after "Mamma's" health.
Natasha watched him with an intent gaze that confused him, as if she were trying to find in his face the answer to some question.
"Altogether such heroism as was displayed by the Russian warriors cannot be imagined or adequately praised!" said Berg, glancing round at Natasha, and as if anxious to conciliate her, replying to her intent look with a smile.
Natasha left the room with her father and, as if finding it difficult to reach some decision, first followed him and then ran downstairs.
The count, pipe in hand, was pacing up and down the room, when Natasha, her face distorted by anger, burst in like a tempest and approached her mother with rapid steps.
The count nodded affirmatively, and Natasha, at the rapid pace at which she used to run when playing at tag, ran through the ballroom to the anteroom and downstairs into the yard.
Natasha was in a state of rapturous excitement such as she had not known for a long time.
Natasha was not in the room.
They knew their Natasha, and alarm as to what would happen if she heard this news stifled all sympathy for the man they both liked.
"Natasha does not know yet, but he is going with us," said Sonya.
What's the matter? asked Natasha, as with animated face she ran into the room.
Sonya embraced Natasha and kissed her.
Natasha looked at her inquiringly.
What is it? persisted Natasha with her quick intuition.
Rarely had Natasha experienced so joyful a feeling as now, sitting in the carriage beside the countess and gazing at the slowly receding walls of forsaken, agitated Moscow.
Really," said Natasha, "look, look!"
"Mamma," screamed Natasha, "I'll stake my head it's he!
At length when he had understood and looked in the direction the old man indicated, he recognized Natasha, and following his first impulse stepped instantly and rapidly toward the coach.
Pierre glanced absently at Natasha and was about to say something, but the countess interrupted him.
"There will be another battle tomorrow..." he began, but Natasha interrupted him.
Natasha continued to lean out of the window for a long time, beaming at him with her kindly, slightly quizzical, happy smile.
When, having bought the coat merely with the object of taking part among the people in the defense of Moscow, Pierre had met the Rostovs and Natasha had said to him: Are you remaining in Moscow?...
While listening to these love stories his own love for Natasha unexpectedly rose to his mind, and going over the pictures of that love in his imagination he mentally compared them with Ramballe's tales.
Only Natasha and the countess remained in the room.
Natasha, pale, with a fixed look, was sitting on the bench under the icons just where she had sat down on arriving and paid no attention to her father's words.
But Natasha looked at her as if not understanding what was said to her and again fixed her eyes on the corner of the stove.
"Look, Natasha, how dreadfully it is burning!" said she.
"Yes, really I did," Natasha replied in a voice that pleaded to be left in peace.
The countess went up to her daughter and touched her head with the back of her hand as she was wont to do when Natasha was ill, then touched her forehead with her lips as if to feel whether she was feverish, and finally kissed her.
Natasha, undress, darling; lie down on my bed.
"No, Mamma, I will lie down here on the floor," Natasha replied irritably and she went to the window and opened it.
Natasha knew it was not Prince Andrew who was moaning.
I'll lie down at once, said Natasha, and began hurriedly undressing, tugging at the tapes of her petticoat.
"Natasha, you'd better lie in the middle," said Sonya.
For a long time Natasha listened attentively to the sounds that reached her from inside and outside the room and did not move.
Natasha did not answer.
Soon after that Natasha heard her mother's even breathing.
Natasha did not move, though her little bare foot, thrust out from under the quilt, was growing cold on the bare floor.
Natasha rose slowly and carefully, crossed herself, and stepped cautiously on the cold and dirty floor with her slim, supple, bare feet.
And he vividly pictured to himself Natasha, not as he had done in the past with nothing but her charms which gave him delight, but for the first time picturing to himself her soul.
He realized that it was the real living Natasha, and he was not surprised but quietly happy.
Natasha, motionless on her knees (she was unable to stir), with frightened eyes riveted on him, was restraining her sobs.
With a rapid but careful movement Natasha drew nearer to him on her knees and, taking his hand carefully, bent her face over it and began kissing it, just touching it lightly with her lips.
"Forgive me for what I ha-ve do-ne!" faltered Natasha in a scarcely audible, broken whisper, and began kissing his hand more rapidly, just touching it with her lips.
Like a somnambulist aroused from her sleep Natasha went out of the room and, returning to her hut, fell sobbing on her bed.
Though with the intimacy now established between the wounded man and Natasha the thought occurred that should he recover their former engagement would be renewed, no one--least of all Natasha and Prince Andrew--spoke of this: the unsettled question of life and death, which hung not only over Bolkonski but over all Russia, shut out all other considerations.
And as long as my sister Natasha was engaged to her brother it was of course out of the question for me to think of marrying her.
Yes, prayer can move mountains, but one must have faith and not pray as Natasha and I used to as children, that the snow might turn into sugar-- and then run out into the yard to see whether it had done so.
Sonya and Natasha were nursing him.
Neither he nor she said a word about what "Natasha nursing him" might mean, but thanks to this letter Nicholas suddenly became almost as intimate with the princess as if they were relations.
But when she heard of Prince Andrew's presence in their house, despite her sincere pity for him and for Natasha, she was seized by a joyful and superstitious feeling that God did not intend her to be separated from Nicholas.
She knew that Natasha loved no one but Prince Andrew and had never ceased to love him.
The wounded man was much better that day and Natasha was sitting with him.
Sonya was there too, tormented by curiosity as to what Prince Andrew and Natasha were talking about.
That door opened and Natasha came out, looking excited.
Natasha, what are you about?
As soon as the prior withdrew, Natasha took her friend by the hand and went with her into the unoccupied room.
He cannot... because... because... of and Natasha burst into tears.
Natasha opened it cautiously and glanced into the room, Sonya standing beside her at the half-open door.
"Yes, yes!" cried Natasha opening her eyes wide, and vaguely recalling that Sonya had told her something about Prince Andrew whom she had seen lying down.
"Yes, yes, it really was pink!" cried Natasha, who now thought she too remembered the word pink being used, and saw in this the most extraordinary and mysterious part of the prediction.
A few minutes later Prince Andrew rang and Natasha went to him, but Sonya, feeling unusually excited and touched, remained at the window thinking about the strangeness of what had occurred.
Not by a single word had Nicholas alluded to the fact that Prince Andrew's relations with Natasha might, if he recovered, be renewed, but Princess Mary saw by his face that he knew and thought of this.
Natasha is with him, answered Sonya, flushing.
The princess looked round and saw Natasha coming in, almost running-- that Natasha whom she had liked so little at their meeting in Moscow long since.
As soon as Natasha, sitting at the head of Prince Andrew's bed, heard of Princess Mary's arrival, she softly left his room and hastened to her with those swift steps that had sounded buoyant to Princess Mary.
"Come, come to him, Mary," said Natasha, leading her into the other room.
Natasha was gazing at her, but seemed afraid and in doubt whether to say all she knew or not; she seemed to feel that before those luminous eyes which penetrated into the very depths of her heart, it was impossible not to tell the whole truth which she saw.
"You, you... will see," was all Natasha could say.
"But two days ago this suddenly happened," said Natasha, struggling with her sobs.
When Natasha opened Prince Andrew's door with a familiar movement and let Princess Mary pass into the room before her, the princess felt the sobs in her throat.
The princess understood what Natasha had meant by the words: "two days ago this suddenly happened."
Prince Andrew did not notice that she called his sister Mary, and only after calling her so in his presence did Natasha notice it herself.
Natasha, who felt her glance, did not look at her.
He understood it completely, and, leaving the room without crying, went silently up to Natasha who had come out with him and looked shyly at her with his beautiful, thoughtful eyes, then his uplifted, rosy upper lip trembled and leaning his head against her he began to cry.
After that he avoided Dessalles and the countess who caressed him and either sat alone or came timidly to Princess Mary, or to Natasha of whom he seemed even fonder than of his aunt, and clung to them quietly and shyly.
She did not speak any more to Natasha of hopes of saving his life.
His illness pursued its normal physical course, but what Natasha referred to when she said: "This suddenly happened," had occurred two days before Princess Mary arrived.
It was the unexpected realization of the fact that he still valued life as presented to him in the form of his love for Natasha, and a last, though ultimately vanquished, attack of terror before the unknown.
And so it was: in Sonya's place sat Natasha who had just come in noiselessly.
Natasha drew closer to him.
Natasha, I love you too much!
Natasha almost shouted, taking hold of both his hands with a passionate movement.
Natasha felt happy and agitated, but at once remembered that this would not do and that he had to be quiet.
When, waking in a cold perspiration, he moved on the divan, Natasha went up and asked him what was the matter.
Both Princess Mary and Natasha, who did not leave him, felt this.
Natasha went up, looked at the dead eyes, and hastened to close them.
The countess and Sonya cried from pity for Natasha and because he was no more.
Petya was as musical as Natasha and more so than Nicholas, but had never learned music or thought about it, and so the melody that unexpectedly came to his mind seemed to him particularly fresh and attractive.
After Prince Andrew's death Natasha and Princess Mary alike felt this.
Natasha remained alone and, from the time Princess Mary began making preparations for departure, held aloof from her too.
Princess Mary asked the countess to let Natasha go with her to Moscow, and both parents gladly accepted this offer, for they saw their daughter losing strength every day and thought that a change of scene and the advice of Moscow doctors would be good for her.
After she felt herself deserted by Princes Mary and alone in her grief, Natasha spent most of the time in her room by herself, sitting huddled up feet and all in the corner of the sofa, tearing and twisting something with her slender nervous fingers and gazing intently and fixedly at whatever her eyes chanced to fall on.
Natasha knows that he is struggling with terrible pain.
Natasha as usual answered before she had time to think what she would say.
"I agreed," Natasha now said to herself, "that it would be dreadful if he always continued to suffer.
And now he again seemed to be saying the same words to her, only in her imagination Natasha this time gave him a different answer.
Besides a feeling of aloofness from everybody Natasha was feeling a special estrangement from the members of her own family.
When he saw Natasha he waved his arms despairingly and burst into convulsively painful sobs that distorted his soft round face.
Princess Mary, pale and with quivering chin, came out from that room and taking Natasha by the arm said something to her.
Natasha neither saw nor heard her.
Natasha!... cried the countess.
Natasha! she shrieked, pushing those around her away.
Suddenly she sat up with unaccustomed swiftness, glanced vacantly around her, and seeing Natasha began to press her daughter's head with all her strength.
"Natasha, you love me?" she said in a soft trustful whisper.
Natasha, you would not deceive me?
Natasha looked at her with eyes full of tears and in her look there was nothing but love and an entreaty for forgiveness.
Natasha did not remember how that day passed nor that night, nor the next day and night.
During the third night the countess kept very quiet for a few minutes, and Natasha rested her head on the arm of her chair and closed her eyes, but opened them again on hearing the bedstead creak.
Natasha went up to her.
Natasha, he is no more, no more!
Sonya and the count tried to replace Natasha but could not.
But the same blow that almost killed the countess, this second blow, restored Natasha to life.
Princess Mary put off her departure, and for three weeks looked after Natasha as if she had been a sick child.
One afternoon noticing Natasha shivering with fever, Princess Mary took her to her own room and made her lie down on the bed.
Natasha lay down, but when Princess Mary had drawn the blinds and was going away she called her back.
Natasha lay on the bed and in the semidarkness of the room scanned Princess Mary's face.
And Natasha, embracing her, began kissing her face and hands, making Princess Mary feel shy but happy by this demonstration of her feelings.
Natasha had grown thin and pale and physically so weak that they all talked about her health, and this pleased her.
He had heard that the Rostovs were at Kostroma but the thought of Natasha seldom occurred to him.
When she smiled doubt was no longer possible, it was Natasha and he loved her.
But as soon as he tried to continue the conversation he had begun with Princess Mary he again glanced at Natasha, and a still-deeper flush suffused his face and a still-stronger agitation of mingled joy and fear seized his soul.
Pierre had failed to notice Natasha because he did not at all expect to see her there, but he had failed to recognize her because the change in her since he last saw her was immense.
The countess is in a dreadful state; but it was necessary for Natasha herself to see a doctor.
Natasha looked at him, and by way of answer to his words her eyes widened and lit up.
Natasha asked, looking attentively into Pierre's eyes.
Natasha without waiting for Princess Mary to finish again looked inquiringly at Pierre.
Natasha had already opened her mouth to speak but suddenly stopped.
What a happy thing that he saw you again, he added, suddenly turning to Natasha and looking at her with eyes full of tears.
Princess Mary, frowning in her effort to hold back her tears, sat beside Natasha, and heard for the first time the story of those last days of her brother's and Natasha's love.
Evidently Natasha needed to tell that painful yet joyful tale.
No, Natasha and I sometimes don't go to sleep till after two, so please don't go.
Natasha was calm, though a severe and grave expression had again settled on her face.
Pierre unfolded his cold table napkin and, resolving to break the silence, looked at Natasha and at Princess Mary.
Natasha smiled and was on the point of speaking.
We were not an exemplary couple," he added quickly, glancing at Natasha and noticing on her face curiosity as to how he would speak of his wife, "but her death shocked me terribly.
Natasha asked with a slight smile.
When he spoke of the execution he wanted to pass over the horrible details, but Natasha insisted that he should not omit anything.
By this time he had risen from the table and was pacing the room, Natasha following him with her eyes.
She saw the possibility of love and happiness between Natasha and Pierre, and the first thought of this filled her heart with gladness.
Natasha continued to look at him intently with bright, attentive, and animated eyes, as if trying to understand something more which he had perhaps left untold.
Suddenly Natasha bent her head, covered her face with her hands, and began to cry.
"What is it, Natasha?" said Princess Mary.
Princess Mary and Natasha met as usual in the bedroom.
Princess Mary did not express her opinion of Pierre nor did Natasha speak of him.
He was thinking of Prince Andrew, of Natasha, and of their love, at one moment jealous of her past, then reproaching himself for that feeling.
No; I mean do you know Natasha Rostova?
Though Princess Mary and Natasha were evidently glad to see their visitor and though all Pierre's interest was now centered in that house, by the evening they had talked over everything and the conversation passed from one trivial topic to another and repeatedly broke off.
He stayed so long that Princess Mary and Natasha exchanged glances, evidently wondering when he would go.
Natasha gave him her hand and went out.
When Natasha left the room Pierre's confusion and awkwardness immediately vanished and were replaced by eager excitement.
She was going to say that to speak of love was impossible, but she stopped because she had seen by the sudden change in Natasha two days before that she would not only not be hurt if Pierre spoke of his love, but that it was the very thing she wished for.
The change that took place in Natasha at first surprised Princess Mary; but when she understood its meaning it grieved her.
But when she was with Natasha she was not vexed with her and did not reproach her.
The reawakened power of life that had seized Natasha was so evidently irrepressible and unexpected by her that in her presence Princess Mary felt that she had no right to reproach her even in her heart.
Natasha gave herself up so fully and frankly to this new feeling that she did not try to hide the fact that she was no longer sad, but bright and cheerful.
When Princess Mary returned to her room after her nocturnal talk with Pierre, Natasha met her on the threshold.
And with a sad and rather stern look she told Natasha all that Pierre had said.
On hearing that he was going to Petersburg Natasha was astounded.
Natasha, I have asked you not to speak of that.
Natasha suddenly asked, and hastily replied to her own question.
Natasha and Pierre were living in Petersburg at the time and had no clear idea of Nicholas' circumstances.
Once she had a talk with her friend Natasha about Sonya and about her own injustice toward her.
"You know," said Natasha, "you have read the Gospels a great deal--there is a passage in them that just fits Sonya."
Natasha had been staying at her brother's with her husband and children since early autumn.
At that table were his mother, his mother's old lady companion Belova, his wife, their three children with their governess and tutor, his wife's nephew with his tutor, Sonya, Denisov, Natasha, her three children, their governess, and old Michael Ivanovich, the late prince's architect, who was living on in retirement at Bald Hills.
Five minutes later little black-eyed three-year-old Natasha, her father's pet, having learned from her brother that Papa was asleep and Mamma was in the sitting room, ran to her father unobserved by her mother.
"Natasha, Natasha!" came Countess Mary's frightened whisper from the door.
"No, Mamma, he doesn't want to sleep," said little Natasha with conviction.
Now our Natasha has come to life.
Natasha had married in the early spring of 1813, and in 1820 already had three daughters besides a son for whom she had longed and whom she was now nursing.
She had grown stouter and broader, so that it was difficult to recognize in this robust, motherly woman the slim, lively Natasha of former days.
Since their marriage Natasha and her husband had lived in Moscow, in Petersburg, on their estate near Moscow, or with her mother, that is to say, in Nicholas' house.
All who had known Natasha before her marriage wondered at the change in her as at something extraordinary.
Natasha needed a husband.
Natasha did not care for society in general, but prized the more the society of her relatives--Countess Mary, and her brother, her mother, and Sonya.
From the very first days of their married life Natasha had announced her demands.
At home Natasha placed herself in the position of a slave to her husband, and the whole household went on tiptoe when he was occupied--that is, was reading or writing in his study.
He had only to express a wish and Natasha would jump up and run to fulfill it.
The entire household was governed according to Pierre's supposed orders, that is, by his wishes which Natasha tried to guess.
Their way of life and place of residence, their acquaintances and ties, Natasha's occupations, the children's upbringing, were all selected not merely with regard to Pierre's expressed wishes, but to what Natasha from the thoughts he expressed in conversation supposed his wishes to be.
Thus in a time of trouble ever memorable to him after the birth of their first child who was delicate, when they had to change the wet nurse three times and Natasha fell ill from despair, Pierre one day told her of Rousseau's view, with which he quite agreed, that to have a wet nurse is unnatural and harmful.
On reading that letter (she always read her husband's letters) Natasha herself suggested that he should go to Petersburg, though she would feel his absence very acutely.
He looked at Natasha with sorrow and surprise as at a bad likeness of a person once dear.
Natasha was sad and irritable all that time, especially when her mother, her brother, Sonya, or Countess Mary in their efforts to console her tried to excuse Pierre and suggested reasons for his delay in returning.
Natasha declared of the very affairs in the immense importance of which she firmly believed.
During that fortnight of anxiety Natasha resorted to the baby for comfort so often, and fussed over him so much, that she overfed him and he fell ill.
Natasha asked quickly in a whisper, afraid to move lest she should rouse the dozing baby.
Cautiously withdrawing her breast, Natasha rocked him a little, handed him to the nurse, and went with rapid steps toward the door.
Natasha ran with light footsteps to the anteroom.
On reaching the vestibule Natasha saw a tall figure in a fur coat unwinding his scarf.
From broken remarks about Natasha and his father, from the emotion with which Pierre spoke of that dead father, and from the careful, reverent tenderness with which Natasha spoke of him, the boy, who was only just beginning to guess what love is, derived the notion that his father had loved Natasha and when dying had left her to his friend.
The old ladies were pleased with the presents he brought them, and especially that Natasha would now be herself again.
Knowing that Natasha asked nothing for herself, and gave him commissions for others only when he himself had offered to undertake them, he now found an unexpected and childlike pleasure in this purchase of presents for everyone in the house, and never forgot anything.
Natasha, who was sitting opposite to him with her eldest daughter on her lap, turned her sparkling eyes swiftly from her husband to the things he showed her.
The countess was sitting with her companion Belova, playing grand- patience as usual, when Pierre and Natasha came into the drawing room with parcels under their arms.
Once or twice Pierre was carried away and began to speak of these things, but Nicholas and Natasha always brought him back to the health of Prince Ivan and Countess Mary Alexeevna.
Pierre exchanged glances with Countess Mary and Nicholas (Natasha he never lost sight of) and smiled happily.
Countess Mary sat down doing woolwork; Natasha did not take her eyes off her husband.
Natasha, who had long expected to be fetched to nurse her baby, now heard the nurse calling her and went to the nursery.
Natasha, who had come in during the conversation, looked joyfully at her husband.
Pierre smiled, Natasha began to laugh, but Nicholas knitted his brows still more and began proving to Pierre that there was no prospect of any great change and that all the danger he spoke of existed only in his imagination.
Natasha was the first to speak, defending her husband and attacking her brother.
I don't know what would become of him if Natasha didn't keep him in hand....
As I see it you were quite right, and I told Natasha so.
Natasha and Pierre, left alone, also began to talk as only a husband and wife can talk, that is, with extraordinary clearness and rapidity, understanding and expressing each other's thoughts in ways contrary to all rules of logic, without premises, deductions, or conclusions, and in a quite peculiar way.
Natasha was so used to this kind of talk with her husband that for her it was the surest sign of something being wrong between them if Pierre followed a line of logical reasoning.
Natasha spoke to Pierre about her brother's life and doings, of how she had suffered and lacked life during his own absence, and of how she was fonder than ever of Mary, and how Mary was in every way better than herself.
In saying this Natasha was sincere in acknowledging Mary's superiority, but at the same time by saying it she made a demand on Pierre that he should, all the same, prefer her to Mary and to all other women, and that now, especially after having seen many women in Petersburg, he should tell her so afresh.
Natasha looked intently at him and went on:
Natasha knew why he mentioned Mitya's likeness to Nicholas: the recollection of his dispute with his brother-in-law was unpleasant and he wanted to know what Natasha thought of it.
"You know how much I..." he began to soften down what he had said; but Natasha interrupted him to show that this was unnecessary.
Natasha would have had no doubt as to the greatness of Pierre's idea, but one thing disconcerted her.
"What nonsense it is," Natasha suddenly exclaimed, "about honeymoons, and that the greatest happiness is at first!
Natasha cried, and her eyes glittered coldly and vindictively.
While you were talking in the study I was looking at you, Natasha began, evidently anxious to disperse the cloud that had come over them.
"Oh nothing, only a trifle," said Natasha, smilingly still more brightly.