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War And Peace 127


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with her little hand, now arranging the scarf and looking at her with her head bent first on one side and then on the other. "No, it will not do," she said decidedly, clasping her hands. "No, Mary, really this dress does not suit you. I prefer you in your little gray everyday dress. Now please, do it for my sake. Katie," she said to the maid, "bring the princess her gray dress, and youll see, Mademoiselle Bourienne, how I shall arrange it," she added, smiling with a foretaste of artistic pleasure. But when Katie brought the required dress, Princess Mary remained sitting motionless before the glass, looking at her face, and saw in the mirror her eyes full of tears and her mouth quivering, ready to burst into sobs. "Come, dear princess," said Mademoiselle Bourienne, "just one more little effort." The little princess, taking the dress from the maid, came up to Princess Mary. "Well, now well arrange something quite simple and becoming," she said. The three voices, hers, Mademoiselle Bouriennes, and Katies, who was laughing at something, mingled in a merry sound, like the chirping of birds. "No, leave me alone," said Princess Mary. Her voice sounded so serious and so sad that the chirping of the birds was silenced at once. They looked at the beautiful, large, thoughtful eyes full of tears and of thoughts, gazing shiningly and imploringly at them, and understood that it was useless and even cruel to insist. "At least, change your coiffure," said the little princess. "Didnt I tell you," she went on, turning reproachfully to Mademoiselle Bourienne, "Marys is a face which such a coiffure does not suit in the least. Not in the least! Please change it." "Leave me alone, please leave me alone! It is all quite the same to me," answered a voice struggling with tears. Mademoiselle Bourienne and the little princess had to own to themselves that Princess Mary in this guise looked very plain, worse than usual, but it was too late. She was looking at them with an expression they both knew, an expression thoughtful and sad. This expression in Princess Mary did not frighten them (she never inspired fear in anyone), but they knew that when it appeared on her face, she became mute and was not to be shaken in her determination. "You will change it, wont you?" said Lise. And as Princess Mary gave no answer, she left the room. Princess Mary was left alone. She did not comply with Lises request, she not only left her hair as it was, but did not even look in her glass. Letting her arms fall helplessly, she sat with downcast eyes and pondered. A husband, a man, a strong dominant and strangely attractive being rose in her imagination, and carried her into a totally different happy world of his own. She fancied a child, her own--such as she had seen the day before in the arms of her nurses daughter--at her own breast, the husband standing by and gazing tenderly at her and the child. "But no, it is impossible, I am too ugly," she thought. "Please come to tea. The prince will be out in a moment," came the maids voice at the door. She roused herself, and felt appalled at what she had been thinking, and before going down she went into the room where the icons hung and, her eyes fixed on the dark face of a large icon of the Saviour lit by a lamp, she stood before it with folded hands for a few moments. A painful doubt filled her soul. Could the joy of love, of earthly love for a man, be for her? In her thoughts of marriage Princess Mary dreamed of happiness and of children, but her strongest, most deeply hidden longing was for earthly love. The more she tried to hide this feeling from others and even from herself, the stronger it grew. "O God," she said, "how am I to stifle in my heart these temptations of the devil? How am I to renounce forever these vile fancies, so as peacefully to fulfill Thy will?" And scarcely had she put that question than God gave her the answer in her own heart. "Desire nothing for thyself, seek nothing, be not anxious or envious. Mans future and thy own fate must remain hidden from thee, but live so that thou mayest be ready for anything. If it be Gods will to prove thee in the duties of marriage, be ready to fulfill His will." With this consoling thought (but yet with a hope for the fulfillment of her

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