Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
in which her elders
spoke of him.
"Nowadays old friends are not remembered," the countess would say
when Boris was mentioned.
Anna Mikhaylovna also had of late visited them less frequently,
seemed to hold herself with particular dignity, and always spoke
rapturously and gratefully of the merits of her son and the
brilliant career on which he had entered. When the Rostovs came to
Petersburg Boris called on them.
He drove to their house in some agitation. 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. He
had a brilliant position in society thanks to his intimacy with
Countess Bezukhova, a brilliant position in the service thanks to
the patronage of an important personage whose complete confidence he
enjoyed, and he was beginning to make plans for marrying one of the
richest heiresses in Petersburg, plans which might very easily be
realized. When he entered the Rostovs drawing room Natasha was in her
own room. When she heard of his arrival she almost ran into the
drawing room, flushed and beaming with a more than cordial smile.
Boris remembered Natasha in a short dress, with dark eyes shining
from under her curls and boisterous, childish laughter, as he had
known her four years before; and so he was taken aback when quite a
different Natasha entered, and his face expressed rapturous
astonishment. This expression on his face pleased Natasha.
"Well, do you recognize your little madcap playmate?" asked the
Boris kissed Natashas hand and said that he was astonished at the
change in her.
"How handsome you have grown!"
"I should think so!" replied Natashas laughing eyes.
"And is Papa older?" she asked.
Natasha sat down and, without joining in Boris conversation with
the countess, silently and minutely studied her childhoods suitor. He
felt the weight of that resolute and affectionate scrutiny and glanced
at her occasionally.
Boris uniform, spurs, tie, and the way his hair was brushed were
all comme il faut and in the latest fashion. This Natasha noticed at
once. He sat rather sideways in the armchair next to the countess,
arranging with his right hand the cleanest of gloves that fitted his
left hand like a skin, and he spoke with a particularly refined
compression of his lips about the amusements of the highest Petersburg
society, recalling with mild irony old times in Moscow and Moscow
acquaintances. It was not accidentally, Natasha felt, that he alluded,
when speaking of the highest aristocracy, to an ambassadors ball he
had attended, and to invitations he had received from N.N. and S.S.
All this time Natasha sat silent, glancing up at him from under her
brows. This gaze disturbed and confused Boris more and more. He looked
round more frequently toward her, and broke off in what he was saying.
He did not stay more than ten minutes, then rose and took his leave.
The same inquisitive, challenging, and rather mocking eyes still
looked at him. After his first visit Boris said to himself that
Natasha attracted him just as much as ever, but that he must not yield
to that feeling, because to marry her, a girl almost without fortune,
would mean ruin to his career, while to renew their former relations
without intending to marry her would be dishonorable. 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. But he
failed to do so and felt awkward about entering on such an
explanation. From day to day he became more and more entangled. It
seemed to her mother and Sonya that Natasha was in love with Boris as
of old. She sang him his favorite songs, showed him her album, making
him write in it, did not allow him to allude to the past, letting it
be understood how delightful was the present; and every day he went
away in a fog, without having said what he meant to, and not knowing
what he was doing or why he came, or how it would all end. He left off
visiting Helene and received reproachful notes from
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