Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
people who simply found it preferable and more
advantageous to live in the counts house than at home. They had not
as many visitors as before, but the old habits of life without which
the count and countess could not conceive of existence remained
unchanged. There was still the hunting establishment which Nicholas
had even enlarged, the same fifty horses and fifteen grooms in the
stables, the same expensive presents and dinner parties to the whole
district on name days; there were still the counts games of whist and
boston, at which--spreading out his cards so that everybody could see
them--he let himself be plundered of hundreds of rubles every day by
his neighbors, who looked upon an opportunity to play a rubber with
Count Rostov as a most profitable source of income.
The count moved in his affairs as in a huge net, trying not to
believe that he was entangled but becoming more and more so at every
step, and feeling too feeble to break the meshes or to set to work
carefully and patiently to disentangle them. The countess, with her
loving heart, felt that her children were being ruined, that it was
not the counts fault for he could not help being what he was--that
(though he tried to hide it) he himself suffered from the
consciousness of his own and his childrens ruin, and she tried to
find means of remedying the position. From her feminine point of
view she could see only one solution, namely, for Nicholas to marry
a rich heiress. She felt this to be their last hope and that if
Nicholas refused the match she had found for him, she would have to
abandon the hope of ever getting matters right. This match was with
Julie Karagina, the daughter of excellent and virtuous parents, a girl
the Rostovs had known from childhood, and who had now become a wealthy
heiress through the death of the last of her brothers.
The countess had written direct to Julies mother in Moscow
suggesting a marriage between their children and had received a
favorable answer from her. Karagina had replied that for her part
she was agreeable, and everything depend on her daughters
inclination. She invited Nicholas to come to Moscow.
Several times the countess, with tears in her eyes, told her son
that now both her daughters were settled, her only wish was to see him
married. She said she could lie down in her grave peacefully if that
were accomplished. Then she told him that she knew of a splendid
girl and tried to discover what he thought about marriage.
At other times she praised Julie to him and advised him to go to
Moscow during the holidays to amuse himself. Nicholas guessed what his
mothers remarks were leading to and during one of these conversations
induced her to speak quite frankly. She told him that her only hope of
getting their affairs disentangled now lay in his marrying Julie
"But, Mamma, suppose I loved a girl who has no fortune, would you
expect me to sacrifice my feelings and my honor for the sake of
money?" he asked his mother, not realizing the cruelty of his question
and only wishing to show his noble-mindedness.
"No, you have not understood me," said his mother, not knowing how
to justify herself. "You have not understood me, Nikolenka. It is your
happiness I wish for," she added, feeling that she was telling an
untruth and was becoming entangled. She began to cry.
"Mamma, dont cry! Only tell me that you wish it, and you know I
will give my life, anything, to put you at ease," said Nicholas. "I
would sacrifice anything for you--even my feelings."
But the countess did not want the question put like that: she did
not want a sacrifice from her son, she herself wished to make a
sacrifice for him.
"No, you have not understood me, dont let us talk about it," she
replied, wiping away her tears.
"Maybe I do love a poor girl," said Nicholas to himself. "Am I to
sacrifice my feelings and my honor for money? I wonder how Mamma could
speak so to me. Because Sonya is poor I must not love her," he
thought, "must not respond to her faithful, devoted love? Yet I should
certainly be happier with her than with some doll-like Julie. I can
always sacrifice my feelings for my familys welfare," he said to
himself, "but I cant coerce my feelings. If I love Sonya, that
feeling is for me stronger and higher than all else."
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