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War And Peace 328


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War And Peace



and with these she had prolonged conversations in private on the vanity of all worldly things, and to them she showed her albums filled with mournful sketches, maxims, and verses. To Boris, Julie was particularly gracious: she regretted his early disillusionment with life, offered him such consolation of friendship as she who had herself suffered so much could render, and showed him her album. Boris sketched two trees in the album and wrote: "Rustic trees, your dark branches shed gloom and melancholy upon me." On another page he drew a tomb, and wrote: La mort est secourable et la mort est tranquille. Ah! contre les douleurs il ny a pas dautre asile.* *Death gives relief and death is peaceful. Ah! from suffering there is no other refuge. Julie said this was charming "There is something so enchanting in the smile of melancholy," she said to Boris, repeating word for word a passage she had copied from a book. "It is a ray of light in the darkness, a shade between sadness and despair, showing the possibility of consolation." In reply Boris wrote these lines: Aliment de poison dune ame trop sensible, Toi, sans qui le bonheur me serait impossible, Tendre melancholie, ah, viens me consoler, Viens calmer les tourments de ma sombre retraite, Et mele une douceur secrete A ces pleurs que je sens couler.* *Poisonous nourishment of a too sensitive soul, Thou, without whom happiness would for me be impossible, Tender melancholy, ah, come to console me, Come to calm the torments of my gloomy retreat, And mingle a secret sweetness With these tears that I feel to be flowing. For Boris, Julie played most doleful nocturnes on her harp. Boris read Poor Liza aloud to her, and more than once interrupted the reading because of the emotions that choked him. Meeting at large gatherings Julie and Boris looked on one another as the only souls who understood one another in a world of indifferent people. Anna Mikhaylovna, who often visited the Karagins, while playing cards with the mother made careful inquiries as to Julies dowry (she was to have two estates in Penza and the Nizhegorod forests). Anna Mikhaylovna regarded the refined sadness that united her son to the wealthy Julie with emotion, and resignation to the Divine will. "You are always charming and melancholy, my dear Julie," she said to the daughter. "Boris says his soul finds repose at your house. He has suffered so many disappointments and is so sensitive," said she to the mother. "Ah, my dear, I cant tell you how fond I have grown of Julie latterly," she said to her son. "But who could help loving her? She is an angelic being! Ah, Boris, Boris!"--she paused. "And how I pity her mother," she went on; "today she showed me her accounts and letters from Penza (they have enormous estates there), and she, poor thing, has no one to help her, and they do cheat her so!" Boris smiled almost imperceptibly while listening to his mother. He laughed blandly at her naive diplomacy but listened to what she had to say, and sometimes questioned her carefully about the Penza and Nizhegorod estates. Julie had long been expecting a proposal from her melancholy adorer and was ready to accept it; but some secret feeling of repulsion for her, for her passionate desire to get married, for her artificiality, and a feeling of horror at renouncing the possibility of real love still restrained Boris. His leave was expiring. He spent every day and whole days at the Karagins, and every day on thinking the matter over told himself that he would propose tomorrow. But in Julies presence, looking at her red face and chin (nearly always powdered), her moist eyes, and her expression of continual readiness to pass at once from melancholy to an unnatural rapture of married bliss, Boris could not utter the decisive words, though in imagination he had long regarded himself as the possessor of those Penza and Nizhegorod estates and had apportioned the use of the income from them. Julie saw Boris indecision, and sometimes the thought occurred to her that she was repulsive to him, but her feminine self-deception immediately supplied her with consolation, and she told herself that he was only shy from love. Her melancholy, however, began to turn to irritability, and not long before Boris departure she formed a definite plan of action.

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