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War And Peace 346


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a smile of pity at her friends lack of comprehension. "Why, you have read his letter and you have seen him." "But if he is dishonorable?" "He! dishonorable? If you only knew!" exclaimed Natasha. "If he is an honorable man he should either declare his intentions or cease seeing you; and if you wont do this, I will. I will write to him, and I will tell Papa!" said Sonya resolutely. "But I cant live without him!" cried Natasha. "Natasha, I dont understand you. And what are you saying! Think of your father and of Nicholas." "I dont want anyone, I dont love anyone but him. How dare you say he is dishonorable? Dont you know that I love him?" screamed Natasha. "Go away, Sonya! I dont want to quarrel with you, but go, for Gods sake go! You see how I am suffering!" Natasha cried angrily, in a voice of despair and repressed irritation. Sonya burst into sobs and ran from the room. Natasha went to the table and without a moments reflection wrote that answer to Princess Mary which she had been unable to write all the morning. In this letter she said briefly that all their misunderstandings were at an end; that availing herself of the magnanimity of Prince Andrew who when he went abroad had given her her freedom, she begged Princess Mary to forget everything and forgive her if she had been to blame toward her, but that she could not be his wife. At that moment this all seemed quite easy, simple, and clear to Natasha. On Friday the Rostovs were to return to the country, but on Wednesday the count went with the prospective purchaser to his estate near Moscow. 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. "There, Sonya, you were talking all sorts of nonsense about him," Natasha began in a mild voice such as children use when they wish to be praised. "We have had an explanation today." "Well, what happened? What did he say? Natasha, how glad I am youre not angry with me! Tell me everything--the whole truth. What did he say?" Natasha became thoughtful. "Oh, Sonya, if you knew him as I do! He said... He asked me what I had promised Bolkonski. He was glad I was free to refuse him." Sonya sighed sorrowfully. "But you havent refused Bolkonski?" said she. "Perhaps I have. Perhaps all is over between me and Bolkonski. Why do you think so badly of me?" "I dont think anything, only I dont understand this..." "Wait a bit, Sonya, youll understand everything. Youll see what a man he is! Now dont think badly of me or of him. I dont think badly of anyone: I love and pity everybody. But what am I to do?" Sonya did not succumb to the tender tone Natasha used toward her. The more emotional and ingratiating the expression of Natashas face became, the more serious and stern grew Sonyas. "Natasha," said she, "you asked me not to speak to you, and I havent spoken, but now you yourself have begun. I dont trust him, Natasha. Why this secrecy?" "Again, again!" interrupted Natasha. "Natasha, I am afraid for you!" "Afraid of what?" "I am afraid youre going to your ruin," said Sonya resolutely, and was herself horrified at what she had said. Anger again showed in Natashas face. "And Ill go to my ruin, I will, as soon as possible! Its not your business! It wont be you, but I, wholl suffer. Leave me alone, leave me alone! I hate you!" "Natasha!" moaned Sonya, aghast. "I hate you, I hate you! Youre my enemy forever!" And Natasha ran out of the room. Natasha did not speak to Sonya again and avoided her. With the same expression of agitated surprise and guilt she went about the house, taking up now one occupation, now another, and at once abandoning them. Hard as it was for Sonya, she watched her friend and did not let her out of her sight. The day before the count was to return, Sonya noticed that Natasha sat by the drawingroom 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

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