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War And Peace 37


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in the bed. Natasha wept, sitting on the blue-striped feather bed and hugging her friend. With an effort Sonya sat up and began wiping her eyes and explaining. "Nicholas is going away in a weeks time, his... papers... have come... he told me himself... but still I should not cry," and she showed a paper she held in her hand--with the verses Nicholas had written, "still, I should not cry, but you cant... no one can understand... what a soul he has!" And she began to cry again because he had such a noble soul. "Its all very well for you... I am not envious... I love you and Boris also," she went on, gaining a little strength; "he is nice... there are no difficulties in your way.... But Nicholas is my cousin... one would have to... the Metropolitan himself... and even then it cant be done. And besides, if she tells Mamma" (Sonya looked upon the countess as her mother and called her so) "that I am spoiling Nicholas career and am heartless and ungrateful, while truly... God is my witness," and she made the sign of the cross, "I love her so much, and all of you, only Vera... And what for? What have I done to her? I am so grateful to you that I would willingly sacrifice everything, only I have nothing...." Sonya could not continue, and again hid her face in her hands and in the feather bed. Natasha began consoling her, but her face showed that she understood all the gravity of her friends trouble. "Sonya," she suddenly exclaimed, as if she had guessed the true reason of her friends sorrow, "Im sure Vera has said something to you since dinner? Hasnt she?" "Yes, these verses Nicholas wrote himself and I copied some others, and she found them on my table and said shed show them to Mamma, and that I was ungrateful, and that Mamma would never allow him to marry me, but that hell marry Julie. You see how hes been with her all day... Natasha, what have I done to deserve it?..." And again she began to sob, more bitterly than before. Natasha lifted her up, hugged her, and, smiling through her tears, began comforting her. "Sonya, dont believe her, darling! Dont believe her! Do you remember how we and Nicholas, all three of us, talked in the sitting room after supper? Why, we settled how everything was to be. I dont quite remember how, but dont you remember that it could all be arranged and how nice it all was? Theres Uncle Shinshins brother has married his first cousin. And we are only second cousins, you know. And Boris says it is quite possible. You know I have told him all about it. And he is so clever and so good!" said Natasha. "Dont you cry, Sonya, dear love, darling Sonya!" and she kissed her and laughed. "Veras spiteful; never mind her! And all will come right and she wont say anything to Mamma. Nicholas will tell her himself, and he doesnt care at all for Julie." Natasha kissed her on the hair. Sonya sat up. The little kitten brightened, its eyes shone, and it seemed ready to lift its tail, jump down on its soft paws, and begin playing with the ball of worsted as a kitten should. "Do you think so?... Really? Truly?" she said, quickly smoothing her frock and hair. "Really, truly!" answered Natasha, pushing in a crisp lock that had strayed from under her friends plaits. Both laughed. "Well, lets go and sing The Brook." "Come along!" "Do you know, that fat Pierre who sat opposite me is so funny!" said Natasha, stopping suddenly. "I feel so happy!" And she set off at a run along the passage. Sonya, shaking off some down which clung to her and tucking away the verses in the bosom of her dress close to her bony little chest, ran after Natasha down the passage into the sitting room with flushed face and light, joyous steps. At the visitors request the young people sang the quartette, "The Brook," with which everyone was delighted. Then Nicholas sang a song he had just learned: At nighttime in the moons fair glow How sweet, as fancies wander free, To feel that in this world theres one Who still is thinking but of thee! That while her fingers touch the harp Wafting sweet music oer the lea, It is for

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