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War And Peace 547


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why, suddenly arose in his mind. While listening to these love stories his own love for Natasha unexpectedly rose to his mind, and going over the pictures of that love in his imagination he mentally compared them with Ramballes tales. Listening to the story of the struggle between love and duty, Pierre saw before his eyes every minutest detail of his last meeting with the object of his love at the Sukharev water tower. At the time of that meeting it had not produced an effect upon him--he had not even once recalled it. But now it seemed to him that that meeting had had in it something very important and poetic. "Peter Kirilovich, come here! We have recognized you," he now seemed to hear the words she had uttered and to see before him her eyes, her smile, her traveling hood, and a stray lock of her hair... and there seemed to him something pathetic and touching in all this. Having finished his tale about the enchanting Polish lady, the captain asked Pierre if he had ever experienced a similar impulse to sacrifice himself for love and a feeling of envy of the legitimate husband. Challenged by this question Pierre raised his head and felt a need to express the thoughts that filled his mind. He began to explain that he understood love for a women somewhat differently. He said that in all his life he had loved and still loved only one woman, and that she could never be his. "Tiens!" said the captain. Pierre then explained that he had loved this woman from his earliest years, but that he had not dared to think of her because she was too young, and because he had been an illegitimate son without a name. Afterwards when he had received a name and wealth he dared not think of her because he loved her too well, placing her far above everything in the world, and especially therefore above himself. When he had reached this point, Pierre asked the captain whether he understood that. The captain made a gesture signifying that even if he did not understand it he begged Pierre to continue. "Platonic love, clouds..." he muttered. Whether it was the wine he had drunk, or an impulse of frankness, or the thought that this man did not, and never would, know any of those who played a part in his story, or whether it was all these things together, something loosened Pierres tongue. Speaking thickly and with a faraway look in his shining eyes, he told the whole story of his life: his marriage, Natashas love for his best friend, her betrayal of him, and all his own simple relations with her. Urged on by Ramballes questions he also told what he had at first concealed--his own position and even his name. More than anything else in Pierres story the captain was impressed by the fact that Pierre was very rich, had two mansions in Moscow, and that he had abandoned everything and not left the city, but remained there concealing his name and station. When it was late at night they went out together into the street. The night was warm and light. To the left of the house on the Pokrovka a fire glowed--the first of those that were beginning in Moscow. To the right and high up in the sky was the sickle of the waning moon and opposite to it hung that bright comet which was connected in Pierres heart with his love. At the gate stood Gerasim, the cook, and two Frenchmen. Their laughter and their mutually incomprehensible remarks in two languages could be heard. They were looking at the glow seen in the town. There was nothing terrible in the one small, distant fire in the immense city. Gazing at the high starry sky, at the moon, at the comet, and at the glow from the fire, Pierre experienced a joyful emotion. "There now, how good it is, what more does one need?" thought he. And suddenly remembering his intention he grew dizzy and felt so faint that he leaned against the fence to save himself from falling. Without taking leave of his new friend, Pierre left the gate with unsteady steps and returning to his room lay down on the sofa and immediately fell asleep. CHAPTER XXX The glow of the first fire that began on the second of September was watched from the various roads by the fugitive Muscovites and by the retreating troops, with many different feelings. The Rostov party spent the night at Mytishchi, fourteen miles from Moscow. They had started

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