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War And Peace 571

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War And Peace

her at this time. He was, however, preparing to go away and it had not entered his head to regret that he was thus depriving himself of chances of meeting her. But that days encounter in church had, he felt, sunk deeper than was desirable for his peace of mind. That pale, sad, refined face, that radiant look, those gentle graceful gestures, and especially the deep and tender sorrow expressed in all her features agitated him and evoked his sympathy. In men Rostov could not bear to see the expression of a higher spiritual life (that was why he did not like Prince Andrew) and he referred to it contemptuously as philosophy and dreaminess, but in Princess Mary that very sorrow which revealed the depth of a whole spiritual world foreign to him was an irresistible attraction. "She must be a wonderful woman. A real angel!" he said to himself. "Why am I not free? Why was I in such a hurry with Sonya?" And he involuntarily compared the two: the lack of spirituality in the one and the abundance of it in the other--a spirituality he himself lacked and therefore valued most highly. He tried to picture what would happen were he free. How he would propose to her and how she would become his wife. But no, he could not imagine that. He felt awed, and no clear picture presented itself to his mind. He had long ago pictured to himself a future with Sonya, and that was all clear and simple just because it had all been thought out and he knew all there was in Sonya, but it was impossible to picture a future with Princess Mary, because he did not understand her but simply loved her. Reveries about Sonya had had something merry and playful in them, but to dream of Princess Mary was always difficult and a little frightening. "How she prayed!" he thought. "It was plain that her whole soul was in her prayer. Yes, that was the prayer that moves mountains, and I am sure her prayer will be answered. Why dont I pray for what I want?" he suddenly thought. "What do I want? To be free, released from Sonya... She was right," he thought, remembering what the governors wife had said: "Nothing but misfortune can come of marrying Sonya. Muddles, grief for Mamma... business difficulties... muddles, terrible muddles! Besides, I dont love her--not as I should. O, God! release me from this dreadful, inextricable position!" he suddenly began to pray. "Yes, prayer can move mountains, but one must have faith and not pray as Natasha and I used to as children, that the snow might turn into sugar--and then run out into the yard to see whether it had done so. No, but I am not praying for trifles now," he thought as he put his pipe down in a corner, and folding his hands placed himself before the icon. Softened by memories of Princess Mary he began to pray as he had not done for a long time. Tears were in his eyes and in his throat when the door opened and Lavrushka came in with some papers. "Blockhead! Why do you come in without being called?" cried Nicholas, quickly changing his attitude. "From the governor," said Lavrushka in a sleepy voice. "A courier has arrived and theres a letter for you." "Well, all right, thanks. You can go!" Nicholas took the two letters, one of which was from his mother and the other from Sonya. He recognized them by the handwriting and opened Sonyas first. He had read only a few lines when he turned pale and his eyes opened wide with fear and joy. "No, its not possible!" he cried aloud. Unable to sit still he paced up and down the room holding the letter and reading it. He glanced through it, then read it again, and then again, and standing still in the middle of the room he raised his shoulders, stretching out his hands, with his mouth wide open and his eyes fixed. What he had just been praying for with confidence that God would hear him had come to pass; but Nicholas was as much astonished as if it were something extraordinary and unexpected, and as if the very fact that it had happened so quickly proved that it had not come from God to whom he had prayed, but by some ordinary coincidence. This unexpected and, as it seemed to Nicholas, quite voluntary letter from Sonya freed him from the knot that fettered him and from which there had seemed no

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