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and that there is something soothing in the knitting of stockings. The needles clicked lightly in her slender, rapidly moving hands, and he could clearly see the thoughtful profile of her drooping face. She moved, and the ball rolled off her knees. She started, glanced round at him, and screening the candle with her hand stooped carefully with a supple and exact movement, picked up the ball, and regained her former position. He looked at her without moving and saw that she wanted to draw a deep breath after stooping, but refrained from doing so and breathed cautiously. At the Troitsa monastery they had spoken of the past, and he had told her that if he lived he would always thank God for his wound which had brought them together again, but after that they never spoke of the future. "Can it or can it not be?" he now thought as he looked at her and listened to the light click of the steel needles. "Can fate have brought me to her so strangely only for me to die?... Is it possible that the truth of life has been revealed to me only to show me that I have spent my life in falsity? I love her more than anything in the world! But what am I to do if I love her?" he thought, and he involuntarily groaned, from a habit acquired during his sufferings. On hearing that sound Natasha put down the stocking, leaned nearer to him, and suddenly, noticing his shining eyes, stepped lightly up to him and bent over him. "You are not asleep?" "No, I have been looking at you a long time. I felt you come in. No one else gives me that sense of soft tranquillity that you do... that light. I want to weep for joy." Natasha drew closer to him. Her face shone with rapturous joy. "Natasha, I love you too much! More than anything in the world." "And I!"--She turned away for an instant. "Why too much?" she asked. "Why too much?... Well, what do you, what do you feel in your soul, your whole soul--shall I live? What do you think?" "I am sure of it, sure!" Natasha almost shouted, taking hold of both his hands with a passionate movement. He remained silent awhile. "How good it would be!" and taking her hand he kissed it. Natasha felt happy and agitated, but at once remembered that this would not do and that he had to be quiet. "But you have not slept," she said, repressing her joy. "Try to sleep... please!" He pressed her hand and released it, and she went back to the candle and sat down again in her former position. Twice she turned and looked at him, and her eyes met his beaming at her. She set herself a task on her stocking and resolved not to turn round till it was finished. Soon he really shut his eyes and fell asleep. He did not sleep long and suddenly awoke with a start and in a cold perspiration. As he fell asleep he had still been thinking of the subject that now always occupied his mind--about life and death, and chiefly about death. He felt himself nearer to it. "Love? What is love?" he thought. "Love hinders death. Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source." These thoughts seemed to him comforting. But they were only thoughts. Something was lacking in them, they were not clear, they were too one-sidedly personal and brain-spun. And there was the former agitation and obscurity. He fell asleep. He dreamed that he was lying in the room he really was in, but that he was quite well and unwounded. Many various, indifferent, and insignificant people appeared before him. He talked to them and discussed something trivial. They were preparing to go away somewhere. Prince Andrew dimly realized that all this was trivial and that he had more important cares, but he continued to speak, surprising them by empty witticisms. Gradually, unnoticed, all these persons began to disappear and a single question, that of the closed door, superseded all else. He rose and went to the door to bolt and lock it. Everything depended on whether he was, or was not, in time to lock it. He went, and tried to hurry, but his legs refused to move and he

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