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War And Peace 670

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War And Peace

in its flight and took it straight into her open heart, divining the secret meaning of all Pierres mental travail. Princess Mary understood his story and sympathized with him, but she now saw something else that absorbed all her attention. She saw the possibility of love and happiness between Natasha and Pierre, and the first thought of this filled her heart with gladness. It was three oclock in the morning. The footmen came in with sad and stern faces to change the candles, but no one noticed them. Pierre finished his story. Natasha continued to look at him intently with bright, attentive, and animated eyes, as if trying to understand something more which he had perhaps left untold. Pierre in shamefaced and happy confusion glanced occasionally at her, and tried to think what to say next to introduce a fresh subject. Princess Mary was silent. It occurred to none of them that it was three oclock and time to go to bed. "People speak of misfortunes and sufferings," remarked Pierre, "but if at this moment I were asked: Would you rather be what you were before you were taken prisoner, or go through all this again? then for heavens sake let me again have captivity and horseflesh! We imagine that when we are thrown out of our usual ruts all is lost, but it is only then that what is new and good begins. While there is life there is happiness. There is much, much before us. I say this to you," he added, turning to Natasha. "Yes, yes," she said, answering something quite different. "I too should wish nothing but to relive it all from the beginning." Pierre looked intently at her. "Yes, and nothing more," said Natasha. "Its not true, not true!" cried Pierre. "I am not to blame for being alive and wishing to live--nor you either." Suddenly Natasha bent her head, covered her face with her hands, and began to cry. "What is it, Natasha?" said Princess Mary. "Nothing, nothing." She smiled at Pierre through her tears. "Good night! It is time for bed." Pierre rose and took his leave. Princess Mary and Natasha met as usual in the bedroom. They talked of what Pierre had told them. Princess Mary did not express her opinion of Pierre nor did Natasha speak of him. "Well, good night, Mary!" said Natasha. "Do you know, I am often afraid that by not speaking of him" (she meant Prince Andrew) "for fear of not doing justice to our feelings, we forget him." Princess Mary sighed deeply and thereby acknowledged the justice of Natashas remark, but she did not express agreement in words. "Is it possible to forget?" said she. "It did me so much good to tell all about it today. It was hard and painful, but good, very good!" said Natasha. "I am sure he really loved him. That is why I told him... Was it all right?" she added, suddenly blushing. "To tell Pierre? Oh, yes. What a splendid man he is!" said Princess Mary. "Do you know, Mary..." Natasha suddenly said with a mischievous smile such as Princess Mary had not seen on her face for a long time, "he has somehow grown so clean, smooth, and fresh--as if he had just come out of a Russian bath; do you understand? Out of a moral bath. Isnt it true?" "Yes," replied Princess Mary. "He has greatly improved." "With a short coat and his hair cropped; just as if, well, just as if he had come straight from the bath... Papa used to..." "I understand why he" (Prince Andrew) "liked no one so much as him," said Princess Mary. "Yes, and yet he is quite different. They say men are friends when they are quite different. That must be true. Really he is quite unlike him--in everything." "Yes, but hes wonderful." "Well, good night," said Natasha. And the same mischievous smile lingered for a long time on her face as if it had been forgotten there. CHAPTER XVIII It was a long time before Pierre could fall asleep that night. He paced up and down his room, now turning his thoughts on a difficult problem and frowning, now suddenly shrugging his shoulders and wincing, and now smiling happily. He was thinking of Prince Andrew, of Natasha, and of their love, at one moment jealous of her past, then reproaching himself for that feeling. It was already six in the morning and he still paced up and down the room. "Well, whats to be done if it cannot be avoided? Whats to be done? Evidently it has to be so," said he to himself, and hastily undressing he

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