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position was the more difficult because with his salary of twelve hundred rubles he had not only to keep himself, his mother, and Sonya, but had to shield his mother from knowledge of their poverty. The countess could not conceive of life without the luxurious conditions she had been used to from childhood and, unable to realize how hard it was for her son, kept demanding now a carriage (which they did not keep) to send for a friend, now some expensive article of food for herself, or wine for her son, or money to buy a present as a surprise for Natasha or Sonya, or for Nicholas himself. Sonya kept house, attended on her aunt, read to her, put up with her whims and secret ill-will, and helped Nicholas to conceal their poverty from the old countess. Nicholas felt himself irredeemably indebted to Sonya for all she was doing for his mother and greatly admired her patience and devotion, but tried to keep aloof from her. He seemed in his heart to reproach her for being too perfect, and because there was nothing to reproach her with. She had all that people are valued for, but little that could have made him love her. He felt that the more he valued her the less he loved her. He had taken her at her word when she wrote giving him his freedom and now behaved as if all that had passed between them had been long forgotten and could never in any case be renewed. Nicholas position became worse and worse. The idea of putting something aside out of his salary proved a dream. Not only did he not save anything, but to comply with his mothers demands he even incurred some small debts. He could see no way out of this situation. The idea of marrying some rich woman, which was suggested to him by his female relations, was repugnant to him. The other way out--his mothers death--never entered his head. He wished for nothing and hoped for nothing, and deep in his heart experienced a gloomy and stern satisfaction in an uncomplaining endurance of his position. He tried to avoid his old acquaintances with their commiseration and offensive offers of assistance; he avoided all distraction and recreation, and even at home did nothing but play cards with his mother, pace silently up and down the room, and smoke one pipe after another. He seemed carefully to cherish within himself the gloomy mood which alone enabled him to endure his position. CHAPTER VI At the beginning of winter Princess Mary came to Moscow. From reports current in town she learned how the Rostovs were situated, and how "the son has sacrificed himself for his mother," as people were saying. "I never expected anything else of him," said Princess Mary to herself, feeling a joyous sense of her love for him. Remembering her friendly relations with all the Rostovs which had made her almost a member of the family, she thought it her duty to go to see them. But remembering her relations with Nicholas in Voronezh she was shy about doing so. Making a great effort she did however go to call on them a few weeks after her arrival in Moscow. Nicholas was the first to meet her, as the countess room could only be reached through his. But instead of being greeted with pleasure as she had expected, at his first glance at her his face assumed a cold, stiff, proud expression she had not seen on it before. He inquired about her health, led the way to his mother, and having sat there for five minutes left the room. When the princess came out of the countess room Nicholas met her again, and with marked solemnity and stiffness accompanied her to the anteroom. To her remarks about his mothers health he made no reply. "Whats that to you? Leave me in peace," his looks seemed to say. "Why does she come prowling here? What does she want? I cant bear these ladies and all these civilities!" said he aloud in Sonyas presence, evidently unable to repress his vexation, after the princess carriage had disappeared. "Oh, Nicholas, how can you talk like that?" cried Sonya, hardly able to conceal her delight. "She is so kind and Mamma is so fond of her!" Nicholas did not reply and tried to avoid speaking of the princess any more. But after her visit the old countess spoke of her several times a day. She sang her praises, insisted that her son must call on her, expressed a wish to see

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