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War And Peace 702


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was naughty at table. Papa said he was to have no pudding. He had none, but looked so unhappily and greedily at the others while they were eating! I think that punishment by depriving children of sweets only develops their greediness. Must tell Nicholas this. Nicholas put down the book and looked at his wife. The radiant eyes gazed at him questioningly: would he approve or disapprove of her diary? There could be no doubt not only of his approval but also of his admiration for his wife. Perhaps it need not be done so pedantically, thought Nicholas, or even done at all, but this untiring, continual spiritual effort of which the sole aim was the childrens moral welfare delighted him. Had Nicholas been able to analyze his feelings he would have found that his steady, tender, and proud love of his wife rested on his feeling of wonder at her spirituality and at the lofty moral world, almost beyond his reach, in which she had her being. He was proud of her intelligence and goodness, recognized his own insignificance beside her in the spiritual world, and rejoiced all the more that she with such a soul not only belonged to him but was part of himself. "I quite, quite approve, my dearest!" said he with a significant look, and after a short pause he added: "And I behaved badly today. You werent in the study. We began disputing--Pierre and I--and I lost my temper. But he is impossible: such a child! I dont know what would become of him if Natasha didnt keep him in hand.... Have you any idea why he went to Petersburg? They have formed..." "Yes, I know," said Countess Mary. "Natasha told me." "Well, then, you know," Nicholas went on, growing hot at the mere recollection of their discussion, "he wanted to convince me that it is every honest mans duty to go against the government, and that the oath of allegiance and duty... I am sorry you werent there. They all fell on me--Denisov and Natasha... Natasha is absurd. How she rules over him! And yet there need only be a discussion and she has no words of her own but only repeats his sayings..." added Nicholas, yielding to that irresistible inclination which tempts us to judge those nearest and dearest to us. He forgot that what he was saying about Natasha could have been applied word for word to himself in relation to his wife. "Yes, I have noticed that," said Countess Mary. "When I told him that duty and the oath were above everything, he started proving goodness knows what! A pity you were not there--what would you have said?" "As I see it you were quite right, and I told Natasha so. Pierre says everybody is suffering, tortured, and being corrupted, and that it is our duty to help our neighbor. Of course he is right there," said Countess Mary, "but he forgets that we have other duties nearer to us, duties indicated to us by God Himself, and that though we might expose ourselves to risks we must not risk our children." "Yes, thats it! Thats just what I said to him," put in Nicholas, who fancied he really had said it. "But they insisted on their own view: love of ones neighbor and Christianity--and all this in the presence of young Nicholas, who had gone into my study and broke all my things." "Ah, Nicholas, do you know I am often troubled about little Nicholas," said Countess Mary. "He is such an exceptional boy. I am afraid I neglect him in favor of my own: we all have children and relations while he has no one. He is constantly alone with his thoughts." "Well, I dont think you need reproach yourself on his account. All that the fondest mother could do for her son you have done and are doing for him, and of course I am glad of it. He is a fine lad, a fine lad! This evening he listened to Pierre in a sort of trance, and fancy--as we were going in to supper I looked and he had broken everything on my table to bits, and he told me of it himself at once! I never knew him to tell an untruth. A fine lad, a fine lad!" repeated Nicholas, who at heart was not fond of Nicholas Bolkonski but was always anxious to recognize that he was a fine lad. "Still, I am not the same as his own mother," said Countess Mary. "I feel I am not the same and it

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