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Chapter 1

  • When seeing a dying animal a man feels a sense of horror: substance similar t_is own is perishing before his eyes. But when it is a beloved and intimat_uman being that is dying, besides this horror at the extinction of life ther_s a severance, a spiritual wound, which like a physical wound is sometime_atal and sometimes heals, but always aches and shrinks at any externa_rritating touch.
  • After Prince Andrew's death Natasha and Princess Mary alike felt this.
  • Drooping in spirit and closing their eyes before the menacing cloud of deat_hat overhung them, they dared not look life in the face. They carefull_uarded their open wounds from any rough and painful contact. Everything: _arriage passing rapidly in the street, a summons to dinner, the maid'_nquiry what dress to prepare, or worse still any word of insincere or feebl_ympathy, seemed an insult, painfully irritated the wound, interrupting tha_ecessary quiet in which they both tried to listen to the stern and dreadfu_hoir that still resounded in their imagination, and hindered their gazin_nto those mysterious limitless vistas that for an instant had opened ou_efore them.
  • Only when alone together were they free from such outrage and pain. They spok_ittle even to one another, and when they did it was of very unimportan_atters.
  • Both avoided any allusion to the future. To admit the possibility of a futur_eemed to them to insult his memory. Still more carefully did they avoi_nything relating to him who was dead. It seemed to them that what they ha_ived through and experienced could not be expressed in words, and that an_eference to the details of his life infringed the majesty and sacredness o_he mystery that had been accomplished before their eyes.
  • Continued abstention from speech, and constant avoidance of everything tha_ight lead up to the subject—this halting on all sides at the boundary of wha_hey might not mention—brought before their minds with still greater purit_nd clearness what they were both feeling.
  • But pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.
  • Princess Mary, in her position as absolute and independent arbiter of her ow_ate and guardian and instructor of her nephew, was the first to be calle_ack to life from that realm of sorrow in which she had dwelt for the firs_ortnight. She received letters from her relations to which she had to reply;
  • the room in which little Nicholas had been put was damp and he began to cough;
  • Alpatych came to Yaroslavl with reports on the state of their affairs and wit_dvice and suggestions that they should return to Moscow to the house on th_ozdvizhenka Street, which had remained uninjured and needed only sligh_epairs. Life did not stand still and it was necessary to live. Hard as it wa_or Princess Mary to emerge from the realm of secluded contemplation in whic_he had lived till then, and sorry and almost ashamed as she felt to leav_atasha alone, yet the cares of life demanded her attention and sh_nvoluntarily yielded to them. She went through the accounts with Alpatych,
  • conferred with Dessalles about her nephew, and gave orders and mad_reparations for the journey to Moscow.
  • Natasha remained alone and, from the time Princess Mary began makin_reparations for departure, held aloof from her too.
  • Princess Mary asked the countess to let Natasha go with her to Moscow, an_oth parents gladly accepted this offer, for they saw their daughter losin_trength every day and thought that a change of scene and the advice of Mosco_octors would be good for her.
  • "I am not going anywhere," Natasha replied when this was proposed to her. "D_lease just leave me alone!" And she ran out of the room, with difficult_efraining from tears of vexation and irritation rather than of sorrow.
  • After she felt herself deserted by Princes Mary and alone in her grief,
  • Natasha spent most of the time in her room by herself, sitting huddled up fee_nd all in the corner of the sofa, tearing and twisting something with he_lender nervous fingers and gazing intently and fixedly at whatever her eye_hanced to fall on. This solitude exhausted and tormented her but she was i_bsolute need of it. As soon as anyone entered she got up quickly, changed he_osition and expression, and picked up a book or some sewing, evidentl_aiting impatiently for the intruder to go.
  • She felt all the time as if she might at any moment penetrate that o_hich—with a terrible questioning too great for her strength- her spiritua_aze was fixed.
  • One day toward the end of December Natasha, pale and thin, dressed in a blac_oolen gown, her plaited hair negligently twisted into a knot, was crouche_eet and all in the corner of her sofa, nervously crumpling and smoothing ou_he end of her sash while she looked at a corner of the door.
  • She was gazing in the direction in which he had gone—to the other side o_ife. And that other side of life, of which she had never before thought an_hich had formerly seemed to her so far away and improbable, was now neare_nd more akin and more comprehensible than this side of life, where everythin_as either emptiness and desolation or suffering and indignity.
  • She was gazing where she knew him to be; but she could not imagine hi_therwise than as he had been here. She now saw him again as he had been a_ytishchi, at Troitsa, and at Yaroslavl.
  • She saw his face, heard his voice, repeated his words and her own, an_ometimes devised other words they might have spoken.
  • There he is lying back in an armchair in his velvet cloak, leaning his head o_is thin pale hand. His chest is dreadfully hollow and his shoulders raised.
  • His lips are firmly closed, his eyes glitter, and a wrinkle comes and goes o_is pale forehead. One of his legs twitches just perceptibly, but rapidly.
  • Natasha knows that he is struggling with terrible pain. "What is that pai_ike? Why does he have that pain? What does he feel? How does it hurt him?"
  • thought Natasha. He noticed her watching him, raised his eyes, and began t_peak seriously:
  • "One thing would be terrible," said he: "to bind oneself forever to _uffering man. It would be continual torture." And he looked searchingly a_er. Natasha as usual answered before she had time to think what she woul_ay. She said: "This can't go on—it won't. You will get well—quite well."
  • She now saw him from the commencement of that scene and relived what she ha_hen felt. She recalled his long sad and severe look at those words an_nderstood the meaning of the rebuke and despair in that protracted gaze.
  • "I agreed," Natasha now said to herself, "that it would be dreadful if h_lways continued to suffer. I said it then only because it would have bee_readful for him, but he understood it differently. He thought it would b_readful for me. He then still wished to live and feared death. And I said i_o awkwardly and stupidly! I did not say what I meant. I thought quit_ifferently. Had I said what I thought, I should have said: even if he had t_o on dying, to die continually before my eyes, I should have been happ_ompared with what I am now. Now there is nothing… nobody. Did he know that?
  • No, he did not and never will know it. And now it will never, never b_ossible to put it right." And now he again seemed to be saying the same word_o her, only in her imagination Natasha this time gave him a different answer.
  • She stopped him and said: "Terrible for you, but not for me! You know that fo_e there is nothing in life but you, and to suffer with you is the greates_appiness for me," and he took her hand and pressed it as he had pressed i_hat terrible evening four days before his death. And in her imagination sh_aid other tender and loving words which she might have said then but onl_poke now: "I love thee!… thee! I love, love… " she said, convulsivel_ressing her hands and setting her teeth with a desperate effort…
  • She was overcome by sweet sorrow and tears were already rising in her eyes;
  • then she suddenly asked herself to whom she was saying this. Again everythin_as shrouded in hard, dry perplexity, and again with a strained frown sh_eered toward the world where he was. And now, now it seemed to her she wa_enetrating the mystery… . But at the instant when it seemed that th_ncomprehensible was revealing itself to her a loud rattle of the door handl_truck painfully on her ears. Dunyasha, her maid, entered the room quickly an_bruptly with a frightened look on her face and showing no concern for he_istress.
  • "Come to your Papa at once, please!" said she with a strange, excited look. "_isfortune… about Peter Ilynich… a letter," she finished with a sob.