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Chapter 10

  • Natasha had married in the early spring of 1813, and in 1820 already had thre_aughters besides a son for whom she had longed and whom she was now nursing.
  • She had grown stouter and broader, so that it was difficult to recognize i_his robust, motherly woman the slim, lively Natasha of former days. He_eatures were more defined and had a calm, soft, and serene expression. In he_ace there was none of the ever-glowing animation that had formerly burne_here and constituted its charm. Now her face and body were of all that on_aw, and her soul was not visible at all. All that struck the eye was _trong, handsome, and fertile woman. The old fire very rarely kindled in he_ace now. That happened only when, as was the case that day, her husban_eturned home, or a sick child was convalescent, or when she and Countess Mar_poke of Prince Andrew (she never mentioned him to her husband, who sh_magined was jealous of Prince Andrew's memory), or on the rare occasions whe_omething happened to induce her to sing, a practice she had quite abandone_ince her marriage. At the rare moments when the old fire did kindle in he_andsome, fully developed body she was even more attractive than in forme_ays.
  • Since their marriage Natasha and her husband had lived in Moscow, i_etersburg, on their estate near Moscow, or with her mother, that is to say,
  • in Nicholas' house. The young Countess Bezukhova was not often seen i_ociety, and those who met her there were not pleased with her and found he_either attractive nor amiable. Not that Natasha liked solitude—she did no_now whether she liked it or not, she even thought that she did not—but wit_er pregnancies, her confinements, the nursing of her children, and sharin_very moment of her husband's life, she had demands on her time which could b_atisfied only by renouncing society. All who had known Natasha before he_arriage wondered at the change in her as at something extraordinary. Only th_ld countess with her maternal instinct had realized that all Natasha'_utbursts had been due to her need of children and a husband—as she hersel_ad once exclaimed at Otradnoe not so much in fun as in earnest—and her mothe_as now surprised at the surprise expressed by those who had never understoo_atasha, and she kept saying that she had always known that Natasha would mak_n exemplary wife and mother.
  • "Only she lets her love of her husband and children overflow all bounds," sai_he countess, "so that it even becomes absurd."
  • Natasha did not follow the golden rule advocated by clever folk, especially b_he French, which says that a girl should not let herself go when she marries,
  • should not neglect her accomplishments, should be even more careful of he_ppearance than when she was unmarried, and should fascinate her husband a_uch as she did before he became her husband. Natasha on the contrary had a_nce abandoned all her witchery, of which her singing had been an unusuall_owerful part. She gave it up just because it was so powerfully seductive. Sh_ook no pains with her manners or with of speech, or with her toilet, or t_how herself to her husband in her most becoming attitudes, or to avoi_nconveniencing him by being too exacting. She acted in contradiction to al_hose rules. She felt that the allurements instinct had formerly taught her t_se would now be merely ridiculous in the eyes of her husband, to whom she ha_rom the first moment given herself up entirely—that is, with her whole soul,
  • leaving no corner of it hidden from him. She felt that her unity with he_usband was not maintained by the poetic feelings that had attracted him t_er, but by something else—indefinite but firm as the bond between her ow_ody and soul.
  • To fluff out her curls, put on fashionable dresses, and sing romantic songs t_ascinate her husband would have seemed as strange as to adorn herself t_ttract herself. To adorn herself for others might perhaps have bee_greeable—she did not know—but she had no time at all for it. The chief reaso_or devoting no time either to singing, to dress, or to choosing her words wa_hat she really had no time to spare for these things.
  • We know that man has the faculty of becoming completely absorbed in a subjec_owever trivial it may be, and that there is no subject so trivial that i_ill not grow to infinite proportions if one's entire attention is devoted t_t.
  • The subject which wholly engrossed Natasha's attention was her family: tha_s, her husband whom she had to keep so that he should belong entirely to he_nd to the home, and the children whom she had to bear, bring into the world,
  • nurse, and bring up.
  • And the deeper she penetrated, not with her mind only but with her whole soul,
  • her whole being, into the subject that absorbed her, the larger did tha_ubject grow and the weaker and more inadequate did her powers appear, so tha_he concentrated them wholly on that one thing and yet was unable t_ccomplish all that she considered necessary.
  • There were then as now conversations and discussions about women's rights, th_elations of husband and wife and their freedom and rights, though thes_hemes were not yet termed questions as they are now; but these topics wer_ot merely uninteresting to Natasha, she positively did not understand them.
  • These questions, then as now, existed only for those who see nothing i_arriage but the pleasure married people get from one another, that is, onl_he beginnings of marriage and not its whole significance, which lies in th_amily.
  • Discussions and questions of that kind, which are like the question of how t_et the greatest gratification from one's dinner, did not then and do not no_xist for those for whom the purpose of a dinner is the nourishment i_ffords; and the purpose of marriage is the family.
  • If the purpose of dinner is to nourish the body, a man who eats two dinners a_nce may perhaps get more enjoyment but will not attain his purpose, for hi_tomach will not digest the two dinners.
  • If the purpose of marriage is the family, the person who wishes to have man_ives or husbands may perhaps obtain much pleasure, but in that case will no_ave a family.
  • If the purpose of food is nourishment and the purpose of marriage is th_amily, the whole question resolves itself into not eating more than one ca_igest, and not having more wives or husbands than are needed for th_amily—that is, one wife or one husband. Natasha needed a husband. A husban_as given her and he gave her a family. And she not only saw no need of an_ther or better husband, but as all the powers of her soul were intent o_erving that husband and family, she could not imagine and saw no interest i_magining how it would be if things were different.
  • Natasha did not care for society in general, but prized the more the societ_f her relatives—Countess Mary, and her brother, her mother, and Sonya. Sh_alued the company of those to whom she could come striding disheveled fro_he nursery in her dressing gown, and with joyful face show a yellow instea_f a green stain on baby's napkin, and from whom she could hear reassurin_ords to the effect that baby was much better.
  • To such an extent had Natasha let herself go that the way she dressed and di_er hair, her ill-chosen words, and her jealousy- she was jealous of Sonya, o_he governess, and of every woman, pretty or plain—were habitual subjects o_est to those about her. The general opinion was that Pierre was under hi_ife's thumb, which was really true. From the very first days of their marrie_ife Natasha had announced her demands. Pierre was greatly surprised by hi_ife's view, to him a perfectly novel one, that every moment of his lif_elonged to her and to the family. His wife's demands astonished him, but the_lso flattered him, and he submitted to them.
  • Pierre's subjection consisted in the fact that he not only dared not flir_ith, but dared not even speak smilingly to, any other woman; did not dar_ine at the Club as a pastime, did not dare spend money a whim, and did no_are absent himself for any length of time, except on business—in which hi_ife included his intellectual pursuits, which she did not in the leas_nderstand but to which she attributed great importance. To make up for this,
  • at home Pierre had the right to regulate his life and that of the whole famil_xactly as he chose. At home Natasha placed herself in the position of a slav_o her husband, and the whole household went on tiptoe when he wa_ccupied—that is, was reading or writing in his study. Pierre had but to sho_ partiality for anything to get just what he liked done always. He had onl_o express a wish and Natasha would jump up and run to fulfill it.
  • The entire household was governed according to Pierre's supposed orders, tha_s, by his wishes which Natasha tried to guess. Their way of life and place o_esidence, their acquaintances and ties, Natasha's occupations, the children'_pbringing, were all selected not merely with regard to Pierre's expresse_ishes, but to what Natasha from the thoughts he expressed in conversatio_upposed his wishes to be. And she deduced the essentials of his wishes quit_orrectly, and having once arrived at them clung to them tenaciously. Whe_ierre himself wanted to change his mind she would fight him with his ow_eapons.
  • Thus in a time of trouble ever memorable to him after the birth of their firs_hild who was delicate, when they had to change the wet nurse three times an_atasha fell ill from despair, Pierre one day told her of Rousseau's view,
  • with which he quite agreed, that to have a wet nurse is unnatural and harmful.
  • When her next baby was born, despite the opposition of her mother, th_octors, and even of her husband himself—who were all vigorously opposed t_er nursing her baby herself, a thing then unheard of and considere_njurious- she insisted on having her own way, and after that nursed all he_abies herself.
  • It very often happened that in a moment of irritation husband and wife woul_ave a dispute, but long afterwards Pierre to his surprise and delight woul_ind in his wife's ideas and actions the very thought against which she ha_rgued, but divested of everything superfluous that in the excitement of th_ispute he had added when expressing his opinion.
  • After seven years of marriage Pierre had the joyous and firm consciousnes_hat he was not a bad man, and he felt this because he saw himself reflecte_n his wife. He felt the good and bad within himself inextricably mingled an_verlapping. But only what was really good in him was reflected in his wife,
  • all that was not quite good was rejected. And this was not the result o_ogical reasoning but was a direct and mysterious reflection.