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Chapter 14

  • When Princess Mary heard from Nicholas that her brother was with the Rostov_t Yaroslavl she at once prepared to go there, in spite of her aunt's effort_o dissuade her—and not merely to go herself but to take her nephew with her.
  • Whether it were difficult or easy, possible or impossible, she did not ask an_id not want to know: it was her duty not only herself to be near her brothe_ho was perhaps dying, but to do everything possible to take his son to him, and so she prepared to set off. That she had not heard from Prince Andre_imself, Princess Mary attributed to his being too weak to write or to hi_onsidering the long journey too hard and too dangerous for her and his son.
  • In a few days Princess Mary was ready to start. Her equipages were the hug_amily coach in which she had traveled to Voronezh, a semiopen trap, and _aggage cart. With her traveled Mademoiselle Bourienne, little Nicholas an_is tutor, her old nurse, three maids, Tikhon, and a young footman and courie_er aunt had sent to accompany her.
  • The usual route through Moscow could not be thought of, and the roundabout wa_rincess Mary was obliged to take through Lipetsk, Ryazan, Vladimir, and Shuy_as very long and, as post horses were not everywhere obtainable, ver_ifficult, and near Ryazan where the French were said to have shown themselve_as even dangerous.
  • During this difficult journey Mademoiselle Bourienne, Dessalles, and Princes_ary's servants were astonished at her energy and firmness of spirit. She wen_o bed later and rose earlier than any of them, and no difficulties daunte_er. Thanks to her activity and energy, which infected her fellow travelers, they approached Yaroslavl by the end of the second week.
  • The last days of her stay in Voronezh had been the happiest of her life. He_ove for Rostov no longer tormented or agitated her. It filled her whole soul, had become an integral part of herself, and she no longer struggled agains_t. Latterly she had become convinced that she loved and was beloved, thoug_he never said this definitely to herself in words. She had become convince_f it at her last interview with Nicholas, when he had come to tell her tha_er brother was with the Rostovs. Not by a single word had Nicholas alluded t_he fact that Prince Andrew's relations with Natasha might, if he recovered, be renewed, but Princess Mary saw by his face that he knew and thought o_his.
  • Yet in spite of that, his relation to her—considerate, delicate, an_oving—not only remained unchanged, but it sometimes seemed to Princess Mar_hat he was even glad that the family connection between them allowed him t_xpress his friendship more freely. She knew that she loved for the first an_nly time in her life and felt that she was beloved, and was happy in regar_o it.
  • But this happiness on one side of her spiritual nature did not prevent he_eeling grief for her brother with full force; on the contrary, that spiritua_ranquility on the one side made it the more possible for her to give ful_lay to her feeling for her brother. That feeling was so strong at the momen_f leaving Voronezh that those who saw her off, as they looked at he_areworn, despairing face, felt sure she would fall ill on the journey. Bu_he very difficulties and preoccupations of the journey, which she took s_ctively in hand, saved her for a while from her grief and gave her strength.
  • As always happens when traveling, Princess Mary thought only of the journe_tself, forgetting its object. But as she approached Yaroslavl the thought o_hat might await her there—not after many days, but that very evening—agai_resented itself to her and her agitation increased to its utmost limit.
  • The courier who had been sent on in advance to find out where the Rostovs wer_taying in Yaroslavl, and in what condition Prince Andrew was, when he met th_ig coach just entering the town gates was appalled by the terrible pallor o_he princess' face that looked out at him from the window.
  • "I have found out everything, your excellency: the Rostovs are staying at th_erchant Bronnikov's house, in the Square not far from here, right above th_olga," said the courier.
  • Princess Mary looked at him with frightened inquiry, not understanding why h_id not reply to what she chiefly wanted to know: how was her brother?
  • Mademoiselle Bourienne put that question for her.
  • "How is the prince?" she asked.
  • "His excellency is staying in the same house with them."
  • "Then he is alive," thought Princess Mary, and asked in a low voice: "How i_e?"
  • "The servants say he is still the same."
  • What "still the same" might mean Princess Mary did not ask, but with a_nnoticed glance at little seven-year-old Nicholas, who was sitting in fron_f her looking with pleasure at the town, she bowed her head and did not rais_t again till the heavy coach, rumbling, shaking and swaying, came to a stop.
  • The carriage steps clattered as they were let down.
  • The carriage door was opened. On the left there was water—a great river—and o_he right a porch. There were people at the entrance: servants, and a ros_irl with a large plait of black hair, smiling as it seemed to Princess Mar_n an unpleasantly affected way. (This was Sonya.) Princess Mary ran up th_teps. "This way, this way!" said the girl, with the same artificial smile, and the princess found herself in the hall facing an elderly woman of Orienta_ype, who came rapidly to meet her with a look of emotion. This was th_ountess. She embraced Princess Mary and kissed her.
  • "Mon enfant!" she muttered, "je vous aime et vous connais depuis longtemps."*
  • * "My child! I love you and have known you a long time."
  • Despite her excitement, Princess Mary realized that this was the
  • countess and that it was necessary to say something to her. Hardly knowing ho_he did it, she contrived to utter a few polite phrases in French in the sam_one as those that had been addressed to her, and asked: "How is he?"
  • "The doctor says that he is not in danger," said the countess, but as sh_poke she raised her eyes with a sigh, and her gesture conveyed _ontradiction of her words.
  • "Where is he? Can I see him—can I?" asked the princess.
  • "One moment, Princess, one moment, my dear! Is this his son?" said th_ountess, turning to little Nicholas who was coming in with Dessalles. "Ther_ill be room for everybody, this is a big house. Oh, what a lovely boy!"
  • The countess took Princess Mary into the drawing room, where Sonya was talkin_o Mademoiselle Bourienne. The countess caressed the boy, and the old coun_ame in and welcomed the princess. He had changed very much since Princes_ary had last seen him. Then he had been a brisk, cheerful, self-assured ol_an; now he seemed a pitiful, bewildered person. While talking to Princes_ary he continually looked round as if asking everyone whether he was doin_he right thing. After the destruction of Moscow and of his property, throw_ut of his accustomed groove he seemed to have lost the sense of his ow_ignificance and to feel that there was no longer a place for him in life.
  • In spite of her one desire to see her brother as soon as possible, and he_exation that at the moment when all she wanted was to see him they should b_rying to entertain her and pretending to admire her nephew, the princes_oticed all that was going on around her and felt the necessity of submitting, for a time, to this new order of things which she had entered. She knew it t_e necessary, and though it was hard for her she was not vexed with thes_eople.
  • "This is my niece," said the count, introducing Sonya—"You don't know her, Princess?"
  • Princess Mary turned to Sonya and, trying to stifle the hostile feeling tha_rose in her toward the girl, she kissed her. But she felt oppressed by th_act that the mood of everyone around her was so far from what was in her ow_eart.
  • "Where is he?" she asked again, addressing them all.
  • "He is downstairs. Natasha is with him," answered Sonya, flushing. "We hav_ent to ask. I think you must be tired, Princess."
  • Tears of vexation showed themselves in Princess Mary's eyes. She turned awa_nd was about to ask the countess again how to go to him, when light, impetuous, and seemingly buoyant steps were heard at the door. The princes_ooked round and saw Natasha coming in, almost running—that Natasha whom sh_ad liked so little at their meeting in Moscow long since.
  • But hardly had the princess looked at Natasha's face before she realized tha_ere was a real comrade in her grief, and consequently a friend. She ran t_eet her, embraced her, and began to cry on her shoulder.
  • As soon as Natasha, sitting at the head of Prince Andrew's bed, heard o_rincess Mary's arrival, she softly left his room and hastened to her wit_hose swift steps that had sounded buoyant to Princess Mary.
  • There was only one expression on her agitated face when she ran into th_rawing room—that of love—boundless love for him, for her, and for all tha_as near to the man she loved; and of pity, suffering for others, an_assionate desire to give herself entirely to helping them. It was plain tha_t that moment there was in Natasha's heart no thought of herself or of he_wn relations with Prince Andrew.
  • Princess Mary, with her acute sensibility, understood all this at the firs_lance at Natasha's face, and wept on her shoulder with sorrowful pleasure.
  • "Come, come to him, Mary," said Natasha, leading her into the other room.
  • Princess Mary raised her head, dried her eyes, and turned to Natasha. She fel_hat from her she would be able to understand and learn everything.
  • "How… " she began her question but stopped short.
  • She felt that it was impossible to ask, or to answer, in words. Natasha's fac_yes would have to tell her all more clearly and profoundly.
  • Natasha was gazing at her, but seemed afraid and in doubt whether to say al_he knew or not; she seemed to feel that before those luminous eyes whic_enetrated into the very depths of her heart, it was impossible not to tel_he whole truth which she saw. And suddenly, Natasha's lips twitched, ugl_rinkles gathered round her mouth, and covering her face with her hands sh_urst into sobs.
  • Princess Mary understood.
  • But she still hoped, and asked, in words she herself did not trust:
  • "But how is his wound? What is his general condition?"
  • "You, you… will see," was all Natasha could say.
  • They sat a little while downstairs near his room till they had left off cryin_nd were able to go to him with calm faces.
  • "How has his whole illness gone? Is it long since he grew worse? When did thi_appen?" Princess Mary inquired.
  • Natasha told her that at first there had been danger from his feveris_ondition and the pain he suffered, but at Troitsa that had passed and th_octor had only been afraid of gangrene. That danger had also passed. Whe_hey reached Yaroslavl the wound had begun to fester (Natasha knew all abou_uch things as festering) and the doctor had said that the festering migh_ake a normal course. Then fever set in, but the doctor had said the fever wa_ot very serious.
  • "But two days ago this suddenly happened," said Natasha, struggling with he_obs. "I don't know why, but you will see what he is like."
  • "Is he weaker? Thinner?" asked the princess.
  • "No, it's not that, but worse. You will see. O, Mary, he is too good, h_annot, cannot live, because… "