At the beginning of July more and more disquieting reports about the war bega_o spread in Moscow; people spoke of an appeal by the Emperor to the people,
and of his coming himself from the army to Moscow. And as up to the elevent_f July no manifesto or appeal had been received, exaggerated reports becam_urrent about them and about the position of Russia. It was said that th_mperor was leaving the army because it was in danger, it was said tha_molensk had surrendered, that Napoleon had an army of a million and only _iracle could save Russia.
On the eleventh of July, which was Saturday, the manifesto was received bu_as not yet in print, and Pierre, who was at the Rostovs', promised to come t_inner next day, Sunday, and bring a copy of the manifesto and appeal, whic_e would obtain from Count Rostopchin.
That Sunday, the Rostovs went to Mass at the Razumovskis' private chapel a_sual. It was a hot July day. Even at ten o'clock, when the Rostovs got out o_heir carriage at the chapel, the sultry air, the shouts of hawkers, the ligh_nd gay summer clothes of the crowd, the dusty leaves of the trees on th_oulevard, the sounds of the band and the white trousers of a battalio_arching to parade, the rattling of wheels on the cobblestones, and th_rilliant, hot sunshine were all full of that summer languor, that content an_iscontent with the present, which is most strongly felt on a bright, hot da_n town. All the Moscow notabilities, all the Rostovs' acquaintances, were a_he Razumovskis' chapel, for, as if expecting something to happen, man_ealthy families who usually left town for their country estates had not gon_way that summer. As Natasha, at her mother's side, passed through the crow_ehind a liveried footman who cleared the way for them, she heard a young ma_peaking about her in too loud a whisper.
"That's Rostova, the one who… "
"She's much thinner, but all the same she's pretty!"
She heard, or thought she heard, the names of Kuragin and Bolkonski. But sh_as always imagining that. It always seemed to her that everyone who looked a_er was thinking only of what had happened to her. With a sinking heart,
wretched as she always was now when she found herself in a crowd, Natasha i_er lilac silk dress trimmed with black lace walked—as women can walk—with th_ore repose and stateliness the greater the pain and shame in her soul. Sh_new for certain that she was pretty, but this no longer gave her satisfactio_s it used to. On the contrary it tormented her more than anything else o_ate, and particularly so on this bright, hot summer day in town. "It's Sunda_gain—another week past," she thought, recalling that she had been here th_unday before, "and always the same life that is no life, and the sam_urroundings in which it used to be so easy to live. I'm pretty, I'm young,
and I know that now I am good. I used to be bad, but now I know I am good,"
she thought, "but yet my best years are slipping by and are no good t_nyone." She stood by her mother's side and exchanged nods with acquaintance_ear her. From habit she scrutinized the ladies' dresses, condemned th_earing of a lady standing close by who was not crossing herself properly bu_n a cramped manner, and again she thought with vexation that she was hersel_eing judged and was judging others, and suddenly, at the sound of th_ervice, she felt horrified at her own vileness, horrified that the forme_urity of her soul was again lost to her.
A comely, fresh-looking old man was conducting the service with that mil_olemnity which has so elevating and soothing an effect on the souls of th_orshipers. The gates of the sanctuary screen were closed, the curtain wa_lowly drawn, and from behind it a soft mysterious voice pronounced som_ords. Tears, the cause of which she herself did not understand, mad_atasha's breast heave, and a joyous but oppressive feeling agitated her.
"Teach me what I should do, how to live my life, how I may grow good forever,
forever!" she pleaded.
The deacon came out onto the raised space before the altar screen and, holdin_is thumb extended, drew his long hair from under his dalmatic and, making th_ign of the cross on his breast, began in a loud and solemn voice to recit_he words of the prayer…
"In peace let us pray unto the Lord."
"As one community, without distinction of class, without enmity, united b_rotherly love—let us pray!" thought Natasha.
"For the peace that is from above, and for the salvation of our souls."
"For the world of angels and all the spirits who dwell above us," praye_atasha.
When they prayed for the warriors, she thought of her brother and Denisov.
When they prayed for all traveling by land and sea, she remembered Princ_ndrew, prayed for him, and asked God to forgive her all the wrongs she ha_one him. When they prayed for those who love us, she prayed for the member_f her own family, her father and mother and Sonya, realizing for the firs_ime how wrongly she had acted toward them, and feeling all the strength o_er love for them. When they prayed for those who hate us, she tried to thin_f her enemies and people who hated her, in order to pray for them. Sh_ncluded among her enemies the creditors and all who had business dealing_ith her father, and always at the thought of enemies and those who hated he_he remembered Anatole who had done her so much harm—and though he did no_ate her she gladly prayed for him as for an enemy. Only at prayer did sh_eel able to think clearly and calmly of Prince Andrew and Anatole, as men fo_hom her feelings were as nothing compared with her awe and devotion to God.
When they prayed for the Imperial family and the Synod, she bowed very low an_ade the sign of the cross, saying to herself that even if she did no_nderstand, still she could not doubt, and at any rate loved the governin_ynod and prayed for it.
When he had finished the Litany the deacon crossed the stole over his breas_nd said, "Let us commit ourselves and our whole lives to Christ the Lord!"
"Commit ourselves to God," Natasha inwardly repeated. "Lord God, I submi_yself to Thy will!" she thought. "I want nothing, wish for nothing; teach m_hat to do and how to use my will! Take me, take me!" prayed Natasha, wit_mpatient emotion in her heart, not crossing herself but letting her slende_rms hang down as if expecting some invisible power at any moment to take he_nd deliver her from herself, from her regrets, desires, remorse, hopes, an_ins.
The countess looked round several times at her daughter's softened face an_hining eyes and prayed God to help her.
Unexpectedly, in the middle of the service, and not in the usual order Natash_new so well, the deacon brought out a small stool, the one he knelt on whe_raying on Trinity Sunday, and placed it before the doors of the sanctuar_creen. The priest came out with his purple velvet biretta on his head,
adjusted his hair, and knelt down with an effort. Everybody followed hi_xample and they looked at one another in surprise. Then came the prayer jus_eceived from the Synod—a prayer for the deliverance of Russia from hostil_nvasion.
"Lord God of might, God of our salvation!" began the priest in that voice,
clear, not grandiloquent but mild, in which only the Slav clergy read an_hich acts so irresistibly on a Russian heart.
"Lord God of might, God of our salvation! Look this day in mercy and blessin_n Thy humble people, and graciously hear us, spare us, and have mercy upo_s! This foe confounding Thy land, desiring to lay waste the whole world,
rises against us; these lawless men are gathered together to overthrow Th_ingdom, to destroy Thy dear Jerusalem, Thy beloved Russia; to defile Th_emples, to overthrow Thine altars, and to desecrate our holy shrines. Ho_ong, O Lord, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they wiel_nlawful power?
"Lord God! Hear us when we pray to Thee; strengthen with Thy might our mos_racious sovereign lord, the Emperor Alexander Pavlovich; be mindful of hi_prightness and meekness, reward him according to his righteousness, and le_t preserve us, Thy chosen Israel! Bless his counsels, his undertakings, an_is work; strengthen his kingdom by Thine almighty hand, and give him victor_ver his enemy, even as Thou gavest Moses the victory over Amalek, Gideon ove_idian, and David over Goliath. Preserve his army, put a bow of brass in th_ands of those who have armed themselves in Thy Name, and gird their loin_ith strength for the fight. Take up the spear and shield and arise to hel_s; confound and put to shame those who have devised evil against us, may the_e before the faces of Thy faithful warriors as dust before the wind, and ma_hy mighty Angel confound them and put them to flight; may they be ensnare_hen they know it not, and may the plots they have laid in secret be turne_gainst them; let them fall before Thy servants' feet and be laid low by ou_osts! Lord, Thou art able to save both great and small; Thou art God, and ma_annot prevail against Thee!
"God of our fathers! Remember Thy bounteous mercy and loving-kindness whic_re from of old; turn not Thy face from us, but be gracious to ou_nworthiness, and in Thy great goodness and Thy many mercies regard not ou_ransgressions and iniquities! Create in us a clean heart and renew a righ_pirit within us, strengthen us all in Thy faith, fortify our hope, inspire u_ith true love one for another, arm us with unity of spirit in the righteou_efense of the heritage Thou gavest to us and to our fathers, and let not th_cepter of the wicked be exalted against the destiny of those Thou has_anctified.
"O Lord our God, in whom we believe and in whom we put our trust, let us no_e confounded in our hope of Thy mercy, and give us a token of Thy blessing,
that those who hate us and our Orthodox faith may see it and be put to sham_nd perish, and may all the nations know that Thou art the Lord and we are Th_eople. Show Thy mercy upon us this day, O Lord, and grant us Thy salvation;
make the hearts of Thy servants to rejoice in Thy mercy; smite down ou_nemies and destroy them swiftly beneath the feet of Thy faithful servants!
For Thou art the defense, the succor, and the victory of them that put thei_rust in Thee, and to Thee be all glory, to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, no_nd forever, world without end. Amen."
In Natasha's receptive condition of soul this prayer affected her strongly.
She listened to every word about the victory of Moses over Amalek, of Gideo_ver Midian, and of David over Goliath, and about the destruction of "Th_erusalem," and she prayed to God with the tenderness and emotion with whic_er heart was overflowing, but without fully understanding what she was askin_f God in that prayer. She shared with all her heart in the prayer for th_pirit of righteousness, for the strengthening of the heart by faith and hope,
and its animation by love. But she could not pray that her enemies might b_rampled under foot when but a few minutes before she had been wishing she ha_ore of them that she might pray for them. But neither could she doubt th_ighteousness of the prayer that was being read on bended knees. She felt i_er heart a devout and tremulous awe at the thought of the punishment tha_vertakes men for their sins, and especially of her own sins, and she praye_o God to forgive them all, and her too, and to give them all, and her too,
peace and happiness. And it seemed to her that God heard her prayer.