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Chapter 19

  • From the day his wife arrived in Moscow Pierre had been intending to go awa_omewhere, so as not to be near her. Soon after the Rostovs came to Moscow th_ffect Natasha had on him made him hasten to carry out his intention. He wen_o Tver to see Joseph Alexeevich's widow, who had long since promised to han_ver to him some papers of her deceased husband's.
  • When he returned to Moscow Pierre was handed a letter from Marya Dmitrievn_sking him to come and see her on a matter of great importance relating t_ndrew Bolkonski and his betrothed. Pierre had been avoiding Natasha becaus_t seemed to him that his feeling for her was stronger than a married man'_hould be for his friend's fiancee. Yet some fate constantly threw the_ogether.
  • "What can have happened? And what can they want with me?" thought he as h_ressed to go to Marya Dmitrievna's. "If only Prince Andrew would hurry up an_ome and marry her!" thought he on his way to the house.
  • On the Tverskoy Boulevard a familiar voice called to him.
  • "Pierre! Been back long?" someone shouted. Pierre raised his head. In a sleig_rawn by two gray trotting-horses that were bespattering the dashboard wit_now, Anatole and his constant companion Makarin dashed past. Anatole wa_itting upright in the classic pose of military dandies, the lower part of hi_ace hidden by his beaver collar and his head slightly bent. His face wa_resh and rosy, his white-plumed hat, tilted to one side, disclosed his curle_nd pomaded hair besprinkled with powdery snow.
  • "Yes, indeed, that's a true sage," thought Pierre. "He sees nothing beyond th_leasure of the moment, nothing troubles him and so he is always cheerful,
  • satisfied, and serene. What wouldn't I give to be like him!" he though_nviously.
  • In Marya Dmitrievna's anteroom the footman who helped him off with his fu_oat said that the mistress asked him to come to her bedroom.
  • When he opened the ballroom door Pierre saw Natasha sitting at the window,
  • with a thin, pale, and spiteful face. She glanced round at him, frowned, an_eft the room with an expression of cold dignity.
  • "What has happened?" asked Pierre, entering Marya Dmitrievna's room.
  • "Fine doings!" answered Dmitrievna. "For fifty-eight years have I lived i_his world and never known anything so disgraceful!"
  • And having put him on his honor not to repeat anything she told him, Mary_mitrievna informed him that Natasha had refused Prince Andrew without he_arents' knowledge and that the cause of this was Anatole Kuragin into whos_ociety Pierre's wife had thrown her and with whom Natasha had tried to elop_uring her father's absence, in order to be married secretly.
  • Pierre raised his shoulders and listened open-mouthed to what was told him,
  • scarcely able to believe his own ears. That Prince Andrew's deeply love_ffianced wife—the same Natasha Rostova who used to be so charming—should giv_p Bolkonski for that fool Anatole who was already secretly married (as Pierr_new), and should be so in love with him as to agree to run away with him, wa_omething Pierre could not conceive and could not imagine.
  • He could not reconcile the charming impression he had of Natasha, whom he ha_nown from a child, with this new conception of her baseness, folly, an_ruelty. He thought of his wife. "They are all alike!" he said to himself,
  • reflecting that he was not the only man unfortunate enough to be tied to a ba_oman. But still he pitied Prince Andrew to the point of tears and sympathize_ith his wounded pride, and the more he pitied his friend the more did h_hink with contempt and even with disgust of that Natasha who had just passe_im in the ballroom with such a look of cold dignity. He did not know tha_atasha's soul was overflowing with despair, shame, and humiliation, and tha_t was not her fault that her face happened to assume an expression of cal_ignity and severity.
  • "But how get married?" said Pierre, in answer to Marya Dmitrievna. "He coul_ot marry—he is married!"
  • "Things get worse from hour to hour!" ejaculated Marya Dmitrievna. "A nic_outh! What a scoundrel! And she's expecting him—expecting him sinc_esterday. She must be told! Then at least she won't go on expecting him."
  • After hearing the details of Anatole's marriage from Pierre, and giving ven_o her anger against Anatole in words of abuse, Marya Dmitrievna told Pierr_hy she had sent for him. She was afraid that the count or Bolkonski, wh_ight arrive at any moment, if they knew of this affair (which she hoped t_ide from them) might challenge Anatole to a duel, and she therefore aske_ierre to tell his brother-in-law in her name to leave Moscow and not dare t_et her set eyes on him again. Pierre—only now realizing the danger to the ol_ount, Nicholas, and Prince Andrew—promised to do as she wished. Havin_riefly and exactly explained her wishes to him, she let him go to the drawin_oom.
  • "Mind, the count knows nothing. Behave as if you know nothing either," sh_aid. "And I will go and tell her it is no use expecting him! And stay t_inner if you care to!" she called after Pierre.
  • Pierre met the old count, who seemed nervous and upset. That morning Natash_ad told him that she had rejected Bolkonski.
  • "Troubles, troubles, my dear fellow!" he said to Pierre. "What troubles on_as with these girls without their mother! I do so regret having come here… .
  • I will be frank with you. Have you heard she has broken off her engagemen_ithout consulting anybody? It's true this engagement never was much to m_iking. Of course he is an excellent man, but still, with his father'_isapproval they wouldn't have been happy, and Natasha won't lack suitors.
  • Still, it has been going on so long, and to take such a step without father'_r mother's consent! And now she's ill, and God knows what! It's hard, Count,
  • hard to manage daughters in their mother's absence… ."
  • Pierre saw that the count was much upset and tried to change the subject, bu_he count returned to his troubles.
  • Sonya entered the room with an agitated face.
  • "Natasha is not quite well; she's in her room and would like to see you. Mary_mitrievna is with her and she too asks you to come."
  • "Yes, you are a great friend of Bolkonski's, no doubt she wants to send him _essage," said the count. "Oh dear! Oh dear! How happy it all was!"
  • And clutching the spare gray locks on his temples the count left the room.
  • When Marya Dmitrievna told Natasha that Anatole was married, Natasha did no_ish to believe it and insisted on having it confirmed by Pierre himself.
  • Sonya told Pierre this as she led him along the corridor to Natasha's room.
  • Natasha, pale and stern, was sitting beside Marya Dmitrievna, and her eyes,
  • glittering feverishly, met Pierre with a questioning look the moment h_ntered. She did not smile or nod, but only gazed fixedly at him, and her loo_sked only one thing: was he a friend, or like the others an enemy in regar_o Anatole? As for Pierre, he evidently did not exist for her.
  • "He knows all about it," said Marya Dmitrievna pointing to Pierre an_ddressing Natasha. "Let him tell you whether I have told the truth."
  • Natasha looked from one to the other as a hunted and wounded animal looks a_he approaching dogs and sportsmen.
  • "Natalya Ilynichna," Pierre began, dropping his eyes with a feeling of pit_or her and loathing for the thing he had to do, "whether it is true or no_hould make no difference to you, because… "
  • "Then it is not true that he's married!"
  • "Yes, it is true."
  • "Has he been married long?" she asked. "On your honor?… "
  • Pierre gave his word of honor.
  • "Is he still here?" she asked, quickly.
  • "Yes, I have just seen him."
  • She was evidently unable to speak and made a sign with her hands that the_hould leave her alone.