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Chapter 2

  • Prince Andrew had to see the Marshal of the Nobility for the district i_onnection with the affairs of the Ryazan estate of which he was trustee. Thi_arshal was Count Ilya Rostov, and in the middle of May Prince Andrew went t_isit him.
  • It was now hot spring weather. The whole forest was already clothed in green.
  • It was dusty and so hot that on passing near water one longed to bathe.
  • Prince Andrew, depressed and preoccupied with the business about which he ha_o speak to the Marshal, was driving up the avenue in the grounds of th_ostovs' house at Otradnoe. He heard merry girlish cries behind some trees o_he right and saw group of girls running to cross the path of his caleche.
  • Ahead of the rest and nearer to him ran a dark-haired, remarkably slim, prett_irl in a yellow chintz dress, with a white handkerchief on her head fro_nder which loose locks of hair escaped. The girl was shouting something but,
  • seeing that he was a stranger, ran back laughing without looking at him.
  • Suddenly, he did not know why, he felt a pang. The day was so beautiful, th_un so bright, everything around so gay, but that slim pretty girl did no_now, or wish to know, of his existence and was contented and cheerful in he_wn separate—probably foolish- but bright and happy life. "What is she so gla_bout? What is she thinking of? Not of the military regulations or of th_rrangement of the Ryazan serfs' quitrents. Of what is she thinking? Why i_he so happy?" Prince Andrew asked himself with instinctive curiosity.
  • In 1809 Count Ilya Rostov was living at Otradnoe just as he had done in forme_ears, that is, entertaining almost the whole province with hunts,
  • theatricals, dinners, and music. He was glad to see Prince Andrew, as he wa_o see any new visitor, and insisted on his staying the night.
  • During the dull day, in the course of which he was entertained by his elderl_osts and by the more important of the visitors (the old count's house wa_rowded on account of an approaching name day), Prince Andrew repeatedl_lanced at Natasha, gay and laughing among the younger members of the company,
  • and asked himself each time, "What is she thinking about? Why is she so glad?"
  • That night, alone in new surroundings, he was long unable to sleep. He rea_while and then put out his candle, but relit it. It was hot in the room, th_nside shutters of which were closed. He was cross with the stupid old man (a_e called Rostov), who had made him stay by assuring him that some necessar_ocuments had not yet arrived from town, and he was vexed with himself fo_aving stayed.
  • He got up and went to the window to open it. As soon as he opened the shutter_he moonlight, as if it had long been watching for this, burst into the room.
  • He opened the casement. The night was fresh, bright, and very still. Jus_efore the window was a row of pollard trees, looking black on one side an_ith a silvery light on the other. Beneath the trees grewsome kind of lush,
  • wet, bushy vegetation with silver-lit leaves and stems here and there. Farthe_ack beyond the dark trees a roof glittered with dew, to the right was a leaf_ree with brilliantly white trunk and branches, and above it shone the moon,
  • nearly at its full, in a pale, almost starless, spring sky. Prince Andre_eaned his elbows on the window ledge and his eyes rested on that sky.
  • His room was on the first floor. Those in the rooms above were also awake. H_eard female voices overhead.
  • "Just once more," said a girlish voice above him which Prince Andre_ecognized at once.
  • "But when are you coming to bed?" replied another voice.
  • "I won't, I can't sleep, what's the use? Come now for the last time."
  • Two girlish voices sang a musical passage—the end of some song.
  • "Oh, how lovely! Now go to sleep, and there's an end of it."
  • "You go to sleep, but I can't," said the first voice, coming nearer to th_indow. She was evidently leaning right out, for the rustle of her dress an_ven her breathing could be heard. Everything was stone-still, like the moo_nd its light and the shadows. Prince Andrew, too, dared not stir, for fear o_etraying his unintentional presence.
  • "Sonya! Sonya!" he again heard the first speaker. "Oh, how can you sleep? Onl_ook how glorious it is! Ah, how glorious! Do wake up, Sonya!" she said almos_ith tears in her voice. "There never, never was such a lovely night before!"
  • Sonya made some reluctant reply.
  • "Do just come and see what a moon!… Oh, how lovely! Come here… . Darling,
  • sweetheart, come here! There, you see? I feel like sitting down on my heels,
  • putting my arms round my knees like this, straining tight, as tight a_ossible, and flying away! Like this… ."
  • "Take care, you'll fall out."
  • He heard the sound of a scuffle and Sonya's disapproving voice: "It's past on_'clock."
  • "Oh, you only spoil things for me. All right, go, go!"
  • Again all was silent, but Prince Andrew knew she was still sitting there. Fro_ime to time he heard a soft rustle and at times a sigh.
  • "O God, O God! What does it mean?" she suddenly exclaimed. "To bed then, if i_ust be!" and she slammed the casement.
  • "For her I might as well not exist!" thought Prince Andrew while he listene_o her voice, for some reason expecting yet fearing that she might sa_omething about him. "There she is again! As if it were on purpose," though_e.
  • In his soul there suddenly arose such an unexpected turmoil of youthfu_houghts and hopes, contrary to the whole tenor of his life, that unable t_xplain his condition to himself he lay down and fell asleep at once.