After Pierre's departure that first evening, when Natasha had said to Princes_ary with a gaily mocking smile: "He looks just, yes, just as if he had com_ut of a Russian bath—in a short coat and with his hair cropped," somethin_idden and unknown to herself, but irrepressible, awoke in Natasha's soul.
Everything: her face, walk, look, and voice, was suddenly altered. To her ow_urprise a power of life and hope of happiness rose to the surface an_emanded satisfaction. From that evening she seemed to have forgotten all tha_ad happened to her. She no longer complained of her position, did not say _ord about the past, and no longer feared to make happy plans for the future.
She spoke little of Pierre, but when Princess Mary mentioned him a long-
extinguished light once more kindled in her eyes and her lips curved with _trange smile.
The change that took place in Natasha at first surprised Princess Mary; bu_hen she understood its meaning it grieved her. "Can she have loved my brothe_o little as to be able to forget him so soon?" she thought when she reflecte_n the change. But when she was with Natasha she was not vexed with her an_id not reproach her. The reawakened power of life that had seized Natasha wa_o evidently irrepressible and unexpected by her that in her presence Princes_ary felt that she had no right to reproach her even in her heart.
Natasha gave herself up so fully and frankly to this new feeling
that she did not try to hide the fact that she was no longer sad, but brigh_nd cheerful.
When Princess Mary returned to her room after her nocturnal talk with Pierre,
Natasha met her on the threshold.
"He has spoken? Yes? He has spoken?" she repeated.
And a joyful yet pathetic expression which seemed to beg forgiveness for he_oy settled on Natasha's face.
"I wanted to listen at the door, but I knew you would tell me."
Understandable and touching as the look with which Natasha gazed at her seeme_o Princess Mary, and sorry as she was to see her agitation, these word_ained her for a moment. She remembered her brother and his love.
"But what's to be done? She can't help it," thought the princess.
And with a sad and rather stern look she told Natasha all that Pierre ha_aid. On hearing that he was going to Petersburg Natasha was astounded.
"To Petersburg!" she repeated as if unable to understand.
But noticing the grieved expression on Princess Mary's face she guessed th_eason of that sadness and suddenly began to cry.
"Mary," said she, "tell me what I should do! I am afraid of being bad.
Whatever you tell me, I will do. Tell me… ."
"You love him?"
"Yes," whispered Natasha.
"Then why are you crying? I am happy for your sake," said Princess Mary, wh_ecause of those tears quite forgave Natasha's joy.
"It won't be just yet—someday. Think what fun it will be when I am his wif_nd you marry Nicholas!"
"Natasha, I have asked you not to speak of that. Let us talk about you."
They were silent awhile.
"But why go to Petersburg?" Natasha suddenly asked, and hastily replied to he_wn question. "But no, no, he must… Yes, Mary, He must… ."