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Chapter 6

  • On reaching Moscow after her meeting with Rostov, Princess Mary had found he_ephew there with his tutor, and a letter from Prince Andrew giving he_nstructions how to get to her Aunt Malvintseva at Voronezh. That feeling aki_o temptation which had tormented her during her father's illness, since hi_eath, and especially since her meeting with Rostov was smothered b_rrangements for the journey, anxiety about her brother, settling in a ne_ouse, meeting new people, and attending to her nephew's education. She wa_ad. Now, after a month passed in quiet surroundings, she felt more and more
  • deeply the loss of her father which was associated in her mind with the rui_f Russia. She was agitated and incessantly tortured by the thought of th_angers to which her brother, the only intimate person now remaining to her,
  • was exposed. She was worried too about her nephew's education for which sh_ad always felt herself incompetent, but in the depths of her soul she felt a_eace—a peace arising from consciousness of having stifled those persona_reams and hopes that had been on the point of awakening within her and wer_elated to her meeting with Rostov.
  • The day after her party the governor's wife came to see Malvintseva and, afte_iscussing her plan with the aunt, remarked that though under presen_ircumstances a formal betrothal was, of course, not to be thought of, all th_ame the young people might be brought together and could get to know on_nother. Malvintseva expressed approval, and the governor's wife began t_peak of Rostov in Mary's presence, praising him and telling how he ha_lushed when Princess Mary's name was mentioned. But Princess Mary experience_ painful rather than a joyful feeling—her mental tranquillity was destroyed,
  • and desires, doubts, self-reproach, and hopes reawoke.
  • During the two days that elapsed before Rostov called, Princess Mar_ontinually thought of how she ought to behave to him. First she decided no_o come to the drawing room when he called to see her aunt—that it would no_e proper for her, in her deep mourning, to receive visitors; then she though_his would be rude after what he had done for her; then it occurred to he_hat her aunt and the governor's wife had intentions concerning herself an_ostov—their looks and words at times seemed to confirm this supposition—the_he told herself that only she, with her sinful nature, could think this o_hem: they could not forget that situated as she was, while still wearing dee_ourning, such matchmaking would be an insult to her and to her father'_emory. Assuming that she did go down to see him, Princess Mary imagined th_ords he would say to her and what she would say to him, and these word_ometimes seemed undeservedly cold and then to mean too much. More tha_nything she feared lest the confusion she felt might overwhelm her and betra_er as soon as she saw him.
  • But when on Sunday after church the footman announced in the drawing room tha_ount Rostov had called, the princess showed no confusion, only a slight blus_uffused her cheeks and her eyes lit up with a new and radiant light.
  • "You have met him, Aunt?" said she in a calm voice, unable herself t_nderstand that she could be outwardly so calm and natural.
  • When Rostov entered the room, the princess dropped her eyes for an instant, a_f to give the visitor time to greet her aunt, and then just as Nichola_urned to her she raised her head and met his look with shining eyes. With _ovement full of dignity and grace she half rose with a smile of pleasure,
  • held out her slender, delicate hand to him, and began to speak in a voice i_hich for the first time new deep womanly notes vibrated. Mademoisell_ourienne, who was in the drawing room, looked at Princess Mary in bewildere_urprise. Herself a consummate coquette, she could not have maneuvered bette_n meeting a man she wished to attract.
  • "Either black is particularly becoming to her or she really has greatl_mproved without my having noticed it. And above all, what tact and grace!"
  • thought Mademoiselle Bourienne.
  • Had Princess Mary been capable of reflection at that moment, she would hav_een more surprised than Mademoiselle Bourienne at the change that had take_lace in herself. From the moment she recognized that dear, loved face, a ne_ife force took possession of her and compelled her to speak and act apar_rom her own will. From the time Rostov entered, her face became suddenl_ransformed. It was as if a light had been kindled in a carved and painte_antern and the intricate, skillful, artistic work on its sides, tha_reviously seemed dark, coarse, and meaningless, was suddenly shown up i_nexpected and striking beauty. For the first time all that pure, spiritual,
  • inward travail through which she had lived appeared on the surface. All he_nward labor, her dissatisfaction with herself, her sufferings, her striving_fter goodness, her meekness, love, and self-sacrifice—all this now shone i_hose radiant eyes, in her delicate smile, and in every trait of her gentl_ace.
  • Rostov saw all this as clearly as if he had known her whole life. He felt tha_he being before him was quite different from, and better than, anyone he ha_et before, and above all better than himself.
  • Their conversation was very simple and unimportant. They spoke of the war, an_ike everyone else unconsciously exaggerated their sorrow about it; they spok_f their last meeting—Nicholas trying to change the subject—they talked of th_overnor's kind wife, of Nicholas' relations, and of Princess Mary's.
  • She did not talk about her brother, diverting the conversation as soon as he_unt mentioned Andrew. Evidently she could speak of Russia's misfortunes wit_ certain artificiality, but her brother was too near her heart and sh_either could nor would speak lightly of him. Nicholas noticed this, as h_oticed every shade of Princess Mary's character with an observation unusua_o him, and everything confirmed his conviction that she was a quite unusua_nd extraordinary being. Nicholas blushed and was confused when people spok_o him about the princess (as she did when he was mentioned) and even when h_hought of her, but in her presence he felt quite at ease, and said not at al_hat he had prepared, but what, quite appropriately, occurred to him at th_oment.
  • When a pause occurred during his short visit, Nicholas, as is usual when ther_re children, turned to Prince Andrew's little son, caressing him and askin_hether he would like to be an hussar. He took the boy on his knee, playe_ith him, and looked round at Princess Mary. With a softened, happy, timi_ook she watched the boy she loved in the arms of the man she loved. Nichola_lso noticed that look and, as if understanding it, flushed with pleasure an_egan to kiss the boy with good natured playfulness.
  • As she was in mourning Princess Mary did not go out into society, and Nichola_id not think it the proper thing to visit her again; but all the same th_overnor's wife went on with her matchmaking, passing on to Nicholas th_lattering things Princess Mary said of him and vice versa, and insisting o_is declaring himself to Princess Mary. For this purpose she arranged _eeting between the young people at the bishop's house before Mass.
  • Though Rostov told the governeor's wife that he would not make any declaratio_o Princess Mary, he promised to go.
  • As at Tilsit Rostov had not allowed himself to doubt that what everybod_onsidered right was right, so now, after a short but sincere struggle betwee_is effort to arrange his life by his own sense of justice, and in obedien_ubmission to circumstances, he chose the latter and yielded to the power h_elt irresistibly carrying him he knew not where. He knew that after hi_romise to Sonya it would be what he deemed base to declare his feelings t_rincess Mary. And he knew that he would never act basely. But he also knew
  • (or rather felt at the bottom of his heart) that by resigning himself now t_he force of circumstances and to those who were guiding him, he was not onl_oing nothing wrong, but was doing something very important—more importan_han anything he had ever done in his life.
  • After meeting Princess Mary, though the course of his life went on externall_s before, all his former amusements lost their charm for him and he ofte_hought about her. But he never thought about her as he had thought of all th_oung ladies without exception whom he had met in society, nor as he had for _ong time, and at one time rapturously, thought about Sonya. He had picture_ach of those young ladies as almost all honest-hearted young men do, that is,
  • as a possible wife, adapting her in his imagination to all the conditions o_arried life: a white dressing gown, his wife at the tea table, his wife'_arriage, little ones, Mamma and Papa, their relations to her, and so on—an_hese pictures of the future had given him pleasure. But with Princess Mary,
  • to whom they were trying to get him engaged, he could never picture anythin_f future married life. If he tried, his pictures seemed incongruous an_alse. It made him afraid.