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Chapter 7

  • Two months had elapsed since the news of the battle of Austerlitz and the los_f Prince Andrew had reached Bald Hills, and in spite of the letters sen_hrough the embassy and all the searches made, his body had not been found no_as he on the list of prisoners. What was worst of all for his relations wa_he fact that there was still a possibility of his having been picked up o_he battlefield by the people of the place and that he might now be lying,
  • recovering or dying, alone among strangers and unable to send news of himself.
  • The gazettes from which the old prince first heard of the defeat at Austerlit_tated, as usual very briefly and vaguely, that after brilliant engagement_he Russians had had to retreat and had made their withdrawal in perfec_rder. The old prince understood from this official report that our army ha_een defeated. A week after the gazette report of the battle of Austerlit_ame a letter from Kutuzov informing the prince of the fate that had befalle_is son.
  • "Your son," wrote Kutuzov, "fell before my eyes, a standard in his hand and a_he head of a regiment—he fell as a hero, worthy of his father and hi_atherland. To the great regret of myself and of the whole army it is stil_ncertain whether he is alive or not. I comfort myself and you with the hop_hat your son is alive, for otherwise he would have been mentioned among th_fficers found on the field of battle, a list of whom has been sent me unde_lag of truce."
  • After receiving this news late in the evening, when he was alone in his study,
  • the old prince went for his walk as usual next morning, but he was silent wit_is steward, the gardener, and the architect, and though he looked very gri_e said nothing to anyone.
  • When Princess Mary went to him at the usual hour he was working at his lath_nd, as usual, did not look round at her.
  • "Ah, Princess Mary!" he said suddenly in an unnatural voice, throwing down hi_hisel. (The wheel continued to revolve by its own impetus, and Princess Mar_ong remembered the dying creak of that wheel, which merged in her memory wit_hat followed.)
  • She approached him, saw his face, and something gave way within her. Her eye_rew dim. By the expression of her father's face, not sad, not crushed, bu_ngry and working unnaturally, she saw that hanging over her and about t_rush her was some terrible misfortune, the worst in life, one she had not ye_xperienced, irreparable and incomprehensible—the death of one she loved.
  • "Father! Andrew!"—said the ungraceful, awkward princess with such a_ndescribable charm of sorrow and self-forgetfulness that her father could no_ear her look but turned away with a sob.
  • "Bad news! He's not among the prisoners nor among the killed! Kutuzov writes…
  • " and he screamed as piercingly as if he wished to drive the princess away b_hat scream… "Killed!"
  • The princess did not fall down or faint. She was already pale, but on hearin_hese words her face changed and something brightened in her beautiful,
  • radiant eyes. It was as if joy—a supreme joy apart from the joys and sorrow_f this world—overflowed the great grief within her. She forgot all fear o_er father, went up to him, took his hand, and drawing him down put her ar_ound his thin, scraggy neck.
  • "Father," she said, "do not turn away from me, let us weep together."
  • "Scoundrels! Blackguards!" shrieked the old man, turning his face away fro_er. "Destroying the army, destroying the men! And why? Go, go and tell Lise."
  • The princess sank helplessly into an armchair beside her father and wept. Sh_aw her brother now as he had been at the moment when he took leave of her an_f Lise, his look tender yet proud. She saw him tender and amused as he wa_hen he put on the little icon. "Did he believe? Had he repented of hi_nbelief? Was he now there? There in the realms of eternal peace an_lessedness?" she thought.
  • "Father, tell me how it happened," she asked through her tears.
  • "Go! Go! Killed in battle, where the best of Russian men and Russia's glor_ere led to destruction. Go, Princess Mary. Go and tell Lise. I will follow."
  • When Princess Mary returned from her father, the little princess sat workin_nd looked up with that curious expression of inner, happy calm peculiar t_regnant women. It was evident that her eyes did not see Princess Mary bu_ere looking within… into herself… at something joyful and mysterious takin_lace within her.
  • "Mary," she said, moving away from the embroidery frame and lying back, "giv_e your hand." She took her sister-in-law's hand and held it below her waist.
  • Her eyes were smiling expectantly, her downy lip rose and remained lifted i_hildlike happiness.
  • Princess Mary knelt down before her and hid her face in the folds of he_ister-in-law's dress.
  • "There, there! Do you feel it? I feel so strange. And do you know, Mary, I a_oing to love him very much," said Lise, looking with bright and happy eyes a_er sister-in-law.
  • Princess Mary could not lift her head, she was weeping.
  • "What is the matter, Mary?"
  • "Nothing… only I feel sad… sad about Andrew," she said, wiping away her tear_n her sister-in-law's knee.
  • Several times in the course of the morning Princess Mary began trying t_repare her sister-in-law, and every time began to cry. Unobservant as was th_ittle princess, these tears, the cause of which she did not understand,
  • agitated her. She said nothing but looked about uneasily as if in search o_omething. Before dinner the old prince, of whom she was always afraid, cam_nto her room with a peculiarly restless and malign expression and went ou_gain without saying a word. She looked at Princess Mary, then sat thinkin_or a while with that expression of attention to something within her that i_nly seen in pregnant women, and suddenly began to cry.
  • "Has anything come from Andrew?" she asked.
  • "No, you know it's too soon for news. But my father is anxious and I fee_fraid."
  • "So there's nothing?"
  • "Nothing," answered Princess Mary, looking firmly with her radiant eyes at he_ister-in-law.
  • She had determined not to tell her and persuaded her father to hide th_errible news from her till after her confinement, which was expected within _ew days. Princess Mary and the old prince each bore and hid their grief i_heir own way. The old prince would not cherish any hope: he made up his min_hat Prince Andrew had been killed, and though he sent an official to Austri_o seek for traces of his son, he ordered a monument from Moscow which h_ntended to erect in his own garden to his memory, and he told everybody tha_is son had been killed. He tried not to change his former way of life, bu_is strength failed him. He walked less, ate less, slept less, and becam_eaker every day. Princess Mary hoped. She prayed for her brother as livin_nd was always awaiting news of his return.