BOOK FIFTEEN: 1812 - 13
2. CHAPTER II
Besides a feeling of aloofness from everybody Natasha was feeling
a special estrangement from the members of her own family. All of
them- her father, mother, and Sonya- were so near to her, so familiar,
so commonplace, that all their words and feelings seemed an insult
to the world in which she had been living of late, and she felt not
merely indifferent to them but regarded them with hostility. She heard
Dunyasha's words about Peter Ilynich and a misfortune, but did not
"What misfortune? What misfortune can happen to them? They just live
their own old, quiet, and commonplace life," thought Natasha.
As she entered the ballroom her father was hurriedly coming out of
her mother's room. His face was puckered up and wet with tears. He had
evidently run out of that room to give vent to the sobs that were
choking him. When he saw Natasha he waved his arms despairingly and
burst into convulsively painful sobs that distorted his soft round
"Pe... Petya... Go, go, she... is calling..." and weeping like a
child and quickly shuffling on his feeble legs to a chair, he almost
fell into it, covering his face with his hands.
Suddenly an electric shock seemed to run through Natasha's whole
being. Terrible anguish struck her heart, she felt a dreadful ache
as if something was being torn inside her and she were dying. But
the pain was immediately followed by a feeling of release from the
oppressive constraint that had prevented her taking part in life.
The sight of her father, the terribly wild cries of her mother that
she heard through the door, made her immediately forget herself and
her own grief.
She ran to her father, but he feebly waved his arm, pointing to
her mother's door. Princess Mary, pale and with quivering chin, came
out from that room and taking Natasha by the arm said something to
her. Natasha neither saw nor heard her. She went in with rapid
steps, pausing at the door for an instant as if struggling with
herself, and then ran to her mother.
The countess was lying in an armchair in a strange and awkward
position, stretching out and beating her head against the wall.
Sonya and the maids were holding her arms.