“You don’t understand at all, at all,” she kept saying.

Nikolay paused a moment, and then said he agreed with her.

Her brother often wondered as he looked at her. It seemed quite incredible that she was a girl in love and parted from her betrothed lover. She was even-tempered, serene, and quite as light-hearted as ever. This made Nikolay wonder, and look on the engagement to Bolkonsky rather sceptically. He could not believe that her fate was by now sealed, especially as he had never seen her with Prince Andrey. It still seemed to him that there was something not real in this proposed marriage.

“Why this delay? Why were they not formally betrothed?” he thought.

Once in talking to his mother about his sister, he found to his surprise, and partly to his satisfaction, that at the bottom of her heart his mother sometimes regarded the marriage as sceptically as he did.

“Here, you see, he writes,” she said, showing her son a letter from Prince Andrey with that latent feeling of grudge which mothers always have in regard to their daughter’s happiness in marriage, “he writes that he won’t be coming before December. What can it be that keeps him? Illness, no doubt! His health is very weak. Don’t tell Natasha. Don’t make a mistake, because she seems in good spirits; it’s the last she has of her girlhood, and I know how she is when she gets his letters. Still, God grant, all may be well yet,” she always concluded: “he’s a splendid fellow.”

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