Chapter 10

“DOES IT HAPPEN to you,” said Natasha to her brother, when they were settled in the divan-room, “to feel that nothing will ever happen—nothing; that all that is good is past? And it’s not exactly a bored feeling, but melancholy?”

“I should think so!” said he. “It has sometimes happened to me that when everything’s all right, and every one’s cheerful, it suddenly strikes one that one’s sick of it all, and all must die. Once in the regiment when I did not go to some merrymaking, and there the music was playing…and I felt all at once so dreary…”

“Oh, I know that feeling; I know it, I know it,” Natasha assented; “even when I was quite little, I used to have that feeling. Do you remember, once I was punished for eating some plums, and you were all dancing, and I sat in the schoolroom sobbing. I shall never forget it; I felt sad and sorry for every one, sorry for myself, and for every—every one. And what was the chief point, I wasn’t to blame,” said Natasha; “do you remember?”

“I remember,” said Nikolay. “I remember that I came to you afterwards, and I longed to comfort you, but you know, I felt ashamed to. Awfully funny we used to be. I had a wooden doll then, and I wanted to give it you. Do you remember?”

“And do you remember,” said Natasha, with a pensive smile, “how long, long ago, when we were quite little, uncle called us into the study in the old house, and it was dark; we went in, and all at once there stood…”

“A Negro,” Nikolay finished her sentence with a smile of delight; “of course, I remember. To this day I don’t know whether there really was a Negro, or whether we dreamed it, or were told about it.”

“He was grey-headed, do you remember, and had white teeth; he stood and looked at us…”

“Do you remember, Sonya?” asked Nikolay.

“Yes, yes, I do remember something too,” Sonya answered timidly.

“You know I have often asked both papa and mamma about that Negro,” said Natasha. “They say there never was a Negro at all. But you remember him!”

“Of course, I do. I remember his teeth, as if it were to-day.”

“How strange it is, as though it were a dream. I like that.”

“And do you remember how we were rolling eggs in the big hall, and all of a sudden two old women came in, and began whirling round on the carpet. Did that happen or not? Do you remember what fun it was?”

“Yes. And do you remember how papa, in a blue coat, fired a gun off on the steps?”

Smiling with enjoyment, they went through their reminiscences; not the melancholy memories of old age, but the romantic memories of youth, those impressions of the remotest past in which dreamland melts into reality. They laughed with quiet pleasure.

Sonya was, as always, left behind by them, though their past had been spent together.

Sonya did not remember much of what they recalled, and what she did remember, did not rouse the same romantic feeling in her. She was simply enjoying their pleasure, and trying to share it.

She could only enter into it fully when they recalled Sonya’s first arrival. Sonya described how she had been afraid of Nikolay, because he had cording on his jacket, and the nurse had told her that they would tie her up in cording too.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.