Firmly resolved to settle things in his regiment, to retire, come home, and marry Sonya, Nikolay at the beginning of January went back to his regiment, sad and serious at being on bad terms with his parents, but, as it seemed to him, passionately in love.

After Nikolay’s departure, it was more depressing than ever in the Rostovs’ house. The countess fell ill from the emotional strains she had passed through.

Sonya was depressed at parting from Nikolay, and still more at the hostile tone the countess could not help adopting towards her. The count was more worried than ever by the difficulties of his position, which called for some decisive action. It was necessary to sell the Moscow house and the estate near Moscow, and to do so it was necessary to go to Moscow. But the countess’s illness forced them to put off going from day to day. Natasha, who had at first borne the separation from her betrothed so easily and even cheerfully, grew now more impatient and overstrung every day. The thought that her best time, that might have been spent in loving him, was being wasted like this for no object, continually fretted her. Prince Andrey’s letters generally angered her. It mortified her to think that while she was simply living in the thought of him, he was living a real life, seeing new places and new people who were interesting to him. The more interesting his letters were, the more they vexed her. Her letters to him, far from giving her comfort, were looked upon by her as a wearisome and artificial duty. She could not write, because she could not attain to expressing truly in a letter a thousandth part of what she habitually expressed in voice and smile and eyes. She wrote him formal letters, all on one pattern. She did not attach the smallest importance to them herself, and the countess corrected the mistakes in spelling in the rough copy of them. The countess’s health still did not mend, but the visit to Moscow could be deferred no longer. The trousseau had to be got, the house had to be sold, and Prince Andrey was to arrive first in Moscow, where his father was spending the winter, and Natasha believed that he had already arrived there. The countess was left in the country, and towards the end of January the count took Sonya and Natasha with him to Moscow.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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