went on in a shaking voice, “that you can do nothing for him, but cause him sorrow, and when you know you cannot alter it. There’s only one thing—to go away, and where am I to go?”

“What is wrong? what is the matter with you, princess?”

But Princess Marya, without explaining further, burst into tears.

“I don’t know what is the matter with me to-day. Don’t take any notice of me, forget what I said to you.”

All Pierre’s gaiety had vanished. He questioned the princess anxiously, begged her to speak out, to confide her trouble to him. But she would only repeat that she begged him to forget what she had said, that she did not remember what she had said, and that she had no trouble except the one he knew—her anxiety lest Prince Andrey’s marriage should cause a breach between him and his father.

“Have you heard anything of the Rostovs?” she asked to change the subject. “I was told they would soon be here. I expect Andrey, too, every day. I should have liked them to see each other here.”

“And how does he look at the matter now?” said Pierre, meaning by he the old prince. Princess Marya shook her head.

“But it can’t be helped. There are only a few months left now before the year is over. And it can’t go on like this. I should only have liked to spare my brother the first minutes. I could have wished they were coming sooner. I hope to get to know her well.…You have known them a long while,” said Princess Marya. “Tell me the whole truth, speaking quite seriously. What sort of a girl is she, and how do you like her? But the whole truth, because, you see, Andrey is risking so much in doing this against our father’s will, that I should like to know …”

A vague instinct told Pierre that these pleas and repeated requests to him to tell her the whole truth betrayed Princess Marya’s ill-will towards her future sister-in-law, that she wanted Pierre not to approve of Prince Andrey’s choice; but Pierre said what he felt rather than what he thought. “I don’t know how to answer your question,” said he, blushing though he could not have said why himself. “I really don’t know what kind of girl she is. I can’t analyse her. She’s fascinating; and why she is, I don’t know; that’s all that one can say about her.”

Princess Marya sighed, and her face expressed: “Yes; that’s what I expected and feared.”

“Is she clever?” asked Princess Marya. Pierre thought a moment.

“I suppose not,” he said. “Yes, though. She does not think it worth while to be clever.…Yes, no; she is fascinating, and nothing more.”

Princess Marya again shook her head disapprovingly.

“Ah, I do so want to like her! You tell her so if you see her before I do.”

“I have heard that they will be here in a few days,” said Pierre.

Princess Marya told Pierre her plan of getting to know her future sister-in-law as soon as the Rostovs arrived, and trying to get the old prince accustomed to her.

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