Had Princess Marya been capable of reflection at that moment, she would have been even more astonished than Mademoiselle Bourienne at the change that had taken place in her. From the moment she set eyes on that sweet, loved face, some new force of life seemed to take possession of her, and to drive her to speak and act apart from her own will. From the time Rostov entered the room, her face was transformed. Just as when a light is kindled within a carved and painted lantern, the delicate, intricate, artistic tracery comes out in unexpected and impressive beauty, where all seemed coarse, dark, and meaningless before; so was Princess Marya’s face transformed. For the first time all the pure, spiritual, inner travail in which she had lived till then came out in her face. All her inner searchings of spirit, her self-reproach, her sufferings, her striving for goodness, her resignation, her love, her self-sacrifice—all this was radiant now in those luminous eyes, in the delicate smile, in every feature of her tender face.

Rostov saw all this as clearly as though he had known her whole life. He felt that he was in the presence of a creature utterly different from and better than all those he had met up to that moment, and, above all, far better than he was himself.

The conversation was of the simplest and most insignificant kind. They talked of the war, unconsciously, like every one else, exaggerating their sadness on that subject; they talked of their last meeting—and Nikolay then tried to turn the subject; they talked of the kind-hearted governor’s wife, of Nikolay’s relations, and of Princess Marya’s.

Princess Marya did not talk of her brother, but turned the conversation, as soon as her aunt mentioned Prince Andrey. It was evident that of the troubles of Russia she could speak artificially, but her brother was a subject too near her heart, and she neither would nor could speak lightly of him. Nikolay noticed this, as indeed with a keenness of observation not usual with him, he noticed every shade of Princess Marya’s character, and everything confirmed him in the conviction that she was an altogether rare and original being.

Nikolay, like Princess Marya, had blushed and been embarrassed, when he heard the princess spoken of, and even when he thought of her; but in her presence he felt perfectly at ease, and he said to her not at all what he had prepared beforehand to say to her, but what came into his mind at the moment, and always quite appropriately.

As visitors always do where there are children, Nikolay, in a momentary silence during his brief visit, had recourse to Prince Andrey’s little son, caressing him, and asking him if he would like to be an hussar. He took the little boy in his arms, began gaily whirling him round, and glanced at Princess Marya. With softened, happy, shy eyes, she was watching the child she loved in the arms of the man she loved. Nikolay caught that look too, and as though he divined its significance, flushed with delight, and fell to kissing the child with simple-hearted gaiety.

Princess Marya was not going into society at all on account of her mourning, and Nikolay did not think it the proper thing to call on them again. But the governor’s wife still persisted in her match-making, and repeating to Nikolay something flattering Princess Marya had said of him, and vice versa, kept urging that Rostov should declare himself to Princess Marya. With this object, she arranged that the young people should meet at the reverend father’s before Mass.

Though Rostov did tell the governor’s wife that he should make no sort of declaration to Princess Marya, he promised to be there.

Just as at Tilsit Rostov had not allowed himself to doubt whether what was accepted by every one as right were really right, so now after a brief but sincere struggle between the effort to order his life in accordance with his own sense of right, and humble submission to circumstances, he chose the latter, and yielded himself to the power, which, he felt, was irresistibly carrying him away. He knew that to declare his feelings to Princess Marya after his promise to Sonya would be what he called base. And he knew that he would never do a base thing. But he knew too (it was not what he knew, but what he felt at the bottom of his heart), that in giving way now to the force of circumstances and of the people

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