as the wealthy heiress suitable for him, had led him to look at her with special attention. During his stay at Voronezh, that impression had become, not merely a pleasing, but a very strong one. Nikolay was impressed by the peculiar, moral beauty which he discerned in her at this time. He had, however, been preparing to go away, and it had not entered his head to regret that in leaving Voronezh he was losing all chance of seeing her. But his meeting with Princess Marya that morning in church had, Nikolay felt, gone more deeply to his heart than he had anticipated and more deeply than he desired for his peace of mind. That pale, delicate, melancholy face, those luminous eyes, those soft, gracious gestures, and, above all, the deep and tender melancholy expressed in all her features, agitated him and drew his sympathy. In men Rostov could not bear an appearance of higher, spiritual life (it was why he did not like Prince Andrey), he spoke of it contemptuously as philosophy, idealism; but in Princess Marya it was just in that melancholy, showing all the depth of a spiritual world, strange and remote to Nikolay, that he found an irresistible attraction.

“She must be a marvellous girl! An angel, really!” he said to himself. “Why am I not free? Why was I in such a hurry with Sonya?” And involuntarily he compared the two: the poverty of the one and the wealth of the other in those spiritual gifts, which Nikolay was himself without and therefore prized so highly. He tried to picture what would have happened if he had been free, and in what way he would have made her an offer and she would have become his wife. No, he could not imagine that. A feeling of dread came over him and that picture would take no definite shape. With Sonya he had long ago made his picture of the future, and it was all so simple and clear, just because it was all made up and he knew all there was in Sonya. But with Princess Marya he could not picture his future life, because he did not understand her—he simply loved her.

There was something light-hearted, something of child’s play in his dreams of Sonya. But to dream of Princess Marya was difficult and a little terrible.

“How she was praying!” he thought. “One could see that her whole soul was in her prayer. Yes, it was that prayer that moves mountains, and I am convinced that her prayer will be answered. Why don’t I pray for what I want?” he bethought himself. “What do I want? Freedom, release from Sonya. She was right,” he thought of what the governor’s wife had said, “nothing but misery can come of my marrying her. Muddle, mamma’s grief … our position … a muddle, a fearful muddle! Besides, I don’t even love her. No, I don’t love her in the right way. My God! take me out of this awful, hopeless position!” he began praying all at once. “Yes, prayer will move mountains, but one must believe, and not pray, as Natasha and I prayed as children for the snow to turn into sugar, and then ran out into the yard to try whether it had become sugar. No; but I am not praying for trifles now,” he said, putting his pipe down in the corner and standing with clasped hands before the holy picture. And softened by the thought of Princess Marya, he began to pray as he had not prayed for a long while. He had tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat when Lavrushka came in at the door with papers.

“Blockhead! bursting in when you’re not wanted!” said Nikolay, quickly changing his attitude.

“A courier has come,” said Lavrushka in a sleepy voice, “from the governor, a letter for you.”

“Oh, very well, thanks, you can go!”

Nikolay took the two letters. One was from his mother, the other from Sonya. He knew them from the handwriting, and broke open Sonya’s letter first. He had hardly read a few lines when his face turned white and his eyes opened wide in dismay and joy. “No, it’s not possible!” he said aloud. Unable to sit still, he began walking to and fro in the room, holding the letter in both hands as he read it. He skimmed through the letter, then read it through once and again, and shrugging his shoulders and flinging up his hands, he stood still in the middle of the room with wide-open mouth and staring eyes. What he had just been praying for with the assurance that God would answer his prayer had come to pass; but Nikolay was astounded at it as though it were something extraordinary, and as though he had not expected

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