Immediately after the superior had gone out, Natasha took her friend by the arm, and went with her into the empty third room.

“Sonya, yes, he will live,” she said. “Sonya, how happy I am, and how wretched! Sonya, darling, everything is just as it used to be. If only he were going to live. He cannot, … because … be … cause …” and Natasha burst into tears.

“Yes! I knew it would be! Thank God,” said Sonya. “He will live.”

Sonya was no less excited than her friend, both by the latter’s grief and fears, and by her own personal reflections, of which she had spoken to no one. Sobbing, she kissed and comforted Natasha. “If only he were to live!” she thought. After weeping, talking a little, and wiping their tears, the two friends went towards Prince Andrey’s door. Natasha, cautiously opening the door, glanced into the room. Sonya stood beside her at the half-open door.

Prince Andrey was lying raised high on three pillows. His pale face looked peaceful, his eyes were closed, and they could see his quiet, regular breathing.

“Ah, Natasha!” Sonya almost shrieked all of a sudden, clutching at her cousin’s arm, and moving back away from the door.

“What! what is it?” asked Natasha

“It’s the same, the same, you know …” said Sonya, with a white face and quivering lips.

Natasha softly closed the door and walked away with Sonya to the window, not yet understanding what she was talking of.

“Do you remember,” said Sonya, with a scared and solemn face, “do you remember when I looked into the mirror for you … at Otradnoe at Christmas time … Do you remember what I saw?” …

“Yes, yes,” said Natasha, opening her eyes wide, and vaguely recalling that Sonya had said something then about seeing Prince Andrey lying down.

“Do you remember?” Sonya went on. “I saw him then, and told you all so at the time, you and Dunyasha. I saw him lying on a bed,” she said, at each detail making a gesture with her lifted finger, “and that he had his eyes shut, and that he was covered with a pink quilt, and that he had his hands folded,” said Sonya, convinced as she described the details she had just seen that they were the very details she had seen then. At the time she had seen nothing, but had said she was seeing the first thing that came into her head. But what she had invented then seemed to her now as real a memory as any other. She not only remembered that she had said at the time that he looked round at her and smiled, and was covered with something red, but was firmly convinced that she had seen and said at the time, that he was covered with a pink quilt—yes, pink—and that his eyes had been closed.

“Yes, yes, pink it was,” said Natasha, who began now to fancy too that she remembered her saying it was a pink quilt, and saw in that detail the most striking and mysterious point in the prediction.

“But what does it mean?” said Natasha dreamily.

“Ah, I don’t know, how extraordinary it all is!” said Sonya, clutching at her head.

* * *

A few minutes later, Prince Andrey rang his bell, and Natasha went in to him; while Sonya, in a state of excitement and emotion such as she had rarely experienced, remained in the window, pondering over all the strangeness of what was happening.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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