Chapter 18

FOR A LONG WHILE Pierre could not sleep that night. He walked up and down his room, at one moment frowning deep in some difficult train of thought, at the next shrugging his shoulders and shaking himself and at the next smiling blissfully.

He thought of Prince Andrey, of Natasha, of their love, and at one moment was jealous of her past, and at the next reproached himself, and then forgave himself for the feeling. It was six o’clock in the morning, and still he paced the room.

“Well, what is one to do, if there’s no escaping it? What is one to do? It must be the right thing, then,” he said to himself; and hurriedly undressing, he got into bed, happy and agitated, but free from doubt and hesitation.

“However strange, however impossible such happiness, I must do everything that we may be man and wife,” he said to himself.

Several days previously Pierre had fixed on the following Friday as the date on which he would set off to Petersburg. When he waked up next day it was Thursday, and Savelitch came to him for orders about packing the things for the journey.

“To Petersburg? What is Petersburg? Who is in Petersburg?” he unconsciously asked, though only of himself. “Yes, some long while ago, before this happened, I was meaning for some reason to go to Petersburg,” he recalled. “Why was it? And I shall go, perhaps. How kind he is, and how attentive, how he remembers everything!” he thought, looking at Savelitch’s old face. “And what a pleasant smile!” he thought.

“Well, and do you still not want your freedom, Savelitch?” asked Pierre.

“What should I want my freedom for, your excellency? With the late count—the Kingdom of Heaven to him—we got on very well, and under you, we have never known any unkindness.”

“Well, but your children?”

“My children too will do very well, your excellency; under such masters one can get on all right.”

“Well, but my heirs?” said Pierre. “All of a sudden I shall get married … It might happen, you know,” he added, with an involuntary smile.

“And I make bold to say, a good thing too, your excellency.”

“How easy he thinks it,” thought Pierre. “He does not know how terrible it is, how perilous. Too late or too early … It is terrible!”

“What are your orders? Will you be pleased to go to-morrow?” asked Savelitch.

“No; I will put it off a little. I will tell you later. You must excuse the trouble I give you,” said Pierre, and watching Savelitch’s smile, he thought how strange it was, though, that he should not know there was no such thing as Petersburg, and that that must be settled before everything.

“He really does know, though,” he thought; “he is only pretending. Shall I tell him? What does he think about it? No, another time.”

At breakfast, Pierre told his cousin that he had been the previous evening at Princess Marya’s, and had found there—could she fancy whom—Natasha Rostov.

The princess looked as though she saw nothing more extraordinary in that fact than if Pierre had seen some Anna Semyonovna.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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