War and Peace

By Leo Tolstoy; Louise Maude et al. | Go to book overview

PART FOUR

1

WHEN seeing a dying animal a man feels a sense of horror. substance similar to his own is perishing before his eyes. But when it is a beloved and intimate human being that is dying, besides this horror at the extinction of life there is a severance, a spiritual wound, which like a physical wound is sometimes fatal and sometimes heals, but always aches and shrinks at any external irritating touch.

After Prince Andrew's death Natasha and Princess Mary alike felt this. Drooping in spirit and closing their eyes before the menacing cloud of death that overhung them, they dared not look life in the face. They carefully guarded their open wounds from any rough and painful contact. Everything: a carriage passing rapidly in the street, a summons to dinner, the maid's inquiry what dress to get out, or worse still, any word of insincere or feeble sympathy, seemed an insult, painfully irritated the wound, infringed that necessary quiet in which they both tried to listen to the stern and dreadful choir that still resounded in their imagination, and hindered their gazing into those mysterious limitless vistas that for an instant had opened out before them.

Only when alone together were they free from such outrage and pain. They spoke little even to one another and when they did it was of very unimportant matters.

Both avoided any allusion to the future. To admit the possibility of a future seemed to them to insult his memory. Still more carefully did they avoid anything relating to him who was dead. It seemed to them that what they had lived through and experienced could not be expressed in words, and that any reference to the details of his life infringed the majesty and sacredness of the mystery that had been accomplished before their eyes.

Continued abstention from speech, and constant avoidance of everything that might lead up to the subject -- this halting on all sides at the boundary of what they might not mention -- brought before their minds with still greater purity and clearness what they were both feeling.

-1149-

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War and Peace
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • NOTE ON THE TRANSLATION xvii
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY xviii
  • CHRONOLOGY OF LEO TOLSTOY xix
  • PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS AND GUIDE TO PRONUNCIATION xxi
  • DATES OF PRINCIPAL EVENTS xxiii
  • CHAPTER CONTENTS xxix
  • BOOK ONE 1
  • Part One 3
  • Part Two 113
  • Part Three 209
  • BOOK TWO 309
  • Part One 311
  • Part Two 367
  • Part Three 443
  • Part Four 519
  • Part Five 571
  • BOOK THREE 643
  • Part One 645
  • Part Two 731
  • Part Three 879
  • BOOK FOUR 997
  • Part One 999
  • Part Two 1055
  • Part Three 1101
  • Part Four 1149
  • FIRST EPILOGUE 1207
  • SECOND EPILOGUE 1265
  • APPENDIX SOME WORDS ABOUT 'WAR AND PEACE' (Published in Russian Archive, 1868) 1307
  • NOTES [M] indicates that the note is the translator's. 1317
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