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Chapter VII.12

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When they all drove back from Pelageya Danilovna's, Natasha, who always saw and noticed everything, arranged that she and Madame Schoss should go back in the sleigh with Dimmler, and Sonya with Nicholas and the maids.

On the way back Nicholas drove at a steady pace instead of racing and kept peering by that fantastic all-transforming light into Sonya's face and searching beneath the eyebrows and mustache for his former and his present Sonya from whom he had resolved never to be parted again. He looked and recognizing in her both the old and the new Sonya, and being reminded by the smell of burnt cork of the sensation of her kiss, inhaled the frosty air with a full breast and, looking at the ground flying beneath him and at the sparkling sky, felt himself again in fairyland.

"Sonya, is it well with thee?" he asked from time to time.

"Yes!" she replied. "And with thee?"

When halfway home Nicholas handed the reins to the coachman and ran for a moment to Natasha's sleigh and stood on its wing.

"Natasha!" he whispered in French, "do you know I have made up my mind about Sonya?"

"Have you told her?" asked Natasha, suddenly beaming all over with joy.

"Oh, how strange you are with that mustache and those eyebrows!... Natasha- are you glad?"

"I am so glad, so glad! I was beginning to be vexed with you. I did not tell you, but you have been treating her badly. What a heart she has, Nicholas! I am horrid sometimes, but I was ashamed to be happy while Sonya was not," continued Natasha. "Now I am so glad! Well, run back to her."

"No, wait a bit.... Oh, how funny you look!" cried Nicholas, peering into her face and finding in his sister too something new, unusual, and bewitchingly tender that he had not seen in her before. "Natasha, it's magical, isn't it?"

"Yes," she replied. "You have done splendidly."

"Had I seen her before as she is now," thought Nicholas, "I should long ago have asked her what to do and have done whatever she told me, and all would have been well."

"So you are glad and I have done right?"

"Oh, quite right! I had a quarrel with Mamma some time ago about it. Mamma said she was angling for you. How could she say such a thing! I nearly stormed at Mamma. I will never let anyone say anything bad of Sonya, for there is nothing but good in her."

"Then it's all right?" said Nicholas, again scrutinizing the expression of his sister's face to see if she was in earnest. Then he jumped down and, his boots scrunching the snow, ran back to his sleigh. The same happy, smiling Circassian, with mustache and beaming eyes looking up from under a sable hood, was still sitting there, and that Circassian was Sonya, and that Sonya was certainly his future happy and loving wife.

When they reached home and had told their mother how they had spent the evening at the Melyukovs', the girls went to their bedroom. When they had undressed, but without washing off the cork mustaches, they sat a long time talking of their happiness. They talked of how they would live when they were married, how their husbands would be friends, and how happy they would be. On Natasha's table stood two looking glasses which Dunyasha had prepared beforehand.

"Only when will all that be? I am afraid never.... It would be too good!" said Natasha, rising and going to the looking glasses.

 

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War and Peace -by- Leo Tolstoy

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