War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy Book X: Chapters 1–14

She woke late. That sincerity which often comes with waking showed her clearly what chiefly concerned her about her father's illness. On waking she listened to what was going on behind the door and, hearing him groan, said to herself with a sigh that things were still the same.

"But what could have happened? What did I want? I want his death!" she cried with a feeling of loathing for herself.

She washed, dressed, said her prayers, and went out to the porch. In front of it stood carriages without horses and things were being packed into the vehicles.

It was a warm, gray morning. Princess Mary stopped at the porch, still horrified by her spiritual baseness and trying to arrange her thoughts before going to her father. The doctor came downstairs and went out to her.

"He is a little better today," said he."I was looking for you. One can make out something of what he is saying. His head is clearer. Come in, he is asking for you . . ."

Princess Mary's heart beat so violently at this news that she grew pale and leaned against the wall to keep from falling. To see him, talk to him, feel his eyes on her now that her whole soul was overflowing with those dreadful, wicked temptations, was a torment of joy and terror.

"Come," said the doctor.

Princess Mary entered her father's room and went up to his bed. He was lying on his back propped up high, and his small bony hands with their knotted purple veins were lying on the quilt; his left eye gazed straight before him, his right eye was awry, and his brows and lips motionless. He seemed altogether so thin, small, and pathetic. His face seemed to have shriveled or melted; his features had grown smaller. Princess Mary went up and kissed his hand. His left hand pressed hers so that she understood that he had long been waiting for her to come. He twitched her hand, and his brows and lips quivered angrily.

She looked at him in dismay trying to guess what he wanted of her. When she changed her position so that his left eye could see her face he calmed down, not taking his eyes off her for some seconds. Then his lips and tongue moved, sounds came, and he began to speak, gazing timidly and imploringly at her, evidently afraid that she might not understand.

Straining all her faculties Princess Mary looked at him. The comic efforts with which he moved his tongue made her drop her eyes and with difficulty repress the sobs that rose to her throat. He said something, repeating the same words several times. She could not understand them, but tried to guess what he was saying and inquiringly repeated the words he uttered.

"Mmm . . . ar . . . ate . . . ate . . ." he repeated several times.

It was quite impossible to understand these sounds. The doctor thought he had guessed them, and inquiringly repeated:"Mary, are you afraid?" The prince shook his head, again repeated the same sounds.

"My mind, my mind aches?" questioned Princess Mary.

He made a mumbling sound in confirmation of this, took her hand, and began pressing it to different parts of his breast as if trying to find the right place for it.

"Always thoughts . . . about you . . . thoughts . . ." he then uttered much more clearly than he had done before, now that he was sure of being understood.

Princess Mary pressed her head against his hand, trying to hide her sobs and tears.

He moved his hand over her hair.

"I have been calling you all night . . ." he brought out.

"If only I had known . . ." she said through her tears."I was afraid to come in."

He pressed her hand.

"Weren't you asleep?"

"No, I did not sleep," said Princess Mary, shaking her head.

Unconsciously imitating her father, she now tried to express herself as he did, as much as possible by signs, and her tongue too seemed to move with difficulty.

"Dear one . . . Dearest . . ." Princess Mary could not quite make out what he had said, but from his look it was clear that he had uttered a tender caressing word such as he had never used to her before."Why didn't you come in?"

"And I was wishing for his death!" thought Princess Mary.

He was silent awhile.

"Thank you . . . daughter dear! . . . for all, for all . . . forgive! . . . thank you! . . . forgive! . . . thank you! . . ." and tears began to flow from his eyes."Call Andrew!" he said suddenly, and a childish, timid expression of doubt showed itself on his face as he spoke.

He himself seemed aware that his demand was meaningless. So at least it seemed to Princess Mary.

"I have a letter from him," she replied.

He glanced at her with timid surprise.

"Where is he?"

"He's with the army, Father, at Smolensk."

He closed his eyes and remained silent a long time. Then as if in answer to his doubts and to confirm the fact that now he understood and remembered everything, he nodded his head and reopened his eyes.

"Yes," he said, softly and distinctly."Russia has perished. They've destroyed her."

And he began to sob, and again tears flowed from his eyes. Princess Mary could no longer restrain herself and wept while she gazed at his face.

Again he closed his eyes. His sobs ceased, he pointed to his eyes, and Tikhon, understanding him, wiped away the tears.

Then he again opened his eyes and said something none of them could understand for a long time, till at last Tikhon understood and repeated it. Princess Mary had sought the meaning of his words in the mood in which he had just been speaking. She thought he was speaking of Russia, or Prince Andrew, of herself, of his grandson, or of his own death, and so she could not guess his words.

"Put on your white dress. I like it," was what he said.

Having understood this Princess Mary sobbed still louder, and the doctor taking her arm led her out to the veranda, soothing her and trying to persuade her to prepare for her journey. When she had left the room the prince again began speaking about his son, about the war, and about the Emperor, angrily twitching his brows and raising his hoarse voice, and then he had a second and final stroke.

Princess Mary stayed on the veranda. The day had cleared, it was hot and sunny. She could understand nothing, think of nothing and feel nothing, except passionate love for her father, love such as she thought she had never felt till that moment. She ran out sobbing into the garden and as far as the pond, along the avenues of young lime trees Prince Andrew had planted.

"Yes . . . I . . . I . . . I wished for his death! Yes, I wanted it to end quicker . . . . I wished to be at peace . . . . And what will become of me? What use will peace be when he is no longer here?" Princess Mary murmured, pacing the garden with hurried steps and pressing her hands to her bosom which heaved with convulsive sobs.

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