Dimmler, who had seated himself beside the countess, listened with closed eyes.
"Ah, Countess," he said at last, "that's a European talent, she has nothing to learn—what softness, what tenderness, and strength...."
"Ah, how afraid I am for her, how afraid I am!" said the countess, not realizing to whom she was speaking. Her maternal instinct told her that Natasha had too much of something, and that because of this she would not be happy.Natasha Rostova has been a favorite character of mine from the beginning; all "spirit and fire and dew", as Montgomery called Anne Shirley, quoting Browning's poem "Evelyn Hope". She's such a delight that she's even got me loving and valuing Prince Andrei, whose early treatment of his Lise seemed at the time almost unforgivable.
Tolstoy, if you kill her off, so help me.
I'm at the stage in the book where most of my reactions aren't fit for public display—at least, not anywhere requiring more intelligent expression than Twitter, e.g.:
"OMG this hunting trip is really getting built up SOMEONE'S GONNA DIE I CAN TELL #warandpeace #ivegotabadfeelingaboutthis"It's probably a good thing I swore off Twitter.* But that point brings up another: I have spent the last, oh, ten or fifteen percent—love my Kindle, but sometimes I really miss pages—bracing myself for tragedy. It's a classic Russian novel, right? Death and despair are inevitable—and yet I keep reminding myself that half of Anna Karenina was downright happy (just not Anna's half), and even Crime and Punishment had a shockingly beautiful ending. (The Brothers Karamazov, not so much... I'm not sure that even qualified as an ending. Dostoevsky died before he could write the planned sequels.)
In other news, Pierre is a Freemason now, but I am sympathizing with his spiritual journey in interesting ways. I'm curious to see what comes of his acquaintance with the sad and adorable Princess Marya.
More next week!
* MILD SPOILER: It's a good thing I didn't tweet that, because I was completely wrong. Part of the reason I enjoy Tolstoy is that I spend the whole time expecting him to kill off his characters, and am always thrilled when he doesn't.