Natasha Rostov Quotes in War and Peace
The old oak, quite transformed, spreading out a canopy of juicy, dark greenery, basked, barely swaying, in the rays of the evening sun. Of the gnarled fingers, the scars, the old grief and mistrust— nothing could be seen. Juicy green leaves without branches broke through the stiff, hundred-year-old bark, and it was impossible to believe that this old fellow had produced them. “Yes, it’s the same oak,” thought Prince Andrei, and suddenly a causeless springtime feeling of joy and renewal came over him. All the best moments of his life suddenly recalled themselves to him at the same time. Austerlitz with the lofty sky, and the dead, reproachful face of his wife, and Pierre on the ferry, and a girl excited by the beauty of the night, and that night itself, and the moon— all of it suddenly recalled itself to him.
“Forgive me,” said Prince Andrei, “but you’re so young, and I’ve already experienced so much of this life. I fear for you. You don’t know yourself.”
Natasha listened with concentrated attention, trying to understand the meaning of his words, and not understanding.
“Hard as this year that postpones my happiness will be for me,” Prince Andrei went on, “during this time you will test yourself. I ask you to make me happy in a year; but you’re free: our engagement will remain a secret, and if you become convinced that you don’t love me, or that you love ...” Prince Andrei said with an unnatural smile.
“Why are you saying this?” Natasha interrupted him. “You know I’ve loved you from the very day you first came to Otradnoe,” she said, firmly convinced that she was speaking the truth.
Where, how, and when had this little countess, brought up by an émigré Frenchwoman, sucked this spirit in from the Russian air she breathed, where had she gotten these ways[?] Yet that spirit and these ways were those very inimitable, unstudied Russian ones which the uncle expected of her. […]
She did it exactly right, and so precisely, so perfectly precisely, that Anisya Fyodorovna, who at once handed Natasha the kerchief she needed for it, wept through her laughter, looking at this slender, graceful countess, brought up in silk and velvet, so foreign to her, who was able to understand everything that was in Anisya and in Anisya’s father, and in her aunt, and in her mother, and in every Russian.
The curtain rose again. Anatole left the box calm and cheerful. Natasha returned to her father’s box, now totally subjected to the world she was in. Everything that was happening before her now seemed perfectly natural to her; but instead all her former thoughts about her fiancé, about Princess Marya, about country life, never once entered her head, as if it was all long ago, long past.
In the fourth act there was a devil, who sang, waving his arm, until the boards were pulled out from under him, and he sank down below. That was all Natasha saw of the fourth act: something excited and tormented her, and the cause of it was Kuragin, whom she involuntarily followed with her eyes.
[A] new feeling of humility would come over Natasha before the great, the unknowable, when at this unaccustomed hour of morning, looking at the blackened face of the Mother of God lit by candles and the light of morning coming from the window, she listened to the words of the service, which she tried to follow and understand. When she understood them, her personal feeling, with its nuances, joined with her prayer; when she did not, the sweeter it was for her to think that the wish to understand everything was pride, that it was impossible to understand everything, that she only had to believe and give herself to God, who in those moments— she felt— was guiding her soul. […] Natasha experienced a new feeling of the possibility of correcting her vices and the possibility of a new, pure life and happiness.
In the unfortunate, sobbing, exhausted man whose leg had just been removed, he recognized Anatole Kuragin. […] Anatole was sobbing deeply. “Yes, it’s he; yes, this man is closely and painfully connected with me by something,” thought Prince Andrei, not yet understanding clearly what he saw before him. […] And suddenly a new and unexpected memory from the world of childhood, purity, and love came to Prince Andrei. He remembered Natasha as he had seen her for the first time at the ball in 1810, with her slender neck and arms, with her frightened, happy face ready for rapture, and in his soul love and tenderness for her awakened, stronger and more alive than ever. He now remembered the connection between him and this man, who was looking at him dully through the tears that filled his swollen eyes. Prince Andrei remembered everything, and a rapturous pity and love for this man filled his happy heart.
Morally bowed down and shutting their eyes to the menacing cloud of death that hung over them, they did not dare to look life in the face. They carefully protected their open wounds from any offensive, painful touch. Everything— a carriage driving quickly down the street, a reminder of dinner, a maid’s question about what dress to prepare; still worse, a word of insincere, weak sympathy— everything painfully irritated the wound, seemed offensive, and violated the necessary quiet in which they both tried to listen to the dread, stern choir not yet silenced in their imagination, and prevented them from peering into those mysterious, infinite distances which for a moment had opened before them.
The wound in the mother’s soul could not heal. Petya’s death tore away half of her life. A month after the news of Petya’s death, which had found her a fresh and cheerful fifty-year-old woman, she came out of her room an old woman— half-dead and taking no part in life. But the same wound that half killed the countess, this new wound called Natasha to life. […]
[A] wound in the soul, like a physical wound, can be healed only by the force of life pushing up from inside. This was the way Natasha’s wound healed. She thought her life was over. But suddenly her love for her mother showed her that the essence of life— love— was still alive in her. Love awoke, and life awoke.
Pierre told of his adventures as he had never told them to anyone, as he had never yet recalled them to himself. It was as if he now saw a new significance in everything he had lived through. […] Natasha, not knowing it herself, was all attention: she did not miss a word of Pierre’s, not a waver in his voice, not a glance, not the twitch of a facial muscle, not a gesture. She caught the not-yet-spoken word in flight and brought it straight into her open heart, guessing the secret meaning of all Pierre’s inner work.
She, as they put it, let herself go. Natasha took no trouble either about her manners, or about the delicacy of her speech, or about showing herself to her husband in the most advantageous poses, or about her toilette, or about not hampering her husband with her demands. She did everything contrary to these rules. […]
The subject that absorbed Natasha fully was her family— that is, her husband, who had to be kept in such a way as to belong entirely to her, to the household; and her children, whom she had to carry, give birth to, nurse, and bring up.