Princess Marya Bolkonsky Quotes in War and Peace
Thinking of marriage, Princess Marya dreamed of family happiness and children, but her chiefest, strongest, and most secret dream was of earthly love. […] “My God,” she said, “how can I suppress these devil’s thoughts in my heart? How can I renounce evil imaginings forever, so as peacefully to do Thy will?” And she had barely asked this question, when God answered her in her own heart: “[…] The future of people and your own fate must be unknown to you; but live so as to be ready for anything. If God should see fit to test you in the duties of marriage, be ready to fulfill His will.” With this reassuring thought (but still with a hope that her forbidden earthly dream would be fulfilled), Princess Marya sighed, crossed herself, and went downstairs without thinking about her dress, or her hairstyle, or how she would walk in, or what she would say. What could all that mean in comparison with the predestination of God, without whose will not one hair falls from man’s head.
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.
“Well, what if I really have fallen in love with him?” thought Princess Marya.
Ashamed as she was to admit to herself that she had fallen in love first with a man who, perhaps, would never love her, she comforted herself with the thought that no one would ever know of it, and that she would not be to blame if, to the end of her life, without speaking of it to anyone, she should love the one she loved for the first and last time.
Sometimes she remembered his glances, his sympathy, his words, and happiness did not seem impossible to her. And it was then that Dunyasha noticed her, smiling, looking out the window of the carriage.
“And it had to be that he came to Bogucharovo, and at that very moment!” thought Princess Marya. […] And in all of that Princess Marya saw the will of Providence.
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.
Sometimes the thought occurred to her that this difference was caused by age; but she felt that she was guilty before him, and in her heart she promised herself to mend her ways and do the impossible— that is, in this life to love her husband, and her children, and Nikolenka, and all who were close to her as Christ loved mankind. Countess Marya’s soul always strove towards the infinite, eternal, and perfect, and therefore could never be at peace. The stern expression of concealed, lofty suffering of a soul burdened by a body came to her face. Nikolai looked at her […] and, standing in front of the icon, he began to recite the evening prayers.