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25 Feb 2016 11:49am

Natasha on the balcony

 “That night, alone in new surroundings, Prince Andrei was unable to sleep. The night was fresh, bright, and very still. In front of the window was a row of pollard trees, black on one side, silver on the other. Beneath the trees grew lush, wet bushes with silver-lit leaves and stems. Farther back beyond the dark copse a roof glittered with dew, to the right was a tree with branches of brilliant white, and above it shone the moon, nearly full, in a pale, almost starless, spring sky. Prince Andrei leaned his elbows on the window ledge and his eyes rested on that sky.

Those in the rooms above were also awake. He heard female voices overhead.

“Just once more,” said a girlish voice above him which he recognized at once.

“But when are you coming to bed?” replied another voice.

“I won’t, I can’t sleep, what’s the use? Come now for the last time.”

They sang a musical passage together—the end of some song.

“Yes, how lovely! Now go to sleep, and there’s an end of it.”

“You go to sleep, but I can’t,” said the first voice, coming nearer to the window. She was evidently leaning right out, for the rustle of her dress and even her breathing could be heard. Everything was motionless; the moon and its light and the shadows. Prince Andrei dared not stir.

“Sonya! Sonya!” she cried. “Oh, how can you sleep? Only look how glorious it is! Ah, how glorious! Do wake up, Sonya!” she said, sounding almost tearful. “There never, never was such a lovely night before!”

Sonya made some reluctant reply.

“Do just come and see what a moon!... Come here…. There, you see? I feel like sitting down on my heels, putting my arms round my knees like this, straining tight, as tight as possible, and flying away! Like this….”

“Take care! you’ll fall out!”

He heard the sound of a scuffle and Sonya’s voice: “It’s past one o’clock.”

“Oh, you only spoil things for me. All right, go, go!”

Again all was silent, but Prince Andrei knew she was still sitting there.

From time to time he heard a soft rustle and at times a sigh.

“O God! O God! What does it mean?” she suddenly exclaimed. “To bed then, if it must be!” and she slammed the casement.”

War and Peace - Book 3, Chapter II. Tolstoy.

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