The chapter opens with no one being able to sleep - except Anatole of course, whose head just hits the pillow and he's out. I love that detail. Marya is wondering how she can love him and if he will be her husband, while Amelia (Mlle Bourienne) is worrying about her fall and possible assignation in the garden. Old Prince Andrei is concerned that his daughter will give herself away, when it's so obvious that Anatole is only interested in Bourienne, and he loves his daughter too much for that too not hurt him. He wonders who she can be so blind. He leaves it up to her, though.
The next day, he has a chat with her, and drops a little hint about Amelie being taken as part of the dowry, but renegs and just says it's her choice, bellowing yes or no at her as she leaves the study. She walks into the winter garden, and sees Anatole whispering to Amelie, with his arm around her waist - they had both figured out they needed to meet. Amelie screams and runs away, while Anatole tries to recover. Amelie goes back to the Princess to apologize, and says she feels awful, but Marya does not blame her at all.
Marya is summoned to tell Vassily her decision. Drum roll, please. She says no. She says she'd rather stay with her father and never separate herself from him. He protests, but taking his daughter by the hand, he pulled her to him and did not kiss her, but leaning his forehead to her forehead, touched it, and squeezed her hand, which he was holding, so hard that she winced and cried out. Sweet, for him.
Vassily, oily all the time, beautifully asks her in French, after saying that this is a moment he will never forget (I bet he won't), if they can possibly hope that she will just say perhaps. She says definitively that she will never marry his son.
And, in a Scarlett O'Hara moment, she steelily (that's not a word -with steely determination?) vows that she will help Amelie marry Anatole, even if that means giving her money - She is so unhappy, a stranger, lonely, helpless! And, my God, how passionately she loves him, if she could so forget herself. I might have done the same!..." thought Princess Marya.
Once again, marriage seems a little ridiculous - these people barely met and Marya was head over heels for him, and so is Amelie. And ready to make all these huge decisions. And just a moment for the "Sacred history of marriage" that all the conservatives talk about - this is the real history. She may have been given a choice, which was rare, but it's all about money, and families. Read Austen. Anyhow, diatribe over, but it's so ridiculous.
Now Marya is devoting herself to a higher purpose. She just looooves to suffer. So noble, isn't it?
6 months ago