Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Volume II, Book I, Chapter IX

A sad and happy day.

Liza is in childbirth, and doesn't even seem to notice Andrei. The look on her face, T reminds us over and over, says "what is it that you have done to me and why?" She seems to be confused as to what she has done to deserve all this pain, and it's not an easy birth. T also describes again the "little lip covered with fine black hair" that she has. Andrei, after leaving the room, hears her terrible moans, then finally a scream and then the scream of a child.

She lay dead in the same position in shiwch he had seen her five minutes before, and, cespite her still eyes and pale cheeks, there and the same expression on that lovely, timid, childish face, with its lip covered with fine black hair.
"I loved you all and did nothing bad to anybody, and what have you done tome? Ah, what have you done to me?" said her lovely, pitiful, dead face.

Andrei is so guilty he cannot cry at the funeral; they baptize the baby Nikolai Andreich 5 days later. The nanny throws a piece of wax with the baby's hair in the baptismal font, and it floats, which means the child will live. So that's good. Marya and the old prince are the godparents.

Yikes, death in childbirth. Not at all uncommon for most of history. What a horror, though, and that refrain of her look and surprise is haunting. He really communicates the loss and guilt. And that bit about her not even being able to register that he was there or what it meant is just heartbreaking. Much heartbreak in this book.

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