Oh, so sweet.
The sovereign enters, so everyone is beside themselves. Mme Peronsky keeps naming all the people, but Natasha doesn't care. They're playing a polonaise and she's afraid no one will ask her to dance. Everyone is doting on Helene. Andrei passes by without a notice, Boris turns away, Anatole looks at her as he would look at a wall. Love that.
So Natasha is on the verge of tears as a waltz starts. The only couple dancing is Helene and the adjutant master of ceremonies. Pierre tells Andrei that the young Rostov girl, his protege, would like to dance. Andrei sees, remembers her as the girl from the window, and "totally contradicting Mme Peronsky's remark about his rudeness", asks her to dance. He raises his arm and has it around her before he even finishes asking.
She, of course, feels saved. T describes her as thin and unattractive compared to Helene who already [had] a sort of varnish from all the thousands of gazes that had passed over her body, but with the freshness of a young girl who is not used to being looked at and admired. Andrei asked her to dance to get him away from talking politics, but ends up being revived and rejuvenated with the "wine of her loveliness" when he leaves her.
Ah, romance. He's so charming. They're destined at this point. I think it was evident at the window, but now I don't see how it won't happen.
What a heady chapter. I love how emotionally involved she is in all of it, and we see the brash Natasha so scared, and remember how close she is to being a young girl. And that when she doesn't know everyone, she's a little scared. Up to it, but scared. What's next?!
6 months ago