Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Volume II, Part IV, Chapter X

"Does it happen to you," Natasha said to her brother, when they had settled in the sitting room, "does it ever happen to you that you feel there's mothing more - nothing; that everything good has already happened? And it's not really boring, but sad?"
"As if it doesn't!" he said. "It's happened to me that evertything fine, everybody's merry, and it suddenly comes into my head that it's all tiresome and we all out to die. Once in the regiment I didn't go to an outdoor fete, and there was music there...and suddenly felt so bored..."
"Ah, I know that. I know, I know," Natasha picked up. "I was still little when it happened to me."

I love this chapter. It starts off with philosophizing, and then these extremely young people - Natasha, Nikolai, and Sonya, begin to reminisce. They're joined by an older gentleman, Dimmler, who is immediately drawn into their conversation about the soul and imagining eternity.

Natasha is asked to sing by her mother, and does it refusing all the while. Petya interrupts and she cries. Mummers come to the door, and then they all get dressed up and decide to go to a neighbor's house.

Nikolai, in a troika with Sonya and Natasha, decided to race the other. It's a beautiful scene of snow and speed - the horses going fast; the snow being churned like sugar; this beautiful sense of Nikolai's of being completely disoriented and happy. He can't quite figure out where they are but is deliriously happy. Delirious, maybe. Voices point out his mustache and eyelashes are white - they must be covered in frost - laughing and giggling.

It's brilliant and random - they start of slightly bored, reminiscing about the past and trying to figure out their place in it, and end up delighted, covered in snow and full of joy. It's amazing.

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