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The day after the party, there’s more wedding prep.
Marya Dmitrievna fills the Rostovs in on what happened when she went to talk to Prince Bolkonsky the day before. Nothing too much. He’s still a crazy old man and is still against the wedding. She suggests that the Rostovs pack it in and go back to their house in the country to wait for Andrei. That way he can have it out with his dad without worrying about Natasha being there too.
Also, the other Marya (Andrei’s sister) has written Natasha a letter apologizing for their terrible meeting; she wants to patch things up. Natasha has no idea how to respond since she now has all these feelings for Anatole.
For a little while, Natasha starts fantasizing about some kind of ménage à trois with both Andrei and Anatole. Whoo, that’s some hot stuff. But also impractical.
While she’s daydreaming, Natasha gets another letter – from Anatole.
It’s a hot and heavy love letter, saying that he’ll die without her but that there are secret reasons why he can’t come and marry her just like that. He proposes that they run off together.
She immediately decides that she is really in love with him.
So, time for a little Shmoop brain snack. Sure, this novel is a little more honest about all this sex stuff than most of the books written at the same time, but we’re still talking about the 19th century here. Girls are supposed to be virgins until marriage – to the point that even a hint of something improper is taboo. This is why this whole running-off proposal is shocking and horrible. Basically Anatole wants to have a relationship with Natasha where everyone will know that she’s no longer a virgin. When he inevitably dumps her, she won’t be able to get married because she’ll be seen as damaged goods. He, of course, will go on just fine.