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The Project Gutenberg EBook of War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost
no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: War and Peace
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Translators: Louise and Aylmer Maude
Posting Date: January 10, 2009 [EBook #2600]
Last Updated: March 15, 2013
Language: English
An Anonymous Volunteer, and David Widger
By Leo Tolstoy/Tolstoi
BOOK ONE: 1805
BOOK TWO: 1805
BOOK FIVE: 1806 - 07
BOOK SIX: 1808 - 10
BOOK SEVEN: 1810 - 11
BOOK EIGHT: 1811 - 12
BOOK TEN: 1812
BOOK FIFTEEN: 1812 - 13
BOOK ONE: 1805
"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the
Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war,
if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that
Antichrist--I really believe he is Antichrist--I will have nothing more
to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer my 'faithful
slave,' as you call yourself! But how do you do? I see I have frightened
you--sit down and tell me all the news."
It was in July, 1805, and the speaker was the well-known Anna Pavlovna
Scherer, maid of honor and favorite of the Empress Marya Fedorovna. With
these words she greeted Prince Vasili Kuragin, a man of high rank and
importance, who was the first to arrive at her reception. Anna Pavlovna
had had a cough for some days. She was, as she said, suffering from la
grippe; grippe being then a new word in St. Petersburg, used only by the
All her invitations without exception, written in French, and delivered
by a scarlet-liveried footman that morning, ran as follows:
"If you have nothing better to do, Count (or Prince), and if the
prospect of spending an evening with a poor invalid is not too terrible,
I shall be very charmed to see you tonight between 7 and 10--Annette
"Heavens! what a virulent attack!" replied the prince, not in the least
disconcerted by this reception. He had just entered, wearing an
embroidered court uniform, knee breeches, and shoes, and had stars on
his breast and a serene expression on his flat face. He spoke in that
refined French in which our grandfathers not only spoke but thought, and
with the gentle, patronizing intonation natural to a man of importance
who had grown old in society and at court. He went up to Anna Pavlovna,
kissed her hand, presenting to her his bald, scented, and shining head,
and complacently seated himself on the sofa.
"First of all, dear friend, tell me how you are. Set your friend's mind
at rest," said he without altering his tone, beneath the politeness and
affected sympathy of which indifference and even irony could be
"Can one be well while suffering morally? Can one be calm in times like
these if one has any feeling?" said Anna Pavlovna. "You are staying the
whole evening, I hope?"
"And the fete at the English ambassador's? Today is Wednesday. I must
put in an appearance there," said the prince. "My daughter is coming for
me to take me there."
"I thought today's fete had been canceled. I confess all these
festivities and fireworks are becoming wearisome."
"If they had known that you wished it, the entertainment would have been
put off," said the prince, who, like a wound-up clock, by force of habit
said things he did not even wish to be believed.
"Don't tease! Well, and what has been decided about Novosiltsev's
dispatch? You know everything."
"What can one say about it?" replied the prince in a cold, listless
tone. "What has been decided? They have decided that Buonaparte has
burnt his boats, and I believe that we are ready to burn ours."
Prince Vasili always spoke languidly, like an actor repeating a stale
part. Anna Pavlovna Scherer on the contrary, despite her forty years,
overflowed with animation and impulsiveness. To be an enthusiast had
become her social vocation and, sometimes even when she did not feel
like it, she became enthusiastic in order not to disappoint the
expectations of those who knew her. The subdued smile which, though it
did not suit her faded features, always played round her lips expressed,
as in a spoiled child, a continual consciousness of her charming defect,
which she neither wished, nor could, nor considered it necessary, to
In the midst of a conversation on political matters Anna Pavlovna burst
"Oh, don't speak to me of Austria. Perhaps I don't understand things,
but Austria never has wished, and does not wish, for war. She is
betraying us! Russia alone must save Europe. Our gracious sovereign
recognizes his high vocation and will be true to it. That is the one
thing I have faith in! Our good and wonderful sovereign has to perform
the noblest role on earth, and he is so virtuous and noble that God will
not forsake him. He will fulfill his vocation and crush the hydra of
revolution, which has become more terrible than ever in the person of
this murderer and villain! We alone must avenge the blood of the just
one.... Whom, I ask you, can we rely on?... England with her commercial
spirit will not and cannot understand the Emperor Alexander's loftiness
of soul. She has refused to evacuate Malta. She wanted to find, and
still seeks, some secret motive in our actions. What answer did
Novosiltsev get? None. The English have not understood and cannot
understand the self-abnegation of our Emperor who wants nothing for
himself, but only desires the good of mankind. And what have they
promised? Nothing! And what little they have promised they will not
perform! Prussia has always declared that Buonaparte is invincible, and
that all Europe is powerless before him.... And I don't believe a word
that Hardenburg says, or Haugwitz either. This famous Prussian
neutrality is just a trap. I have faith only in God and the lofty
destiny of our adored monarch. He will save Europe!"
She suddenly paused, smiling at her own impetuosity.
"I think," said the prince with a smile, "that if you had been sent
instead of our dear Wintzingerode you would have captured the King of
Prussia's consent by assault. You are so eloquent. Will you give me a
cup of tea?"
"In a moment. A propos," she added, becoming calm again, "I am expecting
two very interesting men tonight, le Vicomte de Mortemart, who is
connected with the Montmorencys through the Rohans, one of the best
French families. He is one of the genuine emigres, the good ones. And
also the Abbe Morio. Do you know that profound thinker? He has been
received by the Emperor. Had you heard?"
"I shall be delighted to meet them," said the prince. "But tell me," he
added with studied carelessness as if it had only just occurred to him,
though the question he was about to ask was the chief motive of his
visit, "is it true that the Dowager Empress wants Baron Funke to be
appointed first secretary at Vienna? The baron by all accounts is a poor
Prince Vasili wished to obtain this post for his son, but others were
trying through the Dowager Empress Marya Fedorovna to secure it for the
Anna Pavlovna almost closed her eyes to indicate that neither she nor
anyone else had a right to criticize what the Empress desired or was
pleased with.
"Baron Funke has been recommended to the Dowager Empress by her sister,"
was all she said, in a dry and mournful tone.
As she named the Empress, Anna Pavlovna's face suddenly assumed an
expression of profound and sincere devotion and respect mingled with
sadness, and this occurred every time she mentioned her illustrious
patroness. She added that Her Majesty had deigned to show Baron Funke
beaucoup d'estime, and again her face clouded over with sadness.
The prince was silent and looked indifferent. But, with the womanly and
courtierlike quickness and tact habitual to her, Anna Pavlovna wished
both to rebuke him (for daring to speak as he had done of a man
recommended to the Empress) and at the same time to console him, so she
"Now about your family. Do you know that since your daughter came out
everyone has been enraptured by her? They say she is amazingly
The prince bowed to signify his respect and gratitude.
"I often think," she continued after a short pause, drawing nearer to
the prince and smiling amiably at him as if to show that political and
social topics were ended and the time had come for intimate
conversation--"I often think how unfairly sometimes the joys of life are
distributed. Why has fate given you two such splendid children? I don't
speak of Anatole, your youngest. I don't like him," she added in a tone
admitting of no rejoinder and raising her eyebrows. "Two such charming
children. And really you appreciate them less than anyone, and so you
don't deserve to have them."
And she smiled her ecstatic smile.
"I can't help it," said the prince. "Lavater would have said I lack the
bump of paternity."
"Don't joke; I mean to have a serious talk with you. Do you know I am
dissatisfied with your younger son? Between ourselves" (and her face
assumed its melancholy expression), "he was mentioned at Her Majesty's
and you were pitied...."
The prince answered nothing, but she looked at him significantly,
awaiting a reply. He frowned.
"What would you have me do?" he said at last. "You know I did all a
father could for their education, and they have both turned out fools.
Hippolyte is at least a quiet fool, but Anatole is an active one. That
is the only difference between them." He said this smiling in a way more
natural and animated than usual, so that the wrinkles round his mouth
very clearly revealed something unexpectedly coarse and unpleasant.
"And why are children born to such men as you? If you were not a father
there would be nothing I could reproach you with," said Anna Pavlovna,
looking up pensively.
"I am your faithful slave and to you alone I can confess that my
children are the bane of my life. It is the cross I have to bear. That
is how I explain it to myself. It can't be helped!"
He said no more, but expressed his resignation to cruel fate by a
gesture. Anna Pavlovna meditated.
"Have you never thought of marrying your prodigal son Anatole?" she
asked. "They say old maids have a mania for matchmaking, and though I
don't feel that weakness in myself as yet, I know a little person who is
very unhappy with her father. She is a relation of yours, Princess Mary
Prince Vasili did not reply, though, with the quickness of memory and
perception befitting a man of the world, he indicated by a movement of
the head that he was considering this information.
"Do you know," he said at last, evidently unable to check the sad
current of his thoughts, "that Anatole is costing me forty thousand
rubles a year? And," he went on after a pause, "what will it be in five
years, if he goes on like this?" Presently he added: "That's what we
fathers have to put up with.... Is this princess of yours rich?"
"Her father is very rich and stingy. He lives in the country. He is the
well-known Prince Bolkonski who had to retire from the army under the
late Emperor, and was nicknamed 'the King of Prussia.' He is very clever
but eccentric, and a bore. The poor girl is very unhappy. She has a
brother; I think you know him, he married Lise Meinen lately. He is an
aide-de-camp of Kutuzov's and will be here tonight."
"Listen, dear Annette," said the prince, suddenly taking Anna Pavlovna's
hand and for some reason drawing it downwards. "Arrange that affair for
me and I shall always be your most devoted slave-slafe with an f, as a
village elder of mine writes in his reports. She is rich and of good
family and that's all I want."
And with the familiarity and easy grace peculiar to him, he raised the
maid of honor's hand to his lips, kissed it, and swung it to and fro as
he lay back in his armchair, looking in another direction.
"Attendez," said Anna Pavlovna, reflecting, "I'll speak to Lise, young
Bolkonski's wife, this very evening, and perhaps the thing can be
arranged. It shall be on your family's behalf that I'll start my
apprenticeship as old maid."
Anna Pavlovna's drawing room was gradually filling. The highest
Petersburg society was assembled there: people differing widely in age
and character but alike in the social circle to which they belonged.
Prince Vasili's daughter, the beautiful Helene, came to take her father
to the ambassador's entertainment; she wore a ball dress and her badge
as maid of honor. The youthful little Princess Bolkonskaya, known as la
femme la plus seduisante de Petersbourg, * was also there. She had been
married during the previous winter, and being pregnant did not go to any
large gatherings, but only to small receptions. Prince Vasili's son,
Hippolyte, had come with Mortemart, whom he introduced. The Abbe Morio
and many others had also come.
* The most fascinating woman in Petersburg.
To each new arrival Anna Pavlovna said, "You have not yet seen my aunt,"
or "You do not know my aunt?" and very gravely conducted him or her to a
little old lady, wearing large bows of ribbon in her cap, who had come
sailing in from another room as soon as the guests began to arrive; and
slowly turning her eyes from the visitor to her aunt, Anna Pavlovna
mentioned each one's name and then left them.
Each visitor performed the ceremony of greeting this old aunt whom not
one of them knew, not one of them wanted to know, and not one of them
cared about; Anna Pavlovna observed these greetings with mournful and
solemn interest and silent approval. The aunt spoke to each of them in
the same words, about their health and her own, and the health of Her
Majesty, "who, thank God, was better today." And each visitor, though
politeness prevented his showing impatience, left the old woman with a
sense of relief at having performed a vexatious duty and did not return
to her the whole evening.
The young Princess Bolkonskaya had brought some work in a gold-
embroidered velvet bag. Her pretty little upper lip, on which a delicate
dark down was just perceptible, was too short for her teeth, but it
lifted all the more sweetly, and was especially charming when she
occasionally drew it down to meet the lower lip. As is always the case
with a thoroughly attractive woman, her defect--the shortness of her
upper lip and her half-open mouth--seemed to be her own special and
peculiar form of beauty. Everyone brightened at the sight of this pretty
young woman, so soon to become a mother, so full of life and health, and
carrying her burden so lightly. Old men and dull dispirited young ones
who looked at her, after being in her company and talking to her a
little while, felt as if they too were becoming, like her, full of life
and health. All who talked to her, and at each word saw her bright smile
and the constant gleam of her white teeth, thought that they were in a
specially amiable mood that day.
The little princess went round the table with quick, short, swaying
steps, her workbag on her arm, and gaily spreading out her dress sat
down on a sofa near the silver samovar, as if all she was doing was a
pleasure to herself and to all around her. "I have brought my work,"
said she in French, displaying her bag and addressing all present.
"Mind, Annette, I hope you have not played a wicked trick on me," she
added, turning to her hostess. "You wrote that it was to be quite a
small reception, and just see how badly I am dressed." And she spread
out her arms to show her short-waisted, lace-trimmed, dainty gray dress,
girdled with a broad ribbon just below the breast.
"Soyez tranquille, Lise, you will always be prettier than anyone else,"
replied Anna Pavlovna.
"You know," said the princess in the same tone of voice and still in
French, turning to a general, "my husband is deserting me? He is going
to get himself killed. Tell me what this wretched war is for?" she
added, addressing Prince Vasili, and without waiting for an answer she
turned to speak to his daughter, the beautiful Helene.
"What a delightful woman this little princess is!" said Prince Vasili to
Anna Pavlovna.
One of the next arrivals was a stout, heavily built young man with
close-cropped hair, spectacles, the light-colored breeches fashionable
at that time, a very high ruffle, and a brown dress coat. This stout
young man was an illegitimate son of Count Bezukhov, a well-known
grandee of Catherine's time who now lay dying in Moscow. The young man
had not yet entered either the military or civil service, as he had only
just returned from abroad where he had been educated, and this was his
first appearance in society. Anna Pavlovna greeted him with the nod she
accorded to the lowest hierarchy in her drawing room. But in spite of
this lowest-grade greeting, a look of anxiety and fear, as at the sight
of something too large and unsuited to the place, came over her face
when she saw Pierre enter. Though he was certainly rather bigger than
the other men in the room, her anxiety could only have reference to the
clever though shy, but observant and natural, expression which
distinguished him from everyone else in that drawing room.
"It is very good of you, Monsieur Pierre, to come and visit a poor
invalid," said Anna Pavlovna, exchanging an alarmed glance with her aunt
as she conducted him to her.
Pierre murmured something unintelligible, and continued to look round as
if in search of something. On his way to the aunt he bowed to the little
princess with a pleased smile, as to an intimate acquaintance.
Anna Pavlovna's alarm was justified, for Pierre turned away from the
aunt without waiting to hear her speech about Her Majesty's health. Anna
Pavlovna in dismay detained him with the words: "Do you know the Abbe
Morio? He is a most interesting man."
"Yes, I have heard of his scheme for perpetual peace, and it is very
interesting but hardly feasible."
"You think so?" rejoined Anna Pavlovna in order to say something and get
away to attend to her duties as hostess. But Pierre now committed a
reverse act of impoliteness. First he had left a lady before she had
finished speaking to him, and now he continued to speak to another who
wished to get away. With his head bent, and his big feet spread apart,
he began explaining his reasons for thinking the abbe's plan chimerical.
"We will talk of it later," said Anna Pavlovna with a smile.
And having got rid of this young man who did not know how to behave, she
resumed her duties as hostess and continued to listen and watch, ready
to help at any point where the conversation might happen to flag. As the
foreman of a spinning mill, when he has set the hands to work, goes
round and notices here a spindle that has stopped or there one that
creaks or makes more noise than it should, and hastens to check the
machine or set it in proper motion, so Anna Pavlovna moved about her
drawing room, approaching now a silent, now a too-noisy group, and by a
word or slight rearrangement kept the conversational machine in steady,
proper, and regular motion. But amid these cares her anxiety about
Pierre was evident. She kept an anxious watch on him when he approached
the group round Mortemart to listen to what was being said there, and
again when he passed to another group whose center was the abbe.
Pierre had been educated abroad, and this reception at Anna Pavlovna's
was the first he had attended in Russia. He knew that all the
intellectual lights of Petersburg were gathered there and, like a child
in a toyshop, did not know which way to look, afraid of missing any
clever conversation that was to be heard. Seeing the self-confident and
refined expression on the faces of those present he was always expecting
to hear something very profound. At last he came up to Morio. Here the
conversation seemed interesting and he stood waiting for an opportunity
to express his own views, as young people are fond of doing.
Anna Pavlovna's reception was in full swing. The spindles hummed
steadily and ceaselessly on all sides. With the exception of the aunt,
beside whom sat only one elderly lady, who with her thin careworn face
was rather out of place in this brilliant society, the whole company had
settled into three groups. One, chiefly masculine, had formed round the
abbe. Another, of young people, was grouped round the beautiful Princess
Helene, Prince Vasili's daughter, and the little Princess Bolkonskaya,
very pretty and rosy, though rather too plump for her age. The third
group was gathered round Mortemart and Anna Pavlovna.
The vicomte was a nice-looking young man with soft features and polished
manners, who evidently considered himself a celebrity but out of
politeness modestly placed himself at the disposal of the circle in
which he found himself. Anna Pavlovna was obviously serving him up as a
treat to her guests. As a clever maitre d'hotel serves up as a specially
choice delicacy a piece of meat that no one who had seen it in the
kitchen would have cared to eat, so Anna Pavlovna served up to her
guests, first the vicomte and then the abbe, as peculiarly choice
morsels. The group about Mortemart immediately began discussing the
murder of the Duc d'Enghien. The vicomte said that the Duc d'Enghien had
perished by his own magnanimity, and that there were particular reasons
for Buonaparte's hatred of him.
"Ah, yes! Do tell us all about it, Vicomte," said Anna Pavlovna, with a
pleasant feeling that there was something a la Louis XV in the sound of
that sentence: "Contez nous cela, Vicomte."
The vicomte bowed and smiled courteously in token of his willingness to
comply. Anna Pavlovna arranged a group round him, inviting everyone to
listen to his tale.
"The vicomte knew the duc personally," whispered Anna Pavlovna to one of
the guests. "The vicomte is a wonderful raconteur," said she to another.
"How evidently he belongs to the best society," said she to a third; and
the vicomte was served up to the company in the choicest and most
advantageous style, like a well-garnished joint of roast beef on a hot
The vicomte wished to begin his story and gave a subtle smile.
"Come over here, Helene, dear," said Anna Pavlovna to the beautiful
young princess who was sitting some way off, the center of another
The princess smiled. She rose with the same unchanging smile with which
she had first entered the room--the smile of a perfectly beautiful
woman. With a slight rustle of her white dress trimmed with moss and
ivy, with a gleam of white shoulders, glossy hair, and sparkling
diamonds, she passed between the men who made way for her, not looking
at any of them but smiling on all, as if graciously allowing each the
privilege of admiring her beautiful figure and shapely shoulders, back,
and bosom--which in the fashion of those days were very much exposed--
and she seemed to bring the glamour of a ballroom with her as she moved
toward Anna Pavlovna. Helene was so lovely that not only did she not
show any trace of coquetry, but on the contrary she even appeared shy of
her unquestionable and all too victorious beauty. She seemed to wish,
but to be unable, to diminish its effect.
"How lovely!" said everyone who saw her; and the vicomte lifted his
shoulders and dropped his eyes as if startled by something extraordinary
when she took her seat opposite and beamed upon him also with her
unchanging smile.
"Madame, I doubt my ability before such an audience," said he, smilingly
inclining his head.
The princess rested her bare round arm on a little table and considered
a reply unnecessary. She smilingly waited. All the time the story was
being told she sat upright, glancing now at her beautiful round arm,
altered in shape by its pressure on the table, now at her still more
beautiful bosom, on which she readjusted a diamond necklace. From time
to time she smoothed the folds of her dress, and whenever the story
produced an effect she glanced at Anna Pavlovna, at once adopted just
the expression she saw on the maid of honor's face, and again relapsed
into her radiant smile.
The little princess had also left the tea table and followed Helene.
"Wait a moment, I'll get my work.... Now then, what are you thinking
of?" she went on, turning to Prince Hippolyte. "Fetch me my workbag."
There was a general movement as the princess, smiling and talking
merrily to everyone at once, sat down and gaily arranged herself in her
"Now I am all right," she said, and asking the vicomte to begin, she
took up her work.
Prince Hippolyte, having brought the workbag, joined the circle and
moving a chair close to hers seated himself beside her.
Le charmant Hippolyte was surprising by his extraordinary resemblance to
his beautiful sister, but yet more by the fact that in spite of this
resemblance he was exceedingly ugly. His features were like his
sister's, but while in her case everything was lit up by a joyous, self-
satisfied, youthful, and constant smile of animation, and by the
wonderful classic beauty of her figure, his face on the contrary was
dulled by imbecility and a constant expression of sullen self-
confidence, while his body was thin and weak. His eyes, nose, and mouth
all seemed puckered into a vacant, wearied grimace, and his arms and
legs always fell into unnatural positions.
"It's not going to be a ghost story?" said he, sitting down beside the
princess and hastily adjusting his lorgnette, as if without this
instrument he could not begin to speak.
"Why no, my dear fellow," said the astonished narrator, shrugging his
"Because I hate ghost stories," said Prince Hippolyte in a tone which
showed that he only understood the meaning of his words after he had
uttered them.
He spoke with such self-confidence that his hearers could not be sure
whether what he said was very witty or very stupid. He was dressed in a
dark-green dress coat, knee breeches of the color of cuisse de nymphe
effrayee, as he called it, shoes, and silk stockings.
The vicomte told his tale very neatly. It was an anecdote, then current,
to the effect that the Duc d'Enghien had gone secretly to Paris to visit
Mademoiselle George; that at her house he came upon Bonaparte, who also
enjoyed the famous actress' favors, and that in his presence Napoleon
happened to fall into one of the fainting fits to which he was subject,
and was thus at the duc's mercy. The latter spared him, and this
magnanimity Bonaparte subsequently repaid by death.
The story was very pretty and interesting, especially at the point where
the rivals suddenly recognized one another; and the ladies looked
"Charming!" said Anna Pavlovna with an inquiring glance at the little
"Charming!" whispered the little princess, sticking the needle into her
work as if to testify that the interest and fascination of the story
prevented her from going on with it.
The vicomte appreciated this silent praise and smiling gratefully
prepared to continue, but just then Anna Pavlovna, who had kept a
watchful eye on the young man who so alarmed her, noticed that he was
talking too loudly and vehemently with the abbe, so she hurried to the
rescue. Pierre had managed to start a conversation with the abbe about
the balance of power, and the latter, evidently interested by the young
man's simple-minded eagerness, was explaining his pet theory. Both were
talking and listening too eagerly and too naturally, which was why Anna
Pavlovna disapproved.
"The means are... the balance of power in Europe and the rights of the
people," the abbe was saying. "It is only necessary for one powerful
nation like Russia--barbaric as she is said to be--to place herself
disinterestedly at the head of an alliance having for its object the
maintenance of the balance of power of Europe, and it would save the
"But how are you to get that balance?" Pierre was beginning.
At that moment Anna Pavlovna came up and, looking severely at Pierre,
asked the Italian how he stood Russian climate. The Italian's face
instantly changed and assumed an offensively affected, sugary
expression, evidently habitual to him when conversing with women.
"I am so enchanted by the brilliancy of the wit and culture of the
society, more especially of the feminine society, in which I have had
the honor of being received, that I have not yet had time to think of
the climate," said he.
Not letting the abbe and Pierre escape, Anna Pavlovna, the more
conveniently to keep them under observation, brought them into the
larger circle.
Just then another visitor entered the drawing room: Prince Andrew
Bolkonski, the little princess' husband. He was a very handsome young
man, of medium height, with firm, clearcut features. Everything about
him, from his weary, bored expression to his quiet, measured step,
offered a most striking contrast to his quiet, little wife. It was
evident that he not only knew everyone in the drawing room, but had
found them to be so tiresome that it wearied him to look at or listen to
them. And among all these faces that he found so tedious, none seemed to
bore him so much as that of his pretty wife. He turned away from her
with a grimace that distorted his handsome face, kissed Anna Pavlovna's
hand, and screwing up his eyes scanned the whole company.
"You are off to the war, Prince?" said Anna Pavlovna.
"General Kutuzov," said Bolkonski, speaking French and stressing the
last syllable of the general's name like a Frenchman, "has been pleased
to take me as an aide-de-camp...."
"And Lise, your wife?"
"She will go to the country."
"Are you not ashamed to deprive us of your charming wife?"
"Andre," said his wife, addressing her husband in the same coquettish
manner in which she spoke to other men, "the vicomte has been telling us
such a tale about Mademoiselle George and Buonaparte!"
Prince Andrew screwed up his eyes and turned away. Pierre, who from the
moment Prince Andrew entered the room had watched him with glad,
affectionate eyes, now came up and took his arm. Before he looked round
Prince Andrew frowned again, expressing his annoyance with whoever was
touching his arm, but when he saw Pierre's beaming face he gave him an
unexpectedly kind and pleasant smile.
"There now!... So you, too, are in the great world?" said he to Pierre.
"I knew you would be here," replied Pierre. "I will come to supper with
you. May I?" he added in a low voice so as not to disturb the vicomte
who was continuing his story.
"No, impossible!" said Prince Andrew, laughing and pressing Pierre's
hand to show that there was no need to ask the question. He wished to
say something more, but at that moment Prince Vasili and his daughter
got up to go and the two young men rose to let them pass.
"You must excuse me, dear Vicomte," said Prince Vasili to the Frenchman,
holding him down by the sleeve in a friendly way to prevent his rising.
"This unfortunate fete at the ambassador's deprives me of a pleasure,
and obliges me to interrupt you. I am very sorry to leave your
enchanting party," said he, turning to Anna Pavlovna.
His daughter, Princess Helene, passed between the chairs, lightly
holding up the folds of her dress, and the smile shone still more
radiantly on her beautiful face. Pierre gazed at her with rapturous,
almost frightened, eyes as she passed him.
"Very lovely," said Prince Andrew.
"Very," said Pierre.
In passing Prince Vasili seized Pierre's hand and said to Anna Pavlovna:
"Educate this bear for me! He has been staying with me a whole month and
this is the first time I have seen him in society. Nothing is so
necessary for a young man as the society of clever women."
Anna Pavlovna smiled and promised to take Pierre in hand. She knew his
father to be a connection of Prince Vasili's. The elderly lady who had
been sitting with the old aunt rose hurriedly and overtook Prince Vasili
in the anteroom. All the affectation of interest she had assumed had
left her kindly and tear-worn face and it now expressed only anxiety and
"How about my son Boris, Prince?" said she, hurrying after him into the
anteroom. "I can't remain any longer in Petersburg. Tell me what news I
may take back to my poor boy."
Although Prince Vasili listened reluctantly and not very politely to the
elderly lady, even betraying some impatience, she gave him an
ingratiating and appealing smile, and took his hand that he might not go
"What would it cost you to say a word to the Emperor, and then he would
be transferred to the Guards at once?" said she.
"Believe me, Princess, I am ready to do all I can," answered Prince
Vasili, "but it is difficult for me to ask the Emperor. I should advise
you to appeal to Rumyantsev through Prince Golitsyn. That would be the
best way."
The elderly lady was a Princess Drubetskaya, belonging to one of the
best families in Russia, but she was poor, and having long been out of
society had lost her former influential connections. She had now come to
Petersburg to procure an appointment in the Guards for her only son. It
was, in fact, solely to meet Prince Vasili that she had obtained an
invitation to Anna Pavlovna's reception and had sat listening to the
vicomte's story. Prince Vasili's words frightened her, an embittered
look clouded her once handsome face, but only for a moment; then she
smiled again and clutched Prince Vasili's arm more tightly.
"Listen to me, Prince," said she. "I have never yet asked you for
anything and I never will again, nor have I ever reminded you of my
father's friendship for you; but now I entreat you for God's sake to do
this for my son--and I shall always regard you as a benefactor," she
added hurriedly. "No, don't be angry, but promise! I have asked Golitsyn
and he has refused. Be the kindhearted man you always were," she said,
trying to smile though tears were in her eyes.
"Papa, we shall be late," said Princess Helene, turning her beautiful
head and looking over her classically molded shoulder as she stood
waiting by the door.
Influence in society, however, is a capital which has to be economized
if it is to last. Prince Vasili knew this, and having once realized that
if he asked on behalf of all who begged of him, he would soon be unable
to ask for himself, he became chary of using his influence. But in
Princess Drubetskaya's case he felt, after her second appeal, something
like qualms of conscience. She had reminded him of what was quite true;
he had been indebted to her father for the first steps in his career.
Moreover, he could see by her manners that she was one of those women--
mostly mothers--who, having once made up their minds, will not rest
until they have gained their end, and are prepared if necessary to go on
insisting day after day and hour after hour, and even to make scenes.
This last consideration moved him.
"My dear Anna Mikhaylovna," said he with his usual familiarity and
weariness of tone, "it is almost impossible for me to do what you ask;
but to prove my devotion to you and how I respect your father's memory,
I will do the impossible--your son shall be transferred to the Guards.
Here is my hand on it. Are you satisfied?"
"My dear benefactor! This is what I expected from you--I knew your
kindness!" He turned to go.
"Wait--just a word! When he has been transferred to the Guards..." she
faltered. "You are on good terms with Michael Ilarionovich Kutuzov...
recommend Boris to him as adjutant! Then I shall be at rest, and
Prince Vasili smiled.
"No, I won't promise that. You don't know how Kutuzov is pestered since
his appointment as Commander in Chief. He told me himself that all the
Moscow ladies have conspired to give him all their sons as adjutants."
"No, but do promise! I won't let you go! My dear benefactor..."
"Papa," said his beautiful daughter in the same tone as before, "we
shall be late."
"Well, au revoir! Good-bye! You hear her?"
"Then tomorrow you will speak to the Emperor?"
"Certainly; but about Kutuzov, I don't promise."
"Do promise, do promise, Vasili!" cried Anna Mikhaylovna as he went,
with the smile of a coquettish girl, which at one time probably came
naturally to her, but was now very ill-suited to her careworn face.
Apparently she had forgotten her age and by force of habit employed all
the old feminine arts. But as soon as the prince had gone her face
resumed its former cold, artificial expression. She returned to the
group where the vicomte was still talking, and again pretended to
listen, while waiting till it would be time to leave. Her task was
"And what do you think of this latest comedy, the coronation at Milan?"
asked Anna Pavlovna, "and of the comedy of the people of Genoa and Lucca
laying their petitions before Monsieur Buonaparte, and Monsieur
Buonaparte sitting on a throne and granting the petitions of the
nations? Adorable! It is enough to make one's head whirl! It is as if
the whole world had gone crazy."
Prince Andrew looked Anna Pavlovna straight in the face with a sarcastic
"'Dieu me la donne, gare a qui la touche!' * They say he was very fine
when he said that," he remarked, repeating the words in Italian: "'Dio
mi l'ha dato. Guai a chi la tocchi!'"
* God has given it to me, let him who touches it beware!
"I hope this will prove the last drop that will make the glass run
over," Anna Pavlovna continued. "The sovereigns will not be able to
endure this man who is a menace to everything."
"The sovereigns? I do not speak of Russia," said the vicomte, polite but
hopeless: "The sovereigns, madame... What have they done for Louis XVII,
for the Queen, or for Madame Elizabeth? Nothing!" and he became more
animated. "And believe me, they are reaping the reward of their betrayal
of the Bourbon cause. The sovereigns! Why, they are sending ambassadors
to compliment the usurper."
And sighing disdainfully, he again changed his position.
Prince Hippolyte, who had been gazing at the vicomte for some time
through his lorgnette, suddenly turned completely round toward the
little princess, and having asked for a needle began tracing the Conde
coat of arms on the table. He explained this to her with as much gravity
as if she had asked him to do it.
"Baton de gueules, engrele de gueules d'azur--maison Conde," said he.
The princess listened, smiling.
"If Buonaparte remains on the throne of France a year longer," the
vicomte continued, with the air of a man who, in a matter with which he
is better acquainted than anyone else, does not listen to others but
follows the current of his own thoughts, "things will have gone too far.
By intrigues, violence, exile, and executions, French society--I mean
good French society--will have been forever destroyed, and then..."
He shrugged his shoulders and spread out his hands. Pierre wished to
make a remark, for the conversation interested him, but Anna Pavlovna,
who had him under observation, interrupted:
"The Emperor Alexander," said she, with the melancholy which always
accompanied any reference of hers to the Imperial family, "has declared
that he will leave it to the French people themselves to choose their
own form of government; and I believe that once free from the usurper,
the whole nation will certainly throw itself into the arms of its
rightful king," she concluded, trying to be amiable to the royalist
"That is doubtful," said Prince Andrew. "Monsieur le Vicomte quite
rightly supposes that matters have already gone too far. I think it will
be difficult to return to the old regime."
"From what I have heard," said Pierre, blushing and breaking into the
conversation, "almost all the aristocracy has already gone over to
Bonaparte's side."
"It is the Buonapartists who say that," replied the vicomte without
looking at Pierre. "At the present time it is difficult to know the real
state of French public opinion."
"Bonaparte has said so," remarked Prince Andrew with a sarcastic smile.
It was evident that he did not like the vicomte and was aiming his
remarks at him, though without looking at him.
"'I showed them the path to glory, but they did not follow it,'" Prince
Andrew continued after a short silence, again quoting Napoleon's words.
"'I opened my antechambers and they crowded in.' I do not know how far
he was justified in saying so."
"Not in the least," replied the vicomte. "After the murder of the duc
even the most partial ceased to regard him as a hero. If to some
people," he went on, turning to Anna Pavlovna, "he ever was a hero,
after the murder of the duc there was one martyr more in heaven and one
hero less on earth."
Before Anna Pavlovna and the others had time to smile their appreciation
of the vicomte's epigram, Pierre again broke into the conversation, and
though Anna Pavlovna felt sure he would say something inappropriate, she
was unable to stop him.
"The execution of the Duc d'Enghien," declared Monsieur Pierre, "was a
political necessity, and it seems to me that Napoleon showed greatness
of soul by not fearing to take on himself the whole responsibility of
that deed."
"Dieu! Mon Dieu!" muttered Anna Pavlovna in a terrified whisper.
"What, Monsieur Pierre... Do you consider that assassination shows
greatness of soul?" said the little princess, smiling and drawing her
work nearer to her.
"Oh! Oh!" exclaimed several voices.
"Capital!" said Prince Hippolyte in English, and began slapping his knee
with the palm of his hand.
The vicomte merely shrugged his shoulders. Pierre looked solemnly at his
audience over his spectacles and continued.
"I say so," he continued desperately, "because the Bourbons fled from
the Revolution leaving the people to anarchy, and Napoleon alone
understood the Revolution and quelled it, and so for the general good,
he could not stop short for the sake of one man's life."
"Won't you come over to the other table?" suggested Anna Pavlovna.
But Pierre continued his speech without heeding her.
"No," cried he, becoming more and more eager, "Napoleon is great because
he rose superior to the Revolution, suppressed its abuses, preserved all
that was good in it--equality of citizenship and freedom of speech and
of the press--and only for that reason did he obtain power."
"Yes, if having obtained power, without availing himself of it to commit
murder he had restored it to the rightful king, I should have called him
a great man," remarked the vicomte.
"He could not do that. The people only gave him power that he might rid
them of the Bourbons and because they saw that he was a great man. The
Revolution was a grand thing!" continued Monsieur Pierre, betraying by
this desperate and provocative proposition his extreme youth and his
wish to express all that was in his mind.
"What? Revolution and regicide a grand thing?... Well, after that... But
won't you come to this other table?" repeated Anna Pavlovna.
"Rousseau's Contrat Social," said the vicomte with a tolerant smile.
"I am not speaking of regicide, I am speaking about ideas."
"Yes: ideas of robbery, murder, and regicide," again interjected an
ironical voice.
"Those were extremes, no doubt, but they are not what is most important.
What is important are the rights of man, emancipation from prejudices,
and equality of citizenship, and all these ideas Napoleon has retained
in full force."
"Liberty and equality," said the vicomte contemptuously, as if at last
deciding seriously to prove to this youth how foolish his words were,
"high-sounding words which have long been discredited. Who does not love
liberty and equality? Even our Saviour preached liberty and equality.
Have people since the Revolution become happier? On the contrary. We
wanted liberty, but Buonaparte has destroyed it."
Prince Andrew kept looking with an amused smile from Pierre to the
vicomte and from the vicomte to their hostess. In the first moment of
Pierre's outburst Anna Pavlovna, despite her social experience, was
horror-struck. But when she saw that Pierre's sacrilegious words had not
exasperated the vicomte, and had convinced herself that it was
impossible to stop him, she rallied her forces and joined the vicomte in
a vigorous attack on the orator.
"But, my dear Monsieur Pierre," said she, "how do you explain the fact
of a great man executing a duc--or even an ordinary man who--is innocent
and untried?"
"I should like," said the vicomte, "to ask how monsieur explains the
18th Brumaire; was not that an imposture? It was a swindle, and not at
all like the conduct of a great man!"
"And the prisoners he killed in Africa? That was horrible!" said the
little princess, shrugging her shoulders.
"He's a low fellow, say what you will," remarked Prince Hippolyte.
Pierre, not knowing whom to answer, looked at them all and smiled. His
smile was unlike the half-smile of other people. When he smiled, his
grave, even rather gloomy, look was instantaneously replaced by another-
-a childlike, kindly, even rather silly look, which seemed to ask
The vicomte who was meeting him for the first time saw clearly that this
young Jacobin was not so terrible as his words suggested. All were
"How do you expect him to answer you all at once?" said Prince Andrew.
"Besides, in the actions of a statesman one has to distinguish between
his acts as a private person, as a general, and as an emperor. So it
seems to me."
"Yes, yes, of course!" Pierre chimed in, pleased at the arrival of this
"One must admit," continued Prince Andrew, "that Napoleon as a man was
great on the bridge of Arcola, and in the hospital at Jaffa where he
gave his hand to the plague-stricken; but... but there are other acts
which it is difficult to justify."
Prince Andrew, who had evidently wished to tone down the awkwardness of
Pierre's remarks, rose and made a sign to his wife that it was time to
Suddenly Prince Hippolyte started up making signs to everyone to attend,
and asking them all to be seated began:
"I was told a charming Moscow story today and must treat you to it.
Excuse me, Vicomte--I must tell it in Russian or the point will be
lost...." And Prince Hippolyte began to tell his story in such Russian
as a Frenchman would speak after spending about a year in Russia.
Everyone waited, so emphatically and eagerly did he demand their
attention to his story.
"There is in Moscow a lady, une dame, and she is very stingy. She must
have two footmen behind her carriage, and very big ones. That was her
taste. And she had a lady's maid, also big. She said..."
Here Prince Hippolyte paused, evidently collecting his ideas with
"She said... Oh yes! She said, 'Girl,' to the maid, 'put on a livery,
get up behind the carriage, and come with me while I make some calls.'"
Here Prince Hippolyte spluttered and burst out laughing long before his
audience, which produced an effect unfavorable to the narrator. Several
persons, among them the elderly lady and Anna Pavlovna, did however
"She went. Suddenly there was a great wind. The girl lost her hat and
her long hair came down...." Here he could contain himself no longer and
went on, between gasps of laughter: "And the whole world knew...."
And so the anecdote ended. Though it was unintelligible why he had told
it, or why it had to be told in Russian, still Anna Pavlovna and the
others appreciated Prince Hippolyte's social tact in so agreeably ending
Pierre's unpleasant and unamiable outburst. After the anecdote the
conversation broke up into insignificant small talk about the last and
next balls, about theatricals, and who would meet whom, and when and
Having thanked Anna Pavlovna for her charming soiree, the guests began
to take their leave.
Pierre was ungainly. Stout, about the average height, broad, with huge
red hands; he did not know, as the saying is, how to enter a drawing
room and still less how to leave one; that is, how to say something
particularly agreeable before going away. Besides this he was absent-
minded. When he rose to go, he took up instead of his own, the general's
three-cornered hat, and held it, pulling at the plume, till the general
asked him to restore it. All his absent-mindedness and inability to
enter a room and converse in it was, however, redeemed by his kindly,
simple, and modest expression. Anna Pavlovna turned toward him and, with
a Christian mildness that expressed forgiveness of his indiscretion,
nodded and said: "I hope to see you again, but I also hope you will
change your opinions, my dear Monsieur Pierre."
When she said this, he did not reply and only bowed, but again everybody
saw his smile, which said nothing, unless perhaps, "Opinions are
opinions, but you see what a capital, good-natured fellow I am." And
everyone, including Anna Pavlovna, felt this.
Prince Andrew had gone out into the hall, and, turning his shoulders to
the footman who was helping him on with his cloak, listened
indifferently to his wife's chatter with Prince Hippolyte who had also
come into the hall. Prince Hippolyte stood close to the pretty, pregnant
princess, and stared fixedly at her through his eyeglass.
"Go in, Annette, or you will catch cold," said the little princess,
taking leave of Anna Pavlovna. "It is settled," she added in a low
Anna Pavlovna had already managed to speak to Lise about the match she
contemplated between Anatole and the little princess' sister-in-law.
"I rely on you, my dear," said Anna Pavlovna, also in a low tone. "Write
to her and let me know how her father looks at the matter. Au revoir!"--
and she left the hall.
Prince Hippolyte approached the little princess and, bending his face
close to her, began to whisper something.
Two footmen, the princess' and his own, stood holding a shawl and a
cloak, waiting for the conversation to finish. They listened to the
French sentences which to them were meaningless, with an air of
understanding but not wishing to appear to do so. The princess as usual
spoke smilingly and listened with a laugh.
"I am very glad I did not go to the ambassador's," said Prince Hippolyte
"-so dull-. It has been a delightful evening, has it not? Delightful!"
"They say the ball will be very good," replied the princess, drawing up
her downy little lip. "All the pretty women in society will be there."
"Not all, for you will not be there; not all," said Prince Hippolyte
smiling joyfully; and snatching the shawl from the footman, whom he even
pushed aside, he began wrapping it round the princess. Either from
awkwardness or intentionally (no one could have said which) after the
shawl had been adjusted he kept his arm around her for a long time, as
though embracing her.
Still smiling, she gracefully moved away, turning and glancing at her
husband. Prince Andrew's eyes were closed, so weary and sleepy did he
"Are you ready?" he asked his wife, looking past her.
Prince Hippolyte hurriedly put on his cloak, which in the latest fashion
reached to his very heels, and, stumbling in it, ran out into the porch
following the princess, whom a footman was helping into the carriage.
"Princesse, au revoir," cried he, stumbling with his tongue as well as
with his feet.
The princess, picking up her dress, was taking her seat in the dark
carriage, her husband was adjusting his saber; Prince Hippolyte, under
pretense of helping, was in everyone's way.
"Allow me, sir," said Prince Andrew in Russian in a cold, disagreeable
tone to Prince Hippolyte who was blocking his path.
"I am expecting you, Pierre," said the same voice, but gently and
The postilion started, the carriage wheels rattled. Prince Hippolyte
laughed spasmodically as he stood in the porch waiting for the vicomte
whom he had promised to take home.
"Well, mon cher," said the vicomte, having seated himself beside
Hippolyte in the carriage, "your little princess is very nice, very nice
indeed, quite French," and he kissed the tips of his fingers. Hippolyte
burst out laughing.
"Do you know, you are a terrible chap for all your innocent airs,"
continued the vicomte. "I pity the poor husband, that little officer who
gives himself the airs of a monarch."
Hippolyte spluttered again, and amid his laughter said, "And you were
saying that the Russian ladies are not equal to the French? One has to
know how to deal with them."
Pierre reaching the house first went into Prince Andrew's study like one
quite at home, and from habit immediately lay down on the sofa, took
from the shelf the first book that came to his hand (it was Caesar's
Commentaries), and resting on his elbow, began reading it in the middle.
"What have you done to Mlle Scherer? She will be quite ill now," said
Prince Andrew, as he entered the study, rubbing his small white hands.
Pierre turned his whole body, making the sofa creak. He lifted his eager
face to Prince Andrew, smiled, and waved his hand.
"That abbe is very interesting but he does not see the thing in the
right light.... In my opinion perpetual peace is possible but--I do not
know how to express it... not by a balance of political power...."
It was evident that Prince Andrew was not interested in such abstract
"One can't everywhere say all one thinks, mon cher. Well, have you at
last decided on anything? Are you going to be a guardsman or a
diplomatist?" asked Prince Andrew after a momentary silence.
Pierre sat up on the sofa, with his legs tucked under him.
"Really, I don't yet know. I don't like either the one or the other."
"But you must decide on something! Your father expects it."
Pierre at the age of ten had been sent abroad with an abbe as tutor, and
had remained away till he was twenty. When he returned to Moscow his
father dismissed the abbe and said to the young man, "Now go to
Petersburg, look round, and choose your profession. I will agree to
anything. Here is a letter to Prince Vasili, and here is money. Write to
me all about it, and I will help you in everything." Pierre had already
been choosing a career for three months, and had not decided on
anything. It was about this choice that Prince Andrew was speaking.
Pierre rubbed his forehead.
"But he must be a Freemason," said he, referring to the abbe whom he had
met that evening.
"That is all nonsense." Prince Andrew again interrupted him, "let us
talk business. Have you been to the Horse Guards?"
"No, I have not; but this is what I have been thinking and wanted to
tell you. There is a war now against Napoleon. If it were a war for
freedom I could understand it and should be the first to enter the army;
but to help England and Austria against the greatest man in the world is
not right."
Prince Andrew only shrugged his shoulders at Pierre's childish words. He
put on the air of one who finds it impossible to reply to such nonsense,
but it would in fact have been difficult to give any other answer than
the one Prince Andrew gave to this naive question.
"If no one fought except on his own conviction, there would be no wars,"
he said.
"And that would be splendid," said Pierre.
Prince Andrew smiled ironically.
"Very likely it would be splendid, but it will never come about..."
"Well, why are you going to the war?" asked Pierre.
"What for? I don't know. I must. Besides that I am going..." He paused.
"I am going because the life I am leading here does not suit me!"
The rustle of a woman's dress was heard in the next room. Prince Andrew
shook himself as if waking up, and his face assumed the look it had had
in Anna Pavlovna's drawing room. Pierre removed his feet from the sofa.
The princess came in. She had changed her gown for a house dress as
fresh and elegant as the other. Prince Andrew rose and politely placed a
chair for her.
"How is it," she began, as usual in French, settling down briskly and
fussily in the easy chair, "how is it Annette never got married? How
stupid you men all are not to have married her! Excuse me for saying so,
but you have no sense about women. What an argumentative fellow you are,
Monsieur Pierre!"
"And I am still arguing with your husband. I can't understand why he
wants to go to the war," replied Pierre, addressing the princess with
none of the embarrassment so commonly shown by young men in their
intercourse with young women.
The princess started. Evidently Pierre's words touched her to the quick.
"Ah, that is just what I tell him!" said she. "I don't understand it; I
don't in the least understand why men can't live without wars. How is it
that we women don't want anything of the kind, don't need it? Now you
shall judge between us. I always tell him: Here he is Uncle's aide-de-
camp, a most brilliant position. He is so well known, so much
appreciated by everyone. The other day at the Apraksins' I heard a lady
asking, 'Is that the famous Prince Andrew?' I did indeed." She laughed.
"He is so well received everywhere. He might easily become aide-de-camp
to the Emperor. You know the Emperor spoke to him most graciously.
Annette and I were speaking of how to arrange it. What do you think?"
Pierre looked at his friend and, noticing that he did not like the
conversation, gave no reply.
"When are you starting?" he asked.
"Oh, don't speak of his going, don't! I won't hear it spoken of," said
the princess in the same petulantly playful tone in which she had spoken
to Hippolyte in the drawing room and which was so plainly ill-suited to
the family circle of which Pierre was almost a member. "Today when I
remembered that all these delightful associations must be broken off...
and then you know, Andre..." (she looked significantly at her husband)
"I'm afraid, I'm afraid!" she whispered, and a shudder ran down her
Her husband looked at her as if surprised to notice that someone besides
Pierre and himself was in the room, and addressed her in a tone of
frigid politeness.
"What is it you are afraid of, Lise? I don't understand," said he.
"There, what egotists men all are: all, all egotists! Just for a whim of
his own, goodness only knows why, he leaves me and locks me up alone in
the country."
"With my father and sister, remember," said Prince Andrew gently.
"Alone all the same, without my friends.... And he expects me not to be
Her tone was now querulous and her lip drawn up, giving her not a
joyful, but an animal, squirrel-like expression. She paused as if she
felt it indecorous to speak of her pregnancy before Pierre, though the
gist of the matter lay in that.
"I still can't understand what you are afraid of," said Prince Andrew
slowly, not taking his eyes off his wife.
The princess blushed, and raised her arms with a gesture of despair.
"No, Andrew, I must say you have changed. Oh, how you have..."
"Your doctor tells you to go to bed earlier," said Prince Andrew. "You
had better go."
The princess said nothing, but suddenly her short downy lip quivered.
Prince Andrew rose, shrugged his shoulders, and walked about the room.
Pierre looked over his spectacles with naive surprise, now at him and
now at her, moved as if about to rise too, but changed his mind.
"Why should I mind Monsieur Pierre being here?" exclaimed the little
princess suddenly, her pretty face all at once distorted by a tearful
grimace. "I have long wanted to ask you, Andrew, why you have changed so
to me? What have I done to you? You are going to the war and have no
pity for me. Why is it?"
"Lise!" was all Prince Andrew said. But that one word expressed an
entreaty, a threat, and above all conviction that she would herself
regret her words. But she went on hurriedly:
"You treat me like an invalid or a child. I see it all! Did you behave
like that six months ago?"
"Lise, I beg you to desist," said Prince Andrew still more emphatically.
Pierre, who had been growing more and more agitated as he listened to
all this, rose and approached the princess. He seemed unable to bear the
sight of tears and was ready to cry himself.
"Calm yourself, Princess! It seems so to you because... I assure you I
myself have experienced... and so... because... No, excuse me! An
outsider is out of place here... No, don't distress yourself... Good-
Prince Andrew caught him by the hand.
"No, wait, Pierre! The princess is too kind to wish to deprive me of the
pleasure of spending the evening with you."
"No, he thinks only of himself," muttered the princess without
restraining her angry tears.
"Lise!" said Prince Andrew dryly, raising his voice to the pitch which
indicates that patience is exhausted.
Suddenly the angry, squirrel-like expression of the princess' pretty
face changed into a winning and piteous look of fear. Her beautiful eyes
glanced askance at her husband's face, and her own assumed the timid,
deprecating expression of a dog when it rapidly but feebly wags its
drooping tail.
"Mon Dieu, mon Dieu!" she muttered, and lifting her dress with one hand
she went up to her husband and kissed him on the forehead.
"Good night, Lise," said he, rising and courteously kissing her hand as
he would have done to a stranger.
The friends were silent. Neither cared to begin talking. Pierre
continually glanced at Prince Andrew; Prince Andrew rubbed his forehead
with his small hand.
"Let us go and have supper," he said with a sigh, going to the door.
They entered the elegant, newly decorated, and luxurious dining room.
Everything from the table napkins to the silver, china, and glass bore
that imprint of newness found in the households of the newly married.
Halfway through supper Prince Andrew leaned his elbows on the table and,
with a look of nervous agitation such as Pierre had never before seen on
his face, began to talk--as one who has long had something on his mind
and suddenly determines to speak out.
"Never, never marry, my dear fellow! That's my advice: never marry till
you can say to yourself that you have done all you are capable of, and
until you have ceased to love the woman of your choice and have seen her
plainly as she is, or else you will make a cruel and irrevocable
mistake. Marry when you are old and good for nothing--or all that is
good and noble in you will be lost. It will all be wasted on trifles.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Don't look at me with such surprise. If you marry
expecting anything from yourself in the future, you will feel at every
step that for you all is ended, all is closed except the drawing room,
where you will be ranged side by side with a court lackey and an
idiot!... But what's the good?..." and he waved his arm.
Pierre took off his spectacles, which made his face seem different and
the good-natured expression still more apparent, and gazed at his friend
in amazement.
"My wife," continued Prince Andrew, "is an excellent woman, one of those
rare women with whom a man's honor is safe; but, O God, what would I not
give now to be unmarried! You are the first and only one to whom I
mention this, because I like you."
As he said this Prince Andrew was less than ever like that Bolkonski who
had lolled in Anna Pavlovna's easy chairs and with half-closed eyes had
uttered French phrases between his teeth. Every muscle of his thin face
was now quivering with nervous excitement; his eyes, in which the fire
of life had seemed extinguished, now flashed with brilliant light. It
was evident that the more lifeless he seemed at ordinary times, the more
impassioned he became in these moments of almost morbid irritation.
"You don't understand why I say this," he continued, "but it is the
whole story of life. You talk of Bonaparte and his career," said he
(though Pierre had not mentioned Bonaparte), "but Bonaparte when he
worked went step by step toward his goal. He was free, he had nothing
but his aim to consider, and he reached it. But tie yourself up with a
woman and, like a chained convict, you lose all freedom! And all you
have of hope and strength merely weighs you down and torments you with
regret. Drawing rooms, gossip, balls, vanity, and triviality--these are
the enchanted circle I cannot escape from. I am now going to the war,
the greatest war there ever was, and I know nothing and am fit for
nothing. I am very amiable and have a caustic wit," continued Prince
Andrew, "and at Anna Pavlovna's they listen to me. And that stupid set
without whom my wife cannot exist, and those women... If you only knew
what those society women are, and women in general! My father is right.
Selfish, vain, stupid, trivial in everything--that's what women are when
you see them in their true colors! When you meet them in society it
seems as if there were something in them, but there's nothing, nothing,
nothing! No, don't marry, my dear fellow; don't marry!" concluded Prince
"It seems funny to me," said Pierre, "that you, you should consider
yourself incapable and your life a spoiled life. You have everything
before you, everything. And you..."
He did not finish his sentence, but his tone showed how highly he
thought of his friend and how much he expected of him in the future.
"How can he talk like that?" thought Pierre. He considered his friend a
model of perfection because Prince Andrew possessed in the highest
degree just the very qualities Pierre lacked, and which might be best
described as strength of will. Pierre was always astonished at Prince
Andrew's calm manner of treating everybody, his extraordinary memory,
his extensive reading (he had read everything, knew everything, and had
an opinion about everything), but above all at his capacity for work and
study. And if Pierre was often struck by Andrew's lack of capacity for
philosophical meditation (to which he himself was particularly
addicted), he regarded even this not as a defect but as a sign of
Even in the best, most friendly and simplest relations of life, praise
and commendation are essential, just as grease is necessary to wheels
that they may run smoothly.
"My part is played out," said Prince Andrew. "What's the use of talking
about me? Let us talk about you," he added after a silence, smiling at
his reassuring thoughts.
That smile was immediately reflected on Pierre's face.
"But what is there to say about me?" said Pierre, his face relaxing into
a careless, merry smile. "What am I? An illegitimate son!" He suddenly
blushed crimson, and it was plain that he had made a great effort to say
this. "Without a name and without means... And it really..." But he did
not say what "it really" was. "For the present I am free and am all
right. Only I haven't the least idea what I am to do; I wanted to
consult you seriously."
Prince Andrew looked kindly at him, yet his glance--friendly and
affectionate as it was--expressed a sense of his own superiority.
"I am fond of you, especially as you are the one live man among our
whole set. Yes, you're all right! Choose what you will; it's all the
same. You'll be all right anywhere. But look here: give up visiting
those Kuragins and leading that sort of life. It suits you so badly--all
this debauchery, dissipation, and the rest of it!"
"What would you have, my dear fellow?" answered Pierre, shrugging his
shoulders. "Women, my dear fellow; women!"
"I don't understand it," replied Prince Andrew. "Women who are comme il
faut, that's a different matter; but the Kuragins' set of women, 'women
and wine' I don't understand!"
Pierre was staying at Prince Vasili Kuragin's and sharing the dissipated
life of his son Anatole, the son whom they were planning to reform by
marrying him to Prince Andrew's sister.
"Do you know?" said Pierre, as if suddenly struck by a happy thought,
"seriously, I have long been thinking of it.... Leading such a life I
can't decide or think properly about anything. One's head aches, and one
spends all one's money. He asked me for tonight, but I won't go."
"You give me your word of honor not to go?"
"On my honor!"
It was past one o'clock when Pierre left his friend. It was a cloudless,
northern, summer night. Pierre took an open cab intending to drive
straight home. But the nearer he drew to the house the more he felt the
impossibility of going to sleep on such a night. It was light enough to
see a long way in the deserted street and it seemed more like morning or
evening than night. On the way Pierre remembered that Anatole Kuragin
was expecting the usual set for cards that evening, after which there
was generally a drinking bout, finishing with visits of a kind Pierre
was very fond of.
"I should like to go to Kuragin's," thought he.
But he immediately recalled his promise to Prince Andrew not to go
there. Then, as happens to people of weak character, he desired so
passionately once more to enjoy that dissipation he was so accustomed to
that he decided to go. The thought immediately occurred to him that his
promise to Prince Andrew was of no account, because before he gave it he
had already promised Prince Anatole to come to his gathering; "besides,"
thought he, "all such 'words of honor' are conventional things with no
definite meaning, especially if one considers that by tomorrow one may
be dead, or something so extraordinary may happen to one that honor and
dishonor will be all the same!" Pierre often indulged in reflections of
this sort, nullifying all his decisions and intentions. He went to
Reaching the large house near the Horse Guards' barracks, in which
Anatole lived, Pierre entered the lighted porch, ascended the stairs,
and went in at the open door. There was no one in the anteroom; empty
bottles, cloaks, and overshoes were lying about; there was a smell of
alcohol, and sounds of voices and shouting in the distance.
Cards and supper were over, but the visitors had not yet dispersed.
Pierre threw off his cloak and entered the first room, in which were the
remains of supper. A footman, thinking no one saw him, was drinking on
the sly what was left in the glasses. From the third room came sounds of
laughter, the shouting of familiar voices, the growling of a bear, and
general commotion. Some eight or nine young men were crowding anxiously
round an open window. Three others were romping with a young bear, one
pulling him by the chain and trying to set him at the others.
"I bet a hundred on Stevens!" shouted one.
"Mind, no holding on!" cried another.
"I bet on Dolokhov!" cried a third. "Kuragin, you part our hands."
"There, leave Bruin alone; here's a bet on."
"At one draught, or he loses!" shouted a fourth.
"Jacob, bring a bottle!" shouted the host, a tall, handsome fellow who
stood in the midst of the group, without a coat, and with his fine linen
shirt unfastened in front. "Wait a bit, you fellows.... Here is Petya!
Good man!" cried he, addressing Pierre.
Another voice, from a man of medium height with clear blue eyes,
particularly striking among all these drunken voices by its sober ring,
cried from the window: "Come here; part the bets!" This was Dolokhov, an
officer of the Semenov regiment, a notorious gambler and duelist, who
was living with Anatole. Pierre smiled, looking about him merrily.
"I don't understand. What's it all about?"
"Wait a bit, he is not drunk yet! A bottle here," said Anatole, taking a
glass from the table he went up to Pierre.
"First of all you must drink!"
Pierre drank one glass after another, looking from under his brows at
the tipsy guests who were again crowding round the window, and listening
to their chatter. Anatole kept on refilling Pierre's glass while
explaining that Dolokhov was betting with Stevens, an English naval
officer, that he would drink a bottle of rum sitting on the outer ledge
of the third floor window with his legs hanging out.
"Go on, you must drink it all," said Anatole, giving Pierre the last
glass, "or I won't let you go!"
"No, I won't," said Pierre, pushing Anatole aside, and he went up to the
Dolokhov was holding the Englishman's hand and clearly and distinctly
repeating the terms of the bet, addressing himself particularly to
Anatole and Pierre.
Dolokhov was of medium height, with curly hair and light-blue eyes. He
was about twenty-five. Like all infantry officers he wore no mustache,
so that his mouth, the most striking feature of his face, was clearly
seen. The lines of that mouth were remarkably finely curved. The middle
of the upper lip formed a sharp wedge and closed firmly on the firm
lower one, and something like two distinct smiles played continually
round the two corners of the mouth; this, together with the resolute,
insolent intelligence of his eyes, produced an effect which made it
impossible not to notice his face. Dolokhov was a man of small means and
no connections. Yet, though Anatole spent tens of thousands of rubles,
Dolokhov lived with him and had placed himself on such a footing that
all who knew them, including Anatole himself, respected him more than
they did Anatole. Dolokhov could play all games and nearly always won.
However much he drank, he never lost his clearheadedness. Both Kuragin
and Dolokhov were at that time notorious among the rakes and scapegraces
of Petersburg.
The bottle of rum was brought. The window frame which prevented anyone
from sitting on the outer sill was being forced out by two footmen, who
were evidently flurried and intimidated by the directions and shouts of
the gentlemen around.
Anatole with his swaggering air strode up to the window. He wanted to
smash something. Pushing away the footmen he tugged at the frame, but
could not move it. He smashed a pane.
"You have a try, Hercules," said he, turning to Pierre.
Pierre seized the crossbeam, tugged, and wrenched the oak frame out with
a crash.
"Take it right out, or they'll think I'm holding on," said Dolokhov.
"Is the Englishman bragging?... Eh? Is it all right?" said Anatole.
"First-rate," said Pierre, looking at Dolokhov, who with a bottle of rum
in his hand was approaching the window, from which the light of the sky,
the dawn merging with the afterglow of sunset, was visible.
Dolokhov, the bottle of rum still in his hand, jumped onto the window
sill. "Listen!" cried he, standing there and addressing those in the
room. All were silent.
"I bet fifty imperials"--he spoke French that the Englishman might
understand him, but he did not speak it very well--"I bet fifty
imperials... or do you wish to make it a hundred?" added he, addressing
the Englishman.
"No, fifty," replied the latter.
"All right. Fifty imperials... that I will drink a whole bottle of rum
without taking it from my mouth, sitting outside the window on this
spot" (he stooped and pointed to the sloping ledge outside the window)
"and without holding on to anything. Is that right?"
"Quite right," said the Englishman.
Anatole turned to the Englishman and taking him by one of the buttons of
his coat and looking down at him--the Englishman was short--began
repeating the terms of the wager to him in English.
"Wait!" cried Dolokhov, hammering with the bottle on the window sill to
attract attention. "Wait a bit, Kuragin. Listen! If anyone else does the
same, I will pay him a hundred imperials. Do you understand?"
The Englishman nodded, but gave no indication whether he intended to
accept this challenge or not. Anatole did not release him, and though he
kept nodding to show that he understood, Anatole went on translating
Dolokhov's words into English. A thin young lad, an hussar of the Life
Guards, who had been losing that evening, climbed on the window sill,
leaned over, and looked down.
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" he muttered, looking down from the window at the stones of
the pavement.
"Shut up!" cried Dolokhov, pushing him away from the window. The lad
jumped awkwardly back into the room, tripping over his spurs.
Placing the bottle on the window sill where he could reach it easily,
Dolokhov climbed carefully and slowly through the window and lowered his
legs. Pressing against both sides of the window, he adjusted himself on
his seat, lowered his hands, moved a little to the right and then to the
left, and took up the bottle. Anatole brought two candles and placed
them on the window sill, though it was already quite light. Dolokhov's
back in his white shirt, and his curly head, were lit up from both
sides. Everyone crowded to the window, the Englishman in front. Pierre
stood smiling but silent. One man, older than the others present,
suddenly pushed forward with a scared and angry look and wanted to seize
hold of Dolokhov's shirt.
"I say, this is folly! He'll be killed," said this more sensible man.
Anatole stopped him.
"Don't touch him! You'll startle him and then he'll be killed. Eh?...
What then?... Eh?"
Dolokhov turned round and, again holding on with both hands, arranged
himself on his seat.
"If anyone comes meddling again," said he, emitting the words separately
through his thin compressed lips, "I will throw him down there. Now
Saying this he again turned round, dropped his hands, took the bottle
and lifted it to his lips, threw back his head, and raised his free hand
to balance himself. One of the footmen who had stooped to pick up some
broken glass remained in that position without taking his eyes from the
window and from Dolokhov's back. Anatole stood erect with staring eyes.
The Englishman looked on sideways, pursing up his lips. The man who had
wished to stop the affair ran to a corner of the room and threw himself
on a sofa with his face to the wall. Pierre hid his face, from which a
faint smile forgot to fade though his features now expressed horror and
fear. All were still. Pierre took his hands from his eyes. Dolokhov
still sat in the same position, only his head was thrown further back
till his curly hair touched his shirt collar, and the hand holding the
bottle was lifted higher and higher and trembled with the effort. The
bottle was emptying perceptibly and rising still higher and his head
tilting yet further back. "Why is it so long?" thought Pierre. It seemed
to him that more than half an hour had elapsed. Suddenly Dolokhov made a
backward movement with his spine, and his arm trembled nervously; this
was sufficient to cause his whole body to slip as he sat on the sloping
ledge. As he began slipping down, his head and arm wavered still more
with the strain. One hand moved as if to clutch the window sill, but
refrained from touching it. Pierre again covered his eyes and thought he
would never open them again. Suddenly he was aware of a stir all around.
He looked up: Dolokhov was standing on the window sill, with a pale but
radiant face.
"It's empty."
He threw the bottle to the Englishman, who caught it neatly. Dolokhov
jumped down. He smelt strongly of rum.
"Well done!... Fine fellow!... There's a bet for you!... Devil take
you!" came from different sides.
The Englishman took out his purse and began counting out the money.
Dolokhov stood frowning and did not speak. Pierre jumped upon the window
"Gentlemen, who wishes to bet with me? I'll do the same thing!" he
suddenly cried. "Even without a bet, there! Tell them to bring me a
bottle. I'll do it.... Bring a bottle!"
"Let him do it, let him do it," said Dolokhov, smiling.
"What next? Have you gone mad?... No one would let you!... Why, you go
giddy even on a staircase," exclaimed several voices.
"I'll drink it! Let's have a bottle of rum!" shouted Pierre, banging the
table with a determined and drunken gesture and preparing to climb out
of the window.
They seized him by his arms; but he was so strong that everyone who
touched him was sent flying.
"No, you'll never manage him that way," said Anatole. "Wait a bit and
I'll get round him.... Listen! I'll take your bet tomorrow, but now we
are all going to ----'s."
"Come on then," cried Pierre. "Come on!... And we'll take Bruin with
And he caught the bear, took it in his arms, lifted it from the ground,
and began dancing round the room with it.
Prince Vasili kept the promise he had given to Princess Drubetskaya who
had spoken to him on behalf of her only son Boris on the evening of Anna
Pavlovna's soiree. The matter was mentioned to the Emperor, an exception
made, and Boris transferred into the regiment of Semenov Guards with the
rank of cornet. He received, however, no appointment to Kutuzov's staff
despite all Anna Mikhaylovna's endeavors and entreaties. Soon after Anna
Pavlovna's reception Anna Mikhaylovna returned to Moscow and went
straight to her rich relations, the Rostovs, with whom she stayed when
in the town and where her darling Bory, who had only just entered a
regiment of the line and was being at once transferred to the Guards as
a cornet, had been educated from childhood and lived for years at a
time. The Guards had already left Petersburg on the tenth of August, and
her son, who had remained in Moscow for his equipment, was to join them
on the march to Radzivilov.
It was St. Natalia's day and the name day of two of the Rostovs--the
mother and the youngest daughter--both named Nataly. Ever since the
morning, carriages with six horses had been coming and going
continually, bringing visitors to the Countess Rostova's big house on
the Povarskaya, so well known to all Moscow. The countess herself and
her handsome eldest daughter were in the drawing-room with the visitors
who came to congratulate, and who constantly succeeded one another in
The countess was a woman of about forty-five, with a thin Oriental type
of face, evidently worn out with childbearing--she had had twelve. A
languor of motion and speech, resulting from weakness, gave her a
distinguished air which inspired respect. Princess Anna Mikhaylovna
Drubetskaya, who as a member of the household was also seated in the
drawing room, helped to receive and entertain the visitors. The young
people were in one of the inner rooms, not considering it necessary to
take part in receiving the visitors. The count met the guests and saw
them off, inviting them all to dinner.
"I am very, very grateful to you, mon cher," or "ma chere"--he called
everyone without exception and without the slightest variation in his
tone, "my dear," whether they were above or below him in rank--"I thank
you for myself and for our two dear ones whose name day we are keeping.
But mind you come to dinner or I shall be offended, ma chere! On behalf
of the whole family I beg you to come, mon cher!" These words he
repeated to everyone without exception or variation, and with the same
expression on his full, cheerful, clean-shaven face, the same firm
pressure of the hand and the same quick, repeated bows. As soon as he
had seen a visitor off he returned to one of those who were still in the
drawing room, drew a chair toward him or her, and jauntily spreading out
his legs and putting his hands on his knees with the air of a man who
enjoys life and knows how to live, he swayed to and fro with dignity,
offered surmises about the weather, or touched on questions of health,
sometimes in Russian and sometimes in very bad but self-confident
French; then again, like a man weary but unflinching in the fulfillment
of duty, he rose to see some visitors off and, stroking his scanty gray
hairs over his bald patch, also asked them to dinner. Sometimes on his
way back from the anteroom he would pass through the conservatory and
pantry into the large marble dining hall, where tables were being set
out for eighty people; and looking at the footmen, who were bringing in
silver and china, moving tables, and unfolding damask table linen, he
would call Dmitri Vasilevich, a man of good family and the manager of
all his affairs, and while looking with pleasure at the enormous table
would say: "Well, Dmitri, you'll see that things are all as they should
be? That's right! The great thing is the serving, that's it." And with a
complacent sigh he would return to the drawing room.
"Marya Lvovna Karagina and her daughter!" announced the countess'
gigantic footman in his bass voice, entering the drawing room. The
countess reflected a moment and took a pinch from a gold snuffbox with
her husband's portrait on it.
"I'm quite worn out by these callers. However, I'll see her and no more.
She is so affected. Ask her in," she said to the footman in a sad voice,
as if saying: "Very well, finish me off."
A tall, stout, and proud-looking woman, with a round-faced smiling
daughter, entered the drawing room, their dresses rustling.
"Dear Countess, what an age... She has been laid up, poor child... at
the Razumovski's ball... and Countess Apraksina... I was so
delighted..." came the sounds of animated feminine voices, interrupting
one another and mingling with the rustling of dresses and the scraping
of chairs. Then one of those conversations began which last out until,
at the first pause, the guests rise with a rustle of dresses and say, "I
am so delighted... Mamma's health... and Countess Apraksina..." and
then, again rustling, pass into the anteroom, put on cloaks or mantles,
and drive away. The conversation was on the chief topic of the day: the
illness of the wealthy and celebrated beau of Catherine's day, Count
Bezukhov, and about his illegitimate son Pierre, the one who had behaved
so improperly at Anna Pavlovna's reception.
"I am so sorry for the poor count," said the visitor. "He is in such bad
health, and now this vexation about his son is enough to kill him!"
"What is that?" asked the countess as if she did not know what the
visitor alluded to, though she had already heard about the cause of
Count Bezukhov's distress some fifteen times.
"That's what comes of a modern education," exclaimed the visitor. "It
seems that while he was abroad this young man was allowed to do as he
liked, now in Petersburg I hear he has been doing such terrible things
that he has been expelled by the police."
"You don't say so!" replied the countess.
"He chose his friends badly," interposed Anna Mikhaylovna. "Prince
Vasili's son, he, and a certain Dolokhov have, it is said, been up to
heaven only knows what! And they have had to suffer for it. Dolokhov has
been degraded to the ranks and Bezukhov's son sent back to Moscow.
Anatole Kuragin's father managed somehow to get his son's affair hushed
up, but even he was ordered out of Petersburg."
"But what have they been up to?" asked the countess.
"They are regular brigands, especially Dolokhov," replied the visitor.
"He is a son of Marya Ivanovna Dolokhova, such a worthy woman, but
there, just fancy! Those three got hold of a bear somewhere, put it in a
carriage, and set off with it to visit some actresses! The police tried
to interfere, and what did the young men do? They tied a policeman and
the bear back to back and put the bear into the Moyka Canal. And there
was the bear swimming about with the policeman on his back!"
"What a nice figure the policeman must have cut, my dear!" shouted the
count, dying with laughter.
"Oh, how dreadful! How can you laugh at it, Count?"
Yet the ladies themselves could not help laughing.
"It was all they could do to rescue the poor man," continued the
visitor. "And to think it is Cyril Vladimirovich Bezukhov's son who
amuses himself in this sensible manner! And he was said to be so well
educated and clever. This is all that his foreign education has done for
him! I hope that here in Moscow no one will receive him, in spite of his
money. They wanted to introduce him to me, but I quite declined: I have
my daughters to consider."
"Why do you say this young man is so rich?" asked the countess, turning
away from the girls, who at once assumed an air of inattention. "His
children are all illegitimate. I think Pierre also is illegitimate."
The visitor made a gesture with her hand.
"I should think he has a score of them."
Princess Anna Mikhaylovna intervened in the conversation, evidently
wishing to show her connections and knowledge of what went on in
"The fact of the matter is," said she significantly, and also in a half
whisper, "everyone knows Count Cyril's reputation.... He has lost count
of his children, but this Pierre was his favorite."
"How handsome the old man still was only a year ago!" remarked the
countess. "I have never seen a handsomer man."
"He is very much altered now," said Anna Mikhaylovna. "Well, as I was
saying, Prince Vasili is the next heir through his wife, but the count
is very fond of Pierre, looked after his education, and wrote to the
Emperor about him; so that in the case of his death--and he is so ill
that he may die at any moment, and Dr. Lorrain has come from Petersburg-
-no one knows who will inherit his immense fortune, Pierre or Prince
Vasili. Forty thousand serfs and millions of rubles! I know it all very
well for Prince Vasili told me himself. Besides, Cyril Vladimirovich is
my mother's second cousin. He's also my Bory's godfather," she added, as
if she attached no importance at all to the fact.
"Prince Vasili arrived in Moscow yesterday. I hear he has come on some
inspection business," remarked the visitor.
"Yes, but between ourselves," said the princess, "that is a pretext. The
fact is he has come to see Count Cyril Vladimirovich, hearing how ill he
"But do you know, my dear, that was a capital joke," said the count; and
seeing that the elder visitor was not listening, he turned to the young
ladies. "I can just imagine what a funny figure that policeman cut!"
And as he waved his arms to impersonate the policeman, his portly form
again shook with a deep ringing laugh, the laugh of one who always eats
well and, in particular, drinks well. "So do come and dine with us!" he
Silence ensued. The countess looked at her callers, smiling affably, but
not concealing the fact that she would not be distressed if they now
rose and took their leave. The visitor's daughter was already smoothing
down her dress with an inquiring look at her mother, when suddenly from
the next room were heard the footsteps of boys and girls running to the
door and the noise of a chair falling over, and a girl of thirteen,
hiding something in the folds of her short muslin frock, darted in and
stopped short in the middle of the room. It was evident that she had not
intended her flight to bring her so far. Behind her in the doorway
appeared a student with a crimson coat collar, an officer of the Guards,
a girl of fifteen, and a plump rosy-faced boy in a short jacket.
The count jumped up and, swaying from side to side, spread his arms wide
and threw them round the little girl who had run in.
"Ah, here she is!" he exclaimed laughing. "My pet, whose name day it is.
My dear pet!"
"Ma chere, there is a time for everything," said the countess with
feigned severity. "You spoil her, Ilya," she added, turning to her
"How do you do, my dear? I wish you many happy returns of your name
day," said the visitor. "What a charming child," she added, addressing
the mother.
This black-eyed, wide-mouthed girl, not pretty but full of life--with
childish bare shoulders which after her run heaved and shook her bodice,
with black curls tossed backward, thin bare arms, little legs in lace-
frilled drawers, and feet in low slippers--was just at that charming age
when a girl is no longer a child, though the child is not yet a young
woman. Escaping from her father she ran to hide her flushed face in the
lace of her mother's mantilla--not paying the least attention to her
severe remark--and began to laugh. She laughed, and in fragmentary
sentences tried to explain about a doll which she produced from the
folds of her frock.
"Do you see?... My doll... Mimi... You see..." was all Natasha managed
to utter (to her everything seemed funny). She leaned against her mother
and burst into such a loud, ringing fit of laughter that even the prim
visitor could not help joining in.
"Now then, go away and take your monstrosity with you," said the mother,
pushing away her daughter with pretended sternness, and turning to the
visitor she added: "She is my youngest girl."
Natasha, raising her face for a moment from her mother's mantilla,
glanced up at her through tears of laughter, and again hid her face.
The visitor, compelled to look on at this family scene, thought it
necessary to take some part in it.
"Tell me, my dear," said she to Natasha, "is Mimi a relation of yours? A
daughter, I suppose?"
Natasha did not like the visitor's tone of condescension to childish
things. She did not reply, but looked at her seriously.
Meanwhile the younger generation: Boris, the officer, Anna Mikhaylovna's
son; Nicholas, the undergraduate, the count's eldest son; Sonya, the
count's fifteen-year-old niece, and little Petya, his youngest boy, had
all settled down in the drawing room and were obviously trying to
restrain within the bounds of decorum the excitement and mirth that
shone in all their faces. Evidently in the back rooms, from which they
had dashed out so impetuously, the conversation had been more amusing
than the drawing-room talk of society scandals, the weather, and
Countess Apraksina. Now and then they glanced at one another, hardly
able to suppress their laughter.
The two young men, the student and the officer, friends from childhood,
were of the same age and both handsome fellows, though not alike. Boris
was tall and fair, and his calm and handsome face had regular, delicate
features. Nicholas was short with curly hair and an open expression.
Dark hairs were already showing on his upper lip, and his whole face
expressed impetuosity and enthusiasm. Nicholas blushed when he entered
the drawing room. He evidently tried to find something to say, but
failed. Boris on the contrary at once found his footing, and related
quietly and humorously how he had known that doll Mimi when she was
still quite a young lady, before her nose was broken; how she had aged
during the five years he had known her, and how her head had cracked
right across the skull. Having said this he glanced at Natasha. She
turned away from him and glanced at her younger brother, who was
screwing up his eyes and shaking with suppressed laughter, and unable to
control herself any longer, she jumped up and rushed from the room as
fast as her nimble little feet would carry her. Boris did not laugh.
"You were meaning to go out, weren't you, Mamma? Do you want the
carriage?" he asked his mother with a smile.
"Yes, yes, go and tell them to get it ready," she answered, returning
his smile.
Boris quietly left the room and went in search of Natasha. The plump boy
ran after them angrily, as if vexed that their program had been
The only young people remaining in the drawing room, not counting the
young lady visitor and the countess' eldest daughter (who was four years
older than her sister and behaved already like a grown-up person), were
Nicholas and Sonya, the niece. Sonya was a slender little brunette with
a tender look in her eyes which were veiled by long lashes, thick black
plaits coiling twice round her head, and a tawny tint in her complexion
and especially in the color of her slender but graceful and muscular
arms and neck. By the grace of her movements, by the softness and
flexibility of her small limbs, and by a certain coyness and reserve of
manner, she reminded one of a pretty, half-grown kitten which promises
to become a beautiful little cat. She evidently considered it proper to
show an interest in the general conversation by smiling, but in spite of
herself her eyes under their thick long lashes watched her cousin who
was going to join the army, with such passionate girlish adoration that
her smile could not for a single instant impose upon anyone, and it was
clear that the kitten had settled down only to spring up with more
energy and again play with her cousin as soon as they too could, like
Natasha and Boris, escape from the drawing room.
"Ah yes, my dear," said the count, addressing the visitor and pointing
to Nicholas, "his friend Boris has become an officer, and so for
friendship's sake he is leaving the university and me, his old father,
and entering the military service, my dear. And there was a place and
everything waiting for him in the Archives Department! Isn't that
friendship?" remarked the count in an inquiring tone.
"But they say that war has been declared," replied the visitor.
"They've been saying so a long while," said the count, "and they'll say
so again and again, and that will be the end of it. My dear, there's
friendship for you," he repeated. "He's joining the hussars."
The visitor, not knowing what to say, shook her head.
"It's not at all from friendship," declared Nicholas, flaring up and
turning away as if from a shameful aspersion. "It is not from friendship
at all; I simply feel that the army is my vocation."
He glanced at his cousin and the young lady visitor; and they were both
regarding him with a smile of approbation.
"Schubert, the colonel of the Pavlograd Hussars, is dining with us
today. He has been here on leave and is taking Nicholas back with him.
It can't be helped!" said the count, shrugging his shoulders and
speaking playfully of a matter that evidently distressed him.
"I have already told you, Papa," said his son, "that if you don't wish
to let me go, I'll stay. But I know I am no use anywhere except in the
army; I am not a diplomat or a government clerk.--I don't know how to
hide what I feel." As he spoke he kept glancing with the flirtatiousness
of a handsome youth at Sonya and the young lady visitor.
The little kitten, feasting her eyes on him, seemed ready at any moment
to start her gambols again and display her kittenish nature.
"All right, all right!" said the old count. "He always flares up! This
Buonaparte has turned all their heads; they all think of how he rose
from an ensign and became Emperor. Well, well, God grant it," he added,
not noticing his visitor's sarcastic smile.
The elders began talking about Bonaparte. Julie Karagina turned to young
"What a pity you weren't at the Arkharovs' on Thursday. It was so dull
without you," said she, giving him a tender smile.
The young man, flattered, sat down nearer to her with a coquettish
smile, and engaged the smiling Julie in a confidential conversation
without at all noticing that his involuntary smile had stabbed the heart
of Sonya, who blushed and smiled unnaturally. In the midst of his talk
he glanced round at her. She gave him a passionately angry glance, and
hardly able to restrain her tears and maintain the artificial smile on
her lips, she got up and left the room. All Nicholas' animation
vanished. He waited for the first pause in the conversation, and then
with a distressed face left the room to find Sonya.
"How plainly all these young people wear their hearts on their sleeves!"
said Anna Mikhaylovna, pointing to Nicholas as he went out. "Cousinage--
dangereux voisinage;" * she added.
* Cousinhood is a dangerous neighborhood.
"Yes," said the countess when the brightness these young people had
brought into the room had vanished; and as if answering a question no
one had put but which was always in her mind, "and how much suffering,
how much anxiety one has had to go through that we might rejoice in them
now! And yet really the anxiety is greater now than the joy. One is
always, always anxious! Especially just at this age, so dangerous both
for girls and boys."
"It all depends on the bringing up," remarked the visitor.
"Yes, you're quite right," continued the countess. "Till now I have
always, thank God, been my children's friend and had their full
confidence," said she, repeating the mistake of so many parents who
imagine that their children have no secrets from them. "I know I shall
always be my daughters' first confidante, and that if Nicholas, with his
impulsive nature, does get into mischief (a boy can't help it), he will
all the same never be like those Petersburg young men."
"Yes, they are splendid, splendid youngsters," chimed in the count, who
always solved questions that seemed to him perplexing by deciding that
everything was splendid. "Just fancy: wants to be an hussar. What's one
to do, my dear?"
"What a charming creature your younger girl is," said the visitor; "a
little volcano!"
"Yes, a regular volcano," said the count. "Takes after me! And what a
voice she has; though she's my daughter, I tell the truth when I say
she'll be a singer, a second Salomoni! We have engaged an Italian to
give her lessons."
"Isn't she too young? I have heard that it harms the voice to train it
at that age."
"Oh no, not at all too young!" replied the count. "Why, our mothers used
to be married at twelve or thirteen."
"And she's in love with Boris already. Just fancy!" said the countess
with a gentle smile, looking at Boris and went on, evidently concerned
with a thought that always occupied her: "Now you see if I were to be
severe with her and to forbid it... goodness knows what they might be up
to on the sly" (she meant that they would be kissing), "but as it is, I
know every word she utters. She will come running to me of her own
accord in the evening and tell me everything. Perhaps I spoil her, but
really that seems the best plan. With her elder sister I was stricter."
"Yes, I was brought up quite differently," remarked the handsome elder
daughter, Countess Vera, with a smile.
But the smile did not enhance Vera's beauty as smiles generally do; on
the contrary it gave her an unnatural, and therefore unpleasant,
expression. Vera was good-looking, not at all stupid, quick at learning,
was well-brought up, and had a pleasant voice; what she said was true
and appropriate, yet, strange to say, everyone--the visitors and
countess alike--turned to look at her as if wondering why she had said
it, and they all felt awkward.
"People are always too clever with their eldest children and try to make
something exceptional of them," said the visitor.
"What's the good of denying it, my dear? Our dear countess was too
clever with Vera," said the count. "Well, what of that? She's turned out
splendidly all the same," he added, winking at Vera.
The guests got up and took their leave, promising to return to dinner.
"What manners! I thought they would never go," said the countess, when
she had seen her guests out.
When Natasha ran out of the drawing room she only went as far as the
conservatory. There she paused and stood listening to the conversation
in the drawing room, waiting for Boris to come out. She was already
growing impatient, and stamped her foot, ready to cry at his not coming
at once, when she heard the young man's discreet steps approaching
neither quickly nor slowly. At this Natasha dashed swiftly among the
flower tubs and hid there.
Boris paused in the middle of the room, looked round, brushed a little
dust from the sleeve of his uniform, and going up to a mirror examined
his handsome face. Natasha, very still, peered out from her ambush,
waiting to see what he would do. He stood a little while before the
glass, smiled, and walked toward the other door. Natasha was about to
call him but changed her mind. "Let him look for me," thought she.
Hardly had Boris gone than Sonya, flushed, in tears, and muttering
angrily, came in at the other door. Natasha checked her first impulse to
run out to her, and remained in her hiding place, watching--as under an
invisible cap--to see what went on in the world. She was experiencing a
new and peculiar pleasure. Sonya, muttering to herself, kept looking
round toward the drawing-room door. It opened and Nicholas came in.
"Sonya, what is the matter with you? How can you?" said he, running up
to her.
"It's nothing, nothing; leave me alone!" sobbed Sonya.
"Ah, I know what it is."
"Well, if you do, so much the better, and you can go back to her!"
"So-o-onya! Look here! How can you torture me and yourself like that,
for a mere fancy?" said Nicholas taking her hand.
Sonya did not pull it away, and left off crying. Natasha, not stirring
and scarcely breathing, watched from her ambush with sparkling eyes.
"What will happen now?" thought she.
"Sonya! What is anyone in the world to me? You alone are everything!"
said Nicholas. "And I will prove it to you."
"I don't like you to talk like that."
"Well, then, I won't; only forgive me, Sonya!" He drew her to him and
kissed her.
"Oh, how nice," thought Natasha; and when Sonya and Nicholas had gone
out of the conservatory she followed and called Boris to her.
"Boris, come here," said she with a sly and significant look. "I have
something to tell you. Here, here!" and she led him into the
conservatory to the place among the tubs where she had been hiding.
Boris followed her, smiling.
"What is the something?" asked he.
She grew confused, glanced round, and, seeing the doll she had thrown
down on one of the tubs, picked it up.
"Kiss the doll," said she.
Boris looked attentively and kindly at her eager face, but did not
"Don't you want to? Well, then, come here," said she, and went further
in among the plants and threw down the doll. "Closer, closer!" she
She caught the young officer by his cuffs, and a look of solemnity and
fear appeared on her flushed face.
"And me? Would you like to kiss me?" she whispered almost inaudibly,
glancing up at him from under her brows, smiling, and almost crying from
Boris blushed.
"How funny you are!" he said, bending down to her and blushing still
more, but he waited and did nothing.
Suddenly she jumped up onto a tub to be higher than he, embraced him so
that both her slender bare arms clasped him above his neck, and, tossing
back her hair, kissed him full on the lips.
Then she slipped down among the flowerpots on the other side of the tubs
and stood, hanging her head.
"Natasha," he said, "you know that I love you, but..."
"You are in love with me?" Natasha broke in.
"Yes, I am, but please don't let us do like that.... In another four
years... then I will ask for your hand."
Natasha considered.
"Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen," she counted on her slender
little fingers. "All right! Then it's settled?"
A smile of joy and satisfaction lit up her eager face.
"Settled!" replied Boris.
"Forever?" said the little girl. "Till death itself?"
She took his arm and with a happy face went with him into the adjoining
sitting room.
After receiving her visitors, the countess was so tired that she gave
orders to admit no more, but the porter was told to be sure to invite to
dinner all who came "to congratulate." The countess wished to have a
tête-à-tête talk with the friend of her childhood, Princess Anna
Mikhaylovna, whom she had not seen properly since she returned from
Petersburg. Anna Mikhaylovna, with her tear-worn but pleasant face, drew
her chair nearer to that of the countess.
"With you I will be quite frank," said Anna Mikhaylovna. "There are not
many left of us old friends! That's why I so value your friendship."
Anna Mikhaylovna looked at Vera and paused. The countess pressed her
friend's hand.
"Vera," she said to her eldest daughter who was evidently not a
favorite, "how is it you have so little tact? Don't you see you are not
wanted here? Go to the other girls, or..."
The handsome Vera smiled contemptuously but did not seem at all hurt.
"If you had told me sooner, Mamma, I would have gone," she replied as
she rose to go to her own room.
But as she passed the sitting room she noticed two couples sitting, one
pair at each window. She stopped and smiled scornfully. Sonya was
sitting close to Nicholas who was copying out some verses for her, the
first he had ever written. Boris and Natasha were at the other window
and ceased talking when Vera entered. Sonya and Natasha looked at Vera
with guilty, happy faces.
It was pleasant and touching to see these little girls in love; but
apparently the sight of them roused no pleasant feeling in Vera.
"How often have I asked you not to take my things?" she said. "You have
a room of your own," and she took the inkstand from Nicholas.
"In a minute, in a minute," he said, dipping his pen.
"You always manage to do things at the wrong time," continued Vera. "You
came rushing into the drawing room so that everyone felt ashamed of
Though what she said was quite just, perhaps for that very reason no one
replied, and the four simply looked at one another. She lingered in the
room with the inkstand in her hand.
"And at your age what secrets can there be between Natasha and Boris, or
between you two? It's all nonsense!"
"Now, Vera, what does it matter to you?" said Natasha in defense,
speaking very gently.
She seemed that day to be more than ever kind and affectionate to
"Very silly," said Vera. "I am ashamed of you. Secrets indeed!"
"All have secrets of their own," answered Natasha, getting warmer. "We
don't interfere with you and Berg."
"I should think not," said Vera, "because there can never be anything
wrong in my behavior. But I'll just tell Mamma how you are behaving with
"Natalya Ilynichna behaves very well to me," remarked Boris. "I have
nothing to complain of."
"Don't, Boris! You are such a diplomat that it is really tiresome," said
Natasha in a mortified voice that trembled slightly. (She used the word
"diplomat," which was just then much in vogue among the children, in the
special sense they attached to it.) "Why does she bother me?" And she
added, turning to Vera, "You'll never understand it, because you've
never loved anyone. You have no heart! You are a Madame de Genlis and
nothing more" (this nickname, bestowed on Vera by Nicholas, was
considered very stinging), "and your greatest pleasure is to be
unpleasant to people! Go and flirt with Berg as much as you please," she
finished quickly.
"I shall at any rate not run after a young man before visitors..."
"Well, now you've done what you wanted," put in Nicholas--"said
unpleasant things to everyone and upset them. Let's go to the nursery."
All four, like a flock of scared birds, got up and left the room.
"The unpleasant things were said to me," remarked Vera, "I said none to
"Madame de Genlis! Madame de Genlis!" shouted laughing voices through
the door.
The handsome Vera, who produced such an irritating and unpleasant effect
on everyone, smiled and, evidently unmoved by what had been said to her,
went to the looking glass and arranged her hair and scarf. Looking at
her own handsome face she seemed to become still colder and calmer.
In the drawing room the conversation was still going on.
"Ah, my dear," said the countess, "my life is not all roses either.
Don't I know that at the rate we are living our means won't last long?
It's all the Club and his easygoing nature. Even in the country do we
get any rest? Theatricals, hunting, and heaven knows what besides! But
don't let's talk about me; tell me how you managed everything. I often
wonder at you, Annette--how at your age you can rush off alone in a
carriage to Moscow, to Petersburg, to those ministers and great people,
and know how to deal with them all! It's quite astonishing. How did you
get things settled? I couldn't possibly do it."
"Ah, my love," answered Anna Mikhaylovna, "God grant you never know what
it is to be left a widow without means and with a son you love to
distraction! One learns many things then," she added with a certain
pride. "That lawsuit taught me much. When I want to see one of those big
people I write a note: 'Princess So-and-So desires an interview with So
and-So,' and then I take a cab and go myself two, three, or four times--
till I get what I want. I don't mind what they think of me."
"Well, and to whom did you apply about Bory?" asked the countess. "You
see yours is already an officer in the Guards, while my Nicholas is
going as a cadet. There's no one to interest himself for him. To whom
did you apply?"
"To Prince Vasili. He was so kind. He at once agreed to everything, and
put the matter before the Emperor," said Princess Anna Mikhaylovna
enthusiastically, quite forgetting all the humiliation she had endured
to gain her end.
"Has Prince Vasili aged much?" asked the countess. "I have not seen him
since we acted together at the Rumyantsovs' theatricals. I expect he has
forgotten me. He paid me attentions in those days," said the countess,
with a smile.
"He is just the same as ever," replied Anna Mikhaylovna, "overflowing
with amiability. His position has not turned his head at all. He said to
me, 'I am sorry I can do so little for you, dear Princess. I am at your
command.' Yes, he is a fine fellow and a very kind relation. But,
Nataly, you know my love for my son: I would do anything for his
happiness! And my affairs are in such a bad way that my position is now
a terrible one," continued Anna Mikhaylovna, sadly, dropping her voice.
"My wretched lawsuit takes all I have and makes no progress. Would you
believe it, I have literally not a penny and don't know how to equip
Boris." She took out her handkerchief and began to cry. "I need five
hundred rubles, and have only one twenty-five-ruble note. I am in such a
state.... My only hope now is in Count Cyril Vladimirovich Bezukhov. If
he will not assist his godson--you know he is Bory's godfather--and
allow him something for his maintenance, all my trouble will have been
thrown away.... I shall not be able to equip him."
The countess' eyes filled with tears and she pondered in silence.
"I often think, though, perhaps it's a sin," said the princess, "that
here lives Count Cyril Vladimirovich Bezukhov so rich, all alone... that
tremendous fortune... and what is his life worth? It's a burden to him,
and Bory's life is only just beginning...."
"Surely he will leave something to Boris," said the countess.
"Heaven only knows, my dear! These rich grandees are so selfish. Still,
I will take Boris and go to see him at once, and I shall speak to him
straight out. Let people think what they will of me, it's really all the
same to me when my son's fate is at stake." The princess rose. "It's now
two o'clock and you dine at four. There will just be time."
And like a practical Petersburg lady who knows how to make the most of
time, Anna Mikhaylovna sent someone to call her son, and went into the
anteroom with him.
"Good-bye, my dear," said she to the countess who saw her to the door,
and added in a whisper so that her son should not hear, "Wish me good
"Are you going to Count Cyril Vladimirovich, my dear?" said the count
coming out from the dining hall into the anteroom, and he added: "If he
is better, ask Pierre to dine with us. He has been to the house, you
know, and danced with the children. Be sure to invite him, my dear. We
will see how Taras distinguishes himself today. He says Count Orlov
never gave such a dinner as ours will be!"
"My dear Boris," said Princess Anna Mikhaylovna to her son as Countess
Rostova's carriage in which they were seated drove over the straw
covered street and turned into the wide courtyard of Count Cyril
Vladimirovich Bezukhov's house. "My dear Boris," said the mother,
drawing her hand from beneath her old mantle and laying it timidly and
tenderly on her son's arm, "be affectionate and attentive to him. Count
Cyril Vladimirovich is your godfather after all, your future depends on
him. Remember that, my dear, and be nice to him, as you so well know how
to be."
"If only I knew that anything besides humiliation would come of it..."
answered her son coldly. "But I have promised and will do it for your
Although the hall porter saw someone's carriage standing at the
entrance, after scrutinizing the mother and son (who without asking to
be announced had passed straight through the glass porch between the
rows of statues in niches) and looking significantly at the lady's old
cloak, he asked whether they wanted the count or the princesses, and,
hearing that they wished to see the count, said his excellency was worse
today, and that his excellency was not receiving anyone.
"We may as well go back," said the son in French.
"My dear!" exclaimed his mother imploringly, again laying her hand on
his arm as if that touch might soothe or rouse him.
Boris said no more, but looked inquiringly at his mother without taking
off his cloak.
"My friend," said Anna Mikhaylovna in gentle tones, addressing the hall
porter, "I know Count Cyril Vladimirovich is very ill... that's why I
have come... I am a relation. I shall not disturb him, my friend... I
only need see Prince Vasili Sergeevich: he is staying here, is he not?
Please announce me."
The hall porter sullenly pulled a bell that rang upstairs, and turned
"Princess Drubetskaya to see Prince Vasili Sergeevich," he called to a
footman dressed in knee breeches, shoes, and a swallow-tail coat, who
ran downstairs and looked over from the halfway landing.
The mother smoothed the folds of her dyed silk dress before a large
Venetian mirror in the wall, and in her trodden-down shoes briskly
ascended the carpeted stairs.
"My dear," she said to her son, once more stimulating him by a touch,
"you promised me!"
The son, lowering his eyes, followed her quietly.
They entered the large hall, from which one of the doors led to the
apartments assigned to Prince Vasili.
Just as the mother and son, having reached the middle of the hall, were
about to ask their way of an elderly footman who had sprung up as they
entered, the bronze handle of one of the doors turned and Prince Vasili
came out--wearing a velvet coat with a single star on his breast, as was
his custom when at home--taking leave of a good-looking, dark-haired
man. This was the celebrated Petersburg doctor, Lorrain.
"Then it is certain?" said the prince.
"Prince, humanum est errare, * but..." replied the doctor, swallowing
his r's, and pronouncing the Latin words with a French accent.
* To err is human.
"Very well, very well..."
Seeing Anna Mikhaylovna and her son, Prince Vasili dismissed the doctor
with a bow and approached them silently and with a look of inquiry. The
son noticed that an expression of profound sorrow suddenly clouded his
mother's face, and he smiled slightly.
"Ah, Prince! In what sad circumstances we meet again! And how is our
dear invalid?" said she, as though unaware of the cold offensive look
fixed on her.
Prince Vasili stared at her and at Boris questioningly and perplexed.
Boris bowed politely. Prince Vasili without acknowledging the bow turned
to Anna Mikhaylovna, answering her query by a movement of the head and
lips indicating very little hope for the patient.
"Is it possible?" exclaimed Anna Mikhaylovna. "Oh, how awful! It is
terrible to think.... This is my son," she added, indicating Boris. "He
wanted to thank you himself."
Boris bowed again politely.
"Believe me, Prince, a mother's heart will never forget what you have
done for us."
"I am glad I was able to do you a service, my dear Anna Mikhaylovna,"
said Prince Vasili, arranging his lace frill, and in tone and manner,
here in Moscow to Anna Mikhaylovna whom he had placed under an
obligation, assuming an air of much greater importance than he had done
in Petersburg at Anna Scherer's reception.
"Try to serve well and show yourself worthy," added he, addressing Boris
with severity. "I am glad.... Are you here on leave?" he went on in his
usual tone of indifference.
"I am awaiting orders to join my new regiment, your excellency," replied
Boris, betraying neither annoyance at the prince's brusque manner nor a
desire to enter into conversation, but speaking so quietly and
respectfully that the prince gave him a searching glance.
"Are you living with your mother?"
"I am living at Countess Rostova's," replied Boris, again adding, "your
"That is, with Ilya Rostov who married Nataly Shinshina," said Anna
"I know, I know," answered Prince Vasili in his monotonous voice. "I
never could understand how Nataly made up her mind to marry that
unlicked bear! A perfectly absurd and stupid fellow, and a gambler too,
I am told."
"But a very kind man, Prince," said Anna Mikhaylovna with a pathetic
smile, as though she too knew that Count Rostov deserved this censure,
but asked him not to be too hard on the poor old man. "What do the
doctors say?" asked the princess after a pause, her worn face again
expressing deep sorrow.
"They give little hope," replied the prince.
"And I should so like to thank Uncle once for all his kindness to me and
Boris. He is his godson," she added, her tone suggesting that this fact
ought to give Prince Vasili much satisfaction.
Prince Vasili became thoughtful and frowned. Anna Mikhaylovna saw that
he was afraid of finding in her a rival for Count Bezukhov's fortune,
and hastened to reassure him.
"If it were not for my sincere affection and devotion to Uncle," said
she, uttering the word with peculiar assurance and unconcern, "I know
his character: noble, upright... but you see he has no one with him
except the young princesses.... They are still young...." She bent her
head and continued in a whisper: "Has he performed his final duty,
Prince? How priceless are those last moments! It can make things no
worse, and it is absolutely necessary to prepare him if he is so ill. We
women, Prince," and she smiled tenderly, "always know how to say these
things. I absolutely must see him, however painful it may be for me. I
am used to suffering."
Evidently the prince understood her, and also understood, as he had done
at Anna Pavlovna's, that it would be difficult to get rid of Anna
"Would not such a meeting be too trying for him, dear Anna Mikhaylovna?"
said he. "Let us wait until evening. The doctors are expecting a
"But one cannot delay, Prince, at such a moment! Consider that the
welfare of his soul is at stake. Ah, it is awful: the duties of a
A door of one of the inner rooms opened and one of the princesses, the
count's niece, entered with a cold, stern face. The length of her body
was strikingly out of proportion to her short legs. Prince Vasili turned
to her.
"Well, how is he?"
"Still the same; but what can you expect, this noise..." said the
princess, looking at Anna Mikhaylovna as at a stranger.
"Ah, my dear, I hardly knew you," said Anna Mikhaylovna with a happy
smile, ambling lightly up to the count's niece. "I have come, and am at
your service to help you nurse my uncle. I imagine what you have gone
through," and she sympathetically turned up her eyes.
The princess gave no reply and did not even smile, but left the room as
Anna Mikhaylovna took off her gloves and, occupying the position she had
conquered, settled down in an armchair, inviting Prince Vasili to take a
seat beside her.
"Boris," she said to her son with a smile, "I shall go in to see the
count, my uncle; but you, my dear, had better go to Pierre meanwhile and
don't forget to give him the Rostovs' invitation. They ask him to
dinner. I suppose he won't go?" she continued, turning to the prince.
"On the contrary," replied the prince, who had plainly become depressed,
"I shall be only too glad if you relieve me of that young man.... Here
he is, and the count has not once asked for him."
He shrugged his shoulders. A footman conducted Boris down one flight of
stairs and up another, to Pierre's rooms.
Pierre, after all, had not managed to choose a career for himself in
Petersburg, and had been expelled from there for riotous conduct and
sent to Moscow. The story told about him at Count Rostov's was true.
Pierre had taken part in tying a policeman to a bear. He had now been
for some days in Moscow and was staying as usual at his father's house.
Though he expected that the story of his escapade would be already known
in Moscow and that the ladies about his father--who were never favorably
disposed toward him--would have used it to turn the count against him,
he nevertheless on the day of his arrival went to his father's part of
the house. Entering the drawing room, where the princesses spent most of
their time, he greeted the ladies, two of whom were sitting at
embroidery frames while a third read aloud. It was the eldest who was
reading--the one who had met Anna Mikhaylovna. The two younger ones were
embroidering: both were rosy and pretty and they differed only in that
one had a little mole on her lip which made her much prettier. Pierre
was received as if he were a corpse or a leper. The eldest princess
paused in her reading and silently stared at him with frightened eyes;
the second assumed precisely the same expression; while the youngest,
the one with the mole, who was of a cheerful and lively disposition,
bent over her frame to hide a smile probably evoked by the amusing scene
she foresaw. She drew her wool down through the canvas and, scarcely
able to refrain from laughing, stooped as if trying to make out the
"How do you do, cousin?" said Pierre. "You don't recognize me?"
"I recognize you only too well, too well."
"How is the count? Can I see him?" asked Pierre, awkwardly as usual, but
"The count is suffering physically and mentally, and apparently you have
done your best to increase his mental sufferings."
"Can I see the count?" Pierre again asked.
"Hm.... If you wish to kill him, to kill him outright, you can see
him... Olga, go and see whether Uncle's beef tea is ready--it is almost
time," she added, giving Pierre to understand that they were busy, and
busy making his father comfortable, while evidently he, Pierre, was only
busy causing him annoyance.
Olga went out. Pierre stood looking at the sisters; then he bowed and
said: "Then I will go to my rooms. You will let me know when I can see
And he left the room, followed by the low but ringing laughter of the
sister with the mole.
Next day Prince Vasili had arrived and settled in the count's house. He
sent for Pierre and said to him: "My dear fellow, if you are going to
behave here as you did in Petersburg, you will end very badly; that is
all I have to say to you. The count is very, very ill, and you must not
see him at all."
Since then Pierre had not been disturbed and had spent the whole time in
his rooms upstairs.
When Boris appeared at his door Pierre was pacing up and down his room,
stopping occasionally at a corner to make menacing gestures at the wall,
as if running a sword through an invisible foe, and glaring savagely
over his spectacles, and then again resuming his walk, muttering
indistinct words, shrugging his shoulders and gesticulating.
"England is done for," said he, scowling and pointing his finger at
someone unseen. "Mr. Pitt, as a traitor to the nation and to the rights
of man, is sentenced to..." But before Pierre--who at that moment
imagined himself to be Napoleon in person and to have just effected the
dangerous crossing of the Straits of Dover and captured London--could
pronounce Pitt's sentence, he saw a well-built and handsome young
officer entering his room. Pierre paused. He had left Moscow when Boris
was a boy of fourteen, and had quite forgotten him, but in his usual
impulsive and hearty way he took Boris by the hand with a friendly
"Do you remember me?" asked Boris quietly with a pleasant smile. "I have
come with my mother to see the count, but it seems he is not well."
"Yes, it seems he is ill. People are always disturbing him," answered
Pierre, trying to remember who this young man was.
Boris felt that Pierre did not recognize him but did not consider it
necessary to introduce himself, and without experiencing the least
embarrassment looked Pierre straight in the face.
"Count Rostov asks you to come to dinner today," said he, after a
considerable pause which made Pierre feel uncomfortable.
"Ah, Count Rostov!" exclaimed Pierre joyfully. "Then you are his son,
Ilya? Only fancy, I didn't know you at first. Do you remember how we
went to the Sparrow Hills with Madame Jacquot?... It's such an age..."
"You are mistaken," said Boris deliberately, with a bold and slightly
sarcastic smile. "I am Boris, son of Princess Anna Mikhaylovna
Drubetskaya. Rostov, the father, is Ilya, and his son is Nicholas. I
never knew any Madame Jacquot."
Pierre shook his head and arms as if attacked by mosquitoes or bees.
"Oh dear, what am I thinking about? I've mixed everything up. One has so
many relatives in Moscow! So you are Boris? Of course. Well, now we know
where we are. And what do you think of the Boulogne expedition? The
English will come off badly, you know, if Napoleon gets across the
Channel. I think the expedition is quite feasible. If only Villeneuve
doesn't make a mess of things!"
Boris knew nothing about the Boulogne expedition; he did not read the
papers and it was the first time he had heard Villeneuve's name.
"We here in Moscow are more occupied with dinner parties and scandal
than with politics," said he in his quiet ironical tone. "I know nothing
about it and have not thought about it. Moscow is chiefly busy with
gossip," he continued. "Just now they are talking about you and your
Pierre smiled in his good-natured way as if afraid for his companion's
sake that the latter might say something he would afterwards regret. But
Boris spoke distinctly, clearly, and dryly, looking straight into
Pierre's eyes.
"Moscow has nothing else to do but gossip," Boris went on. "Everybody is
wondering to whom the count will leave his fortune, though he may
perhaps outlive us all, as I sincerely hope he will..."
"Yes, it is all very horrid," interrupted Pierre, "very horrid."
Pierre was still afraid that this officer might inadvertently say
something disconcerting to himself.
"And it must seem to you," said Boris flushing slightly, but not
changing his tone or attitude, "it must seem to you that everyone is
trying to get something out of the rich man?"
"So it does," thought Pierre.
"But I just wish to say, to avoid misunderstandings, that you are quite
mistaken if you reckon me or my mother among such people. We are very
poor, but for my own part at any rate, for the very reason that your
father is rich, I don't regard myself as a relation of his, and neither
I nor my mother would ever ask or take anything from him."
For a long time Pierre could not understand, but when he did, he jumped
up from the sofa, seized Boris under the elbow in his quick, clumsy way,
and, blushing far more than Boris, began to speak with a feeling of
mingled shame and vexation.
"Well, this is strange! Do you suppose I... who could think?... I know
very well..."
But Boris again interrupted him.
"I am glad I have spoken out fully. Perhaps you did not like it? You
must excuse me," said he, putting Pierre at ease instead of being put at
ease by him, "but I hope I have not offended you. I always make it a
rule to speak out... Well, what answer am I to take? Will you come to
dinner at the Rostovs'?"
And Boris, having apparently relieved himself of an onerous duty and
extricated himself from an awkward situation and placed another in it,
became quite pleasant again.
"No, but I say," said Pierre, calming down, "you are a wonderful fellow!
What you have just said is good, very good. Of course you don't know me.
We have not met for such a long time... not since we were children. You
might think that I... I understand, quite understand. I could not have
done it myself, I should not have had the courage, but it's splendid. I
am very glad to have made your acquaintance. It's queer," he added after
a pause, "that you should have suspected me!" He began to laugh. "Well,
what of it! I hope we'll get better acquainted," and he pressed Boris'
hand. "Do you know, I have not once been in to see the count. He has not
sent for me.... I am sorry for him as a man, but what can one do?"
"And so you think Napoleon will manage to get an army across?" asked
Boris with a smile.
Pierre saw that Boris wished to change the subject, and being of the
same mind he began explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the
Boulogne expedition.
A footman came in to summon Boris--the princess was going. Pierre, in
order to make Boris' better acquaintance, promised to come to dinner,
and warmly pressing his hand looked affectionately over his spectacles
into Boris' eyes. After he had gone Pierre continued pacing up and down
the room for a long time, no longer piercing an imaginary foe with his
imaginary sword, but smiling at the remembrance of that pleasant,
intelligent, and resolute young man.
As often happens in early youth, especially to one who leads a lonely
life, he felt an unaccountable tenderness for this young man and made up
his mind that they would be friends.
Prince Vasili saw the princess off. She held a handkerchief to her eyes
and her face was tearful.
"It is dreadful, dreadful!" she was saying, "but cost me what it may I
shall do my duty. I will come and spend the night. He must not be left
like this. Every moment is precious. I can't think why his nieces put it
off. Perhaps God will help me to find a way to prepare him!... Adieu,
Prince! May God support you..."
"Adieu, ma bonne," answered Prince Vasili turning away from her.
"Oh, he is in a dreadful state," said the mother to her son when they