Part 2 out of 34
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 know 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
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
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
"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
"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
"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 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
"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."
"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 tete-a-tete 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
Anna Mikhaylovna looked at Vera and paused. The countess pressed her
"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
"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 you."
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 Boris."
"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
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
"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
"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-by, 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
"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 sake."
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
"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
"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
"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,
"That is, with Ilya Rostov who married Nataly Shinshina," said
"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 Mikhaylovna.
"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 crisis."
"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
"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,
"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
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
"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 smile.
"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
"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
"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
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 were in the carriage. "He hardly recognizes anybody."
"I don't understand, Mamma- what is his attitude to Pierre?" asked
"The will will show that, my dear; our fate also depends on it."
"But why do you expect that he will leave us anything?"
"Ah, my dear! He is so rich, and we are so poor!"
"Well, that is hardly a sufficient reason, Mamma..."
"Oh, Heaven! How ill he is!" exclaimed the mother.
After Anna Mikhaylovna had driven off with her son to visit Count
Cyril Vladimirovich Bezukhov, Countess Rostova sat for a long time all
alone applying her handkerchief to her eyes. At last she rang.
"What is the matter with you, my dear?" she said crossly to the maid
who kept her waiting some minutes. "Don't you wish to serve me? Then
I'll find you another place."
The countess was upset by her friend's sorrow and humiliating
poverty, and was therefore out of sorts, a state of mind which with
her always found expression in calling her maid "my dear" and speaking
to her with exaggerated politeness.
"I am very sorry, ma'am," answered the maid.
"Ask the count to come to me."
The count came waddling in to see his wife with a rather guilty look
"Well, little countess? What a saute of game au madere we are to
have, my dear! I tasted it. The thousand rubles I paid for Taras
were not ill-spent. He is worth it!"
He sat down by his wife, his elbows on his knees and his hands
ruffling his gray hair.
"What are your commands, little countess?"
"You see, my dear... What's that mess?" she said, pointing to his
waistcoat. "It's, the saute, most likely," she added with a smile.
"Well, you see, Count, I want some money."
Her face became sad.
"Oh, little countess!"... and the count began bustling to get out
"I want a great deal, Count! I want five hundred rubles," and taking
out her cambric handkerchief she began wiping her husband's waistcoat.
"Yes, immediately, immediately! Hey, who's there?" he called out
in a tone only used by persons who are certain that those they call
will rush to obey the summons. "Send Dmitri to me!"
Dmitri, a man of good family who had been brought up in the
count's house and now managed all his affairs, stepped softly into the
"This is what I want, my dear fellow," said the count to the
deferential young man who had entered. "Bring me..." he reflected a
moment, "yes, bring me seven hundred rubles, yes! But mind, don't
bring me such tattered and dirty notes as last time, but nice clean
ones for the countess."
"Yes, Dmitri, clean ones, please," said the countess, sighing
"When would you like them, your excellency?" asked Dmitri. "Allow me
to inform you... But, don't be uneasy," he added, noticing that the
count was beginning to breathe heavily and quickly which was always
a sign of approaching anger. "I was forgetting... Do you wish it
brought at once?"
"Yes, yes; just so! Bring it. Give it to the countess."
"What a treasure that Dmitri is," added the count with a smile
when the young man had departed. "There is never any 'impossible' with
him. That's a thing I hate! Everything is possible."
"Ah, money, Count, money! How much sorrow it causes in the world,"
said the countess. "But I am in great need of this sum."
"You, my little countess, are a notorious spendthrift," said the
count, and having kissed his wife's hand he went back to his study.
When Anna Mikhaylovna returned from Count Bezukhov's the money,
all in clean notes, was lying ready under a handkerchief on the
countess' little table, and Anna Mikhaylovna noticed that something
was agitating her.
"Well, my dear?" asked the countess.
"Oh, what a terrible state he is in! One would not know him, he is
so ill! I was only there a few moments and hardly said a word..."
"Annette, for heaven's sake don't refuse me," the countess began,
with a blush that looked very strange on her thin, dignified,
elderly face, and she took the money from under the handkerchief.
Anna Mikhaylovna instantly guessed her intention and stooped to be
ready to embrace the countess at the appropriate moment.
"This is for Boris from me, for his outfit."
Anna Mikhaylovna was already embracing her and weeping. The countess
wept too. They wept because they were friends, and because they were
kindhearted, and because they- friends from childhood- had to think
about such a base thing as money, and because their youth was over....
But those tears were pleasant to them both.
Countess Rostova, with her daughters and a large number of guests,
was already seated in the drawing room. The count took the gentlemen
into his study and showed them his choice collection of Turkish pipes.
From time to time he went out to ask: "Hasn't she come yet?" They were
expecting Marya Dmitrievna Akhrosimova, known in society as le
terrible dragon, a lady distinguished not for wealth or rank, but
for common sense and frank plainness of speech. Marya Dmitrievna was
known to the Imperial family as well as to all Moscow and
Petersburg, and both cities wondered at her, laughed privately at
her rudenesses, and told good stories about her, while none the less
all without exception respected and feared her.
In the count's room, which was full of tobacco smoke, they talked of
war that had been announced in a manifesto, and about the
recruiting. None of them had yet seen the manifesto, but they all knew
it had appeared. The count sat on the sofa between two guests who were
smoking and talking. He neither smoked nor talked, but bending his
head first to one side and then to the other watched the smokers
with evident pleasure and listened to the conversation of his two
neighbors, whom he egged on against each other.
One of them was a sallow, clean-shaven civilian with a thin and
wrinkled face, already growing old, though he was dressed like a
most fashionable young man. He sat with his legs up on the sofa as
if quite at home and, having stuck an amber mouthpiece far into his
mouth, was inhaling the smoke spasmodically and screwing up his
eyes. This was an old bachelor, Shinshin, a cousin of the countess', a
man with "a sharp tongue" as they said in Moscow society. He seemed to
be condescending to his companion. The latter, a fresh, rosy officer
of the Guards, irreproachably washed, brushed, and buttoned, held
his pipe in the middle of his mouth and with red lips gently inhaled
the smoke, letting it escape from his handsome mouth in rings. This
was Lieutenant Berg, an officer in the Semenov regiment with whom
Boris was to travel to join the army, and about whom Natasha had,
teased her elder sister Vera, speaking of Berg as her "intended."
The count sat between them and listened attentively. His favorite
occupation when not playing boston, a card game he was very fond of,
was that of listener, especially when he succeeded in setting two
loquacious talkers at one another.
"Well, then, old chap, mon tres honorable Alphonse Karlovich,"
said Shinshin, laughing ironically and mixing the most ordinary
Russian expressions with the choicest French phrases- which was a
peculiarity of his speech. "Vous comptez vous faire des rentes sur
l'etat;* you want to make something out of your company?"
*You expect to make an income out of the government.
"No, Peter Nikolaevich; I only want to show that in the cavalry
the advantages are far less than in the infantry. Just consider my own
position now, Peter Nikolaevich..."
Berg always spoke quietly, politely, and with great precision. His
conversation always related entirely to himself; he would remain
calm and silent when the talk related to any topic that had no
direct bearing on himself. He could remain silent for hours without
being at all put out of countenance himself or making others
uncomfortable, but as soon as the conversation concerned himself he
would begin to talk circumstantially and with evident satisfaction.
"Consider my position, Peter Nikolaevich. Were I in the cavalry I
should get not more than two hundred rubles every four months, even
with the rank of lieutenant; but as it is I receive two hundred and
thirty," said he, looking at Shinshin and the count with a joyful,
pleasant smile, as if it were obvious to him that his success must
always be the chief desire of everyone else.
"Besides that, Peter Nikolaevich, by exchanging into the Guards I
shall be in a more prominent position," continued Berg, "and vacancies
occur much more frequently in the Foot Guards. Then just think what
can be done with two hundred and thirty rubles! I even manage to put a
little aside and to send something to my father," he went on, emitting
a smoke ring.
"La balance y est...* A German knows how to skin a flint, as the
proverb says," remarked Shinshin, moving his pipe to the other side of
his mouth and winking at the count.
*So that squares matters.
The count burst out laughing. The other guests seeing that
Shinshin was talking came up to listen. Berg, oblivious of irony or
indifference, continued to explain how by exchanging into the Guards
he had already gained a step on his old comrades of the Cadet Corps;
how in wartime the company commander might get killed and he, as
senior in the company, might easily succeed to the post; how popular
he was with everyone in the regiment, and how satisfied his father was
with him. Berg evidently enjoyed narrating all this, and did not
seem to suspect that others, too, might have their own interests.
But all he said was so prettily sedate, and the naivete of his
youthful egotism was so obvious, that he disarmed his hearers.
"Well, my boy, you'll get along wherever you go- foot or horse- that
I'll warrant," said Shinshin, patting him on the shoulder and taking
his feet off the sofa.
Berg smiled joyously. The count, by his guests, went into the
It was just the moment before a big dinner when the assembled
guests, expecting the summons to zakuska,* avoid engaging in any
long conversation but think it necessary to move about and talk, in
order to show that they are not at all impatient for their food. The
host and hostess look toward the door, and now and then glance at
one another, and the visitors try to guess from these glances who,
or what, they are waiting for- some important relation who has not yet
arrived, or a dish that is not yet ready.
Pierre had come just at dinnertime and was sitting awkwardly in
the middle of the drawing room on the first chair he had come
across, blocking the way for everyone. The countess tried to make
him talk, but he went on naively looking around through his spectacles
as if in search of somebody and answered all her questions in
monosyllables. He was in the way and was the only one who did not
notice the fact. Most of the guests, knowing of the affair with the
bear, looked with curiosity at this big, stout, quiet man, wondering
how such a clumsy, modest fellow could have played such a prank on a
"You have only lately arrived?" the countess asked him.
"Oui, madame," replied he, looking around him.
"You have not yet seen my husband?"
"Non, madame." He smiled quite inappropriately.
"You have been in Paris recently, I believe? I suppose it's very
The countess exchanged glances with Anna Mikhaylovna. The latter
understood that she was being asked to entertain this young man, and
sitting down beside him she began to speak about his father; but he
answered her, as he had the countess, only in monosyllables. The other
guests were all conversing with one another. "The Razumovskis... It
was charming... You are very kind... Countess Apraksina..." was
heard on all sides. The countess rose and went into the ballroom.
"Marya Dmitrievna?" came her voice from there.
"Herself," came the answer in a rough voice, and Marya Dmitrievna
entered the room.
All the unmarried ladies and even the married ones except the very
oldest rose. Marya Dmitrievna paused at the door. Tall and stout,
holding high her fifty-year-old head with its gray curls, she stood
surveying the guests, and leisurely arranged her wide sleeves as if
rolling them up. Marya Dmitrievna always spoke in Russian.
"Health and happiness to her whose name day we are keeping and to
her children," she said, in her loud, full-toned voice which drowned
all others. "Well, you old sinner," she went on, turning to the
count who was kissing her hand, "you're feeling dull in Moscow, I
daresay? Nowhere to hunt with your dogs? But what is to be done, old
man? Just see how these nestlings are growing up," and she pointed
to the girls. "You must look for husbands for them whether you like it
Well," said she, "how's my Cossack?" (Marya Dmitrievna always called
Natasha a Cossack) and she stroked the child's arm as she came up
fearless and gay to kiss her hand. "I know she's a scamp of a girl,
but I like her."
She took a pair of pear-shaped ruby earrings from her huge
reticule and, having given them to the rosy Natasha, who beamed with
the pleasure of her saint's-day fete, turned away at once and
addressed herself to Pierre.
"Eh, eh, friend! Come here a bit," said she, assuming a soft high
tone of voice. "Come here, my friend..." and she ominously tucked up
her sleeves still higher. Pierre approached, looking at her in a
childlike way through his spectacles.
"Come nearer, come nearer, friend! I used to be the only one to tell
your father the truth when he was in favor, and in your case it's my
evident duty." She paused. All were silent, expectant of what was to
follow, for this was dearly only a prelude.
"A fine lad! My word! A fine lad!... His father lies on his deathbed
and he amuses himself setting a policeman astride a bear! For shame,
sir, for shame! It would be better if you went to the war."
She turned away and gave her hand to the count, who could hardly
keep from laughing.
"Well, I suppose it is time we were at table?" said Marya
The count went in first with Marya Dmitrievna, the countess followed
on the arm of a colonel of hussars, a man of importance to them
because Nicholas was to go with him to the regiment; then came Anna
Mikhaylovna with Shinshin. Berg gave his arm to Vera. The smiling
Julie Karagina went in with Nicholas. After them other couples
followed, filling the whole dining hall, and last of all the children,
tutors, and governesses followed singly. The footmen began moving
about, chairs scraped, the band struck up in the gallery, and the
guests settled down in their places. Then the strains of the count's
household band were replaced by the clatter of knives and forks, the
voices of visitors, and the soft steps of the footmen. At one end of
the table sat the countess with Marya Dmitrievna on her right and Anna
Mikhaylovna on her left, the other lady visitors were farther down. At
the other end sat the count, with the hussar colonel on his left and
Shinshin and the other male visitors on his right. Midway down the
long table on one side sat the grownup young people: Vera beside Berg,
and Pierre beside Boris; and on the other side, the children,
tutors, and governesses. From behind the crystal decanters and fruit
vases the count kept glancing at his wife and her tall cap with its
light-blue ribbons, and busily filled his neighbors' glasses, not
neglecting his own. The countess in turn, without omitting her
duties as hostess, threw significant glances from behind the
pineapples at her husband whose face and bald head seemed by their
redness to contrast more than usual with his gray hair. At the ladies'
end an even chatter of voices was heard all the time, at the men's end
the voices sounded louder and louder, especially that of the colonel
of hussars who, growing more and more flushed, ate and drank so much
that the count held him up as a pattern to the other guests. Berg with
tender smiles was saying to Vera that love is not an earthly but a
heavenly feeling. Boris was telling his new friend Pierre who the
guests were and exchanging glances with Natasha, who was sitting
opposite. Pierre spoke little but examined the new faces, and ate a
great deal. Of the two soups he chose turtle with savory patties and
went on to the game without omitting a single dish or one of the
wines. These latter the butler thrust mysteriously forward, wrapped in
a napkin, from behind the next man's shoulders and whispered: "Dry
Madeira"... "Hungarian"... or "Rhine wine" as the case might be. Of
the four crystal glasses engraved with the count's monogram that stood
before his plate, Pierre held out one at random and drank with
enjoyment, gazing with ever-increasing amiability at the other guests.
Natasha, who sat opposite, was looking at Boris as girls of thirteen
look at the boy they are in love with and have just kissed for the
first time. Sometimes that same look fell on Pierre, and that funny
lively little girl's look made him inclined to laugh without knowing
Nicholas sat at some distance from Sonya, beside Julie Karagina,
to whom he was again talking with the same involuntary smile. Sonya
wore a company smile but was evidently tormented by jealousy; now
she turned pale, now blushed and strained every nerve to overhear what
Nicholas and Julie were saying to one another. The governess kept
looking round uneasily as if preparing to resent any slight that might
be put upon the children. The German tutor was trying to remember
all the dishes, wines, and kinds of dessert, in order to send a full
description of the dinner to his people in Germany; and he felt
greatly offended when the butler with a bottle wrapped in a napkin
passed him by. He frowned, trying to appear as if he did not want
any of that wine, but was mortified because no one would understand
that it was not to quench his thirst or from greediness that he wanted
it, but simply from a conscientious desire for knowledge.
At the men's end of the table the talk grew more and more
animated. The colonel told them that the declaration of war had
already appeared in Petersburg and that a copy, which he had himself
seen, had that day been forwarded by courier to the commander in
"And why the deuce are we going to fight Bonaparte?" remarked
Shinshin. "He has stopped Austria's cackle and I fear it will be our
The colonel was a stout, tall, plethoric German, evidently devoted
to the service and patriotically Russian. He resented Shinshin's
"It is for the reasson, my goot sir," said he, speaking with a
German accent, "for the reasson zat ze Emperor knows zat. He
declares in ze manifessto zat he cannot fiew wiz indifference ze
danger vreatening Russia and zat ze safety and dignity of ze Empire as
vell as ze sanctity of its alliances..." he spoke this last word
with particular emphasis as if in it lay the gist of the matter.
Then with the unerring official memory that characterized him he
repeated from the opening words of the manifesto:
... and the wish, which constitutes the Emperor's sole and
absolute aim- to establish peace in Europe on firm foundations- has
now decided him to despatch part of the army abroad and to create a
new condition for the attainment of that purpose.
"Zat, my dear sir, is vy..." he concluded, drinking a tumbler of
wine with dignity and looking to the count for approval.
"Connaissez-vous le Proverbe:* 'Jerome, Jerome, do not roam, but
turn spindles at home!'?" said Shinshin, puckering his brows and
smiling. "Cela nous convient a merveille.* Suvorov now- he knew
what he was about; yet they beat him a plate couture,* and where
are we to find Suvorovs now? Je vous demande un peu,"* said he,
continually changing from French to Russian.
*Do you know the proverb?
* That suits us down to the ground.
* I just ask you that.
"Ve must vight to the last tr-r-op of our plood!" said the
colonel, thumping the table; "and ve must tie for our Emperor, and zen
all vill pe vell. And ve must discuss it as little as po-o-ossible"...
he dwelt particularly on the word possible... "as po-o-ossible," he
ended, again turning to the count. "Zat is how ve old hussars look
at it, and zere's an end of it! And how do you, a young man and a
young hussar, how do you judge of it?" he added, addressing
Nicholas, who when he heard that the war was being discussed had
turned from his partner with eyes and ears intent on the colonel.
"I am quite of your opinion," replied Nicholas, flaming up,
turning his plate round and moving his wineglasses about with as
much decision and desperation as though he were at that moment
facing some great danger. "I am convinced that we Russians must die or
conquer," he concluded, conscious- as were others- after the words
were uttered that his remarks were too enthusiastic and emphatic for
the occasion and were therefore awkward.
"What you said just now was splendid!" said his partner Julie.
Sonya trembled all over and blushed to her ears and behind them
and down to her neck and shoulders while Nicholas was speaking.
Pierre listened to the colonel's speech and nodded approvingly.
"That's fine," said he.
"The young man's a real hussar!" shouted the colonel, again thumping
"What are you making such a noise about over there?" Marya
Dmitrievna's deep voice suddenly inquired from the other end of the
table. "What are you thumping the table for?" she demanded of the
hussar, "and why are you exciting yourself? Do you think the French
"I am speaking ze truce," replied the hussar with a smile.
"It's all about the war," the count shouted down the table. "You
know my son's going, Marya Dmitrievna? My son is going."
"I have four sons in the army but still I don't fret. It is all in
God's hands. You may die in your bed or God may spare you in a
battle," replied Marya Dmitrievna's deep voice, which easily carried
the whole length of the table.
Once more the conversations concentrated, the ladies' at the one end
and the men's at the other.
"You won't ask," Natasha's little brother was saying; "I know you
"I will," replied Natasha.
Her face suddenly flushed with reckless and joyous resolution. She
half rose, by a glance inviting Pierre, who sat opposite, to listen to
what was coming, and turning to her mother:
"Mamma!" rang out the clear contralto notes of her childish voice,
audible the whole length of the table.
"What is it?" asked the countess, startled; but seeing by her
daughter's face that it was only mischief, she shook a finger at her
sternly with a threatening and forbidding movement of her head.
The conversation was hushed.
"Mamma! What sweets are we going to have?" and Natasha's voice
sounded still more firm and resolute.
The countess tried to frown, but could not. Marya Dmitrievna shook
her fat finger.
"Cossack!" she said threateningly.
Most of the guests, uncertain how to regard this sally, looked at
"You had better take care!" said the countess.
"Mamma! What sweets are we going to have?" Natasha again cried
boldly, with saucy gaiety, confident that her prank would be taken
in good part.
Sonya and fat little Petya doubled up with laughter.
"You see! I have asked," whispered Natasha to her little brother and
to Pierre, glancing at him again.
"Ice pudding, but you won't get any," said Marya Dmitrievna.
Natasha saw there was nothing to be afraid of and so she braved even
"Marya Dmitrievna! What kind of ice pudding? I don't like ice
"No! What kind, Marya Dmitrievna? What kind?" she almost screamed;
"I want to know!"
Marya Dmitrievna and the countess burst out laughing, and all the
guests joined in. Everyone laughed, not at Marya Dmitrievna's answer
but at the incredible boldness and smartness of this little girl who
had dared to treat Marya Dmitrievna in this fashion.
Natasha only desisted when she had been told that there would be
pineapple ice. Before the ices, champagne was served round. The band
again struck up, the count and countess kissed, and the guests,
leaving their seats, went up to "congratulate" the countess, and
reached across the table to clink glasses with the count, with the
children, and with one another. Again the footmen rushed about, chairs
scraped, and in the same order in which they had entered but with
redder faces, the guests returned to the drawing room and to the
The card tables were drawn out, sets made up for boston, and the
count's visitors settled themselves, some in the two drawing rooms,
some in the sitting room, some in the library.
The count, holding his cards fanwise, kept himself with difficulty
from dropping into his usual after-dinner nap, and laughed at
everything. The young people, at the countess' instigation, gathered
round the clavichord and harp. Julie by general request played
first. After she had played a little air with variations on the
harp, she joined the other young ladies in begging Natasha and
Nicholas, who were noted for their musical talent, to sing
something. Natasha, who was treated as though she were grown up, was
evidently very proud of this but at the same time felt shy.
"What shall we sing?" she said.
"'The Brook,'" suggested Nicholas.
"Well, then,let's be quick. Boris, come here," said Natasha. "But
where is Sonya?"
She looked round and seeing that her friend was not in the room
ran to look for her.
Running into Sonya's room and not finding her there, Natasha ran
to the nursery, but Sonya was not there either. Natasha concluded that
she must be on the chest in the passage. The chest in the passage
was the place of mourning for the younger female generation in the
Rostov household. And there in fact was Sonya lying face downward on
Nurse's dirty feather bed on the top of the chest, crumpling her gauzy
pink dress under her, hiding her face with her slender fingers, and
sobbing so convulsively that her bare little shoulders shook.
Natasha's face, which had been so radiantly happy all that saint's
day, suddenly changed: her eyes became fixed, and then a shiver passed
down her broad neck and the corners of her mouth drooped.
"Sonya! What is it? What is the matter?... Oo... Oo... Oo...!" And
Natasha's large mouth widened, making her look quite ugly, and she
began to wail like a baby without knowing why, except that Sonya was
crying. Sonya tried to lift her head to answer but could not, and
hid her face still deeper in the bed. Natasha wept, sitting on the
blue-striped feather bed and hugging her friend. With an effort
Sonya sat up and began wiping her eyes and explaining.
"Nicholas is going away in a week's time, his... papers... have
come... he told me himself... but still I should not cry," and she
showed a paper she held in her hand- with the verses Nicholas had
written, "still, I should not cry, but you can't... no one can
understand... what a soul he has!"
And she began to cry again because he had such a noble soul.
"It's all very well for you... I am not envious... I love you and
Boris also," she went on, gaining a little strength; "he is nice...
there are no difficulties in your way.... But Nicholas is my cousin...
one would have to... the Metropolitan himself... and even then it
can't be done. And besides, if she tells Mamma" (Sonya looked upon the
countess as her mother and called her so) "that I am spoiling
Nicholas' career and am heartless and ungrateful, while truly... God
is my witness," and she made the sign of the cross, "I love her so
much, and all of you, only Vera... And what for? What have I done to
her? I am so grateful to you that I would willingly sacrifice
everything, only I have nothing...."
Sonya could not continue, and again hid her face in her hands and in
the feather bed. Natasha began consoling her, but her face showed that
she understood all the gravity of her friend's trouble.
"Sonya," she suddenly exclaimed, as if she had guessed the true
reason of her friend's sorrow, "I'm sure Vera has said something to
you since dinner? Hasn't she?"
"Yes, these verses Nicholas wrote himself and I copied some
others, and she found them on my table and said she'd show them to
Mamma, and that I was ungrateful, and that Mamma would never allow him
to marry me, but that he'll marry Julie. You see how he's been with
her all day... Natasha, what have I done to deserve it?..."
And again she began to sob, more bitterly than before. Natasha
lifted her up, hugged her, and, smiling through her tears, began
"Sonya, don't believe her, darling! Don't believe her! Do you
remember how we and Nicholas, all three of us, talked in the sitting
room after supper? Why, we settled how everything was to be. I don't
quite remember how, but don't you remember that it could all be
arranged and how nice it all was? There's Uncle Shinshin's brother has
married his first cousin. And we are only second cousins, you know.
And Boris says it is quite possible. You know I have told him all
about it. And he is so clever and so good!" said Natasha. "Don't you
cry, Sonya, dear love, darling Sonya!" and she kissed her and laughed.
"Vera's spiteful; never mind her! And all will come right and she
won't say anything to Mamma. Nicholas will tell her himself, and he
doesn't care at all for Julie."
Natasha kissed her on the hair.
Sonya sat up. The little kitten brightened, its eyes shone, and it
seemed ready to lift its tail, jump down on its soft paws, and begin
playing with the ball of worsted as a kitten should.
"Do you think so?... Really? Truly?" she said, quickly smoothing her
frock and hair.
"Really, truly!" answered Natasha, pushing in a crisp lock that
had strayed from under her friend's plaits.
"Well, let's go and sing 'The Brook.'"
"Do you know, that fat Pierre who sat opposite me is so funny!" said
Natasha, stopping suddenly. "I feel so happy!"
And she set off at a run along the passage.
Sonya, shaking off some down which clung to her and tucking away the
verses in the bosom of her dress close to her bony little chest, ran
after Natasha down the passage into the sitting room with flushed face
and light, joyous steps. At the visitors' request the young people
sang the quartette, "The Brook," with which everyone was delighted.
Then Nicholas sang a song he had just learned:
At nighttime in the moon's fair glow
How sweet, as fancies wander free,
To feel that in this world there's one
Who still is thinking but of thee!
That while her fingers touch the harp
Wafting sweet music music the lea,
It is for thee thus swells her heart,
Sighing its message out to thee...
A day or two, then bliss unspoilt,
But oh! till then I cannot live!...
He had not finished the last verse before the young people began
to get ready to dance in the large hall, and the sound of the feet and
the coughing of the musicians were heard from the gallery.
Pierre was sitting in the drawing-room where Shinshin had engaged
him, as a man recently returned from abroad, in a political
conversation in which several others joined but which bored Pierre.
When the music began Natasha came in and walking straight up to Pierre
said, laughing and blushing:
"Mamma told me to ask you to join the dancers."
"I am afraid of mixing the figures," Pierre replied; "but if you
will be my teacher..." And lowering his big arm he offered it to the
slender little girl.
While the couples were arranging themselves and the musicians tuning
up, Pierre sat down with his little partner. Natasha was perfectly
happy; she was dancing with a grown-up man, who had been abroad. She
was sitting in a conspicuous place and talking to him like a
grown-up lady. She had a fan in her hand that one of the ladies had
given her to hold. Assuming quite the pose of a society woman
(heaven knows when and where she had learned it) she talked with her
partner, fanning herself and smiling over the fan.
"Dear, dear! Just look at her!" exclaimed the countess as she
crossed the ballroom, pointing to Natasha.
Natasha blushed and laughed.
"Well, really, Mamma! Why should you? What is there to be
In the midst of the third ecossaise there was a clatter of chairs
being pushed back in the sitting room where the count and Marya
Dmitrievna had been playing cards with the majority of the more
distinguished and older visitors. They now, stretching themselves
after sitting so long, and replacing their purses and pocketbooks,
entered the ballroom. First came Marya Dmitrievna and the count,
both with merry countenances. The count, with playful ceremony
somewhat in ballet style, offered his bent arm to Marya Dmitrievna. He
drew himself up, a smile of debonair gallantry lit up his face and
as soon as the last figure of the ecossaise was ended, he clapped
his hands to the musicians and shouted up to their gallery, addressing
the first violin:
"Semen! Do you know the Daniel Cooper?"
This was the count's favorite dance, which he had danced in his
youth. (Strictly speaking, Daniel Cooper was one figure of the
"Look at Papa!" shouted Natasha to the whole company, and quite
forgetting that she was dancing with a grown-up partner she bent her
curly head to her knees and made the whole room ring with her
And indeed everybody in the room looked with a smile of pleasure
at the jovial old gentleman, who standing beside his tall and stout
partner, Marya Dmitrievna, curved his arms, beat time, straightened
his shoulders, turned out his toes, tapped gently with his foot,
and, by a smile that broadened his round face more and more,
prepared the onlookers for what was to follow. As soon as the
provocatively gay strains of Daniel Cooper (somewhat resembling
those of a merry peasant dance) began to sound, all the doorways of
the ballroom were suddenly filled by the domestic serfs- the men on
one side and the women on the other- who with beaming faces had come
to see their master making merry.
"Just look at the master! A regular eagle he is!" loudly remarked
the nurse, as she stood in one of the doorways.
The count danced well and knew it. But his partner could not and did
not want to dance well. Her enormous figure stood erect, her
powerful arms hanging down (she had handed her reticule to the
countess), and only her stern but handsome face really joined in the
dance. What was expressed by the whole of the count's plump figure, in
Marya Dmitrievna found expression only in her more and more beaming
face and quivering nose. But if the count, getting more and more
into the swing of it, charmed the spectators by the unexpectedness
of his adroit maneuvers and the agility with which he capered about on
his light feet, Marya Dmitrievna produced no less impression by slight
exertions- the least effort to move her shoulders or bend her arms
when turning, or stamp her foot- which everyone appreciated in view of
her size and habitual severity. The dance grew livelier and
livelier. The other couples could not attract a moment's attention
to their own evolutions and did not even try to do so. All were
watching the count and Marya Dmitrievna. Natasha kept pulling everyone
by sleeve or dress, urging them to "look at Papa!" though as it was
they never took their eyes off the couple. In the intervals of the
dance the count, breathing deeply, waved and shouted to the
musicians to play faster. Faster, faster, and faster; lightly, more
lightly, and yet more lightly whirled the count, flying round Marya
Dmitrievna, now on his toes, now on his heels; until, turning his
partner round to her seat, he executed the final pas, raising his soft
foot backwards, bowing his perspiring head, smiling and making a
wide sweep with his arm, amid a thunder of applause and laughter led
by Natasha. Both partners stood still, breathing heavily and wiping
their faces with their cambric handkerchiefs.
"That's how we used to dance in our time, ma chere," said the count.
"That was a Daniel Cooper!" exclaimed Marya Dmitrievna, tucking up
her sleeves and puffing heavily.
While in the Rostovs' ballroom the sixth anglaise was being
danced, to a tune in which the weary musicians blundered, and while
tired footmen and cooks were getting the supper, Count Bezukhov had
a sixth stroke. The doctors pronounced recovery impossible. After a
mute confession, communion was administered to the dying man,
preparations made for the sacrament of unction, and in his house there
was the bustle and thrill of suspense usual at such moments. Outside
the house, beyond the gates, a group of undertakers, who hid
whenever a carriage drove up, waited in expectation of an important
order for an expensive funeral. The Military Governor of Moscow, who
had been assiduous in sending aides-de-camp to inquire after the
count's health, came himself that evening to bid a last farewell to
the celebrated grandee of Catherine's court, Count Bezukhov.
The magnificent reception room was crowded. Everyone stood up
respectfully when the Military Governor, having stayed about half an
hour alone with the dying man, passed out, slightly acknowledging
their bows and trying to escape as quickly as from the glances fixed
on him by the doctors, clergy, and relatives of the family. Prince
Vasili, who had grown thinner and paler during the last few days,
escorted him to the door, repeating something to him several times
in low tones.
When the Military Governor had gone, Prince Vasili sat down all
alone on a chair in the ballroom, crossing one leg high over the
other, leaning his elbow on his knee and covering his face with his
hand. After sitting so for a while he rose, and, looking about him
with frightened eyes, went with unusually hurried steps down the
long corridor leading to the back of the house, to the room of the
Those who were in the dimly lit reception room spoke in nervous
whispers, and, whenever anyone went into or came from the dying
man's room, grew silent and gazed with eyes full of curiosity or
expectancy at his door, which creaked slightly when opened.
"The limits of human life... are fixed and may not be o'erpassed,"
said an old priest to a lady who had taken a seat beside him and was
listening naively to his words.
"I wonder, is it not too late to administer unction?" asked the
lady, adding the priest's clerical title, as if she had no opinion
of her own on the subject.
"Ah, madam, it is a great sacrament, "replied the priest, passing
his hand over the thin grizzled strands of hair combed back across his
"Who was that? The Military Governor himself?" was being asked at
the other side of the room. "How young-looking he is!"
"Yes, and he is over sixty. I hear the count no longer recognizes
anyone. They wished to administer the sacrament of unction."
"I knew someone who received that sacrament seven times."
The second princess had just come from the sickroom with her eyes
red from weeping and sat down beside Dr. Lorrain, who was sitting in a
graceful pose under a portrait of Catherine, leaning his elbow on a
"Beautiful," said the doctor in answer to a remark about the
weather. "The weather is beautiful, Princess; and besides, in Moscow
one feels as if one were in the country."
"Yes, indeed," replied the princess with a sigh. "So he may have
something to drink?"
"Has he taken his medicine?"
The doctor glanced at his watch.
"Take a glass of boiled water and put a pinch of cream of tartar,"
and he indicated with his delicate fingers what he meant by a pinch.
"Dere has neffer been a gase," a German doctor was saying to an
aide-de-camp, "dat one liffs after de sird stroke."
"And what a well-preserved man he was!" remarked the aide-de-camp.
"And who will inherit his wealth?" he added in a whisper.
"It von't go begging," replied the German with a smile.
Everyone again looked toward the door, which creaked as the second
princess went in with the drink she had prepared according to
Lorrain's instructions. The German doctor went up to Lorrain.
"Do you think he can last till morning?" asked the German,
addressing Lorrain in French which he pronounced badly.
Lorrain, pursing up his lips, waved a severely negative finger
before his nose.
"Tonight, not later," said he in a low voice, and he moved away with
a decorous smile of self-satisfaction at being able clearly to
understand and state the patient's condition.
Meanwhile Prince Vasili had opened the door into the princess' room.
In this room it was almost dark; only two tiny lamps were burning
before the icons and there was a pleasant scent of flowers and burnt
pastilles. The room was crowded with small pieces of furniture,
whatnots, cupboards, and little tables. The quilt of a high, white
feather bed was just visible behind a screen. A small dog began to
"Ah, is it you, cousin?"
She rose and smoothed her hair, which was as usual so extremely
smooth that it seemed to be made of one piece with her head and
covered with varnish.
"Has anything happened?" she asked. "I am so terrified."
"No, there is no change. I only came to have a talk about
business, Catiche,"* muttered the prince, seating himself wearily on
the chair she had just vacated. "You have made the place warm, I
must say," he remarked. "Well, sit down: let's have a talk."
"I thought perhaps something had happened," she said with her
unchanging stonily severe expression; and, sitting down opposite the
prince, she prepared to listen.
"I wished to get a nap, mon cousin, but I can't."
"Well, my dear?" said Prince Vasili, taking her hand and bending
it downwards as was his habit.
It was plain that this "well?" referred to much that they both
understood without naming.
The princess, who had a straight, rigid body, abnormally long for
her legs, looked directly at Prince Vasili with no sign of emotion
in her prominent gray eyes. Then she shook her head and glanced up
at the icons with a sigh. This might have been taken as an
expression of sorrow and devotion, or of weariness and hope of resting
before long. Prince Vasili understood it as an expression of
"And I?" he said; "do you think it is easier for me? I am as worn
out as a post horse, but still I must have a talk with you, Catiche, a
very serious talk."
Prince Vasili said no more and his cheeks began to twitch nervously,
now on one side, now on the other, giving his face an unpleasant
expression which was never to be seen on it in a drawing room. His
eyes too seemed strange; at one moment they looked impudently sly
and at the next glanced round in alarm.
The princess, holding her little dog on her lap with her thin bony
hands, looked attentively into Prince Vasili's eyes evidently resolved
not to be the first to break silence, if she had to wait till morning.
"Well, you see, my dear princess and cousin, Catherine Semenovna,"
continued Prince Vasili, returning to his theme, apparently not
without an inner struggle; "at such a moment as this one must think of
everything. One must think of the future, of all of you... I love
you all, like children of my own, as you know."
The princess continued to look at him without moving, and with the
same dull expression.
"And then of course my family has also to be considered," Prince
Vasili went on, testily pushing away a little table without looking at
her. "You know, Catiche, that we- you three sisters, Mamontov, and
my wife- are the count's only direct heirs. I know, I know how hard it
is for you to talk or think of such matters. It is no easier for me;
but, my dear, I am getting on for sixty and must be prepared for
anything. Do you know I have sent for Pierre? The count," pointing
to his portrait, "definitely demanded that he should be called."
Prince Vasili looked questioningly at the princess, but could not
make out whether she was considering what he had just said or
whether she was simply looking at him.
"There is one thing I constantly pray God to grant, mon cousin," she
replied, "and it is that He would be merciful to him and would allow
his noble soul peacefully to leave this..."
"Yes, yes, of course," interrupted Prince Vasili impatiently,
rubbing his bald head and angrily pulling back toward him the little
table that he had pushed away. "But... in short, the fact is... you
know yourself that last winter the count made a will by which he
left all his property, not to us his direct heirs, but to Pierre."
"He has made wills enough!" quietly remarked the princess. "But he
cannot leave the estate to Pierre. Pierre is illegitimate."
"But, my dear," said Prince Vasili suddenly, clutching the little
table and becoming more animated and talking more rapidly: "what if
a letter has been written to the Emperor in which the count asks for
Pierre's legitimation? Do you understand that in consideration of
the count's services, his request would be granted?..."
The princess smiled as people do who think they know more about
the subject under discussion than those they are talking with.
"I can tell you more," continued Prince Vasili, seizing her hand,
"that letter was written, though it was not sent, and the Emperor knew
of it. The only question is, has it been destroyed or not? If not,
then as soon as all is over," and Prince Vasili sighed to intimate
what he meant by the words all is over, "and the count's papers are
opened, the will and letter will be delivered to the Emperor, and
the petition will certainly be granted. Pierre will get everything
as the legitimate son."
"And our share?" asked the princess smiling ironically, as if
anything might happen, only not that.
"But, my poor Catiche, it is as clear as daylight! He will then be
the legal heir to everything and you won't get anything. You must
know, my dear, whether the will and letter were written, and whether
they have been destroyed or not. And if they have somehow been
overlooked, you ought to know where they are, and must find them,
"What next?" the princess interrupted, smiling sardonically and
not changing the expression of her eyes. "I am a woman, and you
think we are all stupid; but I know this: an illegitimate son cannot