Part 3 out of 34
inherit... un batard!"* she added, as if supposing that this
translation of the word would effectively prove to Prince Vasili the
invalidity of his contention.
"Well, really, Catiche! Can't you understand! You are so
intelligent, how is it you don't see that if the count has written a
letter to the Emperor begging him to recognize Pierre as legitimate,
it follows that Pierre will not be Pierre but will become Count
Bezukhov, and will then inherit everything under the will? And if
the will and letter are not destroyed, then you will have nothing
but the consolation of having been dutiful et tout ce qui s'ensuit!*
*And all that follows therefrom.
"I know the will was made, but I also know that it is invalid; and
you, mon cousin, seem to consider me a perfect fool," said the
princess with the expression women assume when they suppose they are
saying something witty and stinging.
"My dear Princess Catherine Semenovna," began Prince Vasili
impatiently, "I came here not to wrangle with you, but to talk about
your interests as with a kinswoman, a good, kind, true relation. And I
tell you for the tenth time that if the letter to the Emperor and
the will in Pierre's favor are among the count's papers, then, my dear
girl, you and your sisters are not heiresses! If you don't believe me,
then believe an expert. I have just been talking to Dmitri Onufrich"
(the family solicitor) "and he says the same."
At this a sudden change evidently took place in the princess' ideas;
her thin lips grew white, though her eyes did not change, and her
voice when she began to speak passed through such transitions as she
herself evidently did not expect.
"That would be a fine thing!" said she. "I never wanted anything and
I don't now."
She pushed the little dog off her lap and smoothed her dress.
"And this is gratitude- this is recognition for those who have
sacrificed everything for his sake!" she cried. "It's splendid!
Fine! I don't want anything, Prince."
"Yes, but you are not the only one. There are your sisters..."
replied Prince Vasili.
But the princess did not listen to him.
"Yes, I knew it long ago but had forgotten. I knew that I could
expect nothing but meanness, deceit, envy, intrigue, and
ingratitude- the blackest ingratitude- in this house..."
"Do you or do you not know where that will is?" insisted Prince
Vasili, his cheeks twitching more than ever.
"Yes, I was a fool! I still believed in people, loved them, and
sacrificed myself. But only the base, the vile succeed! I know who has
The princess wished to rise, but the prince held her by the hand.
She had the air of one who has suddenly lost faith in the whole
human race. She gave her companion an angry glance.
"There is still time, my dear. You must remember, Catiche, that it
was all done casually in a moment of anger, of illness, and was
afterwards forgotten. Our duty, my dear, is to rectify his mistake, to
ease his last moments by not letting him commit this injustice, and
not to let him die feeling that he is rendering unhappy those who..."
"Who sacrificed everything for him," chimed in the princess, who
would again have risen had not the prince still held her fast, "though
he never could appreciate it. No, mon cousin," she added with a
sigh, "I shall always remember that in this world one must expect no
reward, that in this world there is neither honor nor justice. In this
world one has to be cunning and cruel."
"Now come, come! Be reasonable. I know your excellent heart."
"No, I have a wicked heart."
"I know your heart," repeated the prince. "I value your friendship
and wish you to have as good an opinion of me. Don't upset yourself,
and let us talk sensibly while there is still time, be it a day or
be it but an hour.... Tell me all you know about the will, and above
all where it is. You must know. We will take it at once and show it to
the count. He has, no doubt, forgotten it and will wish to destroy it.
You understand that my sole desire is conscientiously to carry out his
wishes; that is my only reason for being here. I came simply to help
him and you."
"Now I see it all! I know who has been intriguing- I know!" cried
"That's not the point, my dear."
"It's that protege of yours, that sweet Princess Drubetskaya, that
Anna Mikhaylovna whom I would not take for a housemaid... the
infamous, vile woman!"
"Do not let us lose any time..."
"Ah, don't talk to me! Last winter she wheedled herself in here
and told the count such vile, disgraceful things about us,
especially about Sophie- I can't repeat them- that it made the count
quite ill and he would not see us for a whole fortnight. I know it was
then he wrote this vile, infamous paper, but I thought the thing was
"We've got to it at last- why did you not tell me about it sooner?"
"It's in the inlaid portfolio that he keeps under his pillow,"
said the princess, ignoring his question. "Now I know! Yes; if I
have a sin, a great sin, it is hatred of that vile woman!" almost
shrieked the princess, now quite changed. "And what does she come
worming herself in here for? But I will give her a piece of my mind.
The time will come!"
While these conversations were going on in the reception room and
the princess' room, a carriage containing Pierre (who had been sent
for) and Anna Mikhaylovna (who found it necessary to accompany him)
was driving into the court of Count Bezukhov's house. As the wheels
rolled softly over the straw beneath the windows, Anna Mikhaylovna,
having turned with words of comfort to her companion, realized that he
was asleep in his corner and woke him up. Rousing himself, Pierre
followed Anna Mikhaylovna out of the carriage, and only then began
to think of the interview with his dying father which awaited him.
He noticed that they had not come to the front entrance but to the
back door. While he was getting down from the carriage steps two
men, who looked like tradespeople, ran hurriedly from the entrance and
hid in the shadow of the wall. Pausing for a moment, Pierre noticed
several other men of the same kind hiding in the shadow of the house
on both sides. But neither Anna Mikhaylovna nor the footman nor the
coachman, who could not help seeing these people, took any notice of
them. "It seems to be all right," Pierre concluded, and followed
Anna Mikhaylovna. She hurriedly ascended the narrow dimly lit stone
staircase, calling to Pierre, who was lagging behind, to follow.
Though he did not see why it was necessary for him to go to the
count at all, still less why he had to go by the back stairs, yet
judging by Anna Mikhaylovna's air of assurance and haste, Pierre
concluded that it was all absolutely necessary. Halfway up the
stairs they were almost knocked over by some men who, carrying
pails, came running downstairs, their boots clattering. These men
pressed close to the wall to let Pierre and Anna Mikhaylovna pass
and did not evince the least surprise at seeing them there.
"Is this the way to the princesses' apartments?" asked Anna
Mikhaylovna of one of them.
"Yes," replied a footman in a bold loud voice, as if anything were
now permissible; "the door to the left, ma'am."
"Perhaps the count did not ask for me," said Pierre when he
reached the landing. "I'd better go to my own room."
Anna Mikhaylovna paused and waited for him to come up.
"Ah, my friend!" she said, touching his arm as she had done her
son's when speaking to him that afternoon, "believe me I suffer no
less than you do, but be a man!"
"But really, hadn't I better go away?" he asked, looking kindly at
her over his spectacles.
"Ah, my dear friend! Forget the wrongs that may have been done
you. Think that he is your father... perhaps in the agony of death."
She sighed. "I have loved you like a son from the first. Trust
yourself to me, Pierre. I shall not forget your interests."
Pierre did not understand a word, but the conviction that all this
had to be grew stronger, and he meekly followed Anna Mikhaylovna who
was already opening a door.
This door led into a back anteroom. An old man, a servant of the
princesses, sat in a corner knitting a stocking. Pierre had never been
in this part of the house and did not even know of the existence of
these rooms. Anna Mikhaylovna, addressing a maid who was hurrying past
with a decanter on a tray as "my dear" and "my sweet," asked about the
princess' health and then led Pierre along a stone passage. The
first door on the left led into the princesses' apartments. The maid
with the decanter in her haste had not closed the door (everything
in the house was done in haste at that time), and Pierre and Anna
Mikhaylovna in passing instinctively glanced into the room, where
Prince Vasili and the eldest princess were sitting close together
talking. Seeing them pass, Prince Vasili drew back with obvious
impatience, while the princess jumped up and with a gesture of
desperation slammed the door with all her might.
This action was so unlike her usual composure and the fear
depicted on Prince Vasili's face so out of keeping with his dignity
that Pierre stopped and glanced inquiringly over his spectacles at his
guide. Anna Mikhaylovna evinced no surprise, she only smiled faintly
and sighed, as if to say that this was no more than she had expected.
"Be a man, my friend. I will look after your interests," said she in
reply to his look, and went still faster along the passage.
Pierre could not make out what it was all about, and still less what
"watching over his interests" meant, but he decided that all these
things had to be. From the passage they went into a large, dimly lit
room adjoining the count's reception room. It was one of those
sumptuous but cold apartments known to Pierre only from the front
approach, but even in this room there now stood an empty bath, and
water had been spilled on the carpet. They were met by a deacon with a
censer and by a servant who passed out on tiptoe without heeding them.
They went into the reception room familiar to Pierre, with two Italian
windows opening into the conservatory, with its large bust and full
length portrait of Catherine the Great. The same people were still
sitting here in almost the same positions as before, whispering to one
another. All became silent and turned to look at the pale tear-worn
Anna Mikhaylovna as she entered, and at the big stout figure of Pierre
who, hanging his head, meekly followed her.
Anna Mikhaylovna's face expressed a consciousness that the
decisive moment had arrived. With the air of a practical Petersburg
lady she now, keeping Pierre close beside her, entered the room even
more boldly than that afternoon. She felt that as she brought with her
the person the dying man wished to see, her own admission was assured.
Casting a rapid glance at all those in the room and noticing the
count's confessor there, she glided up to him with a sort of amble,
not exactly bowing yet seeming to grow suddenly smaller, and
respectfully received the blessing first of one and then of another
"God be thanked that you are in time," said she to one of the
priests; "all we relatives have been in such anxiety. This young man
is the count's son," she added more softly. "What a terrible moment!"
Having said this she went up to the doctor.
"Dear doctor," said she, "this young man is the count's son. Is
there any hope?"
The doctor cast a rapid glance upwards and silently shrugged his
shoulders. Anna Mikhaylovna with just the same movement raised her
shoulders and eyes, almost closing the latter, sighed, and moved
away from the doctor to Pierre. To him, in a particularly respectful
and tenderly sad voice, she said:
"Trust in His mercy!" and pointing out a small sofa for him to sit
and wait for her, she went silently toward the door that everyone
was watching and it creaked very slightly as she disappeared behind
Pierre, having made up his mind to obey his monitress implicitly,
moved toward the sofa she had indicated. As soon as Anna Mikhaylovna
had disappeared he noticed that the eyes of all in the room turned
to him with something more than curiosity and sympathy. He noticed
that they whispered to one another, casting significant looks at him
with a kind of awe and even servility. A deference such as he had
never before received was shown him. A strange lady, the one who had
been talking to the priests, rose and offered him her seat; an
aide-de-camp picked up and returned a glove Pierre had dropped; the
doctors became respectfully silent as he passed by, and moved to
make way for him. At first Pierre wished to take another seat so as
not to trouble the lady, and also to pick up the glove himself and
to pass round the doctors who were not even in his way; but all at
once he felt that this would not do, and that tonight he was a
person obliged to perform some sort of awful rite which everyone
expected of him, and that he was therefore bound to accept their
services. He took the glove in silence from the aide-de-camp, and
sat down in the lady's chair, placing his huge hands symmetrically
on his knees in the naive attitude of an Egyptian statue, and
decided in his own mind that all was as it should be, and that in
order not to lose his head and do foolish things he must not act on
his own ideas tonight, but must yield himself up entirely to the
will of those who were guiding him.
Not two minutes had passed before Prince Vasili with head erect
majestically entered the room. He was wearing his long coat with three
stars on his breast. He seemed to have grown thinner since the
morning; his eyes seemed larger than usual when he glanced round and
noticed Pierre. He went up to him, took his hand (a thing he never
used to do), and drew it downwards as if wishing to ascertain
whether it was firmly fixed on.
"Courage, courage, my friend! He has asked to see you. That is
well!" and he turned to go.
But Pierre thought it necessary to ask: "How is..." and hesitated,
not knowing whether it would be proper to call the dying man "the
count," yet ashamed to call him "father."
"He had another stroke about half an hour ago. Courage, my
Pierre's mind was in such a confused state that the word "stroke"
suggested to him a blow from something. He looked at Prince Vasili
in perplexity, and only later grasped that a stroke was an attack of
illness. Prince Vasili said something to Lorrain in passing and went
through the door on tiptoe. He could not walk well on tiptoe and his
whole body jerked at each step. The eldest princess followed him,
and the priests and deacons and some servants also went in at the
door. Through that door was heard a noise of things being moved about,
and at last Anna Mikhaylovna, still with the same expression, pale but
resolute in the discharge of duty, ran out and touching Pierre lightly
on the arm said:
"The divine mercy is inexhaustible! Unction is about to be
Pierre went in at the door, stepping on the soft carpet, and noticed
that the strange lady, the aide-de-camp, and some of the servants, all
followed him in, as if there were now no further need for permission
to enter that room.
Pierre well knew this large room divided by columns and an arch, its
walls hung round with Persian carpets. The part of the room behind the
columns, with a high silk-curtained mahogany bedstead on one side
and on the other an immense case containing icons, was brightly
illuminated with red light like a Russian church during evening
service. Under the gleaming icons stood a long invalid chair, and in
that chair on snowy-white smooth pillows, evidently freshly changed,
Pierre saw- covered to the waist by a bright green quilt- the
familiar, majestic figure of his father, Count Bezukhov, with that
gray mane of hair above his broad forehead which reminded one of a
lion, and the deep characteristically noble wrinkles of his
handsome, ruddy face. He lay just under the icons; his large thick
hands outside the quilt. Into the right hand, which was lying palm
downwards, a wax taper had been thrust between forefinger and thumb,
and an old servant, bending over from behind the chair, held it in
position. By the chair stood the priests, their long hair falling over
their magnificent glittering vestments, with lighted tapers in their
hands, slowly and solemnly conducting the service. A little behind
them stood the two younger princesses holding handkerchiefs to their
eyes, and just in front of them their eldest sister, Catiche, with a
vicious and determined look steadily fixed on the icons, as though
declaring to all that she could not answer for herself should she
glance round. Anna Mikhaylovna, with a meek, sorrowful, and
all-forgiving expression on her face, stood by the door near the
strange lady. Prince Vasili in front of the door, near the invalid
chair, a wax taper in his left hand, was leaning his left arm on the
carved back of a velvet chair he had turned round for the purpose, and
was crossing himself with his right hand, turning his eyes upward each
time he touched his forehead. His face wore a calm look of piety and
resignation to the will of God. "If you do not understand these
sentiments," he seemed to be saying, "so much the worse for you!"
Behind him stood the aide-de-camp, the doctors, and the menservants;
the men and women had separated as in church. All were silently
crossing themselves, and the reading of the church service, the
subdued chanting of deep bass voices, and in the intervals sighs and
the shuffling of feet were the only sounds that could be heard. Anna
Mikhaylovna, with an air of importance that showed that she felt she
quite knew what she was about, went across the room to where Pierre
was standing and gave him a taper. He lit it and, distracted by
observing those around him, began crossing himself with the hand
that held the taper.
Sophie, the rosy, laughter-loving, youngest princess with the
mole, watched him. She smiled, hid her face in her handkerchief, and
remained with it hidden for awhile; then looking up and seeing
Pierre she again began to laugh. She evidently felt unable to look
at him without laughing, but could not resist looking at him: so to be
out of temptation she slipped quietly behind one of the columns. In
the midst of the service the voices of the priests suddenly ceased,
they whispered to one another, and the old servant who was holding the
count's hand got up and said something to the ladies. Anna Mikhaylovna
stepped forward and, stooping over the dying man, beckoned to
Lorrain from behind her back. The French doctor held no taper; he
was leaning against one of the columns in a respectful attitude
implying that he, a foreigner, in spite of all differences of faith,
understood the full importance of the rite now being performed and
even approved of it. He now approached the sick man with the noiseless
step of one in full vigor of life, with his delicate white fingers
raised from the green quilt the hand that was free, and turning
sideways felt the pulse and reflected a moment. The sick man was given
something to drink, there was a stir around him, then the people
resumed their places and the service continued. During this interval
Pierre noticed that Prince Vasili left the chair on which he had
been leaning, and- with air which intimated that he knew what he was
about and if others did not understand him it was so much the worse
for them- did not go up to the dying man, but passed by him, joined
the eldest princess, and moved with her to the side of the room
where stood the high bedstead with its silken hangings. On leaving the
bed both Prince Vasili and the princess passed out by a back door, but
returned to their places one after the other before the service was
concluded. Pierre paid no more attention to this occurrence than to
the rest of what went on, having made up his mind once for all that
what he saw happening around him that evening was in some way
The chanting of the service ceased, and the voice of the priest
was heard respectfully congratulating the dying man on having received
the sacrament. The dying man lay as lifeless and immovable as
before. Around him everyone began to stir: steps were audible and
whispers, among which Anna Mikhaylovna's was the most distinct.
Pierre heard her say:
"Certainly he must be moved onto the bed; here it will be
The sick man was so surrounded by doctors, princesses, and
servants that Pierre could no longer see the reddish-yellow face
with its gray mane- which, though he saw other faces as well, he had
not lost sight of for a single moment during the whole service. He
judged by the cautious movements of those who crowded round the
invalid chair that they had lifted the dying man and were moving him.
"Catch hold of my arm or you'll drop him!" he heard one of the
servants say in a frightened whisper. "Catch hold from underneath.
Here!" exclaimed different voices; and the heavy breathing of the
bearers and the shuffling of their feet grew more hurried, as if the
weight they were carrying were too much for them.
As the bearers, among whom was Anna Mikhaylovna, passed the young
man he caught a momentary glimpse between their heads and backs of the
dying man's high, stout, uncovered chest and powerful shoulders,
raised by those who were holding him under the armpits, and of his
gray, curly, leonine head. This head, with its remarkably broad brow
and cheekbones, its handsome, sensual mouth, and its cold, majestic
expression, was not disfigured by the approach of death. It was the
same as Pierre remembered it three months before, when the count had
sent him to Petersburg. But now this head was swaying helplessly
with the uneven movements of the bearers, and the cold listless gaze
fixed itself upon nothing.
After a few minutes' bustle beside the high bedstead, those who
had carried the sick man dispersed. Anna Mikhaylovna touched
Pierre's hand and said, "Come." Pierre went with her to the bed on
which the sick man had been laid in a stately pose in keeping with the
ceremony just completed. He lay with his head propped high on the
pillows. His hands were symmetrically placed on the green silk
quilt, the palms downward. When Pierre came up the count was gazing
straight at him, but with a look the significance of which could not
be understood by mortal man. Either this look meant nothing but that
as long as one has eyes they must look somewhere, or it meant too
much. Pierre hesitated, not knowing what to do, and glanced
inquiringly at his guide. Anna Mikhaylovna made a hurried sign with
her eyes, glancing at the sick man's hand and moving her lips as if to
send it a kiss. Pierre, carefully stretching his neck so as not to
touch the quilt, followed her suggestion and pressed his lips to the
large boned, fleshy hand. Neither the hand nor a single muscle of
the count's face stirred. Once more Pierre looked questioningly at
Anna Mikhaylovna to see what he was to do next. Anna Mikhaylovna
with her eyes indicated a chair that stood beside the bed. Pierre
obediently sat down, his eyes asking if he were doing right. Anna
Mikhaylovna nodded approvingly. Again Pierre fell into the naively
symmetrical pose of an Egyptian statue, evidently distressed that
his stout and clumsy body took up so much room and doing his utmost to
look as small as possible. He looked at the count, who still gazed
at the spot where Pierre's face had been before he sat down. Anna
Mikhaylovna indicated by her attitude her consciousness of the
pathetic importance of these last moments of meeting between the
father and son. This lasted about two minutes, which to Pierre
seemed an hour. Suddenly the broad muscles and lines of the count's
face began to twitch. The twitching increased, the handsome mouth
was drawn to one side (only now did Pierre realize how near death
his father was), and from that distorted mouth issued an indistinct,
hoarse sound. Anna Mikhaylovna looked attentively at the sick man's
eyes, trying to guess what he wanted; she pointed first to Pierre,
then to some drink, then named Prince Vasili in an inquiring
whisper, then pointed to the quilt. The eyes and face of the sick
man showed impatience. He made an effort to look at the servant who
stood constantly at the head of the bed.
"Wants to turn on the other side," whispered the servant, and got up
to turn the count's heavy body toward the wall.
Pierre rose to help him.
While the count was being turned over, one of his arms fell back
helplessly and he made a fruitless effort to pull it forward.
Whether he noticed the look of terror with which Pierre regarded
that lifeless arm, or whether some other thought flitted across his
dying brain, at any rate he glanced at the refractory arm, at Pierre's
terror-stricken face, and again at the arm, and on his face a
feeble, piteous smile appeared, quite out of keeping with his
features, that seemed to deride his own helplessness. At sight of this
smile Pierre felt an unexpected quivering in his breast and a tickling
in his nose, and tears dimmed his eyes. The sick man was turned on
to his side with his face to the wall. He sighed.
"He is dozing," said Anna Mikhaylovna, observing that one of the
princesses was coming to take her turn at watching. "Let us go."
Pierre went out.
There was now no one in the reception room except Prince Vasili
and the eldest princess, who were sitting under the portrait of
Catherine the Great and talking eagerly. As soon as they saw Pierre
and his companion they became silent, and Pierre thought he saw the
princess hide something as she whispered:
"I can't bear the sight of that woman."
"Catiche has had tea served in the small drawing room," said
Prince Vasili to Anna Mikhaylovna. "Go and take something, my poor
Anna Mikhaylovna, or you will not hold out."
To Pierre he said nothing, merely giving his arm a sympathetic
squeeze below the shoulder. Pierre went with Anna Mikhaylovna into the
small drawing room.
"There is nothing so refreshing after a sleepless night as a cup
of this delicious Russian tea," Lorrain was saying with an air of
restrained animation as he stood sipping tea from a delicate Chinese
handleless cup before a table on which tea and a cold supper were laid
in the small circular room. Around the table all who were at Count
Bezukhov's house that night had gathered to fortify themselves. Pierre
well remembered this small circular drawing room with its mirrors
and little tables. During balls given at the house Pierre, who did not
know how to dance, had liked sitting in this room to watch the
ladies who, as they passed through in their ball dresses with diamonds
and pearls on their bare shoulders, looked at themselves in the
brilliantly lighted mirrors which repeated their reflections several
times. Now this same room was dimly lighted by two candles. On one
small table tea things and supper dishes stood in disorder, and in the
middle of the night a motley throng of people sat there, not
merrymaking, but somberly whispering, and betraying by every word
and movement that they none of them forgot what was happening and what
was about to happen in the bedroom. Pierre did not eat anything though
he would very much have liked to. He looked inquiringly at his
monitress and saw that she was again going on tiptoe to the
reception room where they had left Prince Vasili and the eldest
princess. Pierre concluded that this also was essential, and after a
short interval followed her. Anna Mikhaylovna was standing beside
the princess, and they were both speaking in excited whispers.
"Permit me, Princess, to know what is necessary and what is not
necessary," said the younger of the two speakers, evidently in the
same state of excitement as when she had slammed the door of her room.
"But, my dear princess," answered Anna Mikhaylovna blandly but
impressively, blocking the way to the bedroom and preventing the other
from passing, "won't this be too much for poor Uncle at a moment
when he needs repose? Worldly conversation at a moment when his soul
is already prepared..."
Prince Vasili was seated in an easy chair in his familiar
attitude, with one leg crossed high above the other. His cheeks, which
were so flabby that they looked heavier below, were twitching
violently; but he wore the air of a man little concerned in what the
two ladies were saying.
"Come, my dear Anna Mikhaylovna, let Catiche do as she pleases.
You know how fond the count is of her."
"I don't even know what is in this paper," said the younger of the
two ladies, addressing Prince Vasili and pointing to an inlaid
portfolio she held in her hand. "All I know is that his real will is
in his writing table, and this is a paper he has forgotten...."
She tried to pass Anna Mikhaylovna, but the latter sprang so as to
bar her path.
"I know, my dear, kind princess," said Anna Mikhaylovna, seizing the
portfolio so firmly that it was plain she would not let go easily.
"Dear princess, I beg and implore you, have some pity on him! Je
vous en conjure..."
The princess did not reply. Their efforts in the struggle for the
portfolio were the only sounds audible, but it was evident that if the
princess did speak, her words would not be flattering to Anna
Mikhaylovna. Though the latter held on tenaciously, her voice lost
none of its honeyed firmness and softness.
"Pierre, my dear, come here. I think he will not be out of place
in a family consultation; is it not so, Prince?"
"Why don't you speak, cousin?" suddenly shrieked the princess so
loud that those in the drawing room heard her and were startled.
"Why do you remain silent when heaven knows who permits herself to
interfere, making a scene on the very threshold of a dying man's room?
Intriguer!" she hissed viciously, and tugged with all her might at the
But Anna Mikhaylovna went forward a step or two to keep her hold
on the portfolio, and changed her grip.
Prince Vasili rose. "Oh!" said he with reproach and surprise,
"this is absurd! Come, let go I tell you."
The princess let go.
"And you too!"
But Anna Mikhaylovna did not obey him.
"Let go, I tell you! I will take the responsibility. I myself will
go and ask him, I!... does that satisfy you?"
"But, Prince," said Anna Mikhaylovna, "after such a solemn
sacrament, allow him a moment's peace! Here, Pierre, tell them your
opinion," said she, turning to the young man who, having come quite
close, was gazing with astonishment at the angry face of the
princess which had lost all dignity, and at the twitching cheeks of
"Remember that you will answer for the consequences," said Prince
Vasili severely. "You don't know what you are doing."
"Vile woman!" shouted the princess, darting unexpectedly at Anna
Mikhaylovna and snatching the portfolio from her.
Prince Vasili bent his head and spread out his hands.
At this moment that terrible door, which Pierre had watched so
long and which had always opened so quietly, burst noisily open and
banged against the wall, and the second of the three sisters rushed
out wringing her hands.
"What are you doing!" she cried vehemently. "He is dying and you
leave me alone with him!"
Her sister dropped the portfolio. Anna Mikhaylovna, stooping,
quickly caught up the object of contention and ran into the bedroom.
The eldest princess and Prince Vasili, recovering themselves, followed
her. A few minutes later the eldest sister came out with a pale hard
face, again biting her underlip. At sight of Pierre her expression
showed an irrepressible hatred.
"Yes, now you may be glad!" said she; "this is what you have been
waiting for." And bursting into tears she hid her face in her
handkerchief and rushed from the room.
Prince Vasili came next. He staggered to the sofa on which Pierre
was sitting and dropped onto it, covering his face with his hand.
Pierre noticed that he was pale and that his jaw quivered and shook as
if in an ague.
"Ah, my friend!" said he, taking Pierre by the elbow; and there
was in his voice a sincerity and weakness Pierre had never observed in
it before. "How often we sin, how much we deceive, and all for what? I
am near sixty, dear friend... I too... All will end in death, all!
Death is awful..." and he burst into tears.
Anna Mikhaylovna came out last. She approached Pierre with slow,
"Pierre!" she said.
Pierre gave her an inquiring look. She kissed the young man on his
forehead, wetting him with her tears. Then after a pause she said:
"He is no more...."
Pierre looked at her over his spectacles.
"Come, I will go with you. Try to weep, nothing gives such relief as
She led him into the dark drawing room and Pierre was glad no one
could see his face. Anna Mikhaylovna left him, and when she returned
he was fast asleep with his head on his arm.
In the morning Anna Mikhaylovna said to Pierre:
"Yes, my dear, this is a great loss for us all, not to speak of you.
But God will support you: you are young, and are now, I hope, in
command of an immense fortune. The will has not yet been opened. I
know you well enough to be sure that this will not turn your head, but
it imposes duties on you, and you must be a man."
Pierre was silent.
"Perhaps later on I may tell you, my dear boy, that if I had not
been there, God only knows what would have happened! You know, Uncle
promised me only the day before yesterday not to forget Boris. But
he had no time. I hope, my dear friend, you will carry out your
Pierre understood nothing of all this and coloring shyly looked in
silence at Princess Anna Mikhaylovna. After her talk with Pierre, Anna
Mikhaylovna returned to the Rostovs' and went to bed. On waking in the
morning she told the Rostovs and all her acquaintances the details
of Count Bezukhov's death. She said the count had died as she would
herself wish to die, that his end was not only touching but
edifying. As to the last meeting between father and son, it was so
touching that she could not think of it without tears, and did not
know which had behaved better during those awful moments- the father
who so remembered everything and everybody at last and had
spoken such pathetic words to the son, or Pierre, whom it had been
pitiful to see, so stricken was he with grief, though he tried hard to
hide it in order not to sadden his dying father. "It is painful, but
it does one good. It uplifts the soul to see such men as the old count
and his worthy son," said she. Of the behavior of the eldest
princess and Prince Vasili she spoke disapprovingly, but in whispers
and as a great secret.
At Bald Hills, Prince Nicholas Andreevich Bolkonski's estate, the
arrival of young Prince Andrew and his wife was daily expected, but
this expectation did not upset the regular routine of life in the
old prince's household. General in Chief Prince Nicholas Andreevich
(nicknamed in society, "the King of Prussia") ever since the Emperor
Paul had exiled him to his country estate had lived there continuously
with his daughter, Princess Mary, and her companion, Mademoiselle
Bourienne. Though in the new reign he was free to return to the
capitals, he still continued to live in the country, remarking that
anyone who wanted to see him could come the hundred miles from
Moscow to Bald Hills, while he himself needed no one and nothing. He
used to say that there are only two sources of human vice- idleness
and superstition, and only two virtues- activity and intelligence.
He himself undertook his daughter's education, and to develop these
two cardinal virtues in her gave her lessons in algebra and geometry
till she was twenty, and arranged her life so that her whole time
was occupied. He was himself always occupied: writing his memoirs,
solving problems in higher mathematics, turning snuffboxes on a lathe,
working in the garden, or superintending the building that was
always going on at his estate. As regularity is a prime condition
facilitating activity, regularity in his household was carried to
the highest point of exactitude. He always came to table under
precisely the same conditions, and not only at the same hour but at
the same minute. With those about him, from his daughter to his serfs,
the prince was sharp and invariably exacting, so that without being
a hardhearted man he inspired such fear and respect as few hardhearted
men would have aroused. Although he was in retirement and had now no
influence in political affairs, every high official appointed to the
province in which the prince's estate lay considered it his duty to
visit him and waited in the lofty antechamber ante chamber just as the
architect, gardener, or Princess Mary did, till the prince appeared
punctually to the appointed hour. Everyone sitting in this antechamber
experienced the same feeling of respect and even fear when the
enormously high study door opened and showed the figure of a rather
small old man, with powdered wig, small withered hands, and bushy gray
eyebrows which, when he frowned, sometimes hid the gleam of his
shrewd, youthfully glittering eyes.
On the morning of the day that the young couple were to arrive,
Princess Mary entered the antechamber as usual at the time appointed
for the morning greeting, crossing herself with trepidation and
repeating a silent prayer. Every morning she came in like that, and
every morning prayed that the daily interview might pass off well.
An old powdered manservant who was sitting in the antechamber rose
quietly and said in a whisper: "Please walk in."
Through the door came the regular hum of a lathe. The princess
timidly opened the door which moved noiselessly and easily. She paused
at the entrance. The prince was working at the lathe and after
glancing round continued his work.
The enormous study was full of things evidently in constant use. The
large table covered with books and plans, the tall glass-fronted
bookcases with keys in the locks, the high desk for writing while
standing up, on which lay an open exercise book, and the lathe with
tools laid ready to hand and shavings scattered around- all
indicated continuous, varied, and orderly activity. The motion of
the small foot shod in a Tartar boot embroidered with silver, and
the firm pressure of the lean sinewy hand, showed that the prince
still possessed the tenacious endurance and vigor of hardy old age.
After a few more turns of the lathe he removed his foot from the
pedal, wiped his chisel, dropped it into a leather pouch attached to
the lathe, and, approaching the table, summoned his daughter. He never
gave his children a blessing, so he simply held out his bristly
cheek (as yet unshaven) and, regarding her tenderly and attentively,
"Quite well? All right then, sit down." He took the exercise book
containing lessons in geometry written by himself and drew up a
chair with his foot.
"For tomorrow!" said he, quickly finding the page and making a
scratch from one paragraph to another with his hard nail.
The princess bent over the exercise book on the table.
"Wait a bit, here's a letter for you," said the old man suddenly,
taking a letter addressed in a woman's hand from a bag hanging above
the table, onto which he threw it.
At the sight of the letter red patches showed themselves on the
princess' face. She took it quickly and bent her head over it.
"From Heloise?" asked the prince with a cold smile that showed his
still sound, yellowish teeth.
"Yes, it's from Julie," replied the princess with a timid glance and
a timid smile.
"I'll let two more letters pass, but the third I'll read," said
the prince sternly; "I'm afraid you write much nonsense. I'll read the
"Read this if you like, Father," said the princess, blushing still
more and holding out the letter.
"The third, I said the third!" cried the prince abruptly, pushing
the letter away, and leaning his elbows on the table he drew toward
him the exercise book containing geometrical figures.
"Well, madam," he began, stooping over the book close to his
daughter and placing an arm on the back of the chair on which she sat,
so that she felt herself surrounded on all sides by the acrid scent of
old age and tobacco, which she had known so long. "Now, madam, these
triangles are equal; please note that the angle ABC..."
The princess looked in a scared way at her father's eyes
glittering close to her; the red patches on her face came and went,
and it was plain that she understood nothing and was so frightened
that her fear would prevent her understanding any of her father's
further explanations, however clear they might be. Whether it was
the teacher's fault or the pupil's, this same thing happened every
day: the princess' eyes grew dim, she could not see and could not hear
anything, but was only conscious of her stern father's withered face
close to her, of his breath and the smell of him, and could think only
of how to get away quickly to her own room to make out the problem
in peace. The old man was beside himself: moved the chair on which
he was sitting noisily backward and forward, made efforts to control
himself and not become vehement, but almost always did become
vehement, scolded, and sometimes flung the exercise book away.
The princess gave a wrong answer.
"Well now, isn't she a fool!" shouted the prince, pushing the book
aside and turning sharply away; but rising immediately, he paced up
and down, lightly touched his daughter's hair and sat down again.
He drew up his chair. and continued to explain.
"This won't do, Princess; it won't do," said he, when Princess Mary,
having taken and closed the exercise book with the next day's
lesson, was about to leave: "Mathematics are most important, madam!
I don't want to have you like our silly ladies. Get used to it and
you'll like it," and he patted her cheek. "It will drive all the
nonsense out of your head."
She turned to go, but he stopped her with a gesture and took an
uncut book from the high desk.
"Here is some sort of Key to the Mysteries that your Heloise has
sent you. Religious! I don't interfere with anyone's belief... I
have looked at it. Take it. Well, now go. Go."
He patted her on the shoulder and himself closed the door after her.
Princess Mary went back to her room with the sad, scared
expression that rarely left her and which made her plain, sickly
face yet plainer. She sat down at her writing table, on which stood
miniature portraits and which was littered with books and papers.
The princess was as untidy as her father was tidy. She put down the
geometry book and eagerly broke the seal of her letter. It was from
her most intimate friend from childhood; that same Julie Karagina
who had been at the Rostovs' name-day party.
Julie wrote in French:
Dear and precious Friend, How terrible and frightful a thing is
separation! Though I tell myself that half my life and half my
happiness are wrapped up in you, and that in spite of the distance
separating us our hearts are united by indissoluble bonds, my heart
rebels against fate and in spite of the pleasures and distractions
around me I cannot overcome a certain secret sorrow that has been in
my heart ever since we parted. Why are we not together as we were last
summer, in your big study, on the blue sofa, the confidential sofa?
Why cannot I now, as three months ago, draw fresh moral strength
from your look, so gentle, calm, and penetrating, a look I loved so
well and seem to see before me as I write?
Having read thus far, Princess Mary sighed and glanced into the
mirror which stood on her right. It reflected a weak, ungraceful
figure and thin face. Her eyes, always sad, now looked with particular
hopelessness at her reflection in the glass. "She flatters me,"
thought the princess, turning away and continuing to read. But Julie
did not flatter her friend, the princess' eyes- large, deep and
luminous (it seemed as if at times there radiated from them shafts
of warm light)- were so beautiful that very often in spite of the
plainness of her face they gave her an attraction more powerful than
that of beauty. But the princess never saw the beautiful expression of
her own eyes- the look they had when she was not thinking of
herself. As with everyone, her face assumed a forced unnatural
expression as soon as she looked in a glass. She went on reading:
All Moscow talks of nothing but war. One of my two brothers is
already abroad, the other is with the Guards, who are starting on
their march to the frontier. Our dear Emperor has left Petersburg
and it is thought intends to expose his precious person to the chances
of war. God grant that the Corsican monster who is destroying the
peace of Europe may be overthrown by the angel whom it has pleased the
Almighty, in His goodness, to give us as sovereign! To say nothing
of my brothers, this war has deprived me of one of the associations
nearest my heart. I mean young Nicholas Rostov, who with his
enthusiasm could not bear to remain inactive and has left the
university to join the army. I will confess to you, dear Mary, that in
spite of his extreme youth his departure for the army was a great
grief to me. This young man, of whom I spoke to you last summer, is so
noble-minded and full of that real youthfulness which one seldom finds
nowadays among our old men of twenty and, particularly, he is so frank
and has so much heart. He is so pure and poetic that my relations with
him, transient as they were, have been one of the sweetest comforts to
my poor heart, which has already suffered so much. Someday I will tell
you about our parting and all that was said then. That is still too
fresh. Ah, dear friend, you are happy not to know these poignant
joys and sorrows. You are fortunate, for the latter are generally
the stronger! I know very well that Count Nicholas is too young ever
to be more to me than a friend, but this sweet friendship, this poetic
and pure intimacy, were what my heart needed. But enough of this!
The chief news, about which all Moscow gossips, is the death of old
Count Bezukhov, and his inheritance. Fancy! The three princesses
have received very little, Prince Vasili nothing, and it is Monsieur
Pierre who has inherited all the property and has besides been
recognized as legitimate; so that he is now Count Bezukhov and
possessor of the finest fortune in Russia. It is rumored that Prince
Vasili played a very despicable part in this affair and that he
returned to Petersburg quite crestfallen.
I confess I understand very little about all these matters of
wills and inheritance; but I do know that since this young man, whom
we all used to know as plain Monsieur Pierre, has become Count
Bezukhov and the owner of one of the largest fortunes in Russia, I
am much amused to watch the change in the tone and manners of the
mammas burdened by marriageable daughters, and of the young ladies
themselves, toward him, though, between you and me, he always seemed
to me a poor sort of fellow. As for the past two years people have
amused themselves by finding husbands for me (most of whom I don't
even know), the matchmaking chronicles of Moscow now speak of me as
the future Countess Bezukhova. But you will understand that I have
no desire for the post. A propos of marriages: do you know that a
while ago that universal auntie Anna Mikhaylovna told me, under the
seal of strict secrecy, of a plan of marriage for you. It is neither
more nor less than with Prince Vasili's son Anatole, whom they wish to
reform by marrying him to someone rich and distinguee, and it is on
you that his relations' choice has fallen. I don't know what you
will think of it, but I consider it my duty to let you know of it.
He is said to be very handsome and a terrible scapegrace. That is
all I have been able to find out about him.
But enough of gossip. I am at the end of my second sheet of paper,
and Mamma has sent for me to go and dine at the Apraksins'. Read the
mystical book I am sending you; it has an enormous success here.
Though there are things in it difficult for the feeble human mind to
grasp, it is an admirable book which calms and elevates the soul.
Adieu! Give my respects to monsieur your father and my compliments
to Mademoiselle Bourienne. I embrace you as I love you.
P.S. Let me have news of your brother and his charming little wife.
The princess pondered awhile with a thoughtful smile and her
luminous eyes lit up so that her face was entirely transformed. Then
she suddenly rose and with her heavy tread went up to the table. She
took a sheet of paper and her hand moved rapidly over it. This is
the reply she wrote, also in French:
Dear and precious Friend, Your letter of the 13th has given me great
delight. So you still love me, my romantic Julie? Separation, of which
you say so much that is bad, does not seem to have had its usual
effect on you. You complain of our separation. What then should I say,
if I dared complain, I who am deprived of all who are dear to me?
Ah, if we had not religion to console us life would be very sad. Why
do you suppose that I should look severely on your affection for
that young man? On such matters I am only severe with myself. I
understand such feelings in others, and if never having felt them I
cannot approve of them, neither do I condemn them. Only it seems to me
that Christian love, love of one's neighbor, love of one's enemy, is
worthier, sweeter, and better than the feelings which the beautiful
eyes of a young man can inspire in a romantic and loving young girl
The news of Count Bezukhov's death reached us before your letter and
my father was much affected by it. He says the count was the last
representative but one of the great century, and that it is his own
turn now, but that he will do all he can to let his turn come as
late as possible. God preserve us from that terrible misfortune!
I cannot agree with you about Pierre, whom I knew as a child. He
always seemed to me to have an excellent heart, and that is the
quality I value most in people. As to his inheritance and the part
played by Prince Vasili, it is very sad for both. Ah, my dear
friend, our divine Saviour's words, that it is easier for a camel to
go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the
Kingdom of God, are terribly true. I pity Prince Vasili but am still
more sorry for Pierre. So young, and burdened with such riches- to
what temptations he will be exposed! If I were asked what I desire
most on earth, it would be to be poorer than the poorest beggar. A
thousand thanks, dear friend, for the volume you have sent me and
which has such success in Moscow. Yet since you tell me that among
some good things it contains others which our weak human understanding
cannot grasp, it seems to me rather useless to spend time in reading
what is unintelligible and can therefore bear no fruit. I never
could understand the fondness some people have for confusing their
minds by dwelling on mystical books that merely awaken their doubts
and excite their imagination, giving them a bent for exaggeration
quite contrary to Christian simplicity. Let us rather read the
Epistles and Gospels. Let us not seek to penetrate what mysteries they
contain; for how can we, miserable sinners that we are, know the
terrible and holy secrets of Providence while we remain in this
flesh which forms an impenetrable veil between us and the Eternal? Let
us rather confine ourselves to studying those sublime rules which
our divine Saviour has left for our guidance here below. Let us try to
conform to them and follow them, and let us be persuaded that the less
we let our feeble human minds roam, the better we shall please God,
who rejects all knowledge that does not come from Him; and the less we
seek to fathom what He has been pleased to conceal from us, the sooner
will He vouchsafe its revelation to us through His divine Spirit.
My father has not spoken to me of a suitor, but has only told me
that he has received a letter and is expecting a visit from Prince
Vasili. In regard to this project of marriage for me, I will tell you,
dear sweet friend, that I look on marriage as a divine institution
to which we must conform. However painful it may be to me, should
the Almighty lay the duties of wife and mother upon me I
shall try to perform them as faithfully as I can, without
disquieting myself by examining my feelings toward him whom He may
give me for husband.
I have had a letter from my brother, who announces his speedy
arrival at Bald Hills with his wife. This pleasure will be but a brief
one, however, for he will leave, us again to take part in this unhappy
war into which we have been drawn, God knows how or why. Not only
where you are- at the heart of affairs and of the world- is the talk
all of war, even here amid fieldwork and the calm of nature- which
townsfolk consider characteristic of the country- rumors of war are
heard and painfully felt. My father talks of nothing but marches and
countermarches, things of which I understand nothing; and the day
before yesterday during my daily walk through the village I
witnessed a heartrending scene.... It was a convoy of conscripts
enrolled from our people and starting to join the army. You should
have seen the state of the mothers, wives, and children of the men who
were going and should have heard the sobs. It seems as though
mankind has forgotten the laws of its divine Saviour, Who preached
love and forgiveness of injuries- and that men attribute the
greatest merit to skill in killing one another.
Adieu, dear and kind friend; may our divine Saviour and His most
Holy Mother keep you in their holy and all-powerful care!
"Ah, you are sending off a letter, Princess? I have already
dispatched mine. I have written to my poor mother," said the smiling
Mademoiselle Bourienne rapidly, in her pleasant mellow tones and
with guttural r's. She brought into Princess Mary's strenuous,
mournful, and gloomy world a quite different atmosphere, careless,
lighthearted, and self-satisfied.
"Princess, I must warn you," she added, lowering her voice and
evidently listening to herself with pleasure, and speaking with
exaggerated grasseyement, "the prince has been scolding Michael
Ivanovich. He is in a very bad humor, very morose. Be prepared."
"Ah, dear friend," replied Princess Mary, "I have asked you never to
warn me of the humor my father is in. I do not allow myself to judge
him and would not have others do so."
The princess glanced at her watch and, seeing that she was five
minutes late in starting her practice on the clavichord, went into the
sitting room with a look of alarm. Between twelve and two o'clock,
as the day was mapped out, the prince rested and the princess played
The gray-haired valet was sitting drowsily listening to the
snoring of the prince, who was in his large study. From the far side
of the house through the closed doors came the sound of difficult
passages- twenty times repeated- of a sonata by Dussek.
Just then a closed carriage and another with a hood drove up to
the porch. Prince Andrew got out of the carriage, helped his little
wife to alight, and let her pass into the house before him. Old
Tikhon, wearing a wig, put his head out of the door of the
antechamber, reported in a whisper that the prince was sleeping, and
hastily closed the door. Tikhon knew that neither the son's arrival
nor any other unusual event must be allowed to disturb the appointed
order of the day. Prince Andrew apparently knew this as well as
Tikhon; he looked at his watch as if to ascertain whether his father's
habits had changed since he was at home last, and, having assured
himself that they had not, he turned to his wife.
"He will get up in twenty minutes. Let us go across to Mary's room,"
The little princess had grown stouter during this time, but her eyes
and her short, downy, smiling lip lifted when she began to speak
just as merrily and prettily as ever.
"Why, this is a palace!" she said to her husband, looking around
with the expression with which people compliment their host at a ball.
"Let's come, quick, quick!" And with a glance round, she smiled at
Tikhon, at her husband, and at the footman who accompanied them.
"Is that Mary practicing? Let's go quietly and take her by
Prince Andrew followed her with a courteous but sad expression.
"You've grown older, Tikhon," he said in passing to the old man, who
kissed his hand.
Before they reached the room from which the sounds of the clavichord
came, the pretty, fair haired Frenchwoman, Mademoiselle Bourienne,
rushed out apparently beside herself with delight.
"Ah! what joy for the princess!" exclaimed she: "At last! I must let
"No, no, please not... You are Mademoiselle Bourienne," said the
little princess, kissing her. "I know you already through my
sister-in-law's friendship for you. She was not expecting us?"
They went up to the door of the sitting room from which came the
sound of the oft-repeated passage of the sonata. Prince Andrew stopped
and made a grimace, as if expecting something unpleasant.
The little princess entered the room. The passage broke off in the
middle, a cry was heard, then Princess Mary's heavy tread and the
sound of kissing. When Prince Andrew went in the two princesses, who
had only met once before for a short time at his wedding, were in each
other's arms warmly pressing their lips to whatever place they
happened to touch. Mademoiselle Bourienne stood near them pressing her
hand to her heart, with a beatific smile and obviously equally ready
to cry or to laugh. Prince Andrew shrugged his shoulders and
frowned, as lovers of music do when they hear a false note. The two
women let go of one another, and then, as if afraid of being too late,
seized each other's hands, kissing them and pulling them away, and
again began kissing each other on the face, and then to Prince
Andrew's surprise both began to cry and kissed again. Mademoiselle
Bourienne also began to cry. Prince Andrew evidently felt ill at ease,
but to the two women it seemed quite natural that they should cry, and
apparently it never entered their heads that it could have been
otherwise at this meeting.
"Ah! my dear!... Ah! Mary!" they suddenly exclaimed, and then
laughed. "I dreamed last night..."- "You were not expecting us?..."-
"Ah! Mary, you have got thinner?..." "And you have grown stouter!..."
"I knew the princess at once," put in Mademoiselle Bourienne.
"And I had no idea!..." exclaimed Princess Mary. "Ah, Andrew, I
did not see you."
Prince Andrew and his sister, hand in hand, kissed one another,
and he told her she was still the same crybaby as ever. Princess
Mary had turned toward her brother, and through her tears the
loving, warm, gentle look of her large luminous eyes, very beautiful
at that moment, rested on Prince Andrew's face.
The little princess talked incessantly, her short, downy upper lip
continually and rapidly touching her rosy nether lip when necessary
and drawing up again next moment when her face broke into a smile of
glittering teeth and sparkling eyes. She told of an accident they
had had on the Spasski Hill which might have been serious for her in
her condition, and immediately after that informed them that she had
left all her clothes in Petersburg and that heaven knew what she would
have to dress in here; and that Andrew had quite changed, and that
Kitty Odyntsova had married an old man, and that there was a suitor
for Mary, a real one, but that they would talk of that later. Princess
Mary was still looking silently at her brother and her beautiful
eyes were full of love and sadness. It was plain that she was
following a train of thought independent of her sister-in-law's words.
In the midst of a description of the last Petersburg fete she
addressed her brother:
"So you are really going to the war, Andrew?" she said sighing.
Lise sighed too.
"Yes, and even tomorrow," replied her brother.
"He is leaving me here, God knows why, when he might have had
Princess Mary did not listen to the end, but continuing her train of
thought turned to her sister-in-law with a tender glance at her
"Is it certain?" she said.
The face of the little princess changed. She sighed and said:
"Yes, quite certain. Ah! it is very dreadful..."
Her lip descended. She brought her face close to her sister-in-law's
and unexpectedly again began to cry.
"She needs rest," said Prince Andrew with a frown. "Don't you, Lise?
Take her to your room and I'll go to Father. How is he? Just the
"Yes, just the same. Though I don't know what your opinion will be,"
answered the princess joyfully.
"And are the hours the same? And the walks in the avenues? And the
lathe?" asked Prince Andrew with a scarcely perceptible smile which
showed that, in spite of all his love and respect for his father, he
was aware of his weaknesses.
"The hours are the same, and the lathe, and also the mathematics and
my geometry lessons," said Princess Mary gleefully, as if her
lessons in geometry were among the greatest delights of her life.
When the twenty minutes had elapsed and the time had come for the
old prince to get up, Tikhon came to call the young prince to his
father. The old man made a departure from his usual routine in honor
of his son's arrival: he gave orders to admit him to his apartments
while he dressed for dinner. The old prince always dressed in
old-fashioned style, wearing an antique coat and powdered hair; and
when Prince Andrew entered his father's dressing room (not with the
contemptuous look and manner he wore in drawing rooms, but with the
animated face with which he talked to Pierre), the old man was sitting
on a large leather-covered chair, wrapped in a powdering mantle,
entrusting his head to Tikhon.
"Ah! here's the warrior! Wants to vanquish Buonaparte?" said the old
man, shaking his powdered head as much as the tail, which Tikhon was
holding fast to plait, would allow.
"You at least must tackle him properly, or else if he goes on like
this he'll soon have us, too, for his subjects! How are you?" And he
held out his cheek.
The old man was in a good temper after his nap before dinner. (He
used to say that a nap "after dinner was silver- before dinner,
golden.") He cast happy, sidelong glances at his son from under his
thick, bushy eyebrows. Prince Andrew went up and kissed his father
on the spot indicated to him. He made no reply on his father's
favorite topic- making fun of the military men of the day, and more
particularly of Bonaparte.
"Yes, Father, I have come come to you and brought my wife who is
pregnant," said Prince Andrew, following every movement of his
father's face with an eager and respectful look. "How is your health?"
"Only fools and rakes fall ill, my boy. You know me: I am busy
from morning till night and abstemious, so of course I am well."
"Thank God," said his son smiling.
"God has nothing to do with it! Well, go on," he continued,
returning to his hobby; "tell me how the Germans have taught you to
fight Bonaparte by this new science you call 'strategy.'"
Prince Andrew smiled.
"Give me time to collect my wits, Father," said he, with a smile
that showed that his father's foibles did not prevent his son from
loving and honoring him. "Why, I have not yet had time to settle
"Nonsense, nonsense!" cried the old man, shaking his pigtail to
see whether it was firmly plaited, and grasping his by the hand.
"The house for your wife is ready. Princess Mary will take her there
and show her over, and they'll talk nineteen to the dozen. That's
their woman's way! I am glad to have her. Sit down and talk. About
Mikhelson's army I understand- Tolstoy's too... a simultaneous
expedition.... But what's the southern army to do? Prussia is
neutral... I know that. What about Austria?" said he, rising from
his chair and pacing up and down the room followed by Tikhon, who
ran after him, handing him different articles of clothing. "What of
Sweden? How will they cross Pomerania?"
Prince Andrew, seeing that his father insisted, began- at first
reluctantly, but gradually with more and more animation, and from
habit changing unconsciously from Russian to French as he went on-
to explain the plan of operation for the coming campaign. He explained
how an army, ninety thousand strong, was to threaten Prussia so as
to bring her out of her neutrality and draw her into the war; how part
of that army was to join some Swedish forces at Stralsund; how two
hundred and twenty thousand Austrians, with a hundred thousand
Russians, were to operate in Italy and on the Rhine; how fifty
thousand Russians and as many English were to land at Naples, and
how a total force of five hundred thousand men was to attack the
French from different sides. The old prince did not evince the least
interest during this explanation, but as if he were not listening to
it continued to dress while walking about, and three times
unexpectedly interrupted. Once he stopped it by shouting: "The white
one, the white one!"
This meant that Tikhon was not handing him the waistcoat he
wanted. Another time he interrupted, saying:
"And will she soon be confined?" and shaking his head
reproachfully said: "That's bad! Go on, go on."
The third interruption came when Prince Andrew was finishing his
description. The old man began to sing, in the cracked voice of old
age: "Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre. Dieu sait quand reviendra."*
*"Marlborough is going to the wars; God knows when he'll return."
His son only smiled.
"I don't say it's a plan I approve of," said the son; "I am only
telling you what it is. Napoleon has also formed his plan by now,
not worse than this one."
"Well, you've told me nothing new," and the old man repeated,
meditatively and rapidly:
"Dieu sait quand reviendra. Go to the dining room."
At the appointed hour the prince, powdered and shaven, entered the
dining room where his daughter-in-law, Princess Mary, and Mademoiselle
Bourienne were already awaiting him together with his architect, who
by a strange caprice of his employer's was admitted to table though
the position of that insignificant individual was such as could
certainly not have caused him to expect that honor. The prince, who
generally kept very strictly to social distinctions and rarely
admitted even important government officials to his table, had
unexpectedly selected Michael Ivanovich (who always went into a corner
to blow his nose on his checked handkerchief) to illustrate the theory
that all men are equals, and had more than once impressed on his
daughter that Michael Ivanovich was "not a whit worse than you or
I." At dinner the prince usually spoke to the taciturn Michael
Ivanovich more often than to anyone else.
In the dining room, which like all the rooms in the house was
exceedingly lofty, the members of the household and the footmen- one
behind each chair- stood waiting for the prince to enter. The head
butler, napkin on arm, was scanning the setting of the table, making
signs to the footmen, and anxiously glancing from the clock to the
door by which the prince was to enter. Prince Andrew was looking at
a large gilt frame, new to him, containing the genealogical tree of
the Princes Bolkonski, opposite which hung another such frame with a
badly painted portrait (evidently by the hand of the artist
belonging to the estate) of a ruling prince, in a crown- an alleged
descendant of Rurik and ancestor of the Bolkonskis. Prince Andrew,
looking again at that genealogical tree, shook his head, laughing as a
man laughs who looks at a portrait so characteristic of the original
as to be amusing.
"How thoroughly like him that is!" he said to Princess Mary, who had
come up to him.
Princess Mary looked at her brother in surprise. She did not
understand what he was laughing at. Everything her father did inspired
her with reverence and was beyond question.
"Everyone has his Achilles' heel," continued Prince Andrew.
"Fancy, with his powerful mind, indulging in such nonsense!"
Princess Mary could not understand the boldness of her brother's
criticism and was about to reply, when the expected footsteps were
heard coming from the study. The prince walked in quickly and jauntily
as was his wont, as if intentionally contrasting the briskness of
his manners with the strict formality of his house. At that moment the
great clock struck two and another with a shrill tone joined in from
the drawing room. The prince stood still; his lively glittering eyes
from under their thick, bushy eyebrows sternly scanned all present and
rested on the little princess. She felt, as courtiers do when the Tsar
enters, the sensation of fear and respect which the old man inspired
in all around him. He stroked her hair and then patted her awkwardly
on the back of her neck.
"I'm glad, glad, to see you," he said, looking attentively into
her eyes, and then quickly went to his place and sat down. "Sit
down, sit down! Sit down, Michael Ianovich!"
He indicated a place beside him to his daughter-in-law. A footman
moved the chair for her.
"Ho, ho!" said the old man, casting his eyes on her rounded
figure. "You've been in a hurry. That's bad!"
He laughed in his usual dry, cold, unpleasant way, with his lips
only and not with his eyes.
"You must walk, walk as much as possible, as much as possible," he
The little princess did not, or did not wish to, hear his words. She
was silent and seemed confused. The prince asked her about her father,
and she began to smile and talk. He asked about mutual
acquaintances, and she became still more animated and chattered away
giving him greetings from various people and retailing the town
"Countess Apraksina, poor thing, has lost her husband and she has
cried her eyes out," she said, growing more and more lively.
As she became animated the prince looked at her more and more
sternly, and suddenly, as if he had studied her sufficiently and had
formed a definite idea of her, he turned away and addressed Michael
"Well, Michael Ivanovich, our Bonaparte will be having a bad time of
it. Prince Andrew" (he always spoke thus of his son) "has been telling
me what forces are being collected against him! While you and I
never thought much of him."
Michael Ivanovich did not at all know when "you and I" had said such
things about Bonaparte, but understanding that he was wanted as a
peg on which to hang the prince's favorite topic, he looked
inquiringly at the young prince, wondering what would follow.
"He is a great tactician!" said the prince to his son, pointing to
And the conversation again turned on the war, on Bonaparte, and
the generals and statesmen of the day. The old prince seemed convinced
not only that all the men of the day were mere babies who did not know
the A B C of war or of politics, and that Bonaparte was an
insignificant little Frenchy, successful only because there were no
longer any Potemkins or Suvorovs left to oppose him; but he was also
convinced that there were no political difficulties in Europe and no
real war, but only a sort of puppet show at which the men of the day
were playing, pretending to do something real. Prince Andrew gaily
bore with his father's ridicule of the new men, and drew him on and
listened to him with evident pleasure.
"The past always seems good," said he, "but did not Suvorov
himself fall into a trap Moreau set him, and from which he did not
know how to escape?"
"Who told you that? Who?" cried the prince. "Suvorov!" And he jerked
away his plate, which Tikhon briskly caught. "Suvorov!... Consider,
Prince Andrew. Two... Frederick and Suvorov; Moreau!... Moreau would
have been a prisoner if Suvorov had had a free hand; but he had the
Hofs-kriegs-wurst-schnapps-Rath on his hands. It would have puzzled
the devil himself! When you get there you'll find out what those
Hofs-kriegs-wurst-Raths are! Suvorov couldn't manage them so what
chance has Michael Kutuzov? No, my dear boy," he continued, "you and
your generals won't get on against Buonaparte; you'll have to call
in the French, so that birds of a feather may fight together. The
German, Pahlen, has been sent to New York in America, to fetch the
Frenchman, Moreau," he said, alluding to the invitation made that year
to Moreau to enter the Russian service.... "Wonderful!... Were the
Potemkins, Suvorovs, and Orlovs Germans? No, lad, either you fellows
have all lost your wits, or I have outlived mine. May God help you,
but we'll see what will happen. Buonaparte has become a great
commander among them! Hm!..."
"I don't at all say that all the plans are good," said Prince
Andrew, "I am only surprised at your opinion of Bonaparte. You may
laugh as much as you like, but all the same Bonaparte is a great
"Michael Ivanovich!" cried the old prince to the architect who, busy
with his roast meat, hoped he had been forgotten: "Didn't I tell you
Buonaparte was a great tactician? Here, he says same thing."
"To be sure, your excellency." replied the architect.
The prince again laughed his frigid laugh.
"Buonaparte was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has got
splendid soldiers. Besides he began by attacking Germans. And only
idlers have failed to beat the Germans. Since the world began
everybody has beaten the Germans. They beat no one- except one
another. He made his reputation fighting them."
And the prince began explaining all the blunders which, according to
him, Bonaparte had made in his campaigns and even in politics. His son
made no rejoinder, but it was evident that whatever arguments were
presented he was as little able as his father to change his opinion.
He listened, refraining from a reply, and involuntarily wondered how
this old man, living alone in the country for so many years, could
know and discuss so minutely and acutely all the recent European
military and political events.
"You think I'm an old man and don't understand the present state
of affairs?" concluded his father. "But it troubles me. I don't
sleep at night. Come now, where has this great commander of yours
shown his skill?" he concluded.
"That would take too long to tell," answered the son.
"Well, then go to your Buonaparte! Mademoiselle Bourienne, here's
another admirer of that powder-monkey emperor of yours," he
exclaimed in excellent French.
"You know, Prince, I am not a Bonapartist!"
"Dieu sait quand reviendra"... hummed the prince out of tune and,
with a laugh still more so, he quitted the table.
The little princess during the whole discussion and the rest of
the dinner sat silent, glancing with a frightened look now at her
father-in-law and now at Princess Mary. When they left the table she
took her sister-in-law's arm and drew her into another room.
"What a clever man your father is," said she; "perhaps that is why I
am afraid of him."
"Oh, he is so kind!" answered Princess Mary.
Prince Andrew was to leave next evening. The old prince, not
altering his routine, retired as usual after dinner. The little
princess was in her sister-in-law's room. Prince Andrew in a traveling
coat without epaulettes had been packing with his valet in the rooms
assigned to him. After inspecting the carriage himself and seeing
the trunks put in, he ordered the horses to be harnessed. Only those
things he always kept with him remained in his room; a small box, a
large canteen fitted with silver plate, two Turkish pistols and a
saber- a present from his father who had brought it from the siege
of Ochakov. All these traveling effects of Prince Andrew's were in
very good order: new, clean, and in cloth covers carefully tied with
When starting on a journey or changing their mode of life, men
capable of reflection are generally in a serious frame of mind. At
such moments one reviews the past and plans for the future. Prince
Andrew's face looked very thoughtful and tender. With his hands behind
him he paced briskly from corner to corner of the room, looking
straight before him and thoughtfully shaking his head. Did he fear
going to the war, or was he sad at leaving his wife?- perhaps both,
but evidently he did not wish to be seen in that mood, for hearing
footsteps in the passage he hurriedly unclasped his hands, stopped
at a table as if tying the cover of the small box, and assumed his
usual tranquil and impenetrable expression. It was the heavy tread
of Princess Mary that he heard.
"I hear you have given orders to harness," she cried, panting (she
had apparently been running), "and I did so wish to have another
talk with you alone! God knows how long we may again be parted. You
are not angry with me for coming? You have changed so, Andrusha,"
she added, as if to explain such a question.
She smiled as she uttered his pet name, "Andrusha." It was obviously
strange to her to think that this stern handsome man should be
Andrusha- the slender mischievous boy who had been her playfellow in
"And where is Lise?" he asked, answering her question only by a
"She was so tired that she has fallen asleep on the sofa in my room.
Oh, Andrew! What a treasure of a wife you have," said she, sitting
down on the sofa, facing her brother. "She is quite a child: such a
dear, merry child. I have grown so fond of her."
Prince Andrew was silent, but the princess noticed the ironical
and contemptuous look that showed itself on his face.
"One must be indulgent to little weaknesses; who is free from
them, Andrew? Don't forget that she has grown up and been educated
in society, and so her position now is not a rosy one. We should enter
into everyone's situation. Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner.*
Think it must be for her, poor thing, after what she has been used to,
to be parted from her husband and be left alone the country, in her
condition! It's very hard."
*To understand all is to forgive all.
Prince Andrew smiled as he looked at his sister, as we smile at
those we think we thoroughly understand.
"You live in the country and don't think the life terrible," he
"I... that's different. Why speak of me? I don't want any other
life, and can't, for I know no other. But think, Andrew: for a young
society woman to be buried in the country during the best years of her
life, all alone- for Papa is always busy, and I... well, you know what
poor resources I have for entertaining a woman used to the best
society. There is only Mademoiselle Bourienne...."
"I don't like your Mademoiselle Bourienne at all," said Prince
"No? She is very nice and kind and, above all, she's much to be
pitied. She has no one, no one. To tell the truth, I don't need her,
and she's even in my way. You know I always was a savage, and now am
even more so. I like being alone.... Father likes her very much. She
and Michael Ivanovich are the two people to whom he is always gentle
and kind, because he has been a benefactor to them both. As Sterne
says: 'We don't love people so much for the good they have done us, as
for the good we have done them.' Father took her when she was homeless
after losing her own father. She is very good-natured, and my father
likes her way of reading. She reads to him in the evenings and reads
"To be quite frank, Mary, I expect Father's character sometimes
makes things trying for you, doesn't it?" Prince Andrew asked
Princess Mary was first surprised and then aghast at this question.
"For me? For me?... Trying for me!..." said she.
"He always was rather harsh; and now I should think he's getting
very trying," said Prince Andrew, apparently speaking lightly of their
father in order to puzzle or test his sister.
"You are good in every way, Andrew, but you have a kind of
intellectual pride," said the princess, following the train of her own
thoughts rather than the trend of the conversation- "and that's a
great sin. How can one judge Father? But even if one might, what
feeling except veneration could such a man as my father evoke? And I
am so contented and happy with him. I only wish you were all as
happy as I am."
Her brother shook his head incredulously.
"The only thing that is hard for me... I will tell you the truth,
Andrew... is Father's way of treating religious subjects. I don't
understand how a man of his immense intellect can fail to see what
is as clear as day, and can go so far astray. That is the only thing
that makes me unhappy. But even in this I can see lately a shade of
improvement. His satire has been less bitter of late, and there was
a monk he received and had a long talk with."
"Ah! my dear, I am afraid you and your monk are wasting your
powder," said Prince Andrew banteringly yet tenderly.
"Ah! mon ami, I only pray, and hope that God will hear me.
Andrew..." she said timidly after a moment's silence, "I have a
great favor to ask of you."
"What is it, dear?"
"No- promise that you will not refuse! It will give you no trouble
and is nothing unworthy of you, but it will comfort me. Promise,
Andrusha!..." said she, putting her hand in her reticule but not yet
taking out what she was holding inside it, as if what she held were
the subject of her request and must not be shown before the request
She looked timidly at her brother.
"Even if it were a great deal of trouble..." answered Prince Andrew,
as if guessing what it was about.
"Think what you please! I know you are just like Father. Think as
you please, but do this for my sake! Please do! Father's father, our
grandfather, wore it in all his wars." (She still did not take out
what she was holding in her reticule.) "So you promise?"
"Of course. What is it?"
"Andrew, I bless you with this icon and you must promise me you will
never take it off. Do you promise?"
"If it does not weigh a hundredweight and won't break my neck...
To please you..." said Prince Andrew. But immediately, noticing the
pained expression his joke had brought to his sister's face, he
repented and added: "I am glad; really, dear, I am very glad."
"Against your will He will save and have mercy on you and bring
you to Himself, for in Him alone is truth and peace," said she in a
voice trembling with emotion, solemnly holding up in both hands before
her brother a small, oval, antique, dark-faced icon of the Saviour
in a gold setting, on a finely wrought silver chain.
She crossed herself, kissed the icon, and handed it to Andrew.
"Please, Andrew, for my sake!..."
Rays of gentle light shone from her large, timid eyes. Those eyes
lit up the whole of her thin, sickly face and made it beautiful. Her
brother would have taken the icon, but she stopped him. Andrew
understood, crossed himself and kissed the icon. There was a look of
tenderness, for he was touched, but also a gleam of irony on his face.
"Thank you, my dear." She kissed him on the forehead and sat down
again on the sofa. They were silent for a while.
"As I was saying to you, Andrew, be kind and generous as you
always used to be. Don't judge Lise harshly," she began. "She is so
sweet, so good-natured, and her position now is a very hard one."
"I do not think I have complained of my wife to you, Masha, or
blamed her. Why do you say all this to me?"
Red patches appeared on Princess Mary's face and she was silent as
if she felt guilty.
"I have said nothing to you, but you have already been talked to.
And I am sorry for that," he went on.
The patches grew deeper on her forehead, neck, and cheeks. She tried
to say something but could not. Her brother had guessed right: the
little princess had been crying after dinner and had spoken of her
forebodings about her confinement, and how she dreaded it, and had
complained of her fate, her father-in-law, and her husband. After
crying she had fallen asleep. Prince Andrew felt sorry for his sister.
"Know this, Masha: I can't reproach, have not reproached, and
never shall reproach my wife with anything, and I cannot reproach
myself with anything in regard to her; and that always will be so in
whatever circumstances I may be placed. But if you want to know the
truth... if you want to know whether I am happy? No! Is she happy? No!
But why this is so I don't know..."
As he said this he rose, went to his sister, and, stooping, kissed
her forehead. His fine eyes lit up with a thoughtful, kindly, and
unaccustomed brightness, but he was looking not at his sister but over
her head toward the darkness of the open doorway.
"Let us go to her, I must say good-by. Or- go and wake and I'll come
in a moment. Petrushka!" he called to his valet: "Come here, take
these away. Put this on the seat and this to the right."
Princess Mary rose and moved to the door, then stopped and said:
"Andrew, if you had faith you would have turned to God and asked Him
to give you the love you do not feel, and your prayer would have
"Well, may be!" said Prince Andrew. "Go, Masha; I'll come
On the way to his sister's room, in the passage which connected
one wing with the other, Prince Andrew met Mademoiselle Bourienne
smiling sweetly. It was the third time that day that, with an ecstatic
and artless smile, she had met him in secluded passages.
"Oh! I thought you were in your room," she said, for some reason
blushing and dropping her eyes.
Prince Andrew looked sternly at her and an expression of anger
suddenly came over his face. He said nothing to her but looked at
her forehead and hair, without looking at her eyes, with such contempt
that the Frenchwoman blushed and went away without a word. When he
reached his sister's room his wife was already awake and her merry
voice, hurrying one word after another, came through the open door.
She was speaking as usual in French, and as if after long
self-restraint she wished to make up for lost time.
"No, but imagine the old Countess Zubova, with false curls and her
mouth full of false teeth, as if she were trying to cheat old
age.... Ha, ha, ha! Mary!"
This very sentence about Countess Zubova and this same laugh
Prince Andrew had already heard from his wife in the presence of
others some five times. He entered the room softly. The little
princess, plump and rosy, was sitting in an easy chair with her work
in her hands, talking incessantly, repeating Petersburg
reminiscences and even phrases. Prince Andrew came up, stroked her
hair, and asked if she felt rested after their journey. She answered
him and continued her chatter.
The coach with six horses was waiting at the porch. It was an autumn
night, so dark that the coachman could not see the carriage pole.
Servants with lanterns were bustling about in the porch. The immense
house was brilliant with lights shining through its lofty windows. The
domestic serfs were crowding in the hall, waiting to bid good-by to
the young prince. The members of the household were all gathered in
the reception hall: Michael Ivanovich, Mademoiselle Bourienne,
Princess Mary, and the little princess. Prince Andrew had been
called to his father's study as the latter wished to say good-by to
him alone. All were waiting for them to come out.
When Prince Andrew entered the study the old man in his old-age
spectacles and white dressing gown, in which he received no one but
his son, sat at the table writing. He glanced round.
"Going?" And he went on writing.
"I've come to say good-by."
"Kiss me here," and he touched his cheek: "Thanks, thanks!"
"What do you thank me for?"
"For not dilly-dallying and not hanging to a woman's apron
strings. The Service before everything. Thanks, thanks!" And he went
on writing, so that his quill spluttered and squeaked. "If you have
anything to say, say it. These two things can be done together," he
"About my wife... I am ashamed as it is to leave her on your
"Why talk nonsense? Say what you want."
"When her confinement is due, send to Moscow for an accoucheur....
Let him be here...."
The old prince stopped writing and, as if not understanding, fixed
his stern eyes on his son.
"I know that no one can help if nature does not do her work," said
Prince Andrew, evidently confused. "I know that out of a million cases
only one goes wrong, but it is her fancy and mine. They have been
telling her things. She has had a dream and is frightened."
"Hm... Hm..." muttered the old prince to himself, finishing what
he was writing. "I'll do it."
He signed with a flourish and suddenly turning to his son began to
"It's a bad business, eh?"
"What is bad, Father?"
"The wife!" said the old prince, briefly and significantly.
"I don't understand!" said Prince Andrew.
"No, it can't be helped, lad," said the prince. "They're all like
that; one can't unmarry. Don't be afraid; I won't tell anyone, but you
know it yourself."
He seized his son by the hand with small bony fingers, shook it,
looked straight into his son's face with keen eyes which seemed to see
through him, and again laughed his frigid laugh.
The son sighed, thus admitting that his father had understood him.
The old man continued to fold and seal his letter, snatching up and
throwing down the wax, the seal, and the paper, with his accustomed
"What's to be done? She's pretty! I will do everything. Make your
mind easy," said he in abrupt sentences while sealing his letter.
Andrew did not speak; he was both pleased and displeased that his
father understood him. The old man got up and gave the letter to his
"Listen!" said he; "don't worry about your wife: what can be done
shall be. Now listen! Give this letter to Michael Ilarionovich.* I
have written that he should make use of you in proper places and not
keep you long as an adjutant: a bad position! Tell him I remember
and like him. Write and tell me how he receives you. If he is all
right- serve him. Nicholas Bolkonski's son need not serve under anyone
if he is in disfavor. Now come here."
He spoke so rapidly that he did not finish half his words, but his
son was accustomed to understand him. He led him to the desk, raised
the lid, drew out a drawer, and took out an exercise book filled
with his bold, tall, close handwriting.
"I shall probably die before you. So remember, these are my memoirs;
hand them to the Emperor after my death. Now here is a Lombard bond
and a letter; it is a premium for the man who writes a history of
Suvorov's wars. Send it to the Academy. Here are some jottings for you
to read when I am gone. You will find them useful."
Andrew did not tell his father that he would no doubt live a long
time yet. He felt that he must not say it.
"I will do it all, Father," he said.
"Well, now, good-by!" He gave his son his hand to kiss, and embraced
him. "Remember this, Prince Andrew, if they kill you it will hurt
me, your old father..." he paused unexpectedly, and then in a
querulous voice suddenly shrieked: "but if I hear that you have not
behaved like a son of Nicholas Bolkonski, I shall be ashamed!"
"You need not have said that to me, Father," said the son with a
The old man was silent.
"I also wanted to ask you," continued Prince Andrew, "if I'm
killed and if I have a son, do not let him be taken away from you-
as I said yesterday... let him grow up with you.... Please."
"Not let the wife have him?" said the old man, and laughed.
They stood silent, facing one another. The old man's sharp eyes were
fixed straight on his son's. Something twitched in the lower part of
the old prince's face.
"We've said good-by. Go!" he suddenly shouted in a loud, angry
voice, opening his door.
"What is it? What?" asked both princesses when they saw for a moment
at the door Prince Andrew and the figure of the old man in a white
dressing gown, spectacled and wigless, shouting in an angry voice.
Prince Andrew sighed and made no reply.
"Well!" he said, turning to his wife.
And this "Well!" sounded coldly ironic, as if he were saying,:
"Now go through your performance."
"Andrew, already!" said the little princess, turning pale and
looking with dismay at her husband.
He embraced her. She screamed and fell unconscious on his shoulder.
He cautiously released the shoulder she leaned on, looked into her
face, and carefully placed her in an easy chair.
"Adieu, Mary," said he gently to his sister, taking her by the
hand and kissing her, and then he left the room with rapid steps.
The little princess lay in the armchair, Mademoiselle Bourienne
chafing her temples. Princess Mary, supporting her sister-in-law,
still looked with her beautiful eyes full of tears at the door through
which Prince Andrew had gone and made the sign of the cross in his
direction. From the study, like pistol shots, came the frequent
sound of the old man angrily blowing his nose. Hardly had Prince
Andrew gone when the study door opened quickly and the stern figure of
the old man in the white dressing gown looked out.
"Gone? That's all right!" said he; and looking angrily at the
unconscious little princess, he shook his head reprovingly and slammed
BOOK TWO: 1805
In October, 1805, a Russian army was occupying the villages and
towns of the Archduchy of Austria, and yet other regiments freshly
arriving from Russia were settling near the fortress of Braunau and
burdening the inhabitants on whom they were quartered. Braunau was the
headquarters of the commander-in-chief, Kutuzov.
On October 11, 1805, one of the infantry regiments that had just
reached Braunau had halted half a mile from the town, waiting to be
inspected by the commander in chief. Despite the un-Russian appearance
of the locality and surroundings- fruit gardens, stone fences, tiled
roofs, and hills in the distance- and despite the fact that the
inhabitants (who gazed with curiosity at the soldiers) were not
Russians, the regiment had just the appearance of any Russian regiment
preparing for an inspection anywhere in the heart of Russia.
On the evening of the last day's march an order had been received
that the commander in chief would inspect the regiment on the march.
Though the words of the order were not clear to the regimental
commander, and the question arose whether the troops were to be in
marching order or not, it was decided at a consultation between the
battalion commanders to present the regiment in parade order, on the
principle that it is always better to "bow too low than not bow low
enough." So the soldiers, after a twenty-mile march, were kept mending
and cleaning all night long without closing their eyes, while the
adjutants and company commanders calculated and reckoned, and by
morning the regiment- instead of the straggling, disorderly crowd it
had been on its last march the day before- presented a well-ordered
array of two thousand men each of whom knew his place and his duty,
had every button and every strap in place, and shone with cleanliness.
And not only externally was all in order, but had it pleased the
commander in chief to look under the uniforms he would have found on
every man a clean shirt, and in every knapsack the appointed number of
articles, "awl, soap, and all," as the soldiers say. There was only
one circumstance concerning which no one could be at ease. It was
the state of the soldiers' boots. More than half the men's boots
were in holes. But this defect was not due to any fault of the
regimental commander, for in spite of repeated demands boots had not
been issued by the Austrian commissariat, and the regiment had marched
some seven hundred miles.
The commander of the regiment was an elderly, choleric, stout, and
thick-set general with grizzled eyebrows and whiskers, and wider
from chest to back than across the shoulders. He had on a brand-new
uniform showing the creases where it had been folded and thick gold
epaulettes which seemed to stand rather than lie down on his massive
shoulders. He had the air of a man happily performing one of the