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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 11
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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 11 Post by :MarkB Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2126

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 11 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 11

Anatole Kuragin was staying in Moscow because his father had sent
him away from Petersburg, where he had been spending twenty thousand
rubles a year in cash, besides running up debts for as much more,
which his creditors demanded from his father.

His father announced to him that he would now pay half his debts for
the last time, but only on condition that he went to Moscow as
adjutant to the commander in chief- a post his father had procured for
him- and would at last try to make a good match there. He indicated to
him Princess Mary and Julie Karagina.

Anatole consented and went to Moscow, where he put up at Pierre's
house. Pierre received him unwillingly at first, but got used to him
after a while, sometimes even accompanied him on his carousals, and
gave him money under the guise of loans.

As Shinshin had remarked, from the time of his arrival Anatole had
turned the heads of the Moscow ladies, especially by the fact that
he slighted them and plainly preferred the gypsy girls and French
actresses- with the chief of whom, Mademoiselle George, he was said to
be on intimate relations. He had never missed a carousal at
Danilov's or other Moscow revelers', drank whole nights through,
outvying everyone else, and was at all the balls and parties of the
best society. There was talk of his intrigues with some of the ladies,
and he flirted with a few of them at the balls. But he did not run
after the unmarried girls, especially the rich heiresses who were most
of them plain. There was a special reason for this, as he had got
married two years before- a fact known only to his most intimate
friends. At that time while with his regiment in Poland, a Polish
landowner of small means had forced him to marry his daughter. Anatole
had very soon abandoned his wife and, for a payment which he agreed to
send to his father-in-law, had arranged to be free to pass himself off
as a bachelor.

Anatole was always content with his position, with himself, and with
others. He was instinctively and thoroughly convinced that was
impossible for him to live otherwise than as he did and that he had
never in his life done anything base. He was incapable of
considering how his actions might affect others or what the
consequences of this or that action of his might be. He was
convinced that, as a duck is so made that it must live in water, so
God had made him such that he must spend thirty thousand rubles a year
and always occupy a prominent position in society. He believed this so
firmly that others, looking at him, were persuaded of it too and did
not refuse him either a leading place in society or money, which he
borrowed from anyone and everyone and evidently would not repay.

He was not a gambler, at any rate he did not care about winning.
He was not vain. He did not mind what people thought of him. Still
less could he be accused of ambition. More than once he had vexed
his father by spoiling his own career, and he laughed at
distinctions of all kinds. He was not mean, and did not refuse
anyone who asked of him. All he cared about was gaiety and women,
and as according to his ideas there was nothing dishonorable in
these tastes, and he was incapable of considering what the
gratification of his tastes entailed for others, he honestly
considered himself irreproachable, sincerely despised rogues and bad
people, and with a tranquil conscience carried his head high.

Rakes, those male Magdalenes, have a secret feeling of innocence
similar to that which female Magdalenes have, based on the same hope
of forgiveness. "All will be forgiven her, for she loved much; and all
will be forgiven him, for he enjoyed much."

Dolokhov, who had reappeared that year in Moscow after his exile and
his Persian adventures, and was leading a life of luxury, gambling,
and dissipation, associated with his old Petersburg comrade Kuragin
and made use of him for his own ends.

Anatole was sincerely fond of Dolokhov for his cleverness and
audacity. Dolokhov, who needed Anatole Kuragin's name, position, and
connections as a bait to draw rich young men into his gambling set,
made use of him and amused himself at his expense without letting
the other feel it. Apart from the advantage he derived from Anatole,
the very process of dominating another's will was in itself a
pleasure, a habit, and a necessity to Dolokhov.

Natasha had made a strong impression on Kuragin. At supper after the
opera he described to Dolokhov with the air of a connoisseur the
attractions of her arms, shoulders, feet, and hair and expressed his
intention of making love to her. Anatole had no notion and was
incapable of considering what might come of such love-making, as he
never had any notion of the outcome of any of his actions.

"She's first-rate, my dear fellow, but not for us," replied
Dolokhov.

"I will tell my sister to ask her to dinner," said Anatole. "Eh?"

"You'd better wait till she's married...."

"You know, I adore little girls, they lose their heads at once,"
pursued Anatole.

"You have been caught once already by a 'little girl,'" said
Dolokhov who knew of Kuragin's marriage. "Take care!"

"Well, that can't happen twice! Eh?" said Anatole, with a
good-humored laugh.

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The day after the opera the Rostovs went nowhere and nobody cameto see them. Marya Dmitrievna talked to the count about somethingwhich they concealed from Natasha. Natasha guessed they were talkingabout the old prince and planning something, and this disquieted andoffended her. She was expecting Prince Andrew any moment and twicethat day sent a manservant to the Vozdvizhenka to ascertain whether hehad come. He had not arrived. She suffered more now than during herfirst days in Moscow. To her impatience and pining for him were nowadded the unpleasant recollection of her interview with PrincessMary and the old prince, and a fear
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During the entr'acte a whiff of cold air came into Helene's box, thedoor opened, and Anatole entered, stooping and trying not to brushagainst anyone."Let me introduce my brother to you," said Helene, her eyes shiftinguneasily from Natasha to Anatole.Natasha turned her pretty little head toward the elegant youngofficer and smiled at him over her bare shoulder. Anatole, who wasas handsome at close quarters as at a distance, sat down beside herand told her he had long wished to have this happiness- ever since theNaryshkins' ball in fact, at which he had had the well-rememberedpleasure of seeing her. Kuragin was much more
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