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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 16
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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 16 Post by :carolinatraders Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2802

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 16 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 16

Anatole had lately moved to Dolokhov's. The plan for Natalie
Rostova's abduction had been arranged and the preparations made by
Dolokhov a few days before, and on the day that Sonya, after listening
at Natasha's door, resolved to safeguard her, it was to have been
put into execution. Natasha had promised to come out to Kuragin at the
back porch at ten that evening. Kuragin was to put her into a troyka
he would have ready and to drive her forty miles to the village of
Kamenka, where an unfrocked priest was in readiness to perform a
marriage ceremony over them. At Kamenka a relay of horses was to
wait which would take them to the Warsaw highroad, and from there they
would hasten abroad with post horses.

Anatole had a passport, an order for post horses, ten thousand
rubles he had taken from his sister and another ten thousand
borrowed with Dolokhov's help.

Two witnesses for the mock marriage- Khvostikov, a retired petty
official whom Dolokhov made use of in his gambling transactions, and
Makarin, a retired hussar, a kindly, weak fellow who had an
unbounded affection for Kuragin- were sitting at tea in Dolokhov's
front room.

In his large study, the walls of which were hung to the ceiling with
Persian rugs, bearskins, and weapons, sat Dolokhov in a traveling
cloak and high boots, at an open desk on which lay abacus and some
bundles of paper money. Anatole, with uniform unbuttoned, walked to
and fro from the room where the witnesses were sitting, through the
study to the room behind, where his French valet and others were
packing the last of his things. Dolokhov was counting the money and
noting something down.

"Well," he said, "Khvostikov must have two thousand."

"Give it to him, then," said Anatole.

"Makarka" (their name for Makarin) "will go through fire and water
for you for nothing. So here are our accounts all settled," said
Dolokhov, showing him the memorandum. "Is that right?"

"Yes, of course," returned Anatole, evidently not listening to
Dolokhov and looking straight before him with a smile that did not
leave his face.

Dolokhov banged down the or of his and turned to Anatole with an
ironic smile:

"Do you know? You'd really better drop it all. There's still time!"

"Fool," retorted Anatole. "Don't talk nonsense! If you only
knew... it's the devil knows what!"

"No, really, give it up!" said Dolokhov. "I am speaking seriously.
It's no joke, this plot you've hatched."

"What, teasing again? Go to the devil! Eh?" said Anatole, making a
grimace. "Really it's no time for your stupid jokes," and he left
the room.

Dolokhov smiled contemptuously and condescendingly when Anatole
had gone out.

"You wait a bit," he called after him. "I'm not joking, I'm
talking sense. Come here, come here!"

Anatole returned and looked at Dolokhov, trying to give him his
attention and evidently submitting to him involuntarily.

"Now listen to me. I'm telling you this for the last time. Why
should I joke about it? Did I hinder you? Who arranged everything
for you? Who found the priest and got the passport? Who raised the
money? I did it all."

"Well, thank you for it. Do you think I am not grateful?" And
Anatole sighed and embraced Dolokhov.

"I helped you, but all the same I must tell you the truth; it is a
dangerous business, and if you think about it- a stupid business.
Well, you'll carry her off- all right! Will they let it stop at
that? It will come out that you're already married. Why, they'll
have you in the criminal court...."

"Oh, nonsense, nonsense!" Anatole ejaculated and again made a
grimace. "Didn't I explain to you? What?" And Anatole, with the
partiality dull-witted people have for any conclusion they have
reached by their own reasoning, repeated the argument he had already
put to Dolokhov a hundred times. "Didn't I explain to you that I
have come to this conclusion: if this marriage is invalid," he went
on, crooking one finger, "then I have nothing to answer for; but if it
is valid, no matter! Abroad no one will know anything about it.
Isn't that so? And don't talk to me, don't, don't."

"Seriously, you'd better drop it! You'll only get yourself into a
mess!"

"Go to the devil!" cried Anatole and, clutching his hair, left the
room, but returned at once and dropped into an armchair in front of
Dolokhov with his feet turned under him. "It's the very devil! What?
Feel how it beats!" He took Dolokhov's hand and put it on his heart.
"What a foot, my dear fellow! What a glance! A goddess!" he added in
French. "What?"

Dolokhov with a cold smile and a gleam in his handsome insolent eyes
looked at him- evidently wishing to get some more amusement out of
him.

"Well and when the money's gone, what then?"

"What then? Eh?" repeated Anatole, sincerely perplexed by a
thought of the future. "What then?... Then, I don't know.... But why
talk nonsense!" He glanced at his watch. "It's time!"

Anatole went into the back room.

"Now then! Nearly ready? You're dawdling!" he shouted to the
servants.

Dolokhov put away the money, called a footman whom he ordered to
bring something for them to eat and drink before the journey, and went
into the room where Khvostikov and Makarin were sitting.

Anatole lay on the sofa in the study leaning on his elbow and
smiling pensively, while his handsome lips muttered tenderly to
himself.

"Come and eat something. Have a drink!" Dolokhov shouted to him from
the other room.

"I don't want to," answered Anatole continuing to smile.

"Come! Balaga is here."

Anatole rose and went into the dining room. Balaga was a famous
troyka driver who had known Dolokhov and Anatole some six years and
had given them good service with his troykas. More than once when
Anatole's regiment was stationed at Tver he had taken him from Tver in
the evening, brought him to Moscow by daybreak, and driven him back
again the next night. More than once he had enabled Dolokhov to escape
when pursued. More than once he had driven them through the town
with gypsies and "ladykins" as he called the cocottes. More than
once in their service he had run over pedestrians and upset vehicles
in the streets of Moscow and had always been protected from the
consequences by "my gentlemen" as he called them. He had ruined more
than one horse in their service. More than once they had beaten him,
and more than once they had made him drunk on champagne and Madeira,
which he loved; and he knew more than one thing about each of them
which would long ago have sent an ordinary man to Siberia. They
often called Balaga into their orgies and made him drink and dance
at the gypsies', and more than one thousand rubles of their money
had passed through his hands. In their service he risked his skin
and his life twenty times a year, and in their service had lost more
horses than the money he had from them would buy. But he liked them;
liked that mad driving at twelve miles an hour, liked upsetting a
driver or running down a pedestrian, and flying at full gallop through
the Moscow streets. He liked to hear those wild, tipsy shouts behind
him: "Get on! Get on!" when it was impossible to go any faster. He
liked giving a painful lash on the neck to some peasant who, more dead
than alive, was already hurrying out of his way. "Real gentlemen!"
he considered them.

Anatole and Dolokhov liked Balaga too for his masterly driving and
because he liked the things they liked. With others Balaga
bargained, charging twenty-five rubles for a two hours' drive, and
rarely drove himself, generally letting his young men do so. But
with "his gentlemen" he always drove himself and never demanded
anything for his work. Only a couple of times a year- when he knew
from their valets that they had money in hand- he would turn up of a
morning quite sober and with a deep bow would ask them to help him.
The gentlemen always made him sit down.

"Do help me out, Theodore Ivanych, sir," or "your excellency," he
would say. "I am quite out of horses. Let me have what you can to go
to the fair."

And Anatole and Dolokhov, when they had money, would give him a
thousand or a couple of thousand rubles.

Balaga was a fair-haired, short, and snub-nosed peasant of about
twenty-seven; red-faced, with a particularly red thick neck,
glittering little eyes, and a small beard. He wore a fine,
dark-blue, silk-lined cloth coat over a sheepskin.

On entering the room now he crossed himself, turning toward the
front corner of the room, and went up to Dolokhov, holding out a
small, black hand.

"Theodore Ivanych!" he said, bowing.

"How d'you do, friend? Well, here he is!"

"Good day, your excellency!" he said, again holding out his hand
to Anatole who had just come in.

"I say, Balaga," said Anatole, putting his hands on the man's
shoulders, "do you care for me or not? Eh? Now, do me a service....
What horses have you come with? Eh?"

"As your messenger ordered, your special beasts," replied Balaga.

"Well, listen, Balaga! Drive all three to death but get me there
in three hours. Eh?"

"When they are dead, what shall I drive?" said Balaga with a wink.

"Mind, I'll smash your face in! Don't make jokes!" cried Anatole,
suddenly rolling his eyes.

"Why joke?" said the driver, laughing. "As if I'd grudge my
gentlemen anything! As fast as ever the horses can gallop, so fast
we'll go!"

"Ah!" said Anatole. "Well, sit down."

"Yes, sit down!" said Dolokhov.

"I'll stand, Theodore Ivanych."

"Sit down; nonsense! Have a drink!" said Anatole, and filled a large
glass of Madeira for him.

The driver's eyes sparkled at the sight of the wine. After
refusing it for manners' sake, he drank it and wiped his mouth with
a red silk handkerchief he took out of his cap.

"And when are we to start, your excellency?"

"Well..." Anatole looked at his watch. "We'll start at once. Mind,
Balaga! You'll get there in time? Eh?"

"That depends on our luck in starting, else why shouldn't we be
there in time?" replied Balaga. "Didn't we get you to Tver in seven
hours? I think you remember that, your excellency?"

"Do you know, one Christmas I drove from Tver," said Anatole,
smilingly at the recollection and turning to Makarin who gazed
rapturously at him with wide-open eyes. "Will you believe it, Makarka,
it took one's breath away, the rate we flew. We came across a train of
loaded sleighs and drove right over two of them. Eh?"

"Those were horses!" Balaga continued the tale. "That time I'd
harnessed two young side horses with the bay in the shafts," he went
on, turning to Dolokhov. "Will you believe it, Theodore Ivanych, those
animals flew forty miles? I couldn't hold them in, my hands grew
numb in the sharp frost so that I threw down the reins- 'Catch hold
yourself, your excellency!' says I, and I just tumbled on the bottom
of the sleigh and sprawled there. It wasn't a case of urging them
on, there was no holding them in till we reached the place. The devils
took us there in three hours! Only the near one died of it."

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Anatole went out of the room and returned a few minutes laterwearing a fur coat girt with a silver belt, and a sable cap jauntilyset on one side and very becoming to his handsome face. Havinglooked in a mirror, and standing before Dolokhov in the same pose hehad assumed before it, he lifted a glass of wine."Well, good-by, Theodore. Thank you for everything and farewell!"said Anatole. "Well, comrades and friends..." he considered for amoment "...of my youth, farewell!" he said, turning to Makarin and theothers.Though they were all going with him, Anatole evidently wished tomake something touching and solemn out of
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On returning late in the evening Sonya went to Natasha's room, andto her surprise found her still dressed and asleep on the sofa. Openon the table, beside her lay Anatole's letter. Sonya picked it upand read it.As she read she glanced at the sleeping Natasha, trying to find inher face an explanation of what she was reading, but did not findit. Her face was calm, gentle, and happy. Clutching her breast to keepherself from choking, Sonya, pale and trembling with fear andagitation, sat down in an armchair and burst into tears."How was it I noticed nothing? How could it go so
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