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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 20
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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 20 Post by :djkirk Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1117

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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 20

Pierre did not stay for dinner, but left the room and went away at
once. He drove through the town seeking Anatole Kuragin, at the
thought of whom now the blood rushed to his heart and he felt a
difficulty in breathing. He was not at the ice hills, nor at the
gypsies', nor at Komoneno's. Pierre drove to the Club. In the Club all
was going on as usual. The members who were assembling for dinner were
sitting about in groups; they greeted Pierre and spoke of the town
news. The footman having greeted him, knowing his habits and his
acquaintances, told him there was a place left for him in the small
dining room and that Prince Michael Zakharych was in the library,
but Paul Timofeevich had not yet arrived. One of Pierre's
acquaintances, while they were talking about the weather, asked if
he had heard of Kuragin's abduction of Rostova which was talked of
in the town, and was it true? Pierre laughed and said it was
nonsense for he had just come from the Rostovs'. He asked everyone
about Anatole. One man told him he had not come yet, and another
that he was coming to dinner. Pierre felt it strange to see this calm,
indifferent crowd of people unaware of what was going on in his
soul. He paced through the ballroom, waited till everyone had come,
and as Anatole had not turned up did not stay for dinner but drove

Anatole, for whom Pierre was looking, dined that day with
Dolokhov, consulting him as to how to remedy this unfortunate
affair. It seemed to him essential to see Natasha. In the evening he
drove to his sister's to discuss with her how to arrange a meeting.
When Pierre returned home after vainly hunting all over Moscow, his
valet informed him that Prince Anatole was with the countess. The
countess' drawing room was full of guests.

Pierre without greeting his wife whom he had not seen since his
return- at that moment she was more repulsive to him than ever-
entered the drawing room and seeing Anatole went up to him.

"Ah, Pierre," said the countess going up to her husband. "You
don't know what a plight our Anatole..."

She stopped, seeing in the forward thrust of her husband's head,
in his glowing eyes and his resolute gait, the terrible indications of
that rage and strength which she knew and had herself experienced
after his duel with Dolokhov.

"Where you are, there is vice and evil!" said Pierre to his wife.
"Anatole, come with me! I must speak to you," he added in French.

Anatole glanced round at his sister and rose submissively, ready
to follow Pierre. Pierre, taking him by the arm, pulled him toward
himself and was leading him from the room.

"If you allow yourself in my drawing room..." whispered Helene,
but Pierre did not reply and went out of the room.

Anatole followed him with his usual jaunty step but his face
betrayed anxiety.

Having entered his study Pierre closed the door and addressed
Anatole without looking at him.

"You promised Countess Rostova to marry her and were about to
elope with her, is that so?"

"Mon cher," answered Anatole (their whole conversation was in
French), "I don't consider myself bound to answer questions put to
me in that tone."

Pierre's face, already pale, became distorted by fury. He seized
Anatole by the collar of his uniform with his big hand and shook him
from side to side till Anatole's face showed a sufficient degree of

"When I tell you that I must talk to you!..." repeated Pierre.

"Come now, this is stupid. What?" said Anatole, fingering a button
of his collar that had been wrenched loose with a bit of the cloth.

"You're a scoundrel and a blackguard, and I don't know what deprives
me from the pleasure of smashing your head with this!" said Pierre,
expressing himself so artificially because he was talking French.

He took a heavy paperweight and lifted it threateningly, but at once
put it back in its place.

"Did you promise to marry her?"

"I... I didn't think of it. I never promised, because..."

Pierre interrupted him.

"Have you any letters of hers? Any letters?" he said, moving
toward Anatole.

Anatole glanced at him and immediately thrust his hand into his
pocket and drew out his pocketbook.

Pierre took the letter Anatole handed him and, pushing aside a table
that stood in his way, threw himself on the sofa.

"I shan't be violent, don't be afraid!" said Pierre in answer to a
frightened gesture of Anatole's. "First, the letters," said he, as
if repeating a lesson to himself. "Secondly," he continued after a
short pause, again rising and again pacing the room, "tomorrow you
must get out of Moscow."

"But how can I?..."

"Thirdly," Pierre continued without listening to him, "you must
never breathe a word of what has passed between you and Countess
Rostova. I know I can't prevent your doing so, but if you have a spark
of conscience..." Pierre paced the room several times in silence.

Anatole sat at a table frowning and biting his lips.

"After all, you must understand that besides your pleasure there
is such a thing as other people's happiness and peace, and that you
are ruining a whole life for the sake of amusing yourself! Amuse
yourself with women like my wife- with them you are within your
rights, for they know what you want of them. They are armed against
you by the same experience of debauchery; but to promise a maid to
marry her... to deceive, to kidnap.... Don't you understand that it is
as mean as beating an old man or a child?..."

Pierre paused and looked at Anatole no longer with an angry but with
a questioning look.

"I don't know about that, eh?" said Anatole, growing more
confident as Pierre mastered his wrath. "I don't know that and don't
want to," he said, not looking at Pierre and with a slight tremor of
his lower jaw, "but you have used such words to me- 'mean' and so
on- which as a man of honor I can't allow anyone to use."

Pierre glanced at him with amazement, unable to understand what he

"Though it was tete-a-tete," Anatole continued, "still I can't..."

"Is it satisfaction you want?" said Pierre ironically.

"You could at least take back your words. What? If you want me to do
as you wish, eh?"

"I take them back, I take them back!" said Pierre, "and I ask you to
forgive me." Pierre involuntarily glanced at the loose button. "And if
you require money for your journey..."

Anatole smiled. The expression of that base and cringing smile,
which Pierre knew so well in his wife, revolted him.

"Oh, vile and heartless brood!" he exclaimed, and left the room.

Next day Anatole left for Petersburg.

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War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 21 War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 21

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 21
Pierre drove to Marya Dmitrievna's to tell her of the fulfillment ofher wish that Kuragin should be banished from Moscow. The wholehouse was in a state of alarm and commotion. Natasha was very ill,having, as Marya Dmitrievna told him in secret, poisoned herself thenight after she had been told that Anatole was married, with somearsenic she had stealthily procured. After swallowing a little she hadbeen so frightened that she woke Sonya and told her what she had done.The necessary antidotes had been administered in time and she wasnow out of danger, though still so weak that it was out of thequestion

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 19 War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 19

War And Peace - Book Eight: 1811-12 - Chapter 19
From the day his wife arrived in Moscow Pierre had been intending togo away somewhere, so as not to be near her. Soon after the Rostovscame to Moscow the effect Natasha had on him made him hasten tocarry out his intention. He went to Tver to see Joseph Alexeevich'swidow, who had long since promised to hand over to him some papersof her deceased husband's.When he returned to Moscow Pierre was handed a letter from MaryaDmitrievna asking him to come and see her on a matter of greatimportance relating to Andrew Bolkonski and his betrothed. Pierrehad been avoiding Natasha because it seemed