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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 13
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War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 13 Post by :jonnydd Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :764

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 13 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 13

It was getting dusk when Prince Andrew and Pierre drove up to the
front entrance of the house at Bald Hills. As they approached the
house, Prince Andrew with asmile drew Pierre's attention to a
commotion going on at the back porch. A woman, bent with age, with a
wallet on her back, and a short, long-haired, young man in a black
garment had rushed back to the gate on seeing the carriage driving up.
Two women ran out after them, and all four, looking round at the
carriage, ran in dismay up the steps of the back porch.

"Those are Mary's 'God's folk,'" said Prince Andrew. "They have
mistaken us for my father. This is the one matter in which she
disobeys him. He orders these pilgrims to be driven away, but she
receives them."

"But what are 'God's folk'?" asked Pierre.

Prince Andrew had no time to answer. The servants came out to meet
them, and he asked where the old prince was and whether he was
expected back soon.

The old prince had gone to the town and was expected back any
minute.

Prince Andrew led Pierre to his own apartments, which were always
kept in perfect order and readiness for him in his father's house;
he himself went to the nursery.

"Let us go and see my sister," he said to Pierre when he returned.
"I have not found her yet, she is hiding now, sitting with her
'God's folk.' It will serve her right, she will be confused, but you
will see her 'God's folk.' It's really very curious."

"What are 'God's folk'?" asked Pierre.

"Come, and you'll see for yourself."

Princess Mary really was disconcerted and red patches came on her
face when they went in. In her snug room, with lamps burning before
the icon stand, a young lad with a long nose and long hair, wearing
a monk's cassock, sat on the sofa beside her, behind a samovar. Near
them, in an armchair, sat a thin, shriveled, old woman, with a meek
expression on her childlike face.

"Andrew, why didn't you warn me?" said the princess, with mild
reproach, as she stood before her pilgrims like a hen before her
chickens.

"Charmee de vous voir. Je suis tres contente de vous voir,"* she
said to Pierre as he kissed her hand. She had known him as a child,
and now his friendship with Andrew, his misfortune with his wife,
and above all his kindly, simple face disposed her favorably toward
him. She looked at him with her beautiful radiant eyes and seemed to
say, "I like you very much, but please don't laugh at my people."
After exchanging the first greetings, they sat down.


*"Delighted to see you. I am very glad to see you."


"Ah, and Ivanushka is here too!" said Prince Andrew, glancing with a
smile at the young pilgrim.

"Andrew!" said Princess Mary, imploringly. "Il faut que vous sachiez
que c'est une femme,"* said Prince Andrew to Pierre.

"Andrew, au nom de Dieu!"*(2) Princess Mary repeated.


*"You must know that this is a woman."

*(2) "For heaven's sake."


It was evident that Prince Andrew's ironical tone toward the
pilgrims and Princess Mary's helpless attempts to protect them were
their customary long-established relations on the matter.

"Mais, ma bonne amie," said Prince Andrew, "vous devriez au
contraire m'etre reconnaissante de ce que j'explique a Pierre votre
intimite avec ce jeune homme."*


*"But, my dear, you ought on the contrary to be grateful to me for
explaining to Pierre your intimacy with this young man."


"Really?" said Pierre, gazing over his spectacles with curiosity and
seriousness (for which Princess Mary was specially grateful to him)
into Ivanushka's face, who, seeing that she was being spoken about,
looked round at them all with crafty eyes.

Princess Mary's embarrassment on her people's account was quite
unnecessary. They were not in the least abashed. The old woman,
lowering her eyes but casting side glances at the newcomers, had
turned her cup upside down and placed a nibbled bit of sugar beside
it, and sat quietly in her armchair, though hoping to be offered
another cup of tea. Ivanushka, sipping out of her saucer, looked
with sly womanish eyes from under her brows at the young men.

"Where have you been? To Kiev?" Prince Andrew asked the old woman.

"I have, good sir," she answered garrulously. "Just at Christmastime
I was deemed worthy to partake of the holy and heavenly sacrament at
the shrine of the saint. And now I'm from Kolyazin, master, where a
great and wonderful blessing has been revealed."

"And was Ivanushka with you?"

"I go by myself, benefactor," said Ivanushka, trying to speak in a
bass voice. "I only came across Pelageya in Yukhnovo..."

Pelageya interrupted her companion; she evidently wished to tell
what she had seen.

"In Kolyazin, master, a wonderful blessing has been revealed."

"What is it? Some new relics?" asked Prince Andrew.

"Andrew, do leave off," said Princess Mary. "Don't tell him,
Pelageya."

"No... why not, my dear, why shouldn't I? I like him. He is kind, he
is one of God's chosen, he's a benefactor, he once gave me ten rubles,
I remember. When I was in Kiev, Crazy Cyril says to me (he's one of
God's own and goes barefoot summer and winter), he says, 'Why are
you not going to the right place? Go to Kolyazin where a
wonder-working icon of the Holy Mother of God has been revealed.' On
hearing those words I said good-by to the holy folk and went."

All were silent, only the pilgrim woman went on in measured tones,
drawing in her breath.

"So I come, master, and the people say to me: 'A great blessing
has been revealed, holy oil trickles from the cheeks of our blessed
Mother, the Holy Virgin Mother of God'...."

"All right, all right, you can tell us afterwards," said Princess
Mary, flushing.

"Let me ask her," said Pierre. "Did you see it yourselves?" he
inquired.

"Oh, yes, master, I was found worthy. Such a brightness on the
face like the light of heaven, and from the blessed Mother's cheek
it drops and drops...."

"But, dear me, that must be a fraud!" said Pierre, naively, who
had listened attentively to the pilgrim.

"Oh, master, what are you saying?" exclaimed the horrified Pelageya,
turning to Princess Mary for support.

"They impose on the people," he repeated.

"Lord Jesus Christ!" exclaimed the pilgrim woman, crossing
herself. "Oh, don't speak so, master! There was a general who did
not believe, and said, 'The monks cheat,' and as soon as he'd said
it he went blind. And he dreamed that the Holy Virgin Mother of the
Kiev catacombs came to him and said, 'Believe in me and I will make
you whole.' So he begged: 'Take me to her, take me to her.' It's the
real truth I'm telling you, I saw it myself. So he was brought,
quite blind, straight to her, and he goes up to her and falls down and
says, 'Make me whole,' says he, 'and I'll give thee what the Tsar
bestowed on me.' I saw it myself, master, the star is fixed into the
icon. Well, and what do you think? He received his sight! It's a sin
to speak so. God will punish you," she said admonishingly, turning
to Pierre.

"How did the star get into the icon?" Pierre asked.

"And was the Holy Mother promoted to the rank of general?" said
Prince Andrew, with a smile.

Pelageya suddenly grew quite pale and clasped her hands.

"Oh, master, master, what a sin! And you who have a son!" she began,
her pallor suddenly turning to a vivid red. "Master, what have you
said? God forgive you!" And she crossed herself. "Lord forgive him! My
dear, what does it mean?..." she asked, turning to Princess Mary.
She got up and, almost crying, began to arrange her wallet. She
evidently felt frightened and ashamed to have accepted charity in a
house where such things could be said, and was at the same time
sorry to have now to forgo the charity of this house.

"Now, why need you do it?" said Princess Mary. "Why did you come
to me?..."

"Come, Pelageya, I was joking," said Pierre. "Princesse, ma
parole, je n'ai pas voulu l'offenser.* I did not mean anything, I
was only joking," he said, smiling shyly and trying to efface his
offense. "It was all my fault, and Andrew was only joking."


*"Princess, on my word, I did not wish to offend her."


Pelageya stopped doubtfully, but in Pierre's face there was such a
look of sincere penitence, and Prince Andrew glanced so meekly now
at her and now at Pierre, that she was gradually reassured.

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The pilgrim woman was appeased and, being encouraged to talk, gave along account of Father Amphilochus, who led so holy a life that hishands smelled of incense, and how on her last visit to Kiev some monksshe knew let her have the keys of the catacombs, and how she, takingsome dried bread with her, had spent two days in the catacombs withthe saints. "I'd pray awhile to one, ponder awhile, then go on toanother. I'd sleep a bit and then again go and kiss the relics, andthere was such peace all around, such blessedness, that one don't wantto come out, even
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In the evening Andrew and Pierre got into the open carriage anddrove to Bald Hills. Prince Andrew, glancing at Pierre, broke thesilence now and then with remarks which showed that he was in a goodtemper.Pointing to the fields, he spoke of the improvements he was makingin his husbandry.Pierre remained gloomily silent, answering in monosyllables andapparently immersed in his own thoughts.He was thinking that Prince Andrew was unhappy, had gone astray, didnot see the true light, and that he, Pierre, ought to aid,enlighten, and raise him. But as soon as he thought of what heshould say, he felt that Prince Andrew with
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