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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 6
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War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 6 Post by :CoachLarry Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2083

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 6 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 6

The duel between Pierre and Dolokhov was hushed up and, in spite
of the Emperor's severity regarding duels at that time, neither the
principals nor their seconds suffered for it. But the story of the
duel, confirmed by Pierre's rupture with his wife, was the talk of
society. Pierre who had been regarded with patronizing condescension
when he was an illegitimate son, and petted and extolled when he was
the best match in Russia, had sunk greatly in the esteem of society
after his marriage- when the marriageable daughters and their
mothers had nothing to hope from him- especially as he did not know
how, and did not wish, to court society's favor. Now he alone was
blamed for what had happened, he was said to be insanely jealous and
subject like his father to fits of bloodthirsty rage. And when after
Pierre's departure Helene returned to Petersburg, she was received
by all her acquaintances not only cordially, but even with a shade
of deference due to her misfortune. When conversation turned on her
husband Helene assumed a dignified expression, which with
characteristic tact she had acquired though she did not understand its
significance. This expression suggested that she had resolved to
endure her troubles uncomplainingly and that her husband was a cross
laid upon her by God. Prince Vasili expressed his opinion more openly.
He shrugged his shoulders when Pierre was mentioned and, pointing to
his forehead, remarked:

"A bit touched- I always said so."

"I said from the first," declared Anna Pavlovna referring to Pierre,
"I said at the time and before anyone else" (she insisted on her
priority) "that that senseless young man was spoiled by the depraved
ideas of these days. I said so even at the time when everybody was
in raptures about him, when he had just returned from abroad, and
when, if you remember, he posed as a sort of Marat at one of my
soirees. And how has it ended? I was against this marriage even then
and foretold all that has happened."

Anna Pavlovna continued to give on free evenings the same kind of
soirees as before- such as she alone had the gift of arranging- at
which was to be found "the cream of really good society, the bloom
of the intellectual essence of Petersburg," as she herself put it.
Besides this refined selection of society Anna Pavlovna's receptions
were also distinguished by the fact that she always presented some new
and interesting person to the visitors and that nowhere else was the
state of the political thermometer of legitimate Petersburg court
society so dearly and distinctly indicated.

Toward the end of 1806, when all the sad details of Napoleon's
destruction of the Prussian army at Jena and Auerstadt and the
surrender of most of the Prussian fortresses had been received, when
our troops had already entered Prussia and our second war with
Napoleon was beginning, Anna Pavlovna gave one of her soirees. The
"cream of really good society" consisted of the fascinating Helene,
forsaken by her husband, Mortemart, the delightful Prince Hippolyte
who had just returned from Vienna, two diplomatists, the old aunt, a
young man referred to in that drawing room as "a man of great merit"
(un homme de beaucoup de merite), a newly appointed maid of honor
and her mother, and several other less noteworthy persons.

The novelty Anna Pavlovna was setting before her guests that evening
was Boris Drubetskoy, who had just arrived as a special messenger from
the Prussian army and was aide-de-camp to a very important personage.

The temperature shown by the political thermometer to the company
that evening was this:

"Whatever the European sovereigns and commanders may do to
countenance Bonaparte, and to cause me, and us in general, annoyance
and mortification, our opinion of Bonaparte cannot alter. We shall not
cease to express our sincere views on that subject, and can only say
to the King Prussia and others: 'So much the worse for you. Tu l'as
voulu, George Dandin,' that's all we have to say about it!"

When Boris, who was to be served up to the guests, entered the
drawing room, almost all the company had assembled, and the
conversation, guided by Anna Pavlovna, was about our diplomatic
relations with Austria and the hope of an alliance with her.

Boris, grown more manly and looking fresh, rosy and
self-possessed, entered the drawing room elegantly dressed in the
uniform of an aide-de-camp and was duly conducted to pay his
respects to the aunt and then brought back to the general circle.

Anna Pavlovna gave him her shriveled hand to kiss and introduced him
to several persons whom he did not know, giving him a whispered
description of each.
charge d'affaires from Copenhagen- a profound intellect," and
simply, "Mr. Shitov- a man of great merit"- this of the man usually so
described.

Thanks to Anna Mikhaylovna's efforts, his own tastes, and the
peculiarities of his reserved nature, Boris had managed during his
service to place himself very advantageously. He was aide-de-camp to a
very important personage, had been sent on a very important mission to
Prussia, and had just returned from there as a special messenger. He
had become thoroughly conversant with that unwritten code with which
he had been so pleased at Olmutz and according to which an ensign
might rank incomparably higher than a general, and according to
which what was needed for success in the service was not effort or
work, or courage, or perseverance, but only the knowledge of how to
get on with those who can grant rewards, and he was himself often
surprised at the rapidity of his success and at the inability of
others to understand these things. In consequence of this discovery
his whole manner of life, all his relations with old friends, all
his plans for his future, were completely altered. He was not rich,
but would spend his last groat to be better dressed than others, and
would rather deprive himself of many pleasures than allow himself to
be seen in a shabby equipage or appear in the streets of Petersburg in
an old uniform. He made friends with and sought the acquaintance of
only those above him in position and who could therefore be of use
to him. He liked Petersburg and despised Moscow. The remembrance of
the Rostovs' house and of his childish love for Natasha was unpleasant
to him and he had not once been to see the Rostovs since the day of
his departure for the army. To be in Anna Pavlovna's drawing room he
considered an important step up in the service, and he at once
understood his role, letting his hostess make use of whatever interest
he had to offer. He himself carefully scanned each face, appraising
the possibilities of establishing intimacy with each of those present,
and the advantages that might accrue. He took the seat indicated to
him beside the fair Helene and listened to the general conversation.

"Vienna considers the bases of the proposed treaty so unattainable
that not even a continuity of most brilliant successes would secure
them, and she doubts the means we have of gaining them. That is the
actual phrase used by the Vienna cabinet," said the Danish charge
d'affaires.

"The doubt is flattering," said "the man of profound intellect,"
with a subtle smile.

"We must distinguish between the Vienna cabinet and the Emperor of
Austria," said Mortemart. "The Emperor of Austria can never have
thought of such a thing, it is only the cabinet that says it."

"Ah, my dear vicomte," put in Anna Pavlovna, "L'Urope" (for some
reason she called it Urope as if that were a specially refined
French pronunciation which she could allow herself when conversing
with a Frenchman), "L'Urope ne sera jamais notre alliee sincere."*


*"Europe will never be our sincere ally."


After that Anna Pavlovna led up to the courage and firmness of the
King of Prussia, in order to draw Boris into the conversation.

Boris listened attentively to each of the speakers, awaiting his
turn, but managed meanwhile to look round repeatedly at his
neighbor, the beautiful Helene, whose eyes several times met those
of the handsome young aide-de-camp with a smile.

Speaking of the position of Prussia, Anna Pavlovna very naturally
asked Boris to tell them about his journey to Glogau and in what state
he found the Prussian army. Boris, speaking with deliberation, told
them in pure, correct French many interesting details about the armies
and the court, carefully abstaining from expressing an opinion of
his own about the facts he was recounting. For some time he
engrossed the general attention, and Anna Pavlovna felt that the
novelty she had served up was received with pleasure by all her
visitors. The greatest attention of all to Boris' narrative was
shown by Helene. She asked him several questions about his journey and
seemed greatly interested in the state of the Prussian army. As soon
as he had finished she turned to him with her usual smile.

"You absolutely must come and see me," she said in a tone that
implied that, for certain considerations he could not know of, this
was absolutely necessary.

"On Tuesday between eight and nine. It will give me great pleasure."

Boris promised to fulfill her wish and was about to begin a
conversation with her, when Anna Pavlovna called him away on the
pretext that her aunt wished to hear him.

"You know her husband, of course?" said Anna Pavlovna, closing her
eyes and indicating Helene with a sorrowful gesture. "Ah, she is
such an unfortunate and charming woman! Don't mention him before
her- please don't! It is too painful for her!"

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When Boris and Anna Pavlovna returned to the others Prince Hippolytehad the ear of the company.Bending forward in his armchair he said: "Le Roi de Prusse!" andhaving said this laughed. Everyone turned toward him."Le Roi de Prusse?" Hippolyte said interrogatively, againlaughing, and then calmly and seriously sat back in his chair. AnnaPavlovna waited for him to go on, but as he seemed quite decided tosay no more she began to tell of how at Potsdam the impiousBonaparte had stolen the sword of Frederick the Great."It is the sword of Frederick the Great which I..." she began, butHippolyte interrupted her with the
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War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 5 War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 5

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 5
The day after he had been received into the Lodge, Pierre wassitting at home reading a book and trying to fathom the significanceof the Square, one side of which symbolized God, another moral things,a third physical things, and the fourth a combination of these. Nowand then his attention wandered from the book and the Square and heformed in imagination a new plan of life. On the previous evening atthe Lodge, he had heard that a rumor of his duel had reached theEmperor and that it would be wiser for him to leave Petersburg. Pierreproposed going to his estates in the south
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