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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 7
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War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 7 Post by :e-spired Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1878

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 7 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 7

When Boris and Anna Pavlovna returned to the others Prince Hippolyte
had the ear of the company.

Bending forward in his armchair he said: "Le Roi de Prusse!" and
having said this laughed. Everyone turned toward him.

"Le Roi de Prusse?" Hippolyte said interrogatively, again
laughing, and then calmly and seriously sat back in his chair. Anna
Pavlovna waited for him to go on, but as he seemed quite decided to
say no more she began to tell of how at Potsdam the impious
Bonaparte had stolen the sword of Frederick the Great.

"It is the sword of Frederick the Great which I..." she began, but
Hippolyte interrupted her with the words: "Le Roi de Prusse..." and
again, as soon as soon as all turned toward him, excused himself and
said no more.

Anna Pavlovna frowned. Mortemart, Hippolyte's friend, addressed
him firmly.

"Come now, what about your Roi de Prusse?"

Hippolyte laughed as if ashamed of laughing.

"Oh, it's nothing. I only wished to say..." (he wanted to repeat a
joke he had heard in Vienna and which he had been trying all that
evening to get in) "I only wished to say that we are wrong to fight
pour le Roi de Prusse!"

Boris smiled circumspectly, so that it might be taken as ironical or
appreciative according to the way the joke was received. Everybody
laughed.

"Your joke is too bad, it's witty but unjust," said Anna Pavlovna,
shaking her little shriveled finger at him.

"We are not fighting pour le Roi de Prusse, but for right
principles. Oh, that wicked Prince Hippolyte!" she said.

The conversation did not flag all evening and turned chiefly on
the political news. It became particularly animated toward the end
of the evening when the rewards bestowed by the Emperor were
mentioned.

"You know N- N- received a snuffbox with the portrait last year?"
said "the man of profound intellect." "Why shouldn't S- S- get the
same distinction?"

"Pardon me! A snuffbox with the Emperor's portrait is a reward but
not a distinction," said the diplomatist- "a gift, rather."

"There are precedents, I may mention Schwarzenberg."

"It's impossible," replied another.

"Will you bet? The ribbon of the order is a different matter...."

When everybody rose to go, Helene who had spoken very little all the
evening again turned to Boris, asking him in a tone of caressing
significant command to come to her on Tuesday.

"It is of great importance to me," she said, turning with a smile
toward Anna Pavlovna, and Anna Pavlovna, with the same sad smile
with which she spoke of her exalted patroness, supported Helene's
wish.

It seemed as if from some words Boris had spoken that evening
about the Prussian army, Helene had suddenly found it necessary to see
him. She seemed to promise to explain that necessity to him when he
came on Tuesday.

But on Tuesday evening, having come to Helene's splendid salon,
Boris received no clear explanation of why it had been necessary for
him to come. There were other guests and the countess talked little to
him, and only as he kissed her hand on taking leave said
unexpectedly and in a whisper, with a strangely unsmiling face:
"Come to dinner tomorrow... in the evening. You must come.... Come!"

During that stay in Petersburg, Boris became an intimate in the
countess' house.

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