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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Four : 1806 - Chapter 10
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War And Peace - Book Four : 1806 - Chapter 10 Post by :lamar Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :3040

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War And Peace - Book Four : 1806 - Chapter 10

Rostov's share in Dolokhov's duel with Bezukhov was hushed up by the
efforts of the old count, and instead of being degraded to the ranks
as he expected he was appointed an adjutant to the governor general of
Moscow. As a result he could not go to the country with the rest of
the family, but was kept all summer in Moscow by his new duties.
Dolokhov recovered, and Rostov became very friendly with him during
his convalescence. Dolokhov lay ill at his mother's who loved him
passionately and tenderly, and old Mary Ivanovna, who had grown fond
of Rostov for his friendship to her Fedya, often talked to him about
her son.

"Yes, Count," she would say, "he is too noble and pure-souled for
our present, depraved world. No one now loves virtue; it seems like
a reproach to everyone. Now tell me, Count, was it right, was it
honorable, of Bezukhov? And Fedya, with his noble spirit, loved him
and even now never says a word against him. Those pranks in Petersburg
when they played some tricks on a policeman, didn't they do it
together? And there! Bezukhov got off scotfree, while Fedya had to
bear the whole burden on his shoulders. Fancy what he had to go
through! It's true he has been reinstated, but how could they fail
to do that? I think there were not many such gallant sons of the
fatherland out there as he. And now- this duel! Have these people no
feeling, or honor? Knowing him to be an only son, to challenge him and
shoot so straight! It's well God had mercy on us. And what was it for?
Who doesn't have intrigues nowadays? Why, if he was so jealous, as I
see things he should have shown it sooner, but he lets it go on for
months. And then to call him out, reckoning on Fedya not fighting
because he owed him money! What baseness! What meanness! I know you
understand Fedya, my dear count; that, believe me, is why I am so fond
of you. Few people do understand him. He is such a lofty, heavenly
soul!"

Dolokhov himself during his convalescence spoke to Rostov in a way
no one would have expected of him.

"I know people consider me a bad man!" he said. "Let them! I don't
care a straw about anyone but those I love; but those I love, I love
so that I would give my life for them, and the others I'd throttle
if they stood in my way. I have an adored, a priceless mother, and two
or three friends- you among them- and as for the rest I only care
about them in so far as they are harmful or useful. And most of them
are harmful, especially the women. Yes, dear boy," he continued, "I
have met loving, noble, high-minded men, but I have not yet met any
women- countesses or cooks- who were not venal. I have not yet met
that divine purity and devotion I look for in women. If I found such a
one I'd give my life for her! But those!... and he made a gesture of
contempt. "And believe me, if I still value my life it is only because
I still hope to meet such a divine creature, who will regenerate,
purify, and elevate me. But you don't understand it."

"Oh, yes, I quite understand, "answered Rostov, who was under his
new friend's influence.

In the autumn the Rostovs returned to Moscow. Early in the winter
Denisov also came back and stayed with them. The first half of the
winter of 1806, which Nicholas Rostov spent in Moscow, was one of
the happiest, merriest times for him and the whole family. Nicholas
brought many young men to his parents' house. Vera was a handsome girl
of twenty; Sonya a girl of sixteen with all the charm of an opening
flower; Natasha, half grown up and half child, was now childishly
amusing, now girlishly enchanting.

At that time in the Rostovs' house there prevailed an amorous
atmosphere characteristic of homes where there are very young and very
charming girls. Every young man who came to the house- seeing those
impressionable, smiling young faces (smiling probably at their own
happiness), feeling the eager bustle around him, and hearing the
fitful bursts of song and music and the inconsequent but friendly
prattle of young girls ready for anything and full of hope-
experienced the same feeling; sharing with the young folk of the
Rostovs' household a readiness to fall in love and an expectation of
happiness.

Among the young men introduced by Rostov one of the first was
Dolokhov, whom everyone in the house liked except Natasha. She
almost quarreled with her brother about him. She insisted that he
was a bad man, and that in the duel with Bezukhov, Pierre was right
and Dolokhov wrong, and further that he was disagreeable and
unnatural.

"There's nothing for me to understand," cried out with resolute
self-will, "he is wicked and heartless. There now, I like your Denisov
though he is a rake and all that, still I like him; so you see I do
understand. I don't know how to put it... with this one everything
is calculated, and I don't like that. But Denisov..."

"Oh, Denisov is quite different," replied Nicholas, implying that
even Denisov was nothing compared to Dolokhov- "you must understand
what a soul there is in Dolokhov, you should see him with his
mother. What a heart!"

"Well, I don't know about that, but I am uncomfortable with him. And
do you know he has fallen in love with Sonya?"

"What nonsense..."

"I'm certain of it; you'll see."

Natasha's prediction proved true. Dolokhov, who did not usually care
for the society of ladies, began to come often to the house, and the
question for whose sake he came (though no one spoke of it) was soon
settled. He came because of Sonya. And Sonya, though she would never
have dared to say so, knew it and blushed scarlet every time
Dolokhov appeared.

Dolokhov often dined at the Rostovs', never missed a performance
at which they were present, and went to Iogel's balls for young people
which the Rostovs always attended. He was pointedly attentive to Sonya
and looked at her in such a way that not only could she not bear his
glances without coloring, but even the old countess and Natasha
blushed when they saw his looks.

It was evident that this strange, strong man was under the
irresistible influence of the dark, graceful girl who loved another.

Rostov noticed something new in Dolokhov's relations with Sonya, but
he did not explain to himself what these new relations were.
"They're always in love with someone," he thought of Sonya and
Natasha. But he was not as much at ease with Sonya and Dolokhov as
before and was less frequently at home.

In the autumn of 1806 everybody had again begun talking of the war
with Napoleon with even greater warmth than the year before. Orders
were given to raise recruits, ten men in every thousand for the
regular army, and besides this, nine men in every thousand for the
militia. Everywhere Bonaparte was anathematized and in Moscow
nothing but the coming war was talked of. For the Rostov family the
whole interest of these preparations for war lay in the fact that
Nicholas would not hear of remaining in Moscow, and only awaited the
termination of Denisov's furlough after Christmas to return with him
to their regiment. His approaching departure did not prevent his
amusing himself, but rather gave zest to his pleasures. He spent the
greater part of his time away from home, at dinners, parties, and
balls.

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On the third day after Christmas Nicholas dined at home, a thinghe had rarely done of late. It was a grand farewell dinner, as heand Denisov were leaving to join their regiment after Epiphany.About twenty people were present, including Dolokhov and Denisov.Never had love been so much in the air, and never had the amorousatmosphere made itself so strongly felt in the Rostovs' house as atthis holiday time. "Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved!That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is theone thing we are interested in here," said the spirit of
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The little princess lay supported by pillows, with a white cap onher head (the pains had just left her). Strands of her black hairlay round her inflamed and perspiring cheeks, her charming rosymouth with its downy lip was open and she was smiling joyfully. PrinceAndrew entered and paused facing her at the foot of the sofa onwhich she was lying. Her glittering eyes, filled with childlike fearand excitement, rested on him without changing their expression. "Ilove you all and have done no harm to anyone; why must I suffer so?Help me!" her look seemed to say. She saw her husband, but
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