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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book One: 1805 - Chapter 26
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War And Peace - Book One: 1805 - Chapter 26 Post by :majorian Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2619

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book One: 1805 - Chapter 26 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book One: 1805 - Chapter 26

The gray-haired valet was sitting drowsily listening to the
snoring of the prince, who was in his large study. From the far side
of the house through the closed doors came the sound of difficult
passages- twenty times repeated- of a sonata by Dussek.

Just then a closed carriage and another with a hood drove up to
the porch. Prince Andrew got out of the carriage, helped his little
wife to alight, and let her pass into the house before him. Old
Tikhon, wearing a wig, put his head out of the door of the
antechamber, reported in a whisper that the prince was sleeping, and
hastily closed the door. Tikhon knew that neither the son's arrival
nor any other unusual event must be allowed to disturb the appointed
order of the day. Prince Andrew apparently knew this as well as
Tikhon; he looked at his watch as if to ascertain whether his father's
habits had changed since he was at home last, and, having assured
himself that they had not, he turned to his wife.

"He will get up in twenty minutes. Let us go across to Mary's room,"
he said.

The little princess had grown stouter during this time, but her eyes
and her short, downy, smiling lip lifted when she began to speak
just as merrily and prettily as ever.

"Why, this is a palace!" she said to her husband, looking around
with the expression with which people compliment their host at a ball.
"Let's come, quick, quick!" And with a glance round, she smiled at
Tikhon, at her husband, and at the footman who accompanied them.

"Is that Mary practicing? Let's go quietly and take her by
surprise."

Prince Andrew followed her with a courteous but sad expression.

"You've grown older, Tikhon," he said in passing to the old man, who
kissed his hand.

Before they reached the room from which the sounds of the clavichord
came, the pretty, fair haired Frenchwoman, Mademoiselle Bourienne,
rushed out apparently beside herself with delight.

"Ah! what joy for the princess!" exclaimed she: "At last! I must let
her know."

"No, no, please not... You are Mademoiselle Bourienne," said the
little princess, kissing her. "I know you already through my
sister-in-law's friendship for you. She was not expecting us?"

They went up to the door of the sitting room from which came the
sound of the oft-repeated passage of the sonata. Prince Andrew stopped
and made a grimace, as if expecting something unpleasant.

The little princess entered the room. The passage broke off in the
middle, a cry was heard, then Princess Mary's heavy tread and the
sound of kissing. When Prince Andrew went in the two princesses, who
had only met once before for a short time at his wedding, were in each
other's arms warmly pressing their lips to whatever place they
happened to touch. Mademoiselle Bourienne stood near them pressing her
hand to her heart, with a beatific smile and obviously equally ready
to cry or to laugh. Prince Andrew shrugged his shoulders and
frowned, as lovers of music do when they hear a false note. The two
women let go of one another, and then, as if afraid of being too late,
seized each other's hands, kissing them and pulling them away, and
again began kissing each other on the face, and then to Prince
Andrew's surprise both began to cry and kissed again. Mademoiselle
Bourienne also began to cry. Prince Andrew evidently felt ill at ease,
but to the two women it seemed quite natural that they should cry, and
apparently it never entered their heads that it could have been
otherwise at this meeting.

"Ah! my dear!... Ah! Mary!" they suddenly exclaimed, and then
laughed. "I dreamed last night..."- "You were not expecting us?..."-
"Ah! Mary, you have got thinner?..." "And you have grown stouter!..."

"I knew the princess at once," put in Mademoiselle Bourienne.

"And I had no idea!..." exclaimed Princess Mary. "Ah, Andrew, I
did not see you."

Prince Andrew and his sister, hand in hand, kissed one another,
and he told her she was still the same crybaby as ever. Princess
Mary had turned toward her brother, and through her tears the
loving, warm, gentle look of her large luminous eyes, very beautiful
at that moment, rested on Prince Andrew's face.

The little princess talked incessantly, her short, downy upper lip
continually and rapidly touching her rosy nether lip when necessary
and drawing up again next moment when her face broke into a smile of
glittering teeth and sparkling eyes. She told of an accident they
had had on the Spasski Hill which might have been serious for her in
her condition, and immediately after that informed them that she had
left all her clothes in Petersburg and that heaven knew what she would
have to dress in here; and that Andrew had quite changed, and that
Kitty Odyntsova had married an old man, and that there was a suitor
for Mary, a real one, but that they would talk of that later. Princess
Mary was still looking silently at her brother and her beautiful
eyes were full of love and sadness. It was plain that she was
following a train of thought independent of her sister-in-law's words.
In the midst of a description of the last Petersburg fete she
addressed her brother:

"So you are really going to the war, Andrew?" she said sighing.

Lise sighed too.

"Yes, and even tomorrow," replied her brother.

"He is leaving me here, God knows why, when he might have had
promotion..."

Princess Mary did not listen to the end, but continuing her train of
thought turned to her sister-in-law with a tender glance at her
figure.

"Is it certain?" she said.

The face of the little princess changed. She sighed and said:
"Yes, quite certain. Ah! it is very dreadful..."

Her lip descended. She brought her face close to her sister-in-law's
and unexpectedly again began to cry.

"She needs rest," said Prince Andrew with a frown. "Don't you, Lise?
Take her to your room and I'll go to Father. How is he? Just the
same?"

"Yes, just the same. Though I don't know what your opinion will be,"
answered the princess joyfully.

"And are the hours the same? And the walks in the avenues? And the
lathe?" asked Prince Andrew with a scarcely perceptible smile which
showed that, in spite of all his love and respect for his father, he
was aware of his weaknesses.

"The hours are the same, and the lathe, and also the mathematics and
my geometry lessons," said Princess Mary gleefully, as if her
lessons in geometry were among the greatest delights of her life.

When the twenty minutes had elapsed and the time had come for the
old prince to get up, Tikhon came to call the young prince to his
father. The old man made a departure from his usual routine in honor
of his son's arrival: he gave orders to admit him to his apartments
while he dressed for dinner. The old prince always dressed in
old-fashioned style, wearing an antique coat and powdered hair; and
when Prince Andrew entered his father's dressing room (not with the
contemptuous look and manner he wore in drawing rooms, but with the
animated face with which he talked to Pierre), the old man was sitting
on a large leather-covered chair, wrapped in a powdering mantle,
entrusting his head to Tikhon.

"Ah! here's the warrior! Wants to vanquish Buonaparte?" said the old
man, shaking his powdered head as much as the tail, which Tikhon was
holding fast to plait, would allow.

"You at least must tackle him properly, or else if he goes on like
this he'll soon have us, too, for his subjects! How are you?" And he
held out his cheek.

The old man was in a good temper after his nap before dinner. (He
used to say that a nap "after dinner was silver- before dinner,
golden.") He cast happy, sidelong glances at his son from under his
thick, bushy eyebrows. Prince Andrew went up and kissed his father
on the spot indicated to him. He made no reply on his father's
favorite topic- making fun of the military men of the day, and more
particularly of Bonaparte.

"Yes, Father, I have come come to you and brought my wife who is
pregnant," said Prince Andrew, following every movement of his
father's face with an eager and respectful look. "How is your health?"

"Only fools and rakes fall ill, my boy. You know me: I am busy
from morning till night and abstemious, so of course I am well."

"Thank God," said his son smiling.

"God has nothing to do with it! Well, go on," he continued,
returning to his hobby; "tell me how the Germans have taught you to
fight Bonaparte by this new science you call 'strategy.'"

Prince Andrew smiled.

"Give me time to collect my wits, Father," said he, with a smile
that showed that his father's foibles did not prevent his son from
loving and honoring him. "Why, I have not yet had time to settle
down!"

"Nonsense, nonsense!" cried the old man, shaking his pigtail to
see whether it was firmly plaited, and grasping his by the hand.
"The house for your wife is ready. Princess Mary will take her there
and show her over, and they'll talk nineteen to the dozen. That's
their woman's way! I am glad to have her. Sit down and talk. About
Mikhelson's army I understand- Tolstoy's too... a simultaneous
expedition.... But what's the southern army to do? Prussia is
neutral... I know that. What about Austria?" said he, rising from
his chair and pacing up and down the room followed by Tikhon, who
ran after him, handing him different articles of clothing. "What of
Sweden? How will they cross Pomerania?"

Prince Andrew, seeing that his father insisted, began- at first
reluctantly, but gradually with more and more animation, and from
habit changing unconsciously from Russian to French as he went on-
to explain the plan of operation for the coming campaign. He explained
how an army, ninety thousand strong, was to threaten Prussia so as
to bring her out of her neutrality and draw her into the war; how part
of that army was to join some Swedish forces at Stralsund; how two
hundred and twenty thousand Austrians, with a hundred thousand
Russians, were to operate in Italy and on the Rhine; how fifty
thousand Russians and as many English were to land at Naples, and
how a total force of five hundred thousand men was to attack the
French from different sides. The old prince did not evince the least
interest during this explanation, but as if he were not listening to
it continued to dress while walking about, and three times
unexpectedly interrupted. Once he stopped it by shouting: "The white
one, the white one!"

This meant that Tikhon was not handing him the waistcoat he
wanted. Another time he interrupted, saying:

"And will she soon be confined?" and shaking his head
reproachfully said: "That's bad! Go on, go on."

The third interruption came when Prince Andrew was finishing his
description. The old man began to sing, in the cracked voice of old
age: "Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre. Dieu sait quand reviendra."*


*"Marlborough is going to the wars; God knows when he'll return."


His son only smiled.

"I don't say it's a plan I approve of," said the son; "I am only
telling you what it is. Napoleon has also formed his plan by now,
not worse than this one."

"Well, you've told me nothing new," and the old man repeated,
meditatively and rapidly:

"Dieu sait quand reviendra. Go to the dining room."

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At the appointed hour the prince, powdered and shaven, entered thedining room where his daughter-in-law, Princess Mary, and MademoiselleBourienne were already awaiting him together with his architect, whoby a strange caprice of his employer's was admitted to table thoughthe position of that insignificant individual was such as couldcertainly not have caused him to expect that honor. The prince, whogenerally kept very strictly to social distinctions and rarelyadmitted even important government officials to his table, hadunexpectedly selected Michael Ivanovich (who always went into a cornerto blow his nose on his checked handkerchief) to illustrate the theorythat all men are equals, and had
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At Bald Hills, Prince Nicholas Andreevich Bolkonski's estate, thearrival of young Prince Andrew and his wife was daily expected, butthis expectation did not upset the regular routine of life in theold prince's household. General in Chief Prince Nicholas Andreevich(nicknamed in society, "the King of Prussia") ever since the EmperorPaul had exiled him to his country estate had lived there continuouslywith his daughter, Princess Mary, and her companion, MademoiselleBourienne. Though in the new reign he was free to return to thecapitals, he still continued to live in the country, remarking thatanyone who wanted to see him could come the hundred miles fromMoscow
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