Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
Close by was standing a flaxen-headed Swedish count,
whom Kitty knew by name. Several invalids were lingering near
the low carriage, staring at the lady as though she were some
The prince went up to her, and Kitty detected that disconcerting
gleam of irony in his eyes. He went up to Madame Stahl, and
addressed her with extreme courtesy and affability in that
excellent French that so few speak nowadays.
"I dont know if you remember me, but I must recall myself to
thank you for your kindness to my daughter," he said, taking off
his hat and not putting it on again.
"Prince Alexander Shtcherbatsky," said Madame Stahl, lifting upon
him her heavenly eyes, in which Kitty discerned a look of
annoyance. "Delighted! I have taken a great fancy to your
"You are still in weak health?"
"Yes; Im used to it," said Madame Stahl, and she introduced the
prince to the Swedish count.
"You are scarcely changed at all," the prince said to her. "Its
ten or eleven years since I had the honor of seeing you."
"Yes; God sends the cross and sends the strength to bear it.
Often one wonders what is the goal of this life?... The other
side!" she said angrily to Varenka, who had rearranged the rug
over her feet not to her satisfaction.
"To do good, probably," said the prince with a twinkle in his
"That is not for us to judge," said Madame Stahl, perceiving the
shade of expression on the princes face. "So you will send me
that book, dear count? Im very grateful to you," she said to
the young Swede.
"Ah!" cried the prince, catching sight of the Moscow colonel
standing near, and with a bow to Madame Stahl he walked away with
his daughter and the Moscow colonel, who joined them.
"Thats our aristocracy, prince!" the Moscow colonel said with
ironical intention. He cherished a grudge against Madame Stahl
for not making his acquaintance.
"Shes just the same," replied the prince.
"Did you know her before her illness, prince--thats to say
before she took to her bed?"
"Yes. She took to her bed before my eyes," said the prince.
"They say its ten years since she has stood on her feet."
"She doesnt stand up because her legs are too short. Shes a
very bad figure."
"Papa, its not possible!" cried Kitty.
"Thats what wicked tongues say, my darling. And your Varenka
catches it too," he added. "Oh, these invalid ladies!"
"Oh, no, papa!" Kitty objected warmly. "Varenka worships her.
And then she does so much good! Ask anyone! Everyone knows her
and Aline Stahl."
"Perhaps so," said the prince, squeezing her hand with his elbow;
"but its better when one does good so that you may ask everyone
and no one knows."
Kitty did not answer, not because she had nothing to say, but
because she did not care to reveal her secret thoughts even to
her father. But, strange to say, although she had so made up her
mind not to be influenced by her fathers views, not to let him
into her inmost sanctuary, she felt that the heavenly image of
Madame Stahl, which she had carried for a whole month in her
heart, had vanished, never to return, just as the fantastic
figure made up of some clothes thrown down at random vanishes
when one sees that it is only some garment lying there. All that
was left was a woman with short legs, who lay down because she
had a bad figure, and worried patient Varenka for not arranging
her rug to her liking. And by no effort of the imagination could
Kitty bring back the former Madame Stahl.
The prince communicated his good humor to his own family and his
friends, and even to the German landlord in whose rooms the
Shtcherbatskys were staying.
On coming back with Kitty from the springs, the prince, who had
asked the colonel, and Marya Yevgenyevna, and Varenka all to come
and have coffee with them, gave orders for a table and chairs to
be taken into the garden under the chestnut tree, and lunch to be
laid there. The landlord and the servants, too, grew brisker
under the influence of his good spirits. They knew his
open-handedness; and half an hour later the invalid doctor from
Hamburg, who lived on the top floor, looked enviously out of the
window at the merry party of healthy Russians assembled under the
chestnut tree. In the trembling circles of shadow
Anna Karenina page 131 Anna Karenina page 133