Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
much agitated. He would have covered
the picture, but he stopped, holding the cloth in his hand, and,
smiling blissfully, gazed a long while at the figure of John. At
last, as it were regretfully tearing himself away, he dropped the
cloth, and, exhausted but happy, went home.
Vronsky, Anna, and Golenishtchev, on their way home, were
particularly lively and cheerful. They talked of Mihailov and
his pictures. The word _talent_, by which they meant an inborn,
almost physical, aptitude apart from brain and heart, and in
which they tried to find an expression for all the artist had
gained from life, recurred particularly often in their talk, as
though it were necessary for them to sum up what they had no
conception of, though they wanted to talk of it. They said that
there was no denying his talent, but that his talent could not
develop for want of education--the common defect of our Russian
artists. But the picture of the boys had imprinted itself on
their memories, and they were continually coming back to it.
"What an exquisite thing! How he has succeeded in it, and how
simply! He doesnt even comprehend how good it is. Yes, I
mustnt let it slip; I must buy it," said Vronsky.
Mihailov sold Vronsky his picture, and agreed to paint a
portrait of Anna. On the day fixed he came and began the work.
From the fifth sitting the portrait impressed everyone,
especially Vronsky, not only by its resemblance, but by its
characteristic beauty. It was strange how Mihailov could have
discovered just her characteristic beauty. "One needs to know
and love her as I have loved her to discover the very sweetest
expression of her soul," Vronsky thought, though it was only from
this portrait that he had himself learned this sweetest
expression of her soul. But the expression was so true that he,
and others too, fancied they had long known it.
"I have been struggling on for ever so long without doing
anything," he said of his own portrait of her, "and he just
looked and painted it. Thats where technique comes in."
"That will come," was the consoling reassurance given him by
Golenishtchev, in whose view Vronsky had both talent, and what
was most important, culture, giving him a wider outlook on art.
Golenishtchevs faith in Vronskys talent was propped up by his
own need of Vronskys sympathy and approval for his own articles
and ideas, and he felt that the praise and support must be
In another mans house, and especially in Vronskys palazzo,
Mihailov was quite a different man from what he was in his
studio. He behaved with hostile courtesy, as though he were
afraid of coming closer to people he did not respect. He called
Vronsky "your excellency," and notwithstanding Annas and
Vronskys invitations, he would never stay to dinner, nor come
except for the sittings. Anna was even more friendly to him than
to other people, and was very grateful for her portrait. Vronsky
was more than cordial with him, and was obviously interested to
know the artists opinion of his picture. Golenishtchev never
let slip an opportunity of instilling sound ideas about art into
Mihailov. But Mihailov remained equally chilly to all of them.
Anna was aware from his eyes that he liked looking at her, but he
avoided conversation with her. Vronskys talk about his painting
he met with stubborn silence, and he was as stubbornly silent
when he was shown Vronskys picture. He was unmistakably bored
by Golenishtchevs conversation, and he did not attempt to oppose
Altogether Mihailov, with his reserved and disagreeable, as it
were, hostile attitude, was quite disliked by them as they got to
know him better; and they were glad when the sittings were over,
and they were left with a magnificent portrait in their
possession, and he gave up coming. Golenishtchev was the first
to give expression to an idea that had occurred to all of them,
which was that Mihailov was simply jealous of Vronsky.
"Not envious, let us say, since he has _talent_; but it annoys him
that a wealthy man of the highest society, and a count, too (you
know they all detest a title), can, without any particular
trouble, do as well, if not better, than he who has devoted all
his life to it. And more than all, its a question of culture,
which he is without."
Vronsky defended Mihailov, but at the bottom
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