Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
a whole month there was not a word about his book.
Sergey Ivanovitch had calculated to a nicety the time necessary
for writing a review, but a month passed, and a second, and still
there was silence.
Only in the _Northern Beetle_, in a comic article on the singer
Drabanti, who had lost his voice, there was a contemptuous
allusion to Koznishevs book, suggesting that the book had been
long ago seen through by everyone, and was a subject of general
At last in the third month a critical article appeared in a
serious review. Sergey Ivanovitch knew the author of the
article. He had met him once at Golubtsovs.
The author of the article was a young man, an invalid, very bold
as a writer, but extremely deficient in breeding and shy in
In spite of his absolute contempt for the author, it was with
complete respect that Sergey Ivanovitch set about reading the
article. The article was awful.
The critic had undoubtedly put an interpretation upon the book
which could not possibly be put on it. But he had selected
quotations so adroitly that for people who had not read the book
(and obviously scarcely anyone had read it) it seemed absolutely
clear that the whole book was nothing but a medley of high-flown
phrases, not even--as suggested by marks of interrogation--used
appropriately, and that the author of the book was a person
absolutely without knowledge of the subject. And all this was
so wittily done that Sergey Ivanovitch would not have disowned
such wit himself. But that was just what was so awful.
In spite of the scrupulous conscientiousness with which Sergey
Ivanovitch verified the correctness of the critics arguments, he
did not for a minute stop to ponder over the faults and mistakes
which were ridiculed; but unconsciously he began immediately
trying to recall every detail of his meeting and conversation
with the author of the article.
"Didnt I offend him in some way?" Sergey Ivanovitch wondered.
And remembering that when they met he had corrected the young man
about something he had said that betrayed ignorance, Sergey
Ivanovitch found the clue to explain the article.
This article was followed by a deadly silence about the book both
in the press and in conversation, and Sergey Ivanovitch saw that
his six years task, toiled at with such love and labor, had
gone, leaving no trace.
Sergey Ivanovitchs position was still more difficult from the
fact that, since he had finished his book, he had had no more
literary work to do, such as had hitherto occupied the greater
part of his time.
Sergey Ivanovitch was clever, cultivated, healthy, and energetic,
and he did not know what use to make of his energy.
Conversations in drawing rooms, in meetings, assemblies, and
committees--everywhere where talk was possible--took up part of
his time. But being used for years to town life, he did not
waste all his energies in talk, as his less experienced younger
brother did, when he was in Moscow. He had a great deal of
leisure and intellectual energy still to dispose of.
Fortunately for him, at this period so difficult for him from the
failure of his book, the various public questions of the
dissenting sects, of the American alliance, of the Samara famine,
of exhibitions, and of spiritualism, were definitely replaced in
public interest by the Slavonic question, which had hitherto
rather languidly interested society, and Sergey Ivanovitch, who
had been one of the first to raise this subject, threw himself
into it heart and soul.
In the circle to which Sergey Ivanovitch belonged, nothing was
talked of or written about just now but the Servian War.
Everything that the idle crowd usually does to kill time was done
now for the benefit of the Slavonic States. Balls, concerts,
dinners, matchboxes, ladies dresses, beer, restaurants--
everything testified to sympathy with the Slavonic peoples.
From much of what was spoken and written on the subject, Sergey
Ivanovitch differed on various points. He saw that the Slavonic
question had become one of those fashionable distractions which
succeed one another in providing society with an object and an
occupation. He saw, too, that a great many people were taking up
the subject from motives of self-interest and self-advertisement.
He recognized that the newspapers published a great deal that was
superfluous and exaggerated, with the sole aim of attracting
attention and outbidding one another. He saw that in this
general movement those who thrust themselves most forward and
shouted the loudest were men who had failed and were smarting
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