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War And Peace 125


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I seem not to notice he will think that I do not sympathize with him; if I seem sad and out of spirits myself, he will say (as he has done before) that Im in the dumps." The prince looked at his daughters frightened face and snorted. "Fool... or dummy!" he muttered. "And the other one is not here. Theyve been telling tales," he thought--referring to the little princess who was not in the dining room. "Where is the princess?" he asked. "Hiding?" "She is not very well," answered Mademoiselle Bourienne with a bright smile, "so she wont come down. It is natural in her state." "Hm! Hm!" muttered the prince, sitting down. His plate seemed to him not quite clean, and pointing to a spot he flung it away. Tikhon caught it and handed it to a footman. The little princess was not unwell, but had such an overpowering fear of the prince that, hearing he was in a bad humor, she had decided not to appear. "I am afraid for the baby," she said to Mademoiselle Bourienne: "Heaven knows what a fright might do." In general at Bald Hills the little princess lived in constant fear, and with a sense of antipathy to the old prince which she did not realize because the fear was so much the stronger feeling. The prince reciprocated this antipathy, but it was overpowered by his contempt for her. When the little princess had grown accustomed to life at Bald Hills, she took a special fancy to Mademoiselle Bourienne, spent whole days with her, asked her to sleep in her room, and often talked with her about the old prince and criticized him. "So we are to have visitors, mon prince?" remarked Mademoiselle Bourienne, unfolding her white napkin with her rosy fingers. "His Excellency Prince Vasili Kuragin and his son, I understand?" she said inquiringly. "Hm!--his excellency is a puppy.... I got him his appointment in the service," said the prince disdainfully. "Why his son is coming I dont understand. Perhaps Princess Elizabeth and Princess Mary know. I dont want him." (He looked at his blushing daughter.) "Are you unwell today? Eh? Afraid of the minister as that idiot Alpatych called him this morning?" "No, mon pere." Though Mademoiselle Bourienne had been so unsuccessful in her choice of a subject, she did not stop talking, but chattered about the conservatories and the beauty of a flower that had just opened, and after the soup the prince became more genial. After dinner, he went to see his daughter-in-law. The little princess was sitting at a small table, chattering with Masha, her maid. She grew pale on seeing her father-in-law. She was much altered. She was now plain rather than pretty. Her cheeks had sunk, her lip was drawn up, and her eyes drawn down. "Yes, I feel a kind of oppression," she said in reply to the princes question as to how she felt. "Do you want anything?" "No, merci, mon pere." "Well, all right, all right." He left the room and went to the waiting room where Alpatych stood with bowed head. "Has the snow been shoveled back?" "Yes, your excellency. Forgive me for heavens sake... It was only my stupidity." "All right, all right," interrupted the prince, and laughing his unnatural way, he stretched out his hand for Alpatych to kiss, and then proceeded to his study. Prince Vasili arrived that evening. He was met in the avenue by coachmen and footmen, who, with loud shouts, dragged his sleighs up to one of the lodges over the road purposely laden with snow. Prince Vasili and Anatole had separate rooms assigned to them. Anatole, having taken off his overcoat, sat with arms akimbo before a table on a corner of which he smilingly and absent-mindedly fixed his large and handsome eyes. He regarded his whole life as a continual round of amusement which someone for some reason had to provide for him. And he looked on this visit to a churlish old man and a rich and ugly heiress in the same way. All this might, he thought, turn out very well and amusingly. "And why not marry her if she really has so much money? That never does any harm," thought Anatole. He shaved and scented himself with the care and elegance which had become habitual to him and, his handsome head held high, entered his fathers room with the good-humored and victorious air natural to him. Prince Vasilis two valets were busy dressing him, and he looked round with much animation and cheerfully nodded to his son as the latter entered, as if to say: "Yes, thats how I

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