Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
Uvarov, who had arrived with him, paused at the
doorway to allow him, as the guest of honor, to enter first. Bagration
was embarrassed, not wishing to avail himself of their courtesy, and
this caused some delay at the doors, but after all he did at last
enter first. He walked shyly and awkwardly over the parquet floor of
the reception room, not knowing what to do with his hands; he was more
accustomed to walk over a plowed field under fire, as he had done at
the head of the Kursk regiment at Schon Grabern--and he would have
found that easier. The committeemen met him at the first door and,
expressing their delight at seeing such a highly honored guest, took
possession of him as it were, without waiting for his reply,
surrounded him, and led him to the drawing room. It was at first
impossible to enter the drawing-room door for the crowd of members and
guests jostling one another and trying to get a good look at Bagration
over each others shoulders, as if he were some rare animal. Count
Ilya Rostov, laughing and repeating the words, "Make way, dear boy!
Make way, make way!" pushed through the crowd more energetically
than anyone, led the guests into the drawing room, and seated them
on the center sofa. The bigwigs, the most respected members of the
Club, beset the new arrivals. Count Ilya, again thrusting his way
through the crowd, went out of the drawing room and reappeared a
minute later with another committeeman, carrying a large silver salver
which he presented to Prince Bagration. On the salver lay some
verses composed and printed in the heros honor. Bagration, on
seeing the salver, glanced around in dismay, as though seeking help.
But all eyes demanded that he should submit. Feeling himself in
their power, he resolutely took the salver with both hands and
looked sternly and reproachfully at the count who had presented it
to him. Someone obligingly took the dish from Bagration (or he
would, it seemed, have held it till evening and have gone in to dinner
with it) and drew his attention to the verses.
"Well, I will read them, then!" Bagration seemed to say, and, fixing
his weary eyes on the paper, began to read them with a fixed and
serious expression. But the author himself took the verses and began
reading them aloud. Bagration bowed his head and listened:
Bring glory then to Alexanders reign
And on the throne our Titus shield.
A dreaded foe be thou, kindhearted as a man,
A Rhipheus at home, a Caesar in the field!
Een fortunate Napoleon
Knows by experience, now, Bagration,
And dare not Herculean Russians trouble...
But before he had finished reading, a stentorian major-domo
announced that dinner was ready! The door opened, and from the
dining room came the resounding strains of the polonaise:
Conquests joyful thunder waken,
Triumph, valiant Russians, now!...
and Count Rostov, glancing angrily at the author who went on reading
his verses, bowed to Bagration. Everyone rose, feeling that dinner was
more important than verses, and Bagration, again preceding all the
rest, went in to dinner. He was seated in the place of honor between
two Alexanders--Bekleshev and Naryshkin--which was a significant
allusion to the name of the sovereign. Three hundred persons took
their seats in the dining room, according to their rank and
importance: the more important nearer to the honored guest, as
naturally as water flows deepest where the land lies lowest.
Just before dinner, Count Ilya Rostov presented his son to
Bagration, who recognized him and said a few words to him,
disjointed and awkward, as were all the words he spoke that day, and
Count Ilya looked joyfully and proudly around while Bagration spoke to
Nicholas Rostov, with Denisov and his new acquaintance, Dolokhov,
sat almost at the middle of the table. Facing them sat Pierre,
beside Prince Nesvitski. Count Ilya Rostov with the other members of
the committee sat facing Bagration and, as the very personification of
Moscow hospitality, did the honors to the prince.
His efforts had not been in vain. The dinner, both the Lenten and
the other fare, was splendid, yet he could not feel quite at ease till
the end of the meal. He winked at the butler, whispered directions
to the footmen, and awaited each expected dish with some anxiety.
Everything was excellent. With the second course, a gigantic sterlet
War And Peace page 179 War And Peace page 181