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was about to reply, but Prince Vasili interrupted him. "And why didnt you simply come straight to me as to a friend? I know all about it and understand it all," he said. "You behaved as becomes a man who values his honor, perhaps too hastily, but we wont go into that. But consider the position in which you are placing her and me in the eyes of society, and even of the court," he added, lowering his voice. "She is living in Moscow and you are here. Remember, dear boy," and he drew Pierres arm downwards, "it is simply a misunderstanding. I expect you feel it so yourself. Let us write her a letter at once, and shell come here and all will be explained, or else, my dear boy, let me tell you its quite likely youll have to suffer for it." Prince Vasili gave Pierre a significant look. "I know from reliable sources that the Dowager Empress is taking a keen interest in the whole affair. You know she is very gracious to Helene." Pierre tried several times to speak, but, on one hand, Prince Vasili did not let him and, on the other, Pierre himself feared to begin to speak in the tone of decided refusal and disagreement in which he had firmly resolved to answer his father-in-law. Moreover, the words of the Masonic statutes, "be kindly and courteous," recurred to him. He blinked, went red, got up and sat down again, struggling with himself to do what was for him the most difficult thing in life--to say an unpleasant thing to a mans face, to say what the other, whoever he might be, did not expect. He was so used to submitting to Prince Vasilis tone of careless self-assurance that he felt he would be unable to withstand it now, but he also felt that on what he said now his future depended--whether he would follow the same old road, or that new path so attractively shown him by the Masons, on which he firmly believed he would be reborn to a new life. "Now, dear boy," said Prince Vasili playfully, "say yes, and Ill write to her myself, and we will kill the fatted calf." But before Prince Vasili had finished his playful speech, Pierre, without looking at him, and with a kind of fury that made him like his father, muttered in a whisper: "Prince, I did not ask you here. Go, please go!" And he jumped up and opened the door for him. "Go!" he repeated, amazed at himself and glad to see the look of confusion and fear that showed itself on Prince Vasilis face. "Whats the matter with you? Are you ill?" "Go!" the quivering voice repeated. And Prince Vasili had to go without receiving any explanation. A week later, Pierre, having taken leave of his new friends, the Masons, and leaving large sums of money with them for alms, went away to his estates. His new brethren gave him letters to the Kiev and Odessa Masons and promised to write to him and guide him in his new activity. CHAPTER VI The duel between Pierre and Dolokhov was hushed up and, in spite of the Emperors severity regarding duels at that time, neither the principals nor their seconds suffered for it. But the story of the duel, confirmed by Pierres rupture with his wife, was the talk of society. Pierre who had been regarded with patronizing condescension when he was an illegitimate son, and petted and extolled when he was the best match in Russia, had sunk greatly in the esteem of society after his marriage--when the marriageable daughters and their mothers had nothing to hope from him--especially as he did not know how, and did not wish, to court societys favor. Now he alone was blamed for what had happened, he was said to be insanely jealous and subject like his father to fits of bloodthirsty rage. And when after Pierres departure Helene returned to Petersburg, she was received by all her acquaintances not only cordially, but even with a shade of deference due to her misfortune. When conversation turned on her husband Helene assumed a dignified expression, which with characteristic tact she had acquired though she did not understand its significance. This expression suggested that she had resolved to endure her troubles uncomplainingly and that her husband was a cross laid upon her by God. Prince Vasili expressed his opinion more openly. He shrugged his shoulders when Pierre was mentioned and, pointing to his forehead, remarked: "A bit touched--I always said so." "I said from the first," declared

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