Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
at having to let
him take their children and secured their release by heavy payments.
He did not know that the brick buildings, built to plan, were being
built by serfs whose manorial labor was thus increased, though
lessened on paper. He did not know that where the steward had shown
him in the accounts that the serfs payments had been diminished by
a third, their obligatory manorial work had been increased by a
half. And so Pierre was delighted with his visit to his estates and
quite recovered the philanthropic mood in which he had left
Petersburg, and wrote enthusiastic letters to his "brother-instructor"
as he called the Grand Master.
"How easy it is, how little effort it needs, to do so much good,"
thought Pierre, "and how little attention we pay to it!"
He was pleased at the gratitude he received, but felt abashed at
receiving it. This gratitude reminded him of how much more he might do
for these simple, kindly people.
The chief steward, a very stupid but cunning man who saw perfectly
through the naive and intelligent count and played with him as with
a toy, seeing the effect these prearranged receptions had on Pierre,
pressed him still harder with proofs of the impossibility and above
all the uselessness of freeing the serfs, who were quite happy as it
Pierre in his secret soul agreed with the steward that it would be
difficult to imagine happier people, and that God only knew what would
happen to them when they were free, but he insisted, though
reluctantly, on what he thought right. The steward promised to do
all in his power to carry out the counts wishes, seeing clearly
that not only would the count never be able to find out whether all
measures had been taken for the sale of the land and forests and to
release them from the Land Bank, but would probably never even inquire
and would never know that the newly erected buildings were standing
empty and that the serfs continued to give in money and work all
that other peoples serfs gave--that is to say, all that could be
got out of them.
Returning from his journey through South Russia in the happiest
state of mind, Pierre carried out an intention he had long had of
visiting his friend Bolkonski, whom he had not seen for two years.
Bogucharovo lay in a flat uninteresting part of the country among
fields and forests of fir and birch, which were partly cut down. The
house lay behind a newly dug pond filled with water to the brink and
with banks still bare of grass. It was at the end of a village that
stretched along the highroad in the midst of a young copse in which
were a few fir trees.
The homestead consisted of a threshing floor, outhouses, stables,
a bathhouse, a lodge, and a large brick house with semicircular facade
still in course of construction. Round the house was a garden newly
laid out. The fences and gates were new and solid; two fire pumps
and a water cart, painted green, stood in a shed; the paths were
straight, the bridges were strong and had handrails. Everything bore
an impress of tidiness and good management. Some domestic serfs Pierre
met, in reply to inquiries as to where the prince lived, pointed out a
small newly built lodge close to the pond. Anton, a man who had looked
after Prince Andrew in his boyhood, helped Pierre out of his carriage,
said that the prince was at home, and showed him into a clean little
Pierre was struck by the modesty of the small though clean house
after the brilliant surroundings in which he had last met his friend
He quickly entered the small reception room with its
still-unplastered wooden walls redolent of pine, and would have gone
farther, but Anton ran ahead on tiptoe and knocked at a door.
"Well, what is it?" came a sharp, unpleasant voice.
"A visitor," answered Anton.
"Ask him to wait," and the sound was heard of a chair being pushed
Pierre went with rapid steps to the door and suddenly came face to
face with Prince Andrew, who came out frowning and looking old. Pierre
embraced him and lifting his spectacles kissed his friend on the cheek
and looked at him closely.
"Well, I did not expect you, I am very glad," said Prince Andrew.
Pierre said nothing; he looked fixedly at his friend with
surprise. He was struck by the change in him. His words were kindly
and there was
War And Peace page 222 War And Peace page 224