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War And Peace 224

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War And Peace

a smile on his lips and face, but his eyes were dull and lifeless and in spite of his evident wish to do so he could not give them a joyous and glad sparkle. Prince Andrew had grown thinner, paler, and more manly-looking, but what amazed and estranged Pierre till he got used to it were his inertia and a wrinkle on his brow indicating prolonged concentration on some one thought. As is usually the case with people meeting after a prolonged separation, it was long before their conversation could settle on anything. They put questions and gave brief replies about things they knew ought to be talked over at length. At last the conversation gradually settled on some of the topics at first lightly touched on: their past life, plans for the future, Pierres journeys and occupations, the war, and so on. The preoccupation and despondency which Pierre had noticed in his friends look was now still more clearly expressed in the smile with which he listened to Pierre, especially when he spoke with joyful animation of the past or the future. It was as if Prince Andrew would have liked to sympathize with what Pierre was saying, but could not. The latter began to feel that it was in bad taste to speak of his enthusiasms, dreams, and hopes of happiness or goodness, in Prince Andrews presence. He was ashamed to express his new Masonic views, which had been particularly revived and strengthened by his late tour. He checked himself, fearing to seem naive, yet he felt an irresistible desire to show his friend as soon as possible that he was now a quite different, and better, Pierre than he had been in Petersburg. "I cant tell you how much I have lived through since then. I hardly know myself again." "Yes, we have altered much, very much, since then," said Prince Andrew. "Well, and you? What are your plans?" "Plans!" repeated Prince Andrew ironically. "My plans?" he said, as if astonished at the word. "Well, you see, Im building. I mean to settle here altogether next year...." Pierre looked silently and searchingly into Prince Andrews face, which had grown much older. "No, I meant to ask..." Pierre began, but Prince Andrew interrupted him. "But why talk of me?... Talk to me, yes, tell me about your travels and all you have been doing on your estates." Pierre began describing what he had done on his estates, trying as far as possible to conceal his own part in the improvements that had been made. Prince Andrew several times prompted Pierres story of what he had been doing, as though it were all an old-time story, and he listened not only without interest but even as if ashamed of what Pierre was telling him. Pierre felt uncomfortable and even depressed in his friends company and at last became silent. "Ill tell you what, my dear fellow," said Prince Andrew, who evidently also felt depressed and constrained with his visitor, "I am only bivouacking here and have just come to look round. I am going back to my sister today. I will introduce you to her. But of course you know her already," he said, evidently trying to entertain a visitor with whom he now found nothing in common. "We will go after dinner. And would you now like to look round my place?" They went out and walked about till dinnertime, talking of the political news and common acquaintances like people who do not know each other intimately. Prince Andrew spoke with some animation and interest only of the new homestead he was constructing and its buildings, but even here, while on the scaffolding, in the midst of a talk explaining the future arrangements of the house, he interrupted himself: "However, this is not at all interesting. Let us have dinner, and then well set off." At dinner, conversation turned on Pierres marriage. "I was very much surprised when I heard of it," said Prince Andrew. Pierre blushed, as he always did when it was mentioned, and said hurriedly: "I will tell you some time how it all happened. But you know it is all over, and forever." "Forever?" said Prince Andrew. "Nothings forever." "But you know how it all ended, dont you? You heard of the duel?" "And so you had to go through that too!" "One thing I thank God for is that I did not kill that man," said Pierre. "Why so?" asked Prince Andrew. "To kill a vicious dog is a very good thing really." "No, to kill a man is bad--wrong." "Why is it wrong?" urged Prince Andrew. "It is

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