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War And Peace 250


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War And Peace



fact that it is cold; and not that a child who needs fresh air should remain at home," he would add with extreme logic, as if punishing someone for those secret illogical emotions that stirred within him. At such moments Princess Mary would think how intellectual work dries men up. CHAPTER IV Prince Andrew arrived in Petersburg in August, 1809. It was the time when the youthful Speranski was at the zenith of his fame and his reforms were being pushed forward with the greatest energy. That same August the Emperor was thrown from his caleche, injured his leg, and remained three weeks at Peterhof, receiving Speranski every day and no one else. At that time the two famous decrees were being prepared that so agitated society--abolishing court ranks and introducing examinations to qualify for the grades of Collegiate Assessor and State Councilor--and not merely these but a whole state constitution, intended to change the existing order of government in Russia: legal, administrative, and financial, from the Council of State down to the district tribunals. Now those vague liberal dreams with which the Emperor Alexander had ascended the throne, and which he had tried to put into effect with the aid of his associates, Czartoryski, Novosiltsev, Kochubey, and Strogonov--whom he himself in jest had called his Comite de salut public--were taking shape and being realized. Now all these men were replaced by Speranski on the civil side, and Arakcheev on the military. Soon after his arrival Prince Andrew, as a gentleman of the chamber, presented himself at court and at a levee. The Emperor, though he met him twice, did not favor him with a single word. It had always seemed to Prince Andrew before that he was antipathetic to the Emperor and that the latter disliked his face and personality generally, and in the cold, repellent glance the Emperor gave him, he now found further confirmation of this surmise. The courtiers explained the Emperors neglect of him by His Majestys displeasure at Bolkonskis not having served since 1805. "I know myself that one cannot help ones sympathies and antipathies," thought Prince Andrew, "so it will not do to present my proposal for the reform of the army regulations to the Emperor personally, but the project will speak for itself." He mentioned what he had written to an old field marshal, a friend of his fathers. The field marshal made an appointment to see him, received him graciously, and promised to inform the Emperor. A few days later Prince Andrew received notice that he was to go to see the Minister of War, Count Arakcheev. On the appointed day Prince Andrew entered Count Arakcheevs waiting room at nine in the morning. He did not know Arakcheev personally, had never seen him, and all he had heard of him inspired him with but little respect for the man. "He is Minister of War, a man trusted by the Emperor, and I need not concern myself about his personal qualities: he has been commissioned to consider my project, so he alone can get it adopted," thought Prince Andrew as he waited among a number of important and unimportant people in Count Arakcheevs waiting room. During his service, chiefly as an adjutant, Prince Andrew had seen the anterooms of many important men, and the different types of such rooms were well known to him. Count Arakcheevs anteroom had quite a special character. The faces of the unimportant people awaiting their turn for an audience showed embarrassment and servility; the faces of those of higher rank expressed a common feeling of awkwardness, covered by a mask of unconcern and ridicule of themselves, their situation, and the person for whom they were waiting. Some walked thoughtfully up and down, others whispered and laughed. Prince Andrew heard the nickname "Sila Andreevich" and the words, "Uncle will give it to us hot," in reference to Count Arakcheev. One general (an important personage), evidently feeling offended at having to wait so long, sat crossing and uncrossing his legs and smiling contemptuously to himself. But the moment the door opened one feeling alone appeared on all faces--that of fear. Prince Andrew for the second time asked the adjutant on duty to take in his name, but received an ironical look and was told that his turn would come in due course. After some others had been shown in and out of the ministers room by the adjutant on duty, an officer who struck Prince Andrew by his humiliated and frightened air was admitted at that terrible door. This officers audience lasted a long time. Then suddenly the grating sound of a harsh voice

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