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War And Peace 251

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War And Peace

was heard from the other side of the door, and the officer--with pale face and trembling lips--came out and passed through the waiting room, clutching his head. After this Prince Andrew was conducted to the door and the officer on duty said in a whisper, "To the right, at the window." Prince Andrew entered a plain tidy room and saw at the table a man of forty with a long waist, a long closely cropped head, deep wrinkles, scowling brows above dull greenish-hazel eyes and an overhanging red nose. Arakcheev turned his head toward him without looking at him. "What is your petition?" asked Arakcheev. "I am not petitioning, your excellency," returned Prince Andrew quietly. Arakcheevs eyes turned toward him. "Sit down," said he. "Prince Bolkonski?" "I am not petitioning about anything. His Majesty the Emperor has deigned to send your excellency a project submitted by me..." "You see, my dear sir, I have read your project," interrupted Arakcheev, uttering only the first words amiably and then--again without looking at Prince Andrew--relapsing gradually into a tone of grumbling contempt. "You are proposing new military laws? There are many laws but no one to carry out the old ones. Nowadays everybody designs laws, it is easier writing than doing." "I came at His Majesty the Emperors wish to learn from your excellency how you propose to deal with the memorandum I have presented," said Prince Andrew politely. "I have endorsed a resolution on your memorandum and sent it to the committee. I do not approve of it," said Arakcheev, rising and taking a paper from his writing table. "Here!" and he handed it to Prince Andrew. Across the paper was scrawled in pencil, without capital letters, misspelled, and without punctuation: "Unsoundly constructed because resembles an imitation of the French military code and from the Articles of War needlessly deviating." "To what committee has the memorandum been referred?" inquired Prince Andrew. "To the Committee on Army Regulations, and I have recommended that your honor should be appointed a member, but without a salary." Prince Andrew smiled. "I dont want one." "A member without salary," repeated Arakcheev. "I have the honor... Eh! Call the next one! Who else is there?" he shouted, bowing to Prince Andrew. CHAPTER V While waiting for the announcement of his appointment to the committee Prince Andrew looked up his former acquaintances, particularly those he knew to be in power and whose aid he might need. In Petersburg he now experienced the same feeling he had had on the eve of a battle, when troubled by anxious curiosity and irresistibly attracted to the ruling circles where the future, on which the fate of millions depended, was being shaped. From the irritation of the older men, the curiosity of the uninitiated, the reserve of the initiated, the hurry and preoccupation of everyone, and the innumerable committees and commissions of whose existence he learned every day, he felt that now, in 1809, here in Petersburg a vast civil conflict was in preparation, the commander in chief of which was a mysterious person he did not know, but who was supposed to be a man of genius--Speranski. And this movement of reconstruction of which Prince Andrew had a vague idea, and Speranski its chief promoter, began to interest him so keenly that the question of the army regulations quickly receded to a secondary place in his consciousness. Prince Andrew was most favorably placed to secure good reception in the highest and most diverse Petersburg circles of the day. The reforming party cordially welcomed and courted him, in the first place because he was reputed to be clever and very well read, and secondly because by liberating his serfs he had obtained the reputation of being a liberal. The party of the old and dissatisfied, who censured the innovations, turned to him expecting his sympathy in their disapproval of the reforms, simply because he was the son of his father. The feminine society world welcomed him gladly, because he was rich, distinguished, a good match, and almost a newcomer, with a halo of romance on account of his supposed death and the tragic loss of his wife. Besides this the general opinion of all who had known him previously was that he had greatly improved during these last five years, having softened and grown more manly, lost his former affectation, pride, and contemptuous irony, and acquired the serenity that comes with years. People talked about him, were interested in him, and wanted to meet him. The day after his interview with Count Arakcheev, Prince Andrew spent the evening at Count Kochubeys. He told the count of his interview with Sila Andreevich (Kochubey spoke

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