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said this smiling in a way more natural and animated than usual, so that the wrinkles round his mouth very clearly revealed something unexpectedly coarse and unpleasant. "And why are children born to such men as you? If you were not a father there would be nothing I could reproach you with," said Anna Pavlovna, looking up pensively. "I am your faithful slave and to you alone I can confess that my children are the bane of my life. It is the cross I have to bear. That is how I explain it to myself. It cant be helped!" He said no more, but expressed his resignation to cruel fate by a gesture. Anna Pavlovna meditated. "Have you never thought of marrying your prodigal son Anatole?" she asked. "They say old maids have a mania for matchmaking, and though I dont feel that weakness in myself as yet, I know a little person who is very unhappy with her father. She is a relation of yours, Princess Mary Bolkonskaya." Prince Vasili did not reply, though, with the quickness of memory and perception befitting a man of the world, he indicated by a movement of the head that he was considering this information. "Do you know," he said at last, evidently unable to check the sad current of his thoughts, "that Anatole is costing me forty thousand rubles a year? And," he went on after a pause, "what will it be in five years, if he goes on like this?" Presently he added: "Thats what we fathers have to put up with.... Is this princess of yours rich?" "Her father is very rich and stingy. He lives in the country. He is the well-known Prince Bolkonski who had to retire from the army under the late Emperor, and was nicknamed the King of Prussia. He is very clever but eccentric, and a bore. The poor girl is very unhappy. She has a brother; I think you know him, he married Lise Meinen lately. He is an aide-de-camp of Kutuzovs and will be here tonight." "Listen, dear Annette," said the prince, suddenly taking Anna Pavlovnas hand and for some reason drawing it downwards. "Arrange that affair for me and I shall always be your most devoted slave-slafe with an f, as a village elder of mine writes in his reports. She is rich and of good family and thats all I want." And with the familiarity and easy grace peculiar to him, he raised the maid of honors hand to his lips, kissed it, and swung it to and fro as he lay back in his armchair, looking in another direction. "Attendez," said Anna Pavlovna, reflecting, "Ill speak to Lise, young Bolkonskis wife, this very evening, and perhaps the thing can be arranged. It shall be on your familys behalf that Ill start my apprenticeship as old maid."
CHAPTER II
Anna Pavlovnas drawing room was gradually filling. The highest Petersburg society was assembled there: people differing widely in age and character but alike in the social circle to which they belonged. Prince Vasilis daughter, the beautiful Helene, came to take her father to the ambassadors entertainment; she wore a ball dress and her badge as maid of honor. The youthful little Princess Bolkonskaya, known as la femme la plus seduisante de Petersbourg,* was also there. She had been married during the previous winter, and being pregnant did not go to any large gatherings, but only to small receptions. Prince Vasilis son, Hippolyte, had come with Mortemart, whom he introduced. The Abbe Morio and many others had also come. *The most fascinating woman in Petersburg. To each new arrival Anna Pavlovna said, "You have not yet seen my aunt," or "You do not know my aunt?" and very gravely conducted him or her to a little old lady, wearing large bows of ribbon in her cap, who had come sailing in from another room as soon as the guests began to arrive; and slowly turning her eyes from the visitor to her aunt, Anna Pavlovna mentioned each ones name and then left them. Each visitor performed the ceremony of greeting this old aunt whom not one of them knew, not one of them wanted to know, and not one of them cared about; Anna Pavlovna observed these greetings with mournful and solemn interest and silent approval. The aunt spoke to each of them in the same words, about their health and her own, and the health of Her Majesty, "who, thank God, was better today." And each visitor, though politeness prevented his showing impatience, left the old woman with a sense

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