Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
still no improvement in the countess health, but it was
impossible to defer the journey to Moscow any longer. Natashas
trousseau had to be ordered and the house sold. Moreover, Prince
Andrew was expected in Moscow, where old Prince Bolkonski was spending
the winter, and Natasha felt sure he had already arrived.
So the countess remained in the country, and the count, taking Sonya
and Natasha with him, went to Moscow at the end of January.
BOOK EIGHT: 1811 --12
After Prince Andrews engagement to Natasha, Pierre without any
apparent cause suddenly felt it impossible to go on living as before.
Firmly convinced as he was of the truths revealed to him by his
benefactor, and happy as he had been in perfecting his inner man, to
which he had devoted himself with such ardor--all the zest of such a
life vanished after the engagement of Andrew and Natasha and the death
of Joseph Alexeevich, the news of which reached him almost at the same
time. Only the skeleton of life remained: his house, a brilliant wife
who now enjoyed the favors of a very important personage, acquaintance
with all Petersburg, and his court service with its dull formalities.
And this life suddenly seemed to Pierre unexpectedly loathsome. He
ceased keeping a diary, avoided the company of the Brothers, began
going to the Club again, drank a great deal, and came once more in
touch with the bachelor sets, leading such a life that the Countess
Helene thought it necessary to speak severely to him about it. Pierre
felt that she was right, and to avoid compromising her went away to
In Moscow as soon as he entered his huge house in which the faded
and fading princesses still lived, with its enormous retinue; as
soon as, driving through the town, he saw the Iberian shrine with
innumerable tapers burning before the golden covers of the icons,
the Kremlin Square with its snow undisturbed by vehicles, the sleigh
drivers and hovels of the Sivtsev Vrazhok, those old Moscovites who
desired nothing, hurried nowhere, and were ending their days
leisurely; when he saw those old Moscow ladies, the Moscow balls,
and the English Club, he felt himself at home in a quiet haven. In
Moscow he felt at peace, at home, warm and dirty as in an old dressing
Moscow society, from the old women down to the children, received
Pierre like a long-expected guest whose place was always ready
awaiting him. For Moscow society Pierre was the nicest, kindest,
most intellectual, merriest, and most magnanimous of cranks, a
heedless, genial nobleman of the old Russian type. His purse was
always empty because it was open to everyone.
Benefit performances, poor pictures, statues, benevolent
societies, gypsy choirs, schools, subscription dinners, sprees,
Freemasons, churches, and books--no one and nothing met with a refusal
from him, and had it not been for two friends who had borrowed large
sums from him and taken him under their protection, he would have
given everything away. There was never a dinner or soiree at the
Club without him. As soon as he sank into his place on the sofa
after two bottles of Margaux he was surrounded, and talking,
disputing, and joking began. When there were quarrels, his kindly
smile and well-timed jests reconciled the antagonists. The Masonic
dinners were dull and dreary when he was not there.
When after a bachelor supper he rose with his amiable and kindly
smile, yielding to the entreaties of the festive company to drive
off somewhere with them, shouts of delight and triumph arose among the
young men. At balls he danced if a partner was needed. Young ladies,
married and unmarried, liked him because without making love to any of
them, he was equally amiable to all, especially after supper. "Il
est charmant; il na pas de sexe,"* they said of him.
*"He is charming; he has no sex."
Pierre was one of those retired gentlemen-in-waiting of whom there
were hundreds good-humoredly ending their days in Moscow.
How horrified he would have been seven years before, when he first
arrived from abroad, had he been told that there was no need for him
to seek or plan anything, that his rut had long been shaped, eternally
predetermined, and that wriggle as he might, he would be what all in
his position were. He could not have believed it! Had he not at one
time longed with all his heart to establish a republic in Russia; then
himself to be a Napoleon; then to be a philosopher; and then a
strategist and the conqueror of Napoleon?
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