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War And Peace 324


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Bourienne who at the sound of shouting had run in from an adjoining room. "The prince is not very well: bile and rush of blood to the head. Keep calm, I will call again tomorrow," said Metivier; and putting his fingers to his lips he hastened away. Through the study door came the sound of slippered feet and the cry: "Spies, traitors, traitors everywhere! Not a moments peace in my own house!" After Metiviers departure the old prince called his daughter in, and the whole weight of his wrath fell on her. She was to blame that a spy had been admitted. Had he not told her, yes, told her to make a list, and not to admit anyone who was not on that list? Then why was that scoundrel admitted? She was the cause of it all. With her, he said, he could not have a moments peace and could not die quietly. "No, maam! We must part, we must part! Understand that, understand it! I cannot endure any more," he said, and left the room. Then, as if afraid she might find some means of consolation, he returned and trying to appear calm added: "And dont imagine I have said this in a moment of anger. I am calm. I have thought it over, and it will be carried out--we must part; so find some place for yourself...." But he could not restrain himself and with the virulence of which only one who loves is capable, evidently suffering himself, he shook his fists at her and screamed: "If only some fool would marry her!" Then he slammed the door, sent for Mademoiselle Bourienne, and subsided into his study. At two oclock the six chosen guests assembled for dinner. These guests--the famous Count Rostopchin, Prince Lopukhin with his nephew, General Chatrov an old war comrade of the princes, and of the younger generation Pierre and Boris Drubetskoy--awaited the prince in the drawing room. Boris, who had come to Moscow on leave a few days before, had been anxious to be presented to Prince Nicholas Bolkonski, and had contrived to ingratiate himself so well that the old prince in his case made an exception to the rule of not receiving bachelors in his house. The princes house did not belong to what is known as fashionable society, but his little circle--though not much talked about in town--was one it was more flattering to be received in than any other. Boris had realized this the week before when the commander in chief in his presence invited Rostopchin to dinner on St. Nicholas Day, and Rostopchin had replied that he could not come: "On that day I always go to pay my devotions to the relics of Prince Nicholas Bolkonski." "Oh, yes, yes!" replied the commander in chief. "How is he?..." The small group that assembled before dinner in the lofty old-fashioned drawing room with its old furniture resembled the solemn gathering of a court of justice. All were silent or talked in low tones. Prince Nicholas came in serious and taciturn. Princess Mary seemed even quieter and more diffident than usual. The guests were reluctant to address her, feeling that she was in no mood for their conversation. Count Rostopchin alone kept the conversation going, now relating the latest town news, and now the latest political gossip. Lopukhin and the old general occasionally took part in the conversation. Prince Bolkonski listened as a presiding judge receives a report, only now and then, silently or by a brief word, showing that he took heed of what was being reported to him. The tone of the conversation was such as indicated that no one approved of what was being done in the political world. Incidents were related evidently confirming the opinion that everything was going from bad to worse, but whether telling a story or giving an opinion the speaker always stopped, or was stopped, at the point beyond which his criticism might touch the sovereign himself. At dinner the talk turned on the latest political news: Napoleons seizure of the Duke of Oldenburgs territory, and the Russian Note, hostile to Napoleon, which had been sent to all the European courts. "Bonaparte treats Europe as a pirate does a captured vessel," said Count Rostopchin, repeating a phrase he had uttered several times before. "One only wonders at the long-suffering or blindness of the crowned heads. Now the Popes turn has come and Bonaparte doesnt scruple to depose the head of the Catholic Church--yet all keep silent! Our sovereign alone has protested against the seizure of the Duke of Oldenburgs territory, and even..." Count Rostopchin paused, feeling

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