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War And Peace 325


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that he had reached the limit beyond which censure was impossible. "Other territories have been offered in exchange for the Duchy of Oldenburg," said Prince Bolkonski. "He shifts the Dukes about as I might move my serfs from Bald Hills to Bogucharovo or my Ryazan estates." "The Duke of Oldenburg bears his misfortunes with admirable strength of character and resignation," remarked Boris, joining in respectfully. He said this because on his journey from Petersburg he had had the honor of being presented to the Duke. Prince Bolkonski glanced at the young man as if about to say something in reply, but changed his mind, evidently considering him too young. "I have read our protests about the Oldenburg affair and was surprised how badly the Note was worded," remarked Count Rostopchin in the casual tone of a man dealing with a subject quite familiar to him. Pierre looked at Rostopchin with naive astonishment, not understanding why he should be disturbed by the bad composition of the Note. "Does it matter, Count, how the Note is worded," he asked, "so long as its substance is forcible?" "My dear fellow, with our five hundred thousand troops it should be easy to have a good style," returned Count Rostopchin. Pierre now understood the counts dissatisfaction with the wording of the Note. "One would have thought quill drivers enough had sprung up," remarked the old prince. "There in Petersburg they are always writing--not notes only but even new laws. My Andrew there has written a whole volume of laws for Russia. Nowadays they are always writing!" and he laughed unnaturally. There was a momentary pause in the conversation; the old general cleared his throat to draw attention. "Did you hear of the last event at the review in Petersburg? The figure cut by the new French ambassador." "Eh? Yes, I heard something: he said something awkward in His Majestys presence." "His Majesty drew attention to the Grenadier division and to the march past," continued the general, "and it seems the ambassador took no notice and allowed himself to reply that: We in France pay no attention to such trifles! The Emperor did not condescend to reply. At the next review, they say, the Emperor did not once deign to address him." All were silent. On this fact relating to the Emperor personally, it was impossible to pass any judgment. "Impudent fellows!" said the prince. "You know Metivier? I turned him out of my house this morning. He was here; they admitted him in spite of my request that they should let no one in," he went on, glancing angrily at his daughter. And he narrated his whole conversation with the French doctor and the reasons that convinced him that Metivier was a spy. Though these reasons were very insufficient and obscure, no one made any rejoinder. After the roast, champagne was served. The guests rose to congratulate the old prince. Princess Mary, too, went round to him. He gave her a cold, angry look and offered her his wrinkled, clean-shaven cheek to kiss. The whole expression of his face told her that he had not forgotten the mornings talk, that his decision remained in force, and only the presence of visitors hindered his speaking of it to her now. When they went into the drawing room where coffee was served, the old men sat together. Prince Nicholas grew more animated and expressed his views on the impending war. He said that our wars with Bonaparte would be disastrous so long as we sought alliances with the Germans and thrust ourselves into European affairs, into which we had been drawn by the Peace of Tilsit. "We ought not to fight either for or against Austria. Our political interests are all in the East, and in regard to Bonaparte the only thing is to have an armed frontier and a firm policy, and he will never dare to cross the Russian frontier, as was the case in 1807!" "How can we fight the French, Prince?" said Count Rostopchin. "Can we arm ourselves against our teachers and divinities? Look at our youths, look at our ladies! The French are our Gods: Paris is our Kingdom of Heaven." He began speaking louder, evidently to be heard by everyone. "French dresses, French ideas, French feelings! There now, you turned Metivier out by the scruff of his neck because he is a Frenchman and a scoundrel, but our ladies crawl after him on their knees. I went to a party last night, and there out of five ladies three were Roman Catholics and had the Popes indulgence for doing woolwork on Sundays. And they themselves sit there nearly naked, like the

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