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War And Peace 326

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War And Peace

signboards at our Public Baths if I may say so. Ah, when one looks at our young people, Prince, one would like to take Peter the Greats old cudgel out of the museum and belabor them in the Russian way till all the nonsense jumps out of them." All were silent. The old prince looked at Rostopchin with a smile and wagged his head approvingly. "Well, good-by, your excellency, keep well!" said Rostopchin, getting up with characteristic briskness and holding out his hand to the prince. "Good-by, my dear fellow.... His words are music, I never tire of hearing him!" said the old prince, keeping hold of the hand and offering his cheek to be kissed. Following Rostopchins example the others also rose. CHAPTER IV Princess Mary as she sat listening to the old mens talk and faultfinding, understood nothing of what she heard; she only wondered whether the guests had all observed her fathers hostile attitude toward her. She did not even notice the special attentions and amiabilities shown her during dinner by Boris Drubetskoy, who was visiting them for the third time already. Princess Mary turned with absent-minded questioning look to Pierre, who hat in hand and with a smile on his face was the last of the guests to approach her after the old prince had gone out and they were left alone in the drawing room. "May I stay a little longer?" he said, letting his stout body sink into an armchair beside her. "Oh yes," she answered. "You noticed nothing?" her look asked. Pierre was in an agreeable after-dinner mood. He looked straight before him and smiled quietly. "Have you known that young man long, Princess?" he asked. "Who?" "Drubetskoy." "No, not long..." "Do you like him?" "Yes, he is an agreeable young man.... Why do you ask me that?" said Princess Mary, still thinking of that mornings conversation with her father. "Because I have noticed that when a young man comes on leave from Petersburg to Moscow it is usually with the object of marrying an heiress." "You have observed that?" said Princess Mary. "Yes," returned Pierre with a smile, "and this young man now manages matters so that where there is a wealthy heiress there he is too. I can read him like a book. At present he is hesitating whom to lay siege to--you or Mademoiselle Julie Karagina. He is very attentive to her." "He visits them?" "Yes, very often. And do you know the new way of courting?" said Pierre with an amused smile, evidently in that cheerful mood of good humored raillery for which he so often reproached himself in his diary. "No," replied Princess Mary. "To please Moscow girls nowadays one has to be melancholy. He is very melancholy with Mademoiselle Karagina," said Pierre. "Really?" asked Princess Mary, looking into Pierres kindly face and still thinking of her own sorrow. "It would be a relief," thought she, "if I ventured to confide what I am feeling to someone. I should like to tell everything to Pierre. He is kind and generous. It would be a relief. He would give me advice." "Would you marry him?" "Oh, my God, Count, there are moments when I would marry anybody!" she cried suddenly to her own surprise and with tears in her voice. "Ah, how bitter it is to love someone near to you and to feel that..." she went on in a trembling voice, "that you can do nothing for him but grieve him, and to know that you cannot alter this. Then there is only one thing left--to go away, but where could I go?" "What is wrong? What is it, Princess?" But without finishing what she was saying, Princess Mary burst into tears. "I dont know what is the matter with me today. Dont take any notice--forget what I have said!" Pierres gaiety vanished completely. He anxiously questioned the princess, asked her to speak out fully and confide her grief to him; but she only repeated that she begged him to forget what she had said, that she did not remember what she had said, and that she had no trouble except the one he knew of--that Prince Andrews marriage threatened to cause a rupture between father and son. "Have you any news of the Rostovs?" she asked, to change the subject. "I was told they are coming soon. I am also expecting Andrew any day. I should like them to meet here." "And how does he now regard the matter?" asked Pierre, referring to the old prince. Princess Mary shook her head. "What is to be done? In a few months the year will be up. The thing is impossible. I only

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