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War And Peace 35

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War And Peace

and kinds of dessert, in order to send a full description of the dinner to his people in Germany; and he felt greatly offended when the butler with a bottle wrapped in a napkin passed him by. He frowned, trying to appear as if he did not want any of that wine, but was mortified because no one would understand that it was not to quench his thirst or from greediness that he wanted it, but simply from a conscientious desire for knowledge. CHAPTER XIX At the mens end of the table the talk grew more and more animated. The colonel told them that the declaration of war had already appeared in Petersburg and that a copy, which he had himself seen, had that day been forwarded by courier to the commander in chief. "And why the deuce are we going to fight Bonaparte?" remarked Shinshin. "He has stopped Austrias cackle and I fear it will be our turn next." The colonel was a stout, tall, plethoric German, evidently devoted to the service and patriotically Russian. He resented Shinshins remark. "It is for the reasson, my goot sir," said he, speaking with a German accent, "for the reasson zat ze Emperor knows zat. He declares in ze manifessto zat he cannot fiew wiz indifference ze danger vreatening Russia and zat ze safety and dignity of ze Empire as vell as ze sanctity of its alliances..." he spoke this last word with particular emphasis as if in it lay the gist of the matter. Then with the unerring official memory that characterized him he repeated from the opening words of the manifesto: ... and the wish, which constitutes the Emperors sole and absolute aim--to establish peace in Europe on firm foundations--has now decided him to despatch part of the army abroad and to create a new condition for the attainment of that purpose. "Zat, my dear sir, is vy..." he concluded, drinking a tumbler of wine with dignity and looking to the count for approval. "Connaissez-vous le Proverbe:* Jerome, Jerome, do not roam, but turn spindles at home!?" said Shinshin, puckering his brows and smiling. "Cela nous convient a merveille.*[2] Suvorov now--he knew what he was about; yet they beat him a plate couture,*[3] and where are we to find Suvorovs now? Je vous demande un peu,"*[4] said he, continually changing from French to Russian. *Do you know the proverb? *[2] That suits us down to the ground. *[3] Hollow. *[4] I just ask you that. "Ve must vight to the last tr-r-op of our plood!" said the colonel, thumping the table; "and ve must tie for our Emperor, and zen all vill pe vell. And ve must discuss it as little as po-o-ossible"... he dwelt particularly on the word possible... "as po-o-ossible," he ended, again turning to the count. "Zat is how ve old hussars look at it, and zeres an end of it! And how do you, a young man and a young hussar, how do you judge of it?" he added, addressing Nicholas, who when he heard that the war was being discussed had turned from his partner with eyes and ears intent on the colonel. "I am quite of your opinion," replied Nicholas, flaming up, turning his plate round and moving his wineglasses about with as much decision and desperation as though he were at that moment facing some great danger. "I am convinced that we Russians must die or conquer," he concluded, conscious--as were others--after the words were uttered that his remarks were too enthusiastic and emphatic for the occasion and were therefore awkward. "What you said just now was splendid!" said his partner Julie. Sonya trembled all over and blushed to her ears and behind them and down to her neck and shoulders while Nicholas was speaking. Pierre listened to the colonels speech and nodded approvingly. "Thats fine," said he. "The young mans a real hussar!" shouted the colonel, again thumping the table. "What are you making such a noise about over there?" Marya Dmitrievnas deep voice suddenly inquired from the other end of the table. "What are you thumping the table for?" she demanded of the hussar, "and why are you exciting yourself? Do you think the French are here?" "I am speaking ze truce," replied the hussar with a smile. "Its all about the war," the count shouted down the table. "You know my sons going, Marya Dmitrievna? My son is going." "I have four sons in the army but still I dont fret. It is all in Gods hands. You may die in your bed or God may spare you in a battle," replied Marya Dmitrievnas deep voice,

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