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War And Peace 356


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and Sonya, who had a tear-stained face, but he could not see Natasha. Pierre dined at the club that day and heard on all sides gossip about the attempted abduction of Rostova. He resolutely denied these rumors, assuring everyone that nothing had happened except that his brother-in-law had proposed to her and been refused. It seemed to Pierre that it was his duty to conceal the whole affair and re-establish Natashas reputation. He was awaiting Prince Andrews return with dread and went every day to the old princes for news of him. Old Prince Bolkonski heard all the rumors current in the town from Mademoiselle Bourienne and had read the note to Princess Mary in which Natasha had broken off her engagement. He seemed in better spirits than usual and awaited his son with great impatience. Some days after Anatoles departure Pierre received a note from Prince Andrew, informing him of his arrival and asking him to come to see him. As soon as he reached Moscow, Prince Andrew had received from his father Natashas note to Princess Mary breaking off her engagement (Mademoiselle Bourienne had purloined it from Princess Mary and given it to the old prince), and he heard from him the story of Natashas elopement, with additions. Prince Andrew had arrived in the evening and Pierre came to see him next morning. Pierre expected to find Prince Andrew in almost the same state as Natasha and was therefore surprised on entering the drawing room to hear him in the study talking in a loud animated voice about some intrigue going on in Petersburg. The old princes voice and another now and then interrupted him. Princess Mary came out to meet Pierre. She sighed, looking toward the door of the room where Prince Andrew was, evidently intending to express her sympathy with his sorrow, but Pierre saw by her face that she was glad both at what had happened and at the way her brother had taken the news of Natashas faithlessness. "He says he expected it," she remarked. "I know his pride will not let him express his feelings, but still he has taken it better, far better, than I expected. Evidently it had to be...." "But is it possible that all is really ended?" asked Pierre. Princess Mary looked at him with astonishment. She did not understand how he could ask such a question. Pierre went into the study. Prince Andrew, greatly changed and plainly in better health, but with a fresh horizontal wrinkle between his brows, stood in civilian dress facing his father and Prince Meshcherski, warmly disputing and vigorously gesticulating. The conversation was about Speranski--the news of whose sudden exile and alleged treachery had just reached Moscow. "Now he is censured and accused by all who were enthusiastic about him a month ago," Prince Andrew was saying, "and by those who were unable to understand his aims. To judge a man who is in disfavor and to throw on him all the blame of other mens mistakes is very easy, but I maintain that if anything good has been accomplished in this reign it was done by him, by him alone." He paused at the sight of Pierre. His face quivered and immediately assumed a vindictive expression. "Posterity will do him justice," he concluded, and at once turned to Pierre. "Well, how are you? Still getting stouter?" he said with animation, but the new wrinkle on his forehead deepened. "Yes, I am well," he said in answer to Pierres question, and smiled. To Pierre that smile said plainly: "I am well, but my health is now of no use to anyone." After a few words to Pierre about the awful roads from the Polish frontier, about people he had met in Switzerland who knew Pierre, and about M. Dessalles, whom he had brought from abroad to be his sons tutor, Prince Andrew again joined warmly in the conversation about Speranski which was still going on between the two old men. "If there were treason, or proofs of secret relations with Napoleon, they would have been made public," he said with warmth and haste. "I do not, and never did, like Speranski personally, but I like justice!" Pierre now recognized in his friend a need with which he was only too familiar, to get excited and to have arguments about extraneous matters in order to stifle thoughts that were too oppressive and too intimate. When Prince Meshcherski had left, Prince Andrew took Pierres arm and asked him into the room that had been assigned him. A bed had been made up there, and some open portmanteaus and trunks stood

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