Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
talked at the same time, so that Count Rostov had
not time to signify his approval of them all, and the group increased,
dispersed, re-formed, and then moved with a hum of talk into the
largest hall and to the big table. Not only was Pierres attempt to
speak unsuccessful, but he was rudely interrupted, pushed aside, and
people turned away from him as from a common enemy. This happened
not because they were displeased by the substance of his speech, which
had even been forgotten after the many subsequent speeches, but to
animate it the crowd needed a tangible object to love and a tangible
object to hate. Pierre became the latter. Many other orators spoke
after the excited nobleman, and all in the same tone. Many spoke
eloquently and with originality.
Glinka, the editor of the Russian Messenger, who was recognized
(cries of "author! author!" were heard in the crowd), said that
"hell must be repulsed by hell," and that he had seen a child
smiling at lightning flashes and thunderclaps, but "we will not be
"Yes, yes, at thunderclaps!" was repeated approvingly in the back
rows of the crowd.
The crowd drew up to the large table, at which sat gray-haired or
bald seventy-year-old magnates, uniformed and besashed almost all of
whom Pierre had seen in their own homes with their buffoons, or
playing boston at the clubs. With an incessant hum of voices the crowd
advanced to the table. Pressed by the throng against the high backs of
the chairs, the orators spoke one after another and sometimes two
together. Those standing behind noticed what a speaker omitted to
say and hastened to supply it. Others in that heat and crush racked
their brains to find some thought and hastened to utter it. The old
magnates, whom Pierre knew, sat and turned to look first at one and
then at another, and their faces for the most part only expressed
the fact that they found it very hot. Pierre, however, felt excited,
and the general desire to show that they were ready to go to all
lengths--which found expression in the tones and looks more than in
the substance of the speeches--infected him too. He did not renounce
his opinions, but felt himself in some way to blame and wished to
"I only said that it would be more to the purpose to make sacrifices
when we know what is needed!" said he, trying to be heard above the
One of the old men nearest to him looked round, but his attention
was immediately diverted by an exclamation at the other side of the
"Yes, Moscow will be surrendered! She will be our expiation!"
shouted one man.
"He is the enemy of mankind!" cried another. "Allow me to speak...."
"Gentlemen, you are crushing me!..."
At that moment Count Rostopchin with his protruding chin and alert
eyes, wearing the uniform of a general with sash over his shoulder,
entered the room, stepping briskly to the front of the crowd of
"Our sovereign the Emperor will be here in a moment," said
Rostopchin. "I am straight from the palace. Seeing the position we are
in, I think there is little need for discussion. The Emperor has
deigned to summon us and the merchants. Millions will pour forth
from there"--he pointed to the merchants hall--"but our business is
to supply men and not spare ourselves... That is the least we can do!"
A conference took place confined to the magnates sitting at the
table. The whole consultation passed more than quietly. After all
the preceding noise the sound of their old voices saying one after
another, "I agree," or for variety, "I too am of that opinion," and so
on had even a mournful effect.
The secretary was told to write down the resolution of the Moscow
nobility and gentry, that they would furnish ten men, fully
equipped, out of every thousand serfs, as the Smolensk gentry had
done. Their chairs made a scraping noise as the gentlemen who had
conferred rose with apparent relief, and began walking up and down,
arm in arm, to stretch their legs and converse in couples.
"The Emperor! The Emperor!" a sudden cry resounded through the halls
and the whole throng hurried to the entrance.
The Emperor entered the hall through a broad path between two
lines of nobles. Every face expressed respectful, awe-struck
curiosity. Pierre stood rather far off and could not hear all that the
Emperor said. From what he did hear he understood that the Emperor
spoke of the danger threatening the empire and
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