Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
whether she was considering what he had just said or
whether she was simply looking at him.
"There is one thing I constantly pray God to grant, mon cousin," she
replied, "and it is that He would be merciful to him and would allow
his noble soul peacefully to leave this..."
"Yes, yes, of course," interrupted Prince Vasili impatiently,
rubbing his bald head and angrily pulling back toward him the little
table that he had pushed away. "But... in short, the fact is... you
know yourself that last winter the count made a will by which he
left all his property, not to us his direct heirs, but to Pierre."
"He has made wills enough!" quietly remarked the princess. "But he
cannot leave the estate to Pierre. Pierre is illegitimate."
"But, my dear," said Prince Vasili suddenly, clutching the little
table and becoming more animated and talking more rapidly: "what if
a letter has been written to the Emperor in which the count asks for
Pierres legitimation? Do you understand that in consideration of
the counts services, his request would be granted?..."
The princess smiled as people do who think they know more about
the subject under discussion than those they are talking with.
"I can tell you more," continued Prince Vasili, seizing her hand,
"that letter was written, though it was not sent, and the Emperor knew
of it. The only question is, has it been destroyed or not? If not,
then as soon as all is over," and Prince Vasili sighed to intimate
what he meant by the words all is over, "and the counts papers are
opened, the will and letter will be delivered to the Emperor, and
the petition will certainly be granted. Pierre will get everything
as the legitimate son."
"And our share?" asked the princess smiling ironically, as if
anything might happen, only not that.
"But, my poor Catiche, it is as clear as daylight! He will then be
the legal heir to everything and you wont get anything. You must
know, my dear, whether the will and letter were written, and whether
they have been destroyed or not. And if they have somehow been
overlooked, you ought to know where they are, and must find them,
"What next?" the princess interrupted, smiling sardonically and
not changing the expression of her eyes. "I am a woman, and you
think we are all stupid; but I know this: an illegitimate son cannot
inherit... un batard!"* she added, as if supposing that this
translation of the word would effectively prove to Prince Vasili the
invalidity of his contention.
"Well, really, Catiche! Cant you understand! You are so
intelligent, how is it you dont see that if the count has written a
letter to the Emperor begging him to recognize Pierre as legitimate,
it follows that Pierre will not be Pierre but will become Count
Bezukhov, and will then inherit everything under the will? And if
the will and letter are not destroyed, then you will have nothing
but the consolation of having been dutiful et tout ce qui sensuit!*
*And all that follows therefrom.
"I know the will was made, but I also know that it is invalid; and
you, mon cousin, seem to consider me a perfect fool," said the
princess with the expression women assume when they suppose they are
saying something witty and stinging.
"My dear Princess Catherine Semenovna," began Prince Vasili
impatiently, "I came here not to wrangle with you, but to talk about
your interests as with a kinswoman, a good, kind, true relation. And I
tell you for the tenth time that if the letter to the Emperor and
the will in Pierres favor are among the counts papers, then, my dear
girl, you and your sisters are not heiresses! If you dont believe me,
then believe an expert. I have just been talking to Dmitri Onufrich"
(the family solicitor) "and he says the same."
At this a sudden change evidently took place in the princess ideas;
her thin lips grew white, though her eyes did not change, and her
voice when she began to speak passed through such transitions as she
herself evidently did not expect.
"That would be a fine thing!" said she. "I never wanted anything and
I dont now."
She pushed the little dog off her lap and smoothed her dress.
"And this is gratitude--this is recognition for those who have
sacrificed everything for his sake!" she cried. "Its splendid!
Fine! I dont want anything, Prince."
"Yes, but you are not the only one. There are your sisters..."
replied Prince Vasili.
But the princess did not
War And Peace page 40 War And Peace page 42