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War And Peace 412

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War And Peace

not recognize it, and laughed at Dessalles when he mentioned it at dinner. The princes tone was so calm and confident that Princess Mary unhesitatingly believed him. All that July the old prince was exceedingly active and even animated. He planned another garden and began a new building for the domestic serfs. The only thing that made Princess Mary anxious about him was that he slept very little and, instead of sleeping in his study as usual, changed his sleeping place every day. One day he would order his camp bed to be set up in the glass gallery, another day he remained on the couch or on the lounge chair in the drawing room and dozed there without undressing, while--instead of Mademoiselle Bourienne--a serf boy read to him. Then again he would spend a night in the dining room. On August 1, a second letter was received from Prince Andrew. In his first letter which came soon after he had left home, Prince Andrew had dutifully asked his fathers forgiveness for what he had allowed himself to say and begged to be restored to his favor. To this letter the old prince had replied affectionately, and from that time had kept the Frenchwoman at a distance. Prince Andrews second letter, written near Vitebsk after the French had occupied that town, gave a brief account of the whole campaign, enclosed for them a plan he had drawn and forecasts as to the further progress of the war. In this letter Prince Andrew pointed out to his father the danger of staying at Bald Hills, so near the theater of war and on the armys direct line of march, and advised him to move to Moscow. At dinner that day, on Dessalles mentioning that the French were said to have already entered Vitebsk, the old prince remembered his sons letter. "There was a letter from Prince Andrew today," he said to Princess Mary--"Havent you read it?" "No, Father," she replied in a frightened voice. She could not have read the letter as she did not even know it had arrived. "He writes about this war," said the prince, with the ironic smile that had become habitual to him in speaking of the present war. "That must be very interesting," said Dessalles. "Prince Andrew is in a position to know..." "Oh, very interesting!" said Mademoiselle Bourienne. "Go and get it for me," said the old prince to Mademoiselle Bourienne. "You know--under the paperweight on the little table." Mademoiselle Bourienne jumped up eagerly. "No, dont!" he exclaimed with a frown. "You go, Michael Ivanovich." Michael Ivanovich rose and went to the study. But as soon as he had left the room the old prince, looking uneasily round, threw down his napkin and went himself. "They cant do anything... always make some muddle," he muttered. While he was away Princess Mary, Dessalles, Mademoiselle Bourienne, and even little Nicholas exchanged looks in silence. The old prince returned with quick steps, accompanied by Michael Ivanovich, bringing the letter and a plan. These he put down beside him--not letting anyone read them at dinner. On moving to the drawing room he handed the letter to Princess Mary and, spreading out before him the plan of the new building and fixing his eyes upon it, told her to read the letter aloud. When she had done so Princess Mary looked inquiringly at her father. He was examining the plan, evidently engrossed in his own ideas. "What do you think of it, Prince?" Dessalles ventured to ask. "I? I?..." said the prince as if unpleasantly awakened, and not taking his eyes from the plan of the building. "Very possibly the theater of war will move so near to us that..." "Ha ha ha! The theater of war!" said the prince. "I have said and still say that the theater of war is Poland and the enemy will never get beyond the Niemen." Dessalles looked in amazement at the prince, who was talking of the Niemen when the enemy was already at the Dnieper, but Princess Mary, forgetting the geographical position of the Niemen, thought that what her father was saying was correct. "When the snow melts theyll sink in the Polish swamps. Only they could fail to see it," the prince continued, evidently thinking of the campaign of 1807 which seemed to him so recent. "Bennigsen should have advanced into Prussia sooner, then things would have taken a different turn..." "But, Prince," Dessalles began timidly, "the letter mentions Vitebsk...." "Ah, the letter? Yes..." replied the prince peevishly. "Yes... yes..." His face suddenly took on a morose expression. He paused. "Yes, he writes that the French were

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