Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
feeling of respect and even fear when the enormously high study
door opened and showed the figure of a rather small old man, with
powdered wig, small withered hands, and bushy gray eyebrows which,
when he frowned, sometimes hid the gleam of his shrewd, youthfully
On the morning of the day that the young couple were to arrive,
Princess Mary entered the antechamber as usual at the time appointed
for the morning greeting, crossing herself with trepidation and
repeating a silent prayer. Every morning she came in like that, and
every morning prayed that the daily interview might pass off well.
An old powdered manservant who was sitting in the antechamber rose
quietly and said in a whisper: "Please walk in."
Through the door came the regular hum of a lathe. The princess
timidly opened the door which moved noiselessly and easily. She paused
at the entrance. The prince was working at the lathe and after
glancing round continued his work.
The enormous study was full of things evidently in constant use. The
large table covered with books and plans, the tall glass-fronted
bookcases with keys in the locks, the high desk for writing while
standing up, on which lay an open exercise book, and the lathe with
tools laid ready to hand and shavings scattered around--all
indicated continuous, varied, and orderly activity. The motion of
the small foot shod in a Tartar boot embroidered with silver, and
the firm pressure of the lean sinewy hand, showed that the prince
still possessed the tenacious endurance and vigor of hardy old age.
After a few more turns of the lathe he removed his foot from the
pedal, wiped his chisel, dropped it into a leather pouch attached to
the lathe, and, approaching the table, summoned his daughter. He never
gave his children a blessing, so he simply held out his bristly
cheek (as yet unshaven) and, regarding her tenderly and attentively,
"Quite well? All right then, sit down." He took the exercise book
containing lessons in geometry written by himself and drew up a
chair with his foot.
"For tomorrow!" said he, quickly finding the page and making a
scratch from one paragraph to another with his hard nail.
The princess bent over the exercise book on the table.
"Wait a bit, heres a letter for you," said the old man suddenly,
taking a letter addressed in a womans hand from a bag hanging above
the table, onto which he threw it.
At the sight of the letter red patches showed themselves on the
princess face. She took it quickly and bent her head over it.
"From Heloise?" asked the prince with a cold smile that showed his
still sound, yellowish teeth.
"Yes, its from Julie," replied the princess with a timid glance and
a timid smile.
"Ill let two more letters pass, but the third Ill read," said
the prince sternly; "Im afraid you write much nonsense. Ill read the
"Read this if you like, Father," said the princess, blushing still
more and holding out the letter.
"The third, I said the third!" cried the prince abruptly, pushing
the letter away, and leaning his elbows on the table he drew toward
him the exercise book containing geometrical figures.
"Well, madam," he began, stooping over the book close to his
daughter and placing an arm on the back of the chair on which she sat,
so that she felt herself surrounded on all sides by the acrid scent of
old age and tobacco, which she had known so long. "Now, madam, these
triangles are equal; please note that the angle ABC..."
The princess looked in a scared way at her fathers eyes
glittering close to her; the red patches on her face came and went,
and it was plain that she understood nothing and was so frightened
that her fear would prevent her understanding any of her fathers
further explanations, however clear they might be. Whether it was
the teachers fault or the pupils, this same thing happened every
day: the princess eyes grew dim, she could not see and could not hear
anything, but was only conscious of her stern fathers withered face
close to her, of his breath and the smell of him, and could think only
of how to get away quickly to her own room to make out the problem
in peace. The old man was beside himself: moved the chair on which
he was sitting noisily backward and forward, made efforts to control
himself and not become vehement, but almost always did become
vehement, scolded, and sometimes flung the exercise book away.
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