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War And Peace 508

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War And Peace

From whom did you get the proclamation? I wrote it myself. Well, you know the count," said the adjutant cheerfully, with a smile of pride, "he flared up dreadfully--and just think of the fellows audacity, lying, and obstinacy!" "And the count wanted him to say it was from Klyucharev? I understand!" said Pierre. "Not at all," rejoined the adjutant in dismay. "Klyucharev had his own sins to answer for without that and that is why he has been banished. But the point is that the count was much annoyed. How could you have written it yourself? said he, and he took up the Hamburg Gazette that was lying on the table. Here it is! You did not write it yourself but translated it, and translated it abominably, because you dont even know French, you fool. And what do you think? No, said he, I have not read any papers, I made it up myself. If thats so, youre a traitor and Ill have you tried, and youll be hanged! Say from whom you had it. I have seen no papers, I made it up myself. And that was the end of it. The count had the father fetched, but the fellow stuck to it. He was sent for trial and condemned to hard labor, I believe. Now the father has come to intercede for him. But hes a good-for-nothing lad! You know that sort of tradesmans son, a dandy and lady-killer. He attended some lectures somewhere and imagines that the devil is no match for him. Thats the sort of fellow he is. His father keeps a cookshop here by the Stone Bridge, and you know there was a large icon of God Almighty painted with a scepter in one hand and an orb in the other. Well, he took that icon home with him for a few days and what did he do? He found some scoundrel of a painter..." CHAPTER XI In the middle of this fresh tale Pierre was summoned to the commander in chief. When he entered the private room Count Rostopchin, puckering his face, was rubbing his forehead and eyes with his hand. A short man was saying something, but when Pierre entered he stopped speaking and went out. "Ah, how do you do, great warrior?" said Rostopchin as soon as the short man had left the room. "We have heard of your prowess. But thats not the point. Between ourselves, mon cher, do you belong to the Masons?" he went on severely, as though there were something wrong about it which he nevertheless intended to pardon. Pierre remained silent. "I am well informed, my friend, but I am aware that there are Masons and I hope that you are not one of those who on pretense of saving mankind wish to ruin Russia." "Yes, I am a Mason," Pierre replied. "There, you see, mon cher! I expect you know that Messrs. Speranski and Magnitski have been deported to their proper place. Mr. Klyucharev has been treated in the same way, and so have others who on the plea of building up the temple of Solomon have tried to destroy the temple of their fatherland. You can understand that there are reasons for this and that I could not have exiled the Postmaster had he not been a harmful person. It has now come to my knowledge that you lent him your carriage for his removal from town, and that you have even accepted papers from him for safe custody. I like you and dont wish you any harm and--as you are only half my age--I advise you, as a father would, to cease all communication with men of that stamp and to leave here as soon as possible." "But what did Klyucharev do wrong, Count?" asked Pierre. "That is for me to know, but not for you to ask," shouted Rostopchin. "If he is accused of circulating Napoleons proclamation it is not proved that he did so," said Pierre without looking at Rostopchin, "and Vereshchagin..." "There we are!" Rostopchin shouted at Pierre louder than before, frowning suddenly. "Vereshchagin is a renegade and a traitor who will be punished as he deserves," said he with the vindictive heat with which people speak when recalling an insult. "But I did not summon you to discuss my actions, but to give you advice--or an order if you prefer it. I beg you to leave the town and break off all communication with such men as Klyucharev. And I will knock the nonsense out of anybody"--but probably realizing that he was shouting at Bezukhov who so

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