Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
our ancient capital, the New Jerusalem, receives
her Christ"--he placed a sudden emphasis on the word her--"as a mother
receives her zealous sons into her arms, and through the gathering
mists, foreseeing the brilliant glory of thy rule, sings in
exultation, Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh!"
Prince Vasili pronounced these last words in a tearful voice.
Bilibin attentively examined his nails, and many of those present
appeared intimidated, as if asking in what they were to blame. Anna
Pavlovna whispered the next words in advance, like an old woman
muttering the prayer at Communion: "Let the bold and insolent
Goliath..." she whispered.
Prince Vasili continued.
"Let the bold and insolent Goliath from the borders of France
encompass the realms of Russia with death-bearing terrors; humble
Faith, the sling of the Russian David, shall suddenly smite his head
in his bloodthirsty pride. This icon of the Venerable Sergius, the
servant of God and zealous champion of old of our countrys weal, is
offered to Your Imperial Majesty. I grieve that my waning strength
prevents rejoicing in the sight of your most gracious presence. I
raise fervent prayers to Heaven that the Almighty may exalt the race
of the just, and mercifully fulfill the desires of Your Majesty."
"What force! What a style!" was uttered in approval both of reader
and of author.
Animated by that address Anna Pavlovnas guests talked for a long
time of the state of the fatherland and offered various conjectures as
to the result of the battle to be fought in a few days.
"You will see," said Anna Pavlovna, "that tomorrow, on the Emperors
birthday, we shall receive news. I have a favorable presentiment!"
Anna Pavlovnas presentiment was in fact fulfilled. Next day
during the service at the palace church in honor of the Emperors
birthday, Prince Volkonski was called out of the church and received a
dispatch from Prince Kutuzov. It was Kutuzovs report, written from
Tatarinova on the day of the battle. Kutuzov wrote that the Russians
had not retreated a step, that the French losses were much heavier
than ours, and that he was writing in haste from the field of battle
before collecting full information. It followed that there must have
been a victory. And at once, without leaving the church, thanks were
rendered to the Creator for His help and for the victory.
Anna Pavlovnas presentiment was justified, and all that morning a
joyously festive mood reigned in the city. Everyone believed the
victory to have been complete, and some even spoke of Napoleons
having been captured, of his deposition, and of the choice of a new
ruler for France.
It is very difficult for events to be reflected in their real
strength and completeness amid the conditions of court life and far
from the scene of action. General events involuntarily group
themselves around some particular incident. So now the courtiers
pleasure was based as much on the fact that the news had arrived on
the Emperors birthday as on the fact of the victory itself. It was
like a successfully arranged surprise. Mention was made in Kutuzovs
report of the Russian losses, among which figured the names of
Tuchkov, Bagration, and Kutaysov. In the Petersburg world this sad
side of the affair again involuntarily centered round a single
incident: Kutaysovs death. Everybody knew him, the Emperor liked him,
and he was young and interesting. That day everyone met with the
"What a wonderful coincidence! Just during the service. But what a
loss Kutaysov is! How sorry I am!"
"What did I tell about Kutuzov?" Prince Vasili now said with a
prophets pride. "I always said he was the only man capable of
But next day no news arrived from the army and the public mood
grew anxious. The courtiers suffered because of the suffering the
suspense occasioned the Emperor.
"Fancy the Emperors position!" said they, and instead of
extolling Kutuzov as they had done the day before, they condemned
him as the cause of the Emperors anxiety. That day Prince Vasili no
longer boasted of his protege Kutuzov, but remained silent when the
commander in chief was mentioned. Moreover, toward evening, as if
everything conspired to make Petersburg society anxious and uneasy,
a terrible piece of news was added. Countess Helene Bezukhova had
suddenly died of that terrible malady it had been so agreeable to
mention. Officially, at large gatherings, everyone said that
Countess Bezukhova had died of a terrible attack of angina pectoris,
but in intimate circles details were mentioned of how the private
physician of the Queen of Spain had prescribed small doses of a
certain drug to produce
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