Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
way for her,
not looking at any of them but smiling on all, as if graciously
allowing each the privilege of admiring her beautiful figure and
shapely shoulders, back, and bosom--which in the fashion of those days
were very much exposed--and she seemed to bring the glamour of a
ballroom with her as she moved toward Anna Pavlovna. Helene was so
lovely that not only did she not show any trace of coquetry, but on
the contrary she even appeared shy of her unquestionable and all too
victorious beauty. She seemed to wish, but to be unable, to diminish
"How lovely!" said everyone who saw her; and the vicomte lifted
his shoulders and dropped his eyes as if startled by something
extraordinary when she took her seat opposite and beamed upon him also
with her unchanging smile.
"Madame, I doubt my ability before such an audience," said he,
smilingly inclining his head.
The princess rested her bare round arm on a little table and
considered a reply unnecessary. She smilingly waited. All the time the
story was being told she sat upright, glancing now at her beautiful
round arm, altered in shape by its pressure on the table, now at her
still more beautiful bosom, on which she readjusted a diamond
necklace. From time to time she smoothed the folds of her dress, and
whenever the story produced an effect she glanced at Anna Pavlovna, at
once adopted just the expression she saw on the maid of honors
face, and again relapsed into her radiant smile.
The little princess had also left the tea table and followed Helene.
"Wait a moment, Ill get my work.... Now then, what are you thinking
of?" she went on, turning to Prince Hippolyte. "Fetch me my workbag."
There was a general movement as the princess, smiling and talking
merrily to everyone at once, sat down and gaily arranged herself in
"Now I am all right," she said, and asking the vicomte to begin, she
took up her work.
Prince Hippolyte, having brought the workbag, joined the circle
and moving a chair close to hers seated himself beside her.
Le charmant Hippolyte was surprising by his extraordinary
resemblance to his beautiful sister, but yet more by the fact that
in spite of this resemblance he was exceedingly ugly. His features
were like his sisters, but while in her case everything was lit up by
a joyous, self-satisfied, youthful, and constant smile of animation,
and by the wonderful classic beauty of her figure, his face on the
contrary was dulled by imbecility and a constant expression of
sullen self-confidence, while his body was thin and weak. His eyes,
nose, and mouth all seemed puckered into a vacant, wearied grimace,
and his arms and legs always fell into unnatural positions.
"Its not going to be a ghost story?" said he, sitting down beside
the princess and hastily adjusting his lorgnette, as if without this
instrument he could not begin to speak.
"Why no, my dear fellow," said the astonished narrator, shrugging
"Because I hate ghost stories," said Prince Hippolyte in a tone
which showed that he only understood the meaning of his words after he
had uttered them.
He spoke with such self-confidence that his hearers could not be
sure whether what he said was very witty or very stupid. He was
dressed in a dark-green dress coat, knee breeches of the color of
cuisse de nymphe effrayee, as he called it, shoes, and silk stockings.
The vicomte told his tale very neatly. It was an anecdote, then
current, to the effect that the Duc dEnghien had gone secretly to
Paris to visit Mademoiselle George; that at her house he came upon
Bonaparte, who also enjoyed the famous actress favors, and that in
his presence Napoleon happened to fall into one of the fainting fits
to which he was subject, and was thus at the ducs mercy. The latter
spared him, and this magnanimity Bonaparte subsequently repaid by
The story was very pretty and interesting, especially at the point
where the rivals suddenly recognized one another; and the ladies
"Charming!" said Anna Pavlovna with an inquiring glance at the
"Charming!" whispered the little princess, sticking the needle
into her work as if to testify that the interest and fascination of
the story prevented her from going on with it.
The vicomte appreciated this silent praise and smiling gratefully
prepared to continue, but just then Anna Pavlovna, who had kept a
watchful eye on the young man who so alarmed her, noticed that he
was talking too loudly and vehemently with the abbe,
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