Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
curiosity as to how he would speak of his wife, "but her death shocked
me terribly. When two people quarrel they are always both in fault,
and ones own guilt suddenly becomes terribly serious when the other
is no longer alive. And then such a death... without friends and
without consolation! I am very, very sorry for her," he concluded, and
was pleased to notice a look of glad approval on Natashas face.
"Yes, and so you are once more an eligible bachelor," said
Pierre suddenly flushed crimson and for a long time tried not to
look at Natasha. When he ventured to glance her way again her face was
cold, stern, and he fancied even contemptuous.
"And did you really see and speak to Napoleon, as we have been
told?" said Princess Mary.
"No, not once! Everybody seems to imagine that being taken
prisoner means being Napoleons guest. Not only did I never see him
but I heard nothing about him--I was in much lower company!"
Supper was over, and Pierre who at first declined to speak about his
captivity was gradually led on to do so.
"But its true that you remained in Moscow to kill Napoleon?"
Natasha asked with a slight smile. "I guessed it then when we met at
the Sukharev tower, do you remember?"
Pierre admitted that it was true, and from that was gradually led by
Princess Marys questions and especially by Natashas into giving a
detailed account of his adventures.
At first he spoke with the amused and mild irony now customary
with him toward everybody and especially toward himself, but when he
came to describe the horrors and sufferings he had witnessed he was
unconsciously carried away and began speaking with the suppressed
emotion of a man re-experiencing in recollection strong impressions he
has lived through.
Princess Mary with a gentle smile looked now at Pierre and now at
Natasha. In the whole narrative she saw only Pierre and his
goodness. Natasha, leaning on her elbow, the expression of her face
constantly changing with the narrative, watched Pierre with an
attention that never wandered--evidently herself experiencing all that
he described. Not only her look, but her exclamations and the brief
questions she put, showed Pierre that she understood just what he
wished to convey. It was clear that she understood not only what he
said but also what he wished to, but could not, express in words.
The account Pierre gave of the incident with the child and the woman
for protecting whom he was arrested was this: "It was an awful
sight--children abandoned, some in the flames... One was snatched
out before my eyes... and there were women who had their things
snatched off and their earrings torn out..." he flushed and grew
confused. "Then a patrol arrived and all the men--all those who were
not looting, that is--were arrested, and I among them."
"I am sure youre not telling us everything; I am sure you did
something..." said Natasha and pausing added, "something fine?"
Pierre continued. When he spoke of the execution he wanted to pass
over the horrible details, but Natasha insisted that he should not
Pierre began to tell about Karataev, but paused. By this time he had
risen from the table and was pacing the room, Natasha following him
with her eyes. Then he added:
"No, you cant understand what I learned from that illiterate
man--that simple fellow."
"Yes, yes, go on!" said Natasha. "Where is he?"
"They killed him almost before my eyes."
And Pierre, his voice trembling continually, went on to tell of
the last days of their retreat, of Karataevs illness and his death.
He told of his adventures as he had never yet recalled them. He now,
as it were, saw a new meaning in all he had gone through. Now that
he was telling it all to Natasha he experienced that pleasure which
a man has when women listen to him--not clever women who when
listening either try to remember what they hear to enrich their
minds and when opportunity offers to retell it, or who wish to adopt
it to some thought of their own and promptly contribute their own
clever comments prepared in their little mental workshop--but the
pleasure given by real women gifted with a capacity to select and
absorb the very best a man shows of himself. Natasha without knowing
it was all attention: she did not lose a word, no single quiver in
Pierres voice, no look, no twitch of a muscle in his face, nor a
single gesture. She caught the unfinished word
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