Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
a young man as the society of clever
Anna Pavlovna smiled and promised to take Pierre in hand. She knew
his father to be a connection of Prince Vasilis. The elderly lady who
had been sitting with the old aunt rose hurriedly and overtook
Prince Vasili in the anteroom. All the affectation of interest she had
assumed had left her kindly and tear-worn face and it now expressed
only anxiety and fear.
"How about my son Boris, Prince?" said she, hurrying after him
into the anteroom. "I cant remain any longer in Petersburg. Tell me
what news I may take back to my poor boy."
Although Prince Vasili listened reluctantly and not very politely to
the elderly lady, even betraying some impatience, she gave him an
ingratiating and appealing smile, and took his hand that he might
not go away.
"What would it cost you to say a word to the Emperor, and then he
would be transferred to the Guards at once?" said she.
"Believe me, Princess, I am ready to do all I can," answered
Prince Vasili, "but it is difficult for me to ask the Emperor. I
should advise you to appeal to Rumyantsev through Prince Golitsyn.
That would be the best way."
The elderly lady was a Princess Drubetskaya, belonging to one of the
best families in Russia, but she was poor, and having long been out of
society had lost her former influential connections. She had now
come to Petersburg to procure an appointment in the Guards for her
only son. It was, in fact, solely to meet Prince Vasili that she had
obtained an invitation to Anna Pavlovnas reception and had sat
listening to the vicomtes story. Prince Vasilis words frightened
her, an embittered look clouded her once handsome face, but only for a
moment; then she smiled again and clutched Prince Vasilis arm more
"Listen to me, Prince," said she. "I have never yet asked you for
anything and I never will again, nor have I ever reminded you of my
fathers friendship for you; but now I entreat you for Gods sake to
do this for my son--and I shall always regard you as a benefactor,"
she added hurriedly. "No, dont be angry, but promise! I have asked
Golitsyn and he has refused. Be the kindhearted man you always
were," she said, trying to smile though tears were in her eyes.
"Papa, we shall be late," said Princess Helene, turning her
beautiful head and looking over her classically molded shoulder as she
stood waiting by the door.
Influence in society, however, is a capital which has to be
economized if it is to last. Prince Vasili knew this, and having
once realized that if he asked on behalf of all who begged of him,
he would soon be unable to ask for himself, he became chary of using
his influence. But in Princess Drubetskayas case he felt, after her
second appeal, something like qualms of conscience. She had reminded
him of what was quite true; he had been indebted to her father for the
first steps in his career. Moreover, he could see by her manners
that she was one of those women--mostly mothers--who, having once made
up their minds, will not rest until they have gained their end, and
are prepared if necessary to go on insisting day after day and hour
after hour, and even to make scenes. This last consideration moved
"My dear Anna Mikhaylovna," said he with his usual familiarity and
weariness of tone, "it is almost impossible for me to do what you ask;
but to prove my devotion to you and how I respect your fathers
memory, I will do the impossible--your son shall be transferred to the
Guards. Here is my hand on it. Are you satisfied?"
"My dear benefactor! This is what I expected from you--I knew your
kindness!" He turned to go.
"Wait--just a word! When he has been transferred to the Guards..."
she faltered. "You are on good terms with Michael Ilarionovich
Kutuzov... recommend Boris to him as adjutant! Then I shall be at
rest, and then..."
Prince Vasili smiled.
"No, I wont promise that. You dont know how Kutuzov is pestered
since his appointment as Commander in Chief. He told me himself that
all the Moscow ladies have conspired to give him all their sons as
"No, but do promise! I wont let you go! My dear benefactor..."
"Papa," said his beautiful daughter in the same tone as before,
"we shall be late."
"Well, au revoir! Good-by! You hear her?"
"Then tomorrow you will speak to the Emperor?"
"Certainly; but about Kutuzov,
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