Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
a rest. Be at the levee tomorrow after the
parade. However, I will let you know."
The stupid smile, which had left his face while he was speaking,
"Au revoir! Thank you very much. His Majesty will probably desire to
see you," he added, bowing his head.
When Prince Andrew left the palace he felt that all the interest and
happiness the victory had afforded him had been now left in the
indifferent hands of the Minister of War and the polite adjutant.
The whole tenor of his thoughts instantaneously changed; the battle
seemed the memory of a remote event long past.
Prince Andrew stayed at Brunn with Bilibin, a Russian acquaintance
of his in the diplomatic service.
"Ah, my dear prince! I could not have a more welcome visitor,"
said Bilibin as he came out to meet Prince Andrew. "Franz, put the
princes things in my bedroom," said he to the servant who was
ushering Bolkonski in. "So youre a messenger of victory, eh?
Splendid! And I am sitting here ill, as you see."
After washing and dressing, Prince Andrew came into the diplomats
luxurious study and sat down to the dinner prepared for him. Bilibin
settled down comfortably beside the fire.
After his journey and the campaign during which he had been deprived
of all the comforts of cleanliness and all the refinements of life,
Prince Andrew felt a pleasant sense of repose among luxurious
surroundings such as he had been accustomed to from childhood. Besides
it was pleasant, after his reception by the Austrians, to speak if not
in Russian (for they were speaking French) at least with a Russian who
would, he supposed, share the general Russian antipathy to the
Austrians which was then particularly strong.
Bilibin was a man of thirty-five, a bachelor, and of the same circle
as Prince Andrew. They had known each other previously in
Petersburg, but had become more intimate when Prince Andrew was in
Vienna with Kutuzov. Just as Prince Andrew was a young man who gave
promise of rising high in the military profession, so to an even
greater extent Bilibin gave promise of rising in his diplomatic
career. He still a young man but no longer a young diplomat, as he had
entered the service at the age of sixteen, had been in Paris and
Copenhagen, and now held a rather important post in Vienna. Both the
foreign minister and our ambassador in Vienna knew him and valued him.
He was not one of those many diplomats who are esteemed because they
have certain negative qualities, avoid doing certain things, and speak
French. He was one of those, who, liking work, knew how to do it,
and despite his indolence would sometimes spend a whole night at his
writing table. He worked well whatever the import of his work. It
was not the question "What for?" but the question "How?" that
interested him. What the diplomatic matter might be he did not care,
but it gave him great pleasure to prepare a circular, memorandum, or
report, skillfully, pointedly, and elegantly. Bilibins services
were valued not only for what he wrote, but also for his skill in
dealing and conversing with those in the highest spheres.
Bilibin liked conversation as he liked work, only when it could be
made elegantly witty. In society he always awaited an opportunity to
say something striking and took part in a conversation only when
that was possible. His conversation was always sprinkled with
wittily original, finished phrases of general interest. These
sayings were prepared in the inner laboratory of his mind in a
portable form as if intentionally, so that insignificant society
people might carry them from drawing room to drawing room. And, in
fact, Bilibins witticisms were hawked about in the Viennese drawing
rooms and often had an influence on matters considered important.
His thin, worn, sallow face was covered with deep wrinkles, which
always looked as clean and well washed as the tips of ones fingers
after a Russian bath. The movement of these wrinkles formed the
principal play of expression on his face. Now his forehead would
pucker into deep folds and his eyebrows were lifted, then his eyebrows
would descend and deep wrinkles would crease his cheeks. His small,
deep-set eyes always twinkled and looked out straight.
"Well, now tell me about your exploits," said he.
Bolkonski, very modestly without once mentioning himself,
described the engagement and his reception by the Minister of War.
"They received me and my news as one receives a dog in a game of
skittles," said he in conclusion.
Bilibin smiled and the wrinkles
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