Author: Leo Tolstoy
Format: online reading
Posted on 2007-05-10, updated at 2007-05-27. By anonymous.
- Author: Leo Tolstoy
PRINCE ANDREY was leaving the following evening. The old prince, not
departing from his regular routine, went away to his own room after dinner. The
little princess was with her sister-in-law. Prince Andrey, having changed his
dress and put on a travelling-coat without epaulettes, had been packing with his
valet in the rooms set apart for him. After himself inspecting the coach and the
packing of his trunks on it, he gave orders for the horses to be put to. Nothing
was left in the room but the things that Prince Andrey always carried with him:
a travelling-case, a big silver wine-case, two Turkish pistols and a sabre, a
present from his father, brought back from his campaign under Otchakov. All
Prince Andrey's belongings for the journey were in good order; everything was
new and clean, in cloth covers, carefully fastened with tape.
At moments of starting off and beginning a different life, persons given to
deliberating on their actions are usually apt to be in a serious frame of mind.
At such moments one reviews the past and forms plans for the future. The face of
Prince Andrey was very dreamy and tender. Clasping his hands behind him, he
walked rapidly up and down the room from corner to corner looking straight
before him and dreamily shaking his head. Whether he felt dread at going to the
war, or grief at forsaking his wife or possibly something of bothâ€”he evidently
did not care to be seen in that mood, for, catching the sound of footsteps in
the outer room, he hastily unclasped his hands, stood at the table, as though
engaged in fastening the cover of the case, and assumed his habitual calm and
impenetrable expression. It was the heavy step of Princess Marya.
â€œThey told me you had ordered the horses to be put in,â€ she said, panting
(she had evidently been running), â€œand I did so want to have a little more talk
with you alone. God knows how long we shall be parted again. You're not angry
with me for coming? You're very much changed, Andryusha,â€ she added, as though
to explain the question.
She smiled as she uttered the word â€œAndryusha.â€ It was obviously strange to
her to think that this stern, handsome man was the same as the thin, mischievous
boy, the Andryusha who had been the companion of her childhood.
â€œAnd where's Liza?â€ he asked, only answering her question by a smile.
â€œShe was so tired that she fell asleep on the sofa in my room. Oh Andrey,
what a treasure of a wife you have,â€ she said, sitting down on the sofa, facing
her brother. â€œShe is a perfect child; such a sweet, merry child. I like her so
much.â€ Prince Andrey did not speak, but the princess noticed the ironical and
contemptuous expression that came into his face.
â€œBut one must be indulgent to little weaknesses. Who is free from them,
Andrey? You mustn't forget that she has grown up and been educated in society.
And then her position is not a very cheerful one. One must put oneself in every
one's position. To understand everything is to forgive everything. Only think
what it must be for her, poor girl, after the life she has been used to, to part
from her husband and be left alone in the country, and in her condition too.
It's very hard.â€
Prince Andrey smiled, looking at his sister as we smile listening to people
whom we fancy we see through.
â€œYou live in the country and think the life so awful?â€ he said.
â€œIâ€”that's a different matter. Why bring me in? I don't wish for any other
life, and indeed I can't wish for anything different, for I know no other sort
of life. But only think, Andrey, what it is for a young woman used to
fashionable society to be buried for the best years of her life in the country,
alone, because papa is always busy, and I â€¦ you know me â€¦ I am not a cheerful
companion for women used to the best society. Mademoiselle Bourienne is the only
â€œI don't like her at all, your Bourienne,â€ said Prince Andrey.
â€œOh, no! she's a very good and sweet girl, and what's more, she's very much
to be pitied. She has nobody, nobody. To tell the truth, she is of no use to me,
but only in my way. I have always, you know, been a solitary creature, and now
I'm getting more and more so. I like to be alone â€¦ Mon pÃ¨re likes her
very much. She and Mihail Ivanovitch are the two people he is always friendly
and good-tempered with, because he has been a benefactor to both of them; as
Sterne says: â€˜We don't love people so much for the good they have done us as for
the good we have done them.' Mon pÃ¨re picked her up an orphan in the
streets, and she's very good-natured. And mon pÃ¨re likes her way of
reading. She reads aloud to him in the evenings. She reads very well.â€
â€œCome, tell me the truth, Marie, you suffer a good deal, I expect, sometimes
from our father's character?â€ Prince Andrey asked suddenly. Princess Marya was
at first amazed, then aghast at the question.
â€œMe?â€¦me?â€¦me suffer!â€ she said.
â€œHe was always harsh, but he's growing very tedious, I should think,â€ said
Prince Andrey, speaking so slightingly of his father with an unmistakable
intention either of puzzling or of testing his sister.
â€œYou are good in every way, Andrey, but you have a sort of pride of
intellect,â€ said the princess, evidently following her own train of thought
rather than the thread of the conversation, â€œand that's a great sin. Do you
think it right to judge our father? But if it were right, what feeling but
vÃ©nÃ©ration could be aroused by such a man as mon pÃ¨re? And I am so
contented and happy with him. I could only wish you were all as happy as I
Her brother shook his head incredulously.
â€œThe only thing that troubles me,â€”I'll tell you the truth, Andrey,â€” is our
father's way of thinking in religious matters. I can't understand how a man of
such immense intellect can fail to see what is as clear as day, and can fall
into such error. That is the one thing that makes me unhappy. But even in this I
see a slight change for the better of late. Lately his jeers have not been so
bitter, and there is a monk whom he received and talked to a long time.â€
â€œWell, my dear, I'm afraid you and your monk are wasting your powder and
shot,â€ Prince Andrey said ironically but affectionately.
â€œAh, mon ami! I can only pray to God and trust that He will hear me.
Andrey,â€ she said timidly after a minute's silence, â€œI have a great favour to
ask of you.â€
â€œWhat is it, dear?â€
â€œNo; promise me you won't refuse. It will be no trouble to you, and there is
nothing beneath you in it. Only it will be a comfort to me. Promise, Andryusha,â€
she said, putting her hand into her reticule and holding something in it, but
not showing it yet, as though what she was holding was the object of her
entreaty, and before she received a promise to grant it, she could not take that
something out of her reticule. She looked timidly with imploring eyes at her
â€œEven if it were a great trouble â€¦â€ answered Prince Andrey, seeming to guess
what the favour was.
â€œYou may think what you please about it. I know you are like mon pÃ¨re.
Think what you please, but do this for my sake. Do, please. The father of my
father, our grandfather, always wore it in all his wars â€¦â€ She still did not
take out what she was holding in her reticule. â€œYou promise me, then?â€
â€œOf course, what is it?â€
â€œAndrey, I am blessing you with the holy image, and you must promise me you
will never take it off.â€¦ You promise?â€
â€œIf it does not weigh a ton and won't drag my neck off â€¦ To please you,â€ said
Prince Andrey. The same second he noticed the pained expression that came over
his sister's face at this jest, and felt remorseful. â€œI am very glad, really
very glad, dear,â€ he added.
â€œAgainst your own will He will save and will have mercy on you and turn you
to Himself, because in Him alone is truth and peace,â€ she said in a voice
shaking with emotion, and with a solemn gesture holding in both hands before her
brother an old-fashioned, little, oval holy image of the Saviour with a black
face in a silver setting, on a little silver chain of delicate workmanship. She
crossed herself, kissed the image, and gave it to Andrey.
â€œPlease, Andrey, for my sake.â€
Rays of kindly, timid light beamed from her great eyes. Those eyes lighted up
all the thin, sickly face and made it beautiful. Her brother would have taken
the image, but she stopped him. Andrey understood, crossed himself, and kissed
the image. His face looked at once tender (he was touched) and ironical.
â€œMerci, mon ami.â€ She kissed him on the forehead and sat down again on
the sofa. Both were silent.
â€œSo as I was telling you, Andrey, you must be kind and generous as you always
used to be. Don't judge Liza harshly,â€ she began; â€œshe is so sweet, so
good-natured, and her position is a very hard one just now.â€
â€œI fancy I have said nothing to you, Masha, of my blaming my wife for
anything or being dissatisfied with her. What makes you say all this to
Princess Marya coloured in patches, and was mute, as though she felt
â€œI have said nothing to you, but you have been talked to. And that
makes me sad.â€
The red patches grew deeper on the forehead and neck and cheeks of Princess
Marya. She would have said something, but could not utter the words. Her brother
had guessed right: his wife had shed tears after dinner, had said that she had a
presentiment of a bad confinement, that she was afraid of it, and had complained
of her hard lot, of her father-in-law and her husband. After crying she had
fallen asleep. Prince Andrey felt sorry for his sister.
â€œLet me tell you one thing, Masha, I can't reproach my wife for
anything, I never have and I never shall, nor can I reproach myself for anything
in regard to her, and that shall always be so in whatever circumstances I may be
placed. But if you want to know the truth â€¦ if you want to know if I am happy.
No. Is she happy? No. Why is it so? I don't know.â€
As he said this, he went up to his sister, and stooping over her kissed her
on the forehead. His fine eyes shone with an unaccustomed light of intelligence
and goodness. But he was not looking at his sister, but towards the darkness of
the open door, over her head.
â€œLet us go to her; I must say good-bye. Or you go alone and wake her up, and
I'll come in a moment. Petrushka!â€ he called to his valet, â€œcome here and take
away these things. This is to go in the seat and this on the right side.â€
Princess Marya got up and moved toward the door. She stopped. â€œAndrey, if you
had faith, you would have appealed to God, to give you the love that you do not
feel, and your prayer would have been granted.â€
â€œYes, perhaps so,â€ said Prince Andrey. â€œGo, Masha, I'll come
On the way to his sister's room, in the gallery that united one house to the
other, Prince Andrey encountered Mademoiselle Bourienne smiling sweetly. It was
the third time that day that with an innocent and enthusiastic smile she had
thrown herself in his way in secluded passages.
â€œAh, I thought you were in your own room,â€ she said, for some reason blushing
and casting down her eyes. Prince Andrey looked sternly at her. A sudden look of
wrathful exasperation came into his face. He said nothing to her, but stared at
her forehead and her hair, without looking at her eyes, with such contempt that
the Frenchwoman crimsoned and went away without a word. When he reached his
sister's room, the little princess was awake and her gay little voice could be
heard through the open door, hurrying one word after another. She talked as
though, after being long restrained, she wanted to make up for lost time, and,
as always, she spoke French
â€œNo, but imagine the old Countess Zubov, with false curls and her mouth full
of false teeth as though she wanted to defy the years. Ha, ha, ha,
Just the same phrase about Countess Zubov and just the same laugh Prince
Andrey had heard five times already from his wife before outsiders. He walked
softly into the room. The little princess, plump and rosy, was sitting in a low
chair with her work in her hands, trotting out her Petersburg reminiscences and
phrases. Prince Andrey went up, stroked her on the head, and asked if she had
got over the fatigue of the journey. She answered him and went on talking.
The coach with six horses stood at the steps. It was a dark autumn night. The
coachman could not see the shafts of the carriage. Servants with lanterns were
running to and fro on the steps. The immense house glared with its great windows
lighted up. The house-serfs were crowding in the outer hall, anxious to say
good-bye to their young prince. In the great hall within stood all the members
of the household: Mihail Ivanovitch, Mademoiselle Bourienne, Princess Marya, and
the little princess. Prince Andrey had been summoned to the study of his father,
who wanted to take leave of him alone. All were waiting for him to come out
again. When Prince Andrey went into the study, the old prince was in his old-age
spectacles and his white dressing-gown, in which he never saw any one but his
son. He was sitting at the table writing. He looked round.
â€œGoing?â€ And he went on writing again.
â€œI have come to say good-bye.â€
â€œKiss me here,â€ he touched his cheek; â€œthanks, thanks!â€
â€œWhat are you thanking me for?â€
â€œFor not lingering beyond your fixed time, for not hanging about a woman's
petticoats. Duty before everything. Thanks, thanks!â€ And he went on writing, so
that ink spurted from the scratching pen.
â€œIf you want to say anything, say it. I can do these two things at once,â€ he
â€œAbout my wife â€¦ I'm ashamed as it is to leave her on your hands.â€¦â€
â€œWhy talk nonsense? Say what you want.â€
â€œWhen my wife's confinement is due, send to Moscow for an accoucheur â€¦
Let him be here.â€
The old man stopped and stared with stern eyes at his son, as though not
â€œI know that no one can be of use, if nature does not assist,â€ said Prince
Andrey, evidently confused. â€œI admit that out of a million cases only one goes
wrong, but it's her fancy and mine. They've been telling her things; she's had a
dream and she's frightened.â€
â€œH'mâ€¦h'm â€¦â€ the old prince muttered to himself, going on with his writing. â€œI
will do so.â€ He scribbled his signature, and suddenly turned quickly to his son
â€œIt's a bad business, eh?â€
â€œWhat's a bad business, father?â€
â€œWife!â€ the old prince said briefly and significantly.
â€œI don't understand,â€ said Prince Andrey.
â€œBut there's no help for it, my dear boy,â€ said the old prince; â€œthey're all
like that, and there's no getting unmarried again. Don't be afraid, I won't say
a word to any one, but you know it yourself.â€
He grasped his hand with his thin, little, bony fingers, shook it, looked
straight into his son's face with his keen eyes, that seemed to see right
through any one, and again he laughed his frigid laugh.
The son sighed, acknowledging in that sigh that his father understood him.
The old man, still busy folding and sealing the letters with his habitual
rapidity, snatched up and flung down again the wax, the seal, and the
â€œIt can't be helped. She's pretty. I'll do everything. Set your mind at
rest,â€ he said jerkily, as he sealed the letter.
Andrey did not speak; it was both pleasant and painful to him that his father
understood him. The old man got up and gave his son the letter.
â€œListen,â€ said he. â€œDon't worry about your wife; what can be done shall be
done. Now, listen; give this letter to Mihail Ilarionovitch. I write that he is
to make use of you on good work, and not to keep you long an adjutant; a vile
duty! Tell him I remember him and like him. And write to me how he receives you.
If he's all right, serve him. The son of Nikolay Andreitch Bolkonsky has no need
to serve under any man as a favour. Now, come here.â€
He spoke so rapidly that he did not finish half of his words, but his son was
used to understanding him. He led his son to the bureau, opened it, drew out a
drawer, and took out of it a manuscript book filled with his bold, big,
â€œI am sure to die before you. See, here are my notes, to be given to the
Emperor after my death. Now here, see, is a bank note and a letter: this is a
prize for any one who writes a history of Suvorov's wars. Send it to the
academy. Here are my remarks, read them after I am gone for your own sake; you
will find them profitable.â€
Andrey did not tell his father that he probably had many years before him. He
knew there was no need to say that.
â€œI will do all that, father,â€ he said.
â€œWell, now, good-bye!â€ He gave his son his hand to kiss and embraced him.
â€œRemember one thing, Prince Andrey, if you are killed, it will be a grief to me
in my old ageâ€¦â€ He paused abruptly, and all at once in a shrill voice went on:
â€œBut if I learn that you have not behaved like the son of Nikolay Bolkonsky, I
shall be â€¦ ashamed,â€ he shrilled.
â€œYou needn't have said that to me, father,â€ said his son, smiling.
The old man did not speak.
â€œThere's another thing I wanted to ask you,â€ went on Prince Andrey; â€œif I'm
killed, and if I have a son, don't let him slip out of your hands, as I said to
you yesterday; let him grow up with youâ€¦please.â€
â€œNot give him up to your wife?â€ said the old man, and he laughed.
They stood mutually facing each other. The old man's sharp eyes were fixed on
his son's eyes. A quiver passed over the lower part of the old prince's
â€œWe have said good-byeâ€¦go along!â€ he said suddenly. â€œGo along!â€ he cried in a
loud and wrathful voice, opening the study door.
â€œWhat is it, what's the matter?â€ asked the two princesses on seeing Prince
Andrey, and catching a momentary glimpse of the figure of the old man in his
white dressing-gown, wearing his spectacles and no wig, and shouting in a
Prince Andrey sighed and made no reply.
â€œNow, then,â€ he said, turning to his wife, and that â€œnow thenâ€ sounded like a
cold sneer, as though he had said, â€œNow, go through your little
â€œAndrey? Already!â€ said the little princess, turning pale and looking with
dismay at her husband. He embraced her. She shrieked and fell swooning on his
He cautiously withdrew the shoulder, on which she was lying, glanced into her
face and carefully laid her in a low chair.
â€œGood-bye, Masha,â€ he said gently-to his sister, and they kissed one
another's hands, then with rapid steps he walked out of the room.
The little princess lay in the arm-chair; Mademoiselle Bourienne rubbed her
temples. Princess Marya, supporting her sister-in-law, still gazed with her fine
eyes full of tears at the door by which Prince Andrey had gone, and she made the
sign of the cross at it. From the study she heard like pistol shots the repeated
and angry sounds of the old man blowing his nose. Just after Prince Andrey had
gone, the door of the study was flung open, and the stern figure of the old man
in his white dressing-gown peeped out.
â€œGone? Well, and a good thing too!â€ he said, looking furiously at the
fainting princess. He shook his head reproachfully and slammed the door.
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XXIV
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XXIII
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XXII
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XXI
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XIX
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XX
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XVII
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XIV
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XVIII
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XIII
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XII
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XI
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER X
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER IX
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER VII
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER V
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER III
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER II
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER I
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER VIII
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XVI
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER XV
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER VI
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER IV
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER IV
- War And Peace: Book 1 - CHAPTER IV
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XXI
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XX
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XIX
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XVIII
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XVII
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XVI
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XIV
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XV
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XIII
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XI
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER XII
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER X
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER IX
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER VII
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER VI
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER V
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER III
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER II
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER I
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER VIII
- War And Peace: Book 2 - CHAPTER IV
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XIX
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XVIII
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XVII
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XVI
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XV
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XIV
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XIII
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XII
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER XI
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER X
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER IX
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER VIII
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER VII
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER VI
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER V
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER IV
- War And Peace: Book 3 - CHAPTER III
- Ebooks list page : 82
- 2007-05-10War And Peace: Book 11 - CHAPTER XXV
- 2007-05-10War And Peace: Book 10 - CHAPTER XXV
- 2007-05-10War And Peace: Book 6 - CHAPTER XXV
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER I
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER II
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER III
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER IV
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER V
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER VI
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER VII
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER VIII
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER IX
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER X
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER XI
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER XII
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER XIII
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER XIV
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER XV
- 2007-05-11War And Peace: Book 15 - CHAPTER XVI
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