War and Peace
Prince Andrew was to leave next evening. The old prince, not
altering his routine, retired as usual after dinner. The little
princess was in her sister-in-law's room. Prince Andrew in a traveling
coat without epaulettes had been packing with his valet in the rooms
assigned to him. After inspecting the carriage himself and seeing
the trunks put in, he ordered the horses to be harnessed. Only those
things he always kept with him remained in his room; a small box, a
large canteen fitted with silver plate, two Turkish pistols and a
saber- a present from his father who had brought it from the siege
of Ochakov. All these traveling effects of Prince Andrew's were in
very good order: new, clean, and in cloth covers carefully tied with
When starting on a journey or changing their mode of life, men
capable of reflection are generally in a serious frame of mind. At
such moments one reviews the past and plans for the future. Prince
Andrew's face looked very thoughtful and tender. With his hands behind
him he paced briskly from corner to corner of the room, looking
straight before him and thoughtfully shaking his head. Did he fear
going to the war, or was he sad at leaving his wife?- perhaps both,
but evidently he did not wish to be seen in that mood, for hearing
footsteps in the passage he hurriedly unclasped his hands, stopped
at a table as if tying the cover of the small box, and assumed his
usual tranquil and impenetrable expression. It was the heavy tread
of Princess Mary that he heard.
"I hear you have given orders to harness," she cried, panting (she
had apparently been running), "and I did so wish to have another
talk with you alone! God knows how long we may again be parted. You
are not angry with me for coming? You have changed so, Andrusha,"
she added, as if to explain such a question.
She smiled as she uttered his pet name, "Andrusha." It was obviously
strange to her to think that this stern handsome man should be
Andrusha- the slender mischievous boy who had been her playfellow in
"And where is Lise?" he asked, answering her question only by a
"She was so tired that she has fallen asleep on the sofa in my room.
Oh, Andrew! What a treasure of a wife you have," said she, sitting
down on the sofa, facing her brother. "She is quite a child: such a
dear, merry child. I have grown so fond of her."
Prince Andrew was silent, but the princess noticed the ironical
and contemptuous look that showed itself on his face.
"One must be indulgent to little weaknesses; who is free from
them, Andrew? Don't forget that she has grown up and been educated
in society, and so her position now is not a rosy one. We should enter
into everyone's situation. Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner.*
Think it must be for her, poor thing, after what she has been used to,
to be parted from her husbandand be left alone the country, in her
condition! It's very hard."
* To understand all is to forgive all.
Prince Andrew smiled as he looked at his sister, as we smile at
those we think we thoroughly understand.
"You live in the country and don't think the life terrible," he
"I... that's different. Why speak of me? I don't want any other
life, and can't, for I know no other. But think, Andrew: for a young
society woman to be buried in the country during the best years of her
life, all alone- for Papa is always busy, and I... well, you know what
poor resources I have for entertaining a woman used to the best
society. There is only Mademoiselle Bourienne...."
"I don't like your Mademoiselle Bourienne at all," said Prince
"No? She is very nice and kind and, above all, she's much to be
pitied. She has no one, no one. To tell the truth, I don't need her,
and she's even in my way. You know I always was a savage, and now am
even more so. I like being alone.... Father likes her very much. She
and Michael Ivanovich are the two people to whom he is always gentle
and kind, because he has been a benefactor to them both. As Sterne
says: 'We don't love people so much for the good they have done us, as
for the good we have done them.' Father took her when she was homeless
after losing her own father. She is very good-natured, and my father
likes her way of reading. She reads to him in the evenings and reads
"To be quite frank, Mary, I expect Father's character sometimes
makes things trying for you, doesn't it?" Prince Andrew asked
Princess Mary was first surprised and then aghast at this question.
"For me? For me?... Trying for me!..." said she.
"He always was rather harsh; and now I should think he's getting
very trying," said Prince Andrew, apparently speaking lightly of their
father in order to puzzle or test his sister.
"You are good in every way, Andrew, but you have a kind of
intellectual pride," said the princess, following the train of her own
thoughts rather than the trend of the conversation- "and that's a
great sin. How can one judge Father? But even if one might, what
feeling except veneration could such a man as my father evoke? And I
am so contented and happy with him. I only wish you were all as
happy as I am."
Her brother shook his head incredulously.
"The only thing that is hard for me... I will tell you the truth,
Andrew... is Father's way of treating religious subjects. I don't
understand how a man of his immense intellect can fail to see what
is as clear as day, and can go so far astray. That is the only thing
that makes me unhappy. But even in this I can see lately a shade of
improvement. His satire has been less bitter of late, and there was
a monk he received and had a long talk with."
"Ah! my dear, I am afraid you and your monk are wasting your
powder," said Prince Andrew banteringly yet tenderly.
"Ah! mon ami, I only pray, and hope that God will hear me.
Andrew..." she said timidly after a moment's silence, "I have a
great favor to ask of you."
"What is it, dear?"
"No- promise that you will not refuse! It will give you no trouble
and is nothing unworthy of you, but it will comfort me. Promise,
Andrusha!..." said she, putting her hand in her reticule but not yet
taking out what she was holding inside it, as if what she held were
the subject of her request and must not be shown before the request
She looked timidly at her brother.
"Even if it were a great deal of trouble..." answered Prince Andrew,
as if guessing what it was about.
"Think what you please! I know you are just like Father. Think as
you please, but do this for my sake! Please do! Father's father, our
grandfather, wore it in all his wars." (She still did not take out
what she was holding in her reticule.) "So you promise?"
"Of course. What is it?"
"Andrew, I bless you with this icon and you must promise me you will
never take it off. Do you promise?"
"If it does not weigh a hundredweight and won't break my neck...
To please you..." said Prince Andrew. But immediately, noticing the
pained expression his joke had brought to his sister's face, he
repented and added: "I am glad; really, dear, I am very glad."
"Against your will He will save and have mercy on you and bring
you to Himself, for in Him alone is truth and peace," said she in a
voice trembling with emotion, solemnly holding up in both hands before
her brother a small, oval, antique, dark-faced icon of the Saviour
in a gold setting, on a finely wrought silver chain.
She crossed herself, kissed the icon, and handed it to Andrew.
"Please, Andrew, for my sake!..."
Rays of gentle light shone from her large, timid eyes. Those eyes
lit up the whole of her thin, sickly face and made it beautiful. Her
brother would have taken the icon, but she stopped him. Andrew
understood, crossed himself and kissed the icon. There was a look of
tenderness, for he was touched, but also a gleam of irony on his face.
"Thank you, my dear." She kissed him on the forehead and sat down
again on the sofa. They were silent for a while.
"As I was saying to you, Andrew, be kind and generous as you
always used to be. Don't judge Lise harshly," she began. "She is so
sweet, so good-natured, and her position now is a very hard one."
"I do not think I have complained of my wife to you, Masha, or
blamed her. Why do you say all this to me?"
Red patches appeared on Princess Mary's face and she was silent as
if she felt guilty.
"I have said nothing to you, but you have already been talked to.
And I am sorry for that," he went on.
The patches grew deeper on her forehead, neck, and cheeks. She tried
to say something but could not. Her brother had guessed right: the
little princess had been crying after dinner and had spoken of her
forebodings about her confinement, and how she dreaded it, and had
complained of her fate, her father-in-law, and her husband. After
crying she had fallen asleep. Prince Andrew felt sorry for his sister.
"Know this, Masha: I can't reproach, have not reproached, and
never shall reproach my wife with anything, and I cannot reproach
myself with anything in regard to her; and that always will be so in
whatever circumstances I may be placed. But if you want to know the
truth... if you want to know whether I am happy? No! Is she happy? No!
But why this is so I don't know..."
As he said this he rose, went to his sister, and, stooping, kissed
her forehead. His fine eyes lit up with a thoughtful, kindly, and
unaccustomed brightness, but he was looking not at his sister but over
her head toward the darkness of the open doorway.
"Let us go to her, I must say good-bye. Or- go and wake and I'll come
in a moment. Petrushka!" he called to his valet: "Come here, take
these away. Put this on the seat and this to the right."
Princess Mary rose and moved to the door, then stopped and said:
"Andrew, if you had faith you would have turned to God and asked Him
to give you the love you do not feel, and your prayer would have
"Well, may be!" said Prince Andrew. "Go, Masha; I'll come
On the way to his sister's room, in the passage which connected
one wing with the other, Prince Andrew met Mademoiselle Bourienne
smiling sweetly. It was the third time that day that, with an ecstatic
and artless smile, she had met him in secluded passages.
"Oh! I thought you were in your room," she said, for some reason
blushing and dropping her eyes.
Prince Andrew looked sternly at her and an expression of anger
suddenly came over his face. He said nothing to her but looked at
her forehead and hair, without looking at her eyes, with such contempt
that the Frenchwoman blushed and went away without a word. When he
reached his sister's room his wife was already awake and her merry
voice, hurrying one word after another, came through the open door.
She was speaking as usual in French, and as if after long
self-restraint she wished to make up for lost time.
"No, but imagine the old Countess Zubova, with false curls and her
mouth full of false teeth, as if she were trying to cheat old
age.... Ha, ha, ha! Mary!"
This very sentence about Countess Zubova and this same laugh
Prince Andrew had already heard from his wife in the presence of
others some five times. He entered the room softly. The little
princess, plump and rosy, was sitting in an easy chair with her work
in her hands, talking incessantly, repeating Petersburg
reminiscences and even phrases. Prince Andrew came up, stroked her
hair, and asked if she felt rested after their journey. She answered
him and continued her chatter.
The coach with six horses was waiting at the porch. It was an autumn
night, so dark that the coachman could not see the carriage pole.
Servants with lanterns were bustling about in the porch. The immense
house was brilliant with lights shining through its lofty windows. The
domestic serfs were crowding in the hall, waiting to bid good-by to
the young prince. The members of the household were all gathered in
the reception hall: Michael Ivanovich, Mademoiselle Bourienne,
Princess Mary, and the little princess. Prince Andrew had been
called to his father's study as the latter wished to say good-by to
him alone. All were waiting for them to come out.
When Prince Andrew entered the study the old man in his old-age
spectacles and white dressing gown, in which he received no one but
his son, sat at the table writing. He glanced round.
"Going?" And he went on writing.
"I've come to say good-by."
"Kiss me here," and he touched his cheek: "Thanks, thanks!"
"What do you thank me for?"
"For not dilly-dallying and not hanging to a woman's apron
strings. The Service before everything. Thanks, thanks!" And he went
on writing, so that his quill spluttered and squeaked. "If you have
anything to say, say it. These two things can be done together," he
"About my wife... I am ashamed as it is to leave her on your
"Why talk nonsense? Say what you want."
"When her confinement is due, send to Moscow for an accoucheur....
Let him be here...."
The old prince stopped writing and, as if not understanding, fixed
his stern eyes on his son.
"I know that no one can help if nature does not do her work," said
Prince Andrew, evidently confused. "I know that out of a million cases
only one goes wrong, but it is her fancy and mine. They have been
telling her things. She has had a dream and is frightened."
"Hm... Hm..." muttered the old prince to himself, finishing what
he was writing. "I'll do it."
He signed with a flourish and suddenly turning to his son began to
"It's a bad business, eh?"
"What is bad, Father?"
"The wife!" said the old prince, briefly and significantly.
"I don't understand!" said Prince Andrew.
"No, it can't be helped, lad," said the prince. "They're all like
that; one can't unmarry. Don't be afraid; I won't tell anyone, but you
know it yourself."
He seized his son by the hand with small bony fingers, shook it,
looked straight into his son's face with keen eyes which seemed to see
through him, and again laughed his frigid laugh.
The son sighed, thus admitting that his father had understood him.
The old man continued to fold and seal his letter, snatching up and
throwing down the wax, the seal, and the paper, with his accustomed
"What's to be done? She's pretty! I will do everything. Make your
mind easy," said he in abrupt sentences while sealing his letter.
Andrew did not speak; he was both pleased and displeased that his
father understood him. The old man got up and gave the letter to his
"Listen!" said he; "don't worry about your wife: what can be done
shall be. Now listen! Give this letter to Michael Ilarionovich.* I
have written that he should make use of you in proper places and not
keep you long as an adjutant: a bad position! Tell him I remember
and like him. Write and tell me how he receives you. If he is all
right- serve him. Nicholas Bolkonski's son need not serve under anyone
if he is in disfavor. Now come here."
He spoke so rapidly that he did not finish half his words, but his
son was accustomed to understand him. He led him to the desk, raised
the lid, drew out a drawer, and took out an exercise book filled
with his bold, tall, close handwriting.
"I shall probably die before you. So remember, these are my memoirs;
hand them to the Emperor after my death. Now here is a Lombard bond
and a letter; it is a premium for the man who writes a history of
Suvorov's wars. Send it to the Academy. Here are some jottings for you
to read when I am gone. You will find them useful."
Andrew did not tell his father that he would no doubt live a long
time yet. He felt that he must not say it.
"I will do it all, Father," he said.
"Well, now, good-by!" He gave his son his hand to kiss, and embraced
him. "Remember this, Prince Andrew, if they kill you it will hurt
me, your old father..." he paused unexpectedly, and then in a
querulous voice suddenly shrieked: "but if I hear that you have not
behaved like a son of Nicholas Bolkonski, I shall be ashamed!"
"You need not have said that to me, Father," said the son with a
The old man was silent.
"I also wanted to ask you," continued Prince Andrew, "if I'm
killed and if I have a son, do not let him be taken away from you-
as I said yesterday... let him grow up with you.... Please."
"Not let the wife have him?" said the old man, and laughed.
They stood silent, facing one another. The old man's sharp eyes were
fixed straight on his son's. Something twitched in the lower part of
the old prince's face.
"We've said good-by. Go!" he suddenly shouted in a loud, angry
voice, opening his door.
"What is it? What?" asked both princesses when they saw for a moment
at the door Prince Andrew and the figure of the old man in a white
dressing gown, spectacled and wigless, shouting in an angry voice.
Prince Andrew sighed and made no reply.
"Well!" he said, turning to his wife.
And this "Well!" sounded coldly ironic, as if he were saying,:
"Now go through your performance."
"Andrew, already!" said the little princess, turning pale and
looking with dismay at her husband.
He embraced her. She screamed and fell unconscious on his shoulder.
He cautiously released the shoulder she leaned on, looked into her
face, and carefully placed her in an easy chair.
"Adieu, Mary," said he gently to his sister, taking her by the
hand and kissing her, and then he left the room with rapid steps.
The little princess lay in the armchair, Mademoiselle Bourienne
chafing her temples. Princess Mary, supporting her sister-in-law,
still looked with her beautiful eyes full of tears at the door through
which Prince Andrew had gone and made the sign of the cross in his
direction. From the study, like pistol shots, came the frequent
sound of the old man angrily blowing his nose. Hardly had Prince
Andrew gone when the study door opened quickly and the stern figure of
the old man in the white dressing gown looked out.
"Gone? That's all right!" said he; and looking angrily at the
unconscious little princess, he shook his head reprovingly and slammed
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