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Chapter 1

  • Prince Vasili was not a man who deliberately thought out his plans. Still les_id he think of injuring anyone for his own advantage. He was merely a man o_he world who had got on and to whom getting on had become a habit. Scheme_nd devices for which he never rightly accounted to himself, but which forme_he whole interest of his life, were constantly shaping themselves in hi_ind, arising from the circumstances and persons he met. Of these plans he ha_ot merely one or two in his head but dozens, some only beginning to for_hemselves, some approaching achievement, and some in course o_isintegration. He did not, for instance, say to himself: "This man now ha_nfluence, I must gain his confidence and friendship and through him obtain _pecial grant." Nor did he say to himself: "Pierre is a rich man, I mus_ntice him to marry my daughter and lend me the forty thousand rubles I need."
  • But when he came across a man of position his instinct immediately told hi_hat this man could be useful, and without any premeditation Prince Vasil_ook the first opportunity to gain his confidence, flatter him, becom_ntimate with him, and finally make his request.
  • He had Pierre at hand in Moscow and procured for him an appointment a_entleman of the Bedchamber, which at that time conferred the status o_ouncilor of State, and insisted on the young man accompanying him t_etersburg and staying at his house. With apparent absent-mindedness, yet wit_nhesitating assurance that he was doing the right thing, Prince Vasili di_verything to get Pierre to marry his daughter. Had he thought out his plan_eforehand he could not have been so natural and shown such unaffecte_amiliarity in intercourse with everybody both above and below him in socia_tanding. Something always drew him toward those richer and more powerful tha_imself and he had rare skill in seizing the most opportune moment for makin_se of people.
  • Pierre, on unexpectedly becoming Count Bezukhov and a rich man, felt himsel_fter his recent loneliness and freedom from cares so beset and preoccupie_hat only in bed was he able to be by himself. He had to sign papers, t_resent himself at government offices, the purpose of which was not clear t_im, to question his chief steward, to visit his estate near Moscow, and t_eceive many people who formerly did not even wish to know of his existenc_ut would now have been offended and grieved had he chosen not to see them.
  • These different people—businessmen, relations, and acquaintances alike—wer_ll disposed to treat the young heir in the most friendly and flatterin_anner: they were all evidently firmly convinced of Pierre's noble qualities.
  • He was always hearing such words as: "With your remarkable kindness," or,
  • "With your excellent heart," "You are yourself so honorable Count," or, "Wer_e as clever as you," and so on, till he began sincerely to believe in his ow_xceptional kindness and extraordinary intelligence, the more so as in th_epth of his heart it had always seemed to him that he really was very kin_nd intelligent. Even people who had formerly been spiteful toward him an_vidently unfriendly now became gentle and affectionate. The angry eldes_rincess, with the long waist and hair plastered down like a doll's, had com_nto Pierre's room after the funeral. With drooping eyes and frequent blushe_he told him she was very sorry about their past misunderstandings and did no_ow feel she had a right to ask him for anything, except only for permission,
  • after the blow she had received, to remain for a few weeks longer in the hous_he so loved and where she had sacrificed so much. She could not refrain fro_eeping at these words. Touched that this statuesque princess could so change,
  • Pierre took her hand and begged her forgiveness, without knowing what for.
  • From that day the eldest princess quite changed toward Pierre and bega_nitting a striped scarf for him.
  • "Do this for my sake, mon cher; after all, she had to put up with a great dea_rom the deceased," said Prince Vasili to him, handing him a deed to sign fo_he princess' benefit.
  • Prince Vasili had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to throw thi_one—a bill for thirty thousand rubles—to the poor princess that it might no_ccur to her to speak of his share in the affair of the inlaid portfolio.
  • Pierre signed the deed and after that the princess grew still kinder. Th_ounger sisters also became affectionate to him, especially the youngest, th_retty one with the mole, who often made him feel confused by her smiles an_er own confusion when meeting him.
  • It seemed so natural to Pierre that everyone should like him, and it woul_ave seemed so unnatural had anyone disliked him, that he could not bu_elieve in the sincerity of those around him. Besides, he had no time to as_imself whether these people were sincere or not. He was always busy an_lways felt in a state of mild and cheerful intoxication. He felt as though h_ere the center of some important and general movement; that something wa_onstantly expected of him, that if he did not do it he would grieve an_isappoint many people, but if he did this and that, all would be well; and h_id what was demanded of him, but still that happy result always remained i_he future.
  • More than anyone else, Prince Vasili took possession of Pierre's affairs an_f Pierre himself in those early days. From the death of Count Bezukhov he di_ot let go his hold of the lad. He had the air of a man oppressed by business,
  • weary and suffering, who yet would not, for pity's sake, leave this helples_outh who, after all, was the son of his old friend and the possessor of suc_normous wealth, to the caprice of fate and the designs of rogues. During th_ew days he spent in Moscow after the death of Count Bezukhov, he would cal_ierre, or go to him himself, and tell him what ought to be done in a tone o_eariness and assurance, as if he were adding every time: "You know I a_verwhelmed with business and it is purely out of charity that I troubl_yself about you, and you also know quite well that what I propose is the onl_hing possible."
  • "Well, my dear fellow, tomorrow we are off at last," said Prince Vasili on_ay, closing his eyes and fingering Pierre's elbow, speaking as if he wer_aying something which had long since been agreed upon and could not now b_ltered. "We start tomorrow and I'm giving you a place in my carriage. I a_ery glad. All our important business here is now settled, and I ought to hav_een off long ago. Here is something I have received from the chancellor. _sked him for you, and you have been entered in the diplomatic corps and mad_ Gentleman of the Bedchamber. The diplomatic career now lies open befor_ou."
  • Notwithstanding the tone of wearied assurance with which these words wer_ronounced, Pierre, who had so long been considering his career, wished t_ake some suggestion. But Prince Vasili interrupted him in the special dee_ooing tone, precluding the possibility of interrupting his speech, which h_sed in extreme cases when special persuasion was needed.
  • "Mais, mon cher, I did this for my own sake, to satisfy my conscience, an_here is nothing to thank me for. No one has ever complained yet of being to_uch loved; and besides, you are free, you could throw it up tomorrow. But yo_ill see everything for yourself when you get to Petersburg. It is high tim_or you to get away from these terrible recollections." Prince Vasili sighed.
  • "Yes, yes, my boy. And my valet can go in your carriage. Ah! I was nearl_orgetting," he added. "You know, mon cher, your father and I had som_ccounts to settle, so I have received what was due from the Ryazan estate an_ill keep it; you won't require it. We'll go into the accounts later."
  • By "what was due from the Ryazan estate" Prince Vasili meant several thousan_ubles quitrent received from Pierre's peasants, which the prince had retaine_or himself.
  • In Petersburg, as in Moscow, Pierre found the same atmosphere of gentlenes_nd affection. He could not refuse the post, or rather the rank (for he di_othing), that Prince Vasili had procured for him, and acquaintances,
  • invitations, and social occupations were so numerous that, even more than i_oscow, he felt a sense of bewilderment, bustle, and continual expectation o_ome good, always in front of him but never attained.
  • Of his former bachelor acquaintances many were no longer in Petersburg. Th_uards had gone to the front; Dolokhov had been reduced to the ranks; Anatol_as in the army somewhere in the provinces; Prince Andrew was abroad; s_ierre had not the opportunity to spend his nights as he used to like to spen_hem, or to open his mind by intimate talks with a friend older than himsel_nd whom he respected. His whole time was taken up with dinners and balls an_as spent chiefly at Prince Vasili's house in the company of the stou_rincess, his wife, and his beautiful daughter Helene.
  • Like the others, Anna Pavlovna Scherer showed Pierre the change of attitud_oward him that had taken place in society.
  • Formerly in Anna Pavlovna's presence, Pierre had always felt that what he wa_aying was out of place, tactless and unsuitable, that remarks which seemed t_im clever while they formed in his mind became foolish as soon as he uttere_hem, while on the contrary Hippolyte's stupidest remarks came out clever an_pt. Now everything Pierre said was charmant. Even if Anna Pavlovna did no_ay so, he could see that she wished to and only refrained out of regard fo_is modesty.
  • In the beginning of the winter of 1805-6 Pierre received one of Ann_avlovna's usual pink notes with an invitation to which was added: "You wil_ind the beautiful Helene here, whom it is always delightful to see."
  • When he read that sentence, Pierre felt for the first time that some lin_hich other people recognized had grown up between himself and Helene, an_hat thought both alarmed him, as if some obligation were being imposed on hi_hich he could not fulfill, and pleased him as an entertaining supposition.
  • Anna Pavlovna's "At Home" was like the former one, only the novelty sh_ffered her guests this time was not Mortemart, but a diplomatist fresh fro_erlin with the very latest details of the Emperor Alexander's visit t_otsdam, and of how the two august friends had pledged themselves in a_ndissoluble alliance to uphold the cause of justice against the enemy of th_uman race. Anna Pavlovna received Pierre with a shade of melancholy,
  • evidently relating to the young man's recent loss by the death of Coun_ezukhov (everyone constantly considered it a duty to assure Pierre that h_as greatly afflicted by the death of the father he had hardly known), and he_elancholy was just like the august melancholy she showed at the mention o_er most august Majesty the Empress Marya Fedorovna. Pierre felt flattered b_his. Anna Pavlovna arranged the different groups in her drawing room with he_abitual skill. The large group, in which were Prince Vasili and the generals,
  • had the benefit of the diplomat. Another group was at the tea table. Pierr_ished to join the former, but Anna Pavlovna—who was in the excited conditio_f a commander on a battlefield to whom thousands of new and brilliant idea_ccur which there is hardly time to put in action—seeing Pierre, touched hi_leeve with her finger, saying:
  • "Wait a bit, I have something in view for you this evening." (She glanced a_elene and smiled at her.) "My dear Helene, be charitable to my poor aunt wh_dores you. Go and keep her company for ten minutes. And that it will not b_oo dull, here is the dear count who will not refuse to accompany you."
  • The beauty went to the aunt, but Anna Pavlovna detained Pierre, looking as i_he had to give some final necessary instructions.
  • "Isn't she exquisite?" she said to Pierre, pointing to the stately beauty a_he glided away. "And how she carries herself! For so young a girl, such tact,
  • such masterly perfection of manner! It comes from her heart. Happy the man wh_ins her! With her the least worldly of men would occupy a most brillian_osition in society. Don't you think so? I only wanted to know your opinion,"
  • and Anna Pavlovna let Pierre go.
  • Pierre, in reply, sincerely agreed with her as to Helene's perfection o_anner. If he ever thought of Helene, it was just of her beauty and he_emarkable skill in appearing silently dignified in society.
  • The old aunt received the two young people in her corner, but seemed desirou_f hiding her adoration for Helene and inclined rather to show her fear o_nna Pavlovna. She looked at her niece, as if inquiring what she was to d_ith these people. On leaving them, Anna Pavlovna again touched Pierre'_leeve, saying: "I hope you won't say that it is dull in my house again," an_he glanced at Helene.
  • Helene smiled, with a look implying that she did not admit the possibility o_nyone seeing her without being enchanted. The aunt coughed, swallowed, an_aid in French that she was very pleased to see Helene, then she turned t_ierre with the same words of welcome and the same look. In the middle of _ull and halting conversation, Helene turned to Pierre with the beautifu_right smile that she gave to everyone. Pierre was so used to that smile, an_t had so little meaning for him, that he paid no attention to it. The aun_as just speaking of a collection of snuffboxes that had belonged to Pierre'_ather, Count Bezukhov, and showed them her own box. Princess Helene asked t_ee the portrait of the aunt's husband on the box lid.
  • "That is probably the work of Vinesse," said Pierre, mentioning a celebrate_iniaturist, and he leaned over the table to take the snuffbox while trying t_ear what was being said at the other table.
  • He half rose, meaning to go round, but the aunt handed him the snuffbox,
  • passing it across Helene's back. Helene stooped forward to make room, an_ooked round with a smile. She was, as always at evening parties, wearing _ress such as was then fashionable, cut very low at front and back. Her bust,
  • which had always seemed like marble to Pierre, was so close to him that hi_hortsighted eyes could not but perceive the living charm of her neck an_houlders, so near to his lips that he need only have bent his head a littl_o have touched them. He was conscious of the warmth of her body, the scent o_erfume, and the creaking of her corset as she moved. He did not see he_arble beauty forming a complete whole with her dress, but all the charm o_er body only covered by her garments. And having once seen this he could no_elp being aware it, just as we cannot renew an illusion we have once see_hrough.
  • "So you have never noticed before how beautiful I am?" Helene seemed to say.
  • "You had not noticed that I am a woman? Yes, I am a woman who may belong t_nyone—to you too," said her glance. And at that moment Pierre felt tha_elene not only could, but must, be his wife, and that it could not b_therwise.
  • He knew this at that moment as surely as if he had been standing at the alta_ith her. How and when this would be he did not know, he did not even know i_t would be a good thing (he even felt, he knew not why, that it would be _ad thing), but he knew it would happen.
  • Pierre dropped his eyes, lifted them again, and wished once more to see her a_ distant beauty far removed from him, as he had seen her every day unti_hen, but he could no longer do it. He could not, any more than a man who ha_een looking at a tuft of steppe grass through the mist and taking it for _ree can again take it for a tree after he has once recognized it to be a tuf_f grass. She was terribly close to him. She already had power over him, an_etween them there was no longer any barrier except the barrier of his ow_ill.
  • "Well, I will leave you in your little corner," came Anna Pavlovna's voice, "_ee you are all right there."
  • And Pierre, anxiously trying to remember whether he had done anythin_eprehensible, looked round with a blush. It seemed to him that everyone kne_hat had happened to him as he knew it himself.
  • A little later when he went up to the large circle, Anna Pavlovna said to him:
  • "I hear you are refitting your Petersburg house?"
  • This was true. The architect had told him that it was necessary, and Pierre,
  • without knowing why, was having his enormous Petersburg house done up.
  • "That's a good thing, but don't move from Prince Vasili's. It is good to hav_ friend like the prince," she said, smiling at Prince Vasili. "I kno_omething about that. Don't I? And you are still so young. You need advice.
  • Don't be angry with me for exercising an old woman's privilege."
  • She paused, as women always do, expecting something after they have mentione_heir age. "If you marry it will be a different thing," she continued, unitin_hem both in one glance. Pierre did not look at Helene nor she at him. But sh_as just as terribly close to him. He muttered something and colored.
  • When he got home he could not sleep for a long time for thinking of what ha_appened. What had happened? Nothing. He had merely understood that the woma_e had known as a child, of whom when her beauty was mentioned he had sai_bsent-mindedly: "Yes, she's good looking," he had understood that this woma_ight belong to him.
  • "But she's stupid. I have myself said she is stupid," he thought. "There i_omething nasty, something wrong, in the feeling she excites in me. I hav_een told that her brother Anatole was in love with her and she with him, tha_here was quite a scandal and that that's why he was sent away. Hippolyte i_er brother… Prince Vasili is her father… It's bad… ." he reflected, but whil_e was thinking this (the reflection was still incomplete), he caught himsel_miling and was conscious that another line of thought had sprung up, an_hile thinking of her worthlessness he was also dreaming of how she would b_is wife, how she would love him become quite different, and how all he ha_hought and heard of her might be false. And he again saw her not as th_aughter of Prince Vasili, but visualized her whole body only veiled by it_ray dress. "But no! Why did this thought never occur to me before?" and agai_e told himself that it was impossible, that there would be somethin_nnatural, and as it seemed to him dishonorable, in this marriage. He recalle_er former words and looks and the words and looks of those who had seen the_ogether. He recalled Anna Pavlovna's words and looks when she spoke to hi_bout his house, recalled thousands of such hints from Prince Vasili an_thers, and was seized by terror lest he had already, in some way, boun_imself to do something that was evidently wrong and that he ought not to do.
  • But at the very time he was expressing this conviction to himself, in anothe_art of his mind her image rose in all its womanly beauty.