Anatole Kuragin was staying in Moscow because his father had sent him awa_rom Petersburg, where he had been spending twenty thousand rubles a year i_ash, besides running up debts for as much more, which his creditors demande_rom his father.
His father announced to him that he would now pay half his debts for the las_ime, but only on condition that he went to Moscow as adjutant to th_ommander in chief—a post his father had procured for him—and would at las_ry to make a good match there. He indicated to him Princess Mary and Juli_aragina.
Anatole consented and went to Moscow, where he put up at Pierre's house.
Pierre received him unwillingly at first, but got used to him after a while,
sometimes even accompanied him on his carousals, and gave him money under th_uise of loans.
As Shinshin had remarked, from the time of his arrival Anatole had turned th_eads of the Moscow ladies, especially by the fact that he slighted them an_lainly preferred the gypsy girls and French actresses—with the chief of whom,
Mademoiselle George, he was said to be on intimate relations. He had neve_issed a carousal at Danilov's or other Moscow revelers', drank whole night_hrough, outvying everyone else, and was at all the balls and parties of th_est society. There was talk of his intrigues with some of the ladies, and h_lirted with a few of them at the balls. But he did not run after th_nmarried girls, especially the rich heiresses who were most of them plain.
There was a special reason for this, as he had got married two years before—_act known only to his most intimate friends. At that time while with hi_egiment in Poland, a Polish landowner of small means had forced him to marr_is daughter. Anatole had very soon abandoned his wife and, for a paymen_hich he agreed to send to his father-in-law, had arranged to be free to pas_imself off as a bachelor.
Anatole was always content with his position, with himself, and with others.
He was instinctively and thoroughly convinced that was impossible for him t_ive otherwise than as he did and that he had never in his life done anythin_ase. He was incapable of considering how his actions might affect others o_hat the consequences of this or that action of his might be. He was convince_hat, as a duck is so made that it must live in water, so God had made hi_uch that he must spend thirty thousand rubles a year and always occupy _rominent position in society. He believed this so firmly that others, lookin_t him, were persuaded of it too and did not refuse him either a leading plac_n society or money, which he borrowed from anyone and everyone and evidentl_ould not repay.
He was not a gambler, at any rate he did not care about winning. He was no_ain. He did not mind what people thought of him. Still less could he b_ccused of ambition. More than once he had vexed his father by spoiling hi_wn career, and he laughed at distinctions of all kinds. He was not mean, an_id not refuse anyone who asked of him. All he cared about was gaiety an_omen, and as according to his ideas there was nothing dishonorable in thes_astes, and he was incapable of considering what the gratification of hi_astes entailed for others, he honestly considered himself irreproachable,
sincerely despised rogues and bad people, and with a tranquil conscienc_arried his head high.
Rakes, those male Magdalenes, have a secret feeling of innocence similar t_hat which female Magdalenes have, based on the same hope of forgiveness. "Al_ill be forgiven her, for she loved much; and all will be forgiven him, for h_njoyed much."
Dolokhov, who had reappeared that year in Moscow after his exile and hi_ersian adventures, and was leading a life of luxury, gambling, an_issipation, associated with his old Petersburg comrade Kuragin and made us_f him for his own ends.
Anatole was sincerely fond of Dolokhov for his cleverness and audacity.
Dolokhov, who needed Anatole Kuragin's name, position, and connections as _ait to draw rich young men into his gambling set, made use of him and amuse_imself at his expense without letting the other feel it. Apart from th_dvantage he derived from Anatole, the very process of dominating another'_ill was in itself a pleasure, a habit, and a necessity to Dolokhov.
Natasha had made a strong impression on Kuragin. At supper after the opera h_escribed to Dolokhov with the air of a connoisseur the attractions of he_rms, shoulders, feet, and hair and expressed his intention of making love t_er. Anatole had no notion and was incapable of considering what might come o_uch love-making, as he never had any notion of the outcome of any of hi_ctions.
"She's first-rate, my dear fellow, but not for us," replied Dolokhov.
"I will tell my sister to ask her to dinner," said Anatole. "Eh?"
"You'd better wait till she's married… ."
"You know, I adore little girls, they lose their heads at once," pursue_natole.
"You have been caught once already by a 'little girl,'" said Dolokhov who kne_f Kuragin's marriage. "Take care!"
"Well, that can't happen twice! Eh?" said Anatole, with a good-humored laugh.