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Chapter 13

  • In external ways Pierre had hardly changed at all. In appearance he was jus_hat he used to be. As before he was absent-minded and seemed occupied no_ith what was before his eyes but with something special of his own. Th_ifference between his former and present self was that formerly when he di_ot grasp what lay before him or was said to him, he had puckered his forehea_ainfully as if vainly seeking to distinguish something at a distance. A_resent he still forgot what was said to him and still did not see what wa_efore his eyes, but he now looked with a scarcely perceptible and seemingl_ronic smile at what was before him and listened to what was said, thoug_vidently seeing and hearing something quite different. Formerly he ha_ppeared to be a kindhearted but unhappy man, and so people had been incline_o avoid him. Now a smile at the joy of life always played round his lips, an_ympathy for others, shone in his eyes with a questioning look as to whethe_hey were as contented as he was, and people felt pleased by his presence.
  • Previously he had talked a great deal, grew excited when he talked, and seldo_istened; now he was seldom carried away in conversation and knew how t_isten so that people readily told him their most intimate secrets.
  • The princess, who had never liked Pierre and had been particularly hostile t_im since she had felt herself under obligations to him after the old count'_eath, now after staying a short time in Orel- where she had come intending t_how Pierre that in spite of his ingratitude she considered it her duty t_urse him—felt to her surprise and vexation that she had become fond of him.
  • Pierre did not in any way seek her approval, he merely studied her wit_nterest. Formerly she had felt that he regarded her with indifference an_rony, and so had shrunk into herself as she did with others and had shown hi_nly the combative side of her nature; but now he seemed to be trying t_nderstand the most intimate places of her heart, and, mistrustfully at firs_ut afterwards gratefully, she let him see the hidden, kindly sides of he_haracter.
  • The most cunning man could not have crept into her confidence mor_uccessfully, evoking memories of the best times of her youth and showin_ympathy with them. Yet Pierre's cunning consisted simply in finding pleasur_n drawing out the human qualities of the embittered, hard, and (in her ow_ay) proud princess.
  • "Yes, he is a very, very kind man when he is not under the influence of ba_eople but of people such as myself," thought she.
  • His servants too—Terenty and Vaska—in their own way noticed the change tha_ad taken place in Pierre. They considered that he had become much "simpler."
  • Terenty, when he had helped him undress and wished him good night, ofte_ingered with his master's boots in his hands and clothes over his arm, to se_hether he would not start a talk. And Pierre, noticing that Terenty wanted _hat, generally kept him there.
  • "Well, tell me… now, how did you get food?" he would ask.
  • And Terenty would begin talking of the destruction of Moscow, and of the ol_ount, and would stand for a long time holding the clothes and talking, o_ometimes listening to Pierre's stories, and then would go out into the hal_ith a pleasant sense of intimacy with his master and affection for him.
  • The doctor who attended Pierre and visited him every day, though he considere_t his duty as a doctor to pose as a man whose every moment was of value t_uffering humanity, would sit for hours with Pierre telling him his favorit_necdotes and his observations on the characters of his patients in general,
  • and especially of the ladies.
  • "It's a pleasure to talk to a man like that; he is not like our provincials,"
  • he would say.
  • There were several prisoners from the French army in Orel, and the docto_rought one of them, a young Italian, to see Pierre.
  • This officer began visiting Pierre, and the princess used to make fun of th_enderness the Italian expressed for him.
  • The Italian seemed happy only when he could come to see Pierre, talk with him,
  • tell him about his past, his life at home, and his love, and pour out to hi_is indignation against the French and especially against Napoleon.
  • "If all Russians are in the least like you, it is sacrilege to fight such _ation," he said to Pierre. "You, who have suffered so from the French, do no_ven feel animosity toward them."
  • Pierre had evoked the passionate affection of the Italian merely by evokin_he best side of his nature and taking a pleasure in so doing.
  • During the last days of Pierre's stay in Orel his old Masonic acquaintanc_ount Willarski, who had introduced him to the lodge in 1807, came to see him.
  • Willarski was married to a Russian heiress who had a large estate in Ore_rovince, and he occupied a temporary post in the commissariat department i_hat town.
  • Hearing that Bezukhov was in Orel, Willarski, though they had never bee_ntimate, came to him with the professions of friendship and intimacy tha_eople who meet in a desert generally express for one another. Willarski fel_ull in Orel and was pleased to meet a man of his own circle and, as h_upposed, of similar interests.
  • But to his surprise Willarski soon noticed that Pierre had lagged much behin_he times, and had sunk, as he expressed it to himself, into apathy an_gotism.
  • "You are letting yourself go, my dear fellow," he said.
  • But for all that Willarski found it pleasanter now than it had been formerl_o be with Pierre, and came to see him every day. To Pierre as he looked a_nd listened to Willarski, it seemed strange to think that he had been lik_hat himself but a short time before.
  • Willarski was a married man with a family, busy with his family affairs, hi_ife's affairs, and his official duties. He regarded all these occupations a_indrances to life, and considered that they were all contemptible becaus_heir aim was the welfare of himself and his family. Military, administrative,
  • political, and Masonic interests continually absorbed his attention. An_ierre, without trying to change the other's views and without condemning him,
  • but with the quiet, joyful, and amused smile now habitual to him, wa_nterested in this strange though very familiar phenomenon.
  • There was a new feature in Pierre's relations with Willarski, with th_rincess, with the doctor, and with all the people he now met, which gaine_or him the general good will. This was his acknowledgment of th_mpossibility of changing a man's convictions by words, and his recognition o_he possibility of everyone thinking, feeling, and seeing things each from hi_wn point of view. This legitimate peculiarity of each individual which use_o excite and irritate Pierre now became a basis of the sympathy he felt for,
  • and the interest he took in, other people. The difference, and sometime_omplete contradiction, between men's opinions and their lives, and betwee_ne man and another, pleased him and drew from him an amused and gentle smile.
  • In practical matters Pierre unexpectedly felt within himself a center o_ravity he had previously lacked. Formerly all pecuniary questions, especiall_equests for money to which, as an extremely wealthy man, he was very exposed,
  • produced in him a state of hopeless agitation and perplexity. "To give or no_o give?" he had asked himself. "I have it and he needs it. But someone els_eeds it still more. Who needs it most? And perhaps they are both impostors?"
  • In the old days he had been unable to find a way out of all these surmises an_ad given to all who asked as long as he had anything to give. Formerly he ha_een in a similar state of perplexity with regard to every question concernin_is property, when one person advised one thing and another something else.
  • Now to his surprise he found that he no longer felt either doubt or perplexit_bout these questions. There was now within him a judge who by some rul_nknown to him decided what should or should not be done.
  • He was as indifferent as heretofore to money matters, but now he felt certai_f what ought and what ought not to be done. The first time he had recourse t_is new judge was when a French prisoner, a colonel, came to him and, afte_alking a great deal about his exploits, concluded by making what amounted t_ demand that Pierre should give him four thousand francs to send to his wif_nd children. Pierre refused without the least difficulty or effort, and wa_fterwards surprised how simple and easy had been what used to appear s_nsurmountably difficult. At the same time that he refused the colonel'_emand he made up his mind that he must have recourse to artifice when leavin_rel, to induce the Italian officer to accept some money of which he wa_vidently in need. A further proof to Pierre of his own more settled outloo_n practical matters was furnished by his decision with regard to his wife'_ebts and to the rebuilding of his houses in and near Moscow.
  • His head steward came to him at Orel and Pierre reckoned up with him hi_iminished income. The burning of Moscow had cost him, according to the hea_teward's calculation, about two million rubles.
  • To console Pierre for these losses the head steward gave him an estimat_howing that despite these losses his income would not be diminished but woul_ven be increased if he refused to pay his wife's debts which he was under n_bligation to meet, and did not rebuild his Moscow house and the country hous_n his Moscow estate, which had cost him eighty thousand rubles a year an_rought in nothing.
  • "Yes, of course that's true," said Pierre with a cheerful smile. "I don't nee_ll that at all. By being ruined I have become much richer."
  • But in January Savelich came from Moscow and gave him an account of the stat_f things there, and spoke of the estimate an architect had made of the cos_f rebuilding the town and country houses, speaking of this as of a settle_atter. About the same time he received letters from Prince Vasili and othe_etersburg acquaintances speaking of his wife's debts. And Pierre decided tha_he steward's proposals which had so pleased him were wrong and that he mus_o to Petersburg and settle his wife's affairs and must rebuild in Moscow. Wh_his was necessary he did not know, but he knew for certain that it wa_ecessary. His income would be reduced by three fourths, but he felt it mus_e done.
  • Willarski was going to Moscow and they agreed to travel together.
  • During the whole time of his convalescence in Orel Pierre had experienced _eeling of joy, freedom, and life; but when during his journey he foun_imself in the open world and saw hundreds of new faces, that feeling wa_ntensified. Throughout his journey he felt like a schoolboy on holiday.
  • Everyone—the stagecoach driver, the post-house overseers, the peasants on th_oads and in the villages- had a new significance for him. The presence an_emarks of Willarski who continually deplored the ignorance and poverty o_ussia and its backwardness compared with Europe only heightened Pierre'_leasure. Where Willarski saw deadness Pierre saw an extraordinary strengt_nd vitality—the strength which in that vast space amid the snows maintaine_he life of this original, peculiar, and unique people. He did not contradic_illarski and even seemed to agree with him—an apparent agreement being th_implest way to avoid discussions that could lead to nothing—and he smile_oyfully as he listened to him.