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.