On his return to Moscow from the army, Nicholas Rostov was welcomed by hi_ome circle as the best of sons, a hero, and their darling Nikolenka; by hi_elations as a charming, attractive, and polite young man; by hi_cquaintances as a handsome lieutenant of hussars, a good dancer, and one o_he best matches in the city.
The Rostovs knew everybody in Moscow. The old count had money enough tha_ear, as all his estates had been remortgaged, and so Nicholas, acquiring _rotter of his own, very stylish riding breeches of the latest cut, such as n_ne else yet had in Moscow, and boots of the latest fashion, with extremel_ointed toes and small silver spurs, passed his time very gaily. After a shor_eriod of adapting himself to the old conditions of life, Nicholas found i_ery pleasant to be at home again. He felt that he had grown up and mature_ery much. His despair at failing in a Scripture examination, his borrowin_oney from Gavril to pay a sleigh driver, his kissing Sonya on the sly—he no_ecalled all this as childishness he had left immeasurably behind. Now he wa_ lieutenant of hussars, in a jacket laced with silver, and wearing the Cros_f St. George, awarded to soldiers for bravery in action, and in the compan_f well-known, elderly, and respected racing men was training a trotter of hi_wn for a race. He knew a lady on one of the boulevards whom he visited of a_vening. He led the mazurka at the Arkharovs' ball, talked about the war wit_ield Marshal Kamenski, visited the English Club, and was on intimate term_ith a colonel of forty to whom Denisov had introduced nim.
His passion for the Emperor had cooled somewhat in Moscow. But still, as h_id not see him and had no opportunity of seeing him, he often spoke about hi_nd about his love for him, letting it be understood that he had not told al_nd that there was something in his feelings for the Emperor not everyon_ould understand, and with his whole soul he shared the adoration then commo_n Moscow for the Emperor, who was spoken of as the "angel incarnate."
During Rostov's short stay in Moscow, before rejoining the army, he did no_raw closer to Sonya, but rather drifted away from her. She was very prett_nd sweet, and evidently deeply in love with him, but he was at the period o_outh when there seems so much to do that there is no time for that sort o_hing and a young man fears to bind himself and prizes his freedom which h_eeds for so many other things. When he thought of Sonya, during this stay i_oscow, he said to himself, "Ah, there will be, and there are, many more suc_irls somewhere whom I do not yet know. There will be time enough to thin_bout love when I want to, but now I have no time." Besides, it seemed to hi_hat the society of women was rather derogatory to his manhood. He went t_alls and into ladies' society with an affectation of doing so against hi_ill. The races, the English Club, sprees with Denisov, and visits to _ertain house—that was another matter and quite the thing for a dashing youn_ussar!
At the beginning of March, old Count Ilya Rostov was very busy arranging _inner in honor of Prince Bagration at the English Club.
The count walked up and down the hall in his dressing gown, giving orders t_he club steward and to the famous Feoktist, the Club's head cook, abou_sparagus, fresh cucumbers, strawberries, veal, and fish for this dinner. Th_ount had been a member and on the committee of the Club from the day it wa_ounded. To him the Club entrusted the arrangement of the festival in honor o_agration, for few men knew so well how to arrange a feast on an open-handed,
hospitable scale, and still fewer men would be so well able and willing t_ake up out of their own resources what might be needed for the success of th_ete. The club cook and the steward listened to the count's orders wit_leased faces, for they knew that under no other management could they s_asily extract a good profit for themselves from a dinner costing severa_housand rubles.
"Well then, mind and have cocks' comb in the turtle soup, you know!"
"Shall we have three cold dishes then?" asked the cook.
The count considered.
"We can't have less—yes, three… the mayonnaise, that's one," said he, bendin_own a finger.
"Then am I to order those large sterlets?" asked the steward.
"Yes, it can't be helped if they won't take less. Ah, dear me! I wa_orgetting. We must have another entree. Ah, goodness gracious!" he clutche_t his head. "Who is going to get me the flowers? Dmitri! Eh, Dmitri! Gallo_ff to our Moscow estate," he said to the factotum who appeared at his call.
"Hurry off and tell Maksim, the gardener, to set the serfs to work. Say tha_verything out of the hothouses must be brought here well wrapped up in felt.
I must have two hundred pots here on Friday."
Having given several more orders, he was about to go to his "little countess"
to have a rest, but remembering something else of importance, he returne_gain, called back the cook and the club steward, and again began givin_rders. A light footstep and the clinking of spurs were heard at the door, an_he young count, handsome, rosy, with a dark little mustache, evidently reste_nd made sleeker by his easy life in Moscow, entered the room.
"Ah, my boy, my head's in a whirl!" said the old man with a smile, as if h_elt a little confused before his son. "Now, if you would only help a bit! _ust have singers too. I shall have my own orchestra, but shouldn't we get th_ypsy singers as well? You military men like that sort of thing."
"Really, Papa, I believe Prince Bagration worried himself less before th_attle of Schon Grabern than you do now," said his son with a smile.
The old count pretended to be angry.
"Yes, you talk, but try it yourself!"
And the count turned to the cook, who, with a shrewd and respectfu_xpression, looked observantly and sympathetically at the father and son.
"What have the young people come to nowadays, eh, Feoktist?" said he.
"Laughing at us old fellows!"
"That's so, your excellency, all they have to do is to eat a good dinner, bu_roviding it and serving it all up, that's not their business!"
"That's it, that's it!" exclaimed the count, and gaily seizing his son by bot_ands, he cried, "Now I've got you, so take the sleigh and pair at once, an_o to Bezukhob's, and tell him 'Count Ilya has sent you to ask fo_trawberries and fresh pineapples.' We can't get them from anyone else. He'_ot there himself, so you'll have to go in and ask the princesses; and fro_here go on to the Rasgulyay—the coachman Ipatka knows—and look up the gyps_lyushka, the one who danced at Count Orlov's, you remember, in a whit_ossack coat, and bring him along to me."
"And am I to bring the gypsy girls along with him?" asked Nicholas, laughing.
"Dear, dear!… "
At that moment, with noiseless footsteps and with the businesslike,
preoccupied, yet meekly Christian look which never left her face, Ann_ikhaylovna entered the hall. Though she came upon the count in his dressin_own every day, he invariably became confused and begged her to excuse hi_ostume.
"No matter at all, my dear count," she said, meekly closing her eyes. "Bu_'ll go to Bezukhov's myself. Pierre has arrived, and now we shall ge_nything we want from his hothouses. I have to see him in any case. He ha_orwarded me a letter from Boris. Thank God, Boris is now on the staff."
The count was delighted at Anna Mikhaylovna's taking upon herself one of hi_ommissions and ordered the small closed carriage for her.
"Tell Bezukhov to come. I'll put his name down. Is his wife with him?" h_sked.
Anna Mikhaylovna turned up her eyes, and profound sadness was depicted on he_ace.
"Ah, my dear friend, he is very unfortunate," she said. "If what we hear i_rue, it is dreadful. How little we dreamed of such a thing when we wer_ejoicing at his happiness! And such a lofty angelic soul as young Bezukhov!
Yes, I pity him from my heart, and shall try to give him what consolation _an."
"Wh-what is the matter?" asked both the young and old Rostov.
Anna Mikhaylovna sighed deeply.
"Dolokhov, Mary Ivanovna's son," she said in a mysterious whisper, "ha_ompromised her completely, they say. Pierre took him up, invited him to hi_ouse in Petersburg, and now… she has come here and that daredevil after her!"
said Anna Mikhaylovna, wishing to show her sympathy for Pierre, but b_nvoluntary intonations and a half smile betraying her sympathy for the
"daredevil," as she called Dolokhov. "They say Pierre is quite broken by hi_isfortune."
"Dear, dear! But still tell him to come to the Club—it will all blow over. I_ill be a tremendous banquet."
Next day, the third of March, soon after one o'clock, two hundred and fift_embers of the English Club and fifty guests were awaiting the guest of hono_nd hero of the Austrian campaign, Prince Bagration, to dinner.
On the first arrival of the news of the battle of Austerlitz, Moscow had bee_ewildered. At that time, the Russians were so used to victories that o_eceiving news of the defeat some would simply not believe it, while other_ought some extraordinary explanation of so strange an event. In the Englis_lub, where all who were distinguished, important, and well informe_orgathered when the news began to arrive in December, nothing was said abou_he war and the last battle, as though all were in a conspiracy of silence.
The men who set the tone in conversation—Count Rostopchin, Prince Yur_olgorukov, Valuev, Count Markov, and Prince Vyazemski—did not show themselve_t the Club, but met in private houses in intimate circles, and the Moscovite_ho took their opinions from others—Ilya Rostov among them—remained for _hile without any definite opinion on the subject of the war and withou_eaders. The Moscovites felt that something was wrong and that to discuss th_ad news was difficult, and so it was best to be silent. But after a while,
just as a jury comes out of its room, the bigwigs who guided the Club'_pinion reappeared, and everybody began speaking clearly and definitely.
Reasons were found for the incredible, unheard-of, and impossible event of _ussian defeat, everything became clear, and in all corners of Moscow the sam_hings began to be said. These reasons were the treachery of the Austrians, _efective commissariat, the treachery of the Pole Przebyszewski and of th_renchman Langeron, Kutuzov's incapacity, and (it was whispered) the youth an_nexperience of the sovereign, who had trusted worthless and insignifican_eople. But the army, the Russian army, everyone declared, was extraordinar_nd had achieved miracles of valor. The soldiers, officers, and generals wer_eroes. But the hero of heroes was Prince Bagration, distinguished by hi_chon Grabern affair and by the retreat from Austerlitz, where he alone ha_ithdrawn his column unbroken and had all day beaten back an enemy force twic_s numerous as his own. What also conduced to Bagration's being selected a_oscow's hero was the fact that he had no connections in the city and was _tranger there. In his person, honor was shown to a simple fighting Russia_oldier without connections and intrigues, and to one who was associated b_emories of the Italian campaign with the name of Suvorov. Moreover, payin_uch honor to Bagration was the best way of expressing disapproval and dislik_f Kutuzov.
"Had there been no Bagration, it would have been necessary to invent him,"
said the wit Shinshin, parodying the words of Voltaire. Kutuzov no one spok_f, except some who abused him in whispers, calling him a court weathercoc_nd an old satyr.
All Moscow repeated Prince Dolgorukov's saying: "If you go on modeling an_odeling you must get smeared with clay," suggesting consolation for ou_efeat by the memory of former victories; and the words of Rostopchin, tha_rench soldiers have to be incited to battle by highfalutin words, and German_y logical arguments to show them that it is more dangerous to run away tha_o advance, but that Russian soldiers only need to be restrained and hel_ack! On all sides, new and fresh anecdotes were heard of individual example_f heroism shown by our officers and men at Austerlitz. One had saved _tandard, another had killed five Frenchmen, a third had loaded five canno_inglehanded. Berg was mentioned, by those who did not know him, as having,
when wounded in the right hand, taken his sword in the left, and gone forward.
Of Bolkonski, nothing was said, and only those who knew him intimatel_egretted that he had died so young, leaving a pregnant wife with hi_ccentric father.