The gray-haired valet was sitting drowsily listening to the snoring of th_rince, who was in his large study. From the far side of the house through th_losed doors came the sound of difficult passages—twenty times repeated—of _onata by Dussek.
Just then a closed carriage and another with a hood drove up to the porch.
Prince Andrew got out of the carriage, helped his little wife to alight, an_et her pass into the house before him. Old Tikhon, wearing a wig, put hi_ead out of the door of the antechamber, reported in a whisper that the princ_as sleeping, and hastily closed the door. Tikhon knew that neither the son'_rrival nor any other unusual event must be allowed to disturb the appointe_rder of the day. Prince Andrew apparently knew this as well as Tikhon; h_ooked at his watch as if to ascertain whether his father's habits had change_ince he was at home last, and, having assured himself that they had not, h_urned to his wife.
"He will get up in twenty minutes. Let us go across to Mary's room," he said.
The little princess had grown stouter during this time, but her eyes and he_hort, downy, smiling lip lifted when she began to speak just as merrily an_rettily as ever.
"Why, this is a palace!" she said to her husband, looking around with th_xpression with which people compliment their host at a ball. "Let's come, quick, quick!" And with a glance round, she smiled at Tikhon, at her husband, and at the footman who accompanied them.
"Is that Mary practicing? Let's go quietly and take her by surprise."
Prince Andrew followed her with a courteous but sad expression.
"You've grown older, Tikhon," he said in passing to the old man, who kisse_is hand.
Before they reached the room from which the sounds of the clavichord came, th_retty, fair haired Frenchwoman, Mademoiselle Bourienne, rushed out apparentl_eside herself with delight.
"Ah! what joy for the princess!" exclaimed she: "At last! I must let he_now."
"No, no, please not… You are Mademoiselle Bourienne," said the littl_rincess, kissing her. "I know you already through my sister-in-law'_riendship for you. She was not expecting us?"
They went up to the door of the sitting room from which came the sound of th_ft-repeated passage of the sonata. Prince Andrew stopped and made a grimace, as if expecting something unpleasant.
The little princess entered the room. The passage broke off in the middle, _ry was heard, then Princess Mary's heavy tread and the sound of kissing. Whe_rince Andrew went in the two princesses, who had only met once before for _hort time at his wedding, were in each other's arms warmly pressing thei_ips to whatever place they happened to touch. Mademoiselle Bourienne stoo_ear them pressing her hand to her heart, with a beatific smile and obviousl_qually ready to cry or to laugh. Prince Andrew shrugged his shoulders an_rowned, as lovers of music do when they hear a false note. The two women le_o of one another, and then, as if afraid of being too late, seized eac_ther's hands, kissing them and pulling them away, and again began kissin_ach other on the face, and then to Prince Andrew's surprise both began to cr_nd kissed again. Mademoiselle Bourienne also began to cry. Prince Andre_vidently felt ill at ease, but to the two women it seemed quite natural tha_hey should cry, and apparently it never entered their heads that it coul_ave been otherwise at this meeting.
"Ah! my dear!… Ah! Mary!" they suddenly exclaimed, and then laughed. "_reamed last night… "—"You were not expecting us?… "- "Ah! Mary, you have go_hinner?… " "And you have grown stouter!… "
"I knew the princess at once," put in Mademoiselle Bourienne.
"And I had no idea!… " exclaimed Princess Mary. "Ah, Andrew, I did not se_ou."
Prince Andrew and his sister, hand in hand, kissed one another, and he tol_er she was still the same crybaby as ever. Princess Mary had turned towar_er brother, and through her tears the loving, warm, gentle look of her larg_uminous eyes, very beautiful at that moment, rested on Prince Andrew's face.
The little princess talked incessantly, her short, downy upper lip continuall_nd rapidly touching her rosy nether lip when necessary and drawing up agai_ext moment when her face broke into a smile of glittering teeth and sparklin_yes. She told of an accident they had had on the Spasski Hill which migh_ave been serious for her in her condition, and immediately after tha_nformed them that she had left all her clothes in Petersburg and that heave_new what she would have to dress in here; and that Andrew had quite changed, and that Kitty Odyntsova had married an old man, and that there was a suito_or Mary, a real one, but that they would talk of that later. Princess Mar_as still looking silently at her brother and her beautiful eyes were full o_ove and sadness. It was plain that she was following a train of though_ndependent of her sister-in-law's words. In the midst of a description of th_ast Petersburg fete she addressed her brother:
"So you are really going to the war, Andrew?" she said sighing.
Lise sighed too.
"Yes, and even tomorrow," replied her brother.
"He is leaving me here, God knows why, when he might have had promotion… "
Princess Mary did not listen to the end, but continuing her train of though_urned to her sister-in-law with a tender glance at her figure.
"Is it certain?" she said.
The face of the little princess changed. She sighed and said: "Yes, quit_ertain. Ah! it is very dreadful… "
Her lip descended. She brought her face close to her sister-in-law's an_nexpectedly again began to cry.
"She needs rest," said Prince Andrew with a frown. "Don't you, Lise? Take he_o your room and I'll go to Father. How is he? Just the same?"
"Yes, just the same. Though I don't know what your opinion will be," answere_he princess joyfully.
"And are the hours the same? And the walks in the avenues? And the lathe?"
asked Prince Andrew with a scarcely perceptible smile which showed that, i_pite of all his love and respect for his father, he was aware of hi_eaknesses.
"The hours are the same, and the lathe, and also the mathematics and m_eometry lessons," said Princess Mary gleefully, as if her lessons in geometr_ere among the greatest delights of her life.
When the twenty minutes had elapsed and the time had come for the old princ_o get up, Tikhon came to call the young prince to his father. The old ma_ade a departure from his usual routine in honor of his son's arrival: he gav_rders to admit him to his apartments while he dressed for dinner. The ol_rince always dressed in old-fashioned style, wearing an antique coat an_owdered hair; and when Prince Andrew entered his father's dressing room (no_ith the contemptuous look and manner he wore in drawing rooms, but with th_nimated face with which he talked to Pierre), the old man was sitting on _arge leather-covered chair, wrapped in a powdering mantle, entrusting hi_ead to Tikhon.
"Ah! here's the warrior! Wants to vanquish Buonaparte?" said the old man, shaking his powdered head as much as the tail, which Tikhon was holding fas_o plait, would allow.
"You at least must tackle him properly, or else if he goes on like this he'l_oon have us, too, for his subjects! How are you?" And he held out his cheek.
The old man was in a good temper after his nap before dinner. (He used to sa_hat a nap "after dinner was silver—before dinner, golden.") He cast happy, sidelong glances at his son from under his thick, bushy eyebrows. Princ_ndrew went up and kissed his father on the spot indicated to him. He made n_eply on his father's favorite topic—making fun of the military men of th_ay, and more particularly of Bonaparte.
"Yes, Father, I have come come to you and brought my wife who is pregnant,"
said Prince Andrew, following every movement of his father's face with a_ager and respectful look. "How is your health?"
"Only fools and rakes fall ill, my boy. You know me: I am busy from mornin_ill night and abstemious, so of course I am well."
"Thank God," said his son smiling.
"God has nothing to do with it! Well, go on," he continued, returning to hi_obby; "tell me how the Germans have taught you to fight Bonaparte by this ne_cience you call 'strategy.'"
Prince Andrew smiled.
"Give me time to collect my wits, Father," said he, with a smile that showe_hat his father's foibles did not prevent his son from loving and honorin_im. "Why, I have not yet had time to settle down!"
"Nonsense, nonsense!" cried the old man, shaking his pigtail to see whether i_as firmly plaited, and grasping his by the hand. "The house for your wife i_eady. Princess Mary will take her there and show her over, and they'll tal_ineteen to the dozen. That's their woman's way! I am glad to have her. Si_own and talk. About Mikhelson's army I understand—Tolstoy's too… _imultaneous expedition… . But what's the southern army to do? Prussia i_eutral… I know that. What about Austria?" said he, rising from his chair an_acing up and down the room followed by Tikhon, who ran after him, handing hi_ifferent articles of clothing. "What of Sweden? How will they cros_omerania?"
Prince Andrew, seeing that his father insisted, began—at first reluctantly, but gradually with more and more animation, and from habit changin_nconsciously from Russian to French as he went on- to explain the plan o_peration for the coming campaign. He explained how an army, ninety thousan_trong, was to threaten Prussia so as to bring her out of her neutrality an_raw her into the war; how part of that army was to join some Swedish force_t Stralsund; how two hundred and twenty thousand Austrians, with a hundre_housand Russians, were to operate in Italy and on the Rhine; how fift_housand Russians and as many English were to land at Naples, and how a tota_orce of five hundred thousand men was to attack the French from differen_ides. The old prince did not evince the least interest during thi_xplanation, but as if he were not listening to it continued to dress whil_alking about, and three times unexpectedly interrupted. Once he stopped it b_houting: "The white one, the white one!"
This meant that Tikhon was not handing him the waistcoat he wanted. Anothe_ime he interrupted, saying:
"And will she soon be confined?" and shaking his head reproachfully said:
"That's bad! Go on, go on."
The third interruption came when Prince Andrew was finishing his description.
The old man began to sing, in the cracked voice of old age: "Malbrook s'e_a-t-en guerre. Dieu sait quand reviendra."[](footnotes.xml#footnote_15) His son only smiled. "I don't say it's a plan I approve of," said the son; "_m only telling you what it is. Napoleon has also formed his plan by now, no_orse than this one." "Well, you've told me nothing new," and the old ma_epeated, meditatively and rapidly: "Dieu sait quand reviendra. Go to th_ining room."