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Chapter 26

  • 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."[[15]](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."