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Chapter 8

  • After his interview with Pierre in Moscow, Prince Andrew went to Petersburg,
  • on business as he told his family, but really to meet Anatole Kuragin whom h_elt it necessary to encounter. On reaching Petersburg he inquired for Kuragi_ut the latter had already left the city. Pierre had warned his brother-in-la_hat Prince Andrew was on his track. Anatole Kuragin promptly obtained a_ppointment from the Minister of War and went to join the army in Moldavia.
  • While in Petersburg Prince Andrew met Kutuzov, his former commander who wa_lways well disposed toward him, and Kutuzov suggested that he shoul_ccompany him to the army in Moldavia, to which the old general had bee_ppointed commander in chief. So Prince Andrew, having received an appointmen_n the headquarters staff, left for Turkey.
  • Prince Andrew did not think it proper to write and challenge Kuragin. H_hought that if he challenged him without some fresh cause it might compromis_he young Countess Rostova and so he wanted to meet Kuragin personally i_rder to find a fresh pretext for a duel. But he again failed to meet Kuragi_n Turkey, for soon after Prince Andrew arrived, the latter returned t_ussia. In a new country, amid new conditions, Prince Andrew found life easie_o bear. After his betrothed had broken faith with him—which he felt the mor_cutely the more he tried to conceal its effects—the surroundings in which h_ad been happy became trying to him, and the freedom and independence he ha_nce prized so highly were still more so. Not only could he no longer thin_he thoughts that had first come to him as he lay gazing at the sky on th_ield of Austerlitz and had later enlarged upon with Pierre, and which ha_illed his solitude at Bogucharovo and then in Switzerland and Rome, but h_ven dreaded to recall them and the bright and boundless horizons they ha_evealed. He was now concerned only with the nearest practical matter_nrelated to his past interests, and he seized on these the more eagerly th_ore those past interests were closed to him. It was as if that lofty,
  • infinite canopy of heaven that had once towered above him had suddenly turne_nto a low, solid vault that weighed him down, in which all was clear, bu_othing eternal or mysterious.
  • Of the activities that presented themselves to him, army service was th_implest and most familiar. As a general on duty on Kutuzov's staff, h_pplied himself to business with zeal and perseverance and surprised Kutuzo_y his willingness and accuracy in work. Not having found Kuragin in Turkey,
  • Prince Andrew did not think it necessary to rush back to Russia after him, bu_ll the same he knew that however long it might be before he met Kuragin,
  • despite his contempt for him and despite all the proofs he deduced to convinc_imself that it was not worth stooping to a conflict with him—he knew tha_hen he did meet him he would not be able to resist calling him out, any mor_han a ravenous man can help snatching at food. And the consciousness that th_nsult was not yet avenged, that his rancor was still unspent, weighed on hi_eart and poisoned the artificial tranquillity which he managed to obtain i_urkey by means of restless, plodding, and rather vainglorious and ambitiou_ctivity.
  • In the year 1812, when news of the war with Napoleon reached Bucharest—wher_utuzov had been living for two months, passing his days and nights with _allachian woman—Prince Andrew asked Kutuzov to transfer him to the Wester_rmy. Kutuzov, who was already weary of Bolkonski's activity which seemed t_eproach his own idleness, very readily let him go and gave him a mission t_arclay de Tolly.
  • Before joining the Western Army which was then, in May, encamped at Drissa,
  • Prince Andrew visited Bald Hills which was directly on his way, being only tw_iles off the Smolensk highroad. During the last three years there had been s_any changes in his life, he had thought, felt, and seen so much (havin_raveled both in the east and the west), that on reaching Bald Hills it struc_im as strange and unexpected to find the way of life there unchanged an_till the same in every detail. He entered through the gates with their ston_illars and drove up the avenue leading to the house as if he were entering a_nchanted, sleeping castle. The same old stateliness, the same cleanliness,
  • the same stillness reigned there, and inside there was the same furniture, th_ame walls, sounds, and smell, and the same timid faces, only somewhat older.
  • Princess Mary was still the same timid, plain maiden getting on in years,
  • uselessly and joylessly passing the best years of her life in fear an_onstant suffering. Mademoiselle Bourienne was the same coquettish, self-
  • satisfied girl, enjoying every moment of her existence and full of joyou_opes for the future. She had merely become more self-confident, Prince Andre_hought. Dessalles, the tutor he had brought from Switzerland, was wearing _oat of Russian cut and talking broken Russian to the servants, but was stil_he same narrowly intelligent, conscientious, and pedantic preceptor. The ol_rince had changed in appearance only by the loss of a tooth, which left _oticeable gap on one side of his mouth; in character he was the same as ever,
  • only showing still more irritability and skepticism as to what was happenin_n the world. Little Nicholas alone had changed. He had grown, become rosier,
  • had curly dark hair, and, when merry and laughing, quite unconsciously lifte_he upper lip of his pretty little mouth just as the little princess used t_o. He alone did not obey the law of immutability in the enchanted, sleepin_astle. But though externally all remained as of old, the inner relations o_ll these people had changed since Prince Andrew had seen them last. Th_ousehold was divided into two alien and hostile camps, who changed thei_abits for his sake and only met because he was there. To the one cam_elonged the old prince, Madmoiselle Bourienne, and the architect; to th_ther Princess Mary, Dessalles, little Nicholas, and all the old nurses an_aids.
  • During his stay at Bald Hills all the family dined together, but they were il_t ease and Prince Andrew felt that he was a visitor for whose sake a_xception was being made and that his presence made them all feel awkward.
  • Involuntarily feeling this at dinner on the first day, he was taciturn, an_he old prince noticing this also became morosely dumb and retired to hi_partments directly after dinner. In the evening, when Prince Andrew went t_im and, trying to rouse him, began to tell him of the young Count Kamensky'_ampaign, the old prince began unexpectedly to talk about Princess Mary,
  • blaming her for her superstitions and her dislike of Mademoiselle Bourienne,
  • who, he said, was the only person really attached to him.
  • The old prince said that if he was ill it was only because of Princess Mary:
  • that she purposely worried and irritated him, and that by indulgence and sill_alk she was spoiling little Prince Nicholas. The old prince knew very wel_hat he tormented his daughter and that her life was very hard, but he als_new that he could not help tormenting her and that she deserved it. "Why doe_rince Andrew, who sees this, say nothing to me about his sister? Does h_hink me a scoundrel, or an old fool who, without any reason, keeps his ow_aughter at a distance and attaches this Frenchwoman to himself? He doesn'_nderstand, so I must explain it, and he must hear me out," thought the ol_rince. And he began explaining why he could not put up with his daughter'_nreasonable character.
  • "If you ask me," said Prince Andrew, without looking up (he was censuring hi_ather for the first time in his life), "I did not wish to speak about it, bu_s you ask me I will give you my frank opinion. If there is an_isunderstanding and discord between you and Mary, I can't blame her for it a_ll. I know how she loves and respects you. Since you ask me," continue_rince Andrew, becoming irritable—as he was always liable to do of late—"I ca_nly say that if there are any misunderstandings they are caused by tha_orthless woman, who is not fit to be my sister's companion."
  • The old man at first stared fixedly at his son, and an unnatural smil_isclosed the fresh gap between his teeth to which Prince Andrew could not ge_ccustomed.
  • "What companion, my dear boy? Eh? You've already been talking it over! Eh?"
  • "Father, I did not want to judge," said Prince Andrew, in a hard and bitte_one, "but you challenged me, and I have said, and always shall say, that Mar_s not to blame, but those to blame—the one to blame—is that Frenchwoman."
  • "Ah, he has passed judgment… passed judgement!" said the old man in a lo_oice and, as it seemed to Prince Andrew, with some embarrassment, but then h_uddenly jumped up and cried: "Be off, be off! Let not a trace of you remai_ere!… "
  • Prince Andrew wished to leave at once, but Princess Mary persuaded him to sta_nother day. That day he did not see his father, who did not leave his roo_nd admitted no one but Mademoiselle Bourienne and Tikhon, but asked severa_imes whether his son had gone. Next day, before leaving, Prince Andrew wen_o his son's rooms. The boy, curly-headed like his mother and glowing wit_ealth, sat on his knee, and Prince Andrew began telling him the story o_luebeard, but fell into a reverie without finishing the story. He thought no_f this pretty child, his son whom he held on his knee, but of himself. H_ought in himself either remorse for having angered his father or regret a_eaving home for the first time in his life on bad terms with him, and wa_orrified to find neither. What meant still more to him was that he sought an_id not find in himself the former tenderness for his son which he had hope_o reawaken by caressing the boy and taking him on his knee.
  • "Well, go on!" said his son.
  • Prince Andrew, without replying, put him down from his knee and went out o_he room.
  • As soon as Prince Andrew had given up his daily occupations, and especially o_eturning to the old conditions of life amid which he had been happy,
  • weariness of life overcame him with its former intensity, and he hastened t_scape from these memories and to find some work as soon as possible.
  • "So you've decided to go, Andrew?" asked his sister.
  • "Thank God that I can," replied Prince Andrew. "I am very sorry you can't."
  • "Why do you say that?" replied Princess Mary. "Why do you say that, when yo_re going to this terrible war, and he is so old? Mademoiselle Bourienne say_e has been asking about you… ."
  • As soon as she began to speak of that, her lips trembled and her tears bega_o fall. Prince Andrew turned away and began pacing the room.
  • "Ah, my God! my God! When one thinks who and what—what trash—can cause peopl_isery!" he said with a malignity that alarmed Princess Mary.
  • She understood that when speaking of "trash" he referred not only t_ademoiselle Bourienne, the cause of her misery, but also to the man who ha_uined his own happiness.
  • "Andrew! One thing I beg, I entreat of you!" she said, touching his elbow an_ooking at him with eyes that shone through her tears. "I understand you" (sh_ooked down). "Don't imagine that sorrow is the work of men. Men are Hi_ools." She looked a little above Prince Andrew's head with the confident,
  • accustomed look with which one looks at the place where a familiar portrai_angs. "Sorrow is sent by Him, not by men. Men are His instruments, they ar_ot to blame. If you think someone has wronged you, forget it and forgive! W_ave no right to punish. And then you will know the happiness of forgiving."
  • "If I were a woman I would do so, Mary. That is a woman's virtue. But a ma_hould not and cannot forgive and forget," he replied, and though till tha_oment he had not been thinking of Kuragin, all his unexpended anger suddenl_welled up in his heart.
  • "If Mary is already persuading me forgive, it means that I ought long ago t_ave punished him," he thought. And giving her no further reply, he bega_hinking of the glad vindictive moment when he would meet Kuragin who he kne_as now in the army.
  • Princess Mary begged him to stay one day more, saying that she knew ho_nhappy her father would be if Andrew left without being reconciled to him,
  • but Prince Andrew replied that he would probably soon be back again from th_rmy and would certainly write to his father, but that the longer he staye_ow the more embittered their differences would become.
  • "Good-by, Andrew! Remember that misfortunes come from God, and men are neve_o blame," were the last words he heard from his sister when he took leave o_er.
  • "Then it must be so!" thought Prince Andrew as he drove out of the avenue fro_he house at Bald Hills. "She, poor innocent creature, is left to b_ictimized by an old man who has outlived his wits. The old man feels he i_uilty, but cannot change himself. My boy is growing up and rejoices in life,
  • in which like everybody else he will deceive or be deceived. And I am off t_he army. Why? I myself don't know. I want to meet that man whom I despise, s_s to give him a chance to kill and laugh at me!"
  • These conditions of life had been the same before, but then they were al_onnected, while now they had all tumbled to pieces. Only senseless things,
  • lacking coherence, presented themselves one after another to Prince Andrew'_ind.