the expression she saw on the maid-of-honour’s face, then she relapsed again into her unvarying smile. After Ellen the little princess too moved away from the tea-table.

“Wait for me, I will take my work,” she said. “Come, what are you thinking of?” she said to Prince Ippolit. “Bring me my reticule.”

The little princess, smiling and talking to every one, at once effected a change of position, and settling down again, gaily smoothed out her skirts.

“Now I’m comfortable,” she said, and begging the vicomte to begin, she took up her work. Prince Ippolit brought her reticule, moved to her side, and bending close over her chair, sat beside her.

Le charmant Hippolyte struck every one as extraordinarily like this sister, and, still more, as being, in spite of the likeness, strikingly ugly. His features were like his sister’s, but in her, everything was radiant with joyous life, with the complacent, never-failing smile of youth and life and an extraordinary antique beauty of figure. The brother’s face on the contrary was clouded over by imbecility and invariably wore a look of aggressive fretfulness, while he was thin and feebly built. His eyes, his nose, his mouth — everything was, as it were, puckered up in one vacant, bored grimace, while his arms and legs always fell into the most grotesque attitudes.

“It is not a ghost story,” he said, sitting down by the princess and hurriedly fixing his eyeglass in his eye, as though without that instrument he could not begin to speak.

“Why, no, my dear fellow,” said the astonished vicomte, with a shrug.

“Because I detest ghost stories,” said Prince Ippolit in a tone which showed that he uttered the words before he was aware of their meaning.

From the self-confidence with which he spoke no one could tell whether what he said was very clever or very stupid. He was dressed in a dark-green frock coat, breeches of the colour of the cuisse de nymphe effrayée, as he called it, stockings and slippers. The vicomte very charmingly related the anecdote then current, that the duc d’Enghien had secretly visited Paris for the sake of an interview with the actress, Mlle. Georges, and that there he met Bonaparte, who also enjoyed the favours of the celebrated actress, and that, meeting the duc, Napoleon had fallen into one of the fits to which he was subject and had been completely in the duc’s power, how the duc had not taken advantage of it, and Bonaparte had in the sequel avenged his magnanimity by the duc’s death.

The story was very charming and interesting, especially at the point when the rivals suddenly recognise each other, and the ladies seemed to be greatly excited by it. “Charmant!” said Anna Pavlovna, looking inquiringly at the little princess. “Charming!” whispered the little princess, sticking her needle into her work as an indication that the interest and charm of the story prevented her working. The vicomte appreciated this silent homage, and smiling gratefully, resumed his narrative. But meanwhile Anna Pavlovna, still keeping a watch on the dreadful young man, noticed that he was talking too loudly and too warmly with the abbé and hurried to the spot of danger. Pierre had in fact succeeded in getting into a political conversation with the abbé on the balance of power, and the abbé, evidently interested by the simple-hearted fervour of the young man, was unfolding to him his cherished idea. Both were listening and talking too eagerly and naturally, and Anna Pavlovna did not like it.

“The means? — the balance of power in Europe and the rights of the people,” said the abbé. “One powerful state like Russia — with the prestige of barbarism — need only take a disinterested stand at the head of the alliance that aims at securing the balance of power in Europe, and it would save the world!” “How are you going to get such a balance of power?” Pierre was beginning; but at that moment Anna Pavlovna came up, and glancing severely at Pierre, asked the Italian how he was supporting the climate. The Italian’s face changed instantly and assumed the look of offensive, affected sweetness, which was evidently its habitual expression in conversation with women. “I am so enchanted by the wit and culture of the

  By PanEris using Melati.

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