Chapter 13

PIERRE had not succeeded in fixing upon a career in Petersburg, and really had been banished to Moscow for disorderly conduct. The story told about him at Count Rostov’s was true. Pierre had assisted in tying the police officer to the bear. He had arrived a few days previously, stopping as he always did at his father’s house. Though he had assumed that his story would be already known at Moscow, and that the ladies who were about his father, always unfavourably disposed to him, would profit by this opportunity of turning the count against him, he went on the day of his arrival to his father’s part of the house. Going into the drawing-room, where the princesses usually sat, he greeted the ladies, two of whom were sitting at their embroidery frames, while one read aloud. There were three of them. The eldest, a trim, long- waisted, severe maiden-lady, the one who had come out to Anna Mihalovna, was reading. The younger ones, both rosy and pretty, were only to be distinguished by the fact that one of them had a little mole which made her much prettier. They were both working at their embroidery frames. Pierre was received like a man risen from the dead or stricken with plague. The eldest princess paused in her reading and stared at him in silence with dismay in her eyes. The second assumed precisely the same expression. The youngest, the one with the mole, who was of a mirthful and laughing disposition, bent over her frame, to conceal a smile, probably evoked by the amusing scene she foresaw coming. She pulled her embroidery wool out below, and bent down as though examining the pattern, hardly able to suppress her laughter.

“Good morning, cousin,” said Pierre. “You don’t know me?”

“I know you only too well, only too well.”

“How is the count? Can I see him?” Pierre asked, awkwardly as always, but not disconcerted.

“The count is suffering both physically and morally, and your only anxiety seems to be to occasion him as much suffering as possible.”

“Can I see the count?” repeated Pierre.

“Hm … if you want to kill him, to kill him outright, you can see him. Olga, go and see if uncle’s broth is ready—it will soon be time for it,” she added, to show Pierre they were busy, and busy in seeing after his father’s comfort, while he was obviously only busy in causing him discomfort.

Olga went out. Pierre stood still a moment, looked at the sisters and bowing said: “Then I will go to my room. When I can see him, you will tell me.” He went away and heard the ringing but not loud laugh of the sister with the mole behind him.

The next day Prince Vassily had come and settled in the count’s house. He sent for Pierre and said to him:

“My dear fellow, if you behave here as you did at Petersburg, you will come to a very bad end; that’s all I have to say to you. The count is very, very ill; you must not see him.”

Since then Pierre had not been disturbed, and he spent the whole day alone in his room upstairs.

At the moment when Boris came in, Pierre was walking up and down his room, stopping now and then in the corners, making menacing gestures at the wall, as though thrusting some invisible enemy through with a lance, then he gazed sternly over his spectacles, then pacing up and down again, murmuring indistinct words, shrugging his shoulders and gesticulating.

“England’s day is over!” he said, scowling and pointing at some one with his finger. “Mr. Pitt, as a traitor to the nation and to the rights of man, is condemned…” he had not time to deliver Pitt’s sentence, imagining himself at that moment Napoleon, and having in the person of his hero succeeded in the dangerous crossing of the Channel and in the conquest of London, when he saw a graceful, handsome young officer come in. He stood still. Pierre had seen Boris last as a boy of fourteen, and did not remember him in

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