the least. But in spite of that he took his hand in his characteristically quick and warm-hearted manner, and smiled cordially at him.

“You remember me?” Boris said calmly with a pleasant smile. “I have come with my mother to see the count, but it seems he is not quite well.”

“Yes, he is ill, it seems. People are always bothering him,” answered Pierre, trying to recall who this youth might be.

Boris perceived that Pierre did not know him, but did not think fit to make himself known, and without the slightest embarrassment looked him straight in the face.

“Count Rostov asks you to come to dinner with him to-day,” he said, after a rather long silence somewhat disconcerting for Pierre.

“Ah, Count Rostov,” began Pierre, delighted. “So you are his son, Ilya? Can you believe it, for the first moment I did not recognise you. Do you remember how we used to slide on the Sparrow Hills with Madame Jacquot … long ago?”

“You are mistaken,” said Boris, deliberately, with a bold and rather sarcastic smile. “I am Boris, the son of Princess Anna Mihalovna Drubetskoy. It is the father of the Rostovs who is called Ilya, the son’s Nikolay. And I don’t know any Madame Jacquot.”

Pierre shook his hands and head, as though flies or bees were swarming upon him.

“Ah, how is it! I’ve mixed it all up. There are such a lot of relatives in Moscow! You are Boris … yes. Well, now, we have got it clear. Tell me, what do you think of the Boulogne expedition? Things will go badly with the English, you know, if Napoleon gets across the Channel. I believe that the expedition is very possible. If only Villeneuve doesn’t make a mess of it!”

Boris knew nothing at all about the Boulogne expedition, and it was the first time he had heard of Villeneuve.

“Here in Moscow we are more interested in dinner parties and scandal than in politics,” he said in his self-possessed, sarcastic tone. “I know nothing and think nothing about it. Moscow’s more engrossed in scandal than anything,” he went on. “Just now they are all talking about you and about the count.”

Pierre smiled his kindly smile, as though afraid for his companion’s sake that he might say something he would regret. But Boris spoke distinctly, clearly and drily, looking straight into Pierre’s face.

“There’s nothing else to do in Moscow but talk scandal,” he went on. “Every one’s absorbed in the question whom the count will leave his fortune to, though perhaps he will outlive us all, as I sincerely hope he may.”

“Yes, all that’s very horrid,” Pierre interposed, “very horrid.” Pierre was still afraid this officer would inadvertently drop into some remark disconcerting for himself.

“And it must seem to you,” said Boris, flushing slightly, but not changing his voice or attitude, “it must seem to you that every one’s thinking of nothing but getting something from him.”

“That’s just it,” thought Pierre.

“And that’s just what I want to say to you to prevent misunderstandings, that you are very much mistaken if you reckon me and my mother among those people. We are very poor, but I—at least I speak for myself—just because your father is rich, I don’t consider myself a relation of his, and neither I nor my mother would ever ask him for anything or take anything from him.”

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