As she became livelier, the prince looked more and more sternly at her, and all at once, as though he had studied her sufficiently and had formed a clear idea of her, he turned away and addressed Mihail Ivanovitch:

“Well, Mihail Ivanovitch, our friend Bonaparte is to have a bad time of it. Prince Andrey” (this was how he always spoke of his son) “has been telling me what forces are being massed against him! While you and I have always looked upon him as a very insignificant person.”

Mihail Ivanovitch, utterly at a loss to conjecture when “you and I” had said anything of the sort about Bonaparte, but grasping that he was wanted for the introduction of the prince’s favourite subject, glanced in wonder at the young prince, not knowing what was to come next.

“He’s a great tactician!” said the prince to his son, indicating the architect, and the conversation turned again on the war, on Bonaparte, and the generals and political personages of the day. The old prince was, it seemed, convinced that all the public men of the period were mere babes who had no idea of the A B C of military and political matters; while Bonaparte, according to him, was an insignificant Frenchman, who had met with success simply because there were no Potyomkins and Suvorovs to oppose him. He was even persuaded firmly that there were no political difficulties in Europe, that there was no war indeed, but only a sort of marionette show in which the men of the day took part, pretending to be doing the real thing. Prince Andrey received his father’s jeers at modern people gaily, and with obvious pleasure drew his father out and listened to him.

“Does everything seem good that was done in the past?” he said; “why, didn’t Suvorov himself fall into the trap Moreau laid for him, and wasn’t he unable to get out of it too?”

“Who told you that? Who said so?” cried the prince. “Suvorov!” And he flung away his plate, which Tihon very neatly caught. “Suvorov!… Think again, Prince Andrey. There were two men—Friedrich and Suvorov … Moreau! Moreau would have been a prisoner if Suvorov’s hands had been free, but his hands were tied by the Hofsskriegswurstschnappsrath; the devil himself would have been in a tight place. Ah, you’ll find out what these Hofskriegswurstschnappsraths are like! Suvorov couldn’t get the better of them, so how is Mihail Kutuzov going to do it? No, my dear,” he went on; “so you and your generals aren’t able to get round Bonaparte; you must needs call in Frenchmen —set a thief to catch a thief! The German, Pahlen, has been sent to New York in America to get the Frenchman Moreau,” he said, alluding to the invitation that had that year been made to Moreau to enter the Russian service. “A queer business!…Why the Potyomkins, the Suvorovs, the Orlovs, were they Germans? No, my lad, either you have all lost your wits, or I have outlived mine. God help you, and we shall see. Bonaparte’s become a great military leader among them! H’m!…”

“I don’t say at all that all those plans are good,” said Prince Andrey; “only I can’t understand how you can have such an opinion of Bonaparte. Laugh, if you like, but Bonaparte is any way a great general!”

“Mihail Ivanovitch!” the old prince cried to the architect, who, absorbed in the roast meat, hoped they had forgotten him. “Didn’t I tell you Bonaparte was a great tactician? Here he says so too.”

“To be sure, your excellency,” replied the architect. The prince laughed again his frigid laugh.

“Bonaparte was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has splendid soldiers. And he attacked the Germans first too. And any fool can beat the Germans. From the very beginning of the world every one has beaten the Germans. And they’ve never beaten any one. They only conquer each other. He made his reputation fighting against them.”

And the prince began analysing all the blunders that in his opinion Bonaparte had committed in his wars and even in politics. His son did not protest, but it was evident that whatever arguments were advanced against him, he was as little disposed to give up his opinion as the old prince himself. Prince Andrey listened and refrained from replying. He could not help wondering how this old man, living so many

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