But instead of all that, here he was the wealthy husband of a faithless wife, a retired kammerherr, fond of dining and drinking, fond, too, as he unbuttoned his waistcoat after dinner, of indulging in a little abuse of the government, a member of the Moscow English Club, and a universal favourite in Moscow society. For a long while he could not reconcile himself to the idea that he was precisely the retired Moscow kammerherr, the very type he had so profoundly scorned seven years before.

Sometimes he consoled himself by the reflection that it did not count, that he was only temporarily leading this life. But later on he was horrified by another reflection, that numbers of other men, with the same idea of its being temporary, had entered that life and that club with all their teeth and a thick head of hair, only to leave it when they were toothless and bald.

In moments of pride, when he was reviewing his position, it seemed to him that he was quite different, distinguished in some way from the retired kammerherrs he had looked upon with contempt in the past; that they were vulgar and stupid, at ease and satisfied with their position, “while I am even now still dissatisfied; I still long to do something for humanity,” he would assure himself in moments of pride. “But possibly all of them too, my fellows, struggled just as I do, tried after something new, sought a path in life for themselves, and have been brought to the same point as I have by the force of surroundings, of society, of family, that elemental force against which man is powerless,” he said to himself in moments of modesty. And after spending some time in Moscow he no longer scorned his companions in destiny, but began even to love them, respect them, and pity them like himself.

Pierre no longer suffered from moments of despair, melancholy, and loathing for life as he had done. But the same malady that had manifested itself in acute attacks in former days was driven inwards and never now left him for an instant. “What for? What’s the use? What is it is going on in the world?” he asked himself in perplexity several times a day, instinctively beginning to sound the hidden significance in the phenomena of life. But knowing by experience that there was no answer to these questions, he made haste to try and turn away from them, took up a book, or hurried off to the club, or to Apollon Nikolaevitch’s to chat over the scandals of the town.

“Elena Vassilyevna, who has never cared for anything but her own body, and is one of the stupidest women in the world,” Pierre thought, “is regarded by people as the acme of wit and refinement, and is the object of their homage. Napoleon Bonaparte was despised by every one while he was really great, and since he became a pitiful buffoon the Emperor Francis seeks to offer him his daughter in an illegal marriage. The Spaniards, through their Catholic Church, return thanks to God for their victory over the French on the 14th of June, and the French, through the same Catholic Church, return thanks to God for their victory over the Spaniards on the same 14th of June. My masonic brothers swear in blood that they are ready to sacrifice all for their neighbour, but they don’t give as much as one rouble to the collections for the poor, and they intrigue between Astraea and the manna-seekers, and are in a ferment about the authentic Scottish rug, and an act, of which the man who wrote it did not know the meaning and no one has any need. We all profess the Christian law of forgiveness of sins and love for one’s neighbour—the law, in honour of which we have raised forty times forty churches in Moscow—but yesterday we knouted to death a deserter; and the minister of that same law of love and forgiveness, the priest, gave the soldier the cross to kiss before his punishment.”

Such were Pierre’s reflections, and all this universal deception recognised by all, used as he was to seeing it, was always astounding him, as though it were something new. “I understand this deceit and tangle of cross-purposes,” he thought, “but now am I to tell them all I understand? I have tried and always found that they understood it as I did, at the bottom of their hearts, but were only trying not to see it. So I suppose it must be so! But me—what refuge is there for me?” thought Pierre.

He suffered from an unlucky faculty—common to many men, especially Russians—the faculty of seeing and believing in the possibility of good and truth, and at the same time seeing too clearly the evil and falsity of life to be capable of taking a serious part in it. Every sphere of activity was in his eyes connected with evil and deception. Whatever he tried to be, whatever he took up, evil and falsity drove him back

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