alone …” He stopped, seeing Pierre. His face quivered, and at once assumed a vindictive expression. “And posterity will do him justice,” he finished, and at once turned to Pierre. “Well, how are you, still getting stouter?” he said eagerly, but the new line was still more deeply furrowed on his forehead. “Yes, I’m very well,” he answered to Pierre’s question, and he smiled. It was clear to Pierre that his smile meant, “I am well, but my health is of no use to any one now.”

After saying a few words to Pierre of the awful road from the frontiers of Poland, of people he had met in Switzerland who knew Pierre, and of M. Dessalle, whom he had brought back from Switzerland as a tutor for his son, Prince Andrey warmly took part again in the conversation about Speransky, which had been kept up between the two old gentlemen.

“If there had been treason, and there were proofs of his secret relations with Napoleon, they would have made them public,” he said, with heat and haste. “I don’t and I didn’t like Speransky personally, but I do like justice.”

Pierre recognized now in his friend that desire he knew only too well, for excitement and discussion of something apart from himself, simply in order to stifle thoughts that were too painful and too near his heart.

When Prince Meshtchersky had gone, Prince Andrey took Pierre’s arm, and asked him to come to the room that had been assigned him. In that room there was a folding bedstead and open trunks and boxes. Prince Andrey went up to one of them and took out a case. Out of the case he took a packet of letters. He did all this in silence, and very rapidly. He stood up again and cleared his throat. His face was frowning, and his lips set.

“Forgive me, if I’m troubling you …” Pierre saw that Prince Andrey was going to speak of Natasha, and his broad face showed sympathy and pity. That expression in Pierre’s face exasperated Prince Andrey. He went on resolutely, clearly, and disagreeably: “I have received a refusal from Countess Rostov, and rumours have reached me of your brother-in-law’s seeking her hand, or something of the kind. Is that true?”

“Both true and untrue,” began Pierre; but Prince Andrey cut him short.

“Here are her letters and her portrait,” he said. He took the packet from the table and gave it to Pierre.

“Give that to the countess … if you will see her.”

“She is very ill,” said Pierre.

“So she’s still here?” said Prince Andrey. “And Prince Kuragin?” he asked quickly.

“He has been gone a long while. She has been at death’s door.”

“I am very sorry to hear of her illness,” said Prince Andrey. He laughed a cold, malignant, unpleasant laugh like his father’s.

“But M. Kuragin, then, did not deign to bestow his hand on Countess Rostov?” said Prince Andrey. He snorted several times.

“He could not have married her, because he is married,” said Pierre.

Prince Andrey laughed unpleasantly, again recalling his father.

“And where is he now, your brother-in-law, may I ask?” he said.

“He went to Peter … but, really, I don’t know,” said Pierre.

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