At that moment Petya ran in from the drawing-room.

Petya was by now a handsome, rosy lad of fifteen, with full red lips, very like Natasha. He was being prepared for the university, but had lately resolved in secret with his comrade, Obolensky, to go into the hussars.

Petya rushed up to his namesake, Pierre, to talk to him of this scheme.

He had begged him to find out whether he would be accepted in the hussars.

Pierre walked about the drawing-room, not heeding Petya.

The boy pulled him by the arm to attract his attention.

“Come, tell me about my plan, Pyotr Kirillitch, for mercy’s sake! You’re my only hope,” said Petya.

“Oh yes, your plan. To be an hussar? I’ll speak about it; to-day I’ll tell them all about it.”

“Well, my dear fellow, have you got the manifesto?” asked the old count. “My little countess was at the service in the Razumovskys’ chapel; she heard the new prayer there. Very fine it was, she tells me.”

“Yes, I have got it,” answered Pierre. “The Tsar will be here tomorrow.… There’s to be an extraordinary meeting of the nobility and a levy they say of ten per thousand. Oh, I congratulate you.”

“Yes, yes, thank God. Well, and what news from the army?”

“Our soldiers have retreated again. They are before Smolensk, they say,” answered Pierre.

“Mercy on us, mercy on us!” said the count. “Where’s the manifesto?”

“The Tsar’s appeal? Ah, yes!” Pierre began looking for the papers in his pockets, and could not find them. Still slapping his pockets, he kissed the countess’s hand as she came in, and looked round uneasily, evidently expecting Natasha, who had left off singing now, but had not come into the drawing-room. “Good Heavens, I don’t know where I have put it,” he said.

“To be sure, he always mislays everything,” said the countess.

Natasha came in with a softened and agitated face and sat down, looking mutely at Pierre. As soon as she came into the room, Pierre’s face, which had been overcast, brightened, and while still seeking for the paper, he looked several times intently at her.

“By God, I’ll drive round, I must have forgotten them at home. Of course…”

“Why, you will be late for dinner.”

“Oh! and the coachman has not waited.”

But Sonya had gone into the vestibule to look for the papers, and there found them in Pierre’s hat, where he had carefully put them under the lining. Pierre would have read them.

“No, after dinner,” said the old count, who was obviously looking forward to the reading of them as a great treat.

At dinner they drank champagne to the health of the new cavalier of St. George, and Shinshin told them of the news of the town, of the illness of the old Georgian princess, and of the disappearance of Metivier from Moscow, and described how a German had been brought before Rastoptchin by the people, who

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