This officer became a frequent visitor, and the princess used to laugh at the tender feelings the Italian expressed for Pierre.

It was obvious that the Italian was never happy but when he could see Pierre, and talk to him, and tell him all about his own past, his home life, and his love, and pour out his indignation against the French, and especially against Napoleon.

“If all Russians are the least bit like you,” he used to say to Pierre, “it is sacrilege to make war on a people like yours. You who have suffered so much at the hands of the French, have not even a grudge against them.”

And Pierre had won the Italian’s passionate devotion simply by drawing out what was best in his soul and admiring it.

During the latter part of Pierre’s stay in Orel, he received a visit from an old acquaintance, Count Villarsky, the freemason, who had introduced him to the lodge in 1807. Villarsky had married a Russian heiress, who had great estates in the Orel province, and he was filling a temporary post in the commissariat department in the town.

Though Villarsky had never been very intimately acquainted with Bezuhov, on hearing that he was in Orel, he called upon him with those demonstrations of friendliness and intimacy that men commonly display on meeting one another in the desert. Villarsky was dull in Orel, and was delighted to meet a man of his own circle, who had, as he supposed, the same interests as he had.

But to his surprise, Villarsky noticed soon that Pierre had quite dropped behind the times, and had, as he defined it himself to Pierre, sunk into apathy and egoism.

“You are stagnating,” he said to him.

But in spite of that, Villarsky felt much more at home with Pierre now than he had done in the past, and came every day to see him. As Pierre watched Villarsky, and listened to him now, it seemed strange and incredible to him to think that he had very lately been the same sort of person himself.

Villarsky was a married man with a family, whose time was taken up in managing his wife’s property, in performing his official duties, and in looking after his family. He regarded all these duties as a drawback in his life, and looked on them all with contempt, because they were all directed to securing his own personal welfare and that of his family. Military, administrative, political, and masonic questions were continually engrossing his attention. And without criticising this view or attempting to change it, Pierre watched this phenomenon—so strange, yet so familiar to him—with the smile of gentle, delighted irony that was now habitual with him.

In Pierre’s relations with Villarsky, with his cousin, with the doctor, and with all the people he met now, there was a new feature that gained him the good-will of all. This was the recognition of the freedom of every man to think, to feel, and to look at things in his own way; the recognition of the impossibility of altering a man’s conviction by words. This legitimate individuality of every man’s views, which had in old days troubled and irritated Pierre, now formed the basis of the sympathetic interest he felt in people. The inconsistency, sometimes the complete antagonism of men’s views with their own lives or with one another, delighted Pierre, and drew from him a gentle and mocking smile.

In practical affairs Pierre suddenly felt now that he had the centre of gravity that he had lacked in former days. In the past every money question, especially requests for money, to which as a very wealthy man he was particularly liable, had reduced him to a state of helpless agitation and perplexity. “Ought I to give or not to give?” he used to ask himself. “I have money and he needs it. But some one else needs it more. Who needs it more? And perhaps both are impostors?” And of all these suppositions he had in old days found no satisfactory solution, and gave to all as long as he had anything to give. In old days

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