Unformatted text preview: War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy This eBook was designed and published by Planet PDF. For more
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about our latest releases subscribe to the Planet PDF Newsletter. War and Peace BOOK ONE: 1805 2 of 2882 War and Peace Chapter I
‘Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family
estates of the Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don’t
tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the
infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist - I
really believe he is Antichrist - I will have nothing more
to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer
my ‘faithful slave,’ as you call yourself! But how do you
do? I see I have frightened you - sit down and tell me all
It was in July, 1805, and the speaker was the wellknown Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and
favorite of the Empress Marya Fedorovna. With these
words she greeted Prince Vasili Kuragin, a man of high
rank and importance, who was the first to arrive at her
reception. Anna Pavlovna had had a cough for some days.
She was, as she said, suffering from la grippe; grippe
being then a new word in St. Petersburg, used only by the
All her invitations without exception, written in
French, and delivered by a scarlet-liveried footman that
morning, ran as follows: 3 of 2882 War and Peace ‘If you have nothing better to do, Count [or Prince],
and if the prospect of spending an evening with a poor
invalid is not too terrible, I shall be very charmed to see
you tonight between 7 and 10- Annette Scherer.’
‘Heavens! what a virulent attack!’ replied the prince,
not in the least disconcerted by this reception. He had just
entered, wearing an embroidered court uniform, knee
breeches, and shoes, and had stars on his breast and a
serene expression on his flat face. He spoke in that refined
French in which our grandfathers not only spoke but
thought, and with the gentle, patronizing intonation
natural to a man of importance who had grown old in
society and at court. He went up to Anna Pavlovna, kissed
her hand, presenting to her his bald, scented, and shining
head, and complacently seated himself on the sofa.
‘First of all, dear friend, tell me how you are. Set your
friend’s mind at rest,’ said he without altering his tone,
beneath the politeness and affected sympathy of which
indifference and even irony could be discerned.
‘Can one be well while suffering morally? Can one be
calm in times like these if one has any feeling?’ said Anna
Pavlovna. ‘You are staying the whole evening, I hope?’ 4 of 2882 War and Peace ‘And the fete at the English ambassador’s? Today is
Wednesday. I must put in an appearance there,’ said the
prince. ‘My daughter is coming for me to take me there.’
‘I thought today’s fete had been canceled. I confess all
these festivities and fireworks are becoming wearisome.’
‘If they had known that you wished it, the
entertainment would have been put off,’ said the prince,
who, like a wound-up clock, by force of habit said things
he did not even wish to be believed.
‘Don’t tease! Well, and what has been decided about
Novosiltsev’s dispatch? You know everything.’
‘What can one say about it?’ replied the prince in a
cold, listless tone. ‘What has been decided? They have
decided that Buonaparte has burnt his boats, and I believe
that we are ready to burn ours.’
Prince Vasili always spoke languidly, like an actor
repeating a stale part. Anna Pavlovna Scherer on the
contrary, despite her forty years, overflowed with
animation and impulsiveness. To be an enthusiast had
become her social vocation and, sometimes even when
she did not feel like it, she became enthusiastic in order
not to disappoint the expectations of those who knew her.
The subdued smile which, though it did not suit her faded
features, always played round her lips expressed, as in a
5 of 2882 War and Peace spoiled child, a continual consciousness of her charming
defect, which she neither wished, nor could, nor
considered it necessary, to correct.
In the midst of a conversation on political matters
Anna Pavlovna burst out:
‘Oh, don’t speak to me of Austria. Perhaps I don’t
understand things, but Austria never has wished, and does
not wish, for war. She is betraying us! Russia alone must
save Europe. Our gracious sovereign recognizes his high
vocation and will be true to it. That is the one thing I have
faith in! Our good and wonderful sovereign has to
perform the noblest role on earth, and he is so virtuous
and noble that God will not forsake him. He will fulfill his
vocation and crush the hydra of revolution, which has
become more terrible than ever in the person of this
murderer and villain! We alone must avenge the blood of
the just one.... Whom, I ask you, can we rely on?...
England with her commercial spirit will not and cannot
understand the Emperor Alexander’s loftiness of soul. She
has refused to evacuate Malta. She wanted to find, and
still seeks, some secret motive in our actions. What
answer did Novosiltsev get? None. The English have not
understood and cannot understand the self-abnegation of
our Emperor who wants nothing for himself, but only
6 of 2882 War and Peace desires the good of mankind. And what have they
promised? Nothing! And what little they have promised
they will not perform! Prussia has always declared that
Buonaparte is invincible, and that all Europe is powerless
before him.... And I don’t believe a word that Hardenburg
says, or Haugwitz either. This famous Prussian neutrality
is just a trap. I have faith only in God and the lofty destiny
of our adored monarch. He will save Europe!’
She suddenly paused, smiling at her own impetuosity.
‘I think,’ said the prince with a smile, ‘that if you had
been sent instead of our dear Wintzingerode you would
have captured the King of Prussia’s consent by assault.
You are so eloquent. Will you give me a cup of tea?’
‘In a moment. A propos,’ she added, becoming calm
again, ‘I am expecting two very interesting men tonight,
le Vicomte de Mortemart, who is connected with the
Montmorencys through the Rohans, one of the best
French families. He is one of the genuine emigres, the
good ones. And also the Abbe Morio. Do you know that
profound thinker? He has been received by the Emperor.
Had you heard?’
‘I shall be delighted to meet them,’ said the prince.
‘But tell me,’ he added with studied carelessness as if it
had only just occurred to him, though the question he was
7 of 2882 War and Peace about to ask was the chief motive of his visit, ‘is it true
that the Dowager Empress wants Baron Funke to be
appointed first secretary at Vienna? The baron by all
accounts is a poor creature.’
Prince Vasili wished to obtain this post for his son, but
others were trying through the Dowager Empress Marya
Fedorovna to secure it for the baron.
Anna Pavlovna almost closed her eyes to indicate that
neither she nor anyone else had a right to criticize what
the Empress desired or was pleased with.
‘Baron Funke has been recommended to the Dowager
Empress by her sister,’ was all she said, in a dry and
As she named the Empress, Anna Pavlovna’s face
suddenly assumed an expression of profound and sincere
devotion and respect mingled with sadness, and this
occurred every time she mentioned her illustrious
patroness. She added that Her Majesty had deigned to
show Baron Funke beaucoup d’estime, and again her face
clouded over with sadness.
The prince was silent and looked indifferent. But, with
the womanly and courtierlike quickness and tact habitual
to her, Anna Pavlovna wished both to rebuke him (for
daring to speak he had done of a man recommended to the
8 of 2882 War and Peace Empress) and at the same time to console him, so she
‘Now about your family. Do you know that since your
daughter came out everyone has been enraptured by her?
They say she is amazingly beautiful.’
The prince bowed to signify his respect and gratitude.
‘I often think,’ she continued after a short pause,
drawing nearer to the prince and smiling amiably at him
as if to show that political and social topics were ended
and the time had come for intimate conversation- ‘I often
think how unfairly sometimes the joys of life are
distributed. Why has fate given you two such splendid
children? I don’t speak of Anatole, your youngest. I don’t
like him,’ she added in a tone admitting of no rejoinder
and raising her eyebrows. ‘Two such charming children.
And really you appreciate them less than anyone, and so
you don’t deserve to have them.’
And she smiled her ecstatic smile.
‘I can’t help it,’ said the prince. ‘Lavater would have
said I lack the bump of paternity.’
‘Don’t joke; I mean to have a serious talk with you. Do
you know I am dissatisfied with your younger son?
Between ourselves’ (and her face assumed its melancholy 9 of 2882 War and Peace expression), ‘he was mentioned at Her Majesty’s and you
The prince answered nothing, but she looked at him
significantly, awaiting a reply. He frowned.
‘What would you have me do?’ he said at last. ‘You
know I did all a father could for their education, and they
have both turned out fools. Hippolyte is at least a quiet
fool, but Anatole is an active one. That is the only
difference between them.’ He said this smiling in a way
more natural and animated than usual, so that the wrinkles
round his mouth very clearly revealed something
unexpectedly coarse and unpleasant.
‘And why are children born to such men as you? If you
were not a father there would be nothing I could reproach
you with,’ said Anna Pavlovna, looking up pensively.
‘I am your faithful slave and to you alone I can confess
that my children are the bane of my life. It is the cross I
have to bear. That is how I explain it to myself. It can’t be
He said no more, but expressed his resignation to cruel
fate by a gesture. Anna Pavlovna meditated.
‘Have you never thought of marrying your prodigal
son Anatole?’ she asked. ‘They say old maids have a
mania for matchmaking, and though I don’t feel that
10 of 2882 War and Peace weakness in myself as yet,I know a little person who is
very unhappy with her father. She is a relation of yours,
Princess Mary Bolkonskaya.’
Prince Vasili did not reply, though, with the quickness
of memory and perception befitting a man of the world,
he indicated by a movement of the head that he was
considering this information.
‘Do you know,’ he said at last, evidently unable to
check the sad current of his thoughts, ‘that Anatole is
costing me forty thousand rubles a year? And,’ he went
on after a pause, ‘what will it be in five years, if he goes
on like this?’ Presently he added: ‘That’s what we fathers
have to put up with.... Is this princess of yours rich?’
‘Her father is very rich and stingy. He lives in the
country. He is the well-known Prince Bolkonski who had
to retire from the army under the late Emperor, and was
nicknamed ‘the King of Prussia.’ He is very clever but
eccentric, and a bore. The poor girl is very unhappy. She
has a brother; I think you know him, he married Lise
Meinen lately. He is an aide-de-camp of Kutuzov’s and
will be here tonight.’
‘Listen, dear Annette,’ said the prince, suddenly taking
Anna Pavlovna’s hand and for some reason drawing it
downwards. ‘Arrange that affair for me and I shall always
11 of 2882 War and Peace be your most devoted slave- slafe wigh an f, as a village
elder of mine writes in his reports. She is rich and of good
family and that’s all I want.’
And with the familiarity and easy grace peculiar to
him, he raised the maid of honor’s hand to his lips, kissed
it, and swung it to and fro as he lay back in his armchair,
looking in another direction.
‘Attendez,’ said Anna Pavlovna, reflecting, ‘I’ll speak
to Lise, young Bolkonski’s wife, this very evening, and
perhaps the thing can be arranged. It shall be on your
family’s behalf that I’ll start my apprenticeship as old
maid.’ 12 of 2882 War and Peace Chapter II
Anna Pavlovna’s drawing room was gradually filling.
The highest Petersburg society was assembled there:
people differing widely in age and character but alike in
the social circle to which they belonged. Prince Vasili’s
daughter, the beautiful Helene, came to take her father to
the ambassador’s entertainment; she wore a ball dress and
her badge as maid of honor. The youthful little Princess
Bolkonskaya, known as la femme la plus seduisante de
Petersbourg,* was also there. She had been married
during the previous winter, and being pregnant did not go
to any large gatherings, but only to small receptions.
Prince Vasili’s son, Hippolyte, had come with Mortemart,
whom he introduced. The Abbe Morio and many others
had also come.
*The most fascinating woman in Petersburg.
To each new arrival Anna Pavlovna said, ‘You have
not yet seen my aunt,’ or ‘You do not know my aunt?’
and very gravely conducted him or her to a little old lady,
wearing large bows of ribbon in her cap, who had come
sailing in from another room as soon as the guests began
to arrive; and slowly turning her eyes from the visitor to
13 of 2882 War and Peace her aunt, Anna Pavlovna mentioned each one’s name and
then left them.
Each visitor performed the ceremony of greeting this
old aunt whom not one of them knew, not one of them
wanted to know, and not one of them cared about; Anna
Pavlovna observed these greetings with mournful and
solemn interest and silent approval. The aunt spoke to
each of them in the same words, about their health and her
own, and the health of Her Majesty, ‘who, thank God,
was better today.’ And each visitor, though politeness
prevented his showing impatience, left the old woman
with a sense of relief at having performed a vexatious
duty and did not return to her the whole evening.
The young Princess Bolkonskaya had brought some
work in a gold-embroidered velvet bag. Her pretty little
upper lip, on which a delicate dark down was just
perceptible, was too short for her teeth, but it lifted all the
more sweetly, and was especially charming when she
occasionally drew it down to meet the lower lip. As is
always the case with a thoroughly attractive woman, her
defect- the shortness of her upper lip and her half-open
mouth- seemed to be her own special and peculiar form of
beauty. Everyone brightened at the sight of this pretty
young woman, so soon to become a mother, so full of life
14 of 2882 War and Peace and health, and carrying her burden so lightly. Old men
and dull dispirited young ones who looked at her, after
being in her company and talking to her a little while, felt
as if they too were becoming, like her, full of life and
health. All who talked to her, and at each word saw her
bright smile and the constant gleam of her white teeth,
thought that they were in a specially amiable mood that
The little princess went round the table with quick,
short, swaying steps, her workbag on her arm, and gaily
spreading out her dress sat down on a sofa near the silver
samovar, as if all she was doing was a pleasure to herself
and to all around her. ‘I have brought my work,’ said she
in French, displaying her bag and addressing all present.
‘Mind, Annette, I hope you have not played a wicked
trick on me,’ she added, turning to her hostess. ‘You
wrote that it was to be quite a small reception, and just see
how badly I am dressed.’ And she spread out her arms to
show her short-waisted, lace-trimmed, dainty gray dress,
girdled with a broad ribbon just below the breast.
‘Soyez tranquille, Lise, you will always be prettier
than anyone else,’ replied Anna Pavlovna.
‘You know,’ said the princess in the same tone of
voice and still in French, turning to a general, ‘my
15 of 2882 War and Peace husband is deserting me? He is going to get himself
killed. Tell me what this wretched war is for?’ she added,
addressing Prince Vasili, and without waiting for an
answer she turned to speak to his daughter, the beautiful
‘What a delightful woman this little princess is!’ said
Prince Vasili to Anna Pavlovna.
One of the next arrivals was a stout, heavily built
young man with close-cropped hair, spectacles, the lightcolored breeches fashionable at that time, a very high
ruffle, and a brown dress coat. This stout young man was
an illegitimate son of Count Bezukhov, a well-known
grandee of Catherine’s time who now lay dying in
Moscow. The young man had not yet entered either the
military or civil service, as he had only just returned from
abroad where he had been educated, and this was his first
appearance in society. Anna Pavlovna greeted him with
the nod she accorded to the lowest hierarchy in her
drawing room. But in spite of this lowest-grade greeting,
a look of anxiety and fear, as at the sight of something too
large and unsuited to the place, came over her face when
she saw Pierre enter. Though he was certainly rather
bigger than the other men in the room, her anxiety could
only have reference to the clever though shy, but
16 of 2882 War and Peace observant and natural, expression which distinguished
him from everyone else in that drawing room.
‘It is very good of you, Monsieur Pierre, to come and
visit a poor invalid,’ said Anna Pavlovna, exchanging an
alarmed glance with her aunt as she conducted him to her.
Pierre murmured something unintelligible, and
continued to look round as if in search of something. On
his way to the aunt he bowed to the little princess with a
pleased smile, as to an intimate acquaintance.
Anna Pavlovna’s alarm was justified, for Pierre turned
away from the aunt without waiting to hear her speech
about Her Majesty’s health. Anna Pavlovna in dismay
detained him with the words: ‘Do you know the Abbe
Morio? He is a most interesting man.’
‘Yes, I have heard of his scheme for perpetual peace,
and it is very interesting but hardly feasible.’
‘You think so?’ rejoined Anna Pavlovna in order to say
something and get away to attend to her duties as hostess.
But Pierre now committed a reverse act of impoliteness.
First he had left a lady before she had finished speaking to
him, and now he continued to speak to another who
wished to get away. With his head bent, and his big feet
spread apart, he began explaining his reasons for thinking
the abbe’s plan chimerical.
17 of 2882 War and Peace ‘We will talk of it later,’ said Anna Pavlovna with a
And having got rid of this young man who did not
know how to behave, she resumed her duties as hostess
and continued to listen and watch, ready to help at any
point where the conversation might happen to flag. As the
foreman of a spinning mill, when he has set the hands to
work, goes round and notices here a spindle that has
stopped or there one that creaks or makes more noise than
it should, and hastens to check the machine or set it in
proper motion, so Anna Pavlovna moved about her
drawing room, approaching now a silent, now a too-noisy
group, and by a word or slight rearrangement kept the
conversational machine in steady, proper, and regular
motion. But amid these cares her anxiety about Pierre was
evident. She kept an anxious watch on him when he
approached the group round Mortemart to listen to what
was being said there, and again when he passed to another
group whose center was the abbe.
Pierre had been educated abroad, and this reception at
Anna Pavlovna’s was the first he had attended in Russia.
He knew that all the intellectual lights of Petersburg were
gathered there and, like a child in a toyshop, did not know
which way to look, afraid of missing any clever
18 of 2882 War and Peace conversation that was to be heard. Seeing the selfconfident and refined expression on the faces of those
present he was always expecting to hear something very
profound. At last he came up to Morio. Here the
conversation seemed interesting and he stood waiting for
an opportunity to express his own views, as young people
are fond of doing. 19 of 2882 War and Peace Chapter III
Anna Pavlovna’s reception was in full swing. The
spindles hummed steadily and ceaselessly on all sides.
With the exception of the aunt, beside...
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