War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy Book I: Chapters 22–25

Andrew did not speak; he was both pleased and displeased that his father understood him. The old man got up and gave the letter to his son.

"Listen!" said he;"don't worry about your wife: what can be done shall be. Now listen! Give this letter to Michael Ilarionovich.* I have written that he should make use of you in proper places and not keep you long as an adjutant: a bad position! Tell him I remember and like him. Write and tell me how he receives you. If he is all right — serve him. Nicholas Bolkonski's son need not serve under anyone if he is in disfavor. Now come here."

*Kutuzov.

He spoke so rapidly that he did not finish half his words, but his son was accustomed to understand him. He led him to the desk, raised the lid, drew out a drawer, and took out an exercise book filled with his bold, tall, close handwriting.

"I shall probably die before you. So remember, these are my memoirs; hand them to the Emperor after my death. Now here is a Lombard bond and a letter; it is a premium for the man who writes a history of Suvorov's wars. Send it to the Academy. Here are some jottings for you to read when I am gone. You will find them useful."

Andrew did not tell his father that he would no doubt live a long time yet. He felt that he must not say it.

"I will do it all, Father," he said.

"Well, now, good-by!" He gave his son his hand to kiss, and embraced him."Remember this, Prince Andrew, if they kill you it will hurt me, your old father . . ." he paused unexpectedly, and then in a querulous voice suddenly shrieked:"but if I hear that you have not behaved like a son of Nicholas Bolkonski, I shall be ashamed!"

"You need not have said that to me, Father," said the son with a smile.

The old man was silent.

"I also wanted to ask you," continued Prince Andrew,"if I'm killed and if I have a son, do not let him be taken away from you- as I said yesterday . . . let him grow up with you . . . . Please."

"Not let the wife have him?" said the old man, and laughed.

They stood silent, facing one another. The old man's sharp eyes were fixed straight on his son's. Something twitched in the lower part of the old prince's face.

"We've said good-by. Go!" he suddenly shouted in a loud, angry voice, opening his door.

"What is it? What?" asked both princesses when they saw for a moment at the door Prince Andrew and the figure of the old man in a white dressing gown, spectacled and wigless, shouting in an angry voice.

Prince Andrew sighed and made no reply.

"Well!" he said, turning to his wife.

And this"Well!" sounded coldly ironic, as if he were saying,:"Now go through your performance."

"Andrew, already!" said the little princess, turning pale and looking with dismay at her husband.

He embraced her. She screamed and fell unconscious on his shoulder.

He cautiously released the shoulder she leaned on, looked into her face, and carefully placed her in an easy chair.

"Adieu, Mary," said he gently to his sister, taking her by the hand and kissing her, and then he left the room with rapid steps.

The little princess lay in the armchair, Mademoiselle Bourienne chafing her temples. Princess Mary, supporting her sister-in-law, still looked with her beautiful eyes full of tears at the door through which Prince Andrew had gone and made the sign of the cross in his direction. From the study, like pistol shots, came the frequent sound of the old man angrily blowing his nose. Hardly had Prince Andrew gone when the study door opened quickly and the stern figure of the old man in the white dressing gown looked out.

"Gone? That's all right!" said he; and looking angrily at the unconscious little princess, he shook his head reprovingly and slammed the door.

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