"No, but I say," said Pierre, calming down,"you are a wonderful fellow! What you have just said is good, very good. Of course you don't know me. We have not met for such a long time . . . not since we were children. You might think that I . . . I understand, quite understand. I could not have done it myself, I should not have had the courage, but it's splendid. I am very glad to have made your acquaintance. It's queer," he added after a pause,"that you should have suspected me!" He began to laugh."Well, what of it! I hope we'll get better acquainted," and he pressed Boris' hand."Do you know, I have not once been in to see the count. He has not sent for me . . . . I am sorry for him as a man, but what can one do?"
"And so you think Napoleon will manage to get an army across?" asked Boris with a smile.
Pierre saw that Boris wished to change the subject, and being of the same mind he began explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the Boulogne expedition.
A footman came in to summon Boris — the princess was going. Pierre, in order to make Boris' better acquaintance, promised to come to dinner, and warmly pressing his hand looked affectionately over his spectacles into Boris' eyes. After he had gone Pierre continued pacing up and down the room for a long time, no longer piercing an imaginary foe with his imaginary sword, but smiling at the remembrance of that pleasant, intelligent, and resolute young man.
As often happens in early youth, especially to one who leads a lonely life, he felt an unaccountable tenderness for this young man and made up his mind that they would be friends.
Prince Vasili saw the princess off. She held a handkerchief to her eyes and her face was tearful.
"It is dreadful, dreadful!" she was saying,"but cost me what it may I shall do my duty. I will come and spend the night. He must not be left like this. Every moment is precious. I can't think why his nieces put it off. Perhaps God will help me to find a way to prepare him! . . . Adieu, Prince! May God support you . . ."
"Adieu, ma bonne," answered Prince Vasili turning away from her.
"Oh, he is in a dreadful state," said the mother to her son when they were in the carriage."He hardly recognizes anybody."
"I don't understand, Mamma — what is his attitude to Pierre?" asked the son.
"The will will show that, my dear; our fate also depends on it."
"But why do you expect that he will leave us anything?"
"Ah, my dear! He is so rich, and we are so poor!"
"Well, that is hardly a sufficient reason, Mamma . . ."
"Oh, Heaven! How ill he is!" exclaimed the mother.