BOOK TWO: 1805
11. CHAPTER XI
"La femme est la compagne de l'homme,"* announced Prince
Hippolyte, and began looking through a lorgnette at his elevated legs.
*"Woman is man's companion."
Bilibin and the rest of "ours" burst out laughing in Hippolyte's
face, and Prince Andrew saw that Hippolyte, of whom- he had to
admit- he had almost been jealous on his wife's account, was the
butt of this set.
"Oh, I must give you a treat," Bilibin whispered to Bolkonski.
"Kuragin is exquisite when he discusses politics- you should see his
He sat down beside Hippolyte and wrinkling his forehead began
talking to him about politics. Prince Andrew and the others gathered
round these two.
"The Berlin cabinet cannot express a feeling of alliance," began
Hippolyte gazing round with importance at the others, "without
expressing... as in its last note... you understand... Besides, unless
His Majesty the Emperor derogates from the principle of our
"Wait, I have not finished..." he said to Prince Andrew, seizing him
by the arm, "I believe that intervention will be stronger than
nonintervention. And..." he paused. "Finally one cannot impute the
nonreceipt of our dispatch of November 18. That is how it will end."
And he released Bolkonski's arm to indicate that he had now quite
"Demosthenes, I know thee by the pebble thou secretest in thy golden
mouth!" said Bilibin, and the mop of hair on his head moved with
Everybody laughed, and Hippolyte louder than anyone. He was
evidently distressed, and breathed painfully, but could not restrain
the wild laughter that convulsed his usually impassive features.
"Well now, gentlemen," said Bilibin, "Bolkonski is my guest in
this house and in Brunn itself. I want to entertain him as far as I
can, with all the pleasures of life here. If we were in Vienna it
would be easy, but here, in this wretched Moravian hole, it is more
difficult, and I beg you all to help me. Brunn's attractions must be
shown him. You can undertake the theater, I society, and you,
Hippolyte, of course the women."