War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Volume.Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.
Pierre, having decided to obey his guide in all things, made for the little settee she had pointed out to him. As soon as Anna Mikhailovna disappeared, he noticed that the eyes of everyone in the room turned to him with something more than curiosity and sympathy. He noticed that they all exchanged whispers, indicating him with their eyes, as if with fear and even obsequiousness. He was being shown a respect no one had ever shown him before: a lady unknown to him, who had been talking with the clerical persons, got up from her place and offered him a seat; the adjutant picked up a glove Pierre had dropped and handed it to him; the doctors fell deferentially silent when he walked past them and stepped aside to make way for him. Pierre first wanted to sit somewhere else, so as not to inconvenience the lady, wanted to pick up the glove himself, and to bypass the doctors, who were not standing in his way; but he suddenly felt that that would be improper; he felt that that night he was the person responsible for performing some terrible rite which everyone expected, and that he therefore had to accept services from them all. He silently accepted the glove from the adjutant, sat down in the lady's place, putting his big hands on his symmetrically displayed knees in the naïve pose of an Egyptian statue, and decided to himself that this was precisely as it had to be and that that evening, so as not to lose his head and do something foolish, he ought not to act according to his own reasoning, but give himself up entirely to the will of those who were guiding him." (126.96.36.199)
Ah, yes, the burden of being suddenly important and rich and having everyone want a piece of you. This is probably why so many famous people end up crashing and burning through drugs and partying. Like Pierre, they feel they're there to perform a VIP role for the other people at the party.
Rostov, in his junker's uniform, rode up to the porch, nudged his horse around, swung his leg over him in a supple, youthful movement, stood in the stirrup as if not wishing to part with his horse, finally jumped down, and shouted for the orderly.
"Ah, Bondarenko, friend of my heart," he said to the hussar who came rushing for his horse. "Give him a cooling down, my friend," he said with that merry brotherly tenderness with which all fine young men treat everyone when they are happy.
"Yes, Your Excellency," the Ukrainian replied, merrily shaking his head.
"See that you give him a good cooling down!'' (188.8.131.52-5)
Is it funny that Nikolai addresses this servant as "friend of my heart," while the servant has to answer back "Your Excellency"? Is it endearing? Obnoxious?
The gentlemen who frequented Bilibin, young, rich, and merry society people, constituted here, as in Vienna, a separate circle, which Bilibin, who was the head of it, called "ours"— les notres. This circle, made up almost exclusively of diplomats, clearly had its own high society interests, which had nothing in common with war and politics, interests in relations with certain women and in the administrative side of their service. These gentlemen received Prince Andrei into their circle with apparent eagerness, as "theirs" (an honor they accorded to few). Out of courtesy and as a subject for getting into conversation, he was asked several questions about the army and the battle, and the conversation again broke up into inconsequentially merry jokes and gossip. (184.108.40.206)
It's interesting how, once a social circle is established, people of all ranks act pretty the same together. These guys are relatively high up, but they sit around joking and gossiping in pretty much the same way as the soldiers sitting around their campfire.