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War and Peace by Leo Nikoleyevich Tolstoy
page 2 of 2235 (00%)

All her invitations without exception, written in French, and
delivered by a scarlet-liveried footman that morning, ran as follows:

"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

"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?"

"And the fete at the English ambassador's? Today is Wednesday. I