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War and Peace by Leo Nikoleyevich Tolstoy
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War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy/Tolstoi

BOOK ONE: 1805


"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the
Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war,
if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by
that Antichrist--I really believe he is Antichrist--I will have
nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer
my 'faithful slave,' as you call yourself! But how do you do? I see
I have frightened you--sit down and tell me all the news."

It was in July, 1805, and the speaker was the well-known Anna
Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and favorite of the Empress Marya
Fedorovna. With these words she greeted Prince Vasili Kuragin, a man
of high rank and importance, who was the first to arrive at her
reception. Anna Pavlovna had had a cough for some days. She was, as
she said, suffering from la grippe; grippe being then a new word in
St. Petersburg, used only by the elite.
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