Do you want to tell me about it?
I didn't ask about his family tree.
I love thinking about the future.
"What shall we write about?" they asked.
We know not much about them.
In fact, everything about him was masculine.
Go and get my kitten, please, Jellia, and we'll hear what she has to say about it.
They saw the mother robin flying about, and crying to her mate.
In a few minutes they had forgotten about the birds.
Each visitor performed the ceremony of greeting this old aunt whom not one of them knew, not one of them wanted to know, and not one of them cared about.
Alex was supposed to be sterile, but they had been wrong about that.
In fact, she had made a different decision about it so many times that his head must be spinning.
I didn't have much of an idea about the cost of raising children then, either.
They are too young to fly, and the mother bird is making a great fuss about it.
I guess maybe hearing people talk... about their marriage.
It will be about the end of our adventures, I guess.
But what about a reasoned belief based on a balanced look at both history and current reality that leads you to be optimistic?
I understood a good deal of what was going on about me.
"What can one say about it?" replied the prince in a cold, listless tone.
The aunt spoke to each of them in the same words, about their health and her own, and the health of Her Majesty, "who, thank God, was better today."
Don't worry about it.
The children, feeling sad and despondent, were about to follow him when the Wizard touched Dorothy softly on her shoulder.
Today you may stand up before the school and read what you have written about the turnip.
Read about things that are beautiful and good.
Everywhere you turned, people were speculating about, or building models of, the "House of Tomorrow," the "Car of Tomorrow," or the "Workplace of Tomorrow."
This book is about that future and what it is going to look like—how it will be a place glorious and spectacular beyond our wildest hopes.
I only know that I sat in my mother's lap or clung to her dress as she went about her household duties.
Let us consider for a moment what most of the trouble and anxiety which I have referred to is about, and how much it is necessary that we be troubled, or at least careful.
I just wondered how you felt about him hiding things from you.
"That's the way I feel about it," remarked Zeb, rubbing his wounds.
The cab-horse was about to reply when suddenly he gave a start and a neigh of terror and stood trembling like a leaf.
So the two went to the dressing-room of the Princess and searched carefully in every corner and among the vases and baskets and ornaments that stood about the pretty boudoir.
In a wonderful book, called "The Arabian Nights," there are many interesting stories about him.
When the king's soldiers heard about this powder, they made up their minds to go out and get it for themselves.
There he remained about ten minutes.
Of the war Princess Mary thought as women do think about wars.
"The prince says nothing about that," he remarked gently.
Just about time I think the two of you are making progress, something like this comes up.
What was he disappointed about - the new baby?
Or maybe he was thinking about their conversation last night.
Has Alex told you about the party?
He talks about you - thinks about you all the time.
We'll know more about her recovery tomorrow.
Oh, I was supposed to tell you about a party.
Several minutes were consumed in silent admiration before they noticed two very singular and unusual facts about this valley.
Presently they came to a low plant which had broad, spreading leaves, in the center of which grew a single fruit about as large as a peach.
"And we do not have to be so particular about our dress," remarked the man.
"How about the birds and beasts and fishes?" asked Zeb.
Fruits and flowers grew plentifully all about, and there were many of the delicious damas that the people of Voe were so fond of.
The horse was plunging madly about, and two or three deep gashes appeared upon its flanks, from which the blood flowed freely.
They wound about, always going upward, for some time.
These birds were of enormous size, and reminded Zeb of the rocs he had read about in the Arabian Nights.
He was a very old man, bent nearly double; but the queerest thing about him was his white hair and beard.
It is a sad story, but if you will try to restrain your tears I will tell you about it.
Looking out, they could see into some of the houses near them, where there were open windows in abundance, and were able to mark the forms of the wooden Gargoyles moving about in their dwellings.
Just you light out and make for that rock, Jim; and don't waste any time about it, either.
Mother's about two thousand years old; but she carelessly lost track of her age a few centuries ago and skipped several hundreds.
Mother usually knows what she is about, but she made a mistake this time; for you are sure to escape us unless you come too near, and you probably won't do that.
"You may be right," replied the Wizard, "but we're a little particular about associating with strangers.
"I believe we will soon follow her," announced the Wizard, in a tone of great relief; "for I know something about the magic of the fairyland that is called the Land of Oz.
"That is quite a history," said Ozma; "but there is a little more history about the Land of Oz that you do not seem to understand--perhaps for the reason that no one ever told it you.
When the people heard about this speech of the rich man, Coriolanus, they were very angry.
In short, it tells us everything about ourselves.
Of course I did not know what it was all about, but I enjoyed the pleasant odours that filled the house and the tidbits that were given to Martha Washington and me to keep us quiet.
Thinking that turn and turn about is fair play, she seized the scissors and cut off one of my curls, and would have cut them all off but for my mother's timely interference.
I would gladly tell all that I know about it, and never paint "No Admittance" on my gate.
On the 1st of April it rained and melted the ice, and in the early part of the day, which was very foggy, I heard a stray goose groping about over the pond and cackling as if lost, or like the spirit of the fog.
In the first place, I tell you we have no right to question the Emperor about that, and secondly, if the Russian nobility had that right, the Emperor could not answer such a question.
The assembled nobles all took off their uniforms and settled down again in their homes and clubs, and not without some groans gave orders to their stewards about the enrollment, feeling amazed themselves at what they had done.
Everything came about fortuitously.
You plotted against me, you lied to Prince Andrew about my relations with that Frenchwoman and made me quarrel with him, but you see I need neither her nor you!
The only thing that made Princess Mary anxious about him was that he slept very little and, instead of sleeping in his study as usual, changed his sleeping place every day.
He's worrying very much about the new building.
Then hand to the governor in person a letter about the deed.
He went about looking at every corner.
Carmen had already spoken to Mums about it.
All I could think about was that I had a living father-in-law.
What could he do about it but lose more sleep?
Talking about it might help her, but they had already talked the subject lifeless.
"I won't talk about it any more," she said cheerfully.
The roast will be ready in about 15 minutes.
About noon, I guess.
That night as they prepared for bed, she approached Alex about it.
It's about time you spent some money on yourself.
With everything going on, Carmen didn't have time to worry about flying, but when they were all sitting at the airport, she finally had time to stew over it.
Neither of the children seemed concerned about the flight, though.
We... actually, I... was thinking about adopting a few wild horses from out west where they have too many.
And yet, there was something about her that suggested she was in uncharted waters - maybe body language.
He didn't need any preconceived ideas about his little brother or sister.
Having a baby was something they should be excited about - talking about to others.
What about Jonathan and me?
Maybe he was thinking about Alexia, but that was still on their land, in the old house before it was renovated.
But this wasn't about intimacy - was it?
It was about privacy and morality.
Maybe that was what Felipa was talking about - that she fussed over him too much.
No wonder Alex hadn't said anything about it.
What about Dulce and Alondra?
How do they feel about your father offering the estate to Alex?
But I don't know anything about dressing or acting like a lady.
And then they were walking out the door, still talking about the mare.
For the next two hours, the women talked delightfully about meaningless things that kept them laughing.
More than likely Alex didn't want to hear any more about danger, though.
Remembering what Felipa had said about the girls being out of a home if Alex refused the inheritance, she smiled.
It was something she had always liked about him, mostly because he was sincere about it.
The worst thing was their terror of reaching the bottom of this great crack in the earth, and the natural fear that sudden death was about to overtake them at any moment.
"Eureka weights only about half a pound," replied the horse, in a scornful tone, "while I weigh about half a ton."
"None of us has had breakfast," said the boy; "and in a time of danger like this it's foolish to talk about eating."
Immediately the Prince and all of his people flocked out of the hall into the street, that they might see what was about to happen.
Let me see you equal the sorcery I am about to perform.
You see, there is nothing up my sleeve and nothing concealed about my person.
If they give me plenty of it I'll not complain about its color.
The maiden's gown was soft as satin and fell about her in ample folds, while dainty lace-like traceries trimmed the bodice and sleeves.
About noon they stopped to allow Jim to rest in the shade of a pretty orchard.
Dorothy was a little anxious about the success of their trip, for the way Jim arched his long neck and spread out his bony legs as he fluttered and floundered through the air was enough to make anybody nervous.
"No," answered the owner of the big yellow eyes which were blinking at them so steadily; "you are wrong about that.
She felt that Jim would know more about the Saw-Horse later on.
A little girl said she would write about "Summer."
Many years after that, some funny little verses about Mr. Finney's turnip were printed in a newspaper.
About an hour later, a well-dressed gentleman came into the hotel and said, "I wish to see Mr. Jefferson."
He has been here about an hour.
And they asked what they should do about it.
But Daniel's father did not say anything about college.
No one would have thought that a child like you had gold about him.
The people there knew nothing about war and conquest.
"Tell me about it," said the shah.
Then, when they saw that he was about to speak, they nestled softly in the grass and listened.
When Aesop was about twenty years old his master lost a great deal of money and was obliged to sell his slaves.
One day the Mice met to talk about the great harm that she was doing them.
Then, about the middle of the day, it began to grow dark.
"The end of the world has come!" cried some; and they ran about in the darkness.
The poet Whittier has written a poem about him, which you will like to hear.
They told him about the strange lands they had visited far over the sea.
They told him about the wonderful things they had seen there.
The ship was driven about by the winds; it was wrecked.
The king was about to waken him roughly, when he saw a piece of paper on the floor beside him.
It is true that I have been asleep, but I know nothing about this money.
He began to ask about his enemies who had been hunting him.
He was about to lose all hope.
"There is nothing lacking," he said, "but the ten pieces he has told you about; and I will give him these as a reward."
Think no more about it, he said.
The woodman sang of the wild forest; the plowman sang of the fields; the shepherd sang of his sheep; and those who listened forgot about the storm and the cold weather.
But one day after he had become a man, he said: Tell me about the great world which, you say, lies outside of these palace walls.
It must be a beautiful and happy place; and I wish to know all about it.
"And is this the great, beautiful, happy world that I have been told about?" cried the prince.
"I'll tell you all about it," answered Jacquot.
She must be very uneasy about you.
"There is no hurry about that," said the child.
"Of course she will be glad to know that," said the boy; "but she has no time to bother about me to-night."
"Well," said the soldier, "about two hours ago I was on guard at the gate of the queen's park.
Then one of the fishermen said, "Let us ask the governor about it and do as he shall bid us."
There everybody was talking about King Cleobulus and his wonderful wisdom.
"I have heard all about that tripod," he said, "and I know why you are carrying it from one place to another.
They learned that Chilon was a very quiet man, that he never spoke about himself, and that he spent all his time in trying to make his country great and strong and happy.
When you hear about a new company and your response is, "Why in the world would anyone want to do that?" it will be because there is no offline corollary.
I have a page about me.
I may be connected to other people, but still it is all about me.
Linda thinks about this and decides she wants to keep it ad-free for now.
The choices we make to test options never before contemplated will tell us all kinds of new things about ourselves.
Plus, it's all about to speed way, way up.
Think about it this way: All the technology accumulated from the dawn of time to today has given us a certain amount of processing power.
Filmmakers such as James Cameron and George Lucas used to talk about putting off film projects to wait for the computer technology to catch up to their visions.
The amount of writing we are talking about is staggering.
But all that is about to change.
Now, think about everything being recorded.
Before we take that further, let's consider something the Internet has taught us about ourselves.
These tell us something about ourselves we didn't know before.
Well, that tells us something new about ourselves—in fact, a lot of things: the kinds of information we want to share, the kinds of information we want to consume, and the immediacy with which we want it all to occur.
Again, we aren't talking about anyone knowing anything about you personally.
We are talking about a setting to your Digital Echo file that says, "Information that isn't tied to me personally can be contributed to pools of rolled-up data."
Finally, when I use the word "wisdom," I am talking about applying a value system to knowledge to suggest a course of action.
Think about notable astronomers of centuries past, who collected their own data through years of careful observation.
To make my case that machines will bring about the end of ignorance, I begin with a company I admire: Amazon.com, the world's largest online retailer.
More and more data about each customer will be available.
Once Jim extends the invitation, he memorizes all the individuals' names, where they are from, what they do for a living, information about their families, and so forth.
(It would have many more, but for now let's just say it includes a million things about you.)
The system will also look for anything they've written publicly about this place (Yelp, Facebook, personal blog) and which superlatives they used to describe it.
Every time you buy a book from Amazon, its employees use your data—information about what you did on their site in the privacy of your own home—to try to sell other people more products.
As we move out from that defined center, we come to disorders and disabilities—impairments of bodily systems that are brought about by injury, disease, or genetics.
And what about mortality?
So how about this instead: What if I can show you a future where everyone on the planet will live in good health as long as it is possible for their body to live?
One Gallup poll at the time said more people knew about the trial than knew the full name of the president.
At present, there are about one hundred new cases reported per month around the world, infecting about the same number of people as die from lightning strikes.
This goal is within our grasp—and with the vaccine presently priced at about thirty cents a child, shame on us for not ending polio once and for all.
I replied, "Writing about polio," and he asked, "What is polio?"
In the century leading up to its extermination, smallpox killed about 500,000,000 people.
It was described in China about the same time.
We read about it in vivid detail, from around the year 900, in the writings of the Persian physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi.
Two things were known at the time about smallpox, also called variola.
In the early 1900s, we learned about blood types, vitamins, and Alzheimer's disease, and invented the electrocardiograph.
Or is it something about them that predates their Oscar triumph and helped them win?
What is it about them and their lives that made them live so long or so well?
Once we have identified it, we can understand how it is going about doing its damage.
If people with those conditions get better, information about their treatment can be widely shared with those who have the common genetic factors.
Due to genetic factors we will certainly learn about in the future, some drugs and treatments do not work on certain people.
In addition to knowing more about what will work, in the future we will also know more about what won't work.
However, I fully expect we will learn things about the opposite—what we may do, thanks to our genes.
How about modifying a flower to produce insulin?
Or how about cows producing human milk?
How can we not be excited about the possibilities this offers?
And when more and more people have their medical history tracked over time, we will learn even more about how our bodies get sick and how they heal.
Often, a buying decision hinges on a piece of arcane information about a product that is difficult to locate.
I buy something because I have certain assumptions about how much happiness it will bring me.
The cost of interactive information exchange, such as asking questions about products you are contemplating purchasing, has fallen to nearly zero.
With the rapid flow of information about businesses and their products, along with the ease of "checking up" on a vendor, good businesses will get more business and push out the bad ones.
For instance, I could hand carve bird calls and then advertise them only to people who are looking at online content about hand-carved bird calls or who search the Internet for information about hand-carved bird calls.
In 1958, an American economist named Leonard Read wrote an essay called "I, Pencil," written from the pencil's point of view, about how no one on the planet knows how to make a pencil.
We won't talk at this point about the distribution of that wealth; that will come later.
And the mechanisms that will bring that about are also the ones that will end poverty forever.
Think about breathable air.
But think about how it could play out: If energy truly were free and unlimited, you could, for instance, power tractors everywhere in the world.
Think about this: Nearly four million exajoules of energy is absorbed by the earth's atmosphere, oceans, and land each year.
But these are questions of technology, not of scarcity, and technology is about to rocket forward.
We compute the maximum amount of food the world can produce by beginning with total acres of land considered arable, but that is based on assumptions about the future of technology and agriculture.
When we talk about it in terms of scarcity, we usually mean clean water in a certain location is scarce.
And you could feel good about it; after all, you would be increasing efficiency, not merely acting as a leech to the system.
It doesn't matter what the law or the union or their mothers think about it: They can't get a thousand dollars per flip.
Now, think about machines.
We are about to enter a world where robots do more and more of our work for us.
Let's do a thought experiment about this.
I'm not about to waste my best material on a machine!
No matter how convincing the machine is, once I know it is a machine, I won't care about it anymore.
I hesitate to start talking about nanotechnology for fear I will not be able to stop—the entire field is amazing to me!
Or how about nanites that process each piece of trash in our garbage and turn it into something useful?
As much as I would like to continue with speculations about molecular-sized machines, I have a larger thesis to prove.
Everything we have talked about relating to the Internet and technology is coming to bear on robotics and nanotechnology.
These fields are about to explode with innovation and advancement.
It had 4K of memory and cost my parents about $200.
It costs about $2 a can.
Makes me hungry just thinking about it.)
It alerts you when the food is about to start burning and needs stirring.
I would love to write more and more about this topic, about how things will get better and cheaper in the future.
About clothes, and how robots will weave garments that never wear out from materials not yet invented that will cost very little.
Then, think about how far we have come in the last fifty years.
In 2009, in the United States of America, the poverty threshold for a single person under sixty-five was about $11,000 a year; the threshold for a family group of four, including two children, was about $22,000 a year.
This per-person threshold actually exceeds the average income of three-quarters of the countries on the planet, including Mexico, Russia, and Brazil, and is about 20 percent higher than the average income of the entire planet.
Think about that: Poverty in the United States is defined as higher than the average income of the planet.
By the government's calculation, about 40 percent of India's population, or half a billion people, are below that level.
The rich, of course, got very clever about where they earned and reported income.
They will simply complain about the tax rates and keep on working.
Roughly speaking, if you look at the poorest forty nations in the world, who have an average income per person of about $1,500 a year, their effective tax rates are about 20 percent.
In other words, the government taxes and spends about $300 per person per year.
So think about this.
Let's think about that for a moment.
The payments are substantial, about $1,000 per person.
When I talk about this future, a future in which machines will do more and more of the work people do now, I always get some variant of the same question: What about the people who lose their jobs to machines and don't have any other skills?
Simply because only so many jobs can, in theory, be replaced by machines does not imply anything about the ability of the people now doing them.
But in describing that job spectrum, I never said anything about his absolute ability—I said only that he was at the bottom of the list relative to others.
Freed from worry about losing a job they do not enjoy, encouraged to follow their dreams and passions, I believe most will want to do just that.
But I am not talking about a state of affairs where overnight someone with a "machine job" gets unlimited wealth.
They don't really worry about whether playing polo or building orphanages or any other chosen pursuit can pay the bills, because they don't need it to pay the bills.
Everyone you know lives in the trailer park and they all have about the same level of income.
I reasoned that if I could show how poverty will end, then of course hunger would end as well—how many rich people do you hear about going hungry?
It is fascinating reading to this day because the things he notes about the American character are still very much with us.
Why is civility so lacking in discussions about food, nutrition, and food policy?
I am not only what I eat but am also what I do, what I drink, what I think about, and more.
As we noted earlier, people no longer disagree simply about what values to apply to a set of facts—rather, they disagree as to the nature of the facts themselves.
For instance, if you think large corporation are greedy and evil, then when you read about how large corporations produce low-nutrition food or are putting family farms out of business, you will believe it.
So the current frustrating situation, where so many people have such wildly divergent understandings about nutrition, will fade away.
You can be a subsistence farmer and perhaps produce some excess, but given the prior observation about the fundamental volatility of farming, you will always be at risk of not producing enough.
Since then, the changes have become more about intellectual property and technique.
To consider the great opportunity we can find in these inefficiencies, let's begin by talking about Norman Borlaug.
While in college, Borlaug heard a lecture by Elvin Stakman about plant disease in wheat, barley, and oak crops.
To deal in generalities, plants capture, on average, about 5 percent of the solar energy that falls on their leaves.
And then, the seeds we are using aren't anything to write home about, either.
Remember the Warren Bennis quote I used earlier about the factory of the future having only one man and one dog?
Mechanization and automation—both of which are about to get a lot better.
I write this to establish my bona fides as someone who truly cares about good food.
Second, the real promise of GM crops will not necessarily come about from the food industry.
And we all know about those that optimize for cost and nutrition but the resulting food tastes awful; I have consumed enough wheatgrass to attest to this.
By one count, rice is the principle source of calories for about half the planet.
If you worry about gas emissions from cows contributing to climate change, lobby for a cow that doesn't have gas.
By taking this "Absolutely no GMOs" stance they completely remove themselves from the debate and as such have no voice in the discussion about what direction to take GM: what are safe testing practices, what factors will we optimize for, and the whole host of questions that face us on this, the eve of a momentous leap forward.
How about flowers that bloom in different colors when they are on top of land mines?
Bacteria can process toxic wastes and oil spills into harmless biodegradable materials.
You should do something about the problem.
China pulled out all the stops, dividing its farmland into about twenty-five thousand collective farms with an average of five thousand households each.
But of course, I am not most worried about the United States.
What would we have the centuries to come to say about us: That we were so eager to maximize our position of power and wealth that we turned a blind eye to injustice?
As the world grows richer, people will care more about how their food is made, how the animals are treated, whether the laborer who picked the food is paid a living wage.
It will come about through sensors, genetic engineering, better information, better communication, and precision farming.
An old joke is about the city slicker who finds himself lost in the country.
Jordanes, a Goth, wrote the following about the Huns in 551: They are beings who are cruel to their children on the very day they are born.
This is how people lived their lives in the past and if asked about it, they would have defended it.
I want to spend some time talking about civilization, but first I want to recount the progress that we have made through civilization.
The idea that a person can be a political prisoner, jailed for his beliefs about government, politics, or politicians, is ancient but happily fading.
We have not only outlawed cruelty to animals, but increasingly, people care about the living conditions of even the animals they eat.
As clichéd as it is to complain about rising rates of crime, the statistics tell a different story.
In terms of murders per one hundred thousand inhabitants, England fell from roughly twenty-three in the 1300s to about one today.
The Netherlands and Belgium fell from forty-seven in 1300s to about one today.
Germany and Switzerland fell from thirty-seven in the 1300s to about one today.
Ask people in what way they hope the world will become better and you will certainly get replies about reducing poverty, disease, and hunger.
After speaking about the economic costs of war, the burden it places on the economy, and the toll this takes on the people, Eisenhower closed by describing the peace proposals he was offering Russia and China.
This is not a section about hope, ideals, wishes, or the brotherhood of all mankind.
Everything we understood about the world and politics changed.
In this chapter, I offer forty-three developments, dynamics, and new realities I believe will work together to bring about an end to war.
Now the "war stories" are about how Mark Zuckerberg was nineteen when he started Facebook, Bill Gates was nineteen when he started Microsoft, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin were in their early twenties when they started Google.
But let's adopt the cynic's view for a moment and assume people in these corporations are chiefly concerned about their financial benefit, not about human suffering, when it comes to war.
When might no longer makes right for the strong, they think twice about preying on the weak.
If you think about it, it is hard to come up with an exception.
We could go on here and talk about other military powers and alliances, but the simple fact is that large countries are less willing to risk war in defense of small ones.
This has come about as we have left a polarized world behind us and the importance of military alliances has fallen.
The tricky part is the bit about the highlands, or mountains.
What about extradition, if a citizen of one country visits another and breaks the local law?
Having covered the financial and political factors, let's look at thirteen ways communication and information will help bring about war's demise.
I have no doubt there are all kinds of things in the Twitterverse that I want to know about, but I only find the ones that I first knew to look for.
This is not a particularly new idea, similar to the phenomenon of getting to know and care about "pen pals" in far-flung places by exchanging postal-mail letters.
It helps us bring about our social ideals.
Fast-forward a couple of decades, and the Internet has done vastly more than O'Neill could have imagined to promote open information about government.
You still can buy it from the government's bookstore; a recent one ran about two thousand pages and cost about $200.
Wars have often been the result of misunderstandings brought about by language.
It is only really about twenty years old.
Here is a fact to get your head around: In 1980, about seven million Americans had a passport.
Let's talk a moment about patriotism and nationalism, words frequently used but seldom clearly defined.
It is the same spirit that makes people fanatical about a certain sports team, regardless of the players or the score.
In World War I, in the Battle of the Somme, were over a million casualties, and the action advanced the Allied line just seven miles, or about two deaths for every inch of ground.
Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado about Nothing and Julie Taymor's The Tempest with Helen Mirren.
Shakespeare remains so popular because he wrote about timeless human experiences: love and fear and envy, anger and revenge and jealousy, ambition and regret and guilt.
King Lear is about a father who has three daughters—two who flatter him, but a third who speaks honestly and bluntly to him because she loves him.
That's what interests me about this story (which may or may not be purely true): What Simonides did—recalling the names and locations of everyone at a large banquet—is described as entirely possible and an enviable, practical skill.
He taught me everything I know about old cars and why they are cool.
From those adventures, though, I did learn (the hard way) to think ahead about what could possibly go wrong.
First, we will list the basics of my thesis about the future.
Technology brings about economic wealth through improved production, facilitation of trade, and promoting the division of labor.
That is to say, wealth creation is about to skyrocket.
More minds are thinking about more problems, coming up with better solutions.
A term, "techno-utopian," is often applied to people who believe a technology will bring about a perfect world.
If the answers to those questions are affirmative, then making assumptions about increasing rates of technological progress is very reasonable.
It is based on the idea that what we believe about the future determines what we do in the present.
Everything is about to change.
And it's about time.
About this time I found out the use of a key.
I guessed vaguely from my mother's signs and from the hurrying to and fro in the house that something unusual was about to happen, so I went to the door and waited on the steps.
But about this time I had an experience which taught me that nature is not always kind.
The small twigs snapped and fell about me in showers.
The branches lashed about me.
At first, when my teacher told me about a new thing I asked very few questions.
The large, downy peaches would reach themselves into my hand, and as the joyous breezes flew about the trees the apples tumbled at my feet.
The illustrative strings and the orange stick representing the poles seemed so real that even to this day the mere mention of temperate zone suggests a series of twine circles; and I believe that if any one should set about it he could convince me that white bears actually climb the North Pole.
After I had learned a great many interesting things about the life and habits of the children of the sea--how in the midst of dashing waves the little polyps build the beautiful coral isles of the Pacific, and the foraminifera have made the chalk-hills of many a land--my teacher read me "The Chambered Nautilus," and showed me that the shell-building process of the mollusks is symbolical of the development of the mind.
I remember the eagerness with which I made discoveries about them.
It was great fun to plunge my hand into the bowl and feel the tadpoles frisk about, and to let them slip and slide between my fingers.
When she came, everything about me breathed of love and joy and was full of meaning.
Miss Sullivan and I kept up a game of guessing which taught me more about the use of language than any set lessons could have done.
I have often held in my hand a little model of the Plymouth Rock which a kind gentleman gave me at Pilgrim Hall, and I have fingered its curves, the split in the centre and the embossed figures "1620," and turned over in my mind all that I knew about the wonderful story of the Pilgrims.
Mr. Endicott told me about the great ships that came sailing by from Boston, bound for Europe.
I was delighted, for my mind was full of the prospective joys and of the wonderful stories I had heard about the sea.
I spent the autumn months with my family at our summer cottage, on a mountain about fourteen miles from Tuscumbia.
At dawn I was awakened by the smell of coffee, the rattling of guns, and the heavy footsteps of the men as they strode about, promising themselves the greatest luck of the season.
Frequently we came upon impassable thickets which forced us to take a round about way.
About a mile distant there was a trestle spanning a deep gorge.
Mrs. Lamson had scarcely finished telling me about this girl's success before I was on fire with eagerness.
Constant practice makes the fingers very flexible, and some of my friends spell rapidly--about as fast as an expert writes on a typewriter.
In a composition which I wrote about the old cities of Greece and Italy, I borrowed my glowing descriptions, with variations, from sources I have forgotten.
I was still excessively scrupulous about everything I wrote.
At the Cape of Good Hope exhibit, I learned much about the processes of mining diamonds.
From these relics I learned more about the progress of man than I have heard or read since.
I hung about the dangerous frontier of "guess," avoiding with infinite trouble to myself and others the broad valley of reason.
We sailed on the Hudson River and wandered about on its green banks, of which Bryant loved to sing.
For eight months Mr. Keith gave me lessons five times a week, in periods of about an hour.
I found it very hard to keep my wits about me.
Ah, here they are--the mixed metaphors mocking and strutting about before me, pointing to the bull in the china shop assailed by hailstones and the bugbears with pale looks, an unanalyzed species!
At first I had only a few books in raised print--"readers" for beginners, a collection of stories for children, and a book about the earth called "Our World."
I was then about eight years old.
Then she told me that she had a beautiful story about a little boy which she was sure I should like better than "The Scarlet Letter."
As we hastened through the long grass toward the hammock, the grasshoppers swarmed about us and fastened themselves on our clothes, and I remember that my teacher insisted upon picking them all off before we sat down, which seemed to me an unnecessary waste of time.
I did not study nor analyze them--I did not know whether they were well written or not; I never thought about style or authorship.
But I must not forget that I was going to write about last summer in particular.
They forget that my whole body is alive to the conditions about me.
They lead me about and show me the things they are interested in.
As a child I loved to sit on his knee and clasp his great hand with one of mine, while Miss Sullivan spelled into the other his beautiful words about God and the spiritual world.
Then I asked many questions about the poem, and read his answers by placing my fingers on his lips.
Here in Dr. Bell's laboratory, or in the fields on the shore of the great Bras d'Or, I have spent many delightful hours listening to what he had to tell me about his experiments, and helping him fly kites by means of which he expects to discover the laws that shall govern the future air-ship.
Kind to every one, he goes about doing good, silent and unseen.
The best passages are those in which she talks about herself, and gives her world in terms of her experience of it.
I did read in my book about fox and box. fox can sit in the box.
Teacher told me about kind gentleman I shall be glad to read pretty story I do read stories in my book about tigers and lions and sheep.
Teacher and I went to walk in the yard, and I learned about how flowers and trees grow.
I do read stories in my book about lions and tigers and bears.
I hope you think about me and love me because I am a good little child.
I read pretty stories in the book you sent me, about Charles and his boat, and Arthur and his dream, and Rosa and the sheep.
I will tell you a little story about Plymouth.
When they went to Holland they did not know anyone; and they could not know what the people were talking about because they did not know Dutch.
Poor people were not happy for their hearts were full of sad thoughts because they did not know much about America.
Mildred is running about downstairs.
I have been reading in my book about astronomers.
Astronomer comes from the Latin word astra, which means stars; and astronomers are men who study the stars, and tell us about them.
The stars are so far away that people cannot tell much about them, without very excellent instruments.
I thank you very much for the beautiful story about Lord Fauntleroy, and so does teacher.
We would talk about the birds and flowers and grass and Jumbo and Pearl.
I cannot know about many things, when my dear teacher is not here.
The picture-book will tell you all about many strange and wild animals.
At ten I study about the earth on which we all live.
I study about the earth, and the animals, and I like arithmetic exceedingly.
I love you very dearly, because you have taught me so many lovely things about flowers, and birds, and people.
I am studying about insects in zoology, and I have learned many things about butterflies.
I will tell you all about it, for I remember my thoughts perfectly.
Please tell me something that you know about God.
It makes me happy to know much about my loving Father, who is good and wise.
It has followed me across the ocean and found me in this magnificent great city which I should like to tell you all about if I could take time for it and make my letter long enough.
Some time when you come and see me in my study in Boston I shall be glad to talk to you about it all if you care to hear.
I can almost think I see you with your father and mother and little sister, with all the brightness of the beautiful country about you, and it makes me very glad to know how glad you are.
I do not see how we can help thinking about God when He is so good to us all the time.
Let me tell you how it seems to me that we come to know about our heavenly Father.
I love to tell you about God.
And Jesus, who is His Son, but is nearer to Him than all of us His other Children, came into the world on purpose to tell us all about our Father's Love.
I shall want you to tell me all about everything, and not forget the Donkey.
I did not imagine, when I studied about the forests of Maine, that a strong and beautiful ship would go sailing all over the world, carrying wood from those rich forests, to build pleasant homes and schools and churches in distant countries.
And my dear father, how he would like to hear about our journey!
I am afraid I cannot think about so much time.
I must tell thee about how the day passed at Oak Knoll.
My friends have told me about your great and magnificent city, and I have read a great deal that wise Englishmen have written.
I used to think, when I read in my books about your great city, that when I visited it the people would be strangers to me, but now I feel differently.
My favourite poet has written some lines about England which I love very much.
It is Sunday morning, and while I sit here in the library writing this letter you are teaching hundreds of people some of the grand and beautiful things about their heavenly Father.
Teacher said yesterday, that perhaps Mrs. Spaulding would be willing to let us have her beautiful house, and [I] thought I would ask you about it.
Please let me know what you think about the house, and try to forgive me for troubling you so much.
But when the bright, pleasant autumn days came, and I felt strong again I began to think about the sketch.
You see, it is not very pleasant to write all about one's self.
The reports which you have read in the paper about me are not true at all.
In reading this letter about Niagara one should remember that Miss Keller knows distance and shape, and that the size of Niagara is within her experience after she has explored it, crossed the bridge and gone down in the elevator.
How you would have enjoyed hearing him tell about Venice!
Nearly all of the exhibitors seemed perfectly willing to let me touch the most delicate things, and they were very nice about explaining everything to me.
Prof. Morse knows a great deal about Japan, and is very kind and wise.
I wrote to my friends about the work and enlisted their sympathy.
It is so pleasant to learn about new things.
I have only a few moments left in which to answer your questions about the "Helen Keller" Public Library.
That is why I thought about starting one.
They have now about 100 books and about $55 in money, and a kind gentleman has given us land on which to erect a library building.
Only a few of my kind friends in Boston know anything about the library.
I had known about them for a long time; but I had never thought that I should see them, and talk to them; and I can scarcely realize now that this great pleasure has been mine!
He said no, it would not be called for about fifteen minutes; so we sat down to wait; but in a moment the man came back and asked Teacher if we would like to go to the train at once.
Mr. Burroughs told me about his home near the Hudson, and what a happy place it must be!
Teacher has read me his lively stories about his boyhood, and I enjoyed them greatly.
We spent about three weeks in Boston, after leaving New York, and I need not tell you we had a most delightful time.
There were about forty persons present, all of whom were writers and publishers.
There are about a hundred girls, and they are all so bright and happy; it is a joy to be with them.
But it is harder for Teacher than it is for me because the strain on her poor eyes is so great, and I cannot help worrying about them.
But I know you want to hear about my examinations.
What an inexpressible joy it will be to read about Achilles, and Ulysses, and Andromache and Athene, and the rest of my old friends in their own glorious language!
The truth is, I know very little about bicycles.
They also think your suggestion about a fixed handlebar a good one.
Of course you have read about the "Gordon Memorial College," which the English people are to erect at Khartoum.
Every one here is talking about the Sargent pictures.
I was a good deal amused by what she said about history.
TO MRS. SAMUEL RICHARD FULLER Wrentham, October 20, 1899. ...I suppose it is time for me to tell you something about our plans for the winter.
The facts about the braille examinations are as follows:
There were about twenty-five thousand people at the game, and, when we went out, the noise was so terrific, we nearly jumped out of our skins, thinking it was the din of war, and not of a football game that we heard.
I am now the proud owner of about fifteen new books, which we ordered from Louisville.
Do tell me what you think about Dr. Bell's suggestion.
They have also written to Mr. Hitz about her.
She could only understand Miss Rhoades when she talked about the simplest things.
TO MRS. LAURENCE HUTTON 14 Coolidge Avenue, Cambridge, December 27, 1900. ...So you read about our class luncheon in the papers?
A gentleman in Philadelphia has just written to my teacher about a deaf and blind child in Paris, whose parents are Poles.
This little boy could speak two or three languages before he lost his hearing through sickness, and he is now only about five years old.
Dr. Bell told me many interesting things about his work.
What if physical conditions have built up high walls about us?
When she met Dr. Furness, the Shakespearean scholar, he warned her not to let the college professors tell her too many assumed facts about the life of Shakespeare; all we know, he said, is that Shakespeare was baptized, married, and died.
When she returns from a walk and tells some one about it, her descriptions are accurate and vivid.
Even people who know her fairly well have written in the magazines about Miss Sullivan's "mysterious telegraphic communications" with her pupil.
The small letters are about three-sixteenths of an inch high, and are raised from the page the thickness of the thumbnail.
The books are large, about the size of a volume of an encyclopedia.
The finer traits of Miss Keller's character are so well known that one needs not say much about them.
What her good friend, Charles Dudley Warner, wrote about her in Harper's Magazine in 1896 was true then, and it remains true now:
Then she asked clear, penetrating questions about the terms of the surrender, and began to discuss them.
When she first wrote from Tuscumbia to Mr. Michael Anagnos, Dr. Howes son-in-law and his successor as Director of the Perkins Institution, about her work with her pupil, the Boston papers began at once to publish exaggerated accounts of Helen Keller.
--sent me a Boston Herald containing a stupid article about Helen.
Indeed, I am heartily glad that I don't know all that is being said and written about Helen and myself.
This with the extracts from her letters, scattered through the report, is the first valid source of information about Helen Keller.
Although Miss Sullivan is still rather amused than distressed when some one, even one of her friends, makes mistakes in published articles about her and Miss Keller, still she sees that Miss Keller's book should include all the information that the teacher could at present furnish.
But there's nothing pale or delicate about Helen.
Since I wrote you, Helen and I have gone to live all by ourselves in a little garden-house about a quarter of a mile from her home, only a short distance from Ivy Green, the Keller homestead.
He saw a gentleman whom he presumed to be the director, and told him about Helen.
Helen's instincts are decidedly social; she likes to have people about her and to visit her friends, partly, I think, because they always have things she likes to eat.
She is about fifteen months old, and already understands a great deal.
She evidently thought mothers were more likely to know about babies of all sorts.
Indeed, I feel as if I had never seen anything until now, Helen finds so much to ask about along the way.
Then we sit down under a tree, or in the shade of a bush, and talk about it.
We go home about dinner-time usually, and Helen is eager to tell her mother everything she has seen.
We are all troubled about Helen.
When I asked her about it in the morning, she said, "Book--cry," and completed her meaning by shaking and other signs of fear.
I had no idea a short time ago how to go to work; I was feeling about in the dark; but somehow I know now, and I know that I know.
Therefore let us be exceedingly careful what we say and write about her.
Helen is about the same--pale and thin; but you mustn't think she is really ill.
She is always ready to share whatever she has with those about her, often keeping but very little for herself.
I told her that she had better not talk about it any more, but think.
Her heart was full of trouble, and she wanted to talk about it.
She said: Can bug know about naughty girl?
The first evening she learned the names of all the people in the hotel, about twenty, I think.
She has talked incessantly since her return about what she did in Huntsville, and we notice a very decided improvement in her ability to use language.
She remembers all that I told her about it, and in telling her mother REPEATED THE VERY WORDS AND PHRASES I HAD USED IN DESCRIBING IT TO HER.
The name Hot Springs interested her, and she asked many questions about it.
She knows about cold springs.
Finally Belle got up, shook herself, and was about to walk away, when Helen caught her by the neck and forced her to lie down again.
Helen talks a great deal about things that she cannot know of through the sense of touch.
She asks many questions about the sky, day and night, the ocean and mountains.
She talks a great deal about what she will do when she goes to Boston.
About this time I sent a list of the words she knew to Mr. Anagnos, and he very kindly had them printed for her.
She has talked about nothing but the circus ever since.
In order to answer her questions, I have been obliged to read a great deal about animals.
I find it hard to realize that Christmas is almost here, in spite of the fact that Helen talks about nothing else.
One little chap, about seven, was persuaded to learn the letters, and he spelled his name for Helen.
After dinner it began to snow, and we had a good frolic and an interesting lesson about the snow.
For weeks we did nothing but talk and read and tell each other stories about Christmas.
After talking about the various things that carpenters make, she asked me, "Did carpenter make me?" and before I could answer, she spelled quickly, "No, no, photographer made me in Sheffield."
I appreciate the kind things Mr. Anagnos has said about Helen and me; but his extravagant way of saying them rubs me the wrong way.
Dr. Bell writes that Helen's progress is without a parallel in the education of the deaf, or something like that and he says many nice things about her teacher.
I read in my book about large, fierce animals.
Robert and I will run and jump and hop and dance and swing and talk about birds and flowers and trees and grass and Jumbo and Pearl will go with us.
We talk and plan and dream about nothing but Boston, Boston, Boston.
I am too happy to write letters; but I must tell you about our visit to Cincinnati.
There is something about her that attracts people.
We laughed until we cried, she was so serious about it.
Wouldn't the children understand if you talked to them about Helen?
I asked her if the little girl who had written about the new dress was particularly pleased with her dress.
"No," she replied, "I think not; but children learn better if they write about things that concern them personally."
I did learn about calm.
I read about birds.
I learned a song about spring.
I did read about cow and calf.
I watched her for some time as she moved about, trying to take long strides in order to carry out the idea I had given her of a camel's gait.
During the next two years neither Mr. Anagnos, who was in Europe for a year, nor Miss Sullivan wrote anything about Helen Keller for publication.
Later, when she was able to talk about it, she said: Poor Ginger!
Helen wanted me to tell her about it.
I wish to write about things I do not understand.
Why cannot we know as much about heaven as we do about foreign countries?
Another time she was asking about the power and goodness of God.
In order to write one must have something to write about, and having something to write about requires some mental preparation.
I believe every child has hidden away somewhere in his being noble capacities which may be quickened and developed if we go about it in the right way; but we shall never properly develop the higher natures of our little ones while we continue to fill their minds with the so-called rudiments.
Let them run in the fields, learn about animals, and observe real things.
It is the proposition, something predicated about something, that conveys an idea.
When Miss Sullivan went out in the barnyard and picked up a little chicken and talked to Helen about it, she was giving a kind of instruction impossible inside four walls, and impossible with more than one pupil at a time.
Her speech lacks variety and modulation; it runs in a sing-song when she is reading aloud; and when she speaks with fair degree of loudness, it hovers about two or three middle tones.
Her little hands felt every object and observed every movement of the persons about her, and she was quick to imitate these movements.
When she was not occupied, she wandered restlessly about the house, making strange though rarely unpleasant sounds.
On the other hand, the peculiar value to her of language, which ordinary people take for granted as a necessary part of them like their right hand, made her think about language and love it.
About the same time, in a letter to a friend, in which she makes mention of her Southern home, she gives so close a reproduction from a poem by one of her favourite authors that I will give extracts from Helen's letter and from the poem itself:
She was at work upon it about two weeks, writing a little each day, at her own pleasure.
As I had never read this story, or even heard of the book, I inquired of Helen if she knew anything about the matter, and found she did not.
Please give her my warm love, and tell her not to feel troubled about it any more.
He stood still a moment to look about him, and think what he should do first.
Then they began to wander merrily about searching for nuts, climbing trees, peeping curiously into the empty birds' nests, and playing hide and seek from behind the trees.
'I thought everybody had the same thought about the leaves, but I do not know now.
I thought very much about the sad news when teacher went to the doctor's; she was not here at dinner and I missed her.'
I asked Helen what stories she had read about Jack Frost.
In answer to my question she recited a part of the poem called 'Freaks of the Frost,' and she referred to a little piece about winter, in one of the school readers.
She could not remember that any one had ever read to her any stories about King Frost, but said she had talked with her teacher about Jack Frost and the wonderful things he did.
I would cling to my mother's dress as she went about her household duties, and my little hands felt every object and observed every motion, and in this way I learned a great many things.
There is no affectation about them, and as they come straight from your heart, so they go straight to mine.
In her style, as in what she writes about, we must concede to the artist what we deny to the autobiographer.
To be sure, I take the keenest interest in everything that concerns those who surround me; it is this very interest which makes it so difficult for me to carry on a conversation with some people who will not talk or say what they think, but I should not be sorry to find more friends ready to talk with me now and then about the wonderful things I read.
They strut about on the stage of the play like they were very famous actors.
Perhaps this was a confused recollection of the story I had heard not long before about Red Riding Hood.
I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.
I walked about the outside, at first unobserved from within, the window was so deep and high.
What if an equal ado were made about the ornaments of style in literature, and the architects of our bibles spent as much time about their cornices as the architects of our churches do?
To my astonishment I was informed on leaving college that I had studied navigation!--why, if I had taken one turn down the harbor I should have known more about it.
Many are concerned about the monuments of the West and the East--to know who built them.
It appears from the above estimate, that my food alone cost me in money about twenty-seven cents a week.
It would seem that I made it according to the recipe which Marcus Porcius Cato gave about two centuries before Christ.
Not a word about leaven.
For more than five years I maintained myself thus solely by the labor of my hands, and I found that, by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living.
Men say, practically, Begin where you are and such as you are, without aiming mainly to become of more worth, and with kindness aforethought go about doing good.
If I were to preach at all in this strain, I should say rather, Set about being good.
If anything ail a man, so that he does not perform his functions, if he have a pain in his bowels even--for that is the seat of sympathy--he forthwith sets about reforming--the world.
Take your time, and set about some free labor.
And when they run over a man that is walking in his sleep, a supernumerary sleeper in the wrong position, and wake him up, they suddenly stop the cars, and make a hue and cry about it, as if this were an exception.
If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business.
This is about as much as the college-bred generally do or aspire to do, and they take an English paper for the purpose.
One who has just come from reading perhaps one of the best English books will find how many with whom he can converse about it?
Or suppose he comes from reading a Greek or Latin classic in the original, whose praises are familiar even to the so-called illiterate; he will find nobody at all to speak to, but must keep silence about it.
Near the end of May, the sand cherry (Cerasus pumila) adorned the sides of the path with its delicate flowers arranged in umbels cylindrically about its short stems, which last, in the fall, weighed down with good-sized and handsome cherries, fell over in wreaths like rays on every side.
The sumach (Rhus glabra) grew luxuriantly about the house, pushing up through the embankment which I had made, and growing five or six feet the first season.
The Fitchburg Railroad touches the pond about a hundred rods south of where I dwell.
I see these men every day go about their business with more or less courage and content, doing more even than they suspect, and perchance better employed than they could have consciously devised.
They sang at intervals throughout the night, and were again as musical as ever just before and about dawn.
There is commonly sufficient space about us.
At one o'clock the next day Massasoit "brought two fishes that he had shot," about thrice as big as a bream.
They had nothing to eat themselves, and they were wiser than to think that apologies could supply the place of food to their guests; so they drew their belts tighter and said nothing about it.
To him Homer was a great writer, though what his writing was about he did not know.
He was about twenty-eight years old, and had left Canada and his father's house a dozen years before to work in the States, and earn money to buy a farm with at last, perhaps in his native country.
In the winter he had a fire by which at noon he warmed his coffee in a kettle; and as he sat on a log to eat his dinner the chickadees would sometimes come round and alight on his arm and peck at the potato in his fingers; and he said that he "liked to have the little fellers about him."
Men who did not know when their visit had terminated, though I went about my business again, answering them from greater and greater remoteness.
As I drew a still fresher soil about the rows with my hoe, I disturbed the ashes of unchronicled nations who in primeval years lived under these heavens, and their small implements of war and hunting were brought to the light of this modern day.
When they were growing, I used to hoe from five o'clock in the morning till noon, and commonly spent the rest of the day about other affairs.
"The earth," he adds elsewhere, "especially if fresh, has a certain magnetism in it, by which it attracts the salt, power, or virtue (call it either) which gives it life, and is the logic of all the labor and stir we keep about it, to sustain us; all dungings and other sordid temperings being but the vicars succedaneous to this improvement."
This is the result of my experience in raising beans: Plant the common small white bush bean about the first of June, in rows three feet by eighteen inches apart, being careful to select fresh round and unmixed seed.
Why concern ourselves so much about our beans for seed, and not be concerned at all about a new generation of men?
Besides, there was a still more terrible standing invitation to call at every one of these houses, and company expected about these times.
Sometimes I bolted suddenly, and nobody could tell my whereabouts, for I did not stand much about gracefulness, and never hesitated at a gap in a fence.
They lived about a mile off through the woods, and were quite used to the route.
The surrounding hills rise abruptly from the water to the height of forty to eighty feet, though on the southeast and east they attain to about one hundred and one hundred and fifty feet respectively, within a quarter and a third of a mile.
This is that portion, also, where in the spring, the ice being warmed by the heat of the sun reflected from the bottom, and also transmitted through the earth, melts first and forms a narrow canal about the still frozen middle.
There are also a clean race of frogs and tortoises, and a few mussels in it; muskrats and minks leave their traces about it, and occasionally a travelling mud-turtle visits it.
Flint's, or Sandy Pond, in Lincoln, our greatest lake and inland sea, lies about a mile east of Walden.
It was about a foot in diameter at the big end, and he had expected to get a good saw-log, but it was so rotten as to be fit only for fuel, if for that.
The chickens, which had also taken shelter here from the rain, stalked about the room like members of the family, too humanized, methought, to roast well.
I speak of fishing only now, for I had long felt differently about fowling, and sold my gun before I went to the woods.
We discourse freely without shame of one form of sensuality, and are silent about another.
Methinks I was nearly in this frame of mind; the world lay about at this angle.
I will just try these three sentences of Confut-see; they may fetch that state about again.
I lingered most about the fireplace, as the most vital part of the house.
Should not every apartment in which man dwells be lofty enough to create some obscurity overhead, where flickering shadows may play at evening about the rafters?
I had in my cellar a firkin of potatoes, about two quarts of peas with the weevil in them, and on my shelf a little rice, a jug of molasses, and of rye and Indian meal a peck each.
There is as much secrecy about the cooking as if he had a design to poison you.
I remembered the story of a conceited fellow, who, in fine clothes, was wont to lounge about the village once, giving advice to workmen.
There are many furrows in the sand where some creature has travelled about and doubled on its tracks; and, for wrecks, it is strewn with the cases of caddis-worms made of minute grains of white quartz.
I had an old axe which nobody claimed, with which by spells in winter days, on the sunny side of the house, I played about the stumps which I had got out of my bean-field.
It was about the size of mine.
It chanced that I walked that way across the fields the following night, about the same hour, and hearing a low moaning at this spot, I drew near in the dark, and discovered the only survivor of the family that I know, the heir of both its virtues and its vices, who alone was interested in this burning, lying on his stomach and looking over the cellar wall at the still smouldering cinders beneath, muttering to himself, as is his wont.
But all I can learn of their conclusions amounts to just this, that "Cato and Brister pulled wool"; which is about as edifying as the history of more famous schools of philosophy.
But no friendly Indian concerned himself about me; nor needed he, for the master of the house was at home.
We talked of rude and simple times, when men sat about large fires in cold, bracing weather, with clear heads; and when other dessert failed, we tried our teeth on many a nut which wise squirrels have long since abandoned, for those which have the thickest shells are commonly empty.
When I crossed Flint's Pond, after it was covered with snow, though I had often paddled about and skated over it, it was so unexpectedly wide and so strange that I could think of nothing but Baffin's Bay.
One night in the beginning of winter, before the pond froze over, about nine o'clock, I was startled by the loud honking of a goose, and, stepping to the door, heard the sound of their wings like a tempest in the woods as they flew low over my house.
At midnight, when there was a moon, I sometimes met with hounds in my path prowling about the woods, which would skulk out of my way, as if afraid, and stand silent amid the bushes till I had passed.
I fathomed it easily with a cod-line and a stone weighing about a pound and a half, and could tell accurately when the stone left the bottom, by having to pull so much harder before the water got underneath to help me.
William Gilpin, who is so admirable in all that relates to landscapes, and usually so correct, standing at the head of Loch Fyne, in Scotland, which he describes as "a bay of salt water, sixty or seventy fathoms deep, four miles in breadth," and about fifty miles long, surrounded by mountains, observes, "If we could have seen it immediately after the diluvian crash, or whatever convulsion of nature occasioned it, before the waters gushed in, what a horrid chasm must it have appeared!
In order to see how nearly I could guess, with this experience, at the deepest point in a pond, by observing the outlines of a surface and the character of its shores alone, I made a plan of White Pond, which contains about forty-one acres, and, like this, has no island in it, nor any visible inlet or outlet; and as the line of greatest breadth fell very near the line of least breadth, where two opposite capes approached each other and two opposite bays receded, I ventured to mark a point a short distance from the latter line, but still on the line of greatest length, as the deepest.
They told me that in a good day they could get out a thousand tons, which was the yield of about one acre.
So the hollows about this pond will, sometimes, in the winter, be filled with a greenish water somewhat like its own, but the next day will have frozen blue.
It commonly opens about the first of April, a week or ten days later than Flint's Pond and Fair Haven, beginning to melt on the north side and in the shallower parts where it began to freeze.
So, also, every one who has waded about the shores of the pond in summer must have perceived how much warmer the water is close to the shore, where only three or four inches deep, than a little distance out, and on the surface where it is deep, than near the bottom.
In 1845 Walden was first completely open on the 1st of April; in '46, the 25th of March; in '47, the 8th of April; in '51, the 28th of March; in '52, the 18th of April; in '53, the 23d of March; in '54, about the 7th of April.
The pitch pines and shrub oaks about my house, which had so long drooped, suddenly resumed their several characters, looked brighter, greener, and more erect and alive, as if effectually cleansed and restored by the rain.
But when I stood on the shore they at once rose up with a great flapping of wings at the signal of their commander, and when they had got into rank circled about over my head, twenty-nine of them, and then steered straight to Canada, with a regular honk from the leader at intervals, trusting to break their fast in muddier pools.
The interest and the conversation are about costume and manners chiefly; but a goose is a goose still, dress it as you will.
But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission.
It is not worth the while to snivel about it.
Anna Pavlovna's alarm was justified, for Pierre turned away from the aunt without waiting to hear her speech about Her Majesty's health.
The group about Mortemart immediately began discussing the murder of the Duc d'Enghien.
Pierre had managed to start a conversation with the abbe about the balance of power, and the latter, evidently interested by the young man's simple-minded eagerness, was explaining his pet theory.
Everything about him, from his weary, bored expression to his quiet, measured step, offered a most striking contrast to his quiet, little wife.
"How about my son Boris, Prince?" said she, hurrying after him into the anteroom.
Certainly; but about Kutuzov, I don't promise.
I am not speaking of regicide, I am speaking about ideas.
And Prince Hippolyte began to tell his story in such Russian as a Frenchman would speak after spending about a year in Russia.
Stout, about the average height, broad, with huge red hands; he did not know, as the saying is, how to enter a drawing room and still less how to leave one; that is, how to say something particularly agreeable before going away.
Anna Pavlovna had already managed to speak to Lise about the match she contemplated between Anatole and the little princess' sister-in-law.
Write to me all about it, and I will help you in everything.
It was about this choice that Prince Andrew was speaking.
Excuse me for saying so, but you have no sense about women.
Prince Andrew rose, shrugged his shoulders, and walked about the room.
Pierre looked over his spectacles with naive surprise, now at him and now at her, moved as if about to rise too, but changed his mind.
Pierre was always astonished at Prince Andrew's calm manner of treating everybody, his extraordinary memory, his extensive reading (he had read everything, knew everything, and had an opinion about everything), but above all at his capacity for work and study.
What's the use of talking about me?
Let us talk about you, he added after a silence, smiling at his reassuring thoughts.
"But what is there to say about me?" said Pierre, his face relaxing into a careless, merry smile.
Leading such a life I can't decide or think properly about anything.
Pierre smiled, looking about him merrily.
He was about twenty-five.
The countess was a woman of about forty-five, with a thin Oriental type of face, evidently worn out with childbearing--she had had twelve.
The conversation was on the chief topic of the day: the illness of the wealthy and celebrated beau of Catherine's day, Count Bezukhov, and about his illegitimate son Pierre, the one who had behaved so improperly at Anna Pavlovna's reception.
He is in such bad health, and now this vexation about his son is enough to kill him!
"What is that?" asked the countess as if she did not know what the visitor alluded to, though she had already heard about the cause of Count Bezukhov's distress some fifteen times.
And there was the bear swimming about with the policeman on his back!
The elders began talking about Bonaparte.
Natasha was about to call him but changed her mind.
But don't let's talk about me; tell me how you managed everything.
"Well, and to whom did you apply about Bory?" asked the countess.
The story told about him at Count Rostov's was true.
Boris knew nothing about the Boulogne expedition; he did not read the papers and it was the first time he had heard Villeneuve's name.
I know nothing about it and have not thought about it.
Just now they are talking about you and your father.
This was Lieutenant Berg, an officer in the Semenov regiment with whom Boris was to travel to join the army, and about whom Natasha had teased her elder sister Vera, speaking of Berg as her "intended."
It was just the moment before a big dinner when the assembled guests, expecting the summons to zakuska, * avoid engaging in any long conversation but think it necessary to move about and talk, in order to show that they are not at all impatient for their food.
The latter understood that she was being asked to entertain this young man, and sitting down beside him she began to speak about his father; but he answered her, as he had the countess, only in monosyllables.
The footmen began moving about, chairs scraped, the band struck up in the gallery, and the guests settled down in their places.
What are you making such a noise about over there?
"It's all about the war," the count shouted down the table.
Again the footmen rushed about, chairs scraped, and in the same order in which they had entered but with redder faces, the guests returned to the drawing room and to the count's study.
You know I have told him all about it.
Everyone stood up respectfully when the Military Governor, having stayed about half an hour alone with the dying man, passed out, slightly acknowledging their bows and trying to escape as quickly as possible from the glances fixed on him by the doctors, clergy, and relatives of the family.
"Beautiful," said the doctor in answer to a remark about the weather.
The princess smiled as people do who think they know more about the subject under discussion than those they are talking with.
"My dear Princess Catherine Semenovna," began Prince Vasili impatiently, "I came here not to wrangle with you, but to talk about your interests as with a kinswoman, a good, kind, true relation.
Tell me all you know about the will, and above all where it is.
Last winter she wheedled herself in here and told the count such vile, disgraceful things about us, especially about Sophie--I can't repeat them--that it made the count quite ill and he would not see us for a whole fortnight.
We've got to it at last--why did you not tell me about it sooner?
Anna Mikhaylovna, addressing a maid who was hurrying past with a decanter on a tray as "my dear" and "my sweet," asked about the princess' health and then led Pierre along a stone passage.
Pierre could not make out what it was all about, and still less what "watching over his interests" meant, but he decided that all these things had to be.
He had another stroke about half an hour ago.
Unction is about to be administered.
This lasted about two minutes, which to Pierre seemed an hour.
With those about him, from his daughter to his serfs, the prince was sharp and invariably exacting, so that without being a hardhearted man he inspired such fear and respect as few hardhearted men would have aroused.
"This won't do, Princess; it won't do," said he, when Princess Mary, having taken and closed the exercise book with the next day's lesson, was about to leave: "Mathematics are most important, madam!
Someday I will tell you about our parting and all that was said then.
The chief news, about which all Moscow gossips, is the death of old Count Bezukhov, and his inheritance.
That is all I have been able to find out about him.
I cannot agree with you about Pierre, whom I knew as a child.
What about Austria? said he, rising from his chair and pacing up and down the room followed by Tikhon, who ran after him, handing him different articles of clothing.
The old prince did not evince the least interest during this explanation, but as if he were not listening to it continued to dress while walking about, and three times unexpectedly interrupted.
Princess Mary could not understand the boldness of her brother's criticism and was about to reply, when the expected footsteps were heard coming from the study.
The prince asked her about her father, and she began to smile and talk.
He asked about mutual acquaintances, and she became still more animated and chattered away giving him greetings from various people and retelling the town gossip.
Michael Ivanovich did not at all know when "you and I" had said such things about Bonaparte, but understanding that he was wanted as a peg on which to hang the prince's favorite topic, he looked inquiringly at the young prince, wondering what would follow.
This very sentence about Countess Zubova and this same laugh Prince Andrew had already heard from his wife in the presence of others some five times.
Servants with lanterns were bustling about in the porch.
"Listen!" said he; "don't worry about your wife: what can be done shall be.
He walked about in front of the line and at every step pulled himself up, slightly arching his back.
But what about your excellency?... nobody knows.
"And what about his character?" asked the regimental commander.
"There's nothing to be gay about," answered Bolkonski.
"What about your master?" he asked Lavrushka, Denisov's orderly, whom all the regiment knew for a rogue.
I know by now, if he wins he comes back early to brag about it, but if he stays out till morning it means he's lost and will come back in a rage.
"Have you told them to bring the horse?" asked Telyanin, getting up and looking carelessly about him.
I only came round to ask Denisov about yesterday's order.
Denisov frowned and was about to shout some reply but stopped.
The lieutenant was looking about in his usual way and suddenly seemed to grow very merry.
"You speak to the colonel about this nasty business before other officers," continued the staff captain, "and Bogdanich" (the colonel was called Bogdanich) "shuts you up."
Every face bore almost the same smile, expressing unseemly thoughts about the women.
They're led about just for show! remarked another.
"Well, what about it?" said he to Denisov.
"The devil only knows what they're about!" muttered Denisov.
"You spoke to me of inflammable material," said he, "but you said nothing about firing it."
Rostov wiping his muddy hands on his breeches looked at his enemy and was about to run on, thinking that the farther he went to the front the better.
He stood looking about him, when suddenly he heard a rattle on the bridge as if nuts were being spilt, and the hussar nearest to him fell against the rails with a groan.
And if he asks about the losses?
And, in fact, Bilibin's witticisms were hawked about in the Viennese drawing rooms and often had an influence on matters considered important.
"Well, now tell me about your exploits," said he.
"Really I don't care about that, I don't care at all," said Prince Andrew, beginning to understand that his news of the battle before Krems was really of small importance in view of such events as the fall of Austria's capital.
"Buonaparte?" said Bilibin inquiringly, puckering up his forehead to indicate that he was about to say something witty.
From politeness and to start conversation, they asked him a few questions about the army and the battle, and then the talk went off into merry jests and gossip.
"Tell me about that!" he said.
He sat down beside Hippolyte and wrinkling his forehead began talking to him about politics.
Between four and five in the afternoon, having made all his calls, he was returning to Bilibin's house thinking out a letter to his father about the battle and his visit to Brunn.
What is it all about? inquired Prince Andrew impatiently.
But what is best of all," he went on, his excitement subsiding under the delightful interest of his own story, "is that the sergeant in charge of the cannon which was to give the signal to fire the mines and blow up the bridge, this sergeant, seeing that the French troops were running onto the bridge, was about to fire, but Lannes stayed his hand.
And Prince Andrew after giving directions about his departure went to his room.
There was something peculiar about it, quite unsoldierly, rather comic, but extremely attractive.
They were naturally talking about the campaign.
Whatever we may say about the soul going to the sky... we know there is no sky but only an atmosphere.
While he was speaking, the curtain of smoke that had concealed the hollow, driven by a rising wind, began to move from right to left as if drawn by an invisible hand, and the hill opposite, with the French moving about on it, opened out before them.
Zherkov, not removing his hand from his cap, turned his horse about and galloped off.
Amid the smoke, deafened by the incessant reports which always made him jump, Tushin not taking his pipe from his mouth ran from gun to gun, now aiming, now counting the charges, now giving orders about replacing dead or wounded horses and harnessing fresh ones, and shouting in his feeble voice, so high pitched and irresolute.
Only when a man was killed or wounded did he frown and turn away from the sight, shouting angrily at the men who, as is always the case, hesitated about lifting the injured or dead.
He had not seen the hussars all that day, but had heard about them from an infantry officer.
I know something about that.
But much as all the rest laughed, talked, and joked, much as they enjoyed their Rhine wine, saute, and ices, and however they avoided looking at the young couple, and heedless and unobservant as they seemed of them, one could feel by the occasional glances they gave that the story about Sergey Kuzmich, the laughter, and the food were all a pretense, and that the whole attention of that company was directed to-- Pierre and Helene.
"The step must be taken but I cannot, I cannot!" thought Pierre, and he again began speaking about indifferent matters, about Sergey Kuzmich, asking what the point of the story was as he had not heard it properly.
When Prince Vasili returned to the drawing room, the princess, his wife, was talking in low tones to the elderly lady about Pierre.
He was about to stoop over her hand and kiss it, but with a rapid, almost brutal movement of her head, she intercepted his lips and met them with her own.
When the little princess had grown accustomed to life at Bald Hills, she took a special fancy to Mademoiselle Bourienne, spent whole days with her, asked her to sleep in her room, and often talked with her about the old prince and criticized him.
Why did they write, why did Lise tell me about it?
Anatole stood with his right thumb under a button of his uniform, his chest expanded and his back drawn in, slightly swinging one foot, and, with his head a little bent, looked with beaming face at the princess without speaking and evidently not thinking about her at all.
Anatole answered the Frenchwoman very readily and, looking at her with a smile, talked to her about her native land.
What angered him was that the coming of these visitors revived in his mind an unsettled question he always tried to stifle, one about which he always deceived himself.
Prince Bolkonski sat down in his usual place in the corner of the sofa and, drawing up an armchair for Prince Vasili, pointed to it and began questioning him about political affairs and news.
So her future shaped itself in Mademoiselle Bourienne's head at the very time she was talking to Anatole about Paris.
In the evening, after supper, when all were about to retire, Anatole kissed Princess Mary's hand.
"I should be glad enough to fall asleep, so it's not my fault!" and her voice quivered like that of a child about to cry.
Tikhon, half asleep, heard him pacing angrily about and snorting.
But what her father had said about Mademoiselle Bourienne was dreadful.
"I'm not a goose, but they are who cry about trifles," said Petya.
How strange, how extraordinary, how joyful it seemed, that her son, the scarcely perceptible motion of whose tiny limbs she had felt twenty years ago within her, that son about whom she used to have quarrels with the too indulgent count, that son who had first learned to say "pear" and then "granny," that this son should now be away in a foreign land amid strange surroundings, a manly warrior doing some kind of man's work of his own, without help or guidance.
Not a word about himself....
About some Denisov or other, though he himself, I dare say, is braver than any of them.
He says nothing about his sufferings.
Boris, in the accurate way characteristic of him, was building a little pyramid of chessmen with his delicate white fingers while awaiting Berg's move, and watched his opponent's face, evidently thinking about the game as he always thought only of whatever he was engaged on.
He was about to embrace his friend, but Nicholas avoided him.
This pleased Rostov and he began talking about it, and as he went on became more and more animated.
Boris inquired what news there might be on the staff, and what, without indiscretion, one might ask about our plans.
When the review was over, the newly arrived officers, and also Kutuzov's, collected in groups and began to talk about the awards, about the Austrians and their uniforms, about their lines, about Bonaparte, and how badly the latter would fare now, especially if the Essen corps arrived and Prussia took our side.
But the talk in every group was chiefly about the Emperor Alexander.
I was fussing about with Germans all day.
I have been thinking about you.
He has had a letter from Prince Kuragin about me.
Do you know the tale about him and Count Markov?
At dawn on the sixteenth of November, Denisov's squadron, in which Nicholas Rostov served and which was in Prince Bagration's detachment, moved from the place where it had spent the night, advancing into action as arranged, and after going behind other columns for about two thirds of a mile was stopped on the highroad.
"Despite my great respect for old Kutuzov," he continued, "we should be a nice set of fellows if we were to wait about and so give him a chance to escape, or to trick us, now that we certainly have him in our hands!
I thought about him too, just opposite Guryev's house...
On the day of battle the soldiers excitedly try to get beyond the interests of their regiment, they listen intently, look about, and eagerly ask concerning what is going on around them.
How it would come about he did not know, but he felt sure it would do so.
The Emperor Francis, a rosy, long faced young man, sat very erect on his handsome black horse, looking about him in a leisurely and preoccupied manner.
But the Emperor Francis continued to look about him and did not listen.
The silence lasted for about a minute.
The fog had begun to clear and enemy troops were already dimly visible about a mile and a half off on the opposite heights.
"What are they about?" thought Prince Andrew as he gazed at them.
"But that's the Grand Duke, and I want the commander-in-chief or the Emperor," said Rostov, and was about to spur his horse.
Rostov let go of the horse and was about to ride on, when a wounded officer passing by addressed him:
"Oh, what are you talking about?" said another.
When he had ridden about two miles and had passed the last of the Russian troops, he saw, near a kitchen garden with a ditch round it, two men on horseback facing the ditch.
Rostov was happy in the assurance that the rumors about the Emperor being wounded were false.
During this transfer he felt a little stronger and was able to look about him and even speak.
Sonya, when he came in, was twirling round and was about to expand her dresses into a balloon and sit down.
I'll tell you all about it some other time.
I don't think about him or anyone else, and I don't want anything of the kind.
There will be time enough to think about love when I want to, but now I have no time.
Pierre, who at his wife's command had let his hair grow and abandoned his spectacles, went about the rooms fashionably dressed but looking sad and dull.
"What are you about?" shouted Rostov, looking at him in an ecstasy of exasperation.
Pierre did not catch what they were saying, but knew they were talking about him.
What are you about? whispered their frightened voices.
He looked about distractedly and screwed up his eyes as if dazzled by the sun.
What is there to talk about? said Pierre.
Pierre, hardly restraining his sobs, began running toward Dolokhov and was about to cross the space between the barriers, when Dolokhov cried:
But at the moment when he imagined himself calmed by such reflections, she suddenly came into his mind as she was at the moments when he had most strongly expressed his insincere love for her, and he felt the blood rush to his heart and had again to get up and move about and break and tear whatever came to his hand.
She knew of the duel and had come to speak about it.
That I shall be the laughingstock of all Moscow, that everyone will say that you, drunk and not knowing what you were about, challenged a man you are jealous of without cause.
"Nothing... only I feel sad... sad about Andrew," she said, wiping away her tears on her sister-in-law's knee.
She said nothing but looked about uneasily as if in search of something.
She kissed Lise and was about to leave the room.
You young ladies should not know anything about it.
I don't care a straw about anyone but those I love; but those I love, I love so that I would give my life for them, and the others I'd throttle if they stood in my way.
I have an adored, a priceless mother, and two or three friends--you among them--and as for the rest I only care about them in so far as they are harmful or useful.
She almost quarreled with her brother about him.
Well, I don't know about that, but I am uncomfortable with him.
About twenty people were present, including Dolokhov and Denisov.
This was the first time since his return that they had talked alone and about their love.
That evening, proud of Dolokhov's proposal, her refusal, and her explanation with Nicholas, Sonya twirled about before she left home so that the maid could hardly get her hair plaited, and she was transparently radiant with impulsive joy.
"About your sister," ejaculated Denisov testily.
Do you remember we had a talk about cards...
They know nothing about it!
"And what is she so pleased about?" thought Nicholas, looking at his sister.
He began reading about the sufferings and virtuous struggles of a certain Emilie de Mansfeld.
"How about the horses?" he asked, without looking at Pierre.
Having led him about ten paces, Willarski stopped.
He listened to the Rhetor in silence, feeling from all he said that his ordeal was about to begin.
Pierre gradually began to recover himself and looked about at the room and at the people in it.
Pierre himself grew still more confused, blushed like a child till tears came to his eyes, began looking about him uneasily, and an awkward pause followed.
I know all about it, and I can tell you positively that Helene is as innocent before you as Christ was before the Jews.
Pierre was about to reply, but Prince Vasili interrupted him.
I know all about it and understand it all, he said.
I said so even at the time when everybody was in raptures about him, when he had just returned from abroad, and when, if you remember, he posed as a sort of Marat at one of my soirees.
Tu l'as voulu, George Dandin,' that's all we have to say about it!
Speaking of the position of Prussia, Anna Pavlovna very naturally asked Boris to tell them about his journey to Glogau and in what state he found the Prussian army.
Boris, speaking with deliberation, told them in pure, correct French many interesting details about the armies and the court, carefully abstaining from expressing an opinion of his own about the facts he was recounting.
She asked him several questions about his journey and seemed greatly interested in the state of the Prussian army.
Come now, what about your Roi de Prusse?
It seemed as if from some words Boris had spoken that evening about the Prussian army, Helene had suddenly found it necessary to see him.
Soon after Prince Andrew's return the old prince made over to him a large estate, Bogucharovo, about twenty-five miles from Bald Hills.
Have received another letter about the Preussisch-Eylau battle from Petenka--he took part in it--and it's all true.
At last he saw him: the rosy boy had tossed about till he lay across the bed with his head lower than the pillow, and was smacking his lips in his sleep and breathing evenly.
About 80,000 went in payments on all the estates to the Land Bank, about 30,000 went for the upkeep of the estate near Moscow, the town house, and the allowance to the three princesses; about 15,000 was given in pensions and the same amount for asylums; 150,000 alimony was sent to the countess; about 70,000 went for interest on debts.
About 80,000 went in payments on all the estates to the Land Bank, about 30,000 went for the upkeep of the estate near Moscow, the town house, and the allowance to the three princesses; about 15,000 was given in pensions and the same amount for asylums; 150,000 alimony was sent to the countess; about 70,000 went for interest on debts.
The building of a new church, previously begun, had cost about 10,000 in each of the last two years, and he did not know how the rest, about 100,000 rubles, was spent, and almost every year he was obliged to borrow.
They put questions and gave brief replies about things they knew ought to be talked over at length.
They went out and walked about till dinnertime, talking of the political news and common acquaintances like people who do not know each other intimately.
What about your son, your sister, and your father?
I go to bed after two in the morning, thoughts come and I can't sleep but toss about till dawn, because I think and can't help thinking, just as he can't help plowing and mowing; if he didn't, he would go to the drink shop or fall ill.
The third thing--what else was it you talked about? and Prince Andrew crooked a third finger.
He will drag about as a cripple, a burden to everybody, for another ten years.
Pierre suddenly began, lowering his head and looking like a bull about to charge, why do you think so?
What about? asked Prince Andrew with surprise.
About life, about man's destiny.
About life, about man's destiny.
Well, what do you think about it?
What do I think about it?
"Really?" said Pierre, gazing over his spectacles with curiosity and seriousness (for which Princess Mary was specially grateful to him) into Ivanushka's face, who, seeing that she was being spoken about, looked round at them all with crafty eyes.
I am very anxious about him.
As no transports could arrive, the men dispersed about the abandoned and deserted villages, searching for potatoes, but found few even of these.
It was very bitter, but they wandered about the fields seeking it and dug it out with their sabers and ate it, though they were ordered not to do so, as it was a noxious plant.
Despite their pale swollen faces and tattered uniforms, the hussars formed line for roll call, kept things in order, groomed their horses, polished their arms, brought in straw from the thatched roofs in place of fodder, and sat down to dine round the caldrons from which they rose up hungry, joking about their nasty food and their hunger.
On each side of the trench, the earth was cut out to a breadth of about two and a half feet, and this did duty for bedsteads and couches.
Lavrushka was saying something about loaded wagons, biscuits, and oxen he had seen when he had gone out for provisions.
Five minutes later, Denisov came into the hut, climbed with muddy boots on the bed, lit his pipe, furiously scattered his things about, took his leaded whip, buckled on his saber, and went out again.
I shall answer for it and not you, and you'd better not buzz about here till you get hurt.
But at noon the adjutant of the regiment came into Rostov's and Denisov's dugout with a grave and serious face and regretfully showed them a paper addressed to Major Denisov from the regimental commander in which inquiries were made about yesterday's occurrence.
Rostov, who felt his friend's absence very much, having no news of him since he left and feeling very anxious about his wound and the progress of his affairs, took advantage of the armistice to get leave to visit Denisov in hospital.
Several bandaged soldiers, with pale swollen faces, were sitting or walking about in the sunshine in the yard.
Some were walking about the rooms in hospital dressing gowns.
The first person Rostov met in the officers' ward was a thin little man with one arm, who was walking about the first room in a nightcap and hospital dressing gown, with a pipe between his teeth.
He did not ask about the regiment, nor about the general state of affairs, and when Rostov spoke of these matters did not listen.
Late in the evening, when Rostov was about to leave, he asked Denisov whether he had no commission for him.
At the time of the meeting at Tilsit he asked the names of those who had come with Napoleon and about the uniforms they wore, and listened attentively to words spoken by important personages.
In his civilian clothes and a round hat, he wandered about the town, staring at the French and their uniforms and at the streets and houses where the Russian and French Emperors were staying.
Rostov turned and was about to go, but the man in the braces stopped him.
He stopped and looked about him, brightening everything around by his glance.
The members of his suite, guessing at once what he wanted, moved about and whispered as they passed something from one to another, and a page--the same one Rostov had seen the previous evening at Boris'--ran forward and, bowing respectfully over the outstretched hand and not keeping it waiting a moment, laid in it an Order on a red ribbon.
If once we begin judging and arguing about everything, nothing sacred will be left!
"What is he talking about?" thought Prince Andrew.
Only the dead-looking evergreen firs dotted about in the forest, and this oak, refused to yield to the charm of spring or notice either the spring or the sunshine.
Prince Andrew, depressed and preoccupied with the business about which he had to speak to the Marshal, was driving up the avenue in the grounds of the Rostovs' house at Otradnoe.
I am not petitioning about anything.
People talked about him, were interested in him, and wanted to meet him.
"We were talking to him about you a few days ago," Kochubey continued, "and about your freed plowmen."
He rose, took Prince Andrew by the arm, and went to meet a tall, bald, fair man of about forty with a large open forehead and a long face of unusual and peculiar whiteness, who was just entering.
Kochubey said a few words about the reception Arakcheev had given Bolkonski.
Everything seemed so simple and clear in Speranski's exposition that Prince Andrew involuntarily agreed with him about everything.
It was just then that he received a letter from his wife, who implored him to see her, telling him how grieved she was about him and how she wished to devote her whole life to him.
Brother Urusov came and we talked about worldly vanities.
But as soon as I drew near I saw that his face had changed and grown young, and he was quietly telling me something about the teaching of our order, but so softly that I could not hear it.
That day I received a letter from my benefactor in which he wrote about "conjugal duties."
I like your being businesslike about it....
I'll tell you some things about myself.
Sonya was finishing dressing and so was the countess, but Natasha, who had bustled about helping them all, was behindhand.
A third with pins in her mouth was running about between the countess and Sonya, and a fourth held the whole of the gossamer garment up high on one uplifted hand.
Natasha heard and felt that several people were asking about her and looking at her.
Oh yes, that's the French ambassador himself! she replied to the countess' inquiry about Caulaincourt.
She was not concerned about the Emperor or any of those great people whom Peronskaya was pointing out--she had but one thought: Is it possible no one will ask me, that I shall not be among the first to dance?
She did not listen to or look at Vera, who was telling her something about her own green dress.
Baron Firhoff was talking to him about the first sitting of the Council of State to be held next day.
Prince Andrew, as one closely connected with Speranski and participating in the work of the legislative commission, could give reliable information about that sitting, concerning which various rumors were current.
"I have the pleasure of being already acquainted, if the countess remembers me," said Prince Andrew with a low and courteous bow quite belying Peronskaya's remarks about his rudeness, and approaching Natasha he held out his arm to grasp her waist before he had completed his invitation.
There's something fresh, original, un- Petersburg-like about her that distinguishes her.
That was all he thought about yesterday's ball, and after his morning tea he set to work.
Magnitski starting quizzing Stolypin about his vehemence.
In the midst of a conversation that was started about Napoleon's Spanish affairs, which they all agreed in approving, Prince Andrew began to express a contrary opinion.
He had absolutely nothing to weep about yet he was ready to weep.
But don't be late, Count, if I may venture to ask; about ten minutes to eight, please.
Vera, having decided in her own mind that Pierre ought to be entertained with conversation about the French embassy, at once began accordingly.
This return to the subject of Natalie caused Prince Andrew to knit his brows with discomfort: he was about to rise, but Vera continued with a still more subtle smile:
"Oh, undoubtedly!" said Prince Andrew, and with sudden and unnatural liveliness he began chaffing Pierre about the need to be very careful with his fifty-year-old Moscow cousins, and in the midst of these jesting remarks he rose, taking Pierre by the arm, and drew him aside.
They had not yet had a loud conversation among the men and a dispute about something important and clever.
The countess looked with sad and sternly serious eyes at Prince Andrew when he talked to Natasha and timidly started some artificial conversation about trifles as soon as he looked her way.
One can't talk about that, said Natasha.
She told her how he had complimented her, how he told her he was going abroad, asked her where they were going to spend the summer, and then how he had asked her about Boris.
He tried equally to avoid thinking about his wife, and about Natasha and Prince Andrew; and again everything seemed to him insignificant in comparison with eternity; again the question: for what? presented itself; and he forced himself to work day and night at masonic labors, hoping to drive away the evil spirit that threatened him.
"Well, dear heart," said he, "I wanted to tell you about it yesterday and I have come to do so today.
I must talk about it to someone.
It seemed to her that everybody knew about her disappointment and was laughing at her and pitying her.
I don't think, and don't want to think about it!
He could talk about rural economy with the count, fashions with the countess and Natasha, and about albums and fancywork with Sonya.
Once she began questioning him about his son.
Sometimes the old count would come up, kiss Prince Andrew, and ask his advice about Petya's education or Nicholas' service.
Flushed and agitated she went about the house all that day, dry-eyed, occupied with most trivial matters as if not understanding what awaited her.
Or, turning to Mademoiselle Bourienne, he would ask her in Princess Mary's presence how she liked our village priests and icons and would joke about them.
She felt that something had happened to him, but he said nothing to her about his love.
Before he left he had a long talk with his father about something, and Princess Mary noticed that before his departure they were dissatisfied with one another.
I am anxious about him and glad he is taking this trip abroad which the doctors recommended long ago.
I do not think my brother will ever marry again, and certainly not her; and this is why: first, I know that though he rarely speaks about the wife he has lost, the grief of that loss has gone too deep in his heart for him ever to decide to give her a successor and our little angel a stepmother.
The princess was about to reply, but her father would not let her speak and, raising his voice more and more, cried:
After this outburst the prince did not speak any more about the matter.
She wrote to Prince Andrew about the reception of his letter, but comforted him with hopes of reconciling their father to the idea.
There was one pilgrim, a quiet pockmarked little woman of fifty called Theodosia, who for over thirty years had gone about barefoot and worn heavy chains.
When Theodosia had gone to sleep Princess Mary thought about this for a long time, and at last made up her mind that, strange as it might seem, she must go on a pilgrimage.
She told him about her romance with Prince Andrew and of his visit to Otradnoe and showed him his last letter.
It always seemed to him that there was something not quite right about this intended marriage.
Once, when he had touched on this topic with his mother, he discovered, to his surprise and somewhat to his satisfaction, that in the depth of her soul she too had doubts about this marriage.
Mitenka has told me all about it.
(This meant that the she-wolf, about whom they both knew, had moved with her cubs to the Otradnoe copse, a small place a mile and a half from the house.)
But just as Daniel was about to go Natasha came in with rapid steps, not having done up her hair or finished dressing and with her old nurse's big shawl wrapped round her.
It's not fair; you are going by yourself, are having the horses saddled and said nothing to us about it.
Besides the family, there were eight borzoi kennelmen and more than forty borzois, so that, with the borzois on the leash belonging to members of the family, there were about a hundred and thirty dogs and twenty horsemen.
Nicholas was about to stab her, but Daniel whispered, Don't!
To expiate his huntsman's offense, Ilagin pressed the Rostovs to come to an upland of his about a mile away which he usually kept for himself and which, he said, swarmed with hares.
In the middle of a sober conversation begun by Ilagin about the year's harvest, Nicholas pointed to the red-spotted bitch.
"I don't understand," continued Ilagin, "how some sportsmen can be so jealous about game and dogs.
(he again raised his cap to Natasha) "but as for counting skins and what one takes, I don't care about that."
All I care about is to enjoy seeing the chase, is it not so, Count?
Involuntarily Rostov recalled all the good he had heard about him from his father and the neighbors.
"Don't dare to think about it," she said to herself, and sat down again smilingly beside "Uncle," begging him to play something more.
"What were you thinking about just now, Nicholas?" inquired Natasha.
We might always drive about together!
Then she told him that she knew of a splendid girl and tried to discover what he thought about marriage.
"No, you have not understood me, don't let us talk about it," she replied, wiping away her tears.
Nicholas did not go to Moscow, and the countess did not renew the conversation with him about marriage.
"Why are you wandering about like an outcast?" asked her mother.
No one in the house sent people about or gave them as much trouble as Natasha did.
Do you remember when I was punished once about some plums?
Nicholas, who, as the roads were in splendid condition, wanted to take them all for a drive in his troyka, proposed to take with them about a dozen of the serf mummers and drive to "Uncle's."
Surrounded by the screaming children the mummers, covering their faces and disguising their voices, bowed to their hostess and arranged themselves about the room.
"Natasha!" he whispered in French, "do you know I have made up my mind about Sonya?"
For about three minutes all were silent.
Metivier came to see the prince about twice a week.
The prince's house did not belong to what is known as fashionable society, but his little circle--though not much talked about in town-- was one it was more flattering to be received in than any other.
He shifts the Dukes about as I might move my serfs from Bald Hills to Bogucharovo or my Ryazan estates.
Prince Bolkonski glanced at the young man as if about to say something in reply, but changed his mind, evidently considering him too young.
"I have read our protests about the Oldenburg affair and was surprised how badly the Note was worded," remarked Count Rostopchin in the casual tone of a man dealing with a subject quite familiar to him.
That is all one can say about her.
He laughed blandly at her naive diplomacy but listened to what she had to say, and sometimes questioned her carefully about the Penza and Nizhegorod estates.
Mademoiselle Bourienne was the first to recover herself after this apparition and began speaking about the prince's indisposition.
"I couldn't begin talking about him in the presence of that Frenchwoman," thought Natasha.
"Natasha, what is it about?" she asked.
Don't talk about it, Natasha.
"They are talking about us, about me and him!" thought Natasha.
If only they knew how little I am concerned about any of them.
Now all the Moscow ladies are mad about him!
In the stalls everyone began moving about, going out and coming in.
Natasha knew he was talking about her and this afforded her pleasure.
I had heard about you from my page, Drubetskoy.
The cymbals and horns in the orchestra struck up more loudly, and this man with bare legs jumped very high and waved his feet about very rapidly.
She looked about with pleasure, smiling joyfully.
In the fourth act there was some sort of devil who sang waving his arm about, till the boards were withdrawn from under him and he disappeared down below.
He was not a gambler, at any rate he did not care about winning.
Marya Dmitrievna talked to the count about something which they concealed from Natasha.
Natasha guessed they were talking about the old prince and planning something, and this disquieted and offended her.
So she knows I am engaged, and she and her husband Pierre--that good Pierre--have talked and laughed about this.
In answer to the count's inquiries she replied that things were all right and that she would tell about it next day.
Anatole moved a chair for Natasha and was about to sit down beside her, but the count, who never lost sight of her, took the seat himself.
Natasha, animated and excited, looked about her with wide-open frightened eyes and seemed merrier than usual.
Everyone got up and began to move about and talk, dressmakers came again.
With the same expression of agitated surprise and guilt she went about the house, taking up now one occupation, now another, and at once abandoning them.
Why should I joke about it?
I helped you, but all the same I must tell you the truth; it is a dangerous business, and if you think about it--a stupid business.
Abroad no one will know anything about it.
More than once they had beaten him, and more than once they had made him drunk on champagne and Madeira, which he loved; and he knew more than one thing about each of them which would long ago have sent an ordinary man to Siberia.
Balaga was a fair-haired, short, and snub-nosed peasant of about twenty- seven; red-faced, with a particularly red thick neck, glittering little eyes, and a small beard.
Balaga was about to leave the room.
Marya Dmitrievna went on admonishing her for some time, enjoining on her that it must all be kept from her father and assuring her that nobody would know anything about it if only Natasha herself would undertake to forget it all and not let anyone see that something had happened.
"He knows all about it," said Marya Dmitrievna pointing to Pierre and addressing Natasha.
The members who were assembling for dinner were sitting about in groups; they greeted Pierre and spoke of the town news.
One of Pierre's acquaintances, while they were talking about the weather, asked if he had heard of Kuragin's abduction of Rostova which was talked of in the town, and was it true?
He asked everyone about Anatole.
You promised Countess Rostova to marry her and were about to elope with her, is that so?
"I don't know about that, eh?" said Anatole, growing more confident as Pierre mastered his wrath.
Pierre dined at the club that day and heard on all sides gossip about the attempted abduction of Rostova.
The conversation was about Speranski--the news of whose sudden exile and alleged treachery had just reached Moscow.
Pierre now recognized in his friend a need with which he was only too familiar, to get excited and to have arguments about extraneous matters in order to stifle thoughts that were too oppressive and too intimate.
The Emperor re-entered the ballroom and remained there about another half-hour.
The noncommissioned officer began talking with his comrades about regimental matters without looking at the Russian general.
And he went on to inquiries about the Grand Duke and the state of his health, and to reminiscences of the gay and amusing times he had spent with him in Naples.
"But what do I care about your allies?" said Napoleon.
In the course of conversation he mentioned Moscow and questioned Balashev about the Russian capital, not merely as an interested traveler asks about a new city he intends to visit, but as if convinced that Balashev, as a Russian, must be flattered by his curiosity.
In the evening, when Prince Andrew went to him and, trying to rouse him, began to tell him of the young Count Kamensky's campaign, the old prince began unexpectedly to talk about Princess Mary, blaming her for her superstitions and her dislike of Mademoiselle Bourienne, who, he said, was the only person really attached to him.
Why does Prince Andrew, who sees this, say nothing to me about his sister?
In the troubled waters of conflicting and intersecting intrigues that eddied about the Emperor's headquarters, it was possible to succeed in many ways unthinkable at other times.
There was about him something of Weyrother, Mack, and Schmidt, and many other German theorist-generals whom Prince Andrew had seen in 1805, but he was more typical than any of them.
He said a few words to Prince Andrew and Chernyshev about the present war, with the air of a man who knows beforehand that all will go wrong, and who is not displeased that it should be so.
What theory and science is possible about a matter the conditions and circumstances of which are unknown and cannot be defined, especially when the strength of the acting forces cannot be ascertained?
Rostov, smoking his pipe and turning his head about as the water trickled down his neck, listened inattentively, with an occasional glance at Ilyin, who was pressing close to him.
About two hundred yards away there's a tavern where ours have already gathered.
The doctor, whether from lack of means or because he did not like to part from his young wife in the early days of their marriage, took her about with him wherever the hussar regiment went and his jealousy had become a standing joke among the hussar officers.
He had grown accustomed when going into action to think about anything but what would seem most likely to interest him--the impending danger.
The hussars remained in the same place for about an hour.
Only, please be particular about it.
As Natasha, at her mother's side, passed through the crowd behind a liveried footman who cleared the way for them, she heard a young man speaking about her in too loud a whisper.
He opened the door softly and saw her, in the lilac dress she had worn at church, walking about the room singing.
But I don't want to interrupt you, he added, and was about to go to the drawing room.
Petya had come rushing out to talk to his namesake about this affair.
Well, what about my plan?
Pierre was about to begin reading.
And how about you, Count Peter Kirilych?
Petya stood on tiptoe and pushed and pinched, but could see nothing except the people about him.
The clerk who had rescued Petya was talking to a functionary about the priests who were officiating that day with the bishop.
The chief magnates sat on high- backed chairs at a large table under the portrait of the Emperor, but most of the gentry were strolling about the room.
For the most part they sat quietly in their places and were silent, or, if they walked about and talked, attached themselves to someone younger.
No, I told him about them.
Tikhon, what did we talk about at dinner?
Dessalles said something about Vitebsk.
This fact impressed Alpatych, but in thinking about his own business he soon forgot it.
Many people were hurrying through the streets and there were many soldiers, but cabs were still driving about, tradesmen stood at their shops, and service was being held in the churches as usual.
In the offices and shops and at the post office everyone was talking about the army and about the enemy who was already attacking the town, everybody was asking what should be done, and all were trying to calm one another.
People were anxiously roaming about the streets.
Beat her... dragged her about so!...
And he began beating and pulling her about so!
On seeing the soldiers he was about to shout at them, but suddenly stopped and, clutching at his hair, burst into sobs and laughter:
Black figures flitted about before the fire, and through the incessant crackling of the flames talking and shouting could be heard.
But despite this, thanks to his regiment, Prince Andrew had something to think about entirely apart from general questions.
Riding past the pond where there used always to be dozens of women chattering as they rinsed their linen or beat it with wooden beetles, Prince Andrew noticed that there was not a soul about and that the little washing wharf, torn from its place and half submerged, was floating on its side in the middle of the pond.
I took down the name and rank of their commanding officer, to hand in a complaint about it.
All this naked white human flesh, laughing and shrieking, floundered about in that dirty pool like carp stuffed into a watering can, and the suggestion of merriment in that floundering mass rendered it specially pathetic.
"Flesh, bodies, cannon fodder!" he thought, and he looked at his own naked body and shuddered, not from cold but from a sense of disgust and horror he did not himself understand, aroused by the sight of that immense number of bodies splashing about in the dirty pond.
If he reports that our losses were great, it is not true; perhaps about four thousand, not more, and not even that; but even were they ten thousand, that's war!
That sincerity which often comes with waking showed her clearly what chiefly concerned her about her father's illness.
"Always thoughts... about you... thoughts..." he then uttered much more clearly than he had done before, now that he was sure of being understood.
When she had left the room the prince again began speaking about his son, about the war, and about the Emperor, angrily twitching his brows and raising his hoarse voice, and then he had a second and final stroke.
Just as horses shy and snort and gather about a dead horse, so the inmates of the house and strangers crowded into the drawing room round the coffin--the Marshal, the village Elder, peasant women--and all with fixed and frightened eyes, crossing themselves, bowed and kissed the old prince's cold and stiffened hand.
Though the peasants paid quitrent, Alpatych thought no difficulty would be made about complying with this order, for there were two hundred and thirty households at work in Bogucharovo and the peasants were well to do.
His excellency Prince Andrew himself gave me orders to move all the people away and not leave them with the enemy, and there is an order from the Tsar about it too.
Dron got up and was about to say something, but Alpatych interrupted him.
A maid came to the door to say that Alpatych was asking for orders about their departure.
Alpatych did say something about going....
She also knew that neither her father nor her brother would refuse to help the peasants in need, she only feared to make some mistake in speaking about the distribution of the grain she wished to give.
She began asking Dron about the peasants' needs and what there was in Bogucharovo that belonged to the landlord.
While talking to Tikhon he asked about me twice.
I remember how he began speaking to him about Lise as if she were alive--he had forgotten she was dead--and Tikhon reminded him that she was no more, and he shouted, 'Fool!'
On the way to Bogucharovo, a princely estate with a dwelling house and farm where they hoped to find many domestic serfs and pretty girls, they questioned Lavrushka about Napoleon and laughed at his stories, and raced one another to try Ilyin's horse.
That was why Rostov grew angry when he was rallied about Princess Bolkonskaya.
It was said that Mamonov's regiment would cost him eight hundred thousand rubles, and that Bezukhov had spent even more on his, but that the best thing about Bezukhov's action was that he himself was going to don a uniform and ride at the head of his regiment without charging anything for the show.
Among those whom Julie's guests happened to choose to gossip about were the Rostovs.
"I don't know anything about it," said Pierre.
The stout man rose, frowned, shrugged his shoulders, and evidently trying to appear firm began to pull on his jacket without looking about him, but suddenly his lips trembled and he began to cry, in the way full-blooded grown-up men cry, though angry with himself for doing so.
Before the battle of Borodino our strength in proportion to the French was about as five to six, but after that battle it was little more than one to two: previously we had a hundred thousand against a hundred and twenty thousand; afterwards little more than fifty thousand against a hundred thousand.
Some of them were digging, others were wheeling barrowloads of earth along planks, while others stood about doing nothing.
It was about eleven o'clock.
Below the village the road crossed the river by a bridge and, winding down and up, rose higher and higher to the village of Valuevo visible about four miles away, where Napoleon was then stationed.
Then how about our position?
Staggering amid the crush, Pierre looked about him.
"What about the left flank?" asked Pierre
After Kaysarov, others whom Pierre knew came up to him, and he had not time to reply to all the questions about Moscow that were showered upon him, or to listen to all that was told him.
"What are you saying about the militia?" he asked Boris.
And as often happens with old people, Kutuzov began looking about absent-mindedly as if forgetting all he wanted to say or do.
Those he wrote about Gerakov: 'Lectures for the corps inditing'...
After going through the wood for about a mile and a half they came out on a glade where troops of Tuchkov's corps were stationed to defend the left flank.
Oh yes, and what do the masonic brothers say about war?
The officers were about to take leave, but Prince Andrew, apparently reluctant to be left alone with his friend, asked them to stay and have tea.
In Moscow they are saying heaven knows what about him....
Timokhin looked about in confusion, not knowing what or how to answer such a question.
You talk about our position, the left flank weak and the right flank too extended, he went on.
After they had gone Pierre approached Prince Andrew and was about to start a conversation when they heard the clatter of three horses' hoofs on the road not far from the shed, and looking in that direction Prince Andrew recognized Wolzogen and Clausewitz accompanied by a Cossack.
Napoleon noticed at once what they were about and guessed that they were not ready.
Having ordered punch and summoned de Beausset, he began to talk to him about Paris and about some changes he meant to make in the Empress' household, surprising the prefect by his memory of minute details relating to the court.
They talk about medicine--what is the good of medicine when it can't cure a cold!
Napoleon walked about in front of his tent, looked at the fires and listened to these sounds, and as he was passing a tall guardsman in a shaggy cap, who was standing sentinel before his tent and had drawn himself up like a black pillar at sight of the Emperor, Napoleon stopped in front of him.
He looked about him with a smile which did not leave his face.
But the adjutant turned his horse about and rode on.
Pierre was about to ask, but seeing the stern expression of the adjutant who was also looking that way, he checked himself.
"Don't trouble about me," said Pierre.
Napoleon rose and having summoned Caulaincourt and Berthier began talking to them about matters unconnected with the battle.
Napoleon was experiencing a feeling of depression like that of an ever- lucky gambler who, after recklessly flinging money about and always winning, suddenly just when he has calculated all the chances of the game, finds that the more he considers his play the more surely he loses.
He saw that what he was feeling was felt by all the men about him experienced in the art of war.
"Yes, yes: go, dear boy, and have a look," he would say to one or another of those about him; or, "No, don't, we'd better wait!"
"Ride over to Prince Peter Ivanovich and find out about it exactly," he said to one of his adjutants, and then turned to the Duke of Wurttemberg who was standing behind him.
You know nothing about it.
Wolzogen was about to make a rejoinder, but Kutuzov interrupted him.
He raised his head and looked about him, but above the level of the wounded men.
All he saw about him merged into a general impression of naked, bleeding human bodies that seemed to fill the whole of the low tent, as a few weeks previously, on that hot August day, such bodies had filled the dirty pond beside the Smolensk road.
She was nearest to him and saw how his face puckered; he seemed about to cry, but this did not last long.
The prince was about to say something, but Helene interrupted him.
As a true friend, I have thought and thought again about your affair.
The troops were moving on, leaving about ten thousand wounded behind them.
"Possibly," remarked Pierre, looking about him absent-mindedly.
That proclamation appeared about two months ago.
The head of the family, Count Ilya Rostov, continually drove about the city collecting the current rumors from all sides and gave superficial and hasty orders at home about the preparations for their departure.
I don't understand anything about it, said the countess.
The servants ran noisily about the house and yard, shouting and disputing.
Having waited there for Rostopchin who did not turn up, they became convinced that Moscow would be surrendered, and then dispersed all about the town to the public houses and cookshops.
What are your orders about the pictures?
Berg hurriedly jumped up, kissed her hand, asked about her health, and, swaying his head from side to side to express sympathy, remained standing beside her.
"I can't think what the servants are about," said the countess, turning to her husband.
The count was about to say something, but evidently restrained himself.
You know how dear Vera wanted a chiffonier like that and how we had a dispute about it.
You know I don't understand about it, said she, dropping her eyes shamefacedly.
Pierre glanced absently at Natasha and was about to say something, but the countess interrupted him.
Tradesmen and their assistants (of whom there were but few) moved about among the soldiers quite bewildered.
Those about him had never seen the count so morose and irritable.
What are your orders about the Fire Brigade?
Now why are you asking silly questions about the Fire Brigade?
In reply to an inquiry about the convicts in the prison, Count Rostopchin shouted angrily at the governor:
Release them, that's all about it!
Your excellency, they say they have got ready, according to your orders, to go against the French, and they shouted something about treachery.
What are your orders about Vereshchagin?
The dragoon was about to repeat his blow.
At the moment when Vereshchagin fell and the crowd closed in with savage yells and swayed about him, Rostopchin suddenly turned pale and, instead of going to the back entrance where his carriage awaited him, went with hurried steps and bent head, not knowing where and why, along the passage leading to the rooms on the ground floor.
Having reached his country house and begun to give orders about domestic arrangements, the count grew quite tranquil.
About the middle of the Arbat Street, near the Church of the Miraculous Icon of St. Nicholas, Murat halted to await news from the advanced detachment as to the condition in which they had found the citadel, le Kremlin.
Order after order was issued by the French commanders that day forbidding the men to disperse about the town, sternly forbidding any violence to the inhabitants or any looting, and announcing a roll call for that very evening.
Pierre knew this, but instead of acting he only thought about his undertaking, going over its minutest details in his mind.
"Bonjour, la compagnie!" * said he gaily, smiling and looking about him.
Makar Alexeevich was standing with parted lips, swaying, as if about to fall asleep, as he leaned against the wall.
You shall tell me all about that presently.
And with a Frenchman's easy and naive frankness the captain told Pierre the story of his ancestors, his childhood, youth, and manhood, and all about his relations and his financial and family affairs, "ma pauvre mere" playing of course an important part in the story.
But how about you?
After arranging his clothes, he took the pistol and was about to go out.
Two girls of about ten and twelve, dressed in dirty short frocks and cloaks, were staring at their mother with a look of stupefaction on their pale frightened faces.
The youngest child, a boy of about seven, who wore an overcoat and an immense cap evidently not his own, was crying in his old nurse's arms.
He ran round to the other side of the lodge and was about to dash into that part of it which was still standing, when just above his head he heard several voices shouting and then a cracking sound and the ring of something heavy falling close beside him.
She had now become quiet and, clinging with her little hands to Pierre's coat, sat on his arm gazing about her like some little wild animal.
When he had reached the fence, still without finding those he sought, he stopped and looked about him.
All right, you can tell all about it at the court-martial.
The Empress Elisabeth, however, when asked what instructions she would be pleased to give--with her characteristic Russian patriotism had replied that she could give no directions about state institutions for that was the affair of the sovereign, but as far as she personally was concerned she would be the last to quit Petersburg.
And having thus demolished the young man, Anna Pavlovna turned to another group where Bilibin was talking about the Austrians: having wrinkled up his face he was evidently preparing to smooth it out again and utter one of his mots.
What did I tell about Kutuzov?
In Petersburg and in the provinces at a distance from Moscow, ladies, and gentlemen in militia uniforms, wept for Russia and its ancient capital and talked of self-sacrifice and so on; but in the army which retired beyond Moscow there was little talk or thought of Moscow, and when they caught sight of its burned ruins no one swore to be avenged on the French, but they thought about their next pay, their next quarters, of Matreshka the vivandiere, and like matters.
After a few words about Princess Mary and her late father, whom Malvintseva had evidently not liked, and having asked what Nicholas knew of Prince Andrew, who also was evidently no favorite of hers, the important old lady dismissed Nicholas after repeating her invitation to come to see her.
So you see there can be no question about- said Nicholas incoherently and blushing.
And what about your mother?
They spoke of the war, and like everyone else unconsciously exaggerated their sorrow about it; they spoke of their last meeting--Nicholas trying to change the subject--they talked of the governor's kind wife, of Nicholas' relations, and of Princess Mary's.
She did not talk about her brother, diverting the conversation as soon as her aunt mentioned Andrew.
Nicholas blushed and was confused when people spoke to him about the princess (as she did when he was mentioned) and even when he thought of her, but in her presence he felt quite at ease, and said not at all what he had prepared, but what, quite appropriately, occurred to him at the moment.
After meeting Princess Mary, though the course of his life went on externally as before, all his former amusements lost their charm for him and he often thought about her.
But he never thought about her as he had thought of all the young ladies without exception whom he had met in society, nor as he had for a long time, and at one time rapturously, thought about Sonya.
Reveries about Sonya had had something merry and playful in them, but to dream of Princess Mary was always difficult and a little frightening.
Neither he nor she said a word about what "Natasha nursing him" might mean, but thanks to this letter Nicholas suddenly became almost as intimate with the princess as if they were relations.
"Yes, yes!" cried Natasha opening her eyes wide, and vaguely recalling that Sonya had told her something about Prince Andrew whom she had seen lying down.
A few minutes later Prince Andrew rang and Natasha went to him, but Sonya, feeling unusually excited and touched, remained at the window thinking about the strangeness of what had occurred.
If they noticed anything remarkable about Pierre, it was only his unabashed, meditative concentration and thoughtfulness, and the way he spoke French, which struck them as surprisingly good.
Around him in the darkness men were standing and evidently something about him interested them greatly.
He did not sing like a trained singer who knows he is listened to, but like the birds, evidently giving vent to the sounds in the same way that one stretches oneself or walks about to get rid of stiffness, and the sounds were always high-pitched, mournful, delicate, and almost feminine, and his face at such times was very serious.
She turned away and was about to ask the countess again how to go to him, when light, impetuous, and seemingly buoyant steps were heard at the door.
He is always talking about you!
"Is it about Nicholas?" he asked.
Neither in his presence nor out of it did they weep, nor did they ever talk to one another about him.
In the refreshment room and the hall, footmen were bustling about with wine and viands.
Adjutants and generals galloped about, shouted, grew angry, quarreled, said they had come quite wrong and were late, gave vent to a little abuse, and at last gave it all up and went forward, simply to get somewhere.
But people who talk like that either do not know what they are talking about or deliberately deceive themselves.
Napoleon enters Moscow after the brilliant victory de la Moskowa; there can be no doubt about the victory for the battlefield remains in the hands of the French.
Then he gave careful directions about the fortification of the Kremlin, and drew up a brilliant plan for a future campaign over the whole map of Russia.
The pursuit of the Russian army, about which Napoleon was so concerned, produced an unheard-of result.
Early in the morning of the sixth of October Pierre went out of the shed, and on returning stopped by the door to play with a little blue- gray dog, with a long body and short bandy legs, that jumped about him.
Now it would roll on its back, yelping with delight, now bask in the sun with a thoughtful air of importance, and now frolic about playing with a chip of wood or a straw.
Sokolov, one of the soldiers in the shed with Pierre, was dying, and Pierre told the corporal that something should be done about him.
And now without thinking about it he had found that peace and inner harmony only through the horror of death, through privation, and through what he recognized in Karataev.
Pierre told him about the sick man.
There were about thirty officers, with Pierre among them, and about three hundred men.
"What are you disputing about?" said the major angrily.
And this silence about Dokhturov is the clearest testimony to his merit.
It is natural for a man who does not understand the workings of a machine to imagine that a shaving that has fallen into it by chance and is interfering with its action and tossing about in it is its most important part.
There was within him a deep unexpressed conviction that all would be well, but that one must not trust to this and still less speak about it, but must only attend to one's own work.
Dorokhov's report about Broussier's division, the guerrillas' reports of distress in Napoleon's army, rumors of preparations for leaving Moscow, all confirmed the supposition that the French army was beaten and preparing for flight.
There can be no doubt about it, your Highness.
So it came about that at the council at Malo-Yaroslavets, when the generals pretending to confer together expressed various opinions, all mouths were closed by the opinion uttered by the simple-minded soldier Mouton who, speaking last, said what they all felt: that the one thing needful was to get away as quickly as possible; and no one, not even Napoleon, could say anything against that truth which they all recognized.
The boy held on to the hussar with cold, red hands, and raising his eyebrows gazed about him with surprise.
He ascended an incline, stopped, looked about him, and advanced to where the screen of trees was less dense.
When Denisov had come to Pokrovsk at the beginning of his operations and had as usual summoned the village elder and asked him what he knew about the French, the elder, as though shielding himself, had replied, as all village elders did, that he had neither seen nor heard anything of them.
Denisov had Tikhon called and, having praised him for his activity, said a few words in the elder's presence about loyalty to the Tsar and the country and the hatred of the French that all sons of the fatherland should cherish.
We only fooled about with the lads for fun, you know!
Next day when Denisov had left Pokrovsk, having quite forgotten about this peasant, it was reported to him that Tikhon had attached himself to their party and asked to be allowed to remain with it.
After talking for some time with the esaul about next day's attack, which now, seeing how near they were to the French, he seemed to have definitely decided on, Denisov turned his horse and rode back.
Tikhon followed behind and Petya heard the Cossacks laughing with him and at him, about some pair of boots he had thrown into the bushes.
He felt it necessary to hold his head higher, to brace himself, and to question the esaul with an air of importance about tomorrow's undertaking, that he might not be unworthy of the company in which he found himself.
Denisov at once cheered up and, calling Petya to him, said: "Well, tell me about yourself."
Would you like some?... and Petya ran out into the passage to his Cossack and brought back some bags which contained about five pounds of raisins.
But having caught himself saying too much about the flints, he was now afraid to speak out.
He took off his wet felt cloak in a corner of the room, and without greeting anyone went up to Denisov and began questioning him about the matter in hand.
Asking about the Russian prisoners with that detachment, Dolokhov said:
A horrid business dragging these corpses about with one!
Tell Denisov, 'at the first shot at daybreak,' said Dolokhov and was about to ride away, but Petya seized hold of him.
Petya was as musical as Natasha and more so than Nicholas, but had never learned music or thought about it, and so the melody that unexpectedly came to his mind seemed to him particularly fresh and attractive.
Cossacks were crowding about a hut, busy with something.
Petya was galloping along the courtyard, but instead of holding the reins he waved both his arms about rapidly and strangely, slipping farther and farther to one side in his saddle.
The road along which they moved was bordered on both sides by dead horses; ragged men who had fallen behind from various regiments continually changed about, now joining the moving column, now again lagging behind it.
Still less did Pierre think about himself.
'And he went on to tell them all about it in due order.
He asked all about it and his heart began to ache.
But still he and those about him retained their old habits: wrote commands, letters, reports, and orders of the day; called one another sire, mon cousin, prince d'Eckmuhl, roi de Naples, and so on.
And though they pretended to be concerned about the army, each was thinking only of himself and of how to get away quickly and save himself.
The Russian military historians in so far as they submit to claims of logic must admit that conclusion, and in spite of their lyrical rhapsodies about valor, devotion, and so forth, must reluctantly admit that the French retreat from Moscow was a series of victories for Napoleon and defeats for Kutuzov.
All the profound plans about cutting off and capturing Napoleon and his army were like the plan of a market gardener who, when driving out of his garden a cow that had trampled down the beds he had planted, should run to the gate and hit the cow on the head.
She went through the accounts with Alpatych, conferred with Dessalles about her nephew, and gave orders and made preparations for the journey to Moscow.
"A misfortune... about Peter Ilynich... a letter," she finished with a sob.
She heard Dunyasha's words about Peter Ilynich and a misfortune, but did not grasp them.
What does she think about me?
Natasha had grown thin and pale and physically so weak that they all talked about her health, and this pleased her.
Miloradovich, who said he did not want to know anything about the commissariat affairs of his detachment, and could never be found when he was wanted--that chevalier sans peur et sans reproche * as he styled himself--who was fond of parleys with the French, sent envoys demanding their surrender, wasted time, and did not do what he was ordered to do.
Kutuzov never talked of "forty centuries looking down from the Pyramids," of the sacrifices he offered for the fatherland, or of what he intended to accomplish or had accomplished; in general he said nothing about himself, adopted no pose, always appeared to be the simplest and most ordinary of men, and said the simplest and most ordinary things.
Beginning with the battle of Borodino, from which time his disagreement with those about him began, he alone said that the battle of Borodino was a victory, and repeated this both verbally and in his dispatches and reports up to the time of his death.
He looked about him absently.
Some twenty men of the Sixth Company who were on their way into the village joined the haulers, and the wattle wall, which was about thirty- five feet long and seven feet high, moved forward along the village street, swaying, pressing upon and cutting the shoulders of the gasping men.
In the hut which the men had passed, the chief officers had gathered and were in animated talk over their tea about the events of the day and the maneuvers suggested for tomorrow.
This red-haired man was neither a sergeant nor a corporal, but being robust he ordered about those weaker than himself.
About midnight they heard the sound of steps in the snow of the forest, and the crackling of dry branches.
Those about him said that he became extraordinarily slack and physically feeble during his stay in that town.
When on the following morning the Emperor said to the officers assembled about him: "You have not only saved Russia, you have saved Europe!" they all understood that the war was not ended.
Now to his surprise he found that he no longer felt either doubt or perplexity about these questions.
The first time he had recourse to his new judge was when a French prisoner, a colonel, came to him and, after talking a great deal about his exploits, concluded by making what amounted to a demand that Pierre should give him four thousand francs to send to his wife and children.
The burning of Moscow had cost him, according to the head steward's calculation, about two million rubles.
About the same time he received letters from Prince Vasili and other Petersburg acquaintances speaking of his wife's debts.
Everyone was pleased to see Pierre, everyone wished to meet him, and everyone questioned him about what he had seen.
Again the princess glanced round at her companion with even more uneasiness in her manner and was about to add something, but Pierre interrupted her.
"Just imagine--I knew nothing about him!" said he.
Pierre hurriedly turned away from her and again addressed Princess Mary, asking about his friend's last days.
I did not dare to ask about him.
"Now tell us about yourself," said she.
One hears such improbable wonders about you.
Not only did I never see him but I heard nothing about him--I was in much lower company!
Supper was over, and Pierre who at first declined to speak about his captivity was gradually led on to do so.
Pierre began to tell about Karataev, but paused.
It did me so much good to tell all about it today.
When he awoke on the Thursday, Savelich came to ask him about packing for the journey.
"But what about my heirs?" said Pierre.
I heard about that affair of hers at the time.
What is surprising is that they should trouble about these things now when it can no longer be of interest to them.
Fancy bothering about such trifles now!
She no longer complained of her position, did not say a word about the past, and no longer feared to make happy plans for the future.
Let us talk about you.
I do not know why a certain event occurs; I think that I cannot know it; so I do not try to know it and I talk about chance.
But remembering her relations with Nicholas in Voronezh she was shy about doing so.
He inquired about her health, led the way to his mother, and having sat there for five minutes left the room.
To her remarks about his mother's health he made no reply.
That's all about it! said he, clenching his vigorous fist.
He understood what she was weeping about, but could not in his heart at once agree with her that what he had regarded from childhood as quite an everyday event was wrong.
Once she had a talk with her friend Natasha about Sonya and about her own injustice toward her.
Her thoughts were about the children.
While attending to him she bore the anxiety about her husband more easily.
But what about me?
From broken remarks about Natasha and his father, from the emotion with which Pierre spoke of that dead father, and from the careful, reverent tenderness with which Natasha spoke of him, the boy, who was only just beginning to guess what love is, derived the notion that his father had loved Natasha and when dying had left her to his friend.
Denisov, not being a member of the family, did not understand Pierre's caution and being, as a malcontent, much interested in what was occurring in Petersburg, kept urging Pierre to tell them about what had happened in the Semenovsk regiment, then about Arakcheev, and then about the Bible Society.
What are you saying about the government?
The conversation turned on the contemporary gossip about those in power, in which most people see the chief interest of home politics.
The questions put by these two kept the conversation from changing its ordinary character of gossip about the higher government circles.
"What was it about?" asked Nicholas.
And you may argue about that as you like!
The conversation at supper was not about politics or societies, but turned on the subject Nicholas liked best--recollections of 1812.
Denisov started these and Pierre was particularly agreeable and amusing about them.
They were for the most part quite insignificant trifles, but did not seem so to the mother or to the father either, now that he read this diary about his children for the first time.
She looked at him and did not think, but felt, about something different.
You won't escape!--from that moment this conversation began, contrary to all the laws of logic and contrary to them because quite different subjects were talked about at one and the same time.
Natasha spoke to Pierre about her brother's life and doings, of how she had suffered and lacked life during his own absence, and of how she was fonder than ever of Mary, and how Mary was in every way better than herself.
"Do you know what I am thinking about?" she asked.
"What nonsense it is," Natasha suddenly exclaimed, "about honeymoons, and that the greatest happiness is at first!
And what we quarreled about--I don't even remember!
"Always about the same thing," said Pierre with a smile.
I only wanted to tell you about Petya: today nurse was coming to take him from me, and he laughed, shut his eyes, and clung to me.
At the end of the eighteenth century there were a couple of dozen men in Paris who began to talk about all men being free and equal.
From this fundamental difference between the view held by history and that held by jurisprudence, it follows that jurisprudence can tell minutely how in its opinion power should be constituted and what power-- existing immutably outside time--is, but to history's questions about the meaning of the mutations of power in time it can answer nothing.
When an event is taking place people express their opinions and wishes about it, and as the event results from the collective activity of many people, some one of the opinions or wishes expressed is sure to be fulfilled if but approximately.
The man who worked most with his hands could not think so much about what he was doing, or reflect on or command what would result from the common activity; while the man who commanded more would evidently work less with his hands on account of his greater verbal activity.
Men went from the west to the east killing their fellow men, and the event was accompanied by phrases about the glory of France, the baseness of England, and so on.
Free will is for history only an expression for the unknown remainder of what we know about the laws of human life.
Alex didn't know about her fear of flying and she'd just as soon he didn't learn.
We'll have to be careful about that with the new baby.
He was eight years old when he heard about the ride of Paul Revere and the famous fight at Lexington.
They didn't foresee the baby boom brought about by a new post-war prosperity.
When I was about five years old we moved from the little vine-covered house to a large new one.
But amid these cares her anxiety about Pierre was evident.