This stout young man was an illegitimate son of Count Bezukhov, a well-known grandee of Catherine's time who now lay dying in Moscow.
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.
"I often think, though, perhaps it's a sin," said the princess, "that here lives Count Cyril Vladimirovich Bezukhov so rich, all alone... that tremendous fortune... and what is his life worth?
After Anna Mikhaylovna had driven off with her son to visit Count Cyril Vladimirovich Bezukhov, Countess Rostova sat for a long time all alone applying her handkerchief to her eyes.
While in the Rostovs' ballroom the sixth anglaise was being danced, to a tune in which the weary musicians blundered, and while tired footmen and cooks were getting the supper, Count Bezukhov had a sixth stroke.
You are so intelligent, how is it you don't see that if the count has written a letter to the Emperor begging him to recognize Pierre as legitimate, it follows that Pierre will not be Pierre but will become Count Bezukhov, and will then inherit everything under the will?
Under the gleaming icons stood a long invalid chair, and in that chair on snowy- white smooth pillows, evidently freshly changed, Pierre saw--covered to the waist by a bright green quilt--the familiar, majestic figure of his father, Count Bezukhov, with that gray mane of hair above his broad forehead which reminded one of a lion, and the deep characteristically noble wrinkles of his handsome, ruddy face.
The chief news, about which all Moscow gossips, is the death of old Count Bezukhov, and his inheritance.
The three princesses have received very little, Prince Vasili nothing, and it is Monsieur Pierre who has inherited all the property and has besides been recognized as legitimate; so that he is now Count Bezukhov and possessor of the finest fortune in Russia.
I confess I understand very little about all these matters of wills and inheritance; but I do know that since this young man, whom we all used to know as plain Monsieur Pierre, has become Count Bezukhov and the owner of one of the largest fortunes in Russia, I am much amused to watch the change in the tone and manners of the mammas burdened by marriageable daughters, and of the young ladies themselves, toward him, though, between you and me, he always seemed to me a poor sort of fellow.
Pierre, on unexpectedly becoming Count Bezukhov and a rich man, felt himself after his recent loneliness and freedom from cares so beset and preoccupied that only in bed was he able to be by himself.
From the death of Count Bezukhov he did not let go his hold of the lad.
Anna Pavlovna received Pierre with a shade of melancholy, evidently relating to the young man's recent loss by the death of Count Bezukhov (everyone constantly considered it a duty to assure Pierre that he was greatly afflicted by the death of the father he had hardly known), and her melancholy was just like the august melancholy she showed at the mention of her most august Majesty the Empress Marya Fedorovna.
The aunt was just speaking of a collection of snuffboxes that had belonged to Pierre's father, Count Bezukhov, and showed them her own box.
"It's because she was in love with that fat one in spectacles" (that was how Petya described his namesake, the new Count Bezukhov) "and now she's in love with that singer" (he meant Natasha's Italian singing master), "that's why she's ashamed!"
Tell Bezukhov to come.
The night after the duel he did not go to his bedroom but, as he often did, remained in his father's room, that huge room in which Count Bezukhov had died.
Rostov's share in Dolokhov's duel with Bezukhov was hushed up by the efforts of the old count, and instead of being degraded to the ranks as he expected he was appointed an adjutant to the governor general of Moscow.
Bezukhov got off scotfree, while Fedya had to bear the whole burden on his shoulders.
She insisted that he was a bad man, and that in the duel with Bezukhov, Pierre was right and Dolokhov wrong, and further that he was disagreeable and unnatural.
"I have the pleasure of addressing Count Bezukhov, if I am not mistaken," said the stranger in a deliberate and loud voice.
When he had finished, he turned to Bezukhov, and said in a tone of indifferent politeness:
Our Freemasons knew from correspondence with those abroad that Bezukhov had obtained the confidence of many highly placed persons, had been initiated into many mysteries, had been raised to a higher grade, and was bringing back with him much that might conduce to the advantage of the masonic cause in Russia.
At the end of the meeting the Grand Master with irony and ill-will reproved Bezukhov for his vehemence and said it was not love of virtue alone, but also a love of strife that had moved him in the dispute.
Among the many young men who frequented her house every day, Boris Drubetskoy, who had already achieved great success in the service, was the most intimate friend of the Bezukhov household since Helene's return from Erfurt.
Country neighbors from Otradnoe, impoverished old squires and their daughters, Peronskaya a maid of honor, Pierre Bezukhov, and the son of their district postmaster who had obtained a post in Petersburg.
Bezukhov, now, is blue, dark-blue and red, and he is square.
Just then Count Bezukhov was announced.
"You have known Bezukhov a long time?" he asked.
Having heard that Count Mamonov was furnishing a regiment, Bezukhov at once informed Rostopchin that he would give a thousand men and their maintenance.
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.
And I will knock the nonsense out of anybody"-- but probably realizing that he was shouting at Bezukhov who so far was not guilty of anything, he added, taking Pierre's hand in a friendly manner, "We are on the eve of a public disaster and I haven't time to be polite to everybody who has business with me.
When he awoke next morning the major-domo came to inform him that a special messenger, a police officer, had come from Count Rostopchin to know whether Count Bezukhov had left or was leaving the town.
Yes, it really is Bezukhov in a coachman's coat, with a queer-looking old boy.
Natasha's wedding to Bezukhov, which took place in 1813, was the last happy event in the family of the old Rostovs.
Nicholas accepted thirty thousand rubles offered him by his brother-in- law Bezukhov to pay off debts he regarded as genuinely due for value received.
Besides the Bezukhov family, Nicholas' old friend the retired General Vasili Dmitrich Denisov was staying with the Rostovs this fifth of December.