Many stories are told of the vivacity and enthusiasm with which he lectured, of the absent-mindedness which sometimes led him, forgetting that his pupils could not hear what he was saying, to continue his explanations while he was out of the classroom looking for some piece of apparatus, and of the vigorous tirades, generally culminating in the epithet "plagiaire," in which he used to indulge against men with whom he disagreed (Hofer, Hist.
All his absent-mindedness and inability to enter a room and converse in it was, however, redeemed by his kindly, simple, and modest expression.
Rostov looked inimically at Pierre, first because Pierre appeared to his hussar eyes as a rich civilian, the husband of a beauty, and in a word--an old woman; and secondly because Pierre in his preoccupation and absent-mindedness had not recognized Rostov and had not responded to his greeting.
In spite of his absent-mindedness and good nature, Pierre's personality immediately checked any attempt to ridicule him to his face.
With Mademoiselle Bourienne's help the princess had maintained the conversation very well, but at the very last moment, just when he rose, she was so tired of talking of what did not interest her, and her mind was so full of the question why she alone was granted so little happiness in life, that in a fit of absent-mindedness she sat still, her luminous eyes gazing fixedly before her, not noticing that he had risen.
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