Page:Pierre.djvu/40

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26 PIERRE

So saying she crossed the room, and—resting in a corner—her glad proud eye met the old General's baton, which the day before in one of his frolic moods Pierre had taken from its accustomed place in the pictured-bannered hall. She lifted it, and musingly swayed it to and fro ; then paused, and staff-wise rested with it in her hand. Her stately beauty had ever somewhat martial in it ; and now she looked the daughter of a General, as she was ; for Pierre's was a double revolutionary descent. On both sides he sprung from heroes.

'This is his inheritance—this symbol of command ! and I swell out to think it. Yet but just now I fondled the conceit that Pierre was so sweetly docile ! Here sure is a most strange inconsistency ! For is sweet docility a general's badge ? and is this baton but a distaff then ?—Here's something widely wrong. Now I almost wish him otherwise than sweet and docile to me, seeing that it must be hard for man to be an uncompromising hero and a commander among his race, and yet never ruffle any domestic brow. Pray heaven he show his heroicness in some smooth way of favouring fortune, not be called out to be a hero of some dark hope forlorn;—of some dark hope forlorn, whose cruelness makes a savage of a man. Give him, God, regardful gales ! Fan him with unwavering prosperities ! So shall he remain all docility to me, and yet prove a haughty hero to the world ! '