AFTER his interview with his wife Pierre left for Petersburg. At the Torzhok post-station either there were no horses or the post- master would not supply them. Pierre was obliged to wait. Without undressing, he lay down on the leather sofa in front of a round table, put his big feet in their over-boots on the table and began to reflect.
'Will you have the portmanteaux brought in? And a bed got ready, and tea?' asked his valet.
Pierre gave no answer, for he neither heard nor saw anything. He had begun to think at the last station and was still pondering on the same question -- one so important that he took no notice of what went on around him. Not only was he indifferent as to whether he got to Petersburg earlier or later, or whether he secured accommodation at this station, but compared to the thoughts that now occupied him it was a matter of indifference whether he remained there for a few hours or for the rest of his life.
The post-master, his wife, the valet, and a peasant woman selling Torzhok embroidery, came into the room offering their services. Without changing his careless attitude Pierre looked at them over his spectacles unable to understand what they wanted or how they could go on living without having solved the problems that so absorbed him. He had been engrossed by the same thoughts ever since the day he returned from Sokolniki after the duel and had spent that first agonizing, sleepless night. But now in the solitude of the journey they seized him with special force. No matter what he thought about, he always returned to these same questions which he could not solve and yet could not cease to ask himself. It was as if the thread of the chief screw which held his life together were stripped, so that the screw could not get in or out, but went on turning uselessly in the same place.
The post-master came in and began obsequiously to beg his Excellency to wait only two hours, when, come what might, he would let his Excellency have the courier-horses. It was plain that