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.
Leopold of Tuscany was a well-meaning, not unkindly man, and fonder of his subjects than were the other Italian despots; but he was weak, and too closely bound by family ties and Habsburg traditions ever to become a real Liberal.
Gibbon was such a man as Horace might have been, had the Roman Epicurean been fonder of hard intellectual work, and less prone than he was to the indulgence of emotion.
After that he avoided Dessalles and the countess who caressed him and either sat alone or came timidly to Princess Mary, or to Natasha of whom he seemed even fonder than of his aunt, and clung to them quietly and shyly.
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