He laid his hand on the withers of Balashev’s horse and said: "Well, General, it all looks like war," as if regretting a circumstance of which he was unable to judge.
He was sitting on the seat the old prince used to like to sit on, and beside him strips of bast were hanging on the broken and withered branch of a magnolia.
Because of its attraction to the earth, because its stalk withers, because it is dried by the sun, because it grows heavier, because the wind shakes it, or because the boy standing below wants to eat it?
Everyone sitting in this antechamber experienced the same feeling of respect and even fear when the enormously high study door opened and showed the figure of a rather small old man, with powdered wig, small withered hands, and bushy gray eyebrows which, when he frowned, sometimes hid the gleam of his shrewd, youthfully glittering eyes.
Frowning with vexation at the effort necessary to divest himself of his coat and trousers, the prince undressed, sat down heavily on the bed, and appeared to be meditating as he looked contemptuously at his withered yellow legs.
Whether it was the teacher’s fault or the pupil’s, this same thing happened every day: the princess’ eyes grew dim, she could not see and could not hear anything, but was only conscious of her stern father’s withered face close to her, of his breath and the smell of him, and could think only of how to get away quickly to her own room to make out the problem in peace.
They gathered the fallen leaves that dropped of themselves from that withered tree—the French army—and sometimes shook that tree itself.