This chapter, which recounts the visit of Boris and his mum to cadge some money off a dying man is a subtly painted portrait of awkwardness. Anna Drubetskoy puts on all the airs of being concerned for Count Bezuhof’s health . . . but we all know she’s there to scab a bit more.
Prince Vassily is suppressing his impatience as best he can because a) he’s already pulled a favour for Anna and now he’s watching her go for another one and b) it might not be so obvious, but he’s related to Pierre’s Dad as well, and he’s hanging around waiting for him to die – so how noble are his motives?
Nothing like seeing somebody obviously pulling off the same shonkyness that you’re performing yourself to make you annoyed . . . but we shall hear more of Count Bezuhof and his money (and his relatives) over the next few days.