In this chapter, Tolstoy gently reminds us how serious the war is, without actually having a battle scene. What starts as a scene of politics, as the Austrian general tries to get Russian reinforcements for a battle he can’t admit they’re losing – all of a sudden becomes more serious as the Austrian General Mack arrives.
The heckling of the Austrians by the two Russians is a bit of an eye-opener. It makes me wonder whether even back then, whether the seeds of the rivalry between the nations that was at its peak in WWII was present all the time.
In all of this, it is Andrei who reminds us that this is not a funny matter. Lives are lost. You may not particularly like another nation, you may not like their leaders – but somewhere out there, lives are lost. I sometimes worry that war is taken a bit too lightly in our Western nations, but this highlights the seriousness of it all.
Oh, did anyone else think it was nice for Andrei finally to have cheered up, or was that just me?