We now return to Nikolai Rostov (in case you’ve forgotten, son of Count and Countess Rostov, brother to Natasha, Vera, Petya, and rather enamoured cousin to Sonya . . .), and we see him on the battlefield.
Quite unlike Andrei, who is quite caught up in the seriousness of it all, Nikolai seems to be more in it for the fun of it and “the honour”, at this stage. Now, I don’t know about you, but the events of these two chapters were somewhat confusing – or at least the two different translations that I consulted made it seem that way (the Garnett and the Maude).
So tell me – is this what you think happened? Nikolai is counting his superior officer Denisov’s money (from his gambling . . .), when in walks Telyanin, the officer, who steals the money. Rostov realises this, and then goes to find Telyanin. However, when Telyanin looks panicked and says that he has a poor father and mother, Nikolai gives him the money and says keep it. That’s the end of chapter 4.
Where it gets confusing is chapter 5. Later that day, Denisov and another officer are giving Nikolai a lambasting for telling the commanding officer about the theft. For the honour of the regiment, he should stay silent, rather than admit that there is a thief.
But what I don’t get is why did Nikolai let Telyanin keep the money if he was going to dob him in?
Are there any Tolstoy scholars out there who might be able to shed light on what’s happening? I would be ever so grateful.
In the meantime, I’ve added Denisov to the MindMap, because he will go on to become a more major character as time goes on. (It helps to keep track of all these other characters as well, but I think to keep the MindMap manageable, I’ll only stick on the really, really major ones.)
Either way, all this confusion comes to an end, when Zherkov, now reduced to the regiments for making fun of loser Austraian (I wonder if he was demoted by Andrei Bolkonsky?) arrives to let them know that, regardless of who stole from whom – they’re being marched into battle . . . And so it begins . . .