Just in case you missed it, the thing you were supposed to notice in this chapter was the broken chain of command that led to the charge of the hussars.
In a normal history textbook, General Bagration would have given an order for the hussars to attack. In Tolstoy’s world, the reality is far more chaotic.
– Bagration gave an order.
– Zherkov wussed out on delivering it.
– The German colonel of the hussars was fighting with the general of the regiment, as to who should attack, and neither wanted to give the order.
– Because of this, the French attacked and forced a retaliatory attack.
– However, even then the colonel’s orders were vague and, in the end:
– It is Denisov who really gives the order to charge.
– And even down to the level of Nikolai, note that it is his horse that charges, not him, so even he can’t seen to be in control of that particular event.
But all of that is really swept aside by the brilliant stream of consciousness description of Nikolai’s ill-fated charge. I don’t want to say any more in case you haven’t read it yet, but it’s definitely a Tolstoy highlight when Nikolai thinks to himself: “Can they be running to me? And what for? To kill me? Me, whom everyone’s so fond of?”
Anyway, babysitting calls . . . see you all tomorrow!