This is one of those little moments that would hit the cutting room floor if you were trying to turn War and Peace into a story driven by plot – but what a great moment.
By a strange twist of circumstances, Nikolai has the opportunity he has long dreamed of – to walk up and deliver a message to the Tsar – but gets cold feet. I’m guessing it’s that case of nerves that we get before we express our feelings to that special someone we like – so it’s something that most of us could probaby identify with.
But in this case, Nikolai’s hesitancy means that he misses out on the chance to talk to the Tsar, and someone else gets in instead. It’s an amusing little tale of teenage heartbreak (without actually being a story of teenage romance).
Have you ever wondered what you would do or say if you met a celebrity?
If you ever did, wouldn’t the truth be more likely that you would freak out like Nikolai as well?
Finally, this chapter finishes with another cameo appearance by Dolokhov, this time leading a dare-devil crossing of an icy dam . . . Dolokhov made it okay, but sadly those who followed him did not fare so well.