If you’re thinking there’s not much in War and Peace beyond battle scenes and parties, you could actually be right . . .
But, no, let’s not think like that – who wouldn’t want to miss another of Tolstoy’s minutely described celebrations?
In this case, the minor details (that’s not so minor) is to notice two things: a) that Count Rostov has just mortgaged his estate, which is an impending sign of his terrible financial status and b) he’s blowing it on rubbish things like Nikolai’s clothes and great parties for Bagration.
Actually, this chapter is a bit funny, because the stuff that would be considered a bit shocking to us is kind of passed over in a rather matter-of-fact way. So Nikolai gives Sonya the flick, and starts hanging around bars and brothels, and this is just the good old Russian soldier thing to do.
Bagration, despite his complete incompetence (at least according to Tolstoy) on the battlefield, has become the hero of the hour, because nobody got killed under his command – and Kutuzov and the Austrians completely tack the rap for everything that went wrong at Austerlitz . . .
Human nature, eh? And all of this is going to underpin the party that follows in the next few chapters . . .
See you tomorrow.