As this party gets completely underway, I realised that I forgot to comment on the revelations about Pierre’s marriage in yesterday’s chapter – his wife, at least as far as the rumours go, has been unfaithful to him.
And does it surprise us in the least that it’s Dolokhov that is the Other Man? Not really . . .
Unlike the stories about the battles, where Tolstoy shows us the reality and the exaggerations in the drawing rooms afterwards, we are left to wonder how much truth there is to the rumours about Helene. But, seriously, is she capable of cheating on him? I think so.
Is Dolokhov capable of being that much a rogue? Absolutely!
So, with both men (but no Helene, unless I missed something) at the same party, and the vodka flowing freely, it could be an interesting night . . . but then if you’ve read ahead, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
But that’s for tomorrow.
I was also going to comment on the fact that poor old Pierre, despite his new-found riches, is still the odd one out at social functions. Too rich to hang around with the young men, too naive to really hang around with the old rich. Always an outsider.
But my really big questions from this chapter is – why did glass-breaking never pick up in the West but seems to be really big in Eastern European countries? Apart from the fact that you’d want pretty solid shoes, and the catering stuff would absolutely hate you, there seems to me something immensely satisfying about knowing that that toast is the last thing that glass will ever be used for.
Or maybe you think it’s a crazy Russian thing.
Throw in some bad poetry, the irony of Bagration being introduced to Nikolai (the very young man he was happy to send down to Kutuzov on the front line at the Battle of Austerlitz) and even more alcohol, is it any wonder that Count Rostov is in tears by the end of the chapter?
And there’s more to come tomorrow . . .