Like Ian, I still have no idea what card game this is that they’re describing, but does it really matter?

The fact that Dolohov decided that his age plus Sonya’s age is 43 and then decided to fleece Nikolai for 43,000 roubles is just priceless – right down to the 21 roubles that is over that he lets Nikolai win right at the end.

Astonishing and Nikolai just takes it – not able to stop himself.  I was reading this and thinking, “Well, all you have to do is get up and go home, son.”  But then again, if it was that easy, there wouldn’t be so many signs up around casinos and pokie rooms saying, “Do you have a problem with gambling?  Call this number.”

As always, Dolohov never does things by halves, and he’s always in control of the situation.

And those of you who remember Count Rostov’s second mortgage of his estates will realise that Nikolai’s foolishness is not just going to affect him, but his entire family . . .

2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 4.14 – 43,000 Roubles

  1. I must say that this Chapter really seemed to me to do masterful job of showing how something that starts off as a more or less innocent, if perhaps somewhat reckless, bit of fun (albeit one with an undercurrent of spite, at least on Dolokhov’s part) very quickly degenerates into something utterly out of control and almost surreal. Nikolai is literally gambling away his family’s livelihood – always with the hope that “just one more card” will save him. The description of Nikolai sweating, becoming more and more desperate, looking to the number of cords on his jacket to be his source of salvation, and then feeling that there is this massive gulf between all the horror of “now” and the life he had, only an hour or so ago, as a happy young man, and knowing that he can’t travel back over that gulf – it all just seemed to me to be an incredibly powerful description of what it must be like to be in that “point of no return” situation, which must just be so tragically common for people with serious gambling addictions. The way everything – right down to the hairs on Dolokhov’s wrists – becomes grotesque and abhorrant for Nikolai: it really must be like that. I guess that’s why so many people at the pokies and the Casino look so utterly miserable. I guess, too, the magnitude of what Nikolai is feeling is captured in the way he prays now just as he did when faced with he gulf between life and death on the Amstetten bridge. I thought that was a brilliant parallel between the human experience of two seemingly incomparable things – a war and a game of cards. Only Tolstoy could have made that link.

    Maybe this chapter could be used in some of the problem gambling campaigns!!

  2. Ahhhhhh! I wish Rostov had just got up and went home but he did not. Now I know what they mean by Dolokhov being just plain mean.

    There’s nothing to add to the count.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s