This is the funny thing about Tolstoy. He can switch between providing great reams of minute detail and then cut to the chase at the blink of an eyelid.
So in this chapter, Natasha and her mother have a highly detailed conversation about Boris, with Tolstoy’s painstaking detail pointing out how Natasha is walking a fine line between being in the adult world (discussing marriage) and being in the child world (counting knuckles) at the same time.
Actually, regarding the knuckles, I was rather stoked, because ever since I read this in a book when I was about 10, I still to this day use my knuckles if I can’t remember how many days are in a particular month . . . so I was pretty stoked to find that in War and Peace, because I don’t remember it from last time.
And then, finally, after all this detail, a single brief paragraph suffices to outline the ultimate outcome of the Boris/Natasha relationship. Very cleverly done.
See you tomorrow!