Tolstoy sets this party at the Bezukhovs up like a bit of a battle scene, slowly increasing the atmosphere, step by step. From the moment Count Rostov steps in and feels uncomfortable, and youknow you’re full of a room full of known libertines, we know we’re in trouble. We kind of hope that the fact that he is there with Natasha might protect his daughter – but before we know it, she is whisked away for a private meeting with Anatole and it’s all over . . .
It has all the mounting suspense of a horror novel, but it’s not a horrific monster or serial killer waiting at the end of the chapter.
Anyway, as a side note, I should mention that the Mademoiselle George, who was reciting incestuous poetry (or at least she was in my translation) was mentioned way back in 1.3 as being an actress that was occasionally a mistress of Napoleon’s. If you look up the story about the Duc D’Enghien in that chapter, you will see her mentioned.
See you all tomorrow.