This chapter is like a final nail in the coffin to the whole thing. Andrei finally arrives back in town and Pierre goes to talk to him about what has happened.
If Andrei had been really upset (like Pierre was expecting), we probably would have been able to cope a little easier – because then there might have been a chance of reconciliation.
But as soon as we see Andrei, pretending coldly that he simply doesn’t care – we know that it’s all over. He’s gone right back to being the cynic that we knew he was. And we’re left, like Pierre, to feel the pain of the whole situation.
As a side note, we see that Speransky – the man who had the ear of the Tsar, and the acquaintance that Andrei lost all interest in when he first fell in love with Natasha – has now been exiled. The significance of this was that there was now a falling out between Russian and France, and the peace of 1807 is about to crack . . .
The whole world is falling apart.