In this rather long and surreal chapter, Prince Bolkonsky’s servant, Alpatitch, ventures to the village of Smolensky. I won’t go into all the details – after all, you do have to do some reading yourself – but notice how the details multiply.
First it’s a few sounds of gunfire in the distance. Then it’s a panic and people heading out of town. And then it just keeps building up until it becomes the madness that it is by the end of the chapter.
The unusual thing in all of this is that Alpatitch, so devoted to his master, doesn’t really think outside the box and so seems rather surprised by everything that is going on.
All of this serves to highlight the danger that is now facing the inhabitants of Bald Hills . . .