Reading for Saturday, 10 January
And we return for a brief flash across to the ever-churning machine that is the salons of Anna Pavlovna Scherer – with a bit of competition from Helene.
Tolstoy, as always, is open to a bit of comedy, and here it’s provided by Prince Vassily, the man with no scruples at all, switching sides on the value of Kutuzov as a commander-in-chief.
There’s a certain level of Absolutely Fabulous bitchiness in the closing paragraphs where Vassily and Scherer smirk at the “man of great abilities”, who puts his foot in it by saying something directly, rather than dropping clever jokes in French about it. No wonder Pierre and Andrei can’t stand these guys . . .