Reading for Thursday, 19 February
And as Helene’s shenanigans continue, we see that the hypocrisy (to use Carly’s most apt word) of the situation is quite deep-seated and spreads throughout the Russian aristocracy. At first, I was thinking that this was a bit much, and that surely most people wouldn’t go swapping gossip on who husband number 2 is when husband number 1 is still alive.
But then, when I walk to the train station of a morning and see all the gossip magazines lined up in a row, I think to myself, What’s changed? Nobody ever shakes their head in sadness that Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt can’t seem to keep a relationship together – we just are curious to see who’s next. I’m guessing this is very much the Russian version of that.
And, of course, it doesn’t really surprise us that the vignettes detailed here of Helene’s Dad and her rarely-seen Mum show that this kind of thing runs in the family.
But, in the end, it’s the last sentence that reminds us that what is the gossip and amusement of Petersburg has been the sadness and burden of Pierre for many years.