Another brief vignette, but very cleverly done. It starts quite humourously, as Denisov questions Tihon about what he’s been up to. It brings out all the larrikinism in Tihon (he could almost be Australian, really!) and also the sense of fun that the guerrillas were clearly having.
But, at the same time, as Petya realises that Tihon has killed a man – Tolstoy briefly notes his pangs of conscience. And they are ours and Tolstoy’s pangs of conscience. Despite the laughs and jokes – war is not a fun affair, no matter how it’s fought.
If we’ve learned nothing else from War and Peace it’s that everyone is a human being. That little bit of news kind of leaves a dark edge hanging over the edge of this story and takes away from the fun of the opening of the chapter – as it should.