Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film.
Please enjoy and share with friends.
War and Peace — Book One, Part Three
In November, 1805, Prince Vasíli had to go on a tour of inspection in four different provinces. He had arranged this for himself so as to visit his neglected estates at the same time and pick up his son Anatole where his regiment was stationed, and take him to visit Prince Nicholas Bolkónski in order to arrange a match for him with the daughter of that rich old man. But before leaving home and undertaking these new affairs, Prince Vasíli had to settle matters with Pierre, who, it is true, had latterly spent whole days at home, that is, in Prince Vasíli’s house where he was staying, and had been absurd, excited, and foolish in Hélène’s presence (as a lover should be), but had not yet proposed to her.
“This is all very fine, but things must be settled,” said Prince Vasíli to himself, with a sorrowful sigh, one morning, feeling that Pierre who was under such obligations to him (“But never mind that”) was not behaving very well in this matter. “Youth, frivolity… well, God be with him,” thought he, relishing his own goodness of heart, “but it must be brought to a head. The day after tomorrow will be Lëlya’s name day. I will invite two or three people, and if he does not understand what he ought to do then it will be my affair — yes, my affair. I am her father.”
Six weeks after Anna Pávlovna’s “At Home” and after the sleepless night when he had decided that to marry Hélène would be a calamity and that he ought to avoid her and go away, Pierre, despite that decision, had not left Prince Vasíli’s and felt with terror that in people’s eyes he was every day more and more connected…