A Year of War and Peace+ Day 49

In which Prince Vasíli presents his rakish, insulting son, Anatole, to Bald Hills and we see the wisdom in calmly dismissing the poor behavior of others

Brian E. Denton
16 min readAug 21, 2021


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War and Peace — Book One, Part Three

Chapter Three

Old Prince Nicholas Bolkónski received a letter from Prince Vasíli in November, 1805, announcing that he and his son would be paying him a visit. “I am starting on a journey of inspection, and of course I shall think nothing of an extra seventy miles to come and see you at the same time, my honored benefactor,” wrote Prince Vasíli. “My son Anatole is accompanying me on his way to the army, so I hope you will allow him personally to express the deep respect that, emulating his father, he feels for you.”

“It seems that there will be no need to bring Mary out, suitors are coming to us of their own accord,” incautiously remarked the little princess on hearing the news.

Prince Nicholas frowned, but said nothing.

A fortnight after the letter Prince Vasíli’s servants came one evening in advance of him, and he and his son arrived next day.

Old Bolkónski had always had a poor opinion of Prince Vasíli’s character, but more so recently, since in the new reigns of Paul and Alexander Prince Vasíli had risen to high position and honors. And now, from the hints contained in his letter and given by the little princess, he saw which way the wind was blowing, and his low opinion changed into a feeling of contemptuous ill will. He snorted whenever he mentioned him. On the day of Prince Vasíli’s arrival, Prince Bolkónski was particularly discontented and out of temper. Whether he was in a bad temper because Prince Vasíli was coming, or whether his being in a bad temper made him specially annoyed at Prince Vasíli’s…



Brian E. Denton

For my friends and family, love. For my enemies, durian fruit.