Pierre, just like Napoleon who he feels so connected to, will soon be fighting a war on two fronts. He’s well aware of the carnage of the battlefield. Little does he know, however, that back at the homefront his wife is preparing an attack that could prove as devastating to him as the French assault at Borodino.
While her husband has been off fighting the war — kind of — Helene has been trapezing around Vilna and Petersburg with the slyness of a fox and the libido of an unremittingly onanistic chimpanzee. While in Petersburg she shacked up with a high ranking imperial official. While in Vilna, with a young prince. One would assume that in nineteenth century Russian society the open practice of Playboy mansion grotto sexual mores would dampen one’s reputation. Helene doesn’t seem to mind though. She’s not embarrassed in the least. The problem, as she sees it, isn’t how best to keep her relationships from the light of society but, rather, how to bestow upon them some legitimacy.
For that project, naturally, she turns towards the Roman Catholic Church. Her idea is to convert to that religion in order to have her marriage to Pierre annulled. The Church is perfectly willing to go along. The Pope himself will send her a document concerning this process.
Pierre, when he returns from Borodino, has some choices to make. Clearly, he has made a mistake in marrying Helene. If he’s truly interested in improving himself he’s going to need to surround himself with a better class of people moving forward. The company you keep ends up keeping you.
In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly.
Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words