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War and Peace

War and Peace

  

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Epilogue, Part 1, Chapter 14 Summary

  • The kids come and say goodnight.
  • The only one who stays behind is Nikolenka. He begs to be allowed to hang out with the grownups instead of going to bed.
  • Pierre says it’s all right.
  • The conversation turns to government gossip. Denisov hasn’t done too well career-wise and so he has a lot of bitter complaints about all the new appointments.
  • Pierre though, wants to talk about something else – the fact that everything in the government is going so badly.
  • The men go to Nikolai’s study, while Marya and Natasha go to deal with the kids.
  • Pierre lays it out for the others – Alexander has given up governing and is just doing mystical stuff. The people now in charge are horrible reactionaries derailing progress.
  • Eventually Pierre starts hinting at trying to ally with the oppositional forces.
  • Nikolai notices that Nikolenka is in the room and gets upset, since this kind of revolutionary talk isn’t child-appropriate.
  • Pierre says it’s OK for Nikolenka to stay.
  • Nikolai gets even more mad and says however bad things got, he would never support a secret anti-government society.
  • Natasha comes back into the room to hear Pierre talking about how he doesn’t want a revolution, just a mutual-aid society of likeminded people. Or something.
  • Nikolenka sits in the corner, totally absorbed by Pierre, breaking apart the wax sticks they use to seal letters.
  • Finally, Nikolai snaps and tells Pierre that if Nikolai were ordered by the government to do it, he would kill Pierre and every other person in this society.
  • It’s a crazy moment.
  • Everyone takes a breather and goes downstairs.
  • Nikolenka asks Pierre if Andrei would have agreed with him. Pierre says yes.
  • Nikolenka apologizes to Nikolai for breaking the pens and wax things.

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