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War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy
Summary / Epilogue, Part 1, Chapter 14
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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