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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