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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 1, Chapter 18 Summary

  • While the name-day party is going on at the Rostovs’, Count Bezukhov has yet another stroke – number six.
  • A few people are milling around listening to updates from the doctor, who basically says that Bezukhov is going to die any second.
  • Last rites are administered (basically one final confession to a priest before death).
  • Meanwhile, Prince Vassily goes to talk to Catiche.
  • She’s half praying and sad, half just hoping for sweet death to finally take her uncle away.
  • Vassily cuts to the chase: does she know where the will is?  And isn’t she freaking out about Pierre potentially inheriting the whole enchilada, which would mean neither Prince Vassily nor Catiche and her sisters would get anything?
  • She dismisses all this, since it’s illegal for an illegitimate son to inherit a title and estate.
  • But Prince Vassily has news: apparently Count Bezukhov wrote a letter to the Emperor asking to make Pierre legitimate. If that’s allowed to happen posthumously (after Bezukhov's death), then Pierre will become the Count.  Hey, Vassily says, what if that letter were burned?  By the Count of course – the totally senile, stroked-out Count. No one will suspect any kind of foul play there…
  • Catiche starts to freak out.
  • Then she realizes when Count Bezukhov must have written the letter. Turns out our good friend Princess Drubetskoy (Boris’s mom) came to see him a little while ago and talked a lot of trash about Catiche and her sisters.
  • So, yes, Prince Vassily, she does know where that letter is – in a folder under Count Bezukhov’s pillow. Catiche breaks out some hateful stuff about Princess Drubetskoy.

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