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War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 1, Chapter 21 Summary

  • Oh, man, this next chapter is awesome. Prepare for the proverbial crap to really hit the proverbial fan.
  • Right after Count Bezukhov falls asleep, Princess Drubetskoy and Pierre walk out of the room. (They’re like a superhero team at this point.)
  • They walk in on Prince Vassily and Catiche deep in conversation, and Vassily immediately tries to hustle the Princess and Pierre to get some tea. You know, because it’s so stressful with the Count sick and everything.
  • The Princess takes Pierre into the tea room, and then...sneaks back into the first room to eavesdrop on Vassily and Catiche. Hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game.
  • Pierre is slow, but he finally catches on and walks back too, to find the Princess and Catiche both holding onto a folder with some documents in it.
  • The women are trying to kill each other with kindness. (Ever wonder what that expression means? It's basically this scene.) They're both grabbing that thing for dear life, all the while saying to each other super-politely, “oh, no, allow me!,” “it’s much too difficult for you my dear, let me!,” and so forth.
  • Finally, Catiche breaks. She just doesn’t have the Princess's iron will. She drops the charade and just starts screaming at Princess Drubetskoy. Suddenly we’re in full-on Jerry Springer mode.
  • Vassily is all, “ladies, please,” but he doesn’t really do anything about the catfight.
  • Finally, the door to the bedroom opens, and it’s clear that the Count is actually about to die.
  • Princess Drubetskoy grabs the folder and races into the room, followed closely by Vassily and Catiche. After a little while they all come out.
  • And guess what? Pierre gets all the money.
  • Princess Drubetskoy, ever the player, sends Pierre a note saying basically, “Sorry about your loss, but congrats on the money! Glad I was there since otherwise you would have gotten nothing. Also, the Count promised to take care of Boris, so please do that.”
  • Meanwhile, she goes around Moscow telling everyone hyped-up stories about how touching the reunion between Pierre and his dad was, and how Vassily and Catiche almost scammed Pierre out of his inheritance. Way to spin it, lady.

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