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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

  • Marya finally comes down. She quickly checks out the company: Liza is checking out everyone else, Mlle. Bourienne is flirting, Vassily is looking at her seriously, and Anatole? Well, she’s way too overwhelmed to even see him.
  • Anatole comes over, kisses her hand, and does all the polite things he's supposed to while hardly even registering her. He’s got coolest-guy-in-the-school written all over him – he just kicks back and relaxes with total self-confidence. He is also a master of the acting-like-a-superior-jerk technique of attracting women. Since he’s very good-looking, it works well for him.
  • Liza is doing her standard socializing chitchat. Mlle. Bourienne is also getting a word in here and there. Anatole is digging her.
  • Prince Bolkonsky finally comes down, wondering to himself if he could handle letting Marya get married. Turns out that even though all he does is yell at her and belittle her, he’s grown accustomed to her face and can’t imagine life without her.
  • Bolkonsky kind of gruffs out some minimal social niceties, then tries to check out Anatole. Anatole laughs off every question and comes off as the chillaxed, entitled guy that he is. So, you know, at least he represents well.
  • The two old guys go off by themselves, and Prince Vassily lays it all out there.  Bolkonsky is all, sure, Marya can get married if she wants to. He invites Anatole to stay so the youngsters can get to know each other.
  • Meanwhile, Anatole is totally enjoying his sudden ménage à quatre. All the women are into him, although, to be fair, Liza is just happy to have another person there period.
  • Mlle. Bourienne, on the other hand, has a whole scheme worked out. First, she’s going to allow herself to get seduced (which back then was a big no-no, since non-virgins were supposedly ruined for marriage). Then she’ll bust out with a big sob story about how her mother’s ghost came to her in a dream to yell at her about the whole seduction thing. Then she’ll guilt Anatole into marrying her. Impressive plan.
  • Marya is also falling for sexy Anatole. She keep on imagining them getting married and doesn’t have a jealous thought in her head about Mlle. Bourienne. In fact, she totally misreads Mlle. Bourienne’s excited face as a sign of how psyched she is for Marya. Not so much.

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