Now for a little lesson in the fine art of being a commander in chief.
It’s time for the review of the army. Basically, this is a parade put on by the troops to show themselves off for their commanders: dress uniforms, complicated marching, doing fancy stuff with the guns and swords, the whole nine yards.
Everyone lines up, and finally the Russian emperor Alexander rides out and checks out his fighting force.
They love him. No, make that, they LOVE him.
He says hello to the men and they break into the loudest, craziest, most devoted “Hurrah” ever. It’s nuts.
Nikolai is there, and he’s feeling the crazy devotion too. He’s so happy to see his sovereign that he immediately wants to go die for him. Check out the language in this section – it’s almost as intense as romantic love. The passion, the emotion, the way the men obsess over every tiny detail of what Emperor Alexander does – it really is hard to quite get it. Shmoop guesses they don’t make emperors like they used to.
Rostov’s regiment gets to do its fancy riding right in front of Alexander, and Nikolai is psyched to go by on his horse.
He is so thrilled and full of good will to all mankind that he forgives Andrei and decides not to challenge him to a duel.
Morale is boosted a bazillion percent. After the review is over, all the men can talk about is how ridiculously awesome it would be to go into battle led by Alexander himself, and how with him in charge they could never lose to any enemy.