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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 3, Chapter 9 Summary

  • Boris is totally using Andrei’s friendship to get a cushy job as some general’s adjutant.  The day after the review, Boris takes off for Olmutz to see if Andrei can hook him up.
  • Andrei is not in the city, and Boris wanders around without knowing anyone.
  • When he asks for Andrei in his quarters, the other officers make him feel like a moochy loser, so he goes away.
  • But he comes back the next day and finally finds Andrei.
  • Andrei is basically the gatekeeper to General Kutuzov, so anyone who wants to talk to the big man has to go through him first.
  • Boris sees some fancy general doing his utmost to impress Andrei but getting nothing but boredom in return. Boris realizes that there’s a difference between the official hierarchy (generals rank higher than captains) and an unofficial one (this particular general has to kiss up to this particular captain to get what he wants).
  • Andrei finishes his business and is psyched to see Boris. Andrei loves being a mentor and is happy to put in a good word for his friend and show off his connections.
  • Andrei decides that the best way to get a leg up is not to see Kutuzov, but instead to try to catch Prince Dolgorukov, another VIP who is very close to the emperor and has a lot of say.
  • They find Dolgorukov, whom Andrei is apparently friends with. Dolgorukov starts talking about the next offensive against the French, but he clearly doesn’t want to say too much in front of Boris.
  • Still, he does tell them a funny story. Napoleon sent a letter to Emperor Alexander, mostly to stall for time, and then a whole slew of diplomats were forced to figure out how to address the reply. They couldn’t write to “Emperor Napoleon” because that would be recognizing him as the rightful ruler. But they couldn’t write it to “You Dumb Jerk” because – well, obviously that would be bad. Finally, someone figured out to address it “To the head of the French Government.” A very nice solution.
  • They laugh about how this is both polite and at the same time will tick Napoleon off – perfect combo.
  • Finally, Andrei tries to talk to Dolgorukov about setting Boris up somehow. Dolgorukov immediately agrees but is interrupted by a messenger. He’s a busy guy, obviously.
  • Boris is thrilled to be so close to raw power. Like, kind of way overly excited about it. Settle down, there, sport.
  • Meanwhile, Andrei sees a short civilian walking by and gets unhappy. Turns out, this is the minister of foreign affairs, a guy with incredible power and influence who Andrei really doesn’t like. Well, OK then.

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