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Well, it’s good to have friends in high places, right?
Nikolai’s dad hushes up the fact that Nikolai was involved in the Pierre-Dolokhov duel, so instead of losing his army rank, he is appointed adjutant to the governor of Moscow.
Wait, what, Shmoop? Why would he be punished, you ask? Well, in Russia, as in most other European countries, duels were outlawed – and with good reason. It would be sort of crazy to have people resolving their issues by killing each other all the time, right? If you killed a guy in a duel, it was considered murder, and you would be dealt with accordingly – usually the death penalty. But still, people dueled, mostly about matters of “honor.” For a reasonable comparison, think about gangs today, and the importance of being shown the proper amount of “respect.”
Nikolai hangs out with Dolokhov while he recovers from the wound. Oh, good, he lived. How about that.
Dolokhov’s mom fusses over him and how he’s so innocent and put upon by evil people all around him. Meanwhile, Dolokhov obsesses about how awful women are and how he wishes there were one he could meet who would reform him into a good person.
Anyway, that winter is super fun at the Rostovs' house.
They’ve got three pretty girls – Vera, Sonya, and Natasha – and Nikolai brings all his friends home to meet them. There is much romance in the air.
One such romance is between Sonya and Dolokhov, which is awkward, since Sonya is still in love with Nikolai.
At the same time as all this fun is happening, the boys are getting ready to go fight Napoleon again. During the winter Napoleon has been getting closer and closer to Russia. Finally, Emperor Alexander orders up another conscription of soldiers to go defend the border.
Nikolai is all set to go as soon as Denisov's leave runs out after the winter holidays.