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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 2, Part 1, Chapter 16 Summary

  • Nikolai gets so into the song that he remembers that life is worth living after all.
  • And just then his dad shows up, and Nikolai immediately hits him up for the money.
  • At first his dad thinks it’s for some no-big-deal amount, but when Nikolai busts out with his 43 grand, his dad has a totally unexpected reaction.
  • Nikolai is ready to be kind of obnoxious and offhand about it, but his dad, instead of yelling at him or just saying no, gets stressed and worried and starts digging around the room, looking for money.
  • This is so sad that Nikolai starts sobbing hysterically.
  • Meanwhile, in the next room, Natasha is excited and overwhelmed because Denisov has proposed to her.  She tells her mom all about it, but it turns out that she’s not in love with him and is way too young to get married. (She’s 15, guys – seriously.)
  • Mostly she’s freaking about how to tell Denisov no.  She’s nervous and feels bad for him and wants to let him down gently. They talk about it, and Natasha goes back and forth about whether she wants to tell him, or her mom to tell him, or what.
  • Finally, she gets her nerve up, goes into the room where Denisov is, and says thanks but no thanks.
  • Then her mom comes in and backs her up.
  • Denisov leaves and quickly ships out to the army the next day.
  • For the next two weeks, Nikolai waits around at home while his dad gets the 43 grand together. He sends it off to Dolokhov, waits to get a receipt, and then leaves for his regiment in Poland.

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