War and Peace Volume 2, Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary
The next morning Nikolai hightails it out of Boris’s house to avoid him.
He decides to just give Denisov’s petition right to the emperor. All his crazy love for Emperor Alexander comes flooding back and he is convinced that the emperor will immediately see who is right and will fix everything.
Nikolai goes up to the house where the emperor is staying, and after a lot of back and forth finally goes inside.
Of course he is immediately hustled out of the way, to an officer in charge of receiving petitions. This guy? He does not want to help.
As Nikolai is leaving empty-handed, he accidently bumps into the general who used to be the commander of Nikolai’s division. The general is super nice, hears the whole story, and promises to talk to Emperor Alexander.
He does it right away, and Alexander comes out. He makes a big show of listening to the general, then answers really loudly (so everyone will hear) that he can’t help because the “law is stronger than I” (18.104.22.168). Huh. Point well made, we guess.
Nikolai gets a little light-headed seeing his sovereign and, along with a bunch of other gawkers, starts running after the emperor's horse.