Tolstoy gets in a little dig here. You know what would be awesome, he says. If you could do nothing all day long and still feel like you’re a super important member of society. You and I don’t get to do that, Tolstoy says. But Nikolai and his army buddies do now because it’s peacetime. Slam!
But all good things must come to an end, and Nikolai keeps getting letters from his mom asking him to please come home and deal with the Rostovs’ money problems. It seems dear old dad is getting old and confused, and the estate manager is pulling a fast one on him or something. In any case, the estate is being run into the ground and they are almost bankrupt.
Nikolai ignores this stuff for a while, but then feels guilty and finally gets a leave of absence to go home and take care of business.
He gets home and checks out the fam. Cousin Sonya is 20 years old. Pretty? Check. Still in love with him? Check. He’s still pretty selfish about it? Check.
Natasha is all calm and strange, in love and engaged. Nikolai is a bit mad about the whole year-long-engagement situation, but he can't do anything about that.