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War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 2, Part 4, Chapter 6 Summary

  • Count Rostov goes home, but the hunt continues. Hey, it’s still early, maybe they can torture another couple of wolves before the day is out.
  • The dogs get on the trail of a weird-looking fox. (That sounds like that’s a clue or symbol or something, but it goes nowhere. It’s just weird-looking and that’s that.)  They bring the fox down, when all of a sudden another hunter comes out of nowhere and goes over to the dog pack.
  • The new hunter and one of Nikolai’s guys get into it a little bit, because this is bad hunting etiquette apparently.
  • Turns out the new guy is with Ilagin, a neighbor of the Rostovs who they aren’t on good terms with. In fact, they’re suing each other.
  • Nikolai is all, uh-oh, but it turns out that Ilagin is a decent guy. He rides up and invites Nikolai onto his own lands to make up for the hunting faux pas.
  • They ride together and chitchat about their harvest and their dogs.
  • Both are trying to play it cool, tossing offhand compliments about each other’s dogs, but the dogs are clearly a big deal to both of them. Have you ever seen those old-timey portraits of rich aristocrats that always, always have a dog or a horse in them?  It was really a big thing to have excellent hunting animals.  Maybe a little bit like having a cool car or the latest high-tech gadget these days.
  • The hunting helpers sound the horn – seems they’ve found a hare the dogs can chase.
  • Nikolai, Ilagin, and Nikolai’s distant relative kind of sidle into deciding to race their dogs against each other, though they are all still pretending they don’t really care.
  • It’s a mad race of the fastest dogs, and the winner is...the dog of Nikolai’s relative. Oh. That’s kind of a letdown. The winning “uncle” cuts off the hare’s foot and gives it to his dog as a treat. (OK, we’ll wait here while your stomach settles.)
  • Natasha, who’s been watching all of this, lets out a shriek of delight. It’s wild and strange, but for some reason, entirely appropriate to this situation.

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