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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 2, Part 5, Chapter 3 Summary

  • In Moscow Prince Bolkonsky sees a French doctor-to-the-stars.
  • On the Prince’s name day (remember, a day for all the people who are named after a specific saint), he makes a list of approved guests and demands that no one else be allowed in.
  • Marya tries to go with this, but the doctor pulls rank and goes in to see him anyway. Predictably, Bolkonsky flips the heck out, kicks the doctor out of his house, and then goes after Marya in a rage.
  • Prince Bolkonsky is totally paranoid and starts yelling about spies and traitors everywhere around him. (Shmoop FYI: random paranoia is a pretty frequent symptom of senility.)
  • At the dinner party that night, there are just a few guests, most of whom are kissing Prince Bolkonsky’s posterior as hard as possible.  One of the guests is Pierre. Another is Boris, who is still all about the striving and social climbing. He fits right in, mostly because he doesn’t say much and is just ultra respectful.
  • There’s an outspoken count there, who goes on and on about how much better everything was back in the day – all of which is music to Prince Bolkonsky’s ears, of course.
  • Finally, Bolkonsky himself starts to talk. It veers between sense and nonsense. There’s some talk about the spies, including the doctor he kicked out earlier, which everyone just smiles and nods about. And there’s some conversation about how awful it is that all the government leaders are now rubbing elbows with Napoleon, even though he’s a peasant upstart.

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