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August 17. Nikolai & Co. go out for a ride. Since they’re about ten miles away from Bogucharovo, that’s where they end up going, hoping to chat up some servant girls.
They find a bunch of the peasants milling about drunkenly and are told it’s a village meeting.
Just then Marya’s servant rushes out to the soldiers and says that the princess wants to know who they are.
Nikolai introduces himself as Count Rostov, and Alpatych comes out to him and gestures that they should move away from the drunkards to talk.
Alpatych tells Nikolai that the serfs are preventing Marya from leaving. Nikolai is immediately up in arms, and Alpatych fills him in on the details – for instance, that Dron quit his post as the head guy and has joined the peasants once and for all.
Nikolai goes into the main house and talks to Marya. She is relieved that he’s an aristocrat like her. He’s excited to get to be a big hero to this young woman.
He vows to deal with the situation and get her on her way.
She says that it’s no one’s fault and starts to cry.