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War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 3, Part 2, Chapter 17 Summary

  • In Moscow, meanwhile, same old same old. The French army gets closer and closer and people there are less and less concerned.
  • Julie Drubetskoy (Boris’s wife) is throwing a little farewell party before leaving Moscow the next day.
  • Her friends’ main concession to the fact that war is around the corner? They’re trying to not speak French, and when they do they have to pay a fine. What’s funny is that they can’t help saying four French words per sentence – that’s how bad their Russian is. (To get a sense of why this is funny, imagine if the leaders of the United States could barely speak English because they’d all grown up speaking French. That’s what happened with the ruling elite in Russia in the 19th century.)
  • At the party, everyone is gossiping about how Pierre has outfitted a whole militia at his own expense. Mostly they are laughing at the idea of fat, ungainly Pierre riding into battle.
  • When he shows up, the open mockery kind of stops, and Pierre laughs, saying he’s obviously not going to war himself.
  • Conversation then shifts to the Rostovs, who are not doing well money-wise. They are waiting for Petya to come back to join Pierre’s regiment before leaving Moscow.
  • Julie makes an allusion to the whole Natasha-Andrei-Anatole situation and Pierre snaps at her. She immediately drops it.
  • The conversation then moves on to Marya and how she’s clearly in love with Nikolai after the whole knight-in-shining-armor rescue.

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