Hey, remember Anna Pavlovna and Helene? Well, they’re still in Petersburg, holding their same salons for the same people. Napoleon may come and go, but this kind of social life is forever.
Anna Pavlovna’s salon is really anti-Napoleon and high on patriotism.
Meanwhile, Helene’s salon is full of Napoleon apologists and Francophiles.
Prince Vassily goes back and forth between the two salons so much that he ends up getting confused and “said at Anna Pavlovna’s what ought to have been said at Helene’s, and vice versa” (188.8.131.52). So, you know, he’s basically a human ping-pong ball.
At Anna Pavlovna’s, Prince Vassily complains about what an awful general Barclay is and demands new army leadership. Someone suggests Kutuzov as a replacement. Prince Vassily is all, um, he’s old and fat and blind and only good for desk duty.
But then, three days later, Kutuzov is indeed placed at the head of the army. Oh, snap!
But Vassily is too clever for this. That day, when he goes to Anna Pavlovna’s, he’s all over Kutuzov with praise.