War and Peace Volume 4, Part 3, Chapter 13 Summary
Pierre checks out the scenery on the morning of October 22. It’s rainy and starting to get pretty cold.
He forces himself to talk to Platon, who is shivering by the fire. How’s he feeling? Not great, that’s for sure.
Platon tells Pierre the same story he’s told him many times before:
A man is falsely convicted of murder and sent off to do hard labor. One day the convicts start sharing their stories, and he tells them that even though he didn’t kill anyone, he’s there suffering for whatever small sins he’s committed in his life. He doesn’t feel sorry for himself, but he does feel bad for his wife and kids, who are left with nothing. They get the story out of him, and it turns out that the real murderer is actually there too. The real murderer feels terrible and confesses to the prison warden. The warden sends off a letter to the tsar, who eventually sends the falsely imprisoned man a pardon. All this takes a long time, though (you know, letters back in the day), and by the time the pardon comes the guy is dead.
Platon’s moral from this story is that the guy had achieved the ultimate forgiveness: God’s. This fills Pierre with deep thoughts.