Saturday, February 6, 2010

Volume 1, Book 1, Chapter XII

Anna Mikhailovna and her son Boris pull up to Bezukhov's in the Rostov's carriage. I love how she just borrowed it to whisk away to the Count's to try to get her son some money. There's a neat detail that the streets are strewn with straw, which is noted as something done when someone was near death to mute the sound of carriage wheels.

Boris is obviously very unhappy about going, but it doing it for his mother. Once there, they are told the count is sick, but notice that Vassily's carriage is already there, so she asks to see him. He's annoyed, but she's still trying to assert her son's right as a godson (I don't know if there's a word for this particular relationship), but begins by thanking Vassily for saving her son from regular service.

One of the nieces of the Count comes out of the room and is annoyed at the noise. Anna Mikhailovna takes the opportunity to plant herself in a chair and stay, saying she will go in with the priest for last rites, since it's difficult, but women are used to suffering. Ha.

T has a great off-the-cuff description of the niece, a "cold and sullen face and a long waist strikingly out of proportion with her legs" as if he is surprised at the character that just walked out of the story he's writing. Brilliant.

Anna Mikhailovna keeps calling the Count her Uncle, and tells Boris to go find Pierre and communicate the dinner invitation. Vassily thanks her for getting the boy off his hands, since he does nothing.

So now we have both Vassily and Anna Mikhailovna waiting to get their hands on the Count before he dies, with both of them wanting Pierre out of the way. Conniving.

Great characters. I'm picturing Swoosie Kurtz and Alan Rickman. Vassily keeps being described by his annoyance and monotone, and she by her will. Also, T tells us her shoes are falling apart and her dress has been re-dyed. I see what we're supposed to see about her.

We'll see if the door opens....

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