Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Volume 1, Book I, Chapter IX

Still at the Rostov's. Nikolai is in the drawing room with the niece of the Count and Countess, Sonya.

First the Count is kidding Nikolai that he wants to follow his friend so badly (Boris) that he's quit the University and is enlisting. He keeps saying how "That's friendship!" Nikolai protests that's not the reason. Everyone's hackles are up because of Napoleon. Meanwhile, Sonya gets jealous when Nikolai seems to flirt with Julie, a guest. She's runs out of the room close to tears, and Nikolai runs after her. This prompts the adults to say how transparent the kids are.

The Countess speaks of how there is so much to worry about, and how her children would never keep a secret from her (which T points out is an "error" that many parents make). The County parries that she knew nothing of Nikolai's enlistment. Vera, the older daughter, agrees that she was raised differently, and T points out how her smile is odd and she makes everyone feel awkward. Sad.

The guests leave and the Countess complains how they just "sat and sat".

Well, we've established that everyone talks about everyone else in this book, and there is much gossip. I loved the description of Sonya as a kitten who will grow into a beautiful cat. He says she is about ready to show her cat nature.

Poor Vera. To be described as someone whose smile makes her face "unnatural and therefore unpleasant" is just sad.

And there's a great phrase Anna Mikhailovna uses to describe Nikolai and Sonya, "cousinage dangereux voisinage" - cousinhood [is a] dangerous neighborhood.

Tomorrow I have surgery, so I'm hoping to just blog first thing. I have a feeling I won't be so into it post-surgery. I just have a feeling.


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