Saturday, February 20, 2010

Volume I, Book II, Chapter I

Okay, we're at war. In Austria. The company has marched 700 miles from Russia, twenty the night before. It's October 1805. Do I feel Waterloo coming on?

The regiment is told to dress for inspection, so they don't sleep all night, and the commander comes to inspect all 2,000 men. Just at that moment, a rider comes to explain that the orders were to have the soldiers look as badly as they did when they arrived (T tells us their dress uniforms are okay, but their shoes are in terrible shape) to prove that the Austrian battalions are not getting enough supplies.

They come back for inspection, and the Commander notices one soldier has a blueish greatcoat instead of black. He calls up the Captain, who tells him it's Dolokhov, who's been demoted. Dolokhov! We know Dolokhov. Remember - policeman tied to a bear in the river, drinking while hanging out a window. That Dolokhov. Of course, the Commander continued to review soldiers himself since "It was clear he that he like his own irritation and the he wanted to walk the length of the regiment and find more reasons for his wrath."

Of course, he comes across Dolokhov, and not only notices the coat, but that he's standing with one leg bent. Dolokhov fixes it, but when the Commander tells him to change it, he responds loudly that he is duty-bound to obey, but not to put up with insults. Wow. Then

"The eyes of the general and the soldier met. The general said nothing, angrily pulling down on his tight sash.
"Kindly change, I ask you," he said, walking away.

That Dolokhov. He intimidates everyone, it seems. He's either going to be a force for good, which I doubt, or a very challenging enemy for someone. Andrei's foil?

Either way, I love that they used to wear sashes into battle. That can't have been practical. Now we only see them at beauty pageants. How ornamental this army is.

Well, we are certainly at war.

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