Monday, March 1, 2010

Volume I, Book II, Chapter X

Or Andrei finds out what’s really going on….

Andrei stays in Brünn with his friend/acquaintance Bilibin, who is about 35, older but from the same society circles as Andrei. He’s enjoying the comfort’s he’s missed.

Basically, Bilibin explains why everyone may not be so happy about the victory of Kutuzov, namely, that they’ve lost Vienna. And more than losing their capital city, and having Napoleon stay in the Schloss Schönbrunn, their favorite General, Schmidt, was killed [an interjection here – I tried to move to Vienna when I was 22 and stayed for about a month and a half. I visited Schönbrunn, and it’s quite remarkable. It’s astounding to me that people lived like that at all anywhere, and the opulence was kind of mind-blowing. There’s nothing really in America that compares. You really get a sense of what the monarchy was. You may see it in movies, but visiting a palace you see where all the country’s money and effort went. Entire gilded and porcelain rooms. And the family only lived in a few - the rest were empty.]

There’s also a news of a Prussian alliance and secret talks between Austria and France for a possible peace. The Russians, at this point, are not so fond of the Austrians.

Andrei, meanwhile, goes up to sleep and is immediately dreaming of battle glory, and of the battle that happened. He doesn’t feel the horror of having his horse shot or of the general dying, “he experiences that feeling of the tenfold joy of life, such as he has not experienced from childhood.
He woke up…
‘Yes, that all happened!...’he said, smiling happily to himself like a child, and he fell into a sound, youthful sleep”

Ah, youth.

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