Thursday, March 18, 2010

Volume I, Book III, Chapter VI

This chapter makes me ridiculously happy for some reason.

There is a letter from Nikolai that his father receives. They haven't heard from him, and Count Rostov steals into his study and reads it. He cries and laughs and cries, and Anna Mikhailovna (who is still staying with them) steals in on him and finds out about the letter. She is going to tell no one, since it would upset the Countess and they have to prepare her. During dinner, she starts to prepare the Countess for the letter. Natasha, smart girl that she is, figures it out and makes Anna confess, and Anna tells her the contents swearing to tell no one. She tells Sonya. Petya teases Natasha about not really being in love with Boris, but that fat man with the spectacles (Pierre) and some other horse groomer or something.

Finally, the Countess is read the letter, which mentions everyone and says that he is wounded but was promoted. The letter is read aloud, which just makes everyone cry, and makes Sonya so happy that he has sworn love for her that she has to leave and go twirl in the ballroom.

Then Vera, of course, chimes in--

"What are you crying for,maman?" said Vera. "From all that he writes, you should rejoice and not cry."
That was perfectly correct, but the count, and the countess, and Natasha -- everyone looked at her with reproach. "Who does she take after?" thought the countess.

That's such a great moment - all this build and emotion, and then a little comedy. The letter is then read by the countess to everyone who worked in the house, or might know Nikolai, and acquaintances, and anyone would would listen. And much praise for Nikolai. They supervised for a week drafting and redrafting letters and collecting money to send to outfit him. And then this, which is all heart, and makes me think about what different times we're living in -

The Rostovs assumed that the address Russian Guards Abroad was a perfectly definite address, and that, if the letter reached the grand duke who was in command of the guards, there was no reason to think it would not reach the Pavlogradsky regiment, which should be in the vicinity; and therefore it was decided to send the letters and money through the grand duke's courier to Boris, and Boris would have to deliver them to Nikolushka. There were letters from the old count, from the countess, from Petya, from Vera, from Natasha, and from Sonya, and, finally, 6,000 roubles for outfitting, as well as various things the count sent to his son.

It's so caring, and I really hope it gets there. And what a time when that would seem a sensible delivery. And T has set it up so well that you can imagine the whole house arguing and finally agreeing on the best way to send things to the boy they loved and missed so much. So sweet. I'm really hoping he gets the package.

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