Monday, March 22, 2010

Volume I, Book III, Chapter X

Rostov's in love. Nikolai is deeply swooning.

The chapter opens with Nikolai and his Pavlogradsky hussars (including Denisov, of the endearing r swallowing), all have to sit back while other fight the battle. An entire French squadron is taken, and one of the dragoons is led by with a beautiful horse. Denisov jokes about buying it from the Cossacks, and they say yes. Nikolai has the most money, so he buys it and gives the dragoon some too, after he says "don't hurt my little horse" a couple of times.

At that moment, the sovereign emperor comes by, and Nikolai swings on his horse at full attention. He feels "This sun moved ever nearer and nearer to Rostov, spreading around itself rays of mild and majestic light, and he already feels himself caught up in those rays, he hears his voice - that gentle, calm, majestic, and at the same time so simple voice." The Emperor locks eyes with Nikolai for 2 seconds, during which time Nikolai feels the man understands him to his soul, and light is pouring out his eyes. Then Nikolai sees the Emperor later watches a wounded man being taken up, who Nikolai is offended by for even being this close to the Tsar, and begs the soldiers to be gentle with him, saying what a terrible thing war is.

There is a victory celebration, Denisov is made major, and Nikolai toast the Tsar, Alexander the First. Denisov can see it.

Late that night, when everyone had dispersed, Denisov, with his short hand, patted his favorite, Rostov, on the shoulder.
"There's nobody to fall in love with on campaign, so he's fallen in love with the tsaghr," he said.
"Don't joke about that, Denisov, " cried Rostov, "this is such a lofty, such a beautiful feeling, such a..."
"I believe it, my fghriend, I believe it, and I share it and appghrove..."
"No, you don't understand!"
And Rostov got up and began wondering among the campfires, dreaming what happiness it would be to dies, not saving the life (he dared not even dream of that), but simply to die before the eyes of the sovereign."

This book is just amazing. Such heart, and I love that he takes a chapter basically to tell you how much Nikolai is enraptured with the Tsar. I have no hope for consummation (kidding). This book has such a big heart. Beautiful.

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