He is laid up waiting for horses on the way to Petersburg, in Torzhok. He can think of nothing except "What's the point?", basically. All thoughts, those of his wife, the duel, Petersburg, suffering of the woman selling wares contrasted with his own wealth, all end in a what is god, what's the point, and death awaits thought.
I totally get Pierre at this moment.
There's a great description of this kind of repetitive, undercutting thinking--
Whatever he started thinking about, he came back to the same questions, which he could not resolve, and not stop asking himself. It was as if the main screw in his head, which held his whole life together, had become stripped. The screw would not go in, would not come out, but turned in the same groove without catching hold, and it was impossible to stop turning it.
That is such a satisfying metaphor.
An old man comes in to take the seat opposite Pierre, with a servant. He has a large signet ring with a death's head, and no beard. He reads for a bit, closes his eyes, and Pierre can't help but stare. At once, his eyes snap open and he catches Pierre looking, but Pierre can't look away. His eyes are "glittering".
This is when you catch it was serialized, handing off to the next day. I just have to look down an inch or so. But I'm being good! More tomorrow.
8 months ago