War And Peace Diaries, III

War And Peace - Leo Tolstoy
War And Peace - Leo Tolstoy

Day 9: 418 – 488

It is spring time, and Prince Andrei visits the Rostovs regarding business matters. There are some beautiful passages in this part. An old oak tree mocking the budding flowers of spring time. The endless cycle of life. The ability of the old to keep up with it. And Prince Andrei wondering with awe at the strength and wisdom of this old oak tree. For Prince Andrei, his life is over. No more of that high society mingling and various interactions outside his country life. But is it really over?

On the other hand, Pierre sinks into depression despite his Masonic activities. He is rather disappointed with most of his Mason brothers, who are just using the title of the Freemason for personal purposes and not for fulfilling the mission and vision that the brotherhood has. He could not seem to fill the emptiness inside him despite the distractions. He decides to keep a diary, and here, the author employs another literary style. I can now say with conviction that Tolstoy is a writer ahead of his times.

Then Pierre returns to his wife, after much urging from his mother-in-law and his wife herself. He returns to Moscow and finds out how Helene changed in his absence. She turned out to be one of the most respected women in Moscow high society for her beauty and intellect. She holds one soiree where Prince Andrei is present. He and Pierre meet at this event, where the emperor himself made an appearance. The Rostovs are also there, and Pierre introduced Prince Andrei to Natasha. After a lot of happenings, the three are finally together in one occasion. The latter two dance.

And they fall in love. Hence, life is not over for Prince Andrei. He proposes to Natasha, despite the reluctance of his father. They decide to wait for one year before they marry, according to the old prince’s condition. Will their love stand the test of time? Is love patient? Let’s see. That’s the end of Volume Two, Part Three.

Day 10: 488 – 535

The Rostovs go hunting for wolves. I found this part a bit tedious because first, I do not see the significance of this wolf hunt to the novel itself. And second, how could the Rostovs go hunting for wolves when they are having problems with their finances? Is this the way 19th century aristocrats kill their time in the face of financial difficulties?

If there is anything that I like about the wolf hunt, it is the part ending it, where Nikolai and Natasha spend the night with their uncle, eat good food, listen to good music, and appreciate the minute details of life.

And it’s Christmas! The Rostovs are in good, lively spirits. They dress themselves in costumes. They visit someone, a lonely aristocrat. Everyone is enjoying the moment. And Nikolai finally succumbs to the love of his ever faithful cousin Sonya. They steal kisses from each other while wearing their silly costumes.

And Natasha? She’s still waiting for her prince to come. She is able to go through the holidays despite the absence of her fiancé. How long will she be able to hold on? She only has his letters, but she wants him, Prince Andrei, by her side. She is going crazy. She is deeply in love. Let’s see if this love can stand the test of time.

Day 11: 535 – 603

I do not like that Bourienne woman, and now, I only have utter disgust for this coquettish French woman. She is flirting with the senile Prince Andrei! What’s more, she couldn’t care less about what her once close friend Princess Marya thinks about this. And the latter suffers from this, always the ire of his very own father.

Another flirting takes place in the city. Anatole Kuragin, Pierre’s charming and irresistible brother-in-law, lays eyes on the ravishing beauty of Natasha. His sister Helene draws plans to make the two closer to each other. And of course, being the cunning woman that she is, she succeeds. Anatole lures Natasha into his trap, and Natasha falls for it. The flimsiness of this woman! What happened to all those months of waiting for Prince Andrei? But you cannot blame her. You can never trust your own feelings, on the pretext that feelings can change so fast, even in a moment.

So the two come up with a plan to elope. The plan was thwarted by Sonya and Maria Dmitryevna, their hostess at that moment. By the way, they are temporarily staying in Maria Dmitryevna’s house since the Rostovs are only on business at that time.

Natasha breaks down. She is morally flogged by Maria Dmitryevna, who intends to keep everything a secret for the protection of everyone’s reputation. But you know how fast rumors spread. And Natasha tries to kill herself by swallowing arsenic. She also calls off her engagement to Prince Andrei. Looks like that ends the love story of the two.

Day 12: 603 – 644

Political matters are discussed here. Napoleon and Alexander. It suddenly felt like reading world history. And I would spare you the details.

So there is an impending war. A certain Balashov is given orders to relay the wishes for peaceful negotiations of Alexander to Napoleon. But Napoleon is adamant. He cannot be bent. He wants to wage war. He thinks it’s the solution. I guess Napoleon was paranoid at that point, what with his assumptions and flare ups.

And since there is talk of war between Russia and France, Prince Andrei takes this chance to distract himself. He has been tormented ever since his engagement with Natasha didn’t end up in marriage. However, instead of focusing on his duties as an officer, he goes around asking his superiors to be transferred everywhere, with the purpose of hunting down Anatole’s head. The latter is a hard catch. Prince Andrei cannot track him down. Once he gets assigned to the regiment where Anatole is supposed to be, the latter is transferred. And so on. Prince Andrei gives up. He finally decides to serve not as an adjutant sucking up to the generals, but as a regiment commander, something of that sort, who will get head to head with the enemies, right on the battlefield.

This looked like an omen to me. Nobody can assure his survival on the battlefield. Are the days of Prince Andrei numbered? Is death coming? Of all the characters in this novel, I root most for the members of the Bolkonsky family. I hope Prince Andrei becomes a war hero. I’d like to see him until the end of this novel.

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