Part 8, Chapter 2 Summary
Sergey Ivanovitch and Katavasov arrive at the train station just as a group of volunteer soldiers are arriving; they are met by ladies with bouquets of flowers and followed by an enthusiastic crowd. One of the flower-waving ladies, a princess, sees Sergey Ivanovitch and asks if he came to see the soldiers off. He tells her he came to take the train to his brother’s home in the country.
More than eight hundred soldiers have left from Moscow and another two hundred have been sent from nearby places; more than a million Russian soldiers have already been conscripted. She is excited at the news today that the Turks have been beaten at all points for the last three days; the Turks have taken flight and a decisive engagement is expected tomorrow.
The princess asks Sergey Ivanovitch to write a letter on behalf of a young man who is having difficulty obtaining permission to join the fight, someone Countess Lidia Ivanovna is sending. After asking for more details on the man’s situation, Sergey Ivanovitch writes the letter. The princess asks, “with a smile full of triumph and meaning,” if he is aware that Count Vronsky is also leaving on this train. Only his mother will be there to see him off, and it is this woman’s opinion that going off to the war is the “best thing that he could do.”
A crowd roars past them, and Sergey Ivanovitch and the princess follow. A gentleman is giving a loud speech and then offers a toast to the glories of these “brothers” going off to battle. Stepan Arkadyevitch approaches them and scolds Sergey Ivanovitch for not also giving a short speech, as he is so eloquent. When Sergey Ivanovitch explains that he is going to visit his brother in the country, Stepan Arkadyevitch sends a message for his wife, who is staying with the Levins. He dictates a cryptic message to give to Dolly: they have seen him and it is all right, and he has been appointed secretary of the committee.
Stepan Arkadyevitch continues talking and is not deterred by the obvious signs that the princess...
(The entire section is 543 words.)