At another point in the book, Rostov’s younger brother Petya petitions the Tsar to allow him to join a fighting regiment despite his youth. “Especially the bantering with the girls,” Tolstoy writes, “which for a boy of Petya’s age was especially alluring, all this talk did not concern Petya now; he sat on his lofty cannon, as excited as ever, at the thought of the sovereign and of his love for him. The feeling of pain and fear, when he was being crushed, blended with the feeling of rapture, and increased in him still more the awareness of the importance of this moment.” Count Pierre Bezukhov, the hero of the book, meets the Sovereign and experiences “no other feelings at that moment except the desire to show it was all nothing to him, and he was ready to sacrifice everything.”


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