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Epilogue: Part I
Seven years pass by. During this time, great movements are undertaken from the East to the West and from the West to the East. Napoleon had continued to establish his power, after returning back from Russia but the public support for him had diminished. Realizing the horrors of war, people were weary of leaders who initiated it. Thus, the general unrest among the people and displeasure about Napoleonís policies had compelled the French government to send the emperor to Elba with a huge pension. With Napoleonís removal, the power base had shifted from West to East. Aleksandr I of Russia was hailed as a great statesman who could unify Europe during the war. However, after attaining glory, Aleksandr had relinquished his powers and handed over the responsibility of the state to a few people headed by Arekcheyev.
Russia underwent a change under the authoritarian but incompetent leadership of Arakcheyev and his fellow generals. Progress became slow and created general unrest among the people. Thus, dissatisfied and disgruntled, many patriotic men like Pierre had formed groups in order to voice their protest against the government. In this atmosphere, when the country was going through change, the central characters of the novel were enjoying conjugal bliss.
Pierre marries Natasha and moves over to the Bezukhov estate. Count Rostov passes away soon afterwards. The Countess suffers a set back in her health and calls back Nikolai. Nikolai takes up a job in the government to clear the debts of his father. Still, he finds it difficult to make both ends meet. He is unable to fulfill all the needs of his mother and also run the house. Thus, they shift to a smaller house. Sonya is of great help and solace. Nikolai is indebted to her but unable to give her the love she deserves.
While the Rostovs are trying to come to terms with their life, Princess Marya pays them a visit. The Countess and Sonya are happy to meet her but Nikolai looks disturbed. Later, the Countess asks Nikolai to pay back the visit of the Princess. Nikolai goes to meet Marya but shows restraint in his behavior towards her. Marya requests him to treat her as a friend and expresses her love for him. Nikolai breaks down his reserve and proposes to her. Shortly afterwards, they get married and shift to Bald Hills. Nikolai inherits some wealth from a distant relative and pays back all the debts. He gets involved in farming and introduces reforms in his estate.
Princess Marya appreciates her husbandís dedication but shows concern, when he deals severely with the erring peasants. She makes him realize his mistake and induces him to be more tolerant. On her part, she fulfils her responsibility as a loving wife and a devoted mother. With two sprightly children and a third one on its way, she is satisfied with her life. At times, when Nikolai is busy with his work, she feels neglected. However, after talking over with Nikolai, she regains her normal composure. Sometimes, she becomes intolerant with Sonya, but realizes her mistake soon after and sympathizes with the plight of the girl.
Pierre is happy with his life. He loves Natasha and adores his children. He shows concern for all the members of the Rostov family and earns their respect. He is attentive towards his staff and keeps them cheerful. He is fond of Nikolushka and takes him into confidence, when he discusses matters of general interest. Thus, the day Pierre returns back from his trip and showers all of them with gifts, there is an atmosphere of bonhomie in the house.
Pierre is satisfied with the outcome of his visit to Petersburg. He could meet his friends in the city and accomplish his mission. Along with his friends, he had decided to form a forum to voice protest against the irregularities in the state. He is dissatisfied with the rule of Arakcheyev and his followers and feels the need to revolt against them, to bring forward new reforms. Nikolai does not share his views. He wants to support the government. Princess Marya agrees with him, but Natasha supports her husband.
Nikolushka is moved by Pierreís arguments and shares his view. He considers Pierre an authority on such matters and admires him for his knowledge of political affairs. Nikolai is impatient with the boy, but Princess Marya feels sorry for her nephew. She decides to devote more time to him in the future.