Part 19 out of 34
Rostov, without waiting to hear him out, touched his horse, galloped
to the front of his squadron, and before he had time to finish
giving the word of command, the whole squadron, sharing his feeling,
was following him. Rostov himself did not know how or why he did it.
He acted as he did when hunting, without reflecting or considering. He
saw the dragoons near and that they were galloping in disorder; he
knew they could not withstand an attack- knew there was only that
moment and that if he let it slip it would not return. The bullets
were whining and whistling so stimulatingly around him and his horse
was so eager to go that he could not restrain himself. He touched
his horse, gave the word of command, and immediately, hearing behind
him the tramp of the horses of his deployed squadron, rode at full
trot downhill toward the dragoons. Hardly had they reached the
bottom of the hill before their pace instinctively changed to a
gallop, which grew faster and faster as they drew nearer to our Uhlans
and the French dragoons who galloped after them. The dragoons were now
close at hand. On seeing the hussars, the foremost began to turn,
while those behind began to halt. With the same feeling with which
he had galloped across the path of a wolf, Rostov gave rein to his
Donets horse and galloped to intersect the path of the dragoons'
disordered lines. One Uhlan stopped, another who was on foot flung
himself to the ground to avoid being knocked over, and a riderless
horse fell in among the hussars. Nearly all the French dragoons were
galloping back. Rostov, picking out one on a gray horse, dashed
after him. On the way he came upon a bush, his gallant horse cleared
it, and almost before he had righted himself in his saddle he saw that
he would immediately overtake the enemy he had selected. That
Frenchman, by his uniform an officer, was going at a gallop, crouching
on his gray horse and urging it on with his saber. In another moment
Rostov's horse dashed its breast against the hindquarters of the
officer's horse, almost knocking it over, and at the same instant
Rostov, without knowing why, raised his saber and struck the Frenchman
The instant he had done this, all Rostov's animation vanished. The
officer fell, not so much from the blow- which had but slightly cut
his arm above the elbow- as from the shock to his horse and from
fright. Rostov reined in his horse, and his eyes sought his foe to see
whom he had vanquished. The French dragoon officer was hopping with
one foot on the ground, the other being caught in the stirrup. His
eyes, screwed up with fear as if he every moment expected another
blow, gazed up at Rostov with shrinking terror. His pale and
mud-stained face- fair and young, with a dimple in the chin and
light-blue eyes- was not an enemy's face at all suited to a
battlefield, but a most ordinary, homelike face. Before Rostov had
decided what to do with him, the officer cried, "I surrender!" He
hurriedly but vainly tried to get his foot out of the stirrup and
did not remove his frightened blue eyes from Rostov's face. Some
hussars who galloped up disengaged his foot and helped him into the
saddle. On all sides, the hussars were busy with the dragoons; one was
wounded, but though his face was bleeding, he would not give up his
horse; another was perched up behind an hussar with his arms round
him; a third was being helped by an hussar to mount his horse. In
front, the French infantry were firing as they ran. The hussars
galloped hastily back with their prisoners. Rostov galloped back
with the rest, aware of an unpleasant feeling of depression in his
heart. Something vague and confused, which he could not at all account
for, had come over him with the capture of that officer and the blow
he had dealt him.
Count Ostermann-Tolstoy met the returning hussars, sent for
Rostov, thanked him, and said he would report his gallant deed to
the Emperor and would recommend him for a St. George's Cross. When
sent for by Count Ostermann, Rostov, remembering that he had charged
without orders, felt sure his commander was sending for him to
punish him for breach of discipline. Ostermann's flattering words
and promise of a reward should therefore have struck him all the
more pleasantly, but he still felt that same vaguely disagreeable
feeling of moral nausea. "But what on earth is worrying me?" he
asked himself as he rode back from the general. "Ilyin? No, he's safe.
Have I disgraced myself in any way? No, that's not it." Something
else, resembling remorse, tormented him. "Yes, oh yes, that French
officer with the dimple. And I remember how my arm paused when I
Rostov saw the prisoners being led away and galloped after them to
have a look at his Frenchman with the dimple on his chin. He was
sitting in his foreign uniform on an hussar packhorse and looked
anxiously about him; The sword cut on his arm could scarcely be called
a wound. He glanced at Rostov with a feigned smile and waved his
hand in greeting. Rostov still had the same indefinite feeling, as
All that day and the next his friends and comrades noticed that
Rostov, without being dull or angry, was silent, thoughtful, and
preoccupied. He drank reluctantly, tried to remain alone, and kept
turning something over in his mind.
Rostov was always thinking about that brilliant exploit of his,
which to his amazement had gained him the St. George's Cross and
even given him a reputation for bravery, and there was something he
could not at all understand. "So others are even more afraid than I
am!" he thought. "So that's all there is in what is called heroism!
And heroism! And did I do it for my country's sake? And how was he
to blame, with his dimple and blue eyes? And how frightened he was! He
thought that I should kill him. Why should I kill him? My hand
trembled. And they have given me a St. George's Cross.... I can't make
it out at all."
But while Nicholas was considering these questions and still could
reach no clear solution of what puzzled him so, the wheel of fortune
in the service, as often happens, turned in his favor. After the
affair at Ostrovna he was brought into notice, received command of
an hussar battalion, and when a brave officer was needed he was
On receiving news of Natasha's illness, the countess, though not
quite well yet and still weak, went to Moscow with Petya and the
rest of the household, and the whole family moved from Marya
Dmitrievna's house to their own and settled down in town.
Natasha's illness was so serious that, fortunately for her and for
her parents, the consideration of all that had caused the illness, her
conduct and the breaking off of her engagement, receded into the
background. She was so ill that it was impossible for them to consider
in how far she was to blame for what had happened. She could not eat
or sleep, grew visibly thinner, coughed, and, as the doctors made them
feel, was in danger. They could not think of anything but how to
help her. Doctors came to see her singly and in consultation, talked
much in French, German, and Latin, blamed one another, and
prescribed a great variety of medicines for all the diseases known
to them, but the simple idea never occurred to any of them that they
could not know the disease Natasha was suffering from, as no disease
suffered by a live man can be known, for every living person has his
own peculiarities and always has his own peculiar, personal, novel,
complicated disease, unknown to medicine- not a disease of the
lungs, liver, skin, heart, nerves, and so on mentioned in medical
books, but a disease consisting of one of the innumerable combinations
of the maladies of those organs. This simple thought could not occur
to the doctors (as it cannot occur to a wizard that he is unable to
work his charms) because the business of their lives was to cure,
and they received money for it and had spent the best years of their
lives on that business. But, above all, that thought was kept out of
their minds by the fact that they saw they were really useful, as in
fact they were to the whole Rostov family. Their usefulness did not
depend on making the patient swallow substances for the most part
harmful (the harm was scarcely perceptible, as they were given in
small doses), but they were useful, necessary, and indispensable
because they satisfied a mental need of the invalid and of those who
loved her- and that is why there are, and always will be,
pseudo-healers, wise women, homeopaths, and allopaths. They
satisfied that eternal human need for hope of relief, for sympathy,
and that something should be done, which is felt by those who are
suffering. They satisfied the need seen in its most elementary form in
a child, when it wants to have a place rubbed that has been hurt. A
child knocks itself and runs at once to the arms of its mother or
nurse to have the aching spot rubbed or kissed, and it feels better
when this is done. The child cannot believe that the strongest and
wisest of its people have no remedy for its pain, and the hope of
relief and the expression of its mother's sympathy while she rubs
the bump comforts it. The doctors were of use to Natasha because
they kissed and rubbed her bump, assuring her that it would soon
pass if only the coachman went to the chemist's in the Arbat and got a
powder and some pills in a pretty box of a ruble and seventy kopeks,
and if she took those powders in boiled water at intervals of
precisely two hours, neither more nor less.
What would Sonya and the count and countess have done, how would
they have looked, if nothing had been done, if there had not been
those pills to give by the clock, the warm drinks, the chicken
cutlets, and all the other details of life ordered by the doctors, the
carrying out of which supplied an occupation and consolation to the
family circle? How would the count have borne his dearly loved
daughter's illness had he not known that it was costing him a thousand
rubles, and that he would not grudge thousands more to benefit her, or
had he not known that if her illness continued he would not grudge yet
other thousands and would take her abroad for consultations there, and
had he not been able to explain the details of how Metivier and Feller
had not understood the symptoms, but Frise had, and Mudrov had
diagnosed them even better? What would the countess have done had
she not been able sometimes to scold the invalid for not strictly
obeying the doctor's orders?
"You'll never get well like that," she would say, forgetting her
grief in her vexation, "if you won't obey the doctor and take your
medicine at the right time! You mustn't trifle with it, you know, or
it may turn to pneumonia," she would go on, deriving much comfort from
the utterance of that foreign word, incomprehensible to others as well
as to herself.
What would Sonya have done without the glad consciousness that she
had not undressed during the first three nights, in order to be
ready to carry out all the doctor's injunctions with precision, and
that she still kept awake at night so as not to miss the proper time
when the slightly harmful pills in the little gilt box had to be
administered? Even to Natasha herself it was pleasant to see that so
many sacrifices were being made for her sake, and to know that she had
to take medicine at certain hours, though she declared that no
medicine would cure her and that it was all nonsense. And it was
even pleasant to be able to show, by disregarding the orders, that she
did not believe in medical treatment and did not value her life.
The doctor came every day, felt her pulse, looked at her tongue, and
regardless of her grief-stricken face joked with her. But when he
had gone into another room, to which the countess hurriedly followed
him, he assumed a grave air and thoughtfully shaking his head said
that though there was danger, he had hopes of the effect of this
last medicine and one must wait and see, that the malady was chiefly
mental, but... And the countess, trying to conceal the action from
herself and from him, slipped a gold coin into his hand and always
returned to the patient with a more tranquil mind.
The symptoms of Natasha's illness were that she ate little, slept
little, coughed, and was always low-spirited. The doctors said that
she could not get on without medical treatment, so they kept her in
the stifling atmosphere of the town, and the Rostovs did not move to
the country that summer of 1812.
In spite of the many pills she swallowed and the drops and powders
out of the little bottles and boxes of which Madame Schoss who was
fond of such things made a large collection, and in spite of being
deprived of the country life to which she was accustomed, youth
prevailed. Natasha's grief began to be overlaid by the impressions
of daily life, it ceased to press so painfully on her heart, it
gradually faded into the past, and she began to recover physically.
Natasha was calmer but no happier. She not merely avoided all
external forms of pleasure- balls, promenades, concerts, and theaters-
but she never laughed without a sound of tears in her laughter. She
could not sing. As soon as she began to laugh, or tried to sing by
herself, tears choked her: tears of remorse, tears at the recollection
of those pure times which could never return, tears of vexation that
she should so uselessly have ruined her young life which might have
been so happy. Laughter and singing in particular seemed to her like a
blasphemy, in face of her sorrow. Without any need of
self-restraint, no wish to coquet ever entered her head. She said
and felt at that time that no man was more to her than Nastasya
Ivanovna, the buffoon. Something stood sentinel within her and forbade
her every joy. Besides, she had lost all the old interests of her
carefree girlish life that had been so full of hope. The previous
autumn, the hunting, "Uncle," and the Christmas holidays spent with
Nicholas at Otradnoe were what she recalled oftenest and most
painfully. What would she not have given to bring back even a single
day of that time! But it was gone forever. Her presentiment at the
time had not deceived her- that that state of freedom and readiness
for any enjoyment would not return again. Yet it was necessary to live
It comforted her to reflect that she was not better as she had
formerly imagined, but worse, much worse, than anybody else in the
world. But this was not enough. She knew that, and asked herself,
"What next?" But there was nothing to come. There was no joy in
life, yet life was passing. Natasha apparently tried not to be a
burden or a hindrance to anyone, but wanted nothing for herself. She
kept away from everyone in the house and felt at ease only with her
brother Petya. She liked to be with him better than with the others,
and when alone with him she sometimes laughed. She hardly ever left
the house and of those who came to see them was glad to see only one
person, Pierre. It would have been impossible to treat her with more
delicacy, greater care, and at the same time more seriously than did
Count Bezukhov. Natasha unconsciously felt this delicacy and so
found great pleasure in his society. But she was not even grateful
to him for it; nothing good on Pierre's part seemed to her to be an
effort, it seemed so natural for him to be kind to everyone that there
was no merit in his kindness. Sometimes Natasha noticed
embarrassment and awkwardness on his part in her presence,
especially when he wanted to do something to please her, or feared
that something they spoke of would awaken memories distressing to her.
She noticed this and attributed it to his general kindness and
shyness, which she imagined must be the same toward everyone as it was
to her. After those involuntary words- that if he were free he would
have asked on his knees for her hand and her love- uttered at a moment
when she was so strongly agitated, Pierre never spoke to Natasha of
his feelings; and it seemed plain to her that those words, which had
then so comforted her, were spoken as all sorts of meaningless words
are spoken to comfort a crying child. It was not because Pierre was
a married man, but because Natasha felt very strongly with him that
moral barrier the absence of which she had experienced with Kuragin
that it never entered her head that the relations between him and
herself could lead to love on her part, still less on his, or even
to the kind of tender, self-conscious, romantic friendship between a
man and a woman of which she had known several instances.
Before the end of the fast of St. Peter, Agrafena Ivanovna Belova, a
country neighbor of the Rostovs, came to Moscow to pay her devotions
at the shrines of the Moscow saints. She suggested that Natasha should
fast and prepare for Holy Communion, and Natasha gladly welcomed the
idea. Despite the doctor's orders that she should not go out early
in the morning, Natasha insisted on fasting and preparing for the
sacrament, not as they generally prepared for it in the Rostov
family by attending three services in their own house, but as Agrafena
Ivanovna did, by going to church every day for a week and not once
missing Vespers, Matins, or Mass.
The countess was pleased with Natasha's zeal; after the poor results
of the medical treatment, in the depths of her heart she hoped that
prayer might help her daughter more than medicines and, though not
without fear and concealing it from the doctor, she agreed to
Natasha's wish and entrusted her to Belova. Agrafena Ivanovna used
to come to wake Natasha at three in the morning, but generally found
her already awake. She was afraid of being late for Matins. Hastily
washing, and meekly putting on her shabbiest dress and an old
mantilla, Natasha, shivering in the fresh air, went out into the
deserted streets lit by the clear light of dawn. By Agrafena
Ivanovna's advice Natasha prepared herself not in their own parish,
but at a church where, according to the devout Agrafena Ivanovna,
the priest was a man of very severe and lofty life. There were never
many people in the church; Natasha always stood beside Belova in the
customary place before an icon of the Blessed Virgin, let into the
screen before the choir on the left side, and a feeling, new to her,
of humility before something great and incomprehensible, seized her
when at that unusual morning hour, gazing at the dark face of the
Virgin illuminated by the candles burning before it and by the morning
light falling from the window, she listened to the words of the
service which she tried to follow with understanding. When she
understood them her personal feeling became interwoven in the
prayers with shades of its own. When she did not understand, it was
sweeter still to think that the wish to understand everything is
pride, that it is impossible to understand all, that it is only
necessary to believe and to commit oneself to God, whom she felt
guiding her soul at those moments. She crossed herself, bowed low, and
when she did not understand, in horror at her own vileness, simply
asked God to forgive her everything, everything, to have mercy upon
her. The prayers to which she surrendered herself most of all were
those of repentance. On her way home at an early hour when she met
no one but bricklayers going to work or men sweeping the street, and
everybody within the houses was still asleep, Natasha experienced a
feeling new to her, a sense of the possibility of correcting her
faults, the possibility of a new, clean life, and of happiness.
During the whole week she spent in this way, that feeling grew every
day. And the happiness of taking communion, or "communing" as Agrafena
Ivanovna, joyously playing with the word, called it, seemed to Natasha
so great that she felt she should never live till that blessed Sunday.
But the happy day came, and on that memorable Sunday, when,
dressed in white muslin, she returned home after communion, for the
first time for many months she felt calm and not oppressed by the
thought of the life that lay before her.
The doctor who came to see her that day ordered her to continue
the powders he had prescribed a fortnight previously.
"She must certainly go on taking them morning and evening," said he,
evidently sincerely satisfied with his success. "Only, please be
particular about it.
"Be quite easy," he continued playfully, as he adroitly took the
gold coin in his palm. "She will soon be singing and frolicking about.
The last medicine has done her a very great deal of good. She has
freshened up very much."
The countess, with a cheerful expression on her face, looked down at
her nails and spat a little for luck as she returned to the drawing
At the beginning of July more and more disquieting reports about the
war began to spread in Moscow; people spoke of an appeal by the
Emperor to the people, and of his coming himself from the army to
Moscow. And as up to the eleventh of July no manifesto or appeal had
been received, exaggerated reports became current about them and about
the position of Russia. It was said that the Emperor was leaving the
army because it was in danger, it was said that Smolensk had
surrendered, that Napoleon had an army of a million and only a miracle
could save Russia.
On the eleventh of July, which was Saturday, the manifesto was
received but was not yet in print, and Pierre, who was at the
Rostovs', promised to come to dinner next day, Sunday, and bring a
copy of the manifesto and appeal, which he would obtain from Count
That Sunday, the Rostovs went to Mass at the Razumovskis' private
chapel as usual. It was a hot July day. Even at ten o'clock, when
the Rostovs got out of their carriage at the chapel, the sultry air,
the shouts of hawkers, the light and gay summer clothes of the
crowd, the dusty leaves of the trees on the boulevard, the sounds of
the band and the white trousers of a battalion marching to parade, the
rattling of wheels on the cobblestones, and the brilliant, hot
sunshine were all full of that summer languor, that content and
discontent with the present, which is most strongly felt on a
bright, hot day in town. All the Moscow notabilities, all the Rostovs'
acquaintances, were at the Razumovskis' chapel, for, as if expecting
something to happen, many wealthy families who usually left town for
their country estates had not gone away that summer. As Natasha, at
her mother's side, passed through the crowd behind a liveried
footman who cleared the way for them, she heard a young man speaking
about her in too loud a whisper.
"That's Rostova, the one who..."
"She's much thinner, but all the same she's pretty!"
She heard, or thought she heard, the names of Kuragin and Bolkonski.
But she was always imagining that. It always seemed to her that
everyone who looked at her was thinking only of what had happened to
her. With a sinking heart, wretched as she always was now when she
found herself in a crowd, Natasha in her lilac silk dress trimmed with
black lace walked- as women can walk- with the more repose and
stateliness the greater the pain and shame in her soul. She knew for
certain that she was pretty, but this no longer gave her
satisfaction as it used to. On the contrary it tormented her more than
anything else of late, and particularly so on this bright, hot
summer day in town. "It's Sunday again- another week past," she
thought, recalling that she had been here the Sunday before, "and
always the same life that is no life, and the same surroundings in
which it used to be so easy to live. I'm pretty, I'm young, and I know
that now I am good. I used to be bad, but now I know I am good," she
thought, "but yet my best years are slipping by and are no good to
anyone." She stood by her mother's side and exchanged nods with
acquaintances near her. From habit she scrutinized the ladies'
dresses, condemned the bearing of a lady standing close by who was not
crossing herself properly but in a cramped manner, and again she
thought with vexation that she was herself being judged and was
judging others, and suddenly, at the sound of the service, she felt
horrified at her own vileness, horrified that the former purity of her
soul was again lost to her.
A comely, fresh-looking old man was conducting the service with that
mild solemnity which has so elevating and soothing an effect on the
souls of the worshipers. The gates of the sanctuary screen were
closed, the curtain was slowly drawn, and from behind it a soft
mysterious voice pronounced some words. Tears, the cause of which
she herself did not understand, made Natasha's breast heave, and a
joyous but oppressive feeling agitated her.
"Teach me what I should do, how to live my life, how I may grow good
forever, forever!" she pleaded.
The deacon came out onto the raised space before the altar screen
and, holding his thumb extended, drew his long hair from under his
dalmatic and, making the sign of the cross on his breast, began in a
loud and solemn voice to recite the words of the prayer...
"In peace let us pray unto the Lord."
"As one community, without distinction of class, without enmity,
united by brotherly love- let us pray!" thought Natasha.
"For the peace that is from above, and for the salvation of our
"For the world of angels and all the spirits who dwell above us,"
When they prayed for the warriors, she thought of her brother and
Denisov. When they prayed for all traveling by land and sea, she
remembered Prince Andrew, prayed for him, and asked God to forgive her
all the wrongs she had done him. When they prayed for those who love
us, she prayed for the members of her own family, her father and
mother and Sonya, realizing for the first time how wrongly she had
acted toward them, and feeling all the strength of her love for
them. When they prayed for those who hate us, she tried to think of
her enemies and people who hated her, in order to pray for them. She
included among her enemies the creditors and all who had business
dealings with her father, and always at the thought of enemies and
those who hated her she remembered Anatole who had done her so much
harm- and though he did not hate her she gladly prayed for him as
for an enemy. Only at prayer did she feel able to think clearly and
calmly of Prince Andrew and Anatole, as men for whom her feelings were
as nothing compared with her awe and devotion to God. When they prayed
for the Imperial family and the Synod, she bowed very low and made the
sign of the cross, saying to herself that even if she did not
understand, still she could not doubt, and at any rate loved the
governing Synod and prayed for it.
When he had finished the Litany the deacon crossed the stole over
his breast and said, "Let us commit ourselves and our whole lives to
Christ the Lord!"
"Commit ourselves to God," Natasha inwardly repeated. "Lord God, I
submit myself to Thy will!" she thought. "I want nothing, wish for
nothing; teach me what to do and how to use my will! Take me, take
me!" prayed Natasha, with impatient emotion in her heart, not crossing
herself but letting her slender arms hang down as if expecting some
invisible power at any moment to take her and deliver her from
herself, from her regrets, desires, remorse, hopes, and sins.
The countess looked round several times at her daughter's softened
face and shining eyes and prayed God to help her.
Unexpectedly, in the middle of the service, and not in the usual
order Natasha knew so well, the deacon brought out a small stool,
the one he knelt on when praying on Trinity Sunday, and placed it
before the doors of the sanctuary screen. The priest came out with his
purple velvet biretta on his head, adjusted his hair, and knelt down
with an effort. Everybody followed his example and they looked at
one another in surprise. Then came the prayer just received from the
Synod- a prayer for the deliverance of Russia from hostile invasion.
"Lord God of might, God of our salvation!" began the priest in
that voice, clear, not grandiloquent but mild, in which only the
Slav clergy read and which acts so irresistibly on a Russian heart.
"Lord God of might, God of our salvation! Look this day in mercy and
blessing on Thy humble people, and graciously hear us, spare us, and
have mercy upon us! This foe confounding Thy land, desiring to lay
waste the whole world, rises against us; these lawless men are
gathered together to overthrow Thy kingdom, to destroy Thy dear
Jerusalem, Thy beloved Russia; to defile Thy temples, to overthrow
Thine altars, and to desecrate our holy shrines. How long, O Lord, how
long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they wield unlawful
"Lord God! Hear us when we pray to Thee; strengthen with Thy might
our most gracious sovereign lord, the Emperor Alexander Pavlovich;
be mindful of his uprightness and meekness, reward him according to
his righteousness, and let it preserve us, Thy chosen Israel! Bless
his counsels, his undertakings, and his work; strengthen his kingdom
by Thine almighty hand, and give him victory over his enemy, even as
Thou gavest Moses the victory over Amalek, Gideon over Midian, and
David over Goliath. Preserve his army, put a bow of brass in the hands
of those who have armed themselves in Thy Name, and gird their loins
with strength for the fight. Take up the spear and shield and arise to
help us; confound and put to shame those who have devised evil against
us, may they be before the faces of Thy faithful warriors as dust
before the wind, and may Thy mighty Angel confound them and put them
to flight; may they be ensnared when they know it not, and may the
plots they have laid in secret be turned against them; let them fall
before Thy servants' feet and be laid low by our hosts! Lord, Thou art
able to save both great and small; Thou art God, and man cannot
prevail against Thee!
"God of our fathers! Remember Thy bounteous mercy and
loving-kindness which are from of old; turn not Thy face from us,
but be gracious to our unworthiness, and in Thy great goodness and Thy
many mercies regard not our transgressions and iniquities! Create in
us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us, strengthen us all
in Thy faith, fortify our hope, inspire us with true love one for
another, arm us with unity of spirit in the righteous defense of the
heritage Thou gavest to us and to our fathers, and let not the scepter
of the wicked be exalted against the destiny of those Thou hast
"O Lord our God, in whom we believe and in whom we put our trust,
let us not be confounded in our hope of Thy mercy, and give us a token
of Thy blessing, that those who hate us and our Orthodox faith may see
it and be put to shame and perish, and may all the nations know that
Thou art the Lord and we are Thy people. Show Thy mercy upon us this
day, O Lord, and grant us Thy salvation; make the hearts of Thy
servants to rejoice in Thy mercy; smite down our enemies and destroy
them swiftly beneath the feet of Thy faithful servants! For Thou art
the defense, the succor, and the victory of them that put their
trust in Thee, and to Thee be all glory, to Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost, now and forever, world without end. Amen."
In Natasha's receptive condition of soul this prayer affected her
strongly. She listened to every word about the victory of Moses over
Amalek, of Gideon over Midian, and of David over Goliath, and about
the destruction of "Thy Jerusalem," and she prayed to God with the
tenderness and emotion with which her heart was overflowing, but
without fully understanding what she was asking of God in that prayer.
She shared with all her heart in the prayer for the spirit of
righteousness, for the strengthening of the heart by faith and hope,
and its animation by love. But she could not pray that her enemies
might be trampled under foot when but a few minutes before she had
been wishing she had more of them that she might pray for them. But
neither could she doubt the righteousness of the prayer that was being
read on bended knees. She felt in her heart a devout and tremulous awe
at the thought of the punishment that overtakes men for their sins,
and especially of her own sins, and she prayed to God to forgive
them all, and her too, and to give them all, and her too, peace and
happiness. And it seemed to her that God heard her prayer.
From the day when Pierre, after leaving the Rostovs' with
Natasha's grateful look fresh in his mind, had gazed at the comet that
seemed to be fixed in the sky and felt that something new was
appearing on his own horizon- from that day the problem of the
vanity and uselessness of all earthly things, that had incessantly
tormented him, no longer presented itself. That terrible question
"Why?" "Wherefore?" which had come to him amid every occupation, was
now replaced, not by another question or by a reply to the former
question, but by her image. When he listened to, or himself took
part in, trivial conversations, when he read or heard of human
baseness or folly, he was not horrified as formerly, and did not ask
himself why men struggled so about these things when all is so
transient and incomprehensible- but he remembered her as he had last
seen her, and all his doubts vanished- not because she had answered
the questions that had haunted him, but because his conception of
her transferred him instantly to another, a brighter, realm of
spiritual activity in which no one could be justified or guilty- a
realm of beauty and love which it was worth living for. Whatever
worldly baseness presented itself to him, he said to himself:
"Well, supposing N. N. swindled the country and the Tsar, and the
country and the Tsar confer honors upon him, what does that matter?
She smiled at me yesterday and asked me to come again, and I love her,
and no one will ever know it." And his soul felt calm and peaceful.
Pierre still went into society, drank as much and led the same
idle and dissipated life, because besides the hours he spent at the
Rostovs' there were other hours he had to spend somehow, and the
habits and acquaintances he had made in Moscow formed a current that
bore him along irresistibly. But latterly, when more and more
disquieting reports came from the seat of war and Natasha's health
began to improve and she no longer aroused in him the former feeling
of careful pity, an ever-increasing restlessness, which he could not
explain, took possession of him. He felt that the condition he was
in could not continue long, that a catastrophe was coming which
would change his whole life, and he impatiently sought everywhere
for signs of that approaching catastrophe. One of his brother Masons
had revealed to Pierre the following prophecy concerning Napoleon,
drawn from the Revelation of St. John.
In chapter 13, verse 18, of the Apocalypse, it is said:
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number
of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six
hundred threescore and six.
And in the fifth verse of the same chapter:
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and
blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two
The French alphabet, written out with the same numerical values as
the Hebrew, in which the first nine letters denote units and the
others tens, will have the following significance:
a b c d e f g h i k
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
l m n o p q r s
20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
t u v w x y
100 110 120 130 140 150
Writing the words L'Empereur Napoleon in numbers, it appears that
the sum of them is 666, and that Napoleon therefore the beast foretold
in the Apocalypse. Moreover, by applying the same system to the
words quarante-deux,* which was the term allowed to the beast that
"spoke great things and blasphemies," the same number 666 was
obtained; from which it followed that the limit fixed for Napoleon's
power had come in the year 1812 when the French emperor was forty-two.
This prophecy pleased Pierre very much and he often asked himself what
would put an end to the power of the beast, that is, of Napoleon,
and tried by the same system of using letters as numbers and adding
them up, to find an answer to the question that engrossed him. He
wrote the words L'Empereur Alexandre, La nation russe and added up
their numbers, but the sums were either more or less than 666. Once
when making such calculations he wrote down his own name in French,
Comte Pierre Besouhoff, but the sum of the numbers did not come right.
Then he changed the spelling, substituting a z for the s and adding de
and the article le, still without obtaining the desired result. Then
it occurred to him: if the answer to the question were contained in
his name, his nationality would also be given in the answer. So he
wrote Le russe Besuhof and adding up the numbers got 671. This was
only five too much, and five was represented by e, the very letter
elided from the article le before the word Empereur. By omitting the
e, though incorrectly, Pierre got the answer he sought. L'russe
Besuhof made 666. This discovery excited him. How, or by what means,
he was connected with the great event foretold in the Apocalypse he
did not know, but he did not doubt that connection for a moment. His
love for Natasha, Antichrist, Napoleon, the invasion, the comet,
666, L'Empereur Napoleon, and L'russe Besuhof- all this had to
mature and culminate, to lift him out of that spellbound, petty sphere
of Moscow habits in which he felt himself held captive and lead him to
a great achievement and great happiness.
On the eve of the Sunday when the special prayer was read, Pierre
had promised the Rostovs to bring them, from Count Rostopchin whom
he knew well, both the appeal to the people and the news from the
army. In the morning, when he went to call at Rostopchin's he met
there a courier fresh from the army, an acquaintance of his own, who
often danced at Moscow balls.
"Do, please, for heaven's sake, relieve me of something!" said the
courier. "I have a sackful of letters to parents."
Among these letters was one from Nicholas Rostov to his father.
Pierre took that letter, and Rostopchin also gave him the Emperor's
appeal to Moscow, which had just been printed, the last army orders,
and his own most recent bulletin. Glancing through the army orders,
Pierre found in one of them, in the lists of killed, wounded, and
rewarded, the name of Nicholas Rostov, awarded a St. George's Cross of
the Fourth Class for courage shown in the Ostrovna affair, and in
the same order the name of Prince Andrew Bolkonski, appointed to the
command of a regiment of Chasseurs. Though he did not want to remind
the Rostovs of Bolkonski, Pierre could not refrain from making them
happy by the news of their son's having received a decoration, so he
sent that printed army order and Nicholas' letter to the Rostovs,
keeping the appeal, the bulletin, and the other orders to take with
him when he went to dinner.
His conversation with Count Rostopchin and the latter's tone of
anxious hurry, the meeting with the courier who talked casually of how
badly things were going in the army, the rumors of the discovery of
spies in Moscow and of a leaflet in circulation stating that
Napoleon promised to be in both the Russian capitals by the autumn,
and the talk of the Emperor's being expected to arrive next day- all
aroused with fresh force that feeling of agitation and expectation
in Pierre which he had been conscious of ever since the appearance
of the comet, and especially since the beginning of the war.
He had long been thinking of entering the army and would have done
so had he not been hindered, first, by his membership of the Society
of Freemasons to which he was bound by oath and which preached
perpetual peace and the abolition of war, and secondly, by the fact
that when he saw the great mass of Muscovites who had donned uniform
and were talking patriotism, he somehow felt ashamed to take the step.
But the chief reason for not carrying out his intention to enter the
army lay in the vague idea that he was L'russe Besuhof who had the
number of the beast, 666; that his part in the great affair of setting
a limit to the power of the beast that spoke great and blasphemous
things had been predestined from eternity, and that therefore he ought
not to undertake anything, but wait for what was bound to come to
A few intimate friends were dining with the Rostovs that day, as
usual on Sundays.
Pierre came early so as to find them alone.
He had grown so stout this year that he would have been abnormal had
he not been so tall, so broad of limb, and so strong that he carried
his bulk with evident ease.
He went up the stairs, puffing and muttering something. His coachman
did not even ask whether he was to wait. He knew that when his
master was at the Rostovs' he stayed till midnight. The Rostovs'
footman rushed eagerly forward to help him off with his cloak and take
his hat and stick. Pierre, from club habit, always left both hat and
stick in the anteroom.
The first person he saw in the house was Natasha. Even before he saw
her, while taking off his cloak, he heard her. She was practicing
solfa exercises in the music room. He knew that she had not sung since
her illness, and so the sound of her voice surprised and delighted
him. He opened the door softly and saw her, in the lilac dress she had
worn at church, walking about the room singing. She had her back to
him when he opened the door, but when, turning quickly, she saw his
broad, surprised face, she blushed and came rapidly up to him.
"I want to try to sing again," she said, adding as if by way of
excuse, "it is, at least, something to do."
"How glad I am you've come! I am so happy today," she said, with the
old animation Pierre had not seen in her for along time. "You know
Nicholas has received a St. George's Cross? I am so proud of him."
"Oh yes, I sent that announcement. But I don't want to interrupt
you," he added, and was about to go to the drawing room.
Natasha stopped him.
"Count, is it wrong of me to sing?" she said blushing, and fixing
her eyes inquiringly on him.
"No... Why should it be? On the contrary... But why do you ask me?"
"I don't know myself," Natasha answered quickly, "but I should not
like to do anything you disapproved of. I believe in you completely.
You don't know how important you are to me, how much you've done for
me...." She spoke rapidly and did not notice how Pierre flushed at her
words. "I saw in that same army order that he, Bolkonski" (she
whispered the name hastily), "is in Russia, and in the army again.
What do you think?"- she was speaking hurriedly, evidently afraid
her strength might fail her- "Will he ever forgive me? Will he not
always have a bitter feeling toward me? What do you think? What do you
"I think..." Pierre replied, "that he has nothing to forgive....
If I were in his place..."
By association of ideas, Pierre was at once carried back to the
day when, trying to comfort her, he had said that if he were not
himself but the best man in the world and free, he would ask on his
knees for her hand; and the same feeling of pity, tenderness, and love
took possession of him and the same words rose to his lips. But she
did not give him time to say them.
"Yes, you... you..." she said, uttering the word you rapturously-
"that's a different thing. I know no one kinder, more generous, or
better than you; nobody could be! Had you not been there then, and now
too, I don't know what would have become of me, because..."
Tears suddenly rose in her eyes, she turned away, lifted her music
before her eyes, began singing again, and again began walking up and
down the room.
Just then Petya came running in from the drawing room.
Petya was now a handsome rosy lad of fifteen with full red lips
and resembled Natasha. He was preparing to enter the university, but
he and his friend Obolenski had lately, in secret, agreed to join
Petya had come rushing out to talk to his namesake about this
affair. He had asked Pierre to find out whether he would be accepted
in the hussars.
Pierre walked up and down the drawing room, not listening to what
Petya was saying.
Petya pulled him by the arm to attract his attention.
"Well, what about my plan? Peter Kirilych, for heaven's sake! You
are my only hope " said Petya.
"Oh yes, your plan. To join the hussars? I'll mention it, I'll bring
it all up today."
"Well, mon cher, have you got the manifesto?" asked the old count.
"The countess has been to Mass at the Razumovskis' and heard the new
prayer. She says it's very fine."
"Yes, I've got it," said Pierre. "The Emperor is to be here
tomorrow... there's to be an Extraordinary Meeting of the nobility,
and they are talking of a levy of ten men per thousand. Oh yes, let me
"Yes, yes, thank God! Well, and what news from the army?"
"We are again retreating. They say we're already near Smolensk,"
"O Lord, O Lord!" exclaimed the count. "Where is the manifesto?"
"The Emperor's appeal? Oh yes!"
Pierre began feeling in his pockets for the papers, but could not
find them. Still slapping his pockets, he kissed the hand of the
countess who entered the room and glanced uneasily around, evidently
expecting Natasha, who had left off singing but had not yet come
into the drawing room.
"On my word, I don't know what I've done with it," he said.
"There he is, always losing everything!" remarked the countess.
Natasha entered with a softened and agitated expression of face
and sat down looking silently at Pierre. As soon as she entered,
Pierre's features, which had been gloomy, suddenly lighted up, and
while still searching for the papers he glanced at her several times.
"No, really! I'll drive home, I must have left them there. I'll
"But you'll be late for dinner."
"Oh! And my coachman has gone."
But Sonya, who had gone to look for the papers in the anteroom,
had found them in Pierre's hat, where he had carefully tucked them
under the lining. Pierre was about to begin reading.
"No, after dinner," said the old count, evidently expecting much
enjoyment from that reading.
At dinner, at which champagne was drunk to the health of the new
chevalier of St. George, Shinshin told them the town news, of the
illness of the old Georgian princess, of Metivier's disappearance from
Moscow, and of how some German fellow had been brought to Rostopchin
and accused of being a French "spyer" (so Count Rostopchin had told
the story), and how Rostopchin let him go and assured the people
that he was "not a spire at all, but only an old German ruin."
"People are being arrested..." said the count. "I've told the
countess she should not speak French so much. It's not the time for it
"And have you heard?" Shinshin asked. "Prince Golitsyn has engaged a
master to teach him Russian. It is becoming dangerous to speak
French in the streets."
"And how about you, Count Peter Kirilych? If they call up the
militia, you too will have to mount a horse," remarked the old
count, addressing Pierre.
Pierre had been silent and preoccupied all through dinner, seeming
not to grasp what was said. He looked at the count.
"Oh yes, the war," he said. "No! What sort of warrior should I make?
And yet everything is so strange, so strange! I can't make it out. I
don't know, I am very far from having military tastes, but in these
times no one can answer for himself."
After dinner the count settled himself comfortably in an easy
chair and with a serious face asked Sonya, who was considered an
excellent reader, to read the appeal.
"To Moscow, our ancient Capital!
"The enemy has entered the borders of Russia with immense forces. He
comes to despoil our beloved country,"
Sonya read painstakingly in her high-pitched voice. The count
listened with closed eyes, heaving abrupt sighs at certain passages.
Natasha sat erect, gazing with a searching look now at her father
and now at Pierre.
Pierre felt her eyes on him and tried not to look round. The
countess shook her head disapprovingly and angrily at every solemn
expression in the manifesto. In all these words she saw only that
the danger threatening her son would not soon be over. Shinshin,
with a sarcastic smile on his lips, was evidently preparing to make
fun of anything that gave him the opportunity: Sonya's reading, any
remark of the count's, or even the manifesto itself should no better
pretext present itself.
After reading about the dangers that threatened Russia, the hopes
the Emperor placed on Moscow and especially on its illustrious
nobility, Sonya, with a quiver in her voice due chiefly to the
attention that was being paid to her, read the last words:
"We ourselves will not delay to appear among our people in that
Capital and in others parts of our realm for consultation, and for the
direction of all our levies, both those now barring the enemy's path
and those freshly formed to defeat him wherever he may appear. May the
ruin he hopes to bring upon us recoil on his own head, and may
Europe delivered from bondage glorify the name of Russia!"
"Yes, that's it!" cried the count, opening his moist eyes and
sniffing repeatedly, as if a strong vinaigrette had been held to his
nose; and he added, "Let the Emperor but say the word and we'll
sacrifice everything and begrudge nothing."
Before Shinshin had time to utter the joke he was ready to make on
the count's patriotism, Natasha jumped up from her place and ran to
"What a darling our Papa is!" she cried, kissing him, and she
again looked at Pierre with the unconscious coquetry that had returned
to her with her better spirits.
"There! Here's a patriot for you!" said Shinshin.
"Not a patriot at all, but simply..." Natasha replied in an
injured tone. "Everything seems funny to you, but this isn't at all
"A joke indeed!" put in the count. "Let him but say the word and
we'll all go.... We're not Germans!"
"But did you notice, it says, 'for consultation'?" said Pierre.
"Never mind what it's for...."
At this moment, Petya, to whom nobody was paying any attention, came
up to his father with a very flushed face and said in his breaking
voice that was now deep and now shrill:
"Well, Papa, I tell you definitely, and Mamma too, it's as you
please, but I say definitely that you must let me enter the army,
because I can't... that's all...."
The countess, in dismay, looked up to heaven, clasped her hands, and
turned angrily to her husband.
"That comes of your talking!" said she.
But the count had already recovered from his excitement.
"Come, come!" said he. "Here's a fine warrior! No! Nonsense! You
"It's not nonsense, Papa. Fedya Obolenski is younger than I, and
he's going too. Besides, all the same I can't study now when..." Petya
stopped short, flushed till he perspired, but still got out the words,
"when our Fatherland is in danger."
"That'll do, that'll do- nonsense...."
"But you said yourself that we would sacrifice everything."
"Petya! Be quiet, I tell you!" cried the count, with a glance at his
wife, who had turned pale and was staring fixedly at her son.
"And I tell you- Peter Kirilych here will also tell you..."
"Nonsense, I tell you. Your mother's milk has hardly dried on your
lips and you want to go into the army! There, there, I tell you,"
and the count moved to go out of the room, taking the papers, probably
to reread them in his study before having a nap.
"Well, Peter Kirilych, let's go and have a smoke," he said.
Pierre was agitated and undecided. Natasha's unwontedly brilliant
eyes, continually glancing at him with a more than cordial look, had
reduced him to this condition.
"No, I think I'll go home."
"Home? Why, you meant to spend the evening with us.... You don't
often come nowadays as it is, and this girl of mine," said the count
good-naturedly, pointing to Natasha, "only brightens up when you're
"Yes, I had forgotten... I really must go home... business..."
said Pierre hurriedly.
"Well, then, au revoir!" said the count, and went out of the room.
"Why are you going? Why are you upset?" asked Natasha, and she
looked challengingly into Pierre's eyes.
"Because I love you!" was what he wanted to say, but he did not
say it, and only blushed till the tears came, and lowered his eyes.
"Because it is better for me to come less often... because... No,
simply I have business...."
"Why? No, tell me!" Natasha began resolutely and suddenly stopped.
They looked at each other with dismayed and embarrassed faces. He
tried to smile but could not: his smile expressed suffering, and he
silently kissed her hand and went out.
Pierre made up his mind not to go to the Rostovs' any more.
After the definite refusal he had received, Petya went to his room
and there locked himself in and wept bitterly. When he came in to tea,
silent, morose, and with tear-stained face, everybody pretended not to
Next day the Emperor arrived in Moscow, and several of the
Rostovs' domestic serfs begged permission to go to have a look at him.
That morning Petya was a long time dressing and arranging his hair and
collar to look like a grown-up man. He frowned before his looking
glass, gesticulated, shrugged his shoulders, and finally, without
saying a word to anyone, took his cap and left the house by the back
door, trying to avoid notice. Petya decided to go straight to where
the Emperor was and to explain frankly to some gentleman-in-waiting
(he imagined the Emperor to be always surrounded by
gentlemen-in-waiting) that he, Count Rostov, in spite of his youth
wished to serve his country; that youth could be no hindrance to
loyalty, and that he was ready to... While dressing, Petya had
prepared many fine things he meant to say to the gentleman-in-waiting.
It was on the very fact of being so young that Petya counted for
success in reaching the Emperor- he even thought how surprised
everyone would be at his youthfulness- and yet in the arrangement of
his collar and hair and by his sedate deliberate walk he wished to
appear a grown-up man. But the farther he went and the more his
attention was diverted by the ever-increasing crowds moving toward the
Kremlin, the less he remembered to walk with the sedateness and
deliberation of a man. As he approached the Kremlin he even began to
avoid being crushed and resolutely stuck out his elbows in a
menacing way. But within the Trinity Gateway he was so pressed to
the wall by people who probably were unaware of the patriotic
intentions with which he had come that in spite of all his
determination he had to give in, and stop while carriages passed in,
rumbling beneath the archway. Beside Petya stood a peasant woman, a
footman, two tradesmen, and a discharged soldier. After standing
some time in the gateway, Petya tried to move forward in front of
the others without waiting for all the carriages to pass, and he began
resolutely working his way with his elbows, but the woman just in
front of him, who was the first against whom he directed his
efforts, angrily shouted at him:
"What are you shoving for, young lordling? Don't you see we're all
standing still? Then why push?"
"Anybody can shove," said the footman, and also began working his
elbows to such effect that he pushed Petya into a very filthy corner
of the gateway.
Petya wiped his perspiring face with his hands and pulled up the
damp collar which he had arranged so well at home to seem like a
He felt that he no longer looked presentable, and feared that if
he were now to approach the gentlemen-in-waiting in that plight he
would not be admitted to the Emperor. But it was impossible to smarten
oneself up or move to another place, because of the crowd. One of
the generals who drove past was an acquaintance of the Rostovs', and
Petya thought of asking his help, but came to the conclusion that that
would not be a manly thing to do. When the carriages had all passed
in, the crowd, carrying Petya with it, streamed forward into the
Kremlin Square which was already full of people. There were people not
only in the square, but everywhere- on the slopes and on the roofs. As
soon as Petya found himself in the square he clearly heard the sound
of bells and the joyous voices of the crowd that filled the whole
For a while the crowd was less dense, but suddenly all heads were
bared, and everyone rushed forward in one direction. Petya was being
pressed so that he could scarcely breathe, and everybody shouted,
"Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" Petya stood on tiptoe and pushed and
pinched, but could see nothing except the people about him.
All the faces bore the same expression of excitement and enthusiasm.
A tradesman's wife standing beside Petya sobbed, and the tears ran
down her cheeks.
"Father! Angel! Dear one!" she kept repeating, wiping away her tears
with her fingers.
"Hurrah!" was heard on all sides.
For a moment the crowd stood still, but then it made another rush
Quite beside himself, Petya, clinching his teeth and rolling his
eyes ferociously, pushed forward, elbowing his way and shouting
"hurrah!" as if he were prepared that instant to kill himself and
everyone else, but on both sides of him other people with similarly
ferocious faces pushed forward and everybody shouted "hurrah!"
"So this is what the Emperor is!" thought Petya. "No, I can't
petition him myself- that would be too bold." But in spite of this
he continued to struggle desperately forward, and from between the
backs of those in front he caught glimpses of an open space with a
strip of red cloth spread out on it; but just then the crowd swayed
back- the police in front were pushing back those who had pressed
too close to the procession: the Emperor was passing from the palace
to the Cathedral of the Assumption- and Petya unexpectedly received
such a blow on his side and ribs and was squeezed so hard that
suddenly everything grew dim before his eyes and he lost
consciousness. When he came to himself, a man of clerical appearance
with a tuft of gray hair at the back of his head and wearing a
shabby blue cassock- probably a church clerk and chanter- was
holding him under the arm with one hand while warding off the pressure
of the crowd with the other.
"You've crushed the young gentleman!" said the clerk. "What are
you up to? Gently!... They've crushed him, crushed him!"
The Emperor entered the Cathedral of the Assumption. The crowd
spread out again more evenly, and the clerk led Petya- pale and
breathless- to the Tsar-cannon. Several people were sorry for Petya,
and suddenly a crowd turned toward him and pressed round him. Those
who stood nearest him attended to him, unbuttoned his coat, seated him
on the raised platform of the cannon, and reproached those others
(whoever they might be) who had crushed him.
"One might easily get killed that way! What do they mean by it?
Killing people! Poor dear, he's as white as a sheet!"- various
voices were heard saying.
Petya soon came to himself, the color returned to his face, the pain
had passed, and at the cost of that temporary unpleasantness he had
obtained a place by the cannon from where he hoped to see the
Emperor who would be returning that way. Petya no longer thought of
presenting his petition. If he could only see the Emperor he would
While the service was proceeding in the Cathedral of the Assumption-
it was a combined service of prayer on the occasion of the Emperor's
arrival and of thanksgiving for the conclusion of peace with the
Turks- the crowd outside spread out and hawkers appeared, selling
kvas, gingerbread, and poppyseed sweets (of which Petya was
particularly fond), and ordinary conversation could again be heard.
A tradesman's wife was showing a rent in her shawl and telling how
much the shawl had cost; another was saying that all silk goods had
now got dear. The clerk who had rescued Petya was talking to a
functionary about the priests who were officiating that day with the
bishop. The clerk several times used the word "plenary" (of the
service), a word Petya did not understand. Two young citizens were
joking with some serf girls who were cracking nuts. All these
conversations, especially the joking with the girls, were such as
might have had a particular charm for Petya at his age, but they did
not interest him now. He sat on his elevation- the pedestal of the
cannon- still agitated as before by the thought of the Emperor and
by his love for him. The feeling of pain and fear he had experienced
when he was being crushed, together with that of rapture, still
further intensified his sense of the importance of the occasion.
Suddenly the sound of a firing of cannon was heard from the
embankment, to celebrate the signing of peace with the Turks, and
the crowd rushed impetuously toward the embankment to watch the
firing. Petya too would have run there, but the clerk who had taken
the young gentleman under his protection stopped him. The firing was
still proceeding when officers, generals, and gentlemen-in-waiting
came running out of the cathedral, and after them others in a more
leisurely manner: caps were again raised, and those who had run to
look at the cannon ran back again. At last four men in uniforms and
sashes emerged from the cathedral doors. "Hurrah! hurrah!" shouted the
"Which is he? Which?" asked Petya in a tearful voice, of those
around him, but no one answered him, everybody was too excited; and
Petya, fixing on one of those four men, whom he could not clearly
see for the tears of joy that filled his eyes, concentrated all his
enthusiasm on him- though it happened not to be the Emperor-
frantically shouted "Hurrah!" and resolved that tomorrow, come what
might, he would join the army.
The crowd ran after the Emperor, followed him to the palace, and
began to disperse. It was already late, and Petya had not eaten
anything and was drenched with perspiration, yet he did not go home
but stood with that diminishing, but still considerable, crowd
before the palace while the Emperor dined- looking in at the palace
windows, expecting he knew not what, and envying alike the notables he
saw arriving at the entrance to dine with the Emperor and the court
footmen who served at table, glimpses of whom could be seen through
While the Emperor was dining, Valuev, looking out of the window,
"The people are still hoping to see Your Majesty again."
The dinner was nearly over, and the Emperor, munching a biscuit,
rose and went out onto the balcony. The people, with Petya among them,
rushed toward the balcony.
"Angel! Dear one! Hurrah! Father!..." cried the crowd, and Petya
with it, and again the women and men of weaker mold, Petya among them,
wept with joy.
A largish piece of the biscuit the Emperor was holding in his hand
broke off, fell on the balcony parapet, and then to the ground. A
coachman in a jerkin, who stood nearest, sprang forward and snatched
it up. Several people in the crowd rushed at the coachman. Seeing this
the Emperor had a plateful of biscuits brought him and began
throwing them down from the balcony. Petya's eyes grew bloodshot,
and still more excited by the danger of being crushed, he rushed at
the biscuits. He did not know why, but he had to have a biscuit from
the Tsar's hand and he felt that he must not give way. He sprang
forward and upset an old woman who was catching at a biscuit; the
old woman did not consider herself defeated though she was lying on
the ground- she grabbed at some biscuits but her hand did not reach
them. Petya pushed her hand away with his knee, seized a biscuit,
and as if fearing to be too late, again shouted "Hurrah!" with a voice
The Emperor went in, and after that the greater part of the crowd
began to disperse.
"There! I said if only we waited- and so it was!" was being joyfully
said by various people.
Happy as Petya was, he felt sad at having to go home knowing that
all the enjoyment of that day was over. He did not go straight home
from the Kremlin, but called on his friend Obolenski, who was
fifteen and was also entering the regiment. On returning home Petya
announced resolutely and firmly that if he was not allowed to enter
the service he would run away. And next day, Count Ilya Rostov- though
he had not yet quite yielded- went to inquire how he could arrange for
Petya to serve where there would be least danger.
Two days later, on the fifteenth of July, an immense number of
carriages were standing outside the Sloboda Palace.
The great halls were full. In the first were the nobility and gentry
in their uniforms, in the second bearded merchants in full-skirted
coats of blue cloth and wearing medals. in the noblemen's hall there
was an incessant movement and buzz of voices. The chief magnates sat
on high-backed chairs at a large table under the portrait of the
Emperor, but most of the gentry were strolling about the room.
All these nobles, whom Pierre met every day at the Club or in
their own houses, were in uniform- some in that of Catherine's day,
others in that of Emperor Paul, others again in the new uniforms of
Alexander's time or the ordinary uniform of the nobility, and the
general characteristic of being in uniform imparted something
strange and fantastic to these diverse and familiar personalities,
both old and young. The old men, dim-eyed, toothless, bald, sallow,
and bloated, or gaunt and wrinkled, were especially striking. For
the most part they sat quietly in their places and were silent, or, if
they walked about and talked, attached themselves to someone
younger. On all these faces, as on the faces of the crowd Petya had
seen in the Square, there was a striking contradiction: the general
expectation of a solemn event, and at the same time the everyday
interests in a boston card party, Peter the cook, Zinaida Dmitrievna's
health, and so on.
Pierre was there too, buttoned up since early morning in a
nobleman's uniform that had become too tight for him. He was agitated;
this extraordinary gathering not only of nobles but also of the
merchant-class- les etats generaux (States-General)- evoked in him a
whole series of ideas he had long laid aside but which were deeply
graven in his soul: thoughts of the Contrat social and the French
Revolution. The words that had struck him in the Emperor's appeal-
that the sovereign was coming to the capital for consultation with his
people- strengthened this idea. And imagining that in this direction
something important which he had long awaited was drawing near, he
strolled about watching and listening to conversations, but nowhere
finding any confirmation of the ideas that occupied him.
The Emperor's manifesto was read, evoking enthusiasm, and then all
moved about discussing it. Besides the ordinary topics of
conversation, Pierre heard questions of where the marshals of the
nobility were to stand when the Emperor entered, when a ball should be
given in the Emperor's honor, whether they should group themselves
by districts or by whole provinces... and so on; but as soon as the
war was touched on, or what the nobility had been convened for, the
talk became undecided and indefinite. Then all preferred listening
A middle-aged man, handsome and virile, in the uniform of a
retired naval officer, was speaking in one of the rooms, and a small
crowd was pressing round him. Pierre went up to the circle that had
formed round the speaker and listened. Count Ilya Rostov, in a
military uniform of Catherine's time, was sauntering with a pleasant
smile among the crowd, with all of whom he was acquainted. He too
approached that group and listened with a kindly smile and nods of
approval, as he always did, to what the speaker was saying. The
retired naval man was speaking very boldly, as was evident from the
expression on the faces of the listeners and from the fact that some
people Pierre knew as the meekest and quietest of men walked away
disapprovingly or expressed disagreement with him. Pierre pushed his
way into the middle of the group, listened, and convinced himself that
the man was indeed a liberal, but of views quite different from his
own. The naval officer spoke in a particularly sonorous, musical,
and aristocratic baritone voice, pleasantly swallowing his r's and
generally slurring his consonants: the voice of a man calling out to
his servant, "Heah! Bwing me my pipe!" It was indicative of
dissipation and the exercise of authority.
"What if the Smolensk people have offahd to waise militia for the
Empewah? Ah we to take Smolensk as our patte'n? If the noble
awistocwacy of the pwovince of Moscow thinks fit, it can show its
loyalty to our sov'weign the Empewah in other ways. Have we
fo'gotten the waising of the militia in the yeah 'seven? All that
did was to enwich the pwiests' sons and thieves and wobbahs...."
Count Ilya Rostov smiled blandly and nodded approval.
"And was our militia of any use to the Empia? Not at all! It only
wuined our farming! Bettah have another conscwiption... o' ou' men
will wetu'n neithah soldiers no' peasants, and we'll get only
depwavity fwom them. The nobility don't gwudge theah lives- evewy
one of us will go and bwing in more wecwuits, and the sov'weign" (that
was the way he referred to the Emperor) "need only say the word and
we'll all die fo' him!" added the orator with animation.
Count Rostov's mouth watered with pleasure and he nudged Pierre, but
Pierre wanted to speak himself. He pushed forward, feeling stirred,
but not yet sure what stirred him or what he would say. Scarcely had
he opened his mouth when one of the senators, a man without a tooth in
his head, with a shrewd though angry expression, standing near the
first speaker, interrupted him. Evidently accustomed to managing
debates and to maintaining an argument, he began in low but distinct
"I imagine, sir," said he, mumbling with his toothless mouth,
"that we have been summoned here not to discuss whether it's best
for the empire at the present moment to adopt conscription or to
call out the militia. We have been summoned to reply to the appeal
with which our sovereign the Emperor has honored us. But to judge what
is best- conscription or the militia- we can leave to the supreme
Pierre suddenly saw an outlet for his excitement. He hardened his
heart against the senator who was introducing this set and narrow
attitude into the deliberations of the nobility. Pierre stepped
forward and interrupted him. He himself did not yet know what he would
say, but he began to speak eagerly, occasionally lapsing into French
or expressing himself in bookish Russian.
"Excuse me, your excellency," he began. (He was well acquainted with
the senator, but thought it necessary on this occasion to address
him formally.) "Though I don't agree with the gentleman..." (he
hesitated: he wished to say, "Mon tres honorable preopinant"- "My very
honorable opponent") "with the gentleman... whom I have not the
honor of knowing, I suppose that the nobility have been summoned not
merely to express their sympathy and enthusiasm but also to consider
the means by which we can assist our Fatherland! I imagine," he went
on, warming to his subject, "that the Emperor himself would not be
satisfied to find in us merely owners of serfs whom we are willing
to devote to his service, and chair a canon* we are ready to make of
ourselves- and not to obtain from us any co-co-counsel."
*"Food for cannon."
Many persons withdrew from the circle, noticing the senator's
sarcastic smile and the freedom of Pierre's remarks. Only Count Rostov
was pleased with them as he had been pleased with those of the naval
officer, the senator, and in general with whatever speech he had
"I think that before discussing these questions," Pierre
continued, "we should ask the Emperor- most respectfully ask His
Majesty- to let us know the number of our troops and the position in
which our army and our forces now are, and then..."
But scarcely had Pierre uttered these words before he was attacked
from three sides. The most vigorous attack came from an old
acquaintance, a boston player who had always been well disposed toward
him, Stepan Stepanovich Adraksin. Adraksin was in uniform, and whether
as a result of the uniform or from some other cause Pierre saw
before him quite a different man. With a sudden expression of
malevolence on his aged face, Adraksin shouted at Pierre:
"In the first place, I tell you we have no right to question the
Emperor about that, and secondly, if the Russian nobility had that
right, the Emperor could not answer such a question. The troops are
moved according to the enemy's movements and the number of men
increases and decreases..."
Another voice, that of a nobleman of medium height and about forty
years of age, whom Pierre had formerly met at the gypsies' and knew as
a bad cardplayer, and who, also transformed by his uniform, came up to
Pierre, interrupted Adraksin.
"Yes, and this is not a time for discussing," he continued, "but for
acting: there is war in Russia! The enemy is advancing to destroy
Russia, to desecrate the tombs of our fathers, to carry off our
wives and children." The nobleman smote his breast. "We will all
arise, every one of us will go, for our father the Tsar!" he
shouted, rolling his bloodshot eyes. Several approving voices were
heard in the crowd. "We are Russians and will not grudge our blood
in defense of our faith, the throne, and the Fatherland! We must cease
raving if we are sons of our Fatherland! We will show Europe how
Russia rises to the defense of Russia!"
Pierre wished to reply, but could not get in a word. He felt that
his words, apart from what meaning they conveyed, were less audible
than the sound of his opponent's voice.
Count Rostov at the back of the crowd was expressing approval;
several persons, briskly turning a shoulder to the orator at the end
of a phrase, said:
"That's right, quite right! Just so!"
Pierre wished to say that he was ready to sacrifice his money, his
serfs, or himself, only one ought to know the state of affairs in
order to be able to improve it, but he was unable to speak. Many
voices shouted and talked at the same time, so that Count Rostov had
not time to signify his approval of them all, and the group increased,
dispersed, re-formed, and then moved with a hum of talk into the
largest hall and to the big table. Not only was Pierre's attempt to
speak unsuccessful, but he was rudely interrupted, pushed aside, and
people turned away from him as from a common enemy. This happened
not because they were displeased by the substance of his speech, which
had even been forgotten after the many subsequent speeches, but to
animate it the crowd needed a tangible object to love and a tangible
object to hate. Pierre became the latter. Many other orators spoke
after the excited nobleman, and all in the same tone. Many spoke
eloquently and with originality.
Glinka, the editor of the Russian Messenger, who was recognized
(cries of "author! author!" were heard in the crowd), said that
"hell must be repulsed by hell," and that he had seen a child
smiling at lightning flashes and thunderclaps, but "we will not be
"Yes, yes, at thunderclaps!" was repeated approvingly in the back
rows of the crowd.
The crowd drew up to the large table, at which sat gray-haired or
bald seventy-year-old magnates, uniformed and besashed almost all of
whom Pierre had seen in their own homes with their buffoons, or
playing boston at the clubs. With an incessant hum of voices the crowd
advanced to the table. Pressed by the throng against the high backs of
the chairs, the orators spoke one after another and sometimes two
together. Those standing behind noticed what a speaker omitted to
say and hastened to supply it. Others in that heat and crush racked
their brains to find some thought and hastened to utter it. The old
magnates, whom Pierre knew, sat and turned to look first at one and
then at another, and their faces for the most part only expressed
the fact that they found it very hot. Pierre, however, felt excited,
and the general desire to show that they were ready to go to all
lengths- which found expression in the tones and looks more than in
the substance of the speeches- infected him too. He did not renounce
his opinions, but felt himself in some way to blame and wished to
"I only said that it would be more to the purpose to make sacrifices
when we know what is needed!" said he, trying to be heard above the
One of the old men nearest to him looked round, but his attention
was immediately diverted by an exclamation at the other side of the
"Yes, Moscow will be surrendered! She will be our expiation!"
shouted one man.
"He is the enemy of mankind!" cried another. "Allow me to speak...."
"Gentlemen, you are crushing me!..."
At that moment Count Rostopchin with his protruding chin and alert
eyes, wearing the uniform of a general with sash over his shoulder,
entered the room, stepping briskly to the front of the crowd of
"Our sovereign the Emperor will be here in a moment," said
Rostopchin. "I am straight from the palace. Seeing the position we are
in, I think there is little need for discussion. The Emperor has
deigned to summon us and the merchants. Millions will pour forth
from there"- he pointed to the merchants' hall- "but our business is
to supply men and not spare ourselves... That is the least we can do!"
A conference took place confined to the magnates sitting at the
table. The whole consultation passed more than quietly. After all
the preceding noise the sound of their old voices saying one after
another, "I agree," or for variety, "I too am of that opinion," and so
on had even a mournful effect.
The secretary was told to write down the resolution of the Moscow
nobility and gentry, that they would furnish ten men, fully
equipped, out of every thousand serfs, as the Smolensk gentry had
done. Their chairs made a scraping noise as the gentlemen who had
conferred rose with apparent relief, and began walking up and down,
arm in arm, to stretch their legs and converse in couples.
"The Emperor! The Emperor!" a sudden cry resounded through the halls
and the whole throng hurried to the entrance.
The Emperor entered the hall through a broad path between two
lines of nobles. Every face expressed respectful, awe-struck
curiosity. Pierre stood rather far off and could not hear all that the
Emperor said. From what he did hear he understood that the Emperor
spoke of the danger threatening the empire and of the hopes he
placed on the Moscow nobility. He was answered by a voice which
informed him of the resolution just arrived at.
"Gentlemen!" said the Emperor with a quivering voice.
There was a rustling among the crowd and it again subsided, so
that Pierre distinctly heard the pleasantly human voice of the Emperor
saying with emotion:
"I never doubted the devotion of the Russian nobles, but today it
has surpassed my expectations. I thank you in the name of the
Fatherland! Gentlemen, let us act! Time is most precious..."
The Emperor ceased speaking, the crowd began pressing round him, and
rapturous exclamations were heard from all sides.
"Yes, most precious... a royal word," said Count Rostov, with a sob.
He stood at the back, and, though he had heard hardly anything,
understood everything in his own way.
From the hall of the nobility the Emperor went to that of the
merchants. There he remained about ten minutes. Pierre was among those
who saw him come out from the merchants' hall with tears of emotion in
his eyes. As became known later, he had scarcely begun to address
the merchants before tears gushed from his eyes and he concluded in
a trembling voice. When Pierre saw the Emperor he was coming out
accompanied by two merchants, one of whom Pierre knew, a fat
otkupshchik. The other was the mayor, a man with a thin sallow face
and narrow beard. Both were weeping. Tears filled the thin man's eyes,
and the fat otkupshchik sobbed outright like a child and kept
"Our lives and property- take them, Your Majesty!"
Pierre's one feeling at the moment was a desire to show that he
was ready to go all lengths and was prepared to sacrifice
everything. He now felt ashamed of his speech with its
constitutional tendency and sought an opportunity of effacing it.
Having heard that Count Mamonov was furnishing a regiment, Bezukhov at
once informed Rostopchin that he would give a thousand men and their
Old Rostov could not tell his wife of what had passed without tears,
and at once consented to Petya's request and went himself to enter his
Next day the Emperor left Moscow. The assembled nobles all took
off their uniforms and settled down again in their homes and clubs,
and not without some groans gave orders to their stewards about the
enrollment, feeling amazed themselves at what they had done.
BOOK TEN: 1812
Napoleon began the war with Russia because he could not resist going
to Dresden, could not help having his head turned by the homage he
received, could not help donning a Polish uniform and yielding to
the stimulating influence of a June morning, and could not refrain
from bursts of anger in the presence of Kurakin and then of Balashev.
Alexander refused negotiations because he felt himself to be
personally insulted. Barclay de Tolly tried to command the army in the
best way, because he wished to fulfill his duty and earn fame as a
great commander. Rostov charged the French because he could not
restrain his wish for a gallop across a level field; and in the same
way the innumerable people who took part in the war acted in accord
with their personal characteristics, habits, circumstances, and
aims. They were moved by fear or vanity, rejoiced or were indignant,
reasoned, imagining that they knew what they were doing and did it
of their own free will, but they all were involuntary tools of
history, carrying on a work concealed from them but comprehensible
to us. Such is the inevitable fate of men of action, and the higher
they stand in the social hierarchy the less are they free.
The actors of 1812 have long since left the stage, their personal
interests have vanished leaving no trace, and nothing remains of
that time but its historic results.
Providence compelled all these men, striving to attain personal
aims, to further the accomplishment of a stupendous result no one of
them at all expected- neither Napoleon, nor Alexander, nor still
less any of those who did the actual fighting.
The cause of the destruction of the French army in 1812 is clear
to us now. No one will deny that that cause was, on the one hand,
its advance into the heart of Russia late in the season without any
preparation for a winter campaign and, on the other, the character
given to the war by the burning of Russian towns and the hatred of the
foe this aroused among the Russian people. But no one at the time
foresaw (what now seems so evident) that this was the only way an army
of eight hundred thousand men- the best in the world and led by the
best general- could be destroyed in conflict with a raw army of half
its numerical strength, and led by inexperienced commanders as the
Russian army was. Not only did no one see this, but on the Russian
side every effort was made to hinder the only thing that could save
Russia, while on the French side, despite Napoleon's experience and
so-called military genius, every effort was directed to pushing on
to Moscow at the end of the summer, that is, to doing the very thing
that was bound to lead to destruction.
In historical works on the year 1812 French writers are very fond of
saying that Napoleon felt the danger of extending his line, that he
sought a battle and that his marshals advised him to stop at Smolensk,
and of making similar statements to show that the danger of the
campaign was even then understood. Russian authors are still fonder of
telling us that from the commencement of the campaign a Scythian war
plan was adopted to lure Napoleon into the depths of Russia, and
this plan some of them attribute to Pfuel, others to a certain
Frenchman, others to Toll, and others again to Alexander himself-
pointing to notes, projects, and letters which contain hints of such a
line of action. But all these hints at what happened, both from the
French side and the Russian, are advanced only because they fit in
with the event. Had that event not occurred these hints would have
been forgotten, as we have forgotten the thousands and millions of
hints and expectations to the contrary which were current then but
have now been forgotten because the event falsified them. There are
always so many conjectures as to the issue of any event that however
it may end there will always be people to say: "I said then that it
would be so," quite forgetting that amid their innumerable conjectures
many were to quite the contrary effect.
Conjectures as to Napoleon's awareness of the danger of extending
his line, and (on the Russian side) as to luring the enemy into the
depths of Russia, are evidently of that kind, and only by much
straining can historians attribute such conceptions to Napoleon and
his marshals, or such plans to the Russian commanders. All the facts
are in flat contradiction to such conjectures. During the whole period
of the war not only was there no wish on the Russian side to draw
the French into the heart of the country, but from their first entry
into Russia everything was done to stop them. And not only was
Napoleon not afraid to extend his line, but he welcomed every step
forward as a triumph and did not seek battle as eagerly as in former
campaigns, but very lazily.
At the very beginning of the war our armies were divided, and our
sole aim was to unite them, though uniting the armies was no advantage
if we meant to retire and lure the enemy into the depths of the
country. Our Emperor joined the army to encourage it to defend every
inch of Russian soil and not to retreat. The enormous Drissa camp
was formed on Pfuel's plan, and there was no intention of retiring
farther. The Emperor reproached the commanders in chief for every step
they retired. He could not bear the idea of letting the enemy even
reach Smolensk, still less could he contemplate the burning of Moscow,
and when our armies did unite he was displeased that Smolensk was
abandoned and burned without a general engagement having been fought
under its walls.
So thought the Emperor, and the Russian commanders and people were
still more provoked at the thought that our forces were retreating
into the depths of the country.
Napoleon having cut our armies apart advanced far into the country
and missed several chances of forcing an engagement. In August he
was at Smolensk and thought only of how to advance farther, though
as we now see that advance was evidently ruinous to him.
The facts clearly show that Napoleon did not foresee the danger of
the advance on Moscow, nor did Alexander and the Russian commanders
then think of luring Napoleon on, but quite the contrary. The luring
of Napoleon into the depths of the country was not the result of any
plan, for no one believed it to be possible; it resulted from a most
complex interplay of intrigues, aims, and wishes among those who
took part in the war and had no perception whatever of the inevitable,
or of the one way of saving Russia. Everything came about
fortuitously. The armies were divided at the commencement of the
campaign. We tried to unite them, with the evident intention of giving
battle and checking the enemy's advance, and by this effort to unite
them while avoiding battle with a much stronger enemy, and necessarily
withdrawing the armies at an acute angle- we led the French on to
Smolensk. But we withdrew at an acute angle not only because the
French advanced between our two armies; the angle became still more
acute and we withdrew still farther, because Barclay de Tolly was an
unpopular foreigner disliked by Bagration (who would come his
command), and Bagration- being in command of the second army- tried to
postpone joining up and coming under Barclay's command as long as he
could. Bagration was slow in effecting the junction- though that was
the chief aim of all at headquarters- because, as he alleged, he
exposed his army to danger on this march, and it was best for him to
retire more to the left and more to the south, worrying the enemy from
flank and rear and securing from the Ukraine recruits for his army;
and it looks as if he planned this in order not to come under the
command of the detested foreigner Barclay, whose rank was inferior
to his own.
The Emperor was with the army to encourage it, but his presence
and ignorance of what steps to take, and the enormous number of
advisers and plans, destroyed the first army's energy and it retired.
The intention was to make a stand at the Drissa camp, but
Paulucci, aiming at becoming commander in chief, unexpectedly employed
his energy to influence Alexander, and Pfuel's whole plan was
abandoned and the command entrusted to Barclay. But as Barclay did not
inspire confidence his power was limited. The armies were divided,
there was no unity of command, and Barclay was unpopular; but from
this confusion, division, and the unpopularity of the foreign
commander in chief, there resulted on the one hand indecision and
the avoidance of a battle (which we could not have refrained from
had the armies been united and had someone else, instead of Barclay,
been in command) and on the other an ever-increasing indignation
against the foreigners and an increase in patriotic zeal.
At last the Emperor left the army, and as the most convenient and
indeed the only pretext for his departure it was decided that it was
necessary for him to inspire the people in the capitals and arouse the
nation in general to a patriotic war. And by this visit of the Emperor
to Moscow the strength of the Russian army was trebled.
He left in order not to obstruct the commander in chief's
undivided control of the army, and hoping that more decisive action
would then be taken, but the command of the armies became still more
confused and enfeebled. Bennigsen, the Tsarevich, and a swarm of
adjutants general remained with the army to keep the commander in
chief under observation and arouse his energy, and Barclay, feeling
less free than ever under the observation of all these "eyes of the
Emperor," became still more cautious of undertaking any decisive
action and avoided giving battle.
Barclay stood for caution. The Tsarevich hinted at treachery and
demanded a general engagement. Lubomirski, Bronnitski, Wlocki, and the
others of that group stirred up so much trouble that Barclay, under
pretext of sending papers to the Emperor, dispatched these Polish
adjutants general to Petersburg and plunged into an open struggle with
Bennigsen and the Tsarevich.
At Smolensk the armies at last reunited, much as Bagration
Bagration drove up in a carriage to to the house occupied by
Barclay. Barclay donned his sash and came out to meet and report to
his senior officer Bagration.
Despite his seniority in rank Bagration, in this contest of
magnanimity, took his orders from Barclay, but, having submitted,
agreed with him less than ever. By the Emperor's orders Bagration
reported direct to him. He wrote to Arakcheev, the Emperor's
confidant: "It must be as my sovereign pleases, but I cannot work with
the Minister (meaning Barclay). For God's sake send me somewhere
else if only in command of a regiment. I cannot stand it here.
Headquarters are so full of Germans that a Russian cannot exist and
there is no sense in anything. I thought I was really serving my
sovereign and the Fatherland, but it turns out that I am serving
Barclay. I confess I do not want to."
The swarm of Bronnitskis and Wintzingerodes and their like still
further embittered the relations between the commanders in chief,
and even less unity resulted. Preparations were made to fight the
French before Smolensk. A general was sent to survey the position.
This general, hating Barclay, rode to visit a friend of his own, a
corps commander, and, having spent the day with him, returned to
Barclay and condemned, as unsuitable from every point of view, the
battleground he had not seen.
While disputes and intrigues were going on about the future field of
battle, and while we were looking for the French- having lost touch
with them- the French stumbled upon Neverovski's division and
reached the walls of Smolensk.
It was necessary to fight an unexpected battle at Smolensk to save
our lines of communication. The battle was fought and thousands were
killed on both sides.
Smolensk was abandoned contrary to the wishes of the Emperor and
of the whole people. But Smolensk was burned by its own
inhabitants-who had been misled by their governor. And these ruined
inhabitants, setting an example to other Russians, went to Moscow
thinking only of their own losses but kindling hatred of the foe.
Napoleon advanced farther and we retired, thus arriving at the very
result which caused his destruction.
The day after his son had left, Prince Nicholas sent for Princess
Mary to come to his study.
"Well? Are you satisfied now?" said he. "You've made me quarrel with
my son! Satisfied, are you? That's all you wanted! Satisfied?... It
hurts me, it hurts. I'm old and weak and this is what you wanted. Well
then, gloat over it! Gloat over it!"
After that Princess Mary did not see her father for a whole week. He
was ill and did not leave his study.
Princess Mary noticed to her surprise that during this illness the
old prince not only excluded her from his room, but did not admit
Mademoiselle Bourienne either. Tikhon alone attended him.
At the end of the week the prince reappeared and resumed his
former way of life, devoting himself with special activity to building
operations and the arrangement of the gardens and completely
breaking off his relations with Mademoiselle Bourienne. His looks
and cold tone to his daughter seemed to say: "There, you see? You
plotted against me, you lied to Prince Andrew about my relations
with that Frenchwoman and made me quarrel with him, but you see I need
neither her nor you!"
Princess Mary spent half of every day with little Nicholas, watching
his lessons, teaching him Russian and music herself, and talking to
Dessalles; the rest of the day she spent over her books, with her
old nurse, or with "God's folk" who sometimes came by the back door to
Of the war Princess Mary thought as women do think about wars. She
feared for her brother who was in it, was horrified by and amazed at
the strange cruelty that impels men to kill one another, but she did
not understand the significance of this war, which seemed to her
like all previous wars. She did not realize the significance of this
war, though Dessalles with whom she constantly conversed was
passionately interested in its progress and tried to explain his own
conception of it to her, and though the "God's folk" who came to see
her reported, in their own way, the rumors current among the people of
an invasion by Antichrist, and though Julie (now Princess
Drubetskaya), who had resumed correspondence with her, wrote patriotic
letters from Moscow.
"I write you in Russian, my good friend," wrote Julie in her
Frenchified Russian, "because I have a detestation for all the French,
and the same for their language which I cannot support to hear
spoken.... We in Moscow are elated by enthusiasm for our adored
"My poor husband is enduring pains and hunger in Jewish taverns, but
the news which I have inspires me yet more.
"You heard probably of the heroic exploit of Raevski, embracing
his two sons and saying: 'I will perish with them but we will not be
shaken!' And truly though the enemy was twice stronger than we, we
were unshakable. We pass the time as we can, but in war as in war! The
princesses Aline and Sophie sit whole days with me, and we, unhappy
widows of live men, make beautiful conversations over our charpie,
only you, my friend, are missing..." and so on.
The chief reason Princess Mary did not realize the full significance
of this war was that the old prince never spoke of it, did not
recognize it, and laughed at Dessalles when he mentioned it at dinner.
The prince's tone was so calm and confident that Princess Mary
unhesitatingly believed him.
All that July the old prince was exceedingly active and even
animated. He planned another garden and began a new building for the
domestic serfs. The only thing that made Princess Mary anxious about
him was that he slept very little and, instead of sleeping in his
study as usual, changed his sleeping place every day. One day he would
order his camp bed to be set up in the glass gallery, another day he
remained on the couch or on the lounge chair in the drawing room and
dozed there without undressing, while- instead of Mademoiselle
Bourienne- a serf boy read to him. Then again he would spend a night
in the dining room.
On August 1, a second letter was received from Prince Andrew. In his
first letter which came soon after he had left home, Prince Andrew had
dutifully asked his father's forgiveness for what he had allowed
himself to say and begged to be restored to his favor. To this
letter the old prince had replied affectionately, and from that time
had kept the Frenchwoman at at Prince Andrew's second letter,
written near Vitebsk after the French had occupied that town, gave a
brief account of the whole campaign, enclosed for them a plan he had
drawn and forecasts as to the further progress of the war. In this
letter Prince Andrew pointed out to his father the danger of staying
at Bald Hills, so near the theater of war and on the army's direct
line of march, and advised him to move to Moscow.
At dinner that day, on Dessalles' mentioning that the French were
said to have already entered Vitebsk, the old prince remembered his
"There was a letter from Prince Andrew today," he said to Princess
Mary- "Haven't you read it?"
"No, Father," she replied in a frightened voice.
She could not have read the letter as she did not even know it had
"He writes about this war," said the prince, with the ironic smile
that had become habitual to him in speaking of the present war.
"That must be very interesting," said Dessalles. "Prince Andrew is
in a position to know..."
"Oh, very interesting!" said Mademoiselle Bourienne.
"Go and get it for me," said the old prince to Mademoiselle
Bourienne. "You know- under the paperweight on the little table."
Mademoiselle Bourienne jumped up eagerly.
"No, don't!" he exclaimed with a frown. "You go, Michael Ivanovich."
Michael Ivanovich rose and went to the study. But as soon as he
had left the room the old prince, looking uneasily round, threw down
his napkin and went himself.
"They can't do anything... always make some muddle," he muttered.
While he was away Princess Mary, Dessalles, Mademoiselle
Bourienne, and even little Nicholas exchanged looks in silence. The
old prince returned with quick steps, accompanied by Michael
Ivanovich, bringing the letter and a plan. These he put down beside
him- not letting anyone read them at dinner.
On moving to the drawing room he handed the letter to Princess
Mary and, spreading out before him the plan of the new building and
fixing his eyes upon it, told her to read the letter aloud. When she
had done so Princess Mary looked inquiringly at her father. He was
examining the plan, evidently engrossed in his own ideas.
"What do you think of it, Prince?" Dessalles ventured to ask.
"I? I?..." said the prince as if unpleasantly awakened, and not
taking his eyes from the plan of the building.
"Very possibly the theater of war will move so near to us that..."
"Ha ha ha! The theater of war!" said the prince. "I have said and
still say that the theater of war is Poland and the enemy will never
get beyond the Niemen."
Dessalles looked in amazement at the prince, who was talking of
the Niemen when the enemy was already at the Dnieper, but Princess
Mary, forgetting the geographical position of the Niemen, thought that