Part 5 out of 34
stout staff officer, and at Zherkov, and he frowned.
"I will the bridge fire," he said in a solemn tone as if to announce
that in spite of all the unpleasantness he had to endure he would
still do the right thing.
Striking his horse with his long muscular legs as if it were to
blame for everything, the colonel moved forward and ordered the second
squadron, that in which Rostov was serving under Denisov, to return to
"There, it's just as I thought," said Rostov to himself. "He
wishes to test me!" His heart contracted and the blood rushed to his
face. "Let him see whether I am a coward!" he thought.
Again on all the bright faces of the squadron the serious expression
appeared that they had worn when under fire. Rostov watched his enemy,
the colonel, closely- to find in his face confirmation of his own
conjecture, but the colonel did not once glance at Rostov, and
looked as he always did when at the front, solemn and stern. Then came
the word of command.
"Look sharp! Look sharp!" several voices repeated around him.
Their sabers catching in the bridles and their spurs jingling, the
hussars hastily dismounted, not knowing what they were to do. The
men were crossing themselves. Rostov no longer looked at the
colonel, he had no time. He was afraid of falling behind the
hussars, so much afraid that his heart stood still. His hand
trembled as he gave his horse into an orderly's charge, and he felt
the blood rush to his heart with a thud. Denisov rode past him,
leaning back and shouting something. Rostov saw nothing but the
hussars running all around him, their spurs catching and their
"Stretchers!" shouted someone behind him.
Rostov did not think what this call for stretchers meant; he ran on,
trying only to be ahead of the others; but just at the bridge, not
looking at the ground, he came on some sticky, trodden mud,
stumbled, and fell on his hands. The others outstripped him.
"At boss zides, Captain," he heard the voice of the colonel, who,
having ridden ahead, had pulled up his horse near the bridge, with a
triumphant, cheerful face.
Rostov wiping his muddy hands on his breeches looked at his enemy
and was about to run on, thinking that the farther he went to the
front the better. But Bogdanich, without looking at or recognizing
Rostov, shouted to him:
"Who's that running on the middle of the bridge? To the right!
Come back, Cadet!" he cried angrily; and turning to Denisov, who,
showing off his courage, had ridden on to the planks of the bridge:
"Why run risks, Captain? You should dismount," he said.
"Oh, every bullet has its billet," answered Vaska Denisov, turning
in his saddle.
Meanwhile Nesvitski, Zherkov, and the officer of the suite were
standing together out of range of the shots, watching, now the small
group of men with yellow shakos, dark-green jackets braided with cord,
and blue riding breeches, who were swarming near the bridge, and
then at what was approaching in the distance from the opposite side-
the blue uniforms and groups with horses, easily recognizable as
"Will they burn the bridge or not? Who'll get there first? Will they
get there and fire the bridge or will the French get within
grapeshot range and wipe them out?" These were the questions each
man of the troops on the high ground above the bridge involuntarily
asked himself with a sinking heart- watching the bridge and the
hussars in the bright evening light and the blue tunics advancing from
the other side with their bayonets and guns.
"Ugh. The hussars will get it hot!" said Nesvitski; "they are within
grapeshot range now."
"He shouldn't have taken so many men," said the officer of the
"True enough," answered Nesvitski; "two smart fellows could have
done the job just as well."
"Ah, your excellency," put in Zherkov, his eyes fixed on the
hussars, but still with that naive air that made it impossible to know
whether he was speaking in jest or in earnest. "Ah, your excellency!
How you look at things! Send two men? And who then would give us the
Vladimir medal and ribbon? But now, even if they do get peppered,
the squadron may be recommended for honors and he may get a ribbon.
Our Bogdanich knows how things are done."
"There now!" said the officer of the suite, "that's grapeshot."
He pointed to the French guns, the limbers of which were being
detached and hurriedly removed.
On the French side, amid the groups with cannon, a cloud of smoke
appeared, then a second and a third almost simultaneously, and at
the moment when the first report was heard a fourth was seen. Then two
reports one after another, and a third.
"Oh! Oh!" groaned Nesvitski as if in fierce pain, seizing the
officer of the suite by the arm. "Look! A man has fallen! Fallen,
"Two, I think."
"If I were Tsar I would never go to war," said Nesvitski, turning
The French guns were hastily reloaded. The infantry in their blue
uniforms advanced toward the bridge at a run. Smoke appeared again but
at irregular intervals, and grapeshot cracked and rattled onto the
bridge. But this time Nesvitski could not see what was happening
there, as a dense cloud of smoke arose from it. The hussars had
succeeded in setting it on fire and the French batteries were now
firing at them, no longer to hinder them but because the guns were
trained and there was someone to fire at.
The French had time to fire three rounds of grapeshot before the
hussars got back to their horses. Two were misdirected and the shot
went too high, but the last round fell in the midst of a group of
hussars and knocked three of them over.
Rostov, absorbed by his relations with Bogdanich, had paused on
the bridge not knowing what to do. There was no one to hew down (as he
had always imagined battles to himself), nor could he help to fire the
bridge because he had not brought any burning straw with him like
the other soldiers. He stood looking about him, when suddenly he heard
a rattle on the bridge as if nuts were being spilt, and the hussar
nearest to him fell against the rails with a groan. Rostov ran up to
him with the others. Again someone shouted, "Stretchers!" Four men
seized the hussar and began lifting him.
"Oooh! For Christ's sake let me alone!" cried the wounded man, but
still he was lifted and laid on the stretcher.
Nicholas Rostov turned away and, as if searching for something,
gazed into the distance, at the waters of the Danube, at the sky,
and at the sun. How beautiful the sky looked; how blue, how calm,
and how deep! How bright and glorious was the setting sun! With what
soft glitter the waters of the distant Danube shone. And fairer
still were the faraway blue mountains beyond the river, the nunnery,
the mysterious gorges, and the pine forests veiled in the mist of
their summits... There was peace and happiness... "I should wishing
for nothing else, nothing, if only I were there," thought Rostov.
"In myself alone and in that sunshine there is so much happiness;
but here... groans, suffering, fear, and this uncertainty and hurry...
There- they are shouting again, and again are all running back
somewhere, and I shall run with them, and it, death, is here above
me and around... Another instant and I shall never again see the
sun, this water, that gorge!..."
At that instant the sun began to hide behind the clouds, and other
stretchers came into view before Rostov. And the fear of death and
of the stretchers, and love of the sun and of life, all merged into
one feeling of sickening agitation.
"O Lord God! Thou who art in that heaven, save, forgive, and protect
me!" Rostov whispered.
The hussars ran back to the men who held their horses; their
voices sounded louder and calmer, the stretchers disappeared from
"Well, fwiend? So you've smelt powdah!" shouted Vaska Denisov just
above his ear.
"It's all over; but I am a coward- yes, a coward!" thought Rostov,
and sighing deeply he took Rook, his horse, which stood resting one
foot, from the orderly and began to mount.
"Was that grapeshot?" he asked Denisov.
"Yes and no mistake!" cried Denisov. "You worked like wegular bwicks
and it's nasty work! An attack's pleasant work! Hacking away at the
dogs! But this sort of thing is the very devil, with them shooting
at you like a target."
And Denisov rode up to a group that had stopped near Rostov,
composed of the colonel, Nesvitski, Zherkov, and the officer from
"Well, it seems that no one has noticed," thought Rostov. And this
was true. No one had taken any notice, for everyone knew the sensation
which the cadet under fire for the first time had experienced.
"Here's something for you to report," said Zherkov. "See if I
don't get promoted to a sublieutenancy."
"Inform the prince that I the bridge fired!" said the colonel
triumphantly and gaily.
"And if he asks about the losses?"
"A trifle," said the colonel in his bass voice: "two hussars
wounded, and one knocked out," he added, unable to restrain a happy
smile, and pronouncing the phrase "knocked out" with ringing
Pursued by the French army of a hundred thousand men under the
command of Bonaparte, encountering a population that was unfriendly to
it, losing confidence in its allies, suffering from shortness of
supplies, and compelled to act under conditions of war unlike anything
that had been foreseen, the Russian army of thirty-five thousand men
commanded by Kutuzov was hurriedly retreating along the Danube,
stopping where overtaken by the enemy and fighting rearguard actions
only as far as necessary to enable it to retreat without losing its
heavy equipment. There had been actions at Lambach, Amstetten, and
Melk; but despite the courage and endurance- acknowledged even by
the enemy- with which the Russians fought, the only consequence of
these actions was a yet more rapid retreat. Austrian troops that had
escaped capture at Ulm and had joined Kutuzov at Braunau now separated
from the Russian army, and Kutuzov was left with only his own weak and
exhausted forces. The defense of Vienna was no longer to be thought
of. Instead of an offensive, the plan of which, carefully prepared
in accord with the modern science of strategics, had been handed to
Kutuzov when he was in Vienna by the Austrian Hofkriegsrath, the
sole and almost unattainable aim remaining for him was to effect a
junction with the forces that were advancing from Russia, without
losing his army as Mack had done at Ulm.
On the twenty-eighth of October Kutuzov with his army crossed to the
left bank of the Danube and took up a position for the first time with
the river between himself and the main body of the French. On the
thirtieth he attacked Mortier's division, which was on the left
bank, and broke it up. In this action for the first time trophies were
taken: banners, cannon, and two enemy generals. For the first time,
after a fortnight's retreat, the Russian troops had halted and after a
fight had not only held the field but had repulsed the French.
Though the troops were ill-clad, exhausted, and had lost a third of
their number in killed, wounded, sick, and stragglers; though a number
of sick and wounded had been abandoned on the other side of the Danube
with a letter in which Kutuzov entrusted them to the humanity of the
enemy; and though the big hospitals and the houses in Krems
converted into military hospitals could no longer accommodate all
the sick and wounded, yet the stand made at Krems and the victory over
Mortier raised the spirits of the army considerably. Throughout the
whole army and at headquarters most joyful though erroneous rumors
were rife of the imaginary approach of columns from Russia, of some
victory gained by the Austrians, and of the retreat of the
Prince Andrew during the battle had been in attendance on the
Austrian General Schmidt, who was killed in the action. His horse
had been wounded under him and his own arm slightly grazed by a
bullet. As a mark of the commander in chief's special favor he was
sent with the news of this victory to the Austrian court, now no
longer at Vienna (which was threatened by the French) but at Brunn.
Despite his apparently delicate build Prince Andrew could endure
physical fatigue far better than many very muscular men, and on the
night of the battle, having arrived at Krems excited but not weary,
with dispatches from Dokhturov to Kutuzov, he was sent immediately
with a special dispatch to Brunn. To be so sent meant not only a
reward but an important step toward promotion.
The night was dark but starry, the road showed black in the snow
that had fallen the previous day- the day of the battle. Reviewing his
impressions of the recent battle, picturing pleasantly to himself
the impression his news of a victory would create, or recalling the
send-off given him by the commander in chief and his fellow
officers, Prince Andrew was galloping along in a post chaise
enjoying the feelings of a man who has at length begun to attain a
long-desired happiness. As soon as he closed his eyes his ears
seemed filled with the rattle of the wheels and the sensation of
victory. Then he began to imagine that the Russians were running
away and that he himself was killed, but he quickly roused himself
with a feeling of joy, as if learning afresh that this was not so
but that on the contrary the French had run away. He again recalled
all the details of the victory and his own calm courage during the
battle, and feeling reassured he dozed off.... The dark starry night
was followed by a bright cheerful morning. The snow was thawing in the
sunshine, the horses galloped quickly, and on both sides of the road
were forests of different kinds, fields, and villages.
At one of the post stations he overtook a convoy of Russian wounded.
The Russian officer in charge of the transport lolled back in the
front cart, shouting and scolding a soldier with coarse abuse. In each
of the long German carts six or more pale, dirty, bandaged men were
being jolted over the stony road. Some of them were talking (he
heard Russian words), others were eating bread; the more severely
wounded looked silently, with the languid interest of sick children,
at the envoy hurrying past them.
Prince Andrew told his driver to stop, and asked a soldier in what
action they had been wounded. "Day before yesterday, on the Danube,"
answered the soldier. Prince Andrew took out his purse and gave the
soldier three gold pieces.
"That's for them all," he said to the officer who came up.
"Get well soon, lads!" he continued, turning to the soldiers.
"There's plenty to do still."
"What news, sir?" asked the officer, evidently anxious to start a
"Good news!... Go on!" he shouted to the driver, and they galloped
It was already quite dark when Prince Andrew rattled over the
paved streets of Brunn and found himself surrounded by high buildings,
the lights of shops, houses, and street lamps, fine carriages, and all
that atmosphere of a large and active town which is always so
attractive to a soldier after camp life. Despite his rapid journey and
sleepless night, Prince Andrew when he drove up to the palace felt
even more vigorous and alert than he had done the day before. Only his
eyes gleamed feverishly and his thoughts followed one another with
extraordinary clearness and rapidity. He again vividly recalled the
details of the battle, no longer dim, but definite and in the
concise form in which he imagined himself stating them to
the Emperor Francis. He vividly imagined the casual questions that
might be put to him and the answers he would give. He expected to be
at once presented to the Emperor. At the chief entrance to the palace,
however, an official came running out to meet him, and learning that
he was a special messenger led him to another entrance.
"To the right from the corridor, Euer Hochgeboren! There you will
find the adjutant on duty," said the official. "He will conduct you to
the Minister of War."
The adjutant on duty, meeting Prince Andrew, asked him to wait,
and went in to the Minister of War. Five minutes later he returned and
bowing with particular courtesy ushered Prince Andrew before him along
a corridor to the cabinet where the Minister of War was at work. The
adjutant by his elaborate courtesy appeared to wish to ward off any
attempt at familiarity on the part of the Russian messenger.
Prince Andrew's joyous feeling was considerably weakened as he
approached the door of the minister's room. He felt offended, and
without his noticing it the feeling of offense immediately turned into
one of disdain which was quite uncalled for. His fertile mind
instantly suggested to him a point of view which gave him a right to
despise the adjutant and the minister. "Away from the smell of powder,
they probably think it easy to gain victories!" he thought. His eyes
narrowed disdainfully, he entered the room of the Minister of War with
peculiarly deliberate steps. This feeling of disdain was heightened
when he saw the minister seated at a large table reading some papers
and making pencil notes on them, and for the first two or three
minutes taking no notice of his arrival. A wax candle stood at each
side of the minister's bent bald head with its gray temples. He went
on reading to the end, without raising his eyes at the opening of
the door and the sound of footsteps.
"Take this and deliver it," said he to his adjutant, handing him the
papers and still taking no notice of the special messenger.
Prince Andrew felt that either the actions of Kutuzov's army
interested the Minister of War less than any of the other matters he
was concerned with, or he wanted to give the Russian special messenger
that impression. "But that is a matter of perfect indifference to me,"
he thought. The minister drew the remaining papers together,
arranged them evenly, and then raised his head. He had an intellectual
and distinctive head, but the instant he turned to Prince Andrew the
firm, intelligent expression on his face changed in a way evidently
deliberate and habitual to him. His face took on the stupid artificial
smile (which does not even attempt to hide its artificiality) of a man
who is continually receiving many petitioners one after another.
"From General Field Marshal Kutuzov?" he asked. "I hope it is good
news? There has been an encounter with Mortier? A victory? It was high
He took the dispatch which was addressed to him and began to read it
with a mournful expression.
"Oh, my God! My God! Schmidt!" he exclaimed in German. "What a
calamity! What a calamity!"
Having glanced through the dispatch he laid it on the table and
looked at Prince Andrew, evidently considering something.
"Ah what a calamity! You say the affair was decisive? But Mortier is
not captured." Again he pondered. "I am very glad you have brought
good news, though Schmidt's death is a heavy price to pay for the
victory. His Majesty will no doubt wish to see you, but not today. I
thank you! You must have a rest. Be at the levee tomorrow after the
parade. However, I will let you know."
The stupid smile, which had left his face while he was speaking,
"Au revoir! Thank you very much. His Majesty will probably desire to
see you," he added, bowing his head.
When Prince Andrew left the palace he felt that all the interest and
happiness the victory had afforded him had been now left in the
indifferent hands of the Minister of War and the polite adjutant.
The whole tenor of his thoughts instantaneously changed; the battle
seemed the memory of a remote event long past.
Prince Andrew stayed at Brunn with Bilibin, a Russian acquaintance
of his in the diplomatic service.
"Ah, my dear prince! I could not have a more welcome visitor,"
said Bilibin as he came out to meet Prince Andrew. "Franz, put the
prince's things in my bedroom," said he to the servant who was
ushering Bolkonski in. "So you're a messenger of victory, eh?
Splendid! And I am sitting here ill, as you see."
After washing and dressing, Prince Andrew came into the diplomat's
luxurious study and sat down to the dinner prepared for him. Bilibin
settled down comfortably beside the fire.
After his journey and the campaign during which he had been deprived
of all the comforts of cleanliness and all the refinements of life,
Prince Andrew felt a pleasant sense of repose among luxurious
surroundings such as he had been accustomed to from childhood. Besides
it was pleasant, after his reception by the Austrians, to speak if not
in Russian (for they were speaking French) at least with a Russian who
would, he supposed, share the general Russian antipathy to the
Austrians which was then particularly strong.
Bilibin was a man of thirty-five, a bachelor, and of the same circle
as Prince Andrew. They had known each other previously in
Petersburg, but had become more intimate when Prince Andrew was in
Vienna with Kutuzov. Just as Prince Andrew was a young man who gave
promise of rising high in the military profession, so to an even
greater extent Bilibin gave promise of rising in his diplomatic
career. He still a young man but no longer a young diplomat, as he had
entered the service at the age of sixteen, had been in Paris and
Copenhagen, and now held a rather important post in Vienna. Both the
foreign minister and our ambassador in Vienna knew him and valued him.
He was not one of those many diplomats who are esteemed because they
have certain negative qualities, avoid doing certain things, and speak
French. He was one of those, who, liking work, knew how to do it,
and despite his indolence would sometimes spend a whole night at his
writing table. He worked well whatever the import of his work. It
was not the question "What for?" but the question "How?" that
interested him. What the diplomatic matter might be he did not care,
but it gave him great pleasure to prepare a circular, memorandum, or
report, skillfully, pointedly, and elegantly. Bilibin's services
were valued not only for what he wrote, but also for his skill in
dealing and conversing with those in the highest spheres.
Bilibin liked conversation as he liked work, only when it could be
made elegantly witty. In society he always awaited an opportunity to
say something striking and took part in a conversation only when
that was possible. His conversation was always sprinkled with
wittily original, finished phrases of general interest. These
sayings were prepared in the inner laboratory of his mind in a
portable form as if intentionally, so that insignificant society
people might carry them from drawing room to drawing room. And, in
fact, Bilibin's witticisms were hawked about in the Viennese drawing
rooms and often had an influence on matters considered important.
His thin, worn, sallow face was covered with deep wrinkles, which
always looked as clean and well washed as the tips of one's fingers
after a Russian bath. The movement of these wrinkles formed the
principal play of expression on his face. Now his forehead would
pucker into deep folds and his eyebrows were lifted, then his eyebrows
would descend and deep wrinkles would crease his cheeks. His small,
deep-set eyes always twinkled and looked out straight.
"Well, now tell me about your exploits," said he.
Bolkonski, very modestly without once mentioning himself,
described the engagement and his reception by the Minister of War.
"They received me and my news as one receives a dog in a game of
skittles," said he in conclusion.
Bilibin smiled and the wrinkles on his face disappeared.
"Cependant, mon cher," he remarked, examining his nails from a
distance and puckering the skin above his left eye, "malgre la haute
estime que je professe pour the Orthodox Russian army, j'avoue que
votre victoire n'est pas des plus victorieuses."*
*"But my dear fellow, with all my respect for the Orthodox Russian
army, I must say that your victory was not particularly victorious."
He went on talking in this way in French, uttering only those
words in Russian on which he wished to put a contemptuous emphasis.
"Come now! You with all your forces fall on the unfortunate
Mortier and his one division, and even then Mortier slips through your
fingers! Where's the victory?"
"But seriously," said Prince Andrew, "we can at any rate say without
boasting that it was a little better than at Ulm..."
"Why didn't you capture one, just one, marshal for us?"
"Because not everything happens as one expects or with the
smoothness of a parade. We had expected, as I told you, to get at
their rear by seven in the morning but had not reached it by five in
"And why didn't you do it at seven in the morning? You ought to have
been there at seven in the morning," returned Bilibin with a smile.
"You ought to have been there at seven in the morning."
"Why did you not succeed in impressing on Bonaparte by diplomatic
methods that he had better leave Genoa alone?" retorted Prince
Andrew in the same tone.
"I know," interrupted Bilibin, "you're thinking it's very easy to
take marshals, sitting on a sofa by the fire! That is true, but
still why didn't you capture him? So don't be surprised if not only
the Minister of War but also his Most August Majesty the Emperor and
King Francis is not much delighted by your victory. Even I, a poor
secretary of the Russian Embassy, do not feel any need in token of
my joy to give my Franz a thaler, or let him go with his Liebchen to
the Prater... True, we have no Prater here..."
He looked straight at Prince Andrew and suddenly unwrinkled his
"It is now my turn to ask you 'why?' mon cher," said Bolkonski. "I
confess I do not understand: perhaps there are diplomatic subtleties
here beyond my feeble intelligence, but I can't make it out. Mack
loses a whole army, the Archduke Ferdinand and the Archduke Karl
give no signs of life and make blunder after blunder. Kutuzov alone at
last gains a real victory, destroying the spell of the invincibility
of the French, and the Minister of War does not even care to hear
"That's just it, my dear fellow. You see it's hurrah for the Tsar,
for Russia, for the Orthodox Greek faith! All that is beautiful, but
what do we, I mean the Austrian court, care for your victories?
Bring us nice news of a victory by the Archduke Karl or Ferdinand (one
archduke's as good as another, as you know) and even if it is only
over a fire brigade of Bonaparte's, that will be another story and
we'll fire off some cannon! But this sort of thing seems done on
purpose to vex us. The Archduke Karl does nothing, the Archduke
Ferdinand disgraces himself. You abandon Vienna, give up its
defense- as much as to say: 'Heaven is with us, but heaven help you
and your capital!' The one general whom we all loved, Schmidt, you
expose to a bullet, and then you congratulate us on the victory! Admit
that more irritating news than yours could not have been conceived.
It's as if it had been done on purpose, on purpose. Besides, suppose
you did gain a brilliant victory, if even the Archduke Karl gained a
victory, what effect would that have on the general course of
events? It's too late now when Vienna is occupied by the French army!"
"What? Occupied? Vienna occupied?"
"Not only occupied, but Bonaparte is at Schonbrunn, and the count,
our dear Count Vrbna, goes to him for orders."
After the fatigues and impressions of the journey, his reception,
and especially after having dined, Bolkonski felt that he could not
take in the full significance of the words he heard.
"Count Lichtenfels was here this morning," Bilibin continued, "and
showed me a letter in which the parade of the French in Vienna was
fully described: Prince Murat et tout le tremblement... You see that
your victory is not a matter for great rejoicing and that you can't be
received as a savior."
"Really I don't care about that, I don't care at all," said Prince
Andrew, beginning to understand that his news of the battle before
Krems was really of small importance in view of such events as the
fall of Austria's capital. "How is it Vienna was taken? What of the
bridge and its celebrated bridgehead and Prince Auersperg? We heard
reports that Prince Auersperg was defending Vienna?" he said.
"Prince Auersperg is on this, on our side of the river, and is
defending us- doing it very badly, I think, but still he is
defending us. But Vienna is on the other side. No, the bridge has
not yet been taken and I hope it will not be, for it is mined and
orders have been given to blow it up. Otherwise we should long ago
have been in the mountains of Bohemia, and you and your army would
have spent a bad quarter of an hour between two fires."
"But still this does not mean that the campaign is over," said
"Well, I think it is. The bigwigs here think so too, but they
daren't say so. It will be as I said at the beginning of the campaign,
it won't be your skirmishing at Durrenstein, or gunpowder at all, that
will decide the matter, but those who devised it," said Bilibin
quoting one of his own mots, releasing the wrinkles on his forehead,
and pausing. "The only question is what will come of the meeting
between the Emperor Alexander and the King of Prussia in Berlin? If
Prussia joins the Allies, Austria's hand will be forced and there will
be war. If not it is merely a question of settling where the
preliminaries of the new Campo Formio are to be drawn up."
"What an extraordinary genius!" Prince Andrew suddenly exclaimed,
clenching his small hand and striking the table with it, "and what
luck the man has!"
"Buonaparte?" said Bilibin inquiringly, puckering up his forehead to
indicate that he was about to say something witty. "Buonaparte?" he
repeated, accentuating the u: "I think, however, now that he lays down
laws for Austria at Schonbrunn, il faut lui faire grace de l'u!* I
shall certainly adopt an innovation and call him simply Bonaparte!"
*"We must let him off the u!"
"But joking apart," said Prince Andrew, "do you really think the
campaign is over?"
"This is what I think. Austria has been made a fool of, and she is
not used to it. She will retaliate. And she has been fooled in the
first place because her provinces have been pillaged- they say the
Holy Russian army loots terribly- her army is destroyed, her capital
taken, and all this for the beaux yeux* of His Sardinian Majesty.
And therefore- this is between ourselves- I instinctively feel that we
are being deceived, my instinct tells me of negotiations with France
and projects for peace, a secret peace concluded separately."
"Impossible!" cried Prince Andrew. "That would be too base."
"If we live we shall see," replied Bilibin, his face again
becoming smooth as a sign that the conversation was at an end.
When Prince Andrew reached the room prepared for him and lay down in
a clean shirt on the feather bed with its warmed and fragrant pillows,
he felt that the battle of which he had brought tidings was far, far
away from him. The alliance with Prussia, Austria's treachery,
Bonaparte's new triumph, tomorrow's levee and parade, and the audience
with the Emperor Francis occupied his thoughts.
He closed his eyes, and immediately a sound of cannonading, of
musketry and the rattling of carriage wheels seemed to fill his
ears, and now again drawn out in a thin line the musketeers were
descending the hill, the French were firing, and he felt his heart
palpitating as he rode forward beside Schmidt with the bullets merrily
whistling all around, and he experienced tenfold the joy of living, as
he had not done since childhood.
He woke up...
"Yes, that all happened!" he said, and, smiling happily to himself
like a child, he fell into a deep, youthful slumber.
Next day he woke late. Recalling his recent impressions, the first
thought that came into his mind was that today he had to be
presented to the Emperor Francis; he remembered the Minister of War,
the polite Austrian adjutant, Bilibin, and last night's
conversation. Having dressed for his attendance at court in full
parade uniform, which he had not worn for a long time, he went into
Bilibin's study fresh, animated, and handsome, with his hand bandaged.
In the study were four gentlemen of the diplomatic corps. With
Prince Hippolyte Kuragin, who was a secretary to the embassy,
Bolkonski was already acquainted. Bilibin introduced him to the
The gentlemen assembled at Bilibin's were young, wealthy, gay
society men, who here, as in Vienna, formed a special set which
Bilibin, their leader, called les notres.* This set, consisting almost
exclusively of diplomats, evidently had its own interests which had
nothing to do with war or politics but related to high society, to
certain women, and to the official side of the service. These
gentlemen received Prince Andrew as one of themselves, an honor they
did not extend to many. From politeness and to start conversation,
they asked him a few questions about the army and the battle, and then
the talk went off into merry jests and gossip.
"But the best of it was," said one, telling of the misfortune of a
fellow diplomat, "that the Chancellor told him flatly that his
appointment to London was a promotion and that he was so to regard it.
Can you fancy the figure he cut?..."
"But the worst of it, gentlemen- I am giving Kuragin away to you- is
that that man suffers, and this Don Juan, wicked fellow, is taking
advantage of it!"
Prince Hippolyte was lolling in a lounge chair with his legs over
its arm. He began to laugh.
"Tell me about that!" he said.
"Oh, you Don Juan! You serpent!" cried several voices.
"You, Bolkonski, don't know," said Bilibin turning to Prince Andrew,
"that all the atrocities of the French army (I nearly said of the
Russian army) are nothing compared to what this man has been doing
among the women!"
"La femme est la compagne de l'homme,"* announced Prince
Hippolyte, and began looking through a lorgnette at his elevated legs.
*"Woman is man's companion."
Bilibin and the rest of "ours" burst out laughing in Hippolyte's
face, and Prince Andrew saw that Hippolyte, of whom- he had to
admit- he had almost been jealous on his wife's account, was the
butt of this set.
"Oh, I must give you a treat," Bilibin whispered to Bolkonski.
"Kuragin is exquisite when he discusses politics- you should see his
He sat down beside Hippolyte and wrinkling his forehead began
talking to him about politics. Prince Andrew and the others gathered
round these two.
"The Berlin cabinet cannot express a feeling of alliance," began
Hippolyte gazing round with importance at the others, "without
expressing... as in its last note... you understand... Besides, unless
His Majesty the Emperor derogates from the principle of our
"Wait, I have not finished..." he said to Prince Andrew, seizing him
by the arm, "I believe that intervention will be stronger than
nonintervention. And..." he paused. "Finally one cannot impute the
nonreceipt of our dispatch of November 18. That is how it will end."
And he released Bolkonski's arm to indicate that he had now quite
"Demosthenes, I know thee by the pebble thou secretest in thy golden
mouth!" said Bilibin, and the mop of hair on his head moved with
Everybody laughed, and Hippolyte louder than anyone. He was
evidently distressed, and breathed painfully, but could not restrain
the wild laughter that convulsed his usually impassive features.
"Well now, gentlemen," said Bilibin, "Bolkonski is my guest in
this house and in Brunn itself. I want to entertain him as far as I
can, with all the pleasures of life here. If we were in Vienna it
would be easy, but here, in this wretched Moravian hole, it is more
difficult, and I beg you all to help me. Brunn's attractions must be
shown him. You can undertake the theater, I society, and you,
Hippolyte, of course the women."
"We must let him see Amelie, she's exquisite!" said one of "ours,"
kissing his finger tips.
"In general we must turn this bloodthirsty soldier to more humane
interests," said Bilibin.
"I shall scarcely be able to avail myself of your hospitality,
gentlemen, it is already time for me to go," replied Prince Andrew
looking at his watch.
"To the Emperor."
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" Well, au revoir, Bolkonski! Au revoir, Prince! Come
back early to dinner," cried several voices. "We'll take you in hand."
"When speaking to the Emperor, try as far as you can to praise the
way that provisions are supplied and the routes indicated," said
Bilibin, accompanying him to the hall.
"I should like to speak well of them, but as far as I the facts, I
can't," replied Bolkonski, smiling.
"Well, talk as much as you can, anyway. He has a passion for
giving audiences, but he does not like talking himself and can't do
it, as you will see."
At the levee Prince Andrew stood among the Austrian officers as he
had been told to, and the Emperor Francis merely looked fixedly into
his face and just nodded to him with to him with his long head. But
after it was over, the adjutant he had seen the previous day
ceremoniously informed Bolkonski that the Emperor desired to give
him an audience. The Emperor Francis received him standing in the
middle of the room. Before the conversation began Prince Andrew was
struck by the fact that the Emperor seemed confused and blushed as
if not knowing what to say.
"Tell me, when did the battle begin?" he asked hurriedly.
Prince Andrew replied. Then followed other questions just as simple:
"Was Kutuzov well? When had he left Krems?" and so on. The Emperor
spoke as if his sole aim were to put a given number of questions-
the answers to these questions, as was only too evident, did not
"At what o'clock did the battle begin?" asked the Emperor.
"I cannot inform Your Majesty at what o'clock the battle began at
the front, but at Durrenstein, where I was, our attack began after
five in the afternoon," replied Bolkonski growing more animated and
expecting that he would have a chance to give a reliable account,
which he had ready in his mind, of all he knew and had seen. But the
Emperor smiled and interrupted him.
"How many miles?"
"From where to where, Your Majesty?"
"From Durrenstein to Krems."
"Three and a half miles, Your Majesty."
"The French have abandoned the left bank?"
"According to the scouts the last of them crossed on rafts during
"Is there sufficient forage in Krems?"
"Forage has not been supplied to the extent..."
The Emperor interrupted him.
"At what o'clock was General Schmidt killed?"
"At seven o'clock, I believe."
"At seven o'clock? It's very sad, very sad!"
The Emperor thanked Prince Andrew and bowed. Prince Andrew
withdrew and was immediately surrounded by courtiers on all sides.
Everywhere he saw friendly looks and heard friendly words. Yesterday's
adjutant reproached him for not having stayed at the palace, and
offered him his own house. The Minister of War came up and
congratulated him on the Maria Theresa Order of the third grade, which
the Emperor was conferring on him. The Empress' chamberlain invited
him to see Her Majesty. The archduchess also wished to see him. He did
not know whom to answer, and for a few seconds collected his thoughts.
Then the Russian ambassador took him by the shoulder, led him to the
window, and began to talk to him.
Contrary to Bilibin's forecast the news he had brought was
joyfully received. A thanksgiving service was arranged, Kutuzov was
awarded the Grand Cross of Maria Theresa, and the whole army
received rewards. Bolkonski was invited everywhere, and had to spend
the whole morning calling on the principal Austrian dignitaries.
Between four and five in the afternoon, having made all his calls,
he was returning to Bilibin's house thinking out a letter to his
father about the battle and his visit to Brunn. At the door he found a
vehicle half full of luggage. Franz, Bilibin's man, was dragging a
portmanteau with some difficulty out of the front door.
Before returning to Bilibin's Prince Andrew had gone to bookshop
to provide himself with some books for the campaign, and had spent
some time in the shop.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Oh, your excellency!" said Franz, with difficulty rolling the
portmanteau into the vehicle, "we are to move on still farther. The
scoundrel is again at our heels!"
"Eh? What?" asked Prince Andrew.
Bilibin came out to meet him. His usually calm face showed
"There now! Confess that this is delightful," said he. "This
affair of the Thabor Bridge, at Vienna.... They have crossed without
striking a blow!"
Prince Andrew could not understand.
"But where do you come from not to know what every coachman in the
"I come from the archduchess'. I heard nothing there."
"And you didn't see that everybody is packing up?"
"I did not... What is it all about?" inquired Prince Andrew
"What's it all about? Why, the French have crossed the bridge that
Auersperg was defending, and the bridge was not blown up: so Murat
is now rushing along the road to Brunn and will be here in a day or
"What? Here? But why did they not blow up the bridge, if it was
"That is what I ask you. No one, not even Bonaparte, knows why."
Bolkonski shrugged his shoulders.
"But if the bridge is crossed it means that the army too is lost? It
will be cut off," said he.
"That's just it," answered Bilibin. "Listen! The French entered
Vienna as I told you. Very well. Next day, which was yesterday,
those gentlemen, messieurs les marechaux,* Murat, Lannes,and Belliard,
mount and ride to bridge. (Observe that all three are Gascons.)
'Gentlemen,' says one of them, 'you know the Thabor Bridge is mined
and doubly mined and that there are menacing fortifications at its
head and an army of fifteen thousand men has been ordered to blow up
the bridge and not let us cross? But it will please our sovereign
the Emperor Napoleon if we take this bridge, so let us three go and
take it!' 'Yes, let's!' say the others. And off they go and take the
bridge, cross it, and now with their whole army are on this side of
the Danube, marching on us, you, and your lines of communication."
"Stop jesting," said Prince Andrew sadly and seriously. This news
grieved him and yet he was pleased.
As soon as he learned that the Russian army was in such a hopeless
situation it occurred to him that it was he who was destined to lead
it out of this position; that here was the Toulon that would lift
him from the ranks of obscure officers and offer him the first step to
fame! Listening to Bilibin he was already imagining how on reaching
the army he would give an opinion at the war council which would be
the only one that could save the army, and how he alone would be
entrusted with the executing of the plan.
"Stop this jesting," he said
"I am not jesting," Bilibin went on. "Nothing is truer or sadder.
These gentlemen ride onto the bridge alone and wave white
handkerchiefs; they assure the officer on duty that they, the
marshals, are on their way to negotiate with Prince Auersperg. He lets
them enter the tete-de-pont.* They spin him a thousand gasconades,
saying that the war is over, that the Emperor Francis is arranging a
meeting with Bonaparte, that they desire to see Prince Auersperg,
and so on. The officer sends for Auersperg; these gentlemen embrace
the officers, crack jokes, sit on the cannon, and meanwhile a French
battalion gets to the bridge unobserved, flings the bags of incendiary
material into the water, and approaches the tete-de-pont. At length
appears the lieutenant general, our dear Prince Auersperg von
Mautern himself. 'Dearest foe! Flower of the Austrian army, hero of
the Turkish wars Hostilities are ended, we can shake one another's
hand.... The Emperor Napoleon burns with impatience to make Prince
Auersperg's acquaintance.' In a word, those gentlemen, Gascons indeed,
so bewildered him with fine words, and he is so flattered by his
rapidly established intimacy with the French marshals, and so
dazzled by the sight of Murat's mantle and ostrich plumes, qu'il n'y
voit que du feu, et oublie celui qu'il devait faire faire sur
l'ennemi!"* In spite of the animation of his speech, Bilibin did
not forget to pause after this mot to give time for its due
appreciation. "The French battalion rushes to the bridgehead, spikes
the guns, and the bridge is taken! But what is best of all," he went
on, his excitement subsiding under the delightful interest of his
own story, "is that the sergeant in charge of the cannon which was
to give the signal to fire the mines and blow up the bridge, this
sergeant, seeing that the French troops were running onto the
bridge, was about to fire, but Lannes stayed his hand. The sergeant,
who was evidently wiser than his general, goes up to Auersperg and
says: 'Prince, you are being deceived, here are the French!' Murat,
seeing that all is lost if the sergeant is allowed to speak, turns
to Auersperg with feigned astonishment (he is a true Gascon) and says:
'I don't recognize the world-famous Austrian discipline, if you
allow a subordinate to address you like that!' It was a stroke of
genius. Prince Auersperg feels his dignity at stake and orders the
sergeant to be arrested. Come, you must own that this affair of the
Thabor Bridge is delightful! It is not exactly stupidity, nor
* That their fire gets into his eyes and he forgets that he ought
to be firing at the enemy.
"It may be treachery," said Prince Andrew, vividly imagining the
gray overcoats, wounds, the smoke of gunpowder, the sounds of
firing, and the glory that awaited him.
"Not that either. That puts the court in too bad a light," replied
Bilibin."It's not treachery nor rascality nor stupidity: it is just as
at Ulm... it is..."- he seemed to be trying to find the right
expression. "C'est... c'est du Mack. Nous sommes mackes [It is... it
is a bit of Mack. We are Macked]," he concluded, feeling that he had
produced a good epigram, a fresh one that would be repeated. His
hitherto puckered brow became smooth as a sign of pleasure, and with a
slight smile he began to examine his nails.
"Where are you off to?" he said suddenly to Prince Andrew who had
risen and was going toward his room.
"I am going away."
"To the army."
"But you meant to stay another two days?"
"But now I am off at once."
And Prince Andrew after giving directions about his departure went
to his room.
"Do you know, mon cher," said Bilibin following him, "I have been
thinking about you. Why are you going?"
And in proof of the conclusiveness of his opinion all the wrinkles
vanished from his face.
Prince Andrew looked inquiringly at him and gave no reply.
"Why are you going? I know you think it your duty to gallop back
to the army now that it is in danger. I understand that. Mon cher,
it is heroism!"
"Not at all," said Prince Andrew.
"But as you are a philosopher, be a consistent one, look at the
other side of the question and you will see that your duty, on the
contrary, is to take care of yourself. Leave it to those who are no
longer fit for anything else.... You have not been ordered to return
and have not been dismissed from here; therefore, you can stay and
go with us wherever our ill luck takes us. They say we are going to
Olmutz, and Olmutz is a very decent town. You and I will travel
comfortably in my caleche."
"Do stop joking, Bilibin," cried Bolkonski.
"I am speaking sincerely as a friend! Consider! Where and why are
you going, when you might remain here? You are faced by one of two
things," and the skin over his left temple puckered, "either you
will not reach your regiment before peace is concluded, or you will
share defeat and disgrace with Kutuzov's whole army."
And Bilibin unwrinkled his temple, feeling that the dilemma was
"I cannot argue about it," replied Prince Andrew coldly, but he
thought: "I am going to save the army."
"My dear fellow, you are a hero!" said Bilibin.
That same night, having taken leave of the Minister of War,
Bolkonski set off to rejoin the army, not knowing where he would
find it and fearing to be captured by the French on the way to Krems.
In Brunn everybody attached to the court was packing up, and the
heavy baggage was already being dispatched to Olmutz. Near Hetzelsdorf
Prince Andrew struck the high road along which the Russian army was
moving with great haste and in the greatest disorder. The road was
so obstructed with carts that it was impossible to get by in a
carriage. Prince Andrew took a horse and a Cossack from a Cossack
commander, and hungry and weary, making his way past the baggage
wagons, rode in search of the commander in chief and of his own
luggage. Very sinister reports of the position of the army reached him
as he went along, and the appearance of the troops in their disorderly
flight confirmed these rumors.
"Cette armee russe que l'or de l'Angleterre a transportee des
extremites de l'univers, nous allons lui faire eprouver le meme
sort- (le sort de l'armee d'Ulm)."* He remembered these words in
Bonaparte's address to his army at the beginning of the campaign,
and they awoke in him astonishment at the genius of his hero, a
feeling of wounded pride, and a hope of glory. "And should there be
nothing left but to die?" he thought. "Well, if need be, I shall do it
no worse than others."
*"That Russian army which has been brought from the ends of the
earth by English gold, we shall cause to share the same fate- (the
fate of the army at Ulm)."
He looked with disdain at the endless confused mass of
detachments, carts, guns, artillery, and again baggage wagons and
vehicles of all kinds overtaking one another and blocking the muddy
road, three and sometimes four abreast. From all sides, behind and
before, as far as ear could reach, there were the rattle of wheels,
the creaking of carts and gun carriages, the tramp of horses, the
crack of whips, shouts, the urging of horses, and the swearing of
soldiers, orderlies, and officers. All along the sides of the road
fallen horses were to be seen, some flayed, some not, and
broken-down carts beside which solitary soldiers sat waiting for
something, and again soldiers straggling from their companies,
crowds of whom set off to the neighboring villages, or returned from
them dragging sheep, fowls, hay, and bulging sacks. At each ascent
or descent of the road the crowds were yet denser and the din of
shouting more incessant. Soldiers floundering knee-deep in mud
pushed the guns and wagons themselves. Whips cracked, hoofs slipped,
traces broke, and lungs were strained with shouting. The officers
directing the march rode backward and forward between the carts. Their
voices were but feebly heard amid the uproar and one saw by their
faces that they despaired of the possibility of checking this
"Here is our dear Orthodox Russian army," thought Bolkonski,
recalling Bilibin's words.
Wishing to find out where the commander in chief was, he rode up
to a convoy. Directly opposite to him came a strange one-horse
vehicle, evidently rigged up by soldiers out of any available
materials and looking like something between a cart, a cabriolet,
and a caleche. A soldier was driving, and a woman enveloped in
shawls sat behind the apron under the leather hood of the vehicle.
Prince Andrew rode up and was just putting his question to a soldier
when his attention was diverted by the desperate shrieks of the
woman in the vehicle. An officer in charge of transport was beating
the soldier who was driving the woman's vehicle for trying to get
ahead of others, and the strokes of his whip fell on the apron of
the equipage. The woman screamed piercingly. Seeing Prince Andrew
she leaned out from behind the apron and, waving her thin arms from
under the woolen shawl, cried:
"Mr. Aide-de-camp! Mr. Aide-de-camp!... For heaven's sake... Protect
me! What will become of us? I am the wife of the doctor of the Seventh
Chasseurs.... They won't let us pass, we are left behind and have lost
"I'll flatten you into a pancake!" shouted the angry officer to
the soldier. "Turn back with your slut!"
"Mr. Aide-de-camp! Help me!... What does it all mean?" screamed
the doctor's wife.
"Kindly let this cart pass. Don't you see it's a woman?" said Prince
Andrew riding up to the officer.
The officer glanced at him, and without replying turned again to the
soldier. "I'll teach you to push on!... Back!"
"Let them pass, I tell you!" repeated Prince Andrew, compressing his
"And who are you?" cried the officer, turning on him with tipsy
rage, "who are you? Are you in command here? Eh? I am commander
here, not you! Go back or I'll flatten you into a pancake," repeated
he. This expression evidently pleased him.
"That was a nice snub for the little aide-de-camp," came a voice
Prince Andrew saw that the officer was in that state of senseless,
tipsy rage when a man does not know what he is saying. He saw that his
championship of the doctor's wife in her queer trap might expose him
to what he dreaded more than anything in the world- to ridicule; but
his instinct urged him on. Before the officer finished his sentence
Prince Andrew, his face distorted with fury, rode up to him and raised
his riding whip.
"Kind...ly let- them- pass!"
The officer flourished his arm and hastily rode away.
"It's all the fault of these fellows on the staff that there's
this disorder," he muttered. "Do as you like."
Prince Andrew without lifting his eyes rode hastily away from the
doctor's wife, who was calling him her deliverer, and recalling with a
sense of disgust the minutest details of this humiliating scene he
galloped on to the village where he was told that the commander in
On reaching the village he dismounted and went to the nearest house,
intending to rest if but for a moment, eat something, and try to
sort out the stinging and tormenting thoughts that confused his
mind. "This is a mob of scoundrels and not an army," he was thinking
as he went up to the window of the first house, when a familiar
voice called him by name.
He turned round. Nesvitski's handsome face looked out of the
little window. Nesvitski, moving his moist lips as he chewed
something, and flourishing his arm, called him to enter.
"Bolkonski! Bolkonski!... Don't you hear? Eh? Come quick..." he
Entering the house, Prince Andrew saw Nesvitski and another adjutant
having something to eat. They hastily turned round to him asking if he
had any news. On their familiar faces he read agitation and alarm.
This was particularly noticeable on Nesvitski's usually laughing
"Where is the commander in chief?" asked Bolkonski.
"Here, in that house," answered the adjutant.
"Well, is it true that it's peace and capitulation?" asked
"I was going to ask you. I know nothing except that it was all I
could do to get here."
"And we, my dear boy! It's terrible! I was wrong to laugh at Mack,
we're getting it still worse," said Nesvitski. "But sit down and
have something to eat."
"You won't be able to find either your baggage or anything else now,
Prince. And God only knows where your man Peter is," said the other
"Where are headquarters?"
"We are to spend the night in Znaim."
"Well, I have got all I need into packs for two horses," said
Nesvitski. "They've made up splendid packs for me- fit to cross the
Bohemian mountains with. It's a bad lookout, old fellow! But what's
the matter with you? You must be ill to shiver like that," he added,
noticing that Prince Andrew winced as at an electric shock.
"It's nothing," replied Prince Andrew.
He had just remembered his recent encounter with the doctor's wife
and the convoy officer.
"What is the commander in chief doing here?" he asked.
"I can't make out at all," said Nesvitski.
"Well, all I can make out is that everything is abominable,
abominable, quite abominable!" said Prince Andrew, and he went off
to the house where the commander in chief was.
Passing by Kutuzov's carriage and the exhausted saddle horses of his
suite, with their Cossacks who were talking loudly together, Prince
Andrew entered the passage. Kutuzov himself, he was told, was in the
house with Prince Bagration and Weyrother. Weyrother was the
Austrian general who had succeeded Schmidt. In the passage little
Kozlovski was squatting on his heels in front of a clerk. The clerk,
with cuffs turned up, was hastily writing at a tub turned bottom
upwards. Kozlovski's face looked worn- he too had evidently not
slept all night. He glanced at Prince Andrew and did not even nod to
"Second line... have you written it?" he continued dictating to
the clerk. "The Kiev Grenadiers, Podolian..."
"One can't write so fast, your honor," said the clerk, glancing
angrily and disrespectfully at Kozlovski.
Through the door came the sounds of Kutuzov's voice, excited and
dissatisfied, interrupted by another, an unfamiliar voice. From the
sound of these voices, the inattentive way Kozlovski looked at him,
the disrespectful manner of the exhausted clerk, the fact that the
clerk and Kozlovski were squatting on the floor by a tub so near to
the commander in chief, and from the noisy laughter of the Cossacks
holding the horses near the window, Prince Andrew felt that
something important and disastrous was about to happen.
He turned to Kozlovski with urgent questions.
"Immediately, Prince," said Kozlovski. "Dispositions for Bagration."
"What about capitulation?"
"Nothing of the sort. Orders are issued for a battle."
Prince Andrew moved toward the door from whence voices were heard.
Just as he was going to open it the sounds ceased, the door opened,
and Kutuzov with his eagle nose and puffy face appeared in the
doorway. Prince Andrew stood right in front of Kutuzov but the
expression of the commander in chief's one sound eye showed him to
be so preoccupied with thoughts and anxieties as to be oblivious of
his presence. He looked straight at his adjutant's face without
"Well, have you finished?" said he to Kozlovski.
"One moment, your excellency."
Bagration, a gaunt middle-aged man of medium height with a firm,
impassive face of Oriental type, came out after the commander in
"I have the honor to present myself," repeated Prince Andrew
rather loudly, handing Kutuzov an envelope.
Ah, from Vienna? Very good. Later, later!"
Kutuzov went out into the porch with Bagration.
"Well, good-by, Prince," said he to Bagration. "My blessing, and may
Christ be with you in your great endeavor!"
His face suddenly softened and tears came into his eyes. With his
left hand he drew Bagration toward him, and with his right, on which
he wore a ring, he made the sign of the cross over him with a
gesture evidently habitual, offering his puffy cheek, but Bagration
kissed him on the neck instead.
"Christ be with you!" Kutuzov repeated and went toward his carriage.
"Get in with me," said he to Bolkonski.
"Your excellency, I should like to be of use here. Allow me to
remain with Prince Bagration's detachment."
"Get in," said Kutuzov, and noticing that Bolkonski still delayed,
he added: "I need good officers myself, need them myself!"
They got into the carriage and drove for a few minutes in silence.
"There is still much, much before us," he said, as if with an old
man's penetration he understood all that was passing in Bolkonski's
mind. "If a tenth part of his detachment returns I shall thank God,"
he added as if speaking to himself.
Prince Andrew glanced at Kutuzov's face only a foot distant from him
and involuntarily noticed the carefully washed seams of the scar
near his temple, where an Ismail bullet had pierced his skull, and the
empty eye socket. "Yes, he has a right to speak so calmly of those
men's death," thought Bolkonski.
"That is why I beg to be sent to that detachment," he said.
Kutuzov did not reply. He seemed to have forgotten what he had
been saying, and sat plunged in thought. Five minutes later, gently
swaying on the soft springs of the carriage, he turned to Prince
Andrew. There was not a trace of agitation on his face. With
delicate irony he questioned Prince Andrew about the details of his
interview with the Emperor, about the remarks he had heard at court
concerning the Krems affair, and about some ladies they both knew.
On November 1 Kutuzov had received, through a spy, news that the
army he commanded was in an almost hopeless position. The spy reported
that the French, after crossing the bridge at Vienna, were advancing
in immense force upon Kutuzov's line of communication with the
troops that were arriving from Russia. If Kutuzov decided to remain at
Krems, Napoleon's army of one hundred and fifty thousand men would cut
him off completely and surround his exhausted army of forty
thousand, and he would find himself in the position of Mack at Ulm. If
Kutuzov decided to abandon the road connecting him with the troops
arriving from Russia, he would have to march with no road into unknown
parts of the Bohemian mountains, defending himself against superior
forces of the enemy and abandoning all hope of a junction with
Buxhowden. If Kutuzov decided to retreat along the road from Krems
to Olmutz, to unite with the troops arriving from Russia, he risked
being forestalled on that road by the French who had crossed the
Vienna bridge, and encumbered by his baggage and transport, having
to accept battle on the march against an enemy three times as
strong, who would hem him in from two sides.
Kutuzov chose this latter course.
The French, the spy reported, having crossed the Vienna bridge, were
advancing by forced marches toward Znaim, which lay sixty-six miles
off on the line of Kutuzov's retreat. If he reached Znaim before the
French, there would be great hope of saving the army; to let the
French forestall him at Znaim meant the exposure of his whole army
to a disgrace such as that of Ulm, or to utter destruction. But to
forestall the French with his whole army was impossible. The road
for the French from Vienna to Znaim was shorter and better than the
road for the Russians from Krems to Znaim.
The night he received the news, Kutuzov sent Bagration's vanguard,
four thousand strong, to the right across the hills from the
Krems-Znaim to the Vienna-Znaim road. Bagration was to make this march
without resting, and to halt facing Vienna with Znaim to his rear, and
if he succeeded in forestalling the French he was to delay them as
long as possible. Kutuzov himself with all his transport took the road
Marching thirty miles that stormy night across roadless hills,
with his hungry, ill-shod soldiers, and losing a third of his men as
stragglers by the way, Bagration came out on the Vienna-Znaim road
at Hollabrunn a few hours ahead of the French who were approaching
Hollabrunn from Vienna. Kutuzov with his transport had still to
march for some days before he could reach Znaim. Hence Bagration
with his four thousand hungry, exhausted men would have to detain
for days the whole enemy army that came upon him at Hollabrunn,
which was clearly impossible. But a freak of fate made the
impossible possible. The success of the trick that had placed the
Vienna bridge in the hands of the French without a fight led Murat
to try to deceive Kutuzov in a similar way. Meeting Bagration's weak
detachment on the Znaim road he supposed it to be Kutuzov's whole
army. To be able to crush it absolutely he awaited the arrival of
the rest of the troops who were on their way from Vienna, and with
this object offered a three days' truce on condition that both
armies should remain in position without moving. Murat declared that
negotiations for peace were already proceeding, and that he
therefore offered this truce to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. Count
Nostitz, the Austrian general occupying the advanced posts, believed
Murat's emissary and retired, leaving Bagration's division exposed.
Another emissary rode to the Russian line to announce the peace
negotiations and to offer the Russian army the three days' truce.
Bagration replied that he was not authorized either to accept or
refuse a truce and sent his adjutant to Kutuzov to report the offer he
A truce was Kutuzov's sole chance of gaining time, giving
Bagration's exhausted troops some rest, and letting the transport
and heavy convoys (whose movements were concealed from the French)
advance if but one stage nearer Znaim. The offer of a truce gave the
only, and a quite unexpected, chance of saving the army. On
receiving the news he immediately dispatched Adjutant General
Wintzingerode, who was in attendance on him, to the enemy camp.
Wintzingerode was not merely to agree to the truce but also to offer
terms of capitulation, and meanwhile Kutuzov sent his adjutants back
to hasten to the utmost the movements of the baggage trains of the
entire army along the Krems-Znaim road. Bagration's exhausted and
hungry detachment, which alone covered this movement of the
transport and of the whole army, had to remain stationary in face of
an enemy eight times as strong as itself.
Kutuzov's expectations that the proposals of capitulation (which
were in no way binding) might give time for part of the transport to
pass, and also that Murat's mistake would very soon be discovered,
proved correct. As soon as Bonaparte (who was at Schonbrunn, sixteen
miles from Hollabrunn) received Murat's dispatch with the proposal
of a truce and a capitulation, he detected a ruse and wrote the
following letter to Murat:
Schonbrunn, 25th Brumaire, 1805,
at eight o'clock in the morning
To PRINCE MURAT,
I cannot find words to express to you my displeasure. You command
only my advance guard, and have no right to arrange an armistice
without my order. You are causing me to lose the fruits of a campaign.
Break the armistice immediately and march on the enemy. Inform him
that the general who signed that capitulation had no right to do so,
and that no one but the Emperor of Russia has that right.
If, however, the Emperor of Russia ratifies that convention, I
will ratify it; but it is only a trick. March on, destroy the
Russian army.... You are in a position to seize its baggage and
The Russian Emperor's aide-de-camp is an impostor. Officers are
nothing when they have no powers; this one had none.... The
Austrians let themselves be tricked at the crossing of the Vienna
bridge, you are letting yourself be tricked by an aide-de-camp of
Bonaparte's adjutant rode full gallop with this menacing letter to
Murat. Bonaparte himself, not trusting to his generals, moved with all
the Guards to the field of battle, afraid of letting a ready victim
escape, and Bagration's four thousand men merrily lighted campfires,
dried and warmed themselves, cooked their porridge for the first
time for three days, and not one of them knew or imagined what was
in store for him.
Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon Prince Andrew, who
had persisted in his request to Kutuzov, arrived at Grunth and
reported himself to Bagration. Bonaparte's adjutant had not yet
reached Murat's detachment and the battle had not yet begun. In
Bagration's detachment no one knew anything of the general position of
affairs. They talked of peace but did not believe in its
possibility; others talked of a battle but also disbelieved in the
nearness of an engagement. Bagration, knowing Bolkonski to be a
favorite and trusted adjutant, received him with distinction and
special marks of favor, explaining to him that there would probably be
an engagement that day or the next, and giving him full liberty to
remain with him during the battle or to join the rearguard and have an
eye on the order of retreat, "which is also very important."
"However, there will hardly be an engagement today," said
Bagration as if to reassure Prince Andrew.
"If he is one of the ordinary little staff dandies sent to earn a
medal he can get his reward just as well in the rearguard, but if he
wishes to stay with me, let him... he'll be of use here if he's a
brave officer," thought Bagration. Prince Andrew, without replying,
asked the prince's permission to ride round the position to see the
disposition of the forces, so as to know his bearings should he be
sent to execute an order. The officer on duty, a handsome, elegantly
dressed man with a diamond ring on his forefinger, who was fond of
speaking French though he spoke it badly, offered to conduct Prince
On all sides they saw rain-soaked officers with dejected faces who
seemed to be seeking something, and soldiers dragging doors,
benches, and fencing from the village.
"There now, Prince! We can't stop those fellows," said the staff
officer pointing to the soldiers. "The officers don't keep them in
hand. And there," he pointed to a sutler's tent, "they crowd in and
sit. This morning I turned them all out and now look, it's full again.
I must go there, Prince, and scare them a bit. It won't take a
"Yes, let's go in and I will get myself a roll and some cheese,"
said Prince Andrew who had not yet had time to eat anything.
"Why didn't you mention it, Prince? I would have offered you
They dismounted and entered the tent. Several officers, with flushed
and weary faces, were sitting at the table eating and drinking.
"Now what does this mean, gentlemen?" said the staff officer, in the
reproachful tone of a man who has repeated the same thing more than
once. "You know it won't do to leave your posts like this. The
prince gave orders that no one should leave his post. Now you,
Captain," and he turned to a thin, dirty little artillery officer
who without his boots (he had given them to the canteen keeper to
dry), in only his stockings, rose when they entered, smiling not
"Well, aren't you ashamed of yourself, Captain Tushin?" he
continued. "One would think that as an artillery officer you would set
a good example, yet here you are without your boots! The alarm will be
sounded and you'll be in a pretty position without your boots!" (The
staff officer smiled.) "Kindly return to your posts, gentlemen, all of
you, all!" he added in a tone of command.
Prince Andrew smiled involuntarily as he looked at the artillery
officer Tushin, who silent and smiling, shifting from one stockinged
foot to the other, glanced inquiringly with his large, intelligent,
kindly eyes from Prince Andrew to the staff officer.
"The soldiers say it feels easier without boots," said Captain
Tushin smiling shyly in his uncomfortable position, evidently
wishing to adopt a jocular tone. But before he had finished he felt
that his jest was unacceptable and had not come off. He grew confused.
"Kindly return to your posts," said the staff officer trying to
preserve his gravity.
Prince Andrew glanced again at the artillery officer's small figure.
There was something peculiar about it, quite unsoldierly, rather
comic, but extremely attractive.
The staff officer and Prince Andrew mounted their horses and rode
Having ridden beyond the village, continually meeting and overtaking
soldiers and officers of various regiments, they saw on their left
some entrenchments being thrown up, the freshly dug clay of which
showed up red. Several battalions of soldiers, in their shirt
sleeves despite the cold wind, swarmed in these earthworks like a host
of white ants; spadefuls of red clay were continually being thrown
up from behind the bank by unseen hands. Prince Andrew and the officer
rode up, looked at the entrenchment, and went on again. Just behind it
they came upon some dozens of soldiers, continually replaced by
others, who ran from the entrenchment. They had to hold their noses
and put their horses to a trot to escape from the poisoned
atmosphere of these latrines.
"Voila l'agrement des camps, monsieur le Prince,"* said the staff
*"This is a pleasure one gets in camp, Prince."
They rode up the opposite hill. From there the French could
already be seen. Prince Andrew stopped and began examining the
"That's our battery," said the staff officer indicating the
highest point. "It's in charge of the queer fellow we saw without
his boots. You can see everything from there; let's go there, Prince."
"Thank you very much, I will go on alone," said Prince Andrew,
wishing to rid himself of this staff officer's company, "please
don't trouble yourself further."
The staff officer remained behind and Prince Andrew rode on alone.
The farther forward and nearer the enemy he went, the more orderly
and cheerful were the troops. The greatest disorder and depression had
been in the baggage train he had passed that morning on the Znaim road
seven miles away from the French. At Grunth also some apprehension and
alarm could be felt, but the nearer Prince Andrew came to the French
lines the more confident was the appearance of our troops. The
soldiers in their greatcoats were ranged in lines, the sergeants major
and company officers were counting the men, poking the last man in
each section in the ribs and telling him to hold his hand up. Soldiers
scattered over the whole place were dragging logs and brushwood and
were building shelters with merry chatter and laughter; around the
fires sat others, dressed and undressed, drying their shirts and leg
bands or mending boots or overcoats and crowding round the boilers and
porridge cookers. In one company dinner was ready, and the soldiers
were gazing eagerly at the steaming boiler, waiting till the sample,
which a quartermaster sergeant was carrying in a wooden bowl to an
officer who sat on a log before his shelter, had been tasted.
Another company, a lucky one for not all the companies had vodka,
crowded round a pock-marked, broad-shouldered sergeant major who,
tilting a keg, filled one after another the canteen lids held out to
him. The soldiers lifted the canteen lids to their lips with
reverential faces, emptied them, rolling the vodka in their mouths,
and walked away from the sergeant major with brightened expressions,
licking their lips and wiping them on the sleeves of their greatcoats.
All their faces were as serene as if all this were happening at home
awaiting peaceful encampment, and not within sight of the enemy before
an action in which at least half of them would be left on the field.
After passing a chasseur regiment and in the lines of the Kiev
grenadiers- fine fellows busy with similar peaceful affairs- near
the shelter of the regimental commander, higher than and different
from the others, Prince Andrew came out in front of a platoon of
grenadiers before whom lay a naked man. Two soldiers held him while
two others were flourishing their switches and striking him
regularly on his bare back. The man shrieked unnaturally. A stout
major was pacing up and down the line, and regardless of the screams
"It's a shame for a soldier to steal; a soldier must be honest,
honorable, and brave, but if he robs his fellows there is no honor
in him, he's a scoundrel. Go on! Go on!"
So the swishing sound of the strokes, and the desperate but
unnatural screams, continued.
"Go on, go on!" said the major.
A young officer with a bewildered and pained expression on his
face stepped away from the man and looked round inquiringly at the
adjutant as he rode by.
Prince Andrew, having reached the front line, rode along it. Our
front line and that of the enemy were far apart on the right and
left flanks, but in the center where the men with a flag of truce
had passed that morning, the lines were so near together that the
men could see one another's faces and speak to one another. Besides
the soldiers who formed the picket line on either side, there were
many curious onlookers who, jesting and laughing, stared at their
strange foreign enemies.
Since early morning- despite an injunction not to approach the
picket line- the officers had been unable to keep sight-seers away.
The soldiers forming the picket line, like showmen exhibiting a
curiosity, no longer looked at the French but paid attention to the
sight-seers and grew weary waiting to be relieved. Prince Andrew
halted to have a look at the French.
"Look! Look there!" one soldier was saying to another, pointing to a
Russian musketeer who had gone up to the picket line with an officer
and was rapidly and excitedly talking to a French grenadier. "Hark
to him jabbering! Fine, isn't it? It's all the Frenchy can do to
keep up with him. There now, Sidorov!"
"Wait a bit and listen. It's fine!" answered Sidorov, who was
considered an adept at French.
The soldier to whom the laughers referred was Dolokhov. Prince
Andrew recognized him and stopped to listen to what he was saying.
Dolokhov had come from the left flank where their regiment was
stationed, with his captain.
"Now then, go on, go on!" incited the officer, bending forward and
trying not to lose a word of the speech which was incomprehensible
to him. "More, please: more! What's he saying?"
Dolokhov did not answer the captain; he had been drawn into a hot
dispute with the French grenadier. They were naturally talking about
the campaign. The Frenchman, confusing the Austrians with the
Russians, was trying to prove that the Russians had surrendered and
had fled all the way from Ulm, while Dolokhov maintained that the
Russians had not surrendered but had beaten the French.
"We have orders to drive you off here, and we shall drive you
off," said Dolokhov.
"Only take care you and your Cossacks are not all captured!" said
the French grenadier.
The French onlookers and listeners laughed.
"We'll make you dance as we did under Suvorov...,"* said Dolokhov.
*"On vous fera danser."
"Qu' est-ce qu'il chante?"* asked a Frenchman.
*"What's he singing about?"
"It's ancient history," said another, guessing that it referred to a
former war. "The Emperor will teach your Suvara as he has taught the
"Bonaparte..." began Dolokhov, but the Frenchman interrupted him.
"Not Bonaparte. He is the Emperor! Sacre nom...!" cried he angrily.
"The devil skin your Emperor."
And Dolokhov swore at him in coarse soldier's Russian and
shouldering his musket walked away.
"Let us go, Ivan Lukich," he said to the captain.
"Ah, that's the way to talk French," said the picket soldiers. "Now,
Sidorov, you have a try!"
Sidorov, turning to the French, winked, and began to jabber
meaningless sounds very fast: "Kari, mala, tafa, safi, muter,
Kaska," he said, trying to give an expressive intonation to his voice.
"Ho! ho! ho! Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ouh! ouh!" came peals of such healthy
and good-humored laughter from the soldiers that it infected the
French involuntarily, so much so that the only thing left to do seemed
to be to unload the muskets, muskets, explode the ammunition, and
all return home as quickly as possible.
But the guns remained loaded, the loopholes in blockhouses and
entrenchments looked out just as menacingly, and the unlimbered cannon
confronted one another as before.
Having ridden round the whole line from right flank to left,
Prince Andrew made his way up to the battery from which the staff
officer had told him the whole field could be seen. Here he
dismounted, and stopped beside the farthest of the four unlimbered
cannon. Before the guns an artillery sentry was pacing up and down; he
stood at attention when the officer arrived, but at a sign resumed his
measured, monotonous pacing. Behind the guns were their limbers and
still farther back picket ropes and artillerymen's bonfires. To the
left, not far from the farthest cannon, was a small, newly constructed
wattle shed from which came the sound of officers' voices in eager
It was true that a view over nearly the whole Russian position and
the greater part of the enemy's opened out from this battery. Just
facing it, on the crest of the opposite hill, the village of Schon
Grabern could be seen, and in three places to left and right the
French troops amid the smoke of their campfires, the greater part of
whom were evidently in the village itself and behind the hill. To
the left from that village, amid the smoke, was something resembling a
battery, but it was impossible to see it clearly with the naked eye.
Our right flank was posted on a rather steep incline which dominated
the French position. Our infantry were stationed there, and at the
farthest point the dragoons. In the center, where Tushin's battery
stood and from which Prince Andrew was surveying the position, was the
easiest and most direct descent and ascent to the brook separating
us from Schon Grabern. On the left our troops were close to a copse,
in which smoked the bonfires of our infantry who were felling wood.
The French line was wider than ours, and it was plain that they
could easily outflank us on both sides. Behind our position was a
steep and deep dip, making it difficult for artillery and cavalry to
retire. Prince Andrew took out his notebook and, leaning on the
cannon, sketched a plan of the position. He made some notes on two
points, intending to mention them to Bagration. His idea was, first,
to concentrate all the artillery in the center, and secondly, to
withdraw the cavalry to the other side of the dip. Prince Andrew,
being always near the commander in chief, closely following the mass
movements and general orders, and constantly studying historical
accounts of battles, involuntarily pictured to himself the course of
events in the forthcoming action in broad outline. He imagined only
important possibilities: "If the enemy attacks the right flank," he
said to himself, "the Kiev grenadiers and the Podolsk chasseurs must
hold their position till reserves from the center come up. In that
case the dragoons could successfully make a flank counterattack. If
they attack our center we, having the center battery on this high
ground, shall withdraw the left flank under its cover, and retreat
to the dip by echelons." So he reasoned.... All the time he had been
beside the gun, he had heard the voices of the officers distinctly,
but as often happens had not understood a word of what they were
saying. Suddenly, however, he was struck by a voice coming from the
shed, and its tone was so sincere that he could not but listen.
"No, friend," said a pleasant and, as it seemed to Prince Andrew,
a familiar voice, "what I say is that if it were possible to know what
is beyond death, none of us would be afraid of it. That's so, friend."
Another, a younger voice, interrupted him: "Afraid or not, you can't
escape it anyhow."
"All the same, one is afraid! Oh, you clever people," said a third
manly voice interrupting them both. "Of course you artillery men are
very wise, because you can take everything along with you- vodka and
And the owner of the manly voice, evidently an infantry officer,
"Yes, one is afraid," continued the first speaker, he of the
familiar voice. "One is afraid of the unknown, that's what it is.
Whatever we may say about the soul going to the sky... we know there
is no sky but only an atmosphere."
The manly voice again interrupted the artillery officer.
"Well, stand us some of your herb vodka, Tushin," it said.
"Why," thought Prince Andrew, "that's the captain who stood up in
the sutler's hut without his boots." He recognized the agreeable,
philosophizing voice with pleasure.
"Some herb vodka? Certainly!" said Tushin. "But still, to conceive a
He did not finish. Just then there was a whistle in the air;
nearer and nearer, faster and louder, louder and faster, a cannon
ball, as if it had not finished saying what was necessary, thudded
into the ground near the shed with super human force, throwing up a
mass of earth. The ground seemed to groan at the terrible impact.
And immediately Tushin, with a short pipe in the corner of his mouth
and his kind, intelligent face rather pale, rushed out of the shed
followed by the owner of the manly voice, a dashing infantry officer
who hurried off to his company, buttoning up his coat as he ran.
Mounting his horse again Prince Andrew lingered with the battery,
looking at the puff from the gun that had sent the ball. His eyes
ran rapidly over the wide space, but he only saw that the hitherto
motionless masses of the French now swayed and that there really was a
battery to their left. The smoke above it had not yet dispersed. Two
mounted Frenchmen, probably adjutants, were galloping up the hill. A
small but distinctly visible enemy column was moving down the hill,
probably to strengthen the front line. The smoke of the first shot had
not yet dispersed before another puff appeared, followed by a
report. The battle had begun! Prince Andrew turned his horse and
galloped back to Grunth to find Prince Bagration. He heard the
cannonade behind him growing louder and more frequent. Evidently our
guns had begun to reply. From the bottom of the slope, where the
parleys had taken place, came the report of musketry.
Lemarrois had just arrived at a gallop with Bonaparte's stern
letter, and Murat, humiliated and anxious to expiate his fault, had at
once moved his forces to attack the center and outflank both the
Russian wings, hoping before evening and before the arrival of the
Emperor to crush the contemptible detachment that stood before him.
"It has begun. Here it is!" thought Prince Andrew, feeling the blood
rush to his heart. "But where and how will my Toulon present itself?"
Passing between the companies that had been eating porridge and
drinking vodka a quarter of an hour before, he saw everywhere the same
rapid movement of soldiers forming ranks and getting their muskets
ready, and on all their faces he recognized the same eagerness that
filled his heart. "It has begun! Here it is, dreadful but
enjoyable!" was what the face of each soldier and each officer
seemed to say.
Before he had reached the embankments that were being thrown up,
he saw, in the light of the dull autumn evening, mounted men coming
toward him. The foremost, wearing a Cossack cloak and lambskin cap and
riding a white horse, was Prince Bagration. Prince Andrew stopped,
waiting for him to come up; Prince Bagration reined in his horse and
recognizing Prince Andrew nodded to him. He still looked ahead while
Prince Andrew told him what he had seen.
The feeling, "It has begun! Here it is!" was seen even on Prince
Bagration's hard brown face with its half-closed, dull, sleepy eyes.
Prince Andrew gazed with anxious curiosity at that impassive face
and wished he could tell what, if anything, this man was thinking
and feeling at that moment. "Is there anything at all behind that
impassive face?" Prince Andrew asked himself as he looked. Prince
Bagration bent his head in sign of agreement with what Prince Andrew
told him, and said, "Very good!" in a tone that seemed to imply that
everything that took place and was reported to him was exactly what he
had foreseen. Prince Andrew, out of breath with his rapid ride,
spoke quickly. Prince Bagration, uttering his words with an Oriental
accent, spoke particularly slowly, as if to impress the fact that
there was no need to hurry. However, he put his horse to a trot in the
direction of Tushin's battery. Prince Andrew followed with the
suite. Behind Prince Bagration rode an officer of the suite, the
prince's personal adjutant, Zherkov, an orderly officer, the staff
officer on duty, riding a fine bobtailed horse, and a civilian- an
accountant who had asked permission to be present at the battle out of
curiosity. The accountant, a stout, full-faced man, looked around
him with a naive smile of satisfaction and presented a strange
appearance among the hussars, Cossacks, and adjutants, in his camlet
coat, as he jolted on his horse with a convoy officer's saddle.
"He wants to see a battle," said Zherkov to Bolkonski, pointing to
the accountant, "but he feels a pain in the pit of his stomach
"Oh, leave off!" said the accountant with a beaming but rather
cunning smile, as if flattered at being made the subject of
Zherkov's joke, and purposely trying to appear stupider than he really
"It is very strange, mon Monsieur Prince," said the staff officer.
(He remembered that in French there is some peculiar way of addressing
a prince, but could not get it quite right.)
By this time they were all approaching Tushin's battery, and a
ball struck the ground in front of them.
"What's that that has fallen?" asked the accountant with a naive
"A French pancake," answered Zherkov.
"So that's what they hit with?" asked the accountant. "How awful!"
He seemed to swell with satisfaction. He had hardly finished
speaking when they again heard an unexpectedly violent whistling which
suddenly ended with a thud into something soft... f-f-flop! and a
Cossack, riding a little to their right and behind the accountant,
crashed to earth with his horse. Zherkov and the staff officer bent
over their saddles and turned their horses away. The accountant
stopped, facing the Cossack, and examined him with attentive
curiosity. The Cossack was dead, but the horse still struggled.
Prince Bagration screwed up his eyes, looked round, and, seeing
the cause of the confusion, turned away with indifference, as if to
say, "Is it worth while noticing trifles?" He reined in his horse with
the case of a skillful rider and, slightly bending over, disengaged
his saber which had caught in his cloak. It was an old-fashioned saber
of a kind no longer in general use. Prince Andrew remembered the story
of Suvorov giving his saber to Bagration in Italy, and the
recollection was particularly pleasant at that moment. They had
reached the battery at which Prince Andrew had been when he examined
"Whose company?" asked Prince Bagration of an artilleryman
standing by the ammunition wagon.
He asked, "Whose company?" but he really meant, "Are you
frightened here?" and the artilleryman understood him.
"Captain Tushin's, your excellency!" shouted the red-haired,
freckled gunner in a merry voice, standing to attention.
"Yes, yes," muttered Bagration as if considering something, and he
rode past the limbers to the farthest cannon.
As he approached, a ringing shot issued from it deafening him and
his suite, and in the smoke that suddenly surrounded the gun they
could see the gunners who had seized it straining to roll it quickly
back to its former position. A huge, broad-shouldered gunner, Number
One, holding a mop, his legs far apart, sprang to the wheel; while
Number Two with a trembling hand placed a charge in the cannon's
mouth. The short, round-shouldered Captain Tushin, stumbling over
the tail of the gun carriage, moved forward and, not noticing the
general, looked out shading his eyes with his small hand.
"Lift it two lines more and it will be just right," cried he in a
feeble voice to which he tried to impart a dashing note, ill suited to
his weak figure. "Number Two!" he squeaked. "Fire, Medvedev!"
Bagration called to him, and Tushin, raising three fingers to his
cap with a bashful and awkward gesture not at all like a military
salute but like a priest's benediction, approached the general. Though
Tushin's guns had been intended to cannonade the valley, he was firing
incendiary balls at the village of Schon Grabern visible just
opposite, in front of which large masses of French were advancing.
No one had given Tushin orders where and at what to fire, but
after consulting his sergeant major, Zakharchenko, for whom he had
great respect, he had decided that it would be a good thing to set
fire to the village. "Very good!" said Bagration in reply to the
officer's report, and began deliberately to examine the whole
battlefield extended before him. The French had advanced nearest on