Part 8 out of 34
Emperor's rather round shoulders shuddered as if a cold shiver had run
down them, how his left foot began convulsively tapping the horse's
side with the spur, and how the well-trained horse looked round
unconcerned and did not stir. An adjutant, dismounting, lifted the
soldier under the arms to place him on a stretcher that had been
brought. The soldier groaned.
"Gently, gently! Can't you do it more gently?" said the Emperor
apparently suffering more than the dying soldier, and he rode away.
Rostov saw tears filling the Emperor's eyes and heard him, as he was
riding away, say to Czartoryski: "What a terrible thing war is: what a
terrible thing! Quelle terrible chose que la guerre!"
The troops of the vanguard were stationed before Wischau, within
sight of the enemy's lines, which all day long had yielded ground to
us at the least firing. The Emperor's gratitude was announced to the
vanguard, rewards were promised, and the men received a double
ration of vodka. The campfires crackled and the soldiers' songs
resounded even more merrily than on the previous night. Denisov
celebrated his promotion to the rank of major, and Rostov, who had
already drunk enough, at the end of the feast proposed the Emperor's
health. "Not 'our Sovereign, the Emperor,' as they say at official
dinners," said he, "but the health of our Sovereign, that good,
enchanting, and great man! Let us drink to his health and to the
certain defeat of the French!"
"If we fought before," he said, "not letting the French pass, as
at Schon Grabern, what shall we not do now when he is at the front? We
will all die for him gladly! Is it not so, gentlemen? Perhaps I am not
saying it right, I have drunk a good deal- but that is how I feel, and
so do you too! To the health of Alexander the First! Hurrah!"
"Hurrah!" rang the enthusiastic voices of the officers.
And the old cavalry captain, Kirsten, shouted enthusiastically and
no less sincerely than the twenty-year-old Rostov.
When the officers had emptied and smashed their glasses, Kirsten
filled others and, in shirt sleeves and breeches, went glass in hand
to the soldiers' bonfires and with his long gray mustache, his white
chest showing under his open shirt, he stood in a majestic pose in the
light of the campfire, waving his uplifted arm.
"Lads! here's to our Sovereign, the Emperor, and victory over our
enemies! Hurrah!" he exclaimed in his dashing, old, hussar's baritone.
The hussars crowded round and responded heartily with loud shouts.
Late that night, when all had separated, Denisov with his short hand
patted his favorite, Rostov, on the shoulder.
"As there's no one to fall in love with on campaign, he's fallen
in love with the Tsar," he said.
"Denisov, don't make fun of it!" cried Rostov. "It is such a
lofty, beautiful feeling, such a..."
"I believe it, I believe it, fwiend, and I share and appwove..."
"No, you don't understand!"
And Rostov got up and went wandering among the campfires, dreaming
of what happiness it would be to die- not in saving the Emperor's life
(he did not even dare to dream of that), but simply to die before
his eyes. He really was in love with the Tsar and the glory of the
Russian arms and the hope of future triumph. And he was not the only
man to experience that feeling during those memorable days preceding
the battle of Austerlitz: nine tenths of the men in the Russian army
were then in love, though less ecstatically, with their Tsar and the
glory of the Russian arms.
The next day the Emperor stopped at Wischau, and Villier, his
physician, was repeatedly summoned to see him. At headquarters and
among the troops near by the news spread that the Emperor was
unwell. He ate nothing and had slept badly that night, those around
him reported. The cause of this indisposition was the strong
impression made on his sensitive mind by the sight of the killed and
At daybreak on the seventeenth, a French officer who had come with a
flag of truce, demanding an audience with the Russian Emperor, was
brought into Wischau from our outposts. This officer was Savary. The
Emperor had only just fallen asleep and so Savary had to wait. At
midday he was admitted to the Emperor, and an hour later he rode off
with Prince Dolgorukov to the advanced post of the French army.
It was rumored that Savary had been sent to propose to Alexander a
meeting with Napoleon. To the joy and pride of the whole army, a
personal interview was refused, and instead of the Sovereign, Prince
Dolgorukov, the victor at Wischau, was sent with Savary to negotiate
with Napoleon if, contrary to expectations, these negotiations were
actuated by a real desire for peace.
Toward evening Dolgorukov came back, went straight to the Tsar,
and remained alone with him for a long time.
On the eighteenth and nineteenth of November, the army advanced
two days' march and the enemy's outposts after a brief interchange
of shots retreated. In the highest army circles from midday on the
nineteenth, a great, excitedly bustling activity began which lasted
till the morning of the twentieth, when the memorable battle of
Austerlitz was fought.
Till midday on the nineteenth, the activity- the eager talk, running
to and fro, and dispatching of adjutants- was confined to the
Emperor's headquarters. But on the afternoon of that day, this
activity reached Kutiizov's headquarters and the staffs of the
commanders of columns. By evening, the adjutants had spread it to
all ends and parts of the army, and in the night from the nineteenth
to the twentieth, the whole eighty thousand allied troops rose from
their bivouacs to the hum of voices, and the army swayed and started
in one enormous mass six miles long.
The concentrated activity which had begun at the Emperor's
headquarters in the morning and had started the whole movement that
followed was like the first movement of the main wheel of a large
tower clock. One wheel slowly moved, another was set in motion, and
a third, and wheels began to revolve faster and faster, levers and
cogwheels to work, chimes to play, figures to pop out, and the hands
to advance with regular motion as a result of all that activity.
Just as in the mechanism of a clock, so in the mechanism of the
military machine, an impulse once given leads to the final result; and
just as indifferently quiescent till the moment when motion is
transmitted to them are the parts of the mechanism which the impulse
has not yet reached. Wheels creak on their axles as the cogs engage
one another and the revolving pulleys whirr with the rapidity of their
movement, but a neighboring wheel is as quiet and motionless as though
it were prepared to remain so for a hundred years; but the moment
comes when the lever catches it and obeying the impulse that wheel
begins to creak and joins in the common motion the result and aim of
which are beyond its ken.
Just as in a clock, the result of the complicated motion of
innumerable wheels and pulleys is merely a slow and regular movement
of the hands which show the time, so the result of all the complicated
human activities of 160,000 Russians and French- all their passions,
desires, remorse, humiliations, sufferings, outbursts of pride,
fear, and enthusiasm- was only the loss of the battle of Austerlitz,
the so-called battle of the three Emperors- that is to say, a slow
movement of the hand on the dial of human history.
Prince Andrew was on duty that day and in constant attendance on the
commander in chief.
At six in the evening, Kutuzov went to the Emperor's headquarters
and after staying but a short time with the Tsar went to see the grand
marshal of the court, Count Tolstoy.
Bolkonski took the opportunity to go in to get some details of the
coming action from Dolgorukov. He felt that Kutuzov was upset and
dissatisfied about something and that at headquarters they were
dissatisfied with him, and also that at the Emperor's headquarters
everyone adopted toward him the tone of men who know something
others do not know: he therefore wished to speak to Dolgorukov.
"Well, how d'you do, my dear fellow?" said Dolgorukov, who was
sitting at tea with Bilibin. "The fete is for tomorrow. How is your
old fellow? Out of sorts?"
"I won't say he is out of sorts, but I fancy he would like to be
"But they heard him at the council of war and will hear him when
he talks sense, but to temporize and wait for something now when
Bonaparte fears nothing so much as a general battle is impossible."
"Yes, you have seen him?" said Prince Andrew. "Well, what is
Bonaparte like? How did he impress you?"
"Yes, I saw him, and am convinced that he fears nothing so much as a
general engagement," repeated Dolgorukov, evidently prizing this
general conclusion which he had arrived at from his interview with
Napoleon. "If he weren't afraid of a battle why did he ask for that
interview? Why negotiate, and above all why retreat, when to retreat
is so contrary to his method of conducting war? Believe me, he is
afraid, afraid of a general battle. His hour has come! Mark my words!"
"But tell me, what is he like, eh?" said Prince Andrew again.
"He is a man in a gray overcoat, very anxious that I should call him
'Your Majesty,' but who, to his chagrin, got no title from me!
That's the sort of man he is, and nothing more," replied Dolgorukov,
looking round at Bilibin with a smile.
"Despite my great respect for old Kutuzov," he continued, "we should
be a nice set of fellows if we were to wait about and so give him a
chance to escape, or to trick us, now that we certainly have him in
our hands! No, we mustn't forget Suvorov and his rule- not to put
yourself in a position to be attacked, but yourself to attack. Believe
me in war the energy of young men often shows the way better than
all the experience of old Cunctators."
"But in what position are we going to attack him? I have been at the
outposts today and it is impossible to say where his chief forces
are situated," said Prince Andrew.
He wished to explain to Dolgorukov a plan of attack he had himself
"Oh, that is all the same," Dolgorukov said quickly, and getting
up he spread a map on the table. "All eventualities have been
foreseen. If he is standing before Brunn..."
And Prince Dolgorukov rapidly but indistinctly explained Weyrother's
plan of a flanking movement.
Prince Andrew began to reply and to state his own plan, which
might have been as good as Weyrother's, but for the disadvantage
that Weyrother's had already been approved. As soon as Prince Andrew
began to demonstrate the defects of the latter and the merits of his
own plan, Prince Dolgorukov ceased to listen to him and gazed
absent-mindedly not at the map, but at Prince Andrew's face.
"There will be a council of war at Kutuzov's tonight, though; you
can say all this there," remarked Dolgorukov.
"I will do so," said Prince Andrew, moving away from the map.
"Whatever are you bothering about, gentlemen?" said Bilibin, who,
till then, had listened with an amused smile to their conversation and
now was evidently ready with a joke. "Whether tomorrow brings
victory or defeat, the glory of our Russian arms is secure. Except
your Kutuzov, there is not a single Russian in command of a column!
The commanders are: Herr General Wimpfen, le Comte de Langeron, le
Prince de Lichtenstein, le Prince, de Hohenlohe, and finally
Prishprish, and so on like all those Polish names."
"Be quiet, backbiter!" said Dolgorukov. "It is not true; there are
now two Russians, Miloradovich, and Dokhturov, and there would be a
third, Count Arakcheev, if his nerves were not too weak."
"However, I think General Kutuzov has come out," said Prince Andrew.
"I wish you good luck and success, gentlemen!" he added and went out
after shaking hands with Dolgorukov and Bilibin.
On the way home, Prince Andrew could not refrain from asking
Kutuzov, who was sitting silently beside him, what he thought of
Kutuzov looked sternly at his adjutant and, after a pause,
replied: "I think the battle will be lost, and so I told Count Tolstoy
and asked him to tell the Emperor. What do you think he replied? 'But,
my dear general, I am engaged with rice and cutlets, look after
military matters yourself!' Yes... That was the answer I got!"
Shortly after nine o'clock that evening, Weyrother drove with his
plans to Kutuzov's quarters where the council of war was to be held.
All the commanders of columns were summoned to the commander in
chief's and with the exception of Prince Bagration, who declined to
come, were all there at the appointed time.
Weyrother, who was in full control of the proposed battle, by his
eagerness and briskness presented a marked contrast to the
dissatisfied and drowsy Kutuzov, who reluctantly played the part of
chairman and president of the council of war. Weyrother evidently felt
himself to be at the head of a movement that had already become
unrestrainable. He was like a horse running downhill harnessed to a
heavy cart. Whether he was pulling it or being pushed by it he did not
know, but rushed along at headlong speed with no time to consider what
this movement might lead to. Weyrother had been twice that evening
to the enemy's picket line to reconnoiter personally, and twice to the
Emperors, Russian and Austrian, to report and explain, and to his
headquarters where he had dictated the dispositions in German, and
now, much exhausted, he arrived at Kutuzov's.
He was evidently so busy that he even forgot to be polite to the
commander in chief. He interrupted him, talked rapidly and
indistinctly, without looking at the man he was addressing, and did
not reply to questions put to him. He was bespattered with mud and had
a pitiful, weary, and distracted air, though at the same time he was
haughty and self-confident.
Kutuzov was occupying a nobleman's castle of modest dimensions
near Ostralitz. In the large drawing room which had become the
commander in chief's office were gathered Kutuzov himself,
Weyrother, and the members of the council of war. They were drinking
tea, and only awaited Prince Bagration to begin the council. At last
Bagration's orderly came with the news that the prince could not
attend. Prince Andrew came in to inform the commander in chief of this
and, availing himself of permission previously given him by Kutuzov to
be present at the council, he remained in the room.
"Since Prince Bagration is not coming, we may begin," said
Weyrother, hurriedly rising from his seat and going up to the table on
which an enormous map of the environs of Brunn was spread out.
Kutuzov, with his uniform unbuttoned so that his fat neck bulged
over his collar as if escaping, was sitting almost asleep in a low
chair, with his podgy old hands resting symmetrically on its arms.
At the sound of Weyrother's voice, he opened his one eye with an
"Yes, yes, if you please! It is already late," said he, and
nodding his head he let it droop and again closed his eye.
If at first the members of the council thought that Kutuzov was
pretending to sleep, the sounds his nose emitted during the reading
that followed proved that the commander in chief at that moment was
absorbed by a far more serious matter than a desire to show his
contempt for the dispositions or anything else- he was engaged in
satisfying the irresistible human need for sleep. He really was
asleep. Weyrother, with the gesture of a man too busy to lose a
moment, glanced at Kutuzov and, having convinced himself that he was
asleep, took up a paper and in a loud, monotonous voice began to
read out the dispositions for the impending battle, under a heading
which he also read out:
"Dispositions for an attack on the enemy position behind Kobelnitz
and Sokolnitz, November 30, 1805."
The dispositions were very complicated and difficult. They began
"As the enemy's left wing rests on wooded hills and his right
extends along Kobelnitz and Sokolnitz behind the ponds that are there,
while we, on the other hand, with our left wing by far outflank his
right, it is advantageous to attack the enemy's latter wing especially
if we occupy the villages of Sokolnitz and Kobelnitz, whereby we can
both fall on his flank and pursue him over the plain between
Schlappanitz and the Thuerassa forest, avoiding the defiles of
Schlappanitz and Bellowitz which cover the enemy's front. For this
object it is necessary that... The first column marches... The
second column marches... The third column marches..." and so on,
The generals seemed to listen reluctantly to the difficult
dispositions. The tall, fair-haired General Buxhowden stood, leaning
his back against the wall, his eyes fixed on a burning candle, and
seemed not to listen or even to wish to be thought to listen.
Exactly opposite Weyrother, with his glistening wide-open eyes fixed
upon him and his mustache twisted upwards, sat the ruddy
Miloradovich in a military pose, his elbows turned outwards, his hands
on his knees, and his shoulders raised. He remained stubbornly silent,
gazing at Weyrother's face, and only turned away his eyes when the
Austrian chief of staff finished reading. Then Miloradovich looked
round significantly at the other generals. But one could not tell from
that significant look whether he agreed or disagreed and was satisfied
or not with the arrangements. Next to Weyrother sat Count Langeron
who, with a subtle smile that never left his typically southern French
face during the whole time of the reading, gazed at his delicate
fingers which rapidly twirled by its corners a gold snuffbox on
which was a portrait. In the middle of one of the longest sentences,
he stopped the rotary motion of the snuffbox, raised his head, and
with inimical politeness lurking in the corners of his thin lips
interrupted Weyrother, wishing to say something. But the Austrian
general, continuing to read, frowned angrily and jerked his elbows, as
if to say: "You can tell me your views later, but now be so good as to
look at the map and listen." Langeron lifted his eyes with an
expression of perplexity, turned round to Miloradovich as if seeking
an explanation, but meeting the latter's impressive but meaningless
gaze drooped his eyes sadly and again took to twirling his snuffbox.
"A geography lesson!" he muttered as if to himself, but loud
enough to be heard.
Przebyszewski, with respectful but dignified politeness, held his
hand to his ear toward Weyrother, with the air of a man absorbed in
attention. Dohkturov, a little man, sat opposite Weyrother, with an
assiduous and modest mien, and stooping over the outspread map
conscientiously studied the dispositions and the unfamiliar
locality. He asked Weyrother several times to repeat words he had
not clearly heard and the difficult names of villages. Weyrother
complied and Dohkturov noted them down.
When the reading which lasted more than an hour was over, Langeron
again brought his snuffbox to rest and, without looking at Weyrother
or at anyone in particular, began to say how difficult it was to carry
out such a plan in which the enemy's position was assumed to be known,
whereas it was perhaps not known, since the enemy was in movement.
Langeron's objections were valid but it was obvious that their chief
aim was to show General Weyrother- who had read his dispositions
with as much self-confidence as if he were addressing school children-
that he had to do, not with fools, but with men who could teach him
something in military matters.
When the monotonous sound of Weyrother's voice ceased, Kutuzov
opened his eye as a miller wakes up when the soporific drone of the
mill wheel is interrupted. He listened to what Langeron said, as if
remarking, "So you are still at that silly business!" quickly closed
his eye again, and let his head sink still lower.
Langeron, trying as virulently as possible to sting Weyrother's
vanity as author of the military plan, argued that Bonaparte might
easily attack instead of being attacked, and so render the whole of
this plan perfectly worthless. Weyrother met all objections with a
firm and contemptuous smile, evidently prepared beforehand to meet all
objections be they what they might.
"If he could attack us, he would have done so today," said he.
"So you think he is powerless?" said Langeron.
"He has forty thousand men at most," replied Weyrother, with the
smile of a doctor to whom an old wife wishes to explain the
treatment of a case.
"In that case he is inviting his doom by awaiting our attack,"
said Langeron, with a subtly ironical smile, again glancing round
for support to Miloradovich who was near him.
But Miloradovich was at that moment evidently thinking of anything
rather than of what the generals were disputing about.
"Ma foi!" said he, "tomorrow we shall see all that on the
Weyrother again gave that smile which seemed to say that to him it
was strange and ridiculous to meet objections from Russian generals
and to have to prove to them what he had not merely convinced
himself of, but had also convinced the sovereign Emperors of.
"The enemy has quenched his fires and a continual noise is heard
from his camp," said he. "What does that mean? Either he is
retreating, which is the only thing we need fear, or he is changing
his position." (He smiled ironically.) "But even if he also took up
a position in the Thuerassa, he merely saves us a great deal of
trouble and all our arrangements to the minutest detail remain the
"How is that?..." began Prince Andrew, who had for long been waiting
an opportunity to express his doubts.
Kutuzov here woke up, coughed heavily, and looked round at the
"Gentlemen, the dispositions for tomorrow- or rather for today,
for it is past midnight- cannot now be altered," said he. "You have
heard them, and we shall all do our duty. But before a battle, there
is nothing more important..." he paused, "than to have a good sleep."
He moved as if to rise. The generals bowed and retired. It was
past midnight. Prince Andrew went out.
The council of war, at which Prince Andrew had not been able to
express his opinion as he had hoped to, left on him a vague and uneasy
impression. Whether Dolgorukov and Weyrother, or Kutuzov, Langeron,
and the others who did not approve of the plan of attack, were
right- he did not know. "But was it really not possible for Kutuzov to
state his views plainly to the Emperor? Is it possible that on account
of court and personal considerations tens of thousands of lives, and
my life, my life," he thought, "must be risked?"
"Yes, it is very likely that I shall be killed tomorrow," he
thought. And suddenly, at this thought of death, a whole series of
most distant, most intimate, memories rose in his imagination: he
remembered his last parting from his father and his wife; he
remembered the days when he first loved her. He thought of her
pregnancy and felt sorry for her and for himself, and in a nervously
emotional and softened mood he went out of the hut in which he was
billeted with Nesvitski and began to walk up and down before it.
The night was foggy and through the fog the moonlight gleamed
mysteriously. "Yes, tomorrow, tomorrow!" he thought. "Tomorrow
everything may be over for me! All these memories will be no more,
none of them will have any meaning for me. Tomorrow perhaps, even
certainly, I have a presentiment that for the first time I shall
have to show all I can do." And his fancy pictured the battle, its
loss, the concentration of fighting at one point, and the hesitation
of all the commanders. And then that happy moment, that Toulon for
which he had so long waited, presents itself to him at last. He firmly
and clearly expresses his opinion to Kutuzov, to Weyrother, and to the
Emperors. All are struck by the justness of his views, but no one
undertakes to carry them out, so he takes a regiment, a division-
stipulates that no one is to interfere with his arrangements- leads
his division to the decisive point, and gains the victory alone.
"But death and suffering?" suggested another voice. Prince Andrew,
however, did not answer that voice and went on dreaming of his
triumphs. The dispositions for the next battle are planned by him
alone. Nominally he is only an adjutant on Kutuzov's staff, but he
does everything alone. The next battle is won by him alone. Kutuzov is
removed and he is appointed... "Well and then?" asked the other voice.
"If before that you are not ten times wounded, killed, or betrayed,
well... what then?..." "Well then," Prince Andrew answered himself, "I
don't know what will happen and don't want to know, and can't, but
if I want this- want glory, want to be known to men, want to be
loved by them, it is not my fault that I want it and want nothing
but that and live only for that. Yes, for that alone! I shall never
tell anyone, but, oh God! what am I to do if I love nothing but fame
and men's esteem? Death, wounds, the loss of family- I fear nothing.
And precious and dear as many persons are to me- father, sister, wife-
those dearest to me- yet dreadful and unnatural as it seems, I would
give them all at once for a moment of glory, of triumph over men, of
love from men I don't know and never shall know, for the love of these
men here," he thought, as he listened to voices in Kutuzov's
courtyard. The voices were those of the orderlies who were packing up;
one voice, probably a coachman's, was teasing Kutuzov's old cook
whom Prince Andrew knew, and who was called Tit. He was saying,
"Tit, I say, Tit!"
"Well?" returned the old man.
"Go, Tit, thresh a bit!" said the wag.
"Oh, go to the devil!" called out a voice, drowned by the laughter
of the orderlies and servants.
"All the same, I love and value nothing but triumph over them all, I
value this mystic power and glory that is floating here above me in
That same night, Rostov was with a platoon on skirmishing duty in
front of Bagration's detachment. His hussars were placed along the
line in couples and he himself rode along the line trying to master
the sleepiness that kept coming over him. An enormous space, with
our army's campfires dimly glowing in the fog, could be seen behind
him; in front of him was misty darkness. Rostov could see nothing,
peer as he would into that foggy distance: now something gleamed gray,
now there was something black, now little lights seemed to glimmer
where the enemy ought to be, now he fancied it was only something in
his own eyes. His eyes kept closing, and in his fancy appeared- now
the Emperor, now Denisov, and now Moscow memories- and he again
hurriedly opened his eyes and saw close before him the head and ears
of the horse he was riding, and sometimes, when he came within six
paces of them, the black figures of hussars, but in the distance was
still the same misty darkness. "Why not?... It might easily happen,"
thought Rostov, "that the Emperor will meet me and give me an order as
he would to any other officer; he'll say: 'Go and find out what's
there.' There are many stories of his getting to know an officer in
just such a chance way and attaching him to himself! What if he gave
me a place near him? Oh, how I would guard him, how I would tell him
the truth, how I would unmask his deceivers!" And in order to
realize vividly his love devotion to the sovereign, Rostov pictured to
himself an enemy or a deceitful German, whom he would not only kill
with pleasure but whom he would slap in the face before the Emperor.
Suddenly a distant shout aroused him. He started and opened his eyes.
"Where am I? Oh yes, in the skirmishing line... pass and
watchword- shaft, Olmutz. What a nuisance that our squadron will be in
reserve tomorrow," he thought. "I'll ask leave to go to the front,
this may be my only chance of seeing the Emperor. It won't be long now
before I am off duty. I'll take another turn and when I get back
I'll go to the general and ask him." He readjusted himself in the
saddle and touched up his horse to ride once more round his hussars.
It seemed to him that it was getting lighter. To the left he saw a
sloping descent lit up, and facing it a black knoll that seemed as
steep as a wall. On this knoll there was a white patch that Rostov
could not at all make out: was it a glade in the wood lit up by the
moon, or some unmelted snow, or some white houses? He even thought
something moved on that white spot. "I expect it's snow... that
spot... a spot- une tache," he thought. "There now... it's not a
tache... Natasha... sister, black eyes... Na... tasha... (Won't she be
surprised when I tell her how I've seen the Emperor?) Natasha...
take my sabretache..."- "Keep to the right, your honor, there are
bushes here," came the voice of an hussar, past whom Rostov was riding
in the act of falling asleep. Rostov lifted his head that had sunk
almost to his horse's mane and pulled up beside the hussar. He was
succumbing to irresistible, youthful, childish drowsiness. "But what
was I thinking? I mustn't forget. How shall I speak to the Emperor?
No, that's not it- that's tomorrow. Oh yes! Natasha... sabretache...
saber them...Whom? The hussars... Ah, the hussars with mustaches.
Along the Tverskaya Street rode the hussar with mustaches... I thought
about him too, just opposite Guryev's house... Old Guryev.... Oh,
but Denisov's a fine fellow. But that's all nonsense. The chief
thing is that the Emperor is here. How he looked at me and wished to
say something, but dared not.... No, it was I who dared not. But
that's nonsense, the chief thing is not to forget the important
thing I was thinking of. Yes, Na-tasha, sabretache, oh, yes, yes!
That's right!" And his head once more sank to his horse's neck. All at
once it seemed to him that he was being fired at. "What? What?
What?... Cut them down! What?..." said Rostov, waking up. At the
moment he opened his eyes he heard in front of him, where the
enemy was, the long-drawn shouts of thousands of voices. His horse and
the horse of the hussar near him pricked their ears at these shouts.
Over there, where the shouting came from, a fire flared up and went
out again, then another, and all along the French line on the hill
fires flared up and the shouting grew louder and louder. Rostov
could hear the sound of French words but could not distinguish them.
The din of many voices was too great; all he could hear was: "ahahah!"
"What's that? What do you make of it?" said Rostov to the hussar
beside him. "That must be the enemy's camp!"
The hussar did not reply.
"Why, don't you hear it?" Rostov asked again, after waiting for a
"Who can tell, your honor?" replied the hussar reluctantly.
"From the direction, it must be the enemy," repeated Rostov.
"It may be he or it may be nothing," muttered the hussar. "It's
dark... Steady!" he cried to his fidgeting horse.
Rostov's horse was also getting restive: it pawed the frozen ground,
pricking its ears at the noise and looking at the lights. The shouting
grew still louder and merged into a general roar that only an army
of several thousand men could produce. The lights spread farther and
farther, probably along the line of the French camp. Rostov no
longer wanted to sleep. The gay triumphant shouting of the enemy
army had a stimulating effect on him. "Vive l'Empereur! L'Empereur!"
he now heard distinctly.
"They can't be far off, probably just beyond the stream," he said to
the hussar beside him.
The hussar only sighed without replying and coughed angrily. The
sound of horse's hoofs approaching at a trot along the line of hussars
was heard, and out of the foggy darkness the figure of a sergeant of
hussars suddenly appeared, looming huge as an elephant.
"Your honor, the generals!" said the sergeant, riding up to Rostov.
Rostov, still looking round toward the fires and the shouts, rode
with the sergeant to meet some mounted men who were riding along the
line. One was on a white horse. Prince Bagration and Prince Dolgorukov
with their adjutants had come to witness the curious phenomenon of the
lights and shouts in the enemy's camp. Rostov rode up to Bagration,
reported to him, and then joined the adjutants listening to what the
generals were saying.
"Believe me," said Prince Dolgorukov, addressing Bagration, "it is
nothing but a trick! He has retreated and ordered the rearguard to
kindle fires and make a noise to deceive us."
"Hardly," said Bagration. "I saw them this evening on that knoll; if
they had retreated they would have withdrawn from that too....
Officer!" said Bagration to Rostov, "are the enemy's skirmishers still
"They were there this evening, but now I don't know, your
excellency. Shall I go with some of my hussars to see?" replied
Bagration stopped and, before replying, tried to see Rostov's face
in the mist.
"Well, go and see," he said, after a pause.
Rostov spurred his horse, called to Sergeant Fedchenko and two other
hussars, told them to follow him, and trotted downhill in the
direction from which the shouting came. He felt both frightened and
pleased to be riding alone with three hussars into that mysterious and
dangerous misty distance where no one had been before him. Bagration
called to him from the hill not to go beyond the stream, but Rostov
pretended not to hear him and did not stop but rode on and on,
continually mistaking bushes for trees and gullies for men and
continually discovering his mistakes. Having descended the hill at a
trot, he no longer saw either our own or the enemy's fires, but
heard the shouting of the French more loudly and distinctly. In the
valley he saw before him something like a river, but when he reached
it he found it was a road. Having come out onto the road he reined
in his horse, hesitating whether to ride along it or cross it and ride
over the black field up the hillside. To keep to the road which
gleamed white in the mist would have been safer because it would be
easier to see people coming along it. "Follow me!" said he, crossed
the road, and began riding up the hill at a gallop toward the point
where the French pickets had been standing that evening.
"Your honor, there he is!" cried one of the hussars behind him.
And before Rostov had time to make out what the black thing was that
had suddenly appeared in the fog, there was a flash, followed by a
report, and a bullet whizzing high up in the mist with a plaintive
sound passed out of hearing. Another musket missed fire but flashed in
the pan. Rostov turned his horse and galloped back. Four more
reports followed at intervals, and the bullets passed somewhere in the
fog singing in different tones. Rostov reined in his horse, whose
spirits had risen, like his own, at the firing, and went back at a
footpace. "Well, some more! Some more!" a merry voice was saying in
his soul. But no more shots came.
Only when approaching Bagration did Rostov let his horse gallop
again, and with his hand at the salute rode up to the general.
Dolgorukov was still insisting that the French had retreated and had
only lit fires to deceive us.
"What does that prove?" he was saying as Rostov rode up. "They might
retreat and leave the pickets."
"It's plain that they have not all gone yet, Prince," said
Bagration. "Wait till tomorrow morning, we'll find out everything
"The picket is still on the hill, your excellency, just where it was
in the evening," reported Rostov, stooping forward with his hand at
the salute and unable to repress the smile of delight induced by his
ride and especially by the sound of the bullets.
"Very good, very good," said Bagration. "Thank you, officer."
"Your excellency," said Rostov, "may I ask a favor?"
"What is it?"
"Tomorrow our squadron is to be in reserve. May I ask to be attached
to the first squadron?"
"What's your name?"
"Oh, very well, you may stay in attendance on me."
"Count Ilya Rostov's son?" asked Dolgorukov.
But Rostov did not reply.
"Then I may reckon on it, your excellency?"
"I will give the order."
"Tomorrow very likely I may be sent with some message to the
Emperor," thought Rostov.
The fires and shouting in the enemy's army were occasioned by the
fact that while Napoleon's proclamation was being read to the troops
the Emperor himself rode round his bivouacs. The soldiers, on seeing
him, lit wisps of straw and ran after him, shouting, "Vive
l'Empereur!" Napoleon's proclamation was as follows:
Soldiers! The Russian army is advancing against you to avenge the
Austrian army of Ulm. They are the same battalions you broke at
Hollabrunn and have pursued ever since to this place. The position
we occupy is a strong one, and while they are marching to go round
me on the right they will expose a flank to me. Soldiers! I will
myself direct your battalions. I will keep out of fire if you with
your habitual valor carry disorder and confusion into the enemy's
ranks, but should victory be in doubt, even for a moment, you will see
your Emperor exposing himself to the first blows of the enemy, for
there must be no doubt of victory, especially on this day when what is
at stake is the honor of the French infantry, so necessary to the
honor of our nation.
Do not break your ranks on the plea of removing the wounded! Let
every man be fully imbued with the thought that we must defeat these
hirelings of England, inspired by such hatred of our nation! This
victory will conclude our campaign and we can return to winter
quarters, where fresh French troops who are being raised in France
will join us, and the peace I shall conclude will be worthy of my
people, of you, and of myself.
At five in the morning it was still quite dark. The troops of the
center, the reserves, and Bagration's right flank had not yet moved,
but on the left flank the columns of infantry, cavalry, and artillery,
which were to be the first to descend the heights to attack the French
right flank and drive it into the Bohemian mountains according to
plan, were already up and astir. The smoke of the campfires, into
which they were throwing everything superfluous, made the eyes
smart. It was cold and dark. The officers were hurriedly drinking
tea and breakfasting, the soldiers, munching biscuit and beating a
tattoo with their feet to warm themselves, gathering round the fires
throwing into the flames the remains of sheds, chairs, tables, wheels,
tubs, and everything that they did not want or could not carry away
with them. Austrian column guides were moving in and out among the
Russian troops and served as heralds of the advance. As soon as an
Austrian officer showed himself near a commanding officer's
quarters, the regiment began to move: the soldiers ran from the fires,
thrust their pipes into their boots, their bags into the carts, got
their muskets ready, and formed rank. The officers buttoned up their
coats, buckled on their swords and pouches, and moved along the
ranks shouting. The train drivers and orderlies harnessed and packed
the wagons and tied on the loads. The adjutants and battalion and
regimental commanders mounted, crossed themselves, gave final
instructions, orders, and commissions to the baggage men who
remained behind, and the monotonous tramp of thousands of feet
resounded. The column moved forward without knowing where and
unable, from the masses around them, the smoke and the increasing fog,
to see either the place they were leaving or that to which they were
A soldier on the march is hemmed in and borne along by his
regiment as much as a sailor is by his ship. However far he has
walked, whatever strange, unknown, and dangerous places he reaches,
just as a sailor is always surrounded by the same decks, masts, and
rigging of his ship, so the soldier always has around him the same
comrades, the same ranks, the same sergeant major Ivan Mitrich, the
same company dog Jack, and the same commanders. The sailor rarely
cares to know the latitude in which his ship is sailing, but on the
day of battle- heaven knows how and whence- a stern note of which
all are conscious sounds in the moral atmosphere of an army,
announcing the approach of something decisive and solemn, and
awakening in the men an unusual curiosity. On the day of battle the
soldiers excitedly try to get beyond the interests of their
regiment, they listen intently, look about, and eagerly ask concerning
what is going on around them.
The fog had grown so dense that though it was growing light they
could not see ten paces ahead. Bushes looked like gigantic trees and
level ground like cliffs and slopes. Anywhere, on any side, one
might encounter an enemy invisible ten paces off. But the columns
advanced for a long time, always in the same fog, descending and
ascending hills, avoiding gardens and enclosures, going over new and
unknown ground, and nowhere encountering the enemy. On the contrary,
the soldiers became aware that in front, behind, and on all sides,
other Russian columns were moving in the same direction. Every soldier
felt glad to know that to the unknown place where he was going, many
more of our men were going too.
"There now, the Kurskies have also gone past," was being said in the
"It's wonderful what a lot of our troops have gathered, lads! Last
night I looked at the campfires and there was no end of them. A
Though none of the column commanders rode up to the ranks or
talked to the men (the commanders, as we saw at the council of war,
were out of humor and dissatisfied with the affair, and so did not
exert themselves to cheer the men but merely carried out the
orders), yet the troops marched gaily, as they always do when going
into action, especially to an attack. But when they had marched for
about an hour in the dense fog, the greater part of the men had to
halt and an unpleasant consciousness of some dislocation and blunder
spread through the ranks. How such a consciousness is communicated
is very difficult to define, but it certainly is communicated very
surely, and flows rapidly, imperceptibly, and irrepressibly, as
water does in a creek. Had the Russian army been alone without any
allies, it might perhaps have been a long time before this
consciousness of mismanagement became a general conviction, but as
it was, the disorder was readily and naturally attributed to the
stupid Germans, and everyone was convinced that a dangerous muddle had
been occasioned by the sausage eaters.
"Why have we stopped? Is the way blocked? Or have we already come up
against the French?"
"No, one can't hear them. They'd be firing if we had."
"They were in a hurry enough to start us, and now here we stand in
the middle of a field without rhyme or reason. It's all those damned
Germans' muddling! What stupid devils!"
"Yes, I'd send them on in front, but no fear, they're crowding up
behind. And now here we stand hungry."
"I say, shall we soon be clear? They say the cavalry are blocking
the way," said an officer.
"Ah, those damned Germans! They don't know their own country!"
"What division are you?" shouted an adjutant, riding up.
"Then why are you here? You should have gone on long ago, now you
won't get there till evening."
"What stupid orders! They don't themselves know what they are
doing!" said the officer and rode off.
Then a general rode past shouting something angrily, not in Russian.
"Tafa-lafa! But what he's jabbering no one can make out," said a
soldier, mimicking the general who had ridden away. "I'd shoot them,
"We were ordered to be at the place before nine, but we haven't
got halfway. Fine orders!" was being repeated on different sides.
And the feeling of energy with which the troops had started began to
turn into vexation and anger at the stupid arrangements and at the
The cause of the confusion was that while the Austrian cavalry was
moving toward our left flank, the higher command found that our center
was too far separated from our right flank and the cavalry were all
ordered to turn back to the right. Several thousand cavalry crossed in
front of the infantry, who had to wait.
At the front an altercation occurred between an Austrian guide and a
Russian general. The general shouted a demand that the cavalry
should be halted, the Austrian argued that not he, but the higher
command, was to blame. The troops meanwhile stood growing listless and
dispirited. After an hour's delay they at last moved on, descending
the hill. The fog that was dispersing on the hill lay still more
densely below, where they were descending. In front in the fog a
shot was heard and then another, at first irregularly at varying
intervals- trata... tat- and then more and more regularly and rapidly,
and the action at the Goldbach Stream began.
Not expecting to come on the enemy down by the stream, and having
stumbled on him in the fog, hearing no encouraging word from their
commanders, and with a consciousness of being too late spreading
through the ranks, and above all being unable to see anything in front
or around them in the thick fog, the Russians exchanged shots with the
enemy lazily and advanced and again halted, receiving no timely orders
from the officers or adjutants who wandered about in the fog in
those unknown surroundings unable to find their own regiments. In this
way the action began for the first, second, and third columns, which
had gone down into the valley. The fourth column, with which Kutuzov
was, stood on the Pratzen Heights.
Below, where the fight was beginning, there was still thick fog;
on the higher ground it was clearing, but nothing could be seen of
what was going on in front. Whether all the enemy forces were, as we
supposed, six miles away, or whether they were near by in that sea
of mist, no one knew till after eight o'clock.
It was nine o'clock in the morning. The fog lay unbroken like a
sea down below, but higher up at the village of Schlappanitz where
Napoleon stood with his marshals around him, it was quite light. Above
him was a clear blue sky, and the sun's vast orb quivered like a
huge hollow, crimson float on the surface of that milky sea of mist.
The whole French army, and even Napoleon himself with his staff,
were not on the far side of the streams and hollows of Sokolnitz and
Schlappanitz beyond which we intended to take up our position and
begin the action, but were on this side, so close to our own forces
that Napoleon with the naked eye could distinguish a mounted man
from one on foot. Napoleon, in the blue cloak which he had worn on his
Italian campaign, sat on his small gray Arab horse a little in front
of his marshals. He gazed silently at the hills which seemed to rise
out of the sea of mist and on which the Russian troops were moving
in the distance, and he listened to the sounds of firing in the
valley. Not a single muscle of his face- which in those days was still
thin- moved. His gleaming eyes were fixed intently on one spot. His
predictions were being justified. Part of the Russian force had
already descended into the valley toward the ponds and lakes and
part were leaving these Pratzen Heights which he intended to attack
and regarded as the key to the position. He saw over the mist that
in a hollow between two hills near the village of Pratzen, the Russian
columns, their bayonets glittering, were moving continuously in one
direction toward the valley and disappearing one after another into
the mist. From information he had received the evening before, from
the sound of wheels and footsteps heard by the outposts during the
night, by the disorderly movement of the Russian columns, and from all
indications, he saw clearly that the allies believed him to be far
away in front of them, and that the columns moving near Pratzen
constituted the center of the Russian army, and that that center was
already sufficiently weakened to be successfully attacked. But still
he did not begin the engagement.
Today was a great day for him- the anniversary of his coronation.
Before dawn he had slept for a few hours, and refreshed, vigorous, and
in good spirits, he mounted his horse and rode out into the field in
that happy mood in which everything seems possible and everything
succeeds. He sat motionless, looking at the heights visible above
the mist, and his cold face wore that special look of confident,
self-complacent happiness that one sees on the face of a boy happily
in love. The marshals stood behind him not venturing to distract his
attention. He looked now at the Pratzen Heights, now at the sun
floating up out of the mist.
When the sun had entirely emerged from the fog, and fields and
mist were aglow with dazzling light- as if he had only awaited this to
begin the action- he drew the glove from his shapely white hand,
made a sign with it to the marshals, and ordered the action to
begin. The marshals, accompanied by adjutants, galloped off in
different directions, and a few minutes later the chief forces of
the French army moved rapidly toward those Pratzen Heights which
were being more and more denuded by Russian troops moving down the
valley to their left.
At eight o'clock Kutuzov rode to Pratzen at the head of the fourth
column, Miloradovich's, the one that was to take the place of
Przebyszewski's and Langeron's columns which had already gone down
into the valley. He greeted the men of the foremost regiment and
gave them the order to march, thereby indicating that he intended to
lead that column himself. When he had reached the village of Pratzen
he halted. Prince Andrew was behind, among the immense number
forming the commander in chief's suite. He was in a state of
suppressed excitement and irritation, though controlledly calm as a
man is at the approach of a long-awaited moment. He was firmly
convinced that this was the day of his Toulon, or his bridge of
Arcola. How it would come about he did not know, but he felt sure it
would do so. The locality and the position of our troops were known to
him as far as they could be known to anyone in our army. His own
strategic plan, which obviously could not now be carried out, was
forgotten. Now, entering into Weyrother's plan, Prince Andrew
considered possible contingencies and formed new projects such as
might call for his rapidity of perception and decision.
To the left down below in the mist, the musketry fire of unseen
forces could be heard. It was there Prince Andrew thought the fight
would concentrate. "There we shall encounter difficulties, and there,"
thought he, "I shall be sent with a brigade or division, and there,
standard in hand, I shall go forward and break whatever is in front of
He could not look calmly at the standards of the passing battalions.
Seeing them he kept thinking, "That may be the very standard with
which I shall lead the army."
In the morning all that was left of the night mist on the heights
was a hoar frost now turning to dew, but in the valleys it still lay
like a milk-white sea. Nothing was visible in the valley to the left
into which our troops had descended and from whence came the sounds of
firing. Above the heights was the dark clear sky, and to the right the
vast orb of the sun. In front, far off on the farther shore of that
sea of mist, some wooded hills were discernible, and it was there
the enemy probably was, for something could be descried. On the
right the Guards were entering the misty region with a sound of
hoofs and wheels and now and then a gleam of bayonets; to the left
beyond the village similar masses of cavalry came up and disappeared
in the sea of mist. In front and behind moved infantry. The
commander in chief was standing at the end of the village letting
the troops pass by him. That morning Kutuzov seemed worn and
irritable. The infantry passing before him came to a halt without
any command being given, apparently obstructed by something in front.
"Do order them to form into battalion columns and go round the
village!" he said angrily to a general who had ridden up. "Don't you
understand, your excellency, my dear sir, that you must not defile
through narrow village streets when we are marching against the
"I intended to re-form them beyond the village, your excellency,"
answered the general.
Kutuzov laughed bitterly.
"You'll make a fine thing of it, deploying in sight of the enemy!
"The enemy is still far away, your excellency. According to the
"The dispositions!" exclaimed Kutuzov bitterly. "Who told you
that?... Kindly do as you are ordered."
"My dear fellow," Nesvitski whispered to Prince Andrew, "the old man
is as surly as a dog."
An Austrian officer in a white uniform with green plumes in his
hat galloped up to Kutuzov and asked in the Emperor's name had the
fourth column advanced into action.
Kutuzov turned round without answering and his eye happened to
fall upon Prince Andrew, who was beside him. Seeing him, Kutuzov's
malevolent and caustic expression softened, as if admitting that
what was being done was not his adjutant's fault, and still not
answering the Austrian adjutant, he addressed Bolkonski.
"Go, my dear fellow, and see whether the third division has passed
the village. Tell it to stop and await my orders."
Hardly had Prince Andrew started than he stopped him.
"And ask whether sharpshooters have been posted," he added. "What
are they doing? What are they doing?" he murmured to himself, still
not replying to the Austrian.
Prince Andrew galloped off to execute the order.
Overtaking the battalions that continued to advance, he stopped
the third division and convinced himself that there really were no
sharpshooters in front of our columns. The colonel at the head of
the regiment was much surprised at the commander in chief's order to
throw out skirmishers. He had felt perfectly sure that there were
other troops in front of him and that the enemy must be at least six
miles away. There was really nothing to be seen in front except a
barren descent hidden by dense mist. Having given orders in the
commander in chief's name to rectify this omission, Prince Andrew
galloped back. Kutuzov still in the same place, his stout body resting
heavily in the saddle with the lassitude of age, sat yawning wearily
with closed eyes. The troops were no longer moving, but stood with the
butts of their muskets on the ground.
"All right, all right!" he said to Prince Andrew, and turned to a
general who, watch in hand, was saying it was time they started as all
the left-flank columns had already descended.
"Plenty of time, your excellency," muttered Kutuzov in the midst
of a yawn. "Plenty of time," he repeated.
Just then at a distance behind Kutuzov was heard the sound of
regiments saluting, and this sound rapidly came nearer along the whole
extended line of the advancing Russian columns. Evidently the person
they were greeting was riding quickly. When the soldiers of the
regiment in front of which Kutuzov was standing began to shout, he
rode a little to one side and looked round with a frown. Along the
road from Pratzen galloped what looked like a squadron of horsemen
in various uniforms. Two of them rode side by side in front, at full
gallop. One in a black uniform with white plumes in his hat rode a
bobtailed chestnut horse, the other who was in a white uniform rode
a black one. These were the two Emperors followed by their suites.
Kutuzov, affecting the manners of an old soldier at the front, gave
the command "Attention!" and rode up to the Emperors with a salute.
His whole appearance and manner were suddenly transformed. He put on
the air of a subordinate who obeys without reasoning. With an
affectation of respect which evidently struck Alexander
unpleasantly, he rode up and saluted.
This unpleasant impression merely flitted over the young and happy
face of the Emperor like a cloud of haze across a clear sky and
vanished. After his illness he looked rather thinner that day than
on the field of Olmutz where Bolkonski had seen him for the first time
abroad, but there was still the same bewitching combination of majesty
and mildness in his fine gray eyes, and on his delicate lips the
same capacity for varying expression and the same prevalent appearance
of goodhearted innocent youth.
At the Olmutz review he had seemed more majestic; here he seemed
brighter and more energetic. He was slightly flushed after galloping
two miles, and reining in his horse he sighed restfully and looked
round at the faces of his suite, young and animated as his own.
Czartoryski, Novosiltsev, Prince Volkonsky, Strogonov, and the others,
all richly dressed gay young men on splendid, well-groomed, fresh,
only slightly heated horses, exchanging remarks and smiling, had
stopped behind the Emperor. The Emperor Francis, a rosy, long faced
young man, sat very erect on his handsome black horse, looking about
him in a leisurely and preoccupied manner. He beckoned to one of his
white adjutants and asked some question- "Most likely he is asking
at what o'clock they started," thought Prince Andrew, watching his old
acquaintance with a smile he could not repress as he recalled his
reception at Brunn. In the Emperors' suite were the picked young
orderly officers of the Guard and line regiments, Russian and
Austrian. Among them were grooms leading the Tsar's beautiful relay
horses covered with embroidered cloths.
As when a window is opened a whiff of fresh air from the fields
enters a stuffy room, so a whiff of youthfulness, energy, and
confidence of success reached Kutuzov's cheerless staff with the
galloping advent of all these brilliant young men.
"Why aren't you beginning, Michael Ilarionovich?" said the Emperor
Alexander hurriedly to Kutuzov, glancing courteously at the same
time at the Emperor Francis.
"I am waiting, Your Majesty," answered Kutuzov, bending forward
The Emperor, frowning slightly, bent his ear forward as if he had
not quite heard.
"Waiting, Your Majesty," repeated Kutuzov. (Prince Andrew noted that
Kutuzov's upper lip twitched unnaturally as he said the word
"waiting.") "Not all the columns have formed up yet, Your Majesty."
The Tsar heard but obviously did not like the reply; he shrugged his
rather round shoulders and glanced at Novosiltsev who was near him, as
if complaining of Kutuzov.
"You know, Michael Ilarionovich, we are not on the
Empress' Field where a parade does not begin till all the troops are
assembled," said the Tsar with another glance at the Emperor
Francis, as if inviting him if not to join in at least to listen to
what he was saying. But the Emperor Francis continued to look about
him and did not listen.
"That is just why I do not begin, sire," said Kutuzov in a
resounding voice, apparently to preclude the possibility of not
being heard, and again something in his face twitched- "That is just
why I do not begin, sire, because we are not on parade and not on
the Empress' Field." said clearly and distinctly.
In the Emperor's suite all exchanged rapid looks that expressed
dissatisfaction and reproach. "Old though he may be, he should not, he
certainly should not, speak like that," their glances seemed to say.
The Tsar looked intently and observantly into Kutuzov's eye
waiting to hear whether he would say anything more. But Kutuzov,
with respectfully bowed head, seemed also to be waiting. The silence
lasted for about a minute.
"However, if you command it, Your Majesty," said Kutuzov, lifting
his head and again assuming his former tone of a dull, unreasoning,
but submissive general.
He touched his horse and having called Miloradovich, the commander
of the column, gave him the order to advance.
The troops again began to move, and two battalions of the Novgorod
and one of the Apsheron regiment went forward past the Emperor.
As this Apsheron battalion marched by, the red-faced Miloradovich,
without his greatcoat, with his Orders on his breast and an enormous
tuft of plumes in his cocked hat worn on one side with its corners
front and back, galloped strenuously forward, and with a dashing
salute reined in his horse before the Emperor.
"God be with you, general!" said the Emperor.
"Ma foi, sire, nous ferons ce qui sera dans notre possibilite,
sire,"* he answered gaily, raising nevertheless ironic smiles among
the gentlemen of the Tsar's suite by his poor French.
*"Indeed, Sire, we shall do everything it is possible to do, Sire."
Miloradovich wheeled his horse sharply and stationed himself a
little behind the Emperor. The Apsheron men, excited by the Tsar's
presence, passed in step before the Emperors and their suites at a
bold, brisk pace.
"Lads!" shouted Miloradovich in a loud, self-confident, and cheery
voice, obviously so elated by the sound of firing, by the prospect
of battle, and by the sight of the gallant Apsherons, his comrades
in Suvorov's time, now passing so gallantly before the Emperors,
that he forgot the sovereigns' presence. "Lads, it's not the first
village you've had to take," cried he.
"Glad to do our best!" shouted the soldiers.
The Emperor's horse started at the sudden cry. This horse that had
carried the sovereign at reviews in Russia bore him also here on the
field of Austerlitz, enduring the heedless blows of his left foot
and pricking its ears at the sound of shots just as it had done on the
Empress' Field, not understanding the significance of the firing,
nor of the nearness of the Emperor Francis' black cob, nor of all that
was being said, thought, and felt that day by its rider.
The Emperor turned with a smile to one of his followers and made a
remark to him, pointing to the gallant Apsherons.
Kutuzov accompanied by his adjutants rode at a walking pace behind
When he had gone less than half a mile in the rear of the column
he stopped at a solitary, deserted house that had probably once been
an inn, where two roads parted. Both of them led downhill and troops
were marching along both.
The fog had begun to clear and enemy troops were already dimly
visible about a mile and a half off on the opposite heights. Down
below, on the left, the firing became more distinct. Kutuzov had
stopped and was speaking to an Austrian general. Prince Andrew, who
was a little behind looking at them, turned to an adjutant to ask
him for a field glass.
"Look, look!" said this adjutant, looking not at the troops in the
distance, but down the hill before him. "It's the French!"
The two generals and the adjutant took hold of the field glass,
trying to snatch it from one another. The expression on all their
faces suddenly changed to one of horror. The French were supposed to
be a mile and a half away, but had suddenly and unexpectedly
appeared just in front of us.
"It's the enemy?... No!... Yes, see it is!... for certain.... But
how is that?" said different voices.
With the naked eye Prince Andrew saw below them to the right, not
more than five hundred paces from where Kutuzov was standing, a
dense French column coming up to meet the Apsherons.
"Here it is! The decisive moment has arrived. My turn has come,"
thought Prince Andrew, and striking his horse he rode up to Kutuzov.
"The Apsherons must be stopped, your excellency," cried he. But at
that very instant a cloud of smoke spread all round, firing was
heard quite close at hand, and a voice of naive terror barely two
steps from Prince Andrew shouted, "Brothers! All's lost!" And at
this as if at a command, everyone began to run.
Confused and ever-increasing crowds were running back to where
five minutes before the troops had passed the Emperors. Not only would
it have been difficult to stop that crowd, it was even impossible
not to be carried back with it oneself. Bolkonski only tried not to
lose touch with it, and looked around bewildered and unable to grasp
what was happening in front of him. Nesvitski with an angry face,
red and unlike himself, was shouting to Kutuzov that if he did not
ride away at once he would certainly be taken prisoner. Kutuzov
remained in the same place and without answering drew out a
handkerchief. Blood was flowing from his cheek. Prince Andrew forced
his way to him.
"You are wounded?" he asked, hardly able to master the trembling
of his lower jaw.
"The wound is not here, it is there!" said Kutuzov, pressing the
handkerchief to his wounded cheek and pointing to the fleeing
soldiers. "Stop them!" he shouted, and at the same moment, probably
realizing that it was impossible to stop them, spurred his horse and
rode to the right.
A fresh wave of the flying mob caught him and bore him back with it.
The troops were running in such a dense mass that once surrounded by
them it was difficult to get out again. One was shouting, "Get on! Why
are you hindering us?" Another in the same place turned round and
fired in the air; a third was striking the horse Kutuzov himself rode.
Having by a great effort got away to the left from that flood of
men, Kutuzov, with his suite diminished by more than half, rode toward
a sound of artillery fire near by. Having forced his way out of the
crowd of fugitives, Prince Andrew, trying to keep near Kutuzov, saw on
the slope of the hill amid the smoke a Russian battery that was
still firing and Frenchmen running toward it. Higher up stood some
Russian infantry, neither moving forward to protect the battery nor
backward with the fleeing crowd. A mounted general separated himself
from the infantry and approached Kutuzov. Of Kutuzov's suite only four
remained. They were all pale and exchanged looks in silence.
"Stop those wretches!" gasped Kutuzov to the regimental commander,
pointing to the flying soldiers; but at that instant, as if to
punish him for those words, bullets flew hissing across the regiment
and across Kutuzov's suite like a flock of little birds.
The French had attacked the battery and, seeing Kutuzov, were firing
at him. After this volley the regimental commander clutched at his
leg; several soldiers fell, and a second lieutenant who was holding
the flag let it fall from his hands. It swayed and fell, but caught on
the muskets of the nearest soldiers. The soldiers started firing
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" groaned Kutuzov despairingly and looked around....
"Bolkonski!" he whispered, his voice trembling from a consciousness of
the feebleness of age, "Bolkonski!" he whispered, pointing to the
disordered battalion and at the enemy, "what's that?"
But before he had finished speaking, Prince Andrew, feeling tears of
shame and anger choking him, had already leapt from his horse and
run to the standard.
"Forward, lads!" he shouted in a voice piercing as a child's.
"Here it is!" thought he, seizing the staff of the standard and
hearing with pleasure the whistle of bullets evidently aimed at him.
Several soldiers fell.
"Hurrah!" shouted Prince Andrew, and, scarcely able to hold up the
heavy standard, he ran forward with full confidence that the whole
battalion would follow him.
And really he only ran a few steps alone. One soldier moved and then
another and soon the whole battalion ran forward shouting "Hurrah!"
and overtook him. A sergeant of the battalion ran up and took the flag
that was swaying from its weight in Prince Andrew's hands, but he
was immediately killed. Prince Andrew again seized the standard and,
dragging it by the staff, ran on with the battalion. In front he saw
our artillerymen, some of whom were fighting, while others, having
abandoned their guns, were running toward him. He also saw French
infantry soldiers who were seizing the artillery horses and turning
the guns round. Prince Andrew and the battalion were already within
twenty paces of the cannon. He heard the whistle of bullets above
him unceasingly and to right and left of him soldiers continually
groaned and dropped. But he did not look at them: he looked only at
what was going on in front of him- at the battery. He now saw
clearly the figure of a red-haired gunner with his shako knocked awry,
pulling one end of a mop while a French soldier tugged at the other.
He could distinctly see the distraught yet angry expression on the
faces of these two men, who evidently did not realize what they were
"What are they about?" thought Prince Andrew as he gazed at them.
"Why doesn't the red-haired gunner run away as he is unarmed? Why
doesn't the Frenchman stab him? He will not get away before the
Frenchman remembers his bayonet and stabs him...."
And really another French soldier, trailing his musket, ran up to
the struggling men, and the fate of the red-haired gunner, who had
triumphantly secured the mop and still did not realize what awaited
him, was about to be decided. But Prince Andrew did not see how it
ended. It seemed to him as though one of the soldiers near him hit him
on the head with the full swing of a bludgeon. It hurt a little, but
the worst of it was that the pain distracted him and prevented his
seeing what he had been looking at.
"What's this? Am I falling? My legs are giving way," thought he, and
fell on his back. He opened his eyes, hoping to see how the struggle
of the Frenchmen with the gunners ended, whether the red-haired gunner
had been killed or not and whether the cannon had been captured or
saved. But he saw nothing. Above him there was now nothing but the
sky- the lofty sky, not clear yet still immeasurably lofty, with
gray clouds gliding slowly across it. "How quiet, peaceful, and
solemn; not at all as I ran," thought Prince Andrew- "not as we ran,
shouting and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman with
frightened and angry faces struggled for the mop: how differently do
those clouds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did
not see that lofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it
at last! Yes! All is vanity, all falsehood, except that infinite
sky. There is nothing, nothing, but that. But even it does not
exist, there is nothing but quiet and peace. Thank God!..."
On our right flank commanded by Bagration, at nine o'clock the
battle had not yet begun. Not wishing to agree to Dolgorukov's
demand to commence the action, and wishing to avert responsibility
from himself, Prince Bagration proposed to Dolgorukov to send to
inquire of the commander in chief. Bagration knew that as the distance
between the two flanks was more than six miles, even if the
messenger were not killed (which he very likely would be), and found
the commander in chief (which would be very difficult), he would not
be able to get back before evening.
Bagration cast his large, expressionless, sleepy eyes round his
suite, and the boyish face Rostov, breathless with excitement and
hope, was the first to catch his eye. He sent him.
"And if I should meet His Majesty before I meet the commander in
chief, your excellency?" said Rostov, with his hand to his cap.
"You can give the message to His Majesty," said Dolgorukov,
hurriedly interrupting Bagration.
On being relieved from picket duty Rostov had managed to get a few
hours' sleep before morning and felt cheerful, bold, and resolute,
with elasticity of movement, faith in his good fortune, and
generally in that state of mind which makes everything seem
possible, pleasant, and easy.
All his wishes were being fulfilled that morning: there was to be
a general engagement in which he was taking part, more than that, he
was orderly to the bravest general, and still more, he was going
with a message to Kutuzov, perhaps even to the sovereign himself.
The morning was bright, he had a good horse under him, and his heart
was full of joy and happiness. On receiving the order he gave his
horse the rein and galloped along the line. At first he rode along the
line of Bagration's troops, which had not yet advanced into action but
were standing motionless; then he came to the region occupied by
Uvarov's cavalry and here he noticed a stir and signs of preparation
for battle; having passed Uvarov's cavalry he clearly heard the
sound of cannon and musketry ahead of him. The firing grew louder
In the fresh morning air were now heard, not two or three musket
shots at irregular intervals as before, followed by one or two
cannon shots, but a roll of volleys of musketry from the slopes of the
hill before Pratzen, interrupted by such frequent reports of cannon
that sometimes several of them were not separated from one another but
merged into a general roar.
He could see puffs of musketry smoke that seemed to chase one
another down the hillsides, and clouds of cannon smoke rolling,
spreading, and mingling with one another. He could also, by the
gleam of bayonets visible through the smoke, make out moving masses of
infantry and narrow lines of artillery with green caissons.
Rostov stopped his horse for a moment on a hillock to see what was
going on, but strain his attention as he would he could not understand
or make out anything of what was happening: there in the smoke men
of some sort were moving about, in front and behind moved lines of
troops; but why, whither, and who they were, it was impossible to make
out. These sights and sounds had no depressing or intimidating
effect on him; on the contrary, they stimulated his energy and
"Go on! Go on! Give it them!" he mentally exclaimed at these sounds,
and again proceeded to gallop along the line, penetrating farther
and farther into the region where the army was already in action.
"How it will be there I don't know, but all will be well!" thought
After passing some Austrian troops he noticed that the next part
of the line (the Guards) was already in action.
"So much the better! I shall see it close," he thought.
He was riding almost along the front line. A handful of men came
galloping toward him. They were our Uhlans who with disordered ranks
were returning from the attack. Rostov got out of their way,
involuntarily noticed that one of them was bleeding, and galloped on.
"That is no business of mine," he thought. He had not ridden many
hundred yards after that before he saw to his left, across the whole
width of the field, an enormous mass of cavalry in brilliant white
uniforms, mounted on black horses, trotting straight toward him and
across his path. Rostov put his horse to full gallop to get out of the
way of these men, and he would have got clear had they continued at
the same speed, but they kept increasing their pace, so that some of
the horses were already galloping. Rostov heard the thud of their
hoofs and the jingle of their weapons and saw their horses, their
figures, and even their faces, more and more distinctly. They were our
Horse Guards, advancing to attack the French cavalry that was coming
to meet them.
The Horse Guards were galloping, but still holding in their
horses. Rostov could already see their faces and heard the command:
"Charge!" shouted by an officer who was urging his thoroughbred to
full speed. Rostov, fearing to be crushed or swept into the attack
on the French, galloped along the front as hard as his horse could go,
but still was not in time to avoid them.
The last of the Horse Guards, a huge pockmarked fellow, frowned
angrily on seeing Rostov before him, with whom he would inevitably
collide. This Guardsman would certainly have bowled Rostov and his
Bedouin over (Rostov felt himself quite tiny and weak compared to
these gigantic men and horses) had it not occurred to Rostov to
flourish his whip before the eyes of the Guardsman's horse. The
heavy black horse, sixteen hands high, shied, throwing back its
ears; but the pockmarked Guardsman drove his huge spurs in
violently, and the horse, flourishing its tail and extending its neck,
galloped on yet faster. Hardly had the Horse Guards passed Rostov
before he heard them shout, "Hurrah!" and looking back saw that
their foremost ranks were mixed up with some foreign cavalry with
red epaulets, probably French. He could see nothing more, for
immediately afterwards cannon began firing from somewhere and smoke
At that moment, as the Horse Guards, having passed him,
disappeared in the smoke, Rostov hesitated whether to gallop after
them or to go where he was sent. This was the brilliant charge of
the Horse Guards that amazed the French themselves. Rostov was
horrified to hear later that of all that mass of huge and handsome
men, of all those brilliant, rich youths, officers and cadets, who had
galloped past him on their thousand-ruble horses, only eighteen were
left after the charge.
"Why should I envy them? My chance is not lost, and maybe I shall
see the Emperor immediately! " thought Rostov and galloped on.
When he came level with the Foot Guards he noticed that about them
and around them cannon balls were flying, of which he was aware not so
much because he heard their sound as because he saw uneasiness on
the soldiers' faces and unnatural warlike solemnity on those of the
Passing behind one of the lines of a regiment of Foot Guards he
heard a voice calling him by name.
"What?" he answered, not recognizing Boris.
"I say, we've been in the front line! Our regiment attacked!" said
Boris with the happy smile seen on the faces of young men who have
been under fire for the first time.
"Have you?" he said. "Well, how did it go?"
"We drove them back!" said Boris with animation, growing
talkative. "Can you imagine it?" and he began describing how the
Guards, having taken up their position and seeing troops before
them, thought they were Austrians, and all at once discovered from the
cannon balls discharged by those troops that they were themselves in
the front line and had unexpectedly to go into action. Rostov
without hearing Boris to the end spurred his horse.
"Where are you off to?" asked Boris.
"With a message to His Majesty."
"There he is!" said Boris, thinking Rostov had said "His
Highness," and pointing to the Grand Duke who with his high
shoulders and frowning brows stood a hundred paces away from them in
his helmet and Horse Guards' jacket, shouting something to a pale,
white uniformed Austrian officer.
"But that's the Grand Duke, and I want the commander in chief or the
Emperor," said Rostov, and was about to spur his horse.
"Count! Count!" shouted Berg who ran up from the other side as eager
as Boris. "Count! I am wounded in my right hand" (and he showed his
bleeding hand with a handkerchief tied round it) "and I remained at
the front. I held my sword in my left hand, Count. All our family- the
von Bergs- have been knights!"
He said something more, but Rostov did not wait to hear it and
Having passed the Guards and traversed an empty space, Rostov, to
avoid again getting in front of the first line as he had done when the
Horse Guards charged, followed the line of reserves, going far round
the place where the hottest musket fire and cannonade were heard.
Suddenly he heard musket fire quite close in front of him and behind
our troops, where he could never have expected the enemy to be.
"What can it be?" he thought. "The enemy in the rear of our army?
Impossible!" And suddenly he was seized by a panic of fear for himself
and for the issue of the whole battle. "But be that what it may," he
reflected, "there is no riding round it now. I must look for the
commander in chief here, and if all is lost it is for me to perish
with the rest."
The foreboding of evil that had suddenly come over Rostov was more
and more confirmed the farther he rode into the region behind the
village of Pratzen, which was full of troops of all kinds.
"What does it mean? What is it? Whom are they firing at? Who is
firing?" Rostov kept asking as he came up to Russian and Austrian
soldiers running in confused crowds across his path.
"The devil knows! They've killed everybody! It's all up now!" he was
told in Russian, German, and Czech by the crowd of fugitives who
understood what was happening as little as he did.
"Kill the Germans!" shouted one.
"May the devil take them- the traitors!"
"Zum Henker diese Russen!"* muttered a German.
*"Hang these Russians!"
Several wounded men passed along the road, and words of abuse,
screams, and groans mingled in a general hubbub, then the firing
died down. Rostov learned later that Russian and Austrian soldiers had
been firing at one another.
"My God! What does it all mean?" thought he. "And here, where at any
moment the Emperor may see them.... But no, these must be only a
handful of scoundrels. It will soon be over, it can't be that, it
can't be! Only to get past them quicker, quicker!"
The idea of defeat and flight could not enter Rostov's head.
Though he saw French cannon and French troops on the Pratzen Heights
just where he had been ordered to look for the commander in chief,
he could not, did not wish to, believe that.
Rostov had been ordered to look for Kutuzov and the Emperor near the
village of Pratzen. But neither they nor a single commanding officer
were there, only disorganized crowds of troops of various kinds. He
urged on his already weary horse to get quickly past these crowds, but
the farther he went the more disorganized they were. The highroad on
which he had come out was thronged with caleches, carriages of all
sorts, and Russian and Austrian soldiers of all arms, some wounded and
some not. This whole mass droned and jostled in confusion under the
dismal influence of cannon balls flying from the French batteries
stationed on the Pratzen Heights.
"Where is the Emperor? Where is Kutuzov?" Rostov kept asking
everyone he could stop, but got no answer from anyone.
At last seizing a soldier by his collar he forced him to answer.
"Eh, brother! They've all bolted long ago!" said the soldier,
laughing for some reason and shaking himself free.
Having left that soldier who was evidently drunk, Rostov stopped the
horse of a batman or groom of some important personage and began to
question him. The man announced that the Tsar had been driven in a
carriage at full speed about an hour before along that very road and
that he was dangerously wounded.
"It can't be!" said Rostov. "It must have been someone else."
"I saw him myself." replied the man with a self-confident smile of
derision. "I ought to know the Emperor by now, after the times I've
seen him in Petersburg. I saw him just as I see you.... There he sat
in the carriage as pale as anything. How they made the four black
horses fly! Gracious me, they did rattle past! It's time I knew the
Imperial horses and Ilya Ivanych. I don't think Ilya drives anyone
except the Tsar!"
Rostov let go of the horse and was about to ride on, when a
wounded officer passing by addressed him:
"Who is it you want?" he asked. "The commander in chief? He was
killed by a cannon ball- struck in the breast before our regiment."
"Not killed- wounded!" another officer corrected him.
"Who? Kutuzov?" asked Rostov.
"Not Kutuzov, but what's his name- well, never mind... there are not
many left alive. Go that way, to that village, all the commanders
are there," said the officer, pointing to the village of Hosjeradek,
and he walked on.
Rostov rode on at a footpace not knowing why or to whom he was now
going. The Emperor was wounded, the battle lost. It was impossible
to doubt it now. Rostov rode in the direction pointed out to him, in
which he saw turrets and a church. What need to hurry? What was he now
to say to the Tsar or to Kutuzov, even if they were alive and
"Take this road, your honor, that way you will be killed at once!" a
soldier shouted to him. "They'd kill you there!"
"Oh, what are you talking about?" said another. "Where is he to
go? That way is nearer."
Rostov considered, and then went in the direction where they said he
would be killed.
"It's all the same now. If the Emperor is wounded, am I to try to
save myself?" he thought. He rode on to the region where the
greatest number of men had perished in fleeing from Pratzen. The
French had not yet occupied that region, and the Russians- the
uninjured and slightly wounded- had left it long ago. All about the
field, like heaps of manure on well-kept plowland, lay from ten to
fifteen dead and wounded to each couple of acres. The wounded crept
together in twos and threes and one could hear their distressing
screams and groans, sometimes feigned- or so it seemed to Rostov. He
put his horse to a trot to avoid seeing all these suffering men, and
he felt afraid- afraid not for his life, but for the courage he needed
and which he knew would not stand the sight of these unfortunates.
The French, who had ceased firing at this field strewn with dead and
wounded where there was no one left to fire at, on seeing an
adjutant riding over it trained a gun on him and fired several
shots. The sensation of those terrible whistling sounds and of the
corpses around him merged in Rostov's mind into a single feeling of
terror and pity for himself. He remembered his mother's last letter.
"What would she feel," thought he, "if she saw me here now on this
field with the cannon aimed at me?"
In the village of Hosjeradek there were Russian troops retiring from
the field of battle, who though still in some confusion were less
disordered. The French cannon did not reach there and the musketry
fire sounded far away. Here everyone clearly saw and said that the
battle was lost. No one whom Rostov asked could tell him where the
Emperor or Kutuzov was. Some said the report that the Emperor was
wounded was correct, others that it was not, and explained the false
rumor that had spread by the fact that the Emperor's carriage had
really galloped from the field of battle with the pale and terrified
Ober-Hofmarschal Count Tolstoy, who had ridden out to the
battlefield with others in the Emperor's suite. One officer told
Rostov that he had seen someone from headquarters behind the village
to the left, and thither Rostov rode, not hoping to find anyone but
merely to ease his conscience. When he had ridden about two miles
and had passed the last of the Russian troops, he saw, near a
kitchen garden with a ditch round it, two men on horseback facing
the ditch. One with a white plume in his hat seemed familiar to
Rostov; the other on a beautiful chestnut horse (which Rostov
fancied he had seen before) rode up to the ditch, struck his horse
with his spurs, and giving it the rein leaped lightly over. Only a
little earth crumbled from the bank under the horse's hind hoofs.
Turning the horse sharply, he again jumped the ditch, and
deferentially addressed the horseman with the white plumes,
evidently suggesting that he should do the same. The rider, whose
figure seemed familiar to Rostov and involuntarily riveted his
attention, made a gesture of refusal with his head and hand and by
that gesture Rostov instantly recognized his lamented and adored
"But it can't be he, alone in the midst of this empty field!"
thought Rostov. At that moment Alexander turned his head and Rostov
saw the beloved features that were so deeply engraved on his memory.
The Emperor was pale, his cheeks sunken and his eyes hollow, but the
charm, the mildness of his features, was all the greater. Rostov was
happy in the assurance that the rumors about the Emperor being wounded
were false. He was happy to be seeing him. He knew that he might and
even ought to go straight to him and give the message Dolgorukov had
ordered him to deliver.
But as a youth in love trembles, is unnerved, and dares not utter
the thoughts he has dreamed of for nights, but looks around for help
or a chance of delay and flight when the longed-for moment comes and
he is alone with her, so Rostov, now that he had attained what he
had longed for more than anything else in the world, did not know
how to approach the Emperor, and a thousand reasons occurred to him
why it would be inconvenient, unseemly, and impossible to do so.
"What! It is as if I were glad of a chance to take advantage of
his being alone and despondent! A strange face may seem unpleasant
or painful to him at this moment of sorrow; besides, what can I say to
him now, when my heart fails me and my mouth feels dry at the mere
sight of him?" Not one of the innumerable speeches addressed to the
Emperor that he had composed in his imagination could he now recall.
Those speeches were intended for quite other conditions, they were for
the most part to be spoken at a moment of victory and triumph,
generally when he was dying of wounds and the sovereign had thanked
him for heroic deeds, and while dying he expressed the love his
actions had proved.
"Besides how can I ask the Emperor for his instructions for the
right flank now that it is nearly four o'clock and the battle is lost?
No, certainly I must not approach him, I must not intrude on his
reflections. Better die a thousand times than risk receiving an unkind
look or bad opinion from him," Rostov decided; and sorrowfully and
with a heart full despair he rode away, continually looking back at
the Tsar, who still remained in the same attitude of indecision.
While Rostov was thus arguing with himself and riding sadly away,
Captain von Toll chanced to ride to the same spot, and seeing the
Emperor at once rode up to him, offered his services, and assisted him
to cross the ditch on foot. The Emperor, wishing to rest and feeling
unwell, sat down under an apple tree and von Toll remained beside him.
Rostov from a distance saw with envy and remorse how von Toll spoke
long and warmly to the Emperor and how the Emperor, evidently weeping,
covered his eyes with his hand and pressed von Toll's hand.
"And I might have been in his place!" thought Rostov, and hardly
restraining his tears of pity for the Emperor, he rode on in utter
despair, not knowing where to or why he was now riding.
His despair was all the greater from feeling that his own weakness
was the cause his grief.
He might... not only might but should, have gone up to the
sovereign. It was a unique chance to show his devotion to the
Emperor and he had not made use of it.... "What have I done?"
thought he. And he turned round and galloped back to the place where
he had seen the Emperor, but there was no one beyond the ditch now.
Only some carts and carriages were passing by. From one of the drivers
he learned that Kutuzov's staff were not far off, in the village the
vehicles were going to. Rostov followed them. In front of him walked
Kutuzov's groom leading horses in horsecloths. Then came a cart, and
behind that walked an old, bandy-legged domestic serf in a peaked
cap and sheepskin coat.
"Tit! I say, Tit!" said the groom.
"What?" answered the old man absent-mindedly.
"Go, Tit! Thresh a bit!"
"Oh, you fool!" said the old man, spitting angrily. Some time passed
in silence, and then the same joke was repeated.
Before five in the evening the battle had been lost at all points.
More than a hundred cannon were already in the hands of the French.
Przebyszewski and his corps had laid down their arms. Other
columns after losing half their men were retreating in disorderly
The remains of Langeron's and Dokhturov's mingled forces were
crowding around the dams and banks of the ponds near the village of
After five o'clock it was only at the Augesd Dam that a hot
cannonade (delivered by the French alone) was still to be heard from
numerous batteries ranged on the slopes of the Pratzen Heights,
directed at our retreating forces.
In the rearguard, Dokhturov and others rallying some battalions kept
up a musketry fire at the French cavalry that was pursuing our troops.
It was growing dusk. On the narrow Augesd Dam where for so many
years the old miller had been accustomed to sit in his tasseled cap
peacefully angling, while his grandson, with shirt sleeves rolled
up, handled the floundering silvery fish in the watering can, on
that dam over which for so many years Moravians in shaggy caps and
blue jackets had peacefully driven their two-horse carts loaded with
wheat and had returned dusty with flour whitening their carts- on that
narrow dam amid the wagons and the cannon, under the horses' hoofs and
between the wagon wheels, men disfigured by fear of death now
crowded together, crushing one another, dying, stepping over the dying
and killing one another, only to move on a few steps and be killed
themselves in the same way.
Every ten seconds a cannon ball flew compressing the air around,
or a shell burst in the midst of that dense throng, killing some and
splashing with blood those near them.
Dolokhov- now an officer- wounded in the arm, and on foot, with
the regimental commander on horseback and some ten men of his company,
represented all that was left of that whole regiment. Impelled by
the crowd, they had got wedged in at the approach to the dam and,
jammed in on all sides, had stopped because a horse in front had
fallen under a cannon and the crowd were dragging it out. A cannon
ball killed someone behind them, another fell in front and splashed
Dolokhov with blood. The crowd, pushing forward desperately,
squeezed together, moved a few steps, and again stopped.
"Move on a hundred yards and we are certainly saved, remain here
another two minutes and it is certain death," thought each one.
Dolokhov who was in the midst of the crowd forced his way to the
edge of the dam, throwing two soldiers off their feet, and ran onto
the slippery ice that covered the millpool.
"Turn this way!" he shouted, jumping over the ice which creaked
under him; "turn this way!" he shouted to those with the gun. "It
The ice bore him but it swayed and creaked, and it was plain that it
would give way not only under a cannon or a crowd, but very soon
even under his weight alone. The men looked at him and pressed to
the bank, hesitating to step onto the ice. The general on horseback at
the entrance to the dam raised his hand and opened his mouth to
address Dolokhov. Suddenly a cannon ball hissed so low above the crowd
that everyone ducked. It flopped into something moist, and the general
fell from his horse in a pool of blood. Nobody gave him a look or
thought of raising him.
"Get onto the ice, over the ice! Go on! Turn! Don't you hear? Go
on!" innumerable voices suddenly shouted after the ball had struck the
general, the men themselves not knowing what, or why, they were
One of the hindmost guns that was going onto the dam turned off onto
the ice. Crowds of soldiers from the dam began running onto the frozen
pond. The ice gave way under one of the foremost soldiers, and one leg
slipped into the water. He tried to right himself but fell in up to
his waist. The nearest soldiers shrank back, the gun driver stopped
his horse, but from behind still came the shouts: "Onto the ice, why
do you stop? Go on! Go on!" And cries of horror were heard in the
crowd. The soldiers near the gun waved their arms and beat the
horses to make them turn and move on. The horses moved off the bank.
The ice, that had held under those on foot, collapsed in a great mass,
and some forty men who were on it dashed, some forward and some
back, drowning one another.
Still the cannon balls continued regularly to whistle and flop
onto the ice and into the water and oftenest of all among the crowd
that covered the dam, the pond, and the bank.
On the Pratzen Heights, where he had fallen with the flagstaff in
his hand, lay Prince Andrew Bolkonski bleeding profusely and
unconsciously uttering a gentle, piteous, and childlike moan.
Toward evening he ceased moaning and became quite still. He did
not know how long his unconsciousness lasted. Suddenly he again felt
that he was alive and suffering from a burning, lacerating pain in his
"Where is it, that lofty sky that I did not know till now, but saw
today?" was his first thought. "And I did not know this suffering
either," he thought. "Yes, I did not know anything, anything at all
till now. But where am I?"
He listened and heard the sound of approaching horses, and voices
speaking French. He opened his eyes. Above him again was the same
lofty sky with clouds that had risen and were floating still higher,
and between them gleamed blue infinity. He did not turn his head and
did not see those who, judging by the sound of hoofs and voices, had
ridden up and stopped near him.
It was Napoleon accompanied by two aides-de-camp. Bonaparte riding
over the battlefield had given final orders to strengthen the
batteries firing at the Augesd Dam and was looking at the killed and
wounded left on the field.
"Fine men!" remarked Napoleon, looking at a dead Russian
grenadier, who, with his face buried in the ground and a blackened
nape, lay on his stomach with an already stiffened arm flung wide.
"The ammunition for the guns in position is exhausted, Your
Majesty," said an adjutant who had come from the batteries that were
firing at Augesd.
"Have some brought from the reserve," said Napoleon, and having gone
on a few steps he stopped before Prince Andrew, who lay on his back
with the flagstaff that had been dropped beside him. (The flag had
already been taken by the French as a trophy.)
"That's a fine death!" said Napoleon as he gazed at Bolkonski.
Prince Andrew understood that this was said of him and that it was
Napoleon who said it. He heard the speaker addressed as Sire. But he
heard the words as he might have heard the buzzing of a fly. Not
only did they not interest him, but he took no notice of them and at
once forgot them. His head was burning, he felt himself bleeding to
death, and he saw above him the remote, lofty, and everlasting sky. He
knew it was Napoleon- his hero- but at that moment Napoleon seemed
to him such a small, insignificant creature compared with what was
passing now between himself and that lofty infinite sky with the
clouds flying over it. At that moment it meant nothing to him who
might be standing over him, or what was said of him; he was only
glad that people were standing near him and only wished that they
would help him and bring him back to life, which seemed to him so
beautiful now that he had today learned to understand it so
differently. He collected all his strength, to stir and utter a sound.
He feebly moved his leg and uttered a weak, sickly groan which aroused