Princess Mary, with the paper in her hand, rose from the window and with a pale face went out of the room and into what had been Prince Andrew’s study.
“Dunyasha, send Alpatych, or Dronushka, or somebody to me!” she said, “and tell Mademoiselle Bourienne not to come to me,” she added, hearing Mademoiselle Bourienne’s voice. “We must go at once, at once!” she said, appalled at the thought of being left in the hands of the French.
“If Prince Andrew heard that I was in the power of the French! That I, the daughter of Prince Nicholas Bolkonski, asked General Rameau for protection and accepted his favor!” This idea horrified her, made her shudder, blush, and feel such a rush of anger and pride as she had never experienced before. All that was distressing, and especially all that was humiliating, in her position rose vividly to her mind. “They, the French, would settle in this house: M. le General Rameau would occupy Prince Andrew’s study and amuse himself by looking through and reading his letters and papers. Mademoiselle Bourienne would do the honors of Bogucharovo for him. I should be given a small room as a favor, the soldiers would violate my father’s newly dug grave to steal his crosses and stars, they would tell me of their victories over the Russians, and would pretend to sympathize with my sorrow…” thought Princess Mary, not thinking her own thoughts but feeling bound to think like her father and her brother. For herself she did not care where she remained or what happened to her, but she felt herself the representative of her dead father and of Prince Andrew. Involuntarily she thought their thoughts and felt their feelings. What they would have said and what they would have done she felt bound to say and do. She went into Prince Andrew’s study, trying to enter completely into his ideas, and considered her position.
The demands of life, which had seemed to her annihilated by her father’s death, all at once rose before her with a new, previously unknown force and took possession of her.
Agitated and flushed she paced the room, sending now for Michael Ivanovich and now for Tikhon or Dron. Dunyasha, the nurse, and the other maids could not say in how far Mademoiselle Bourienne’s statement was correct. Alpatych was not at home, he had gone to the police. Neither could the architect Michael Ivanovich, who on being sent for came in with sleepy eyes, tell Princess Mary anything. With just the same smile of agreement with which for fifteen years he had been accustomed to answer the old prince without expressing views of his own, he now replied to Princess Mary, so that nothing definite could be got from his answers. The old valet Tikhon, with sunken, emaciated face that bore the stamp of inconsolable grief, replied: “Yes, Princess” to all Princess Mary’s questions and hardly refrained from sobbing as he looked at her.
At length Dron, the village Elder, entered the room and with a deep bow to Princess Mary came to a halt by the doorpost.
Princess Mary walked up and down the room and stopped in front of him.
“Dronushka,” she said, regarding as a sure friend this Dronushka who always used to bring a special kind of gingerbread from his visit to the fair at Vyazma every year and smilingly offer it to her, “Dronushka, now since our misfortune…” she began, but could not go on.
“We are all in God’s hands,” said he, with a sigh.
They were silent for a while.
“Dronushka, Alpatych has gone off somewhere and I have no one to turn to. Is true, as they tell me, that I can’t even go away?”
“Why shouldn’t you go away, your excellency? You can go,” said Dron.
“I was told it would be dangerous because of the enemy. Dear friend, I can do nothing. I understand nothing. I have nobody! I want to go away tonight or early tomorrow morning.”
Dron paused. He looked askance at Princess Mary and said: “There are no horses; I told Yakov Alpatych so.”
“Why are there none?” asked the princess.
“It’s all God’s scourge,” said Dron. “What horses we had have been taken for the army or have died- this is such a year! It’s not a case of feeding horses- we may die of hunger ourselves! As it is, some go three days without eating. We’ve nothing, we’ve been ruined.”
Princess Mary listened attentively to what he told her.
“The peasants are ruined? They have no bread?” she asked.
“They’re dying of hunger,” said Dron. “It’s not a case of carting.”
“But why didn’t you tell me, Dronushka? Isn’t it possible to help them? I’ll do all I can….”
To Princess Mary it was strange that now, at a moment when such sorrow was filling her soul, there could be rich people and poor, and the rich could refrain from helping the poor. She had heard vaguely that there was such a thing as “landlord’s corn” which was sometimes given to the peasants. She also knew that neither her father nor her brother would refuse to help the peasants in need, she only feared to make some mistake in speaking about the distribution of the grain she wished to give. She was glad such cares presented themselves, enabling her without scruple to forget her own grief. She began asking Dron about the peasants’ needs and what there was in Bogucharovo that belonged to the landlord.
“But we have grain belonging to my brother?” she said.
“The landlord’s grain is all safe,” replied Dron proudly. “Our prince did not order it to be sold.”
“Give it to the peasants, let them have all they need; I give you leave in my brother’s name,” said she.
Dron made no answer but sighed deeply.
“Give them that corn if there is enough of it. Distribute it all. I give this order in my brother’s name; and tell them that what is ours is theirs. We do not grudge them anything. Tell them so.”
” Dron looked intently at the princess while she was speaking.
“Discharge me, little mother, for God’s sake! Order the keys to be taken from me,” said he. “I have served twenty-three years and have done no wrong. Discharge me, for God’s sake!”
Princess Mary did not understand what he wanted of her or why he was asking to be discharged. She replied that she had never doubted his devotion and that she was ready to do anything for him and for the peasants.
An hour later Dunyasha came to tell the princess that Dron had come, and all the peasants had assembled at the barn by the princess’ order and wished to have word with their mistress.
“But I never told them to come,” said Princess Mary. “I only told Dron to let them have the grain.”
“Only, for God’s sake, Princess dear, have them sent away and don’t go out to them. It’s all a trick,” said Dunyasha, “and when Yakov Alpatych returns let us get away… and please don’t…”
“What is a trick?” asked Princess Mary in surprise.
“I know it is, only listen to me for God’s sake! Ask nurse too. They say they don’t agree to leave Bogucharovo as you ordered.”
“You’re making some mistake. I never ordered them to go away,” said Princess Mary. “Call Dronushka.”
Dron came and confirmed Dunyasha’s words; the peasants had come by the princess’ order.
“But I never sent for them,” declared the princess. “You must have given my message wrong. I only said that you were to give them the grain.”
Dron only sighed in reply.
“If you order it they will go away,” said he.
“No, no. I’ll go out to them,” said Princess Mary, and in spite of the nurse’s and Dunyasha’s protests she went out into the porch; Dron, Dunyasha, the nurse, and Michael Ivanovich following her.
“They probably think I am offering them the grain to bribe them to remain here, while I myself go away leaving them to the mercy of the French,” thought Princess Mary. “I will offer them monthly rations and housing at our Moscow estate. I am sure Andrew would do even more in my place,” she thought as she went out in the twilight toward the crowd standing on the pasture by the barn.
The men crowded closer together, stirred, and rapidly took off their hats. Princess Mary lowered her eyes and, tripping over her skirt, came close up to them. So many different eyes, old and young, were fixed on her, and there were so many different faces, that she could not distinguish any of them and, feeling that she must speak to them all at once, did not know how to do it. But again the sense that she represented her father and her brother gave her courage, and she boldly began her speech.
“I am very glad you have come,” she said without raising her eyes, and feeling her heart beating quickly and violently. “Dronushka tells me that the war has ruined you. That is our common misfortune, and I shall grudge nothing to help you. I am myself going away because it is dangerous here… the enemy is near… because… I am giving you everything, my friends, and I beg you to take everything, all our grain, so that you may not suffer want! And if you have been told that I am giving you the grain to keep you here- that is not true. On the contrary, I ask you to go with all your belongings to our estate near Moscow, and I promise you I will see to it that there you shall want for nothing. You shall be given food and lodging.”
The princess stopped. Sighs were the only sound heard in the crowd.
“I am not doing this on my own account,” she continued, “I do it in the name of my dead father, who was a good master to you, and of my brother and his son.”
Again she paused. No one broke the silence.
“Ours is a common misfortune and we will share it together. All that is mine is yours,” she concluded, scanning the faces before her.
All eyes were gazing at her with one and the same expression. She could not fathom whether it was curiosity, devotion, gratitude, or apprehension and distrust- but the expression on all the faces was identical.
“We are all very thankful for your bounty, but it won’t do for us to take the landlord’s grain,” said a voice at the back of the crowd.
“But why not?” asked the princess.
No one replied and Princess Mary, looking round at the crowd, found that every eye she met now was immediately dropped.
“But why don’t you want to take it?” she asked again.
No one answered.
The silence began to oppress the princess and she tried to catch someone’s eye.
“Why don’t you speak?” she inquired of a very old man who stood just in front of her leaning on his stick. “If you think something more is wanted, tell me! I will do anything,” said she, catching his eye.
But as if this angered him, he bent his head quite low and muttered:
“Why should we agree? We don’t want the grain.”
“Why should we give up everything? We don’t agree. Don’t agree…. We are sorry for you, but we’re not willing. Go away yourself, alone…” came from various sides of the crowd.
And again all the faces in that crowd bore an identical expression, though now it was certainly not an expression of curiosity or gratitude, but of angry resolve.
“But you can’t have understood me,” said Princess Mary with a sad smile. “Why don’t you want to go? I promise to house and feed you, while here the enemy would ruin you…”
But her voice was drowned by the voices of the crowd.
“We’re not willing. Let them ruin us! We won’t take your grain. We don’t agree.”
Again Princess Mary tried to catch someone’s eye, but not a single eye in the crowd was turned to her; evidently they were all trying to avoid her look. She felt strange and awkward.
“Oh yes, an artful tale! Follow her into slavery! Pull down your houses and go into bondage! I dare say! ‘I’ll give you grain, indeed!’ she says,” voices in the crowd were heard saying.
With drooping head Princess Mary left the crowd and went back to the house. Having repeated her order to Dron to have horses ready for her departure next morning, she went to her room and remained alone with her own thoughts.
For a long time that night Princess Mary sat by the open window of her room hearing the sound of the peasants’ voices that reached her from the village, but it was not of them she was thinking. She felt that she could not understand them however much she might think about them. She thought only of one thing, her sorrow, which, after the break caused by cares for the present, seemed already to belong to the past. Now she could remember it and weep or pray.
After sunset the wind had dropped. The night was calm and fresh. Toward midnight the voices began to subside, a cock crowed, the full moon began to show from behind the lime trees, a fresh white dewy mist began to rise, and stillness reigned over the village and the house.
Pictures of the near past- her father’s illness and last moments- rose one after another to her memory. With mournful pleasure she now lingered over these images, repelling with horror only the last one, the picture of his death, which she felt she could not contemplate even in imagination at this still and mystic hour of night. And these pictures presented themselves to her so clearly and in such detail that they seemed now present, now past, and now future.
She vividly recalled the moment when he had his first stroke and was being dragged along by his armpits through the garden at Bald Hills, muttering something with his helpless tongue, twitching his gray eyebrows and looking uneasily and timidly at her.
“Even then he wanted to tell me what he told me the day he died,” she thought. “He had always thought what he said then.” And she recalled in all its detail the night at Bald Hills before he had the last stroke, when with a foreboding of disaster she had remained at home against his will. She had not slept and had stolen downstairs on tiptoe, and going to the door of the conservatory where he slept that night had listened at the door. In a suffering and weary voice he was saying something to Tikhon, speaking of the Crimea and its warm nights and of the Empress. Evidently he had wanted to talk. “And why didn’t he call me? Why didn’t he let me be there instead of Tikhon?” Princess Mary had thought and thought again now. “Now he will never tell anyone what he had in his soul. Never will that moment return for him or for me when he might have said all he longed to say, and not Tikhon but I might have heard and understood him. Why didn’t I enter the room?” she thought. “Perhaps he would then have said to me what he said the day he died. While talking to Tikhon he asked about me twice. He wanted to see me, and I was standing close by, outside the door. It was sad and painful for him to talk to Tikhon who did not understand him. I remember how he began speaking to him about Lise as if she were alive- he had forgotten she was dead- and Tikhon reminded him that she was no more, and he shouted, ‘Fool!’ He was greatly depressed. From behind the door I heard how he lay down on his bed groaning and loudly exclaimed, ‘My God!’ Why didn’t I go in then? What could he have done to me? What could I have lost? And perhaps he would then have been comforted and would have said that word to me.” And Princess Mary uttered aloud the caressing word he had said to her on the day of his death. “Dear-est!” she repeated, and began sobbing, with tears that relieved her soul. She now saw his face before her. And not the face she had known ever since she could remember and had always seen at a distance, but the timid, feeble face she had seen for the first time quite closely, with all its wrinkles and details, when she stooped near to his mouth to catch what he said.
“Dear-est!” she repeated again.
“What was he thinking when he uttered that word? What is he thinking now?” This question suddenly presented itself to her, and in answer she saw him before her with the expression that was on his face as he lay in his coffin with his chin bound up with a white handkerchief. And the horror that had seized her when she touched him and convinced herself that that was not he, but something mysterious and horrible, seized her again. She tried to think of something else and to pray, but could do neither. With wide-open eyes she gazed at the moonlight and the shadows, expecting every moment to see his dead face, and she felt that the silence brooding over the house and within it held her fast.
“Dunyasha,” she whispered. “Dunyasha!” she screamed wildly, and tearing herself out of this silence she ran to the servants’ quarters to meet her old nurse and the maidservants who came running toward her.
On the seventeenth of August Rostov and Ilyin, accompanied by Lavrushka who had just returned from captivity and by an hussar orderly, left their quarters at Yankovo, ten miles from Bogucharovo, and went for a ride- to try a new horse Ilyin had bought and to find out whether there was any hay to be had in the villages.
For the last three days Bogucharovo had lain between the two hostile armies, so that it was as easy for the Russian rearguard to get to it as for the French vanguard; Rostov, as a careful squadron commander, wished to take such provisions as remained at Bogucharovo before the French could get them.
Rostov and Ilyin were in the merriest of moods. On the way to Bogucharovo, a princely estate with a dwelling house and farm where they hoped to find many domestic serfs and pretty girls, they questioned Lavrushka about Napoleon and laughed at his stories, and raced one another to try Ilyin’s horse.
Rostov had no idea that the village he was entering was the property of that very Bolkonski who had been engaged to his sister.
Rostov and Ilyin gave rein to their horses for a last race along the incline before reaching Bogucharovo, and Rostov, outstripping Ilyin, was the first to gallop into the village street.
“You’re first!” cried Ilyin, flushed.
“Yes, always first both on the grassland and here,” answered Rostov, stroking his heated Donets horse.
“And I’d have won on my Frenchy, your excellency,” said Lavrushka from behind, alluding to his shabby cart horse, “only I didn’t wish to mortify you.
They rode at a footpace to the barn, where a large crowd of peasants was standing.
Some of the men bared their heads, others stared at the new arrivals without doffing their caps. Two tall old peasants with wrinkled faces and scanty beards emerged from the tavern, smiling, staggering, and singing some incoherent song, and approached the officers.
“Fine fellows!” said Rostov laughing. “Is there any hay here?”
“And how like one another,” said Ilyin.
“A mo-o-st me-r-r-y co-o-m-pa…!” sang one of the peasants with a blissful smile.
One of the men came out of the crowd and went up to Rostov.
“Who do you belong to?” he asked.
“The French,” replied Ilyin jestingly, “and here is Napoleon himself”- and he pointed to Lavrushka.
“Then you are Russians?” the peasant asked again.
“And is there a large force of you here?” said another, a short man, coming up.
“Very large,” answered Rostov. “But why have you collected here?” he added. “Is it a holiday?”
“The old men have met to talk over the business of the commune,” replied the peasant, moving away.
At that moment, on the road leading from the big house, two women and a man in a white hat were seen coming toward the officers.
“The one in pink is mine, so keep off!” said Ilyin on seeing Dunyasha running resolutely toward him.
“She’ll be ours!” said Lavrushka to Ilyin, winking.
“What do you want, my pretty?” said Ilyin with a smile.
“The princess ordered me to ask your regiment and your name.”
“This is Count Rostov, squadron commander, and I am your humble servant.”
“Co-o-om-pa-ny!” roared the tipsy peasant with a beatific smile as he looked at Ilyin talking to the girl. Following Dunyasha, Alpatych advanced to Rostov, having bared his head while still at a distance.
“May I make bold to trouble your honor?” said he respectfully, but with a shade of contempt for the youthfulness of this officer and with a hand thrust into his bosom. “My mistress, daughter of General in Chief Prince Nicholas Bolkonski who died on the fifteenth of this month, finding herself in difficulties owing to the boorishness of these people”- he pointed to the peasants- “asks you to come up to the house…. Won’t you, please, ride on a little farther,” said Alpatych with a melancholy smile, “as it is not convenient in the presence of…?” He pointed to the two peasants who kept as close to him as horseflies to a horse.
“Ah!… Alpatych… Ah, Yakov Alpatych… Grand! Forgive us for Christ’s sake, eh?” said the peasants, smiling joyfully at him.
Rostov looked at the tipsy peasants and smiled.
“Or perhaps they amuse your honor?” remarked Alpatych with a staid air, as he pointed at the old men with his free hand.
“No, there’s not much to be amused at here,” said Rostov, and rode on a little way. “What’s the matter?” he asked.
“I make bold to inform your honor that the rude peasants here don’t wish to let the mistress leave the estate, and threaten to unharness her horses, so that though everything has been packed up since morning, her excellency cannot get away.”
“Impossible!” exclaimed Rostov.
“I have the honor to report to you the actual truth,” said Alpatych.
Rostov dismounted, gave his horse to the orderly, and followed Alpatych to the house, questioning him as to the state of affairs. It appeared that the princess’ offer of corn to the peasants the previous day, and her talk with Dron and at the meeting, had actually had so bad an effect that Dron had finally given up the keys and joined the peasants and had not appeared when Alpatych sent for him; and that in the morning when the princess gave orders to harness for her journey, the peasants had come in a large crowd to the barn and sent word that they would not let her leave the village: that there was an order not to move, and that they would unharness the horses. Alpatych had gone out to admonish them, but was told (it was chiefly Karp who did the talking, Dron not showing himself in the crowd) that they could not let the princess go, that there was an order to the contrary, but that if she stayed they would serve her as before and obey her in everything.
At the moment when Rostov and Ilyin were galloping along the road, Princess Mary, despite the dissuasions of Alpatych, her nurse, and the maids, had given orders to harness and intended to start, but when the cavalrymen were espied they were taken for Frenchmen, the coachman ran away, and the women in the house began to wail.
“Father! Benefactor! God has sent you!” exclaimed deeply moved voices as Rostov passed through the anteroom.
Princess Mary was sitting helpless and bewildered in the large sitting room, when Rostov was shown in. She could not grasp who he was and why he had come, or what was happening to her. When she saw his Russian face, and by his walk and the first words he uttered recognized him as a man of her own class, she glanced at him with her deep radiant look and began speaking in a voice that faltered and trembled with emotion. This meeting immediately struck Rostov as a romantic event. “A helpless girl overwhelmed with grief, left to the mercy of coarse, rioting peasants! And what a strange fate sent me here! What gentleness and nobility there are in her features and expression!” thought he as he looked at her and listened to her timid story.
When she began to tell him that all this had happened the day after her father’s funeral, her voiced trembled. She turned away, and then, as if fearing he might take her words as meant to move him to pity, looked at him with an apprehensive glance of inquiry. There were tears in Rostov’s eyes. Princess Mary noticed this and glanced gratefully at him with that radiant look which caused the plainness of her face to be forgotten.
“I cannot express, Princess, how glad I am that I happened to ride here and am able to show my readiness to serve you,” said Rostov, rising. “Go when you please, and I give you my word of honor that no one shall dare to cause you annoyance if only you will allow me to act as your escort.” And bowing respectfully, as if to a lady of royal blood, he moved toward the door.
Rostov’s deferential tone seemed to indicate that though he would consider himself happy to be acquainted with her, he did not wish to take advantage of her misfortunes to intrude upon her.
Princess Mary understood this and appreciated his delicacy.
“I am very, very grateful to you,” she said in French, “but I hope it was all a misunderstanding and that no one is to blame for it.” She suddenly began to cry.
“Excuse me!” she said.
Rostov, knitting his brows, left the room with another low bow.
Well, is she pretty? Ah, friend- my pink one is delicious; her name is Dunyasha….”
But on glancing at Rostov’s face Ilyin stopped short. He saw that his hero and commander was following quite a different train of thought.
Rostov glanced angrily at Ilyin and without replying strode off with rapid steps to the village.
“I’ll show them; I’ll give it to them, the brigands!” said he to himself.
Alpatych at a gliding trot, only just managing not to run, kept up with him with difficulty.
“What decision have you been pleased to come to?” said he.
Rostov stopped and, clenching his fists, suddenly and sternly turned on Alpatych.
“Decision? What decision? Old dotard!…” cried he. “What have you been about? Eh? The peasants are rioting, and you can’t manage them? You’re a traitor youself! I know you. I’ll flay you all alive!…” And as if afraid of wasting his store of anger, he left Alpatych and went rapidly forward. Alpatych, mastering his offended feelings, kept pace with Rostov at a gliding gait and continued to impart his views. He said the peasants were obdurate and that at the present moment it would be imprudent to “overresist” them without an armed force, and would it not be better first to send for the military?
“I’ll give them armed force… I’ll ‘overresist’ them!” uttered Rostov meaninglessly, breathless with irrational animal fury and the need to vent it.
Without considering what he would do he moved unconciously with quick, resolute steps toward the crowd. And the nearer he drew to it the more Alpatych felt that this unreasonable action might produce good results. The peasants in the crowd were similarly impressed when they saw Rostov’s rapid, firm steps and resolute, frowning face.
After the hussars had come to the village and Rostov had gone to see the princess, a certain confusion and dissension had arisen among the crowd. Some of the peasants said that these new arrivals were Russians and might take it amiss that the mistress was being detained. Dron was of this opinion, but as soon as he expressed it Karp and others attacked their ex-Elder.
“How many years have you been fattening on the commune?” Karp shouted at him. “It’s all one to you! You’ll dig up your pot of money and take it away with you…. What does it matter to you whether our homes are ruined or not?”
“We’ve been told to keep order, and that no one is to leave their homes or take away a single grain, and that’s all about it!” cried another.
“It was your son’s turn to be conscripted, but no fear! You begrudged your lump of a son,” a little old man suddenly began attacking Dron- “and so they took my Vanka to be shaved for a soldier! But we all have to die.”
“To be sure, we all have to die. I’m not against the commune,” said Dron.
“That’s it- not against it! You’ve filled your belly….”
The two tall peasants had their say. As soon as Rostov, followed by Ilyin, Lavrushka, and Alpatych, came up to the crowd, Karp, thrusting his fingers into his belt and smiling a little, walked to the front. Dron on the contrary retired to the rear and the crowd drew closer together.
“Who is your Elder here? Hey?” shouted Rostov, coming up to the crowd with quick steps.
“The Elder? What do you want with him?…” asked Karp.
But before the words were well out of his mouth, his cap flew off and a fierce blow jerked his head to one side.
“Caps off, traitors!” shouted Rostov in a wrathful voice. “Where’s the Elder?” he cried furiously.
“The Elder…. He wants the Elder!… Dron Zakharych, you!” meek and flustered voices here and there were heard calling and caps began to come off their heads.
“We don’t riot, we’re following the orders,” declared Karp, and at that moment several voices began speaking together.
“It’s as the old men have decided- there’s too many of you giving orders.”
“Arguing? Mutiny!… Brigands! Traitors!” cried Rostov unmeaningly in a voice not his own, gripping Karp by the collar. “Bind him, bind him!” he shouted, though there was no one to bind him but Lavrushka and Alpatych.
Lavrushka, however, ran up to Karp and seized him by the arms from behind.
“Shall I call up our men from beyond the hill?” he called out.
Alpatych turned to the peasants and ordered two of them by name to come and bind Karp. The men obediently came out of the crowd and began taking off their belts.
“Where’s the Elder?” demanded Rostov in a loud voice.
With a pale and frowning face Dron stepped out of the crowd.
“Are you the Elder? Bind him, Lavrushka!” shouted Rostov, as if that order, too, could not possibly meet with any opposition.
And in fact two more peasants began binding Dron, who took off his own belt and handed it to them, as if to aid them.
“And you all listen to me!” said Rostov to the peasants. “Be off to your houses at once, and don’t let one of your voices be heard!”
“Why, we’ve not done any harm! We did it just out of foolishness. It’s all nonsense… I said then that it was not in order,” voices were heard bickering with one another.
“There! What did I say?” said Alpatych, coming into his own again. “It’s wrong, lads!”
“All our stupidity, Yakov Alpatych,” came the answers, and the crowd began at once to disperse through the village.
The two bound men were led off to the master’s house. The two drunken peasants followed them.
“Aye, when I look at you!…” said one of them to Karp.
“How can one talk to the masters like that? What were you thinking of, you fool?” added the other- “A real fool!”
Two hours later the carts were standing in the courtyard of the Bogucharovo house. The peasants were briskly carrying out the proprietor’s goods and packing them on the carts, and Dron, liberated at Princess Mary’s wish from the cupboard where he had been confined, was standing in the yard directing the men.
“Don’t put it in so carelessly,” said one of the peasants, a man with a round smiling face, taking a casket from a housemaid. “You know it has cost money! How can you chuck it in like that or shove it under the cord where it’ll get rubbed? I don’t like that way of doing things. Let it all be done properly, according to rule. Look here, put it under the bast matting and cover it with hay- that’s the way!”
“Eh, books, books!” said another peasant, bringing out Prince Andrew’s library cupboards. “Don’t catch up against it! It’s heavy, lads- solid books.”
“Yes, they worked all day and didn’t play!” remarked the tall, round-faced peasant gravely, pointing with a significant wink at the dictionaries that were on the top.
Unwilling to obtrude himself on the princess, Rostov did not go back to the house but remained in the village awaiting her departure. When her carriage drove out of the house, he mounted and accompanied her eight miles from Bogucharovo to where the road was occupied by our troops. At the inn at Yankovo he respectfully took leave of her, for the first time permitting himself to kiss her hand.
“How can you speak so!” he blushingly replied to Princess Mary’s expressions of gratitude for her deliverance, as she termed what had occurred. “Any police officer would have done as much! If we had had only peasants to fight, we should not have let the enemy come so far,” said he with a sense of shame and wishing to change the subject. “I am only happy to have had the opportunity of making your acquaintance. Good-by, Princess. I wish you happiness and consolation and hope to meet you again in happier circumstances. If you don’t want to make me blush, please don’t thank me!”
But the princess, if she did not again thank him in words, thanked him with the whole expression of her face, radiant with gratitude and tenderness. She could not believe that there was nothing to thank him for. On the contrary, it seemed to her certain that had he not been there she would have perished at the hands of the mutineers and of the French, and that he had exposed himself to terrible and obvious danger to save her, and even more certain was it that he was a man of lofty and noble soul, able to understand her position and her sorrow. His kind, honest eyes, with the tears rising in them when she herself had begun to cry as she spoke of her loss, did leave her memory.
When she had taken leave of him and remained alone she suddenly felt her eyes filling with tears, and then not for the first time the strange question presented itself to her: did she love him?
On the rest of the way to Moscow, though the princess’ position was not a cheerful one, Dunyasha, who went with her in the carriage, more than once noticed that her mistress leaned out of the window and smiled at something with an expression of mingled joy and sorrow.
“Well, supposing I do love him?” thought Princess Mary.
Ashamed as she was of acknowledging to herself that she had fallen in love with a man who would perhaps never love her, she comforted herself with the thought that no one would ever know it and that she would not be to blame if, without ever speaking of it to anyone, she continued to the end of her life to love the man with whom she had fallen in love for the first and last time in her life.
Sometimes when she recalled his looks, his sympathy, and his words, happiness did not appear impossible to her. It was at those moments that Dunyasha noticed her smiling as she looked out of the carriage window.
“Was it not fate that brought him to Bogucharovo, and at that very moment?” thought Princess Mary. “And that caused his sister to refuse my brother?” And in all this Princess Mary saw the hand of Providence.
The impression the princess made on Rostov was a very agreeable one. To remember her gave him pleasure, and when his comrades, hearing of his adventure at Bogucharovo, rallied him on having gone to look for hay and having picked up one of the wealthiest heiresses in Russia, he grew angry. It made him angry just because the idea of marrying the gentle Princess Mary, who was attractive to him and had an enormous fortune, had against his will more than once entered his head. For himself personally Nicholas could not wish for a better wife: by marrying her he would make the countess his mother happy, would be able to put his father’s affairs in order, and would even- he felt it- ensure Princess Mary’s happiness.
But Sonya? And his plighted word? That was why Rostov grew angry when he was rallied about Princess Bolkonskaya.
On receiving command of the armies Kutuzov remembered Prince Andrew and sent an order for him to report at headquarters.
Prince Andrew arrived at Tsarevo-Zaymishche on the very day and at the very hour that Kutuzov was reviewing the troops for the first time. He stopped in the village at the priest’s house in front of which stood the commander in chief’s carriage, and he sat down on the bench at the gate awaiting his Serene Highness, as everyone now called Kutuzov. From the field beyond the village came now sounds of regimental music and now the roar of many voices shouting “Hurrah!” to the new commander in chief. Two orderlies, a courier and a major-domo, stood near by, some ten paces from Prince Andrew, availing themselves of Kutuzov’s absence and of the fine weather. A short, swarthy lieutenant colonel of hussars with thick mustaches and whiskers rode up to the gate and, glancing at Prince Andrew, inquired whether his Serene Highness was putting up there and whether he would soon be back.
Prince Andrew replied that he was not on his Serene Highness’ staff but was himself a new arrival. The lieutenant colonel turned to a smart orderly, who, with the peculiar contempt with which a commander in chief’s orderly speaks to officers, replied:
“What? His Serene Highness? I expect he’ll be here soon. What do you want?”
The lieutenant colonel of hussars smiled beneath his mustache at the orderly’s tone, dismounted, gave his horse to a dispatch runner, and approached Bolkonski with a slight bow. Bolkonski made room for him on the bench and the lieutenant colonel sat down beside him.
“You’re also waiting for the commander in chief?” said he. “They say he weceives evewyone, thank God!… It’s awful with those sausage eaters! Ermolov had weason to ask to be pwomoted to be a German! Now p’waps Wussians will get a look in. As it was, devil only knows what was happening. We kept wetweating and wetweating. Did you take part in the campaign?” he asked.
“I had the pleasure,” replied Prince Andrew, “not only of taking part in the retreat but of losing in that retreat all I held dear- not to mention the estate and home of my birth- my father, who died of grief. I belong to the province of Smolensk.”
“Ah? You’re Pwince Bolkonski? Vewy glad to make your acquaintance! I’m Lieutenant Colonel Denisov, better known as ‘Vaska,'” said Denisov, pressing Prince Andrew’s hand and looking into his face with a particularly kindly attention. “Yes, I heard,” said he sympathetically, and after a short pause added: “Yes, it’s Scythian warfare. It’s all vewy well- only not for those who get it in the neck. So you are Pwince Andwew Bolkonski?” He swayed his head. “Vewy pleased, Pwince, to make your acquaintance!” he repeated again, smiling sadly, and he again pressed Prince Andrew’s hand.
Prince Andrew knew Denisov from what Natasha had told him of her first suitor. This memory carried him sadly and sweetly back to those painful feelings of which he had not thought lately, but which still found place in his soul. Of late he had received so many new and very serious impressions- such as the retreat from Smolensk, his visit to Bald Hills, and the recent news of his father’s death- and had experienced so many emotions, that for a long time past those memories had not entered his mind, and now that they did, they did not act on him with nearly their former strength. For Denisov, too, the memories awakened by the name of Bolkonski belonged to a distant, romantic past, when after supper and after Natasha’s singing he had proposed to a little girl of fifteen without realizing what he was doing. He smiled at the recollection of that time and of his love for Natasha, and passed at once to what now interested him passionately and exclusively. This was a plan of campaign he had devised while serving at the outposts during the retreat. He had proposed that plan to Barclay de Tolly and now wished to propose it to Kutuzov. The plan was based on the fact that the French line of operation was too extended, and it proposed that instead of, or concurrently with, action on the front to bar the advance of the French, we should attack their line of communication. He began explaining his plan to Prince Andrew.
“They can’t hold all that line. It’s impossible. I will undertake to bweak thwough. Give me five hundwed men and I will bweak the line, that’s certain! There’s only one way- guewilla warfare!”
Denisov rose and began gesticulating as he explained his plan to Bolkonski. In the midst of his explanation shouts were heard from the army, growing more incoherent and more diffused, mingling with music and songs and coming from the field where the review was held. Sounds of hoofs and shouts were nearing the village.
“He’s coming! He’s coming!” shouted a Cossack standing at the gate.
Bolkonski and Denisov moved to the gate, at which a knot of soldiers (a guard of honor) was standing, and they saw Kutuzov coming down the street mounted on a rather small sorrel horse. A huge suite of generals rode behind him. Barclay was riding almost beside him, and a crowd of officers ran after and around them shouting, “Hurrah!”
His adjutants galloped into the yard before him. Kutuzov was impatiently urging on his horse, which ambled smoothly under his weight, and he raised his hand to his white Horse Guard’s cap with a red band and no peak, nodding his head continually. When he came up to the guard of honor, a fine set of Grenadiers mostly wearing decorations, who were giving him the salute, he looked at them silently and attentively for nearly a minute with the steady gaze of a commander and then turned to the crowd of generals and officers surrounding him. Suddenly his face assumed a subtle expression, he shrugged his shoulders with an air of perplexity.
“And with such fine fellows to retreat and retreat! Well, good-by, General,” he added, and rode into the yard past Prince Andrew and Denisov.
“Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!” shouted those behind him.
Since Prince Andrew had last seen him Kutuzov had grown still more corpulent, flaccid, and fat. But the bleached eyeball, the scar, and the familiar weariness of his expression were still the same. He was wearing the white Horse Guard’s cap and a military overcoat with a whip hanging over his shoulder by a thin strap. He sat heavily and swayed limply on his brisk little horse.
“Whew… whew… whew!” he whistled just audibly as he rode into the yard. His face expressed the relief of relaxed strain felt by a man who means to rest after a ceremony. He drew his left foot out of the stirrup and, lurching with his whole body and puckering his face with the effort, raised it with difficulty onto the saddle, leaned on his knee, groaned, and slipped down into the arms of the Cossacks and adjutants who stood ready to assist him.
He pulled himself together, looked round, screwing up his eyes, glanced at Prince Andrew, and, evidently not recognizing him, moved with his waddling gait to the porch. “Whew… whew… whew!” he whistled, and again glanced at Prince Andrew. As often occurs with old men, it was only after some seconds that the impression produced by Prince Andrew’s face linked itself up with Kutuzov’s remembrance of his personality.
“Ah, how do you do, my dear prince? How do you do, my dear boy? Come along…” said he, glancing wearily round, and he stepped onto the porch which creaked under his weight.
He unbuttoned his coat and sat down on a bench in the porch.
“And how’s your father?”
“I received news of his death, yesterday,” replied Prince Andrew abruptly.
Kutuzov looked at him with eyes wide open with dismay and then took off his cap and crossed himself:
“May the kingdom of Heaven be his! God’s will be done to us all!” He sighed deeply, his whole chest heaving, and was silent for a while. “I loved him and respected him, and sympathize with you with all my heart.”
He embraced Prince Andrew, pressing him to his fat breast, and for some time did not let him go. When he released him Prince Andrew saw that Kutuzov’s flabby lips were trembling and that tears were in his eyes. He sighed and pressed on the bench with both hands to raise himself.
“Come! Come with me, we’ll have a talk,” said he.
But at that moment Denisov, no more intimidated by his superiors than by the enemy, came with jingling spurs up the steps of the porch, despite the angry whispers of the adjutants who tried to stop him. Kutuzov, his hands still pressed on the seat, glanced at him glumly. Denisov, having given his name, announced that he had to communicate to his Serene Highness a matter of great importance for their country’s welfare. Kutuzov looked wearily at him and, lifting his hands with a gesture of annoyance, folded them across his stomach, repeating the words: “For our country’s welfare? Well, what is it? Speak!” Denisov blushed like a girl (it was strange to see the color rise in that shaggy, bibulous, time-worn face) and boldly began to expound his plan of cutting the enemy’s lines of communication between Smolensk and Vyazma. Denisov came from those parts and knew the country well. His plan seemed decidedly a good one, especially from the strength of conviction with which he spoke. Kutuzov looked down at his own legs, occasionally glancing at the door of the adjoining hut as if expecting something unpleasant to emerge from it. And from that hut, while Denisov was speaking, a general with a portfolio under his arm really did appear.
“What?” said Kutuzov, in the midst of Denisov’s explanations, “are you ready so soon?”
“Ready, your Serene Highness,” replied the general.
Kutuzov swayed his head, as much as to say: “How is one man to deal with it all?” and again listened to Denisov.
“I give my word of honor as a Wussian officer,” said Denisov, “that I can bweak Napoleon’s line of communication!”
“What relation are you to Intendant General Kiril Andreevich Denisov?” asked Kutuzov, interrupting him.
“He is my uncle, your Sewene Highness.”
“Ah, we were friends,” said Kutuzov cheerfully. “All right, all right, friend, stay here at the staff and tomorrow we’ll have a talk.”
With a nod to Denisov he turned away and put out his hand for the papers Konovnitsyn had brought him.
“Would not your Serene Highness like to come inside?” said the general on duty in a discontented voice, “the plans must be examined and several papers have to be signed.”
An adjutant came out and announced that everything was in readiness within. But Kutuzov evidently did not wish to enter that room till he was disengaged. He made a grimace…
“No, tell them to bring a small table out here, my dear boy. I’ll look at them here,” said he. “Don’t go away,” he added, turning to Prince Andrew, who remained in the porch and listened to the general’s report.
While this was being given, Prince Andrew heard the whisper of a woman’s voice and the rustle of a silk dress behind the door. Several times on glancing that way he noticed behind that door a plump, rosy, handsome woman in a pink dress with a lilac silk kerchief on her head, holding a dish and evidently awaiting the entrance of the commander in chief. Kutiizov’s adjutant whispered to Prince Andrew that this was the wife of the priest whose home it was, and that she intended to offer his Serene Highness bread and salt. “Her husband has welcomed his Serene Highness with the cross at the church, and she intends to welcome him in the house…. She’s very pretty,” added the adjutant with a smile. At those words Kutuzov looked round. He was listening to the general’s report- which consisted chiefly of a criticism of the position at Tsarevo-Zaymishche- as he had listened to Denisov, and seven years previously had listened to the discussion at the Austerlitz council of war. He evidently listened only because he had ears which, though there was a piece of tow in one of them, could not help hearing; but it was evident that nothing the general could say would surprise or even interest him, that he knew all that would be said beforehand, and heard it all only because he had to, as one has to listen to the chanting of a service of prayer. All that Denisov had said was clever and to the point. What the general was saying was even more clever and to the point, but it was evident that Kutuzov despised knowledge and cleverness, and knew of something else that would decide the matter- something independent of cleverness and knowledge. Prince Andrew watched the commander in chief’s face attentively, and the only expression he could see there was one of boredom, curiosity as to the meaning of the feminine whispering behind the door, and a desire to observe propriety. It was evident that Kutuzov despised cleverness and learning and even the patriotic feeling shown by Denisov, but despised them not because of his own intellect, feelings, or knowledge- he did not try to display any of these- but because of something else. He despised them because of his old age and experience of life. The only instruction Kutuzov gave of his own accord during that report referred to looting by the Russian troops. At the end of the report the general put before him for signature a paper relating to the recovery of payment from army commanders for green oats mown down by the soldiers, when landowners lodged petitions for compensation.
After hearing the matter, Kutuzov smacked his lips together and shook his head.
“Into the stove… into the fire with it! I tell you once for all, my dear fellow,” said he, “into the fire with all such things! Let them cut the crops and burn wood to their hearts’ content. I don’t order it or allow it, but I don’t exact compensation either. One can’t get on without it. ‘When wood is chopped the chips will fly.'” He looked at the paper again. “Oh, this German precision!” he muttered, shaking his head.
“Well, that’s all!” said Kutuzov as he signed the last of the documents, and rising heavily and smoothing out the folds in his fat white neck he moved toward the door with a more cheerful expression.
The priest’s wife, flushing rosy red, caught up the dish she had after all not managed to present at the right moment, though she had so long been preparing for it, and with a low bow offered it to Kutuzov.
He screwed up his eyes, smiled, lifted her chin with his hand, and said:
“Ah, what a beauty! Thank you, sweetheart!”
He took some gold pieces from his trouser pocket and put them on the dish for her. “Well, my dear, and how are we getting on?” he asked, moving to the door of the room assigned to him. The priest’s wife smiled, and with dimples in her rosy cheeks followed him into the room. The adjutant came out to the porch and asked Prince Andrew to lunch with him. Half an hour later Prince Andrew was again called to Kutuzov. He found him reclining in an armchair, still in the same unbuttoned overcoat. He had in his hand a French book which he closed as Prince Andrew entered, marking the place with a knife. Prince Andrew saw by the cover that it was Les Chevaliers du Cygne by Madame de Genlis.
“Well, sit down, sit down here. Let’s have a talk,” said Kutuzov. “It’s sad, very sad. But remember, my dear fellow, that I am a father to you, a second father….”
Prince Andrew told Kutuzov all he knew of his father’s death, and what he had seen at Bald Hills when he passed through it.
“What… what they have brought us to!” Kutuzov suddenly cried in an agitated voice, evidently picturing vividly to himself from Prince Andrew’s story the condition Russia was in. “But give me time, give me time!” he said with a grim look, evidently not wishing to continue this agitating conversation, and added: “I sent for you to keep you with me.”
“I thank your Serene Highness, but I fear I am no longer fit for the staff,” replied Prince Andrew with a smile which Kutuzov noticed.
Kutuzov glanced inquiringly at him.
“But above all,” added Prince Andrew, “I have grown used to my regiment, am fond of the officers, and I fancy the men also like me. I should be sorry to leave the regiment. If I decline the honor of being with you, believe me…”
A shrewd, kindly, yet subtly derisive expression lit up Kutuzov’s podgy face. He cut Bolkonski short.
“I am sorry, for I need you. But you’re right, you’re right! It’s not here that men are needed. Advisers are always plentiful, but men are not. The regiments would not be what they are if the would-be advisers served there as you do. I remember you at Austerlitz…. I remember, yes, I remember you with the standard!” said Kutuzov, and a flush of pleasure suffused Prince Andrew’s face at this recollection.
Taking his hand and drawing him downwards, Kutuzov offered his cheek to be kissed, and again Prince Andrew noticed tears in the old man’s eyes. Though Prince Andrew knew that Kutuzov’s tears came easily, and that he was particularly tender to and considerate of him from a wish to show sympathy with his loss, yet this reminder of Austerlitz was both pleasant and flattering to him.
“Go your way and God be with you. I know your path is the path of honor!” He paused. “I missed you at Bucharest, but I needed someone to send.” And changing the subject, Kutuzov began to speak of the Turkish war and the peace that had been concluded. “Yes, I have been much blamed,” he said, “both for that war and the peace… but everything came at the right time. Tout vient a point a celui qui sait attendre.* And there were as many advisers there as here…” he went on, returning to the subject of “advisers” which evidently occupied him. “Ah, those advisers!” said he. “If we had listened to them all we should not have made peace with Turkey and should not have been through with that war. Everything in haste, but more haste, less speed. Kamenski would have been lost if he had not died. He stormed fortresses with thirty thousand men. It is not difficult to capture a fortress but it is difficult to win a campaign. For that, storming and attacking but patience and time are wanted. Kamenski sent soldiers to Rustchuk, but I only employed these two things and took more fortresses than Kamenski and made the but eat horseflesh!” He swayed his head. “And the French shall too, believe me,” he went on, growing warmer and beating his chest, “I’ll make them eat horseflesh!” And tears again dimmed his eyes.
*”Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.”
“But shan’t we have to accept battle?” remarked Prince Andrew.
“We shall if everybody wants it; it can’t be helped…. But believe me, my dear boy, there is nothing stronger than those two: patience and time, they will do it all. But the advisers n’entendent pas de cette oreille, voila le mal.* Some want a thing- others don’t. What’s one to do?” he asked, evidently expecting an answer. “Well, what do you want us to do?” he repeated and his eye shone with a deep, shrewd look. “I’ll tell you what to do,” he continued, as Prince Andrew still did not reply: “I will tell you what to do, and what I do. Dans le doute, mon cher,” he paused, “abstiens-toi”*- he articulated the French proverb deliberately.
*”Don’t see it that way, that’s the trouble.”
* “When in doubt, my dear fellow, do nothing.”
“Well, good-by, my dear fellow; remember that with all my heart I share your sorrow, and that for you I am not a Serene Highness, nor a prince, nor a commander in chief, but a father! If you want anything come straight to me. Good-by, my dear boy.”
Again he embraced and kissed Prince Andrew, but before the latter had left the room Kutuzov gave a sigh of relief and went on with his unfinished novel, Les Chevaliers du Cygne by Madame de Genlis.
Prince Andrew could not have explained how or why it was, but after that interview with Kutuzov he went back to his regiment reassured as to the general course of affairs and as to the man to whom it had been entrusted. The more he realized the absence of all personal motive in that old man- in whom there seemed to remain only the habit of passions, and in place of an intellect (grouping events and drawing conclusions) only the capacity calmly to contemplate the course of events- the more reassured he was that everything would be as it should. “He will not bring in any plan of his own. He will not devise or undertake anything,” thought Prince Andrew, “but he will hear everything, remember everything, and put everything in its place. He will not hinder anything useful nor allow anything harmful. He understands that there is something stronger and more important than his own will- the inevitable course of events, and he can see them and grasp their significance, and seeing that significance can refrain from meddling and renounce his personal wish directed to something else. And above all,” thought Prince Andrew, “one believes in him because he’s Russian, despite the novel by Genlis and the French proverbs, and because his voice shook when he said: ‘What they have brought us to!’ and had a sob in it when he said he would ‘make them eat horseflesh!'”
On such feelings, more or less dimly shared by all, the unanimity and general approval were founded with which, despite court influences, the popular choice of Kutuzov as commander in chief was received.
After the Emperor had left Moscow, life flowed on there in its usual course, and its course was so very usual that it was difficult to remember the recent days of patriotic elation and ardor, hard to believe that Russia was really in danger and that the members of the English Club were also sons of the Fatherland ready to sacrifice everything for it. The one thing that recalled the patriotic fervor everyone had displayed during the Emperor’s stay was the call for contributions of men and money, a necessity that as soon as the promises had been made assumed a legal, official form and became unavoidable.
With the enemy’s approach to Moscow, the Moscovites’ view of their situation did not grow more serious but on the contrary became even more frivolous, as always happens with people who see a great danger approaching. At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal power in the human soul: one very reasonably tells a man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of escaping it; the other, still more reasonably, says that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger, since it is not in man’s power to foresee everything and avert the general course of events, and it is therefore better to disregard what is painful till it comes, and to think about what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally listens to the first voice, but in society to the second. So it was now with the inhabitants of Moscow. It was long since people had been as gay in Moscow as that year.
Rostopchin’s broadsheets, headed by woodcuts of a drink shop, a potman, and a Moscow burgher called Karpushka Chigirin, “who- having been a militiaman and having had rather too much at the pub- heard that Napoleon wished to come to Moscow, grew angry, abused the French in very bad language, came out of the drink shop, and, under the sign of the eagle, began to address the assembled people,” were read and discussed, together with the latest of Vasili Lvovich Pushkin’s bouts rimes.
In the corner room at the Club, members gathered to read these broadsheets, and some liked the way Karpushka jeered at the French, saying: “They will swell up with Russian cabbage, burst with our buckwheat porridge, and choke themselves with cabbage soup. They are all dwarfs and one peasant woman will toss three of them with a hayfork.” Others did not like that tone and said it was stupid and vulgar. It was said that Rostopchin had expelled all Frenchmen and even all foreigners from Moscow, and that there had been some spies and agents of Napoleon among them; but this was told chiefly to introduce Rostopchin’s witty remark on that occasion. The foreigners were deported to Nizhni by boat, and Rostopchin had said to them in French: “Rentrez en vousmemes; entrez dans la barque, et n’en faites pas une barque de Charon.”* There was talk of all the government offices having been already removed from Moscow, and to this Shinshin’s witticism was added- that for that alone Moscow ought to be grateful to Napoleon. It was said that Mamonov’s regiment would cost him eight hundred thousand rubles, and that Bezukhov had spent even more on his, but that the best thing about Bezukhov’s action was that he himself was going to don a uniform and ride at the head of his regiment without charging anything for the show.
*”Think it over; get into the barque, and take care not to make it a barque of Charon.”
“You don’t spare anyone,” said Julie Drubetskaya as she collected and pressed together a bunch of raveled lint with her thin, beringed fingers.
Julie was preparing to leave Moscow next day and was giving a farewell soiree.
“Bezukhov est ridicule, but he is so kind and good-natured. What pleasure is there to be so caustique?”
“A forfeit!” cried a young man in militia uniform whom Julie called “mon chevalier,” and who was going with her to Nizhni.
In Julie’s set, as in many other circles in Moscow, it had been agreed that they would speak nothing but Russian and that those who made a slip and spoke French should pay fines to the Committee of Voluntary Contributions.
“Another forfeit for a Gallicism,” said a Russian writer who was present. “‘What pleasure is there to be’ is not Russian!”
“You spare no one,” continued Julie to the young man without heeding the author’s remark.
“For caustique- I am guilty and will pay, and I am prepared to pay again for the pleasure of telling you the truth. For Gallicisms I won’t be responsible,” she remarked, turning to the author: “I have neither the money nor the time, like Prince Galitsyn, to engage a master to teach me Russian!”
“Ah, here he is!” she added. “Quand on… No, no,” she said to the militia officer, “you won’t catch me. Speak of the sun and you see its rays!” and she smiled amiably at Pierre. “We were just talking of you,” she said with the facility in lying natural to a society woman. “We were saying that your regiment would be sure to be better than Mamonov’s.”
“Oh, don’t talk to me of my regiment,” replied Pierre, kissing his hostess’ hand and taking a seat beside her. “I am so sick of it.”
“You will, of course, command it yourself?” said Julie, directing a sly, sarcastic glance toward the militia officer.
The latter in Pierre’s presence had ceased to be caustic, and his face expressed perplexity as to what Julie’s smile might mean. In spite of his absent-mindedness and good nature, Pierre’s personality immediately checked any attempt to ridicule him to his face.
“No,” said Pierre, with a laughing glance at his big, stout body. “I should make too good a target for the French, besides I am afraid I should hardly be able to climb onto a horse.”
Among those whom Julie’s guests happened to choose to gossip about were the Rostovs.
“I hear that their affairs are in a very bad way,” said Julie. “And he is so unreasonable, the count himself I mean. The Razumovskis wanted to buy his house and his estate near Moscow, but it drags on and on. He asks too much.”
“No, I think the sale will come off in a few days,” said someone. “Though it is madness to buy anything in Moscow now.”
“Why?” asked Julie. “You don’t think Moscow is in danger?”
“Then why are you leaving?”
“I? What a question! I am going because… well, because everyone is going: and besides- I am not Joan of Arc or an Amazon.”
“Well, of course, of course! Let me have some more strips of linen.”
“If he manages the business properly he will be able to pay off all his debts,” said the militia officer, speaking of Rostov.
“A kindly old man but not up to much. And why do they stay on so long in Moscow? They meant to leave for the country long ago. Natalie is quite well again now, isn’t she?” Julie asked Pierre with a knowing smile.
“They are waiting for their younger son,” Pierre replied. “He joined Obolenski’s Cossacks and went to Belaya Tserkov where the regiment is being formed. But now they have had him transferred to my regiment and are expecting him every day. The count wanted to leave long ago, but the countess won’t on any account leave Moscow till her son returns.”
“I met them the day before yesterday at the Arkharovs’. Natalie has recovered her looks and is brighter. She sang a song. How easily some people get over everything!”
“Get over what?” inquired Pierre, looking displeased.
“You know, Count, such knights as you are only found in Madame de Souza’s novels.”
“What knights? What do you mean?” demanded Pierre, blushing.
“Oh, come, my dear count! C’est la fable de tout Moscou. Je vous admire, ma parole d’honneur!”*
*”It is the talk of all Moscow. My word, I admire you!”
“Forfeit, forfeit!” cried the militia officer.
“All right, one can’t talk- how tiresome!”
“What is ‘the talk of all Moscow’?” Pierre asked angrily, rising to his feet.
“Come now, Count, you know!”
“I don’t know anything about it,” said Pierre.
“I know you were friendly with Natalie, and so… but I was always more friendly with Vera- that dear Vera.”
“No, madame!” Pierre continued in a tone of displeasure, “I have not taken on myself the role of Natalie Rostova’s knight at all, and have not been their house for nearly a month. But I cannot understand the cruelty…”
“Qui s’excuse s’accuse,”* said Julie, smiling and waving the lint triumphantly, and to have the last word she promptly changed the subject. “Do you know what I heard today? Poor Mary Bolkonskaya arrived in Moscow yesterday. Do you know that she has lost her father?”
*”Who excuses himself, accuses himself.”
“Really? Where is she? I should like very much to see her,” said Pierre.
“I spent the evening with her yesterday. She is going to their estate near Moscow either today or tomorrow morning, with her nephew.”
“Well, and how is she?” asked Pierre.
“She is well, but sad. But do you know who rescued her? It is quite a romance. Nicholas Rostov! She was surrounded, and they wanted to kill her and had wounded some of her people. He rushed in and saved her….”
“Another romance,” said the militia officer. “Really, this general flight has been arranged to get all the old maids married off. Catiche is one and Princess Bolkonskaya another.”
“Do you know, I really believe she is un petit peu amoureuse du jeune homme.”*
*”A little bit in love with the young man.”
“Forfeit, forfeit, forfeit!”
“But how could one say that in Russian?”
When Pierre returned home he was handed two of Rostopchin’s broadsheets that had been brought that day.
The first declared that the report that Count Rostopchin had forbidden people to leave Moscow was false; on the contrary he was glad that ladies and tradesmen’s wives were leaving the city. “There will be less panic and less gossip,” ran the broadsheet “but I will stake my life on it that that will not enter Moscow.” These words showed Pierre clearly for the first time that the French would enter Moscow. The second broadsheet stated that our headquarters were at Vyazma, that Count Wittgenstein had defeated the French, but that as many of the inhabitants of Moscow wished to be armed, weapons were ready for them at the arsenal: sabers, pistols, and muskets which could be had at a low price. The tone of the proclamation was not as jocose as in the former Chigirin talks. Pierre pondered over these broadsheets. Evidently the terrible stormcloud he had desired with the whole strength of his soul but which yet aroused involuntary horror in him was drawing near.
“Shall I join the army and enter the service, or wait?” he asked himself for the hundredth time. He took a pack of cards that lay on the table and began to lay them out for a game of patience.
“If this patience comes out,” he said to himself after shuffling the cards, holding them in his hand, and lifting his head, “if it comes out, it means… what does it mean?”
He had not decided what it should mean when he heard the voice of the eldest princess at the door asking whether she might come in.
“Then it will mean that I must go to the army,” said Pierre to himself. “Come in, come in!” he added to the princess.
Only the eldest princess, the one with the stony face and long waist, was still living in Pierre’s house. The two younger ones had both married.
“Excuse my coming to you, cousin,” she said in a reproachful and agitated voice. “You know some decision must be come to. What is going to happen? Everyone has left Moscow and the people are rioting. How is it that we are staying on?”
“On the contrary, things seem satisfactory, ma cousine,” said Pierre in the bantering tone he habitually adopted toward her, always feeling uncomfortable in the role of her benefactor.
“Satisfactory, indeed! Very satisfactory! Barbara Ivanovna told me today how our troops are distinguishing themselves. It certainly does them credit! And the people too are quite mutinous- they no longer obey, even my maid has taken to being rude. At this rate they will soon begin beating us. One can’t walk in the streets. But, above all, the French will be here any day now, so what are we waiting for? I ask just one thing of you, cousin,” she went on, “arrange for me to be taken to Petersburg. Whatever I may be, I can’t live under Bonaparte’s rule.”
“Oh, come, ma cousine! Where do you get your information from? On the contrary…”
“I won’t submit to your Napoleon! Others may if they please…. If you don’t want to do this…”
“But I will, I’ll give the order at once.”
The princess was apparently vexed at not having anyone to be angry with. Muttering to herself, she sat down on a chair.
“But you have been misinformed,” said Pierre. “Everything is quiet in the city and there is not the slightest danger. See! I’ve just been reading…” He showed her the broadsheet. “Count Rostopchin writes that he will stake his life on it that the enemy will not enter Moscow.”
“Oh, that count of yours!” said the princess malevolently. “He is a hypocrite, a rascal who has himself roused the people to riot. Didn’t he write in those idiotic broadsheets that anyone, ‘whoever it might be, should be dragged to the lockup by his hair’? (How silly!) ‘And honor and glory to whoever captures him,’ he says. This is what his cajolery has brought us to! Barbara Ivanovna told me the mob near killed her because she said something in French.”
“Oh, but it’s so… You take everything so to heart,” said Pierre, and began laying out his cards for patience.
Although that patience did come out, Pierre did not join the army, but remained in deserted Moscow ever in the same state of agitation, irresolution, and alarm, yet at the same time joyfully expecting something terrible.
Next day toward evening the princess set off, and Pierre’s head steward came to inform him that the money needed for the equipment of his regiment could not be found without selling one of the estates. In general the head steward made out to Pierre that his project of raising a regiment would ruin him. Pierre listened to him, scarcely able to repress a smile.
“Well then, sell it,” said he. “What’s to be done? I can’t draw back now!”
The worse everything became, especially his own affairs, the better was Pierre pleased and the more evident was it that the catastrophe he expected was approaching. Hardly anyone he knew was left in town. Julie had gone, and so had Princess Mary. Of his intimate friends only the Rostovs remained, but he did not go to see them.
To distract his thoughts he drove that day to the village of Vorontsovo to see the great balloon Leppich was constructing to destroy the foe, and a trial balloon that was to go up next day. The balloon was not yet ready, but Pierre learned that it was being constructed by the Emperor’s desire. The Emperor had written to Count Rostopchin as follows:
As soon as Leppich is ready, get together a crew of reliable and intelligent men for his car and send a courier to General Kutuzov to let him know. I have informed him of the matter.
Please impress upon Leppich to be very careful where he descends for the first time, that he may not make a mistake and fall into the enemy’s hands. It is essential for him to combine his movements with those of the commander in chief.
On his way home from Vorontsovo, as he was passing the Bolotnoe Place Pierre, seeing a large crowd round the Lobnoe Place, stopped and got out of his trap. A French cook accused of being a spy was being flogged. The flogging was only just over, and the executioner was releasing from the flogging bench a stout man with red whiskers, in blue stockings and a green jacket, who was moaning piteously. Another criminal, thin and pale, stood near. Judging by their faces they were both Frenchmen. With a frightened and suffering look resembling that on the thin Frenchman’s face, Pierre pushed his way in through the crowd.
“What is it? Who is it? What is it for?” he kept asking.
But the attention of the crowd- officials, burghers, shopkeepers, peasants, and women in cloaks and in pelisses- was so eagerly centered on what was passing in Lobnoe Place that no one answered him. The stout man rose, frowned, shrugged his shoulders, and evidently trying to appear firm began to pull on his jacket without looking about him, but suddenly his lips trembled and he began to cry, in the way full-blooded grown-up men cry, though angry with himself for doing so. In the crowd people began talking loudly, to stifle their feelings of pity as it seemed to Pierre.
“He’s cook to some prince.”
“Eh, mounseer, Russian sauce seems to be sour to a Frenchman… sets his teeth on edge!” said a wrinkled clerk who was standing behind Pierre, when the Frenchman began to cry.
The clerk glanced round, evidently hoping that his joke would be appreciated. Some people began to laugh, others continued to watch in dismay the executioner who was undressing the other man.
Pierre choked, his face puckered, and he turned hastily away, went back to his trap muttering something to himself as he went, and took his seat. As they drove along he shuddered and exclaimed several times so audibly that the coachman asked him:
“What is your pleasure?”
“Where are you going?” shouted Pierre to the man, who was driving to Lubyanka Street.
“To the Governor’s, as you ordered,” answered the coachman.
“Fool! Idiot!” shouted Pierre, abusing his coachman- a thing he rarely did. “Home, I told you! And drive faster, blockhead!” “I must get away this very day,” he murmured to himself.
At the sight of the tortured Frenchman and the crowd surrounding the Lobnoe Place, Pierre had so definitely made up his mind that he could no longer remain in Moscow and would leave for the army that very day that it seemed to him that either he had told the coachman this or that the man ought to have known it for himself.
On reaching home Pierre gave orders to Evstafey- his head coachman who knew everything, could do anything, and was known to all Moscow- that he would leave that night for the army at Mozhaysk, and that his saddle horses should be sent there. This could not all be arranged that day, so on Evstafey’s representation Pierre had to put off his departure till next day to allow time for the relay horses to be sent on in advance.
On the twenty-fourth the weather cleared up after a spell of rain, and after dinner Pierre left Moscow. When changing horses that night in Perkhushkovo, he learned that there had been a great battle that evening. (This was the battle of Shevardino.) He was told that there in Perkhushkovo the earth trembled from the firing, but nobody could answer his questions as to who had won. At dawn next day Pierre was approaching Mozhaysk.
Every house in Mozhaysk had soldiers quartered in it, and at the hostel where Pierre was met by his groom and coachman there was no room to be had. It was full of officers.
Everywhere in Mozhaysk and beyond it, troops were stationed or on the march. Cossacks, foot and horse soldiers, wagons, caissons, and cannon were everywhere. Pierre pushed forward as fast as he could, and the farther he left Moscow behind and the deeper he plunged into that sea of troops the more was he overcome by restless agitation and a new and joyful feeling he had not experienced before. It was a feeling akin to what he had felt at the Sloboda Palace during the Emperor’s visit- a sense of the necessity of undertaking something and sacrificing something. He now experienced a glad consciousness that everything that constitutes men’s happiness- the comforts of life, wealth, even life itself- is rubbish it is pleasant to throw away, compared with something… With what? Pierre could not say, and he did not try to determine for whom and for what he felt such particular delight in sacrificing everything. He was not occupied with the question of what to sacrifice for; the fact of sacrificing in itself afforded him a new and joyous sensation.
On the twenty-fourth of August the battle of the Shevardino Redoubt was fought, on the twenty-fifth not a shot was fired by either side, and on the twenty-sixth the battle of Borodino itself took place.
Why and how were the battles of Shevardino and Borodino given and accepted? Why was the battle of Borodino fought? There was not the least sense in it for either the French or the Russians. Its immediate result for the Russians was, and was bound to be, that we were brought nearer to the destruction of Moscow- which we feared more than anything in the world; and for the French its immediate result was that they were brought nearer to the destruction of their whole army- which they feared more than anything in the world. What the result must be was quite obvious, and yet Napoleon offered and Kutuzov accepted that battle.
If the commanders had been guided by reason, it would seem that it must have been obvious to Napoleon that by advancing thirteen hundred miles and giving battle with a probability of losing a quarter of his army, he was advancing to certain destruction, and it must have been equally clear to Kutuzov that by accepting battle and risking the loss of a quarter of his army he would certainly lose Moscow. For Kutuzov this was mathematically clear, as it is that if when playing draughts I have one man less and go on exchanging, I shall certainly lose, and therefore should not exchange. When my opponent has sixteen men and I have fourteen, I am only one eighth weaker than he, but when I have exchanged thirteen more men he will be three times as strong as I am.
Before the battle of Borodino our strength in proportion to the French was about as five to six, but after that battle it was little more than one to two: previously we had a hundred thousand against a hundred and twenty thousand; afterwards little more than fifty thousand against a hundred thousand. Yet the shrewd and experienced Kutuzov accepted the battle, while Napoleon, who was said to be a commander of genius, gave it, losing a quarter of his army and lengthening his lines of communication still more. If it is said that he expected to end the campaign by occupying Moscow as he had ended a previous campaign by occupying Vienna, there is much evidence to the contrary. Napoleon’s historians themselves tell us that from Smolensk onwards he wished to stop, knew the danger of his extended position, and knew that the occupation of Moscow would not be the end of the campaign, for he had seen at Smolensk the state in which Russian towns were left to him, and had not received a single reply to his repeated announcements of his wish to negotiate.
In giving and accepting battle at Borodino, Kutuzov acted involuntarily and irrationally. But later on, to fit what had occurred, the historians provided cunningly devised evidence of the foresight and genius the generals who, of all the blind tools of history were the most enslaved and involuntary.
The ancients have left us model heroic poems in which the heroes furnish the whole interest of the story, and we are still unable to accustom ourselves to the fact that for our epoch histories of that kind are meaningless.
On the other question, how the battle of Borodino and the preceding battle of Shevardino were fought, there also exists a definite and well-known, but quite false, conception. All the historians describe the affair as follows:
The Russian army, they say, in its retreat from Smolensk sought out for itself the best position for a general engagement and found such a position at Borodino.
The Russians, they say, fortified this position in advance on the left of the highroad (from Moscow to Smolensk) and almost at a right angle to it, from Borodino to Utitsa, at the very place where the battle was fought.
In front of this position, they say, a fortified outpost was set up on the Shevardino mound to observe the enemy. On the twenty-fourth, we are told, Napoleon attacked this advanced post and took it, and, on the twenty-sixth, attacked the whole Russian army, which was in position on the field of Borodino.
So the histories say, and it is all quite wrong, as anyone who cares to look into the matter can easily convince himself.
The Russians did not seek out the best position but, on the contrary, during the retreat passed many positions better than Borodino. They did not stop at any one of these positions because Kutuzov did not wish to occupy a position he had not himself chosen, because the popular demand for a battle had not yet expressed itself strongly enough, and because Miloradovich had not yet arrived with the militia, and for many other reasons. The fact is that other positions they had passed were stronger, and that the position at Borodino (the one where the battle was fought), far from being strong, was no more a position than any other spot one might find in the Russian Empire by sticking a pin into the map at hazard.
Not only did the Russians not fortify the position on the field of Borodino to the left of, and at a right angle to, the highroad (that is, the position on which the battle took place), but never till the twenty-fifth of August, 1812, did they think that a battle might be fought there. This was shown first by the fact that there were no entrenchments there by the twenty fifth and that those begun on the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth were not completed, and secondly, by the position of the Shevardino Redoubt. That redoubt was quite senseless in front of the position where the battle was accepted. Why was it more strongly fortified than any other post? And why were all efforts exhausted and six thousand men sacrificed to defend it till late at night on the twenty-fourth? A Cossack patrol would have sufficed to observe the enemy. Thirdly, as proof that the position on which the battle was fought had not been foreseen and that the Shevardino Redoubt was not an advanced post of that position, we have the fact that up to the twenty-fifth, Barclay de Tolly and Bagration were convinced that the Shevardino Redoubt was the left flank of the position, and that Kutuzov himself in his report, written in hot haste after the battle, speaks of the Shevardino Redoubt as the left flank of the position. It was much later, when reports on the battle of Borodino were written at leisure, that the incorrect and extraordinary statement was invented (probably to justify the mistakes of a commander in chief who had to be represented as infallible) that the Shevardino Redoubt was an advanced post- whereas in reality it was simply a fortified point on the left flank- and that the battle of Borodino was fought by us on an entrenched position previously selected, where as it was fought on a quite unexpected spot which was almost unentrenched.
The case was evidently this: a position was selected along the river Kolocha- which crosses the highroad not at a right angle but at an acute angle- so that the left flank was at Shevardino, the right flank near the village of Novoe, and the center at Borodino at the confluence of the rivers Kolocha and Voyna.
To anyone who looks at the field of Borodino without thinking of how the battle was actually fought, this position, protected by the river Kolocha, presents itself as obvious for an army whose object was to prevent an enemy from advancing along the Smolensk road to Moscow.
Napoleon, riding to Valuevo on the twenty-fourth, did not see (as the history books say he did) the position of the Russians from Utitsa to Borodino (he could not have seen that position because it did not exist), nor did he see an advanced post of the Russian army, but while pursuing the Russian rearguard he came upon the left flank of the Russian position- at the Shevardino Redoubt- and unexpectedly for the Russians moved his army across the Kolocha. And the Russians, not having time to begin a general engagement, withdrew their left wing from the position they had intended to occupy and took up a new position which had not been foreseen and was not fortified. By crossing to the other side of the Kolocha to the left of the highroad, Napoleon shifted the whole forthcoming battle from right to left (looking from the Russian side) and transferred it to the plain between Utitsa, Semenovsk, and Borodino- a plain no more advantageous as a position than any other plain in Russia- and there the whole battle of the twenty-sixth of August took place.
Had Napoleon not ridden out on the evening of the twenty-fourth to the Kolocha, and had he not then ordered an immediate attack on the redoubt but had begun the attack next morning, no one would have doubted that the Shevardino Redoubt was the left flank of our and the battle would have taken place where we expected it. In that case we should probably have defended the Shevardino Redoubt- our left flank- still more obstinately. We should have attacked Napoleon in the center or on the right, and the engagement would have taken place on the twenty-fifth, in the position we intended and had fortified. But as the attack on our left flank took place in the evening after the retreat of our rear guard (that is, immediately after the fight at Gridneva), and as the Russian commanders did not wish, or were not in time, to begin a general engagement then on the evening of the twenty-fourth, the first and chief action of the battle of Borodino was already lost on the twenty-fourth, and obviously led to the loss of the one fought on the twenty-sixth.
After the loss of the Shevardino Redoubt, we found ourselves on the morning of the twenty-fifth without a position for our left flank, and were forced to bend it back and hastily entrench it where it chanced to be.
Not only was the Russian army on the twenty-sixth defended by weak, unfinished entrenchments, but the disadvantage of that position was increased by the fact that the Russian commanders- not having fully realized what had happened, namely the loss of our position on the left flank and the shifting of the whole field of the forthcoming battle from right to left- maintained their extended position from the village of Novoe to Utitsa, and consequently had to move their forces from right to left during the battle. So it happened that throughout the whole battle the Russians opposed the entire French army launched against our left flank with but half as many men. (Poniatowski’s action against Utitsa, and Uvarov’s on the right flank against the French, were actions distinct from the main course of the battle.) So the battle of Borodino did not take place at all as (in an effort to conceal our commanders’ mistakes even at the cost of diminishing the glory due to the Russian army and people) it has been described. The battle of Borodino was not fought on a chosen and entrenched position with forces only slightly weaker than those of the enemy, but, as a result of the loss of the Shevardino Redoubt, the Russians fought the battle of Borodino on an open and almost unentrenched position, with forces only half as numerous as the French; that is to say, under conditions in which it was not merely unthinkable to fight for ten hours and secure an indecisive result, but unthinkable to keep an army even from complete disintegration and flight.
On the morning of the twenty-fifth Pierre was leaving Mozhaysk. At the descent of the high steep hill, down which a winding road led out of the town past the cathedral on the right, where a service was being held and the bells were ringing, Pierre got out of his vehicle and proceeded on foot. Behind him a cavalry regiment was coming down the hill preceded by its singers. Coming up toward him was a train of carts carrying men who had been wounded in the engagement the day before. The peasant drivers, shouting and lashing their horses, kept crossing from side to side. The carts, in each of which three or four wounded soldiers were lying or sitting, jolted over the stones that had been thrown on the steep incline to make it something like a road. The wounded, bandaged with rags, with pale cheeks, compressed lips, and knitted brows, held on to the sides of the carts as they were jolted against one another. Almost all of them stared with naive, childlike curiosity at Pierre’s white hat and green swallow-tail coat.
Pierre’s coachman shouted angrily at the convoy of wounded to keep to one side of the road. The cavalry regiment, as it descended the hill with its singers, surrounded Pierre’s carriage and blocked the road. Pierre stopped, being pressed against the side of the cutting in which the road ran. The sunshine from behind the hill did not penetrate into the cutting and there it was cold and damp, but above Pierre’s head was the bright August sunshine and the bells sounded merrily. One of the carts with wounded stopped by the side of the road close to Pierre. The driver in his bast shoes ran panting up to it, placed a stone under one of its tireless hind wheels, and began arranging the breech-band on his little horse.
One of the wounded, an old soldier with a bandaged arm who was following the cart on foot, caught hold of it with his sound hand and turned to look at Pierre.
“I say, fellow countryman! Will they set us down here or take us on to Moscow?” he asked.
Pierre was so deep in thought that he did not hear the question. He was looking now at the cavalry regiment that had met the convoy of wounded, now at the cart by which he was standing, in which two wounded men were sitting and one was lying. One of those sitting up in the cart had probably been wounded in the cheek. His whole head was wrapped in rags and one cheek was swollen to the size of a baby’s head. His nose and mouth were twisted to one side. This soldier was looking at the cathedral and crossing himself. Another, a young lad, a fair-haired recruit as white as though there was no blood in his thin face, looked at Pierre kindly, with a fixed smile. The third lay prone so that his face was not visible. The cavalry singers were passing close by:
Ah lost, quite lost… is my head so keen, Living in a foreign land.
they sang their soldiers’ dance song.
As if responding to them but with a different sort of merriment, the metallic sound of the bells reverberated high above and the hot rays of the sun bathed the top of the opposite slope with yet another sort of merriment. But beneath the slope, by the cart with the wounded near the panting little nag where Pierre stood, it was damp, somber, and sad.
The soldier with the swollen cheek looked angrily at the cavalry singers.
“Oh, the coxcombs!” he muttered reproachfully.
“It’s not the soldiers only, but I’ve seen peasants today, too…. The peasants- even they have to go,” said the soldier behind the cart, addressing Pierre with a sad smile. “No distinctions made nowadays…. They want the whole nation to fall on them- in a word, it’s Moscow! They want to make an end of it.”
In spite of the obscurity of the soldier’s words Pierre understood what he wanted to say and nodded approval.
The road was clear again; Pierre descended the hill and drove on.
He kept looking to either side of the road for familiar faces, but only saw everywhere the unfamiliar faces of various military men of different branches of the service, who all looked with astonishment at his white hat and green tail coat.
Having gone nearly three miles he at last met an acquaintance and eagerly addressed him. This was one of the head army doctors. He was driving toward Pierre in a covered gig, sitting beside a young surgeon, and on recognizing Pierre he told the Cossack who occupied the driver’s seat to pull up.
“Count! Your excellency, how come you to be here?” asked the doctor.
“Well, you know, I wanted to see…”
“Yes, yes, there will be something to see….”
Pierre got out and talked to the doctor, explaining his intention of taking part in a battle.
The doctor advised him to apply direct to Kutuzov.
“Why should you be God knows where out of sight, during the battle?” he said, exchanging glances with his young companion. “Anyhow his Serene Highness knows you and will receive you graciously. That’s what you must do.”
The doctor seemed tired and in a hurry.
“You think so?… Ah, I also wanted to ask you where our position is exactly?” said Pierre.
“The position?” repeated the doctor. “Well, that’s not my line. Drive past Tatarinova, a lot of digging is going on there. Go up the hillock and you’ll see.”
“Can one see from there?… If you would…”
But the doctor interrupted him and moved toward his gig.
“I would go with you but on my honor I’m up to here”- and he pointed to his throat. “I’m galloping to the commander of the corps. How do