War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - HTML preview
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And indeed everybody in the room looked with a smile of pleasure at the jovial old gentleman, who standing beside his tall and stout partner, Marya Dmitrievna, curved his arms, beat time, straightened his shoulders, turned out his toes, tapped gently with his foot, and, by a smile that broadened his round face more and more, prepared the onlookers for what was to follow. As soon as the provocatively gay strains of Daniel Cooper (somewhat resembling those of a merry peasant dance) began to sound, all the doorways of the ballroom were suddenly filled by the domestic serfs--the men on one side and the women on the other--who with beaming faces had come to see their master making merry."Just look at the master! A regular eagle he is!" loudly remarked the nurse, as she stood in one of the doorways.
The count danced well and knew it. But his partner could not and did not want to dance well. Her enormous figure stood erect, her powerful arms hanging down (she had handed her reticule to the countess), and only her stern but handsome face really joined in the dance. What was expressed by the whole of the count's plump figure, in Marya Dmitrievna found expression only in her more and more beaming face and quivering nose. But if the count, getting more and more into the swing of it, charmed the spectators by the unexpectedness of his adroit maneuvers and the agility with which he capered about on his light feet, Marya Dmitrievna produced no less impression by slight exertions--the least effort to move her shoulders or bend her arms when turning, or stamp her foot--which everyone appreciated in view of her size and habitual severity. The dance grew livelier and
livelier. The other couples could not attract a moment's attention to their own evolutions and did not even try to do so. All were watching the count and Marya Dmitrievna. Natasha kept pulling everyone by sleeve or dress, urging them to "look at Papa!" though as it was they never took their eyes off the couple. In the intervals of the dance the count, breathing deeply, waved and shouted to the musicians to play faster. Faster, faster, and faster; lightly, more lightly, and yet more lightly whirled the count, flying round Marya Dmitrievna, now on his toes, now on his heels; until, turning his partner round to her seat, he executed the final pas, raising his soft foot backwards, bowing his perspiring head, smiling and making a wide sweep with his arm, amid a thunder of applause and laughter led by Natasha. Both partners stood still, breathing heavily and wiping their faces with their cambric handkerchiefs.
While in the Rostovs' ballroom the sixth anglaise was being danced, to a tune in which the weary musicians blundered, and while tired footmen and cooks were getting the supper, Count Bezukhov had a sixth stroke. The doctors pronounced recovery impossible. After a mute confession, communion was administered to the dying man, preparations made for the sacrament of unction, and in his house there was the bustle and thrill of suspense usual at such moments. Outside the house, beyond the gates, a group of undertakers, who hid whenever a carriage drove up, waited in expectation of an important order for an expensive funeral. The Military Governor of Moscow, who had been assiduous in sending aides-de-camp to inquire after the count's health, came himself that evening to bid a last farewell to the celebrated grandee of Catherine's court, Count Bezukhov.
The magnificent reception room was crowded. Everyone stood up respectfully when the Military Governor, having stayed about half an hour alone with the dying man, passed out, slightly acknowledging their bows and trying to escape as quickly as from the glances fixed on him by the doctors, clergy, and relatives of the family. Prince Vasili, who had grown thinner and paler during the last few days, escorted him to the door, repeating something to him several times in low tones.
When the Military Governor had gone, Prince Vasili sat down all alone on a chair in the ballroom, crossing one leg high over the other, leaning his elbow on his knee and covering his face with his hand. After sitting so for a while he rose, and, looking about him with frightened eyes, went with unusually hurried steps down the long corridor leading to the back of the house, to the room of the eldest princess.
Those who were in the dimly lit reception room spoke in nervous whispers, and, whenever anyone went into or came from the dying man's room, grew silent and gazed with eyes full of curiosity or expectancy at his door, which creaked slightly when opened. "The limits of human life... are fixed and may not be o'erpassed," said an old priest to a lady who had taken a seat beside him and was listening naively to his words.
"I wonder, is it not too late to administer unction?" asked the lady, adding the priest's clerical title, as if she had no opinion of her own on the subject.
"Ah, madam, it is a great sacrament," replied the priest, passing his hand over the thin grizzled strands of hair combed back across his bald head."Who was that? The Military Governor himself?" was being asked at the other side of the room. "How young-looking he is!" "Yes, and he is over sixty. I hear the count no longer recognizes anyone. They wished to administer the sacrament of unction." "I knew someone who received that sacrament seven times."
The second princess had just come from the sickroom with her eyes red from weeping and sat down beside Dr. Lorrain, who was sitting in a graceful pose under a portrait of Catherine, leaning his elbow on a table.
"Beautiful," said the doctor in answer to a remark about the weather. "The weather is beautiful, Princess; and besides, in Moscow one feels as if one were in the country.""Yes, indeed," replied the princess with a sigh. "So he may have something to drink?" Lorrain considered. "Has he taken his medicine?" "Yes." The doctor glanced at his watch. "Take a glass of boiled water and put a pinch of cream of tartar," and he indicated with his delicate fingers what he meant by a pinch. "Dere has neffer been a gase," a German doctor was saying to an aide-de-camp, "dat one liffs after de sird stroke." "And what a well-preserved man he was!" remarked the aide-de-camp. "And who will inherit his wealth?" he added in a whisper.
"It von't go begging," replied the German with a smile. Everyone again looked toward the door, which creaked as the second princess went in with the drink she had prepared according to Lorrain's instructions. The German doctor went up to Lorrain."Do you think he can last till morning?" asked the German, addressing Lorrain in French which he pronounced badly. Lorrain, pursing up his lips, waved a severely negative finger before his nose.
"Tonight, not later," said he in a low voice, and he moved away with a decorous smile of self-satisfaction at being able clearly to understand and state the patient's condition.Meanwhile Prince Vasili had opened the door into the princess' room.
In this room it was almost dark; only two tiny lamps were burning before the icons and there was a pleasant scent of flowers and burnt pastilles. The room was crowded with small pieces of furniture, whatnots, cupboards, and little tables. The quilt of a high, white feather bed was just visible behind a screen. A small dog began to bark."Ah, is it you, cousin?"
She rose and smoothed her hair, which was as usual so extremely smooth that it seemed to be made of one piece with her head and covered with varnish."Has anything happened?" she asked. "I am so terrified."
"No, there is no change. I only came to have a talk about business, Catiche,"* muttered the prince, seating himself wearily on the chair she had just vacated. "You have made the place warm, I must say," he remarked. "Well, sit down: let's have a talk."*Catherine.
"I thought perhaps something had happened," she said with her unchanging stonily severe expression; and, sitting down opposite the prince, she prepared to listen."I wished to get a nap, mon cousin, but I can't."
"Well, my dear?" said Prince Vasili, taking her hand and bending it downwards as was his habit.
It was plain that this "well?" referred to much that they both understood without naming.
The princess, who had a straight, rigid body, abnormally long for her legs, looked directly at Prince Vasili with no sign of emotion in her prominent gray eyes. Then she shook her head and glanced up at the icons with a sigh. This might have been taken as an expression of sorrow and devotion, or of weariness and hope of resting before long. Prince Vasili understood it as an expression of weariness.
"And I?" he said; "do you think it is easier for me? I am as worn out as a post horse, but still I must have a talk with you, Catiche, a very serious talk."
Prince Vasili said no more and his cheeks began to twitch nervously, now on one side, now on the other, giving his face an unpleasant expression which was never to be seen on it in a drawing room. His eyes too seemed strange; at one moment they looked impudently sly and at the next glanced round in alarm.
The princess, holding her little dog on her lap with her thin bony hands, looked attentively into Prince Vasili's eyes evidently resolved not to be the first to break silence, if she had to wait till morning.
"Well, you see, my dear princess and cousin, Catherine Semenovna," continued Prince Vasili, returning to his theme, apparently not without an inner struggle; "at such a moment as this one must think of everything. One must think of the future, of all of you... I love you all, like children of my own, as you know."The princess continued to look at him without moving, and with the same dull expression.
"And then of course my family has also to be considered," Prince Vasili went on, testily pushing away a little table without looking at her. "You know, Catiche, that we--you three sisters, Mamontov, and my wife--are the count's only direct heirs. I know, I know how hard it is for you to talk or think of such matters. It is no easier for me; but, my dear, I am getting on for sixty and must be prepared for anything. Do you know I have sent for Pierre? The count," pointing to his portrait, "definitely demanded that he should be called."
Prince Vasili looked questioningly at the princess, but could not make out whether she was considering what he had just said or whether she was simply looking at him."There is one thing I constantly pray God to grant, mon cousin," she replied, "and it is that He would be merciful to him and would allow his noble soul peacefully to leave this..."
"Yes, yes, of course," interrupted Prince Vasili impatiently, rubbing his bald head and angrily pulling back toward him the little table that he had pushed away. "But... in short, the fact is... you know yourself that last winter the count made a will by which he left all his property, not to us his direct heirs, but to Pierre.""He has made wills enough!" quietly remarked the princess. "But he cannot leave the estate to Pierre. Pierre is illegitimate."
"But, my dear," said Prince Vasili suddenly, clutching the little table and becoming more animated and talking more rapidly: "what if a letter has been written to the Emperor in which the count asks for Pierre's legitimation? Do you understand that in consideration of the count's services, his request would be granted?..."The princess smiled as people do who think they know more about the subject under discussion than those they are talking with.
"I can tell you more," continued Prince Vasili, seizing her hand, "that letter was written, though it was not sent, and the Emperor knew of it. The only question is, has it been destroyed or not? If not, then as soon as all is over," and Prince Vasili sighed to intimate what he meant by the words all is over, "and the count's papers are opened, the will and letter will be delivered to the Emperor, and the petition will certainly be granted. Pierre will get everything as the legitimate son.""And our share?" asked the princess smiling ironically, as if anything might happen, only not that.
"But, my poor Catiche, it is as clear as daylight! He will then be the legal heir to everything and you won't get anything. You must know, my dear, whether the will and letter were written, and whether they have been destroyed or not. And if they have somehow been overlooked, you ought to know where they are, and must find them, because..."
"What next?" the princess interrupted, smiling sardonically and not changing the expression of her eyes. "I am a woman, and you think we are all stupid; but I know this: an illegitimate son cannot inherit... un batard!"* she added, as if supposing that this translation of the word would effectively prove to Prince Vasili the invalidity of his contention.
*A bastard. "Well, really, Catiche! Can't you understand! You are so intelligent, how is it you don't see that if the count has written a letter to the Emperor begging him to recognize Pierre as legitimate, it follows that Pierre will not be Pierre but will become Count Bezukhov, and will then inherit everything under the will? And if the will and letter are not destroyed, then you will have nothing but the consolation of having been dutiful et tout ce qui s'ensuit!* That's certain."*And all that follows therefrom.
"I know the will was made, but I also know that it is invalid; and you, mon cousin, seem to consider me a perfect fool," said the princess with the expression women assume when they suppose they are saying something witty and stinging.
"My dear Princess Catherine Semenovna," began Prince Vasili impatiently, "I came here not to wrangle with you, but to talk about your interests as with a kinswoman, a good, kind, true relation. And I tell you for the tenth time that if the letter to the Emperor and the will in Pierre's favor are among the count's papers, then, my dear girl, you and your sisters are not heiresses! If you don't believe me, then believe an expert. I have just been talking to Dmitri Onufrich" (the family solicitor) "and he says the same."
At this a sudden change evidently took place in the princess' ideas; her thin lips grew white, though her eyes did not change, and her voice when she began to speak passed through such transitions as she herself evidently did not expect."That would be a fine thing!" said she. "I never wanted anything and I don't now." She pushed the little dog off her lap and smoothed her dress.
"And this is gratitude--this is recognition for those who have sacrificed everything for his sake!" she cried. "It's splendid! Fine! I don't want anything, Prince.""Yes, but you are not the only one. There are your sisters..." replied Prince Vasili. But the princess did not listen to him.
"Yes, I knew it long ago but had forgotten. I knew that I could expect nothing but meanness, deceit, envy, intrigue, and ingratitude--the blackest ingratitude--in this house..." "Do you or do you not know where that will is?" insisted Prince Vasili, his cheeks twitching more than ever.
"Yes, I was a fool! I still believed in people, loved them, and sacrificed myself. But only the base, the vile succeed! I know who has been intriguing!"
The princess wished to rise, but the prince held her by the hand. She had the air of one who has suddenly lost faith in the whole human race. She gave her companion an angry glance.
"There is still time, my dear. You must remember, Catiche, that it was all done casually in a moment of anger, of illness, and was afterwards forgotten. Our duty, my dear, is to rectify his mistake, to ease his last moments by not letting him commit this injustice, and not to let him die feeling that he is rendering unhappy those who..."
"Who sacrificed everything for him," chimed in the princess, who would again have risen had not the prince still held her fast, "though he never could appreciate it. No, mon cousin," she added with a sigh, "I shall always remember that in this world one must expect no reward, that in this world there is neither honor nor justice. In this world one has to be cunning and cruel.""Now come, come! Be reasonable. I know your excellent heart." "No, I have a wicked heart."
"I know your heart," repeated the prince. "I value your friendship and wish you to have as good an opinion of me. Don't upset yourself, and let us talk sensibly while there is still time, be it a day or be it but an hour.... Tell me all you know about the will, and above all where it is. You must know. We will take it at once and show it to the count. He has, no doubt, forgotten it and will wish to destroy it. You understand that my sole desire is conscientiously to carry out his wishes; that is my only reason for being here. I came simply to help him and you.""Now I see it all! I know who has been intriguing--I know!" cried the princess. "That's not the point, my dear."
"It's that protege of yours, that sweet Princess Drubetskaya, that Anna Mikhaylovna whom I would not take for a housemaid... the infamous, vile woman!""Do not let us lose any time..."
"Ah, don't talk to me! Last winter she wheedled herself in here and told the count such vile, disgraceful things about us, especially about Sophie--I can't repeat them--that it made the count quite ill and he would not see us for a whole fortnight. I know it was then he wrote this vile, infamous paper, but I thought the thing was invalid.""We've got to it at last--why did you not tell me about it sooner?"
"It's in the inlaid portfolio that he keeps under his pillow," said the princess, ignoring his question. "Now I know! Yes; if I have a sin, a great sin, it is hatred of that vile woman!" almost shrieked the princess, now quite changed. "And what does she come worming herself in here for? But I will give her a piece of my mind. The time will come!"CHAPTER XXII
While these conversations were going on in the reception room and the princess' room, a carriage containing Pierre (who had been sent for) and Anna Mikhaylovna (who found it necessary to accompany him) was driving into the court of Count Bezukhov's house. As the wheels rolled softly over the straw beneath the windows, Anna Mikhaylovna, having turned with words of comfort to her companion, realized that he was asleep in his corner and woke him up. Rousing himself, Pierre followed Anna Mikhaylovna out of the carriage, and only then began to think of the interview with his dying father which awaited him. He noticed that they had not come to the front entrance but to the back door. While he was getting down from the carriage steps two men, who looked like tradespeople, ran hurriedly from the entrance and hid in the shadow of the wall. Pausing for a moment, Pierre noticed several other men of the same kind hiding in the shadow of the house on both sides. But neither Anna Mikhaylovna nor the footman nor the coachman, who could not help seeing these people, took any notice of them. "It seems to be all right," Pierre concluded, and followed Anna Mikhaylovna. She hurriedly ascended the narrow dimly lit stone staircase, calling to Pierre, who was lagging behind, to follow. Though he did not see why it was necessary for him to go to the count at all, still less why he had to go by the back stairs, yet judging by Anna Mikhaylovna's air of assurance and haste, Pierre concluded that it was all absolutely necessary. Halfway up the stairs they were almost knocked over by some men who, carrying pails, came running downstairs, their boots clattering. These men pressed close to the wall to let Pierre and Anna Mikhaylovna pass and did not evince the least surprise at seeing them there. "Is this the way to the princesses' apartments?" asked Anna Mikhaylovna of one of them."Yes," replied a footman in a bold loud voice, as if anything were now permissible; "the door to the left, ma'am." "Perhaps the count did not ask for me," said Pierre when he reached the landing. "I'd better go to my own room." Anna Mikhaylovna paused and waited for him to come up.
"Ah, my friend!" she said, touching his arm as she had done her son's when speaking to him that afternoon, "believe me I suffer no less than you do, but be a man!""But really, hadn't I better go away?" he asked, looking kindly at her over his spectacles.
"Ah, my dear friend! Forget the wrongs that may have been done you. Think that he is your father... perhaps in the agony of death." She sighed. "I have loved you like a son from the first. Trust yourself to me, Pierre. I shall not forget your interests."
Pierre did not understand a word, but the conviction that all this had to be grew stronger, and he meekly followed Anna Mikhaylovna who was already opening a door.
This door led into a back anteroom. An old man, a servant of the princesses, sat in a corner knitting a stocking. Pierre had never been in this part of the house and did not even know of the existence of these rooms. Anna Mikhaylovna, addressing a maid who was hurrying past with a decanter on a tray as "my dear" and "my sweet," asked about the princess' health and then led Pierre along a stone passage. The first door on the left led into the princesses' apartments. The maid with the decanter in her haste had not closed the door (everything in the house was done in haste at that time), and Pierre and Anna Mikhaylovna in passing instinctively glanced into the room, where Prince Vasili and the eldest princess were sitting close together talking. Seeing them pass, Prince Vasili drew back with obvious impatience, while the princess jumped up and with a gesture of desperation slammed the door with all her might.
This action was so unlike her usual composure and the fear depicted on Prince Vasili's face so out of keeping with his dignity that Pierre stopped and glanced inquiringly over his spectacles at his guide. Anna Mikhaylovna evinced no surprise, she only smiled faintly and sighed, as if to say that this was no more than she had expected.
"Be a man, my friend. I will look after your interests," said she in reply to his look, and went still faster along the passage. Pierre could not make out what it was all about, and still less what "watching over his interests" meant, but he decided that all these things had to be. From the passage they went into a large, dimly lit room adjoining the count's reception room. It was one of those sumptuous but cold apartments known to Pierre only from the front approach, but even in this room there now stood an empty bath, and water had been spilled on the carpet. They were met by a deacon with a censer and by a servant who passed out on tiptoe without heeding them. They went into the reception room familiar to Pierre, with two Italian windows opening into the conservatory, with its large bust and full length portrait of Catherine the Great. The same people were still sitting here in almost the same positions as before, whispering to one another. All became silent and turned to look at the pale tear-worn Anna Mikhaylovna as she entered, and at the big stout figure of Pierre who, hanging his head, meekly followed her.
Anna Mikhaylovna's face expressed a consciousness that the decisive moment had arrived. With the air of a practical Petersburg lady she now, keeping Pierre close beside her, entered the room even more boldly than that afternoon. She felt that as she brought with her the person the dying man wished to see, her own admission was assured. Casting a rapid glance at all those in the room and noticing the count's confessor there, she glided up to him with a sort of amble, not exactly bowing yet seeming to grow suddenly smaller, and respectfully received the blessing first of one and then of another priest.
"God be thanked that you are in time," said she to one of the priests; "all we relatives have been in such anxiety. This young man is the count's son," she added more softly. "What a terrible moment!"Having said this she went up to the doctor. "Dear doctor," said she, "this young man is the count's son. Is there any hope?"
The doctor cast a rapid glance upwards and silently shrugged his shoulders. Anna Mikhaylovna with just the same movement raised her shoulders and eyes, almost closing the latter, sighed, and moved away from the doctor to Pierre. To him, in a particularly respectful and tenderly sad voice, she said:
"Trust in His mercy!" and pointing out a small sofa for him to sit and wait for her, she went silently toward the door that everyone was watching and it creaked very slightly as she disappeared behind it.
Pierre, having made up his mind to obey his monitress implicitly, moved toward the sofa she had indicated. As soon as Anna Mikhaylovna had disappeared he noticed that the eyes of all in the room turned to him with something more than curiosity and sympathy. He noticed that they whispered to one another, casting significant looks at him with a kind of awe and even servility. A deference such as he had never before received was shown him. A strange lady, the one who had been talking to the priests, rose and offered him her seat; an aide-de-camp picked up and returned a glove Pierre had dropped; the doctors became respectfully silent as he passed by, and moved to make way for him. At first Pierre wished to take another seat so as not to trouble the lady, and also to pick up the glove himself and to pass round the doctors who were not even in his way; but all at once he felt that this would not do, and that tonight he was a person obliged to perform some sort of awful rite which everyone expected of him, and that he was therefore bound to accept their services. He took the glove in silence from the aide-de-camp, and sat down in the lady's chair, placing his huge hands symmetrically on his knees in the naive attitude of an Egyptian statue, and decided in his own mind that all was as it should be, and that in order not to lose his head and do foolish things he must not act on his own ideas tonight, but must yield himself up entirely to the will of those who were guiding him.
Not two minutes had passed before Prince Vasili with head erect majestically entered the room. He was wearing his long coat with three stars on his breast. He seemed to have grown thinner since the morning; his eyes seemed larger than usual when he glanced round and noticed Pierre. He went up to him, took his hand (a thing he never used to do), and drew it downwards as if wishing to ascertain whether it was firmly fixed on."Courage, courage, my friend! He has asked to see you. That is well!" and he turned to go.
But Pierre thought it necessary to ask: "How is..." and hesitated, not knowing whether it would be proper to call the dying man "the count," yet ashamed to call him "father.""He had another stroke about half an hour ago. Courage, my friend..."
Pierre's mind was in such a confused state that the word "stroke" suggested to him a blow from something. He looked at Prince Vasili in perplexity, and only later grasped that a stroke was an attack of illness. Prince Vasili said something to Lorrain in passing and went through the door on tiptoe. He could not walk well on tiptoe and his whole body jerked at each step. The eldest princess followed him, and the priests and deacons and some servants also went in at the door. Through that door was heard a noise of things being moved about, and at last Anna Mikhaylovna, still with the same expression, pale but resolute in the discharge of duty, ran out and touching Pierre lightly on the arm said:"The divine mercy is inexhaustible! Unction is about to be administered. Come."
Pierre went in at the door, stepping on the soft carpet, and noticed that the strange lady, the aide-de-camp, and some of the servants, all followed him in, as if there were now no further need for permission to enter that room.CHAPTER XXIII
Pierre well knew this large room divided by columns and an arch, its walls hung round with Persian carpets. The part of the room behind the columns, with a high silk-curtained mahogany bedstead on one side and on the other an immense case containing icons, was brightly illuminated with red light like a Russian church during evening service. Under the gleaming icons stood a long invalid chair, and in that chair on snowy-white smooth pillows, evidently freshly changed, Pierre saw--covered to the waist by a bright green quilt--the familiar, majestic figure of his father, Count Bezukhov, with that gray mane of hair above his broad forehead which reminded one of a lion, and the deep characteristically noble wrinkles of his
handsome, ruddy face. He lay just under the icons; his large thick hands outside the quilt. Into the right hand, which was lying palm downwards, a wax taper had been thrust between forefinger and thumb, and an old servant, bending over from behind the chair, held it in position. By the chair stood the priests, their long hair falling over their magnificent glittering vestments, with lighted tapers in their hands, slowly and solemnly conducting the service. A little behind them stood the two younger princesses holding handkerchiefs to their eyes, and just in front of them their eldest sister, Catiche, with a vicious and determined look steadily fixed on the icons, as though declaring to all that she could not answer for herself should she glance round. Anna Mikhaylovna, with a meek, sorrowful, and all-forgiving expression on her face, stood by the door near the strange lady. Prince Vasili in front of the door, near the invalid chair, a wax taper in his left hand, was leaning his left arm on the carved back of a velvet chair he had turned round for the purpose, and was crossing himself with his right hand, turning his eyes upward each time he touched his forehead. His face wore a calm look of piety and resignation to the will of God. "If you do not understand these sentiments," he seemed to be saying, "so much the worse for you!"
Behind him stood the aide-de-camp, the doctors, and the menservants; the men and women had separated as in church. All were silently crossing themselves, and the reading of the church service, the subdued chanting of deep bass voices, and in the intervals sighs and the shuffling of feet were the only sounds that could be heard. Anna Mikhaylovna, with an air of importance that showed that she felt she quite knew what she was about, went across the room to where Pierre was standing and gave him a taper. He lit it and, distracted by observing those around him, began crossing himself with the hand that held the taper.
Sophie, the rosy, laughter-loving, youngest princess with the mole, watched him. She smiled, hid her face in her handkerchief, and remained with it hidden for awhile; then looking up and seeing Pierre she again began to laugh. She evidently felt unable to look at him without laughing, but could not resist looking at him: so to be out of temptation she slipped quietly behind one of the columns. In the midst of the service the voices of the priests suddenly ceased, they whispered to one another, and the old servant who was holding the count's hand got up and said something to the ladies. Anna Mikhaylovna stepped forward and, stooping over the dying man, beckoned to Lorrain from behind her back. The French doctor held no taper; he was leaning against one of the columns in a respectful attitude implying that he, a foreigner, in spite of all differences of faith, understood the full importance of the rite now being performed and even approved of it. He now approached the sick man with the noiseless step of one in full vigor of life, with his delicate white fingers raised from the green quilt the hand that was free, and turning sideways felt the pulse and reflected a moment. The sick man was given something to drink, there was a stir around him, then the people resumed their places and the service continued. During this interval Pierre noticed that Prince Vasili left the chair on which he had been leaning, and--with air which intimated that he knew what he was about and if others did not understand him it was so much the worse for them--did not go up to the dying man, but passed by him, joined the eldest princess, and moved with her to the side of the room where stood the high bedstead with its silken hangings. On leaving the bed both Prince Vasili and the princess passed out by a back door, but returned to their places one after the other before the service was concluded. Pierre paid no more attention to this occurrence than to the rest of what went on, having made up his mind once for all that what he saw happening around him that evening was in some way essential.
The chanting of the service ceased, and the voice of the priest was heard respectfully congratulating the dying man on having received the sacrament. The dying man lay as lifeless and immovable as before. Around him everyone began to stir: steps were audible and whispers, among which Anna Mikhaylovna's was the most distinct.
Pierre heard her say: "Certainly he must be moved onto the bed; here it will be impossible..."
The sick man was so surrounded by doctors, princesses, and servants that Pierre could no longer see the reddish-yellow face with its gray mane--which, though he saw other faces as well, he had not lost sight of for a single moment during the whole service. He judged by the cautious movements of those who crowded round the invalid chair that they had lifted the dying man and were moving him.
"Catch hold of my arm or you'll drop him!" he heard one of the servants say in a frightened whisper. "Catch hold from underneath. Here!" exclaimed different voices; and the heavy breathing of the bearers and the shuffling of their feet grew more hurried, as if the weight they were carrying were too much for them.
As the bearers, among whom was Anna Mikhaylovna, passed the young man he caught a momentary glimpse between their heads and backs of the dying man's high, stout, uncovered chest and powerful shoulders, raised by those who were holding him under the armpits, and of his gray, curly, leonine head. This head, with its remarkably broad brow and cheekbones, its handsome, sensual mouth, and its cold, majestic expression, was not disfigured by the approach of death. It was the same as Pierre remembered it three months before, when the count had sent him to Petersburg. But now this head was swaying helplessly with the uneven movements of the bearers, and the cold listless gaze fixed itself upon nothing.
After a few minutes' bustle beside the high bedstead, those who had carried the sick man dispersed. Anna Mikhaylovna touched Pierre's hand and said, "Come." Pierre went with her to the bed on which the sick man had been laid in a stately pose in keeping with the ceremony just completed. He lay with his head propped high on the pillows. His hands were symmetrically placed on the green silk quilt, the palms downward. When Pierre came up the count was gazing straight at him, but with a look the significance of which could not be understood by mortal man. Either this look meant nothing but that as long as one has eyes they must look somewhere, or it meant too much. Pierre hesitated, not knowing what to do, and glanced inquiringly at his guide. Anna Mikhaylovna made a hurried sign with her eyes, glancing at the sick man's hand and moving her lips as if to send it a kiss. Pierre, carefully stretching his neck so as not to touch the quilt, followed her suggestion and pressed his lips to the large boned, fleshy hand. Neither the hand nor a single muscle of the count's face stirred. Once more Pierre looked questioningly at Anna Mikhaylovna to see what he was to do next. Anna Mikhaylovna with her eyes indicated a chair that stood beside the bed. Pierre obediently sat down, his eyes asking if he were doing right. Anna Mikhaylovna nodded approvingly. Again Pierre fell into the naively symmetrical pose of an Egyptian statue, evidently distressed that his stout and clumsy body took up so much room and doing his utmost to look as small as possible. He looked at the count, who still gazed at the spot where Pierre's face had been before he sat down. Anna Mikhaylovna indicated by her attitude her consciousness of the pathetic importance of these last moments of meeting between the father and son. This lasted about two minutes, which to Pierre seemed an hour. Suddenly the broad muscles and lines of the count's face began to twitch. The twitching increased, the handsome mouth was drawn to one side (only now did Pierre realize how near death his father was), and from that distorted mouth issued an indistinct, hoarse sound. Anna Mikhaylovna looked attentively at the sick man's eyes, trying to guess what he wanted; she pointed first to Pierre, then to some drink, then named Prince Vasili in an inquiring whisper, then pointed to the quilt. The eyes and face of the sick man showed impatience. He made an effort to look at the servant who stood constantly at the head of the bed."Wants to turn on the other side," whispered the servant, and got up to turn the count's heavy body toward the wall. Pierre rose to help him.
While the count was being turned over, one of his arms fell back helplessly and he made a fruitless effort to pull it forward. Whether he noticed the look of terror with which Pierre regarded that lifeless arm, or whether some other thought flitted across his dying brain, at any rate he glanced at the refractory arm, at Pierre's terror-stricken face, and again at the arm, and on his face a feeble, piteous smile appeared, quite out of keeping with his features, that seemed to deride his own helplessness. At sight of this smile Pierre felt an unexpected quivering in his breast and a tickling in his nose, and tears dimmed his eyes. The sick man was turned on to his side with his face to the wall. He sighed."He is dozing," said Anna Mikhaylovna, observing that one of the princesses was coming to take her turn at watching. "Let us go." Pierre went out. CHAPTER XXIV
There was now no one in the reception room except Prince Vasili and the eldest princess, who were sitting under the portrait of Catherine the Great and talking eagerly. As soon as they saw Pierre and his companion they became silent, and Pierre thought he saw the princess hide something as she whispered:"I can't bear the sight of that woman."
"Catiche has had tea served in the small drawing room," said Prince Vasili to Anna Mikhaylovna. "Go and take something, my poor Anna Mikhaylovna, or you will not hold out."
To Pierre he said nothing, merely giving his arm a sympathetic squeeze below the shoulder. Pierre went with Anna Mikhaylovna into the small drawing room.
"There is nothing so refreshing after a sleepless night as a cup of this delicious Russian tea," Lorrain was saying with an air of restrained animation as he stood sipping tea from a delicate Chinese handleless cup before a table on which tea and a cold supper were laid in the small circular room. Around the table all who were at Count Bezukhov's house that night had gathered to fortify themselves. Pierre well remembered this small circular drawing room with its mirrors and little tables. During balls given at the house Pierre, who did not know how to dance, had liked sitting in this room to watch the ladies who, as they passed through in their ball dresses with diamonds and pearls on their bare shoulders, looked at themselves in the brilliantly lighted mirrors which repeated their reflections several times. Now this same room was dimly lighted by two candles. On one small table tea things and supper dishes stood in disorder, and in the middle of the night a motley throng of people sat there, not
merrymaking, but somberly whispering, and betraying by every word and movement that they none of them forgot what was happening and what was about to happen in the bedroom. Pierre did not eat anything though he would very much have liked to. He looked inquiringly at his monitress and saw that she was again going on tiptoe to the
reception room where they had left Prince Vasili and the eldest princess. Pierre concluded that this also was essential, and after a short interval followed her. Anna Mikhaylovna was standing beside the princess, and they were both speaking in excited whispers.
"Permit me, Princess, to know what is necessary and what is not necessary," said the younger of the two speakers, evidently in the same state of excitement as when she had slammed the door of her room.
"But, my dear princess," answered Anna Mikhaylovna blandly but impressively, blocking the way to the bedroom and preventing the other from passing, "won't this be too much for poor Uncle at a moment when he needs repose? Worldly conversation at a moment when his soul is already prepared..."
Prince Vasili was seated in an easy chair in his familiar
attitude, with one leg crossed high above the other. His cheeks, which were so flabby that they looked heavier below, were twitching violently; but he wore the air of a man little concerned in what the two ladies were saying.
"I don't even know what is in this paper," said the younger of the two ladies, addressing Prince Vasili and pointing to an inlaid portfolio she held in her hand. "All I know is that his real will is in his writing table, and this is a paper he has forgotten...."She tried to pass Anna Mikhaylovna, but the latter sprang so as to bar her path.
"I know, my dear, kind princess," said Anna Mikhaylovna, seizing the portfolio so firmly that it was plain she would not let go easily. "Dear princess, I beg and implore you, have some pity on him! Je vous en conjure..."
The princess did not reply. Their efforts in the struggle for the portfolio were the only sounds audible, but it was evident that if the princess did speak, her words would not be flattering to Anna Mikhaylovna. Though the latter held on tenaciously, her voice lost none of its honeyed firmness and softness."Pierre, my dear, come here. I think he will not be out of place in a family consultation; is it not so, Prince?"
"Why don't you speak, cousin?" suddenly shrieked the princess so loud that those in the drawing room heard her and were startled. "Why do you remain silent when heaven knows who permits herself to interfere, making a scene on the very threshold of a dying man's room? Intriguer!" she hissed viciously, and tugged with all her might at the portfolio.But Anna Mikhaylovna went forward a step or two to keep her hold on the portfolio, and changed her grip. Prince Vasili rose. "Oh!" said he with reproach and surprise, "this is absurd! Come, let go I tell you." The princess let go. "And you too!" But Anna Mikhaylovna did not obey him.
"Let go, I tell you! I will take the responsibility. I myself will go and ask him, I!... does that satisfy you?"
"But, Prince," said Anna Mikhaylovna, "after such a solemn sacrament, allow him a moment's peace! Here, Pierre, tell them your opinion," said she, turning to the young man who, having come quite close, was gazing with astonishment at the angry face of the princess which had lost all dignity, and at the twitching cheeks of Prince Vasili.
At this moment that terrible door, which Pierre had watched so long and which had always opened so quietly, burst noisily open and banged against the wall, and the second of the three sisters rushed out wringing her hands."What are you doing!" she cried vehemently. "He is dying and you leave me alone with him!"
Her sister dropped the portfolio. Anna Mikhaylovna, stooping, quickly caught up the object of contention and ran into the bedroom. The eldest princess and Prince Vasili, recovering themselves, followed her. A few minutes later the eldest sister came out with a pale hard face, again biting her underlip. At sight of Pierre her expression showed an irrepressible hatred.
"Yes, now you may be glad!" said she; "this is what you have been waiting for." And bursting into tears she hid her face in her handkerchief and rushed from the room.
Prince Vasili came next. He staggered to the sofa on which Pierre was sitting and dropped onto it, covering his face with his hand. Pierre noticed that he was pale and that his jaw quivered and shook as if in an ague.
"Ah, my friend!" said he, taking Pierre by the elbow; and there was in his voice a sincerity and weakness Pierre had never observed in it before. "How often we sin, how much we deceive, and all for what? I am near sixty, dear friend... I too... All will end in death, all! Death is awful..." and he burst into tears.Anna Mikhaylovna came out last. She approached Pierre with slow, quiet steps.
"Pierre!" she said. Pierre gave her an inquiring look. She kissed the young man on his forehead, wetting him with her tears. Then after a pause she said:"He is no more...." Pierre looked at her over his spectacles. "Come, I will go with you. Try to weep, nothing gives such relief as tears."
She led him into the dark drawing room and Pierre was glad no one could see his face. Anna Mikhaylovna left him, and when she returned he was fast asleep with his head on his arm.In the morning Anna Mikhaylovna said to Pierre:
"Yes, my dear, this is a great loss for us all, not to speak of you. But God will support you: you are young, and are now, I hope, in command of an immense fortune. The will has not yet been opened. I know you well enough to be sure that this will not turn your head, but it imposes duties on you, and you must be a man."Pierre was silent.
"Perhaps later on I may tell you, my dear boy, that if I had not been there, God only knows what would have happened! You know, Uncle promised me only the day before yesterday not to forget Boris. But he had no time. I hope, my dear friend, you will carry out your father's wish?"
Pierre understood nothing of all this and coloring shyly looked in silence at Princess Anna Mikhaylovna. After her talk with Pierre, Anna Mikhaylovna returned to the Rostovs' and went to bed. On waking in the morning she told the Rostovs and all her acquaintances the details of Count Bezukhov's death. She said the count had died as she would herself wish to die, that his end was not only touching but
edifying. As to the last meeting between father and son, it was so touching that she could not think of it without tears, and did not know which had behaved better during those awful moments--the father who so remembered everything and everybody at last and had spoken such pathetic words to the son, or Pierre, whom it had been pitiful to see, so stricken was he with grief, though he tried hard to hide it in order not to sadden his dying father. "It is painful, but it does one good. It uplifts the soul to see such men as the old count and his worthy son," said she. Of the behavior of the eldest princess and Prince Vasili she spoke disapprovingly, but in whispers and as a great secret.
At Bald Hills, Prince Nicholas Andreevich Bolkonski's estate, the arrival of young Prince Andrew and his wife was daily expected, but this expectation did not upset the regular routine of life in the old prince's household. General in Chief Prince Nicholas Andreevich (nicknamed in society, "the King of Prussia") ever since the Emperor Paul had exiled him to his country estate had lived there continuously with his daughter, Princess Mary, and her companion, Mademoiselle Bourienne. Though in the new reign he was free to return to the capitals, he still continued to live in the country, remarking that anyone who wanted to see him could come the hundred miles from Moscow to Bald Hills, while he himself needed no one and nothing. He used to say that there are only two sources of human vice--idleness and superstition, and only two virtues--activity and intelligence. He himself undertook his daughter's education, and to develop these two cardinal virtues in her gave her lessons in algebra and geometry till she was twenty, and arranged her life so that her whole time was occupied. He was himself always occupied: writing his memoirs, solving problems in higher mathematics, turning snuffboxes on a lathe, working in the garden, or superintending the building that was always going on at his estate. As regularity is a prime condition facilitating activity, regularity in his household was carried to the highest point of exactitude. He always came to table under precisely the same conditions, and not only at the same hour but at the same minute. With those about him, from his daughter to his serfs, the prince was sharp and invariably exacting, so that without being a hardhearted man he inspired such fear and respect as few hardhearted men would have aroused. Although he was in retirement and had now no influence in political affairs, every high official appointed to the province in which the prince's estate lay considered it his duty to visit him and waited in the lofty antechamber ante chamber just as the architect, gardener, or Princess Mary did, till the prince appeared punctually to the appointed hour. Everyone sitting in this antechamber experienced the same feeling of respect and even fear when the enormously high study door opened and showed the figure of a rather small old man, with powdered wig, small withered hands, and bushy gray eyebrows which, when he frowned, sometimes hid the gleam of his shrewd, youthfully glittering eyes.
On the morning of the day that the young couple were to arrive, Princess Mary entered the antechamber as usual at the time appointed for the morning greeting, crossing herself with trepidation and repeating a silent prayer. Every morning she came in like that, and every morning prayed that the daily interview might pass off well. An old powdered manservant who was sitting in the antechamber rose quietly and said in a whisper: "Please walk in."
Through the door came the regular hum of a lathe. The princess timidly opened the door which moved noiselessly and easily. She paused at the entrance. The prince was working at the lathe and after glancing round continued his work.
The enormous study was full of things evidently in constant use. The large table covered with books and plans, the tall glass-fronted bookcases with keys in the locks, the high desk for writing while standing up, on which lay an open exercise book, and the lathe with tools laid ready to hand and shavings scattered around--all indicated continuous, varied, and orderly activity. The motion of the small foot shod in a Tartar boot embroidered with silver, and the firm pressure of the lean sinewy hand, showed that the prince still possessed the tenacious endurance and vigor of hardy old age. After a few more turns of the lathe he removed his foot from the pedal, wiped his chisel, dropped it into a leather pouch attached to the lathe, and, approaching the table, summoned his daughter. He never gave his children a blessing, so he simply held out his bristly cheek (as yet unshaven) and, regarding her tenderly and attentively, said severely:
"Quite well? All right then, sit down." He took the exercise book containing lessons in geometry written by himself and drew up a chair with his foot."For tomorrow!" said he, quickly finding the page and making a scratch from one paragraph to another with his hard nail. The princess bent over the exercise book on the table.
"Wait a bit, here's a letter for you," said the old man suddenly, taking a letter addressed in a woman's hand from a bag hanging above the table, onto which he threw it.At the sight of the letter red patches showed themselves on the princess' face. She took it quickly and bent her head over it. "From Heloise?" asked the prince with a cold smile that showed his still sound, yellowish teeth. "Yes, it's from Julie," replied the princess with a timid glance and a timid smile.
"I'll let two more letters pass, but the third I'll read," said the prince sternly; "I'm afraid you write much nonsense. I'll read the third!"
"Read this if you like, Father," said the princess, blushing still more and holding out the letter.
"The third, I said the third!" cried the prince abruptly, pushing the letter away, and leaning his elbows on the table he drew toward him the exercise book containing geometrical figures.
"Well, madam," he began, stooping over the book close to his daughter and placing an arm on the back of the chair on which she sat, so that she felt herself surrounded on all sides by the acrid scent of old age and tobacco, which she had known so long. "Now, madam, these triangles are equal; please note that the angle ABC..."
The princess looked in a scared way at her father's eyes
glittering close to her; the red patches on her face came and went, and it was plain that she understood nothing and was so frightened that her fear would prevent her understanding any of her father's further explanations, however clear they might be. Whether it was the teacher's fault or the pupil's, this same thing happened every day: the princess' eyes grew dim, she could not see and could not hear anything, but was only conscious of her stern father's withered face close to her, of his breath and the smell of him, and could think only of how to get away quickly to her own room to make out the problem in peace. The old man was beside himself: moved the chair on which he was sitting noisily backward and forward, made efforts to control himself and not become vehement, but almost always did become vehement, scolded, and sometimes flung the exercise book away.
"Well now, isn't she a fool!" shouted the prince, pushing the book aside and turning sharply away; but rising immediately, he paced up and down, lightly touched his daughter's hair and sat down again.He drew up his chair, and continued to explain.
"This won't do, Princess; it won't do," said he, when Princess Mary, having taken and closed the exercise book with the next day's lesson, was about to leave: "Mathematics are most important, madam! I don't want to have you like our silly ladies. Get used to it and you'll like it," and he patted her cheek. "It will drive all the nonsense out of your head."She turned to go, but he stopped her with a gesture and took an uncut book from the high desk.
"Here is some sort of Key to the Mysteries that your Heloise has sent you. Religious! I don't interfere with anyone's belief... I have looked at it. Take it. Well, now go. Go."
He patted her on the shoulder and himself closed the door after her.
Princess Mary went back to her room with the sad, scared expression that rarely left her and which made her plain, sickly face yet plainer. She sat down at her writing table, on which stood miniature portraits and which was littered with books and papers. The princess was as untidy as her father was tidy. She put down the geometry book and eagerly broke the seal of her letter. It was from her most intimate friend from childhood; that same Julie Karagina who had been at the Rostovs' name-day party.Julie wrote in French:
Dear and precious Friend, How terrible and frightful a thing is separation! Though I tell myself that half my life and half my happiness are wrapped up in you, and that in spite of the distance separating us our hearts are united by indissoluble bonds, my heart rebels against fate and in spite of the pleasures and distractions around me I cannot overcome a certain secret sorrow that has been in my heart ever since we parted. Why are we not together as we were last summer, in your big study, on the blue sofa, the confidential sofa? Why cannot I now, as three months ago, draw fresh moral strength from your look, so gentle, calm, and penetrating, a look I loved so well and seem to see before me as I write?
Having read thus far, Princess Mary sighed and glanced into the mirror which stood on her right. It reflected a weak, ungraceful figure and thin face. Her eyes, always sad, now looked with particular hopelessness at her reflection in the glass. "She flatters me," thought the princess, turning away and continuing to read. But Julie did not flatter her friend, the princess' eyes--large, deep and luminous (it seemed as if at times there radiated from them shafts of warm light)--were so beautiful that very often in spite of the plainness of her face they gave her an attraction more powerful than that of beauty. But the princess never saw the beautiful expression of her own eyes--the look they had when she was not thinking of herself. As with everyone, her face assumed a forced unnatural expression as soon as she looked in a glass. She went on reading:
All Moscow talks of nothing but war. One of my two brothers is already abroad, the other is with the Guards, who are starting on their march to the frontier. Our dear Emperor has left Petersburg and it is thought intends to expose his precious person to the chances of war. God grant that the Corsican monster who is destroying the peace of Europe may be overthrown by the angel whom it has pleased the Almighty, in His goodness, to give us as sovereign! To say nothing of my brothers, this war has deprived me of one of the associations nearest my heart. I mean young Nicholas Rostov, who with his enthusiasm could not bear to remain inactive and has left the university to join the army. I will confess to you, dear Mary, that in spite of his extreme youth his departure for the army was a great grief to me. This young man, of whom I spoke to you last summer, is so noble-minded and full of that real youthfulness which one seldom finds nowadays among our old men of twenty and, particularly, he is so frank and has so much heart. He is so pure and poetic that my relations with him, transient as they were, have been one of the sweetest comforts to my poor heart, which has already suffered so much. Someday I will tell you about our parting and all that was said then. That is still too fresh. Ah, dear friend, you are happy not to know these poignant joys and sorrows. You are fortunate, for the latter are generally the stronger! I know very well that Count Nicholas is too young ever to be more to me than a friend, but this sweet friendship, this poetic and pure intimacy, were what my heart needed. But enough of this! The chief news, about which all Moscow gossips, is the death of old Count Bezukhov, and his inheritance. Fancy! The three princesses have received very little, Prince Vasili nothing, and it is Monsieur Pierre who has inherited all the property and has besides been recognized as legitimate; so that he is now Count Bezukhov and possessor of the finest fortune in Russia. It is rumored that Prince Vasili played a very despicable part in this affair and that he returned to Petersburg quite crestfallen.
I confess I understand very little about all these matters of wills and inheritance; but I do know that since this young man, whom we all used to know as plain Monsieur Pierre, has become Count Bezukhov and the owner of one of the largest fortunes in Russia, I am much amused to watch the change in the tone and manners of the mammas burdened by marriageable daughters, and of the young ladies themselves, toward him, though, between you and me, he always seemed to me a poor sort of fellow. As for the past two years people have amused themselves by finding husbands for me (most of whom I don't even know), the matchmaking chronicles of Moscow now speak of me as the future Countess Bezukhova. But you will understand that I have no desire for the post. A propos of marriages: do you know that a while ago that universal auntie Anna Mikhaylovna told me, under the seal of strict secrecy, of a plan of marriage for you. It is neither more nor less than with Prince Vasili's son Anatole, whom they wish to reform by marrying him to someone rich and distinguee, and it is on you that his relations' choice has fallen. I don't know what you will think of it, but I consider it my duty to let you know of it. He is said to be very handsome and a terrible scapegrace. That is all I have been able to find out about him.
But enough of gossip. I am at the end of my second sheet of paper, and Mamma has sent for me to go and dine at the Apraksins'. Read the mystical book I am sending you; it has an enormous success here. Though there are things in it difficult for the feeble human mind to grasp, it is an admirable book which calms and elevates the soul. Adieu! Give my respects to monsieur your father and my compliments to Mademoiselle Bourienne. I embrace you as I love you.JULIE P.S. Let me have news of your brother and his charming little wife.
The princess pondered awhile with a thoughtful smile and her luminous eyes lit up so that her face was entirely transformed. Then she suddenly rose and with her heavy tread went up to the table. She took a sheet of paper and her hand moved rapidly over it. This is the reply she wrote, also in French:
Dear and precious Friend, Your letter of the 13th has given me great delight. So you still love me, my romantic Julie? Separation, of which you say so much that is bad, does not seem to have had its usual effect on you. You complain of our separation. What then should I say, if I dared complain, I who am deprived of all who are dear to me? Ah, if we had not religion to console us life would be very sad. Why do you suppose that I should look severely on your affection for that young man? On such matters I am only severe with myself. I understand such feelings in others, and if never having felt them I cannot approve of them, neither do I condemn them. Only it seems to me that Christian love, love of one's neighbor, love of one's enemy, is worthier, sweeter, and better than the feelings which the beautiful eyes of a young man can inspire in a romantic and loving young girl like yourself.
The news of Count Bezukhov's death reached us before your letter and my father was much affected by it. He says the count was the last representative but one of the great century, and that it is his own turn now, but that he will do all he can to let his turn come as late as possible. God preserve us from that terrible misfortune!
I cannot agree with you about Pierre, whom I knew as a child. He always seemed to me to have an excellent heart, and that is the quality I value most in people. As to his inheritance and the part played by Prince Vasili, it is very sad for both. Ah, my dear
friend, our divine Saviour's words, that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, are terribly true. I pity Prince Vasili but am still more sorry for Pierre. So young, and burdened with such riches--to what temptations he will be exposed! If I were asked what I desire most on earth, it would be to be poorer than the poorest beggar. A thousand thanks, dear friend, for the volume you have sent me and which has such success in Moscow. Yet since you tell me that among some good things it contains others which our weak human understanding cannot grasp, it seems to me rather useless to spend time in reading what is unintelligible and can therefore bear no fruit. I never could understand the fondness some people have for confusing their minds by dwelling on mystical books that merely awaken their doubts and excite their imagination, giving them a bent for exaggeration quite contrary to Christian simplicity. Let us rather read the Epistles and Gospels. Let us not seek to penetrate what mysteries they contain; for how can we, miserable sinners that we are, know the terrible and holy secrets of Providence while we remain in this flesh which forms an impenetrable veil between us and the Eternal? Let us rather confine ourselves to studying those sublime rules which our divine Saviour has left for our guidance here below. Let us try to conform to them and follow them, and let us be persuaded that the less we let our feeble human minds roam, the better we shall please God, who rejects all knowledge that does not come from Him; and the less we seek to fathom what He has been pleased to conceal from us, the sooner will He vouchsafe its revelation to us through His divine Spirit.
My father has not spoken to me of a suitor, but has only told me that he has received a letter and is expecting a visit from Prince Vasili. In regard to this project of marriage for me, I will tell you, dear sweet friend, that I look on marriage as a divine institution to which we must conform. However painful it may be to me, should the Almighty lay the duties of wife and mother upon me I
shall try to perform them as faithfully as I can, without
disquieting myself by examining my feelings toward him whom He may give me for husband.
I have had a letter from my brother, who announces his speedy arrival at Bald Hills with his wife. This pleasure will be but a brief one, however, for he will leave, us again to take part in this unhappy war into which we have been drawn, God knows how or why. Not only where you are--at the heart of affairs and of the world--is the talk all of war, even here amid fieldwork and the calm of nature--which townsfolk consider characteristic of the country--rumors of war are heard and painfully felt. My father talks of nothing but marches and countermarches, things of which I understand nothing; and the day before yesterday during my daily walk through the village I witnessed a heartrending scene.... It was a convoy of conscripts enrolled from our people and starting to join the army. You should have seen the state of the mothers, wives, and children of the men who were going and should have heard the sobs. It seems as though mankind has forgotten the laws of its divine Saviour, Who preached love and forgiveness of injuries--and that men attribute the greatest merit to skill in killing one another.Adieu, dear and kind friend; may our divine Saviour and His most Holy Mother keep you in their holy and all-powerful care!
MARY "Ah, you are sending off a letter, Princess? I have already dispatched mine. I have written to my poor mother," said the smiling Mademoiselle Bourienne rapidly, in her pleasant mellow tones and with guttural r's. She brought into Princess Mary's strenuous, mournful, and gloomy world a quite different atmosphere, careless, lighthearted, and self-satisfied.
"Princess, I must warn you," she added, lowering her voice and evidently listening to herself with pleasure, and speaking with exaggerated grasseyement, "the prince has been scolding Michael Ivanovich. He is in a very bad humor, very morose. Be prepared."
"Ah, dear friend," replied Princess Mary, "I have asked you never to warn me of the humor my father is in. I do not allow myself to judge him and would not have others do so."
The princess glanced at her watch and, seeing that she was five minutes late in starting her practice on the clavichord, went into the sitting room with a look of alarm. Between twelve and two o'clock, as the day was mapped out, the prince rested and the princess played the clavichord.CHAPTER XXVI
The gray-haired valet was sitting drowsily listening to the snoring of the prince, who was in his large study. From the far side of the house through the closed doors came the sound of difficult passages--twenty times repeated--of a sonata by Dussek.
Just then a closed carriage and another with a hood drove up to the porch. Prince Andrew got out of the carriage, helped his little wife to alight, and let her pass into the house before him. Old Tikhon, wearing a wig, put his head out of the door of the antechamber, reported in a whisper that the prince was sleeping, and hastily closed the door. Tikhon knew that neither the son's arrival nor any other unusual event must be allowed to disturb the appointed order of the day. Prince Andrew apparently knew this as well as Tikhon; he looked at his watch as if to ascertain whether his father's habits had changed since he was at home last, and, having assured himself that they had not, he turned to his wife.
"He will get up in twenty minutes. Let us go across to Mary's room," he said.
The little princess had grown stouter during this time, but her eyes and her short, downy, smiling lip lifted when she began to speak just as merrily and prettily as ever.
"Why, this is a palace!" she said to her husband, looking around with the expression with which people compliment their host at a ball. "Let's come, quick, quick!" And with a glance round, she smiled at Tikhon, at her husband, and at the footman who accompanied them."Is that Mary practicing? Let's go quietly and take her by surprise." Prince Andrew followed her with a courteous but sad expression. "You've grown older, Tikhon," he said in passing to the old man, who kissed his hand.
Before they reached the room from which the sounds of the clavichord came, the pretty, fair haired Frenchwoman, Mademoiselle Bourienne, rushed out apparently beside herself with delight."Ah! what joy for the princess!" exclaimed she: "At last! I must let her know."
"No, no, please not... You are Mademoiselle Bourienne," said the little princess, kissing her. "I know you already through my sister-in-law's friendship for you. She was not expecting us?"
They went up to the door of the sitting room from which came the sound of the oft-repeated passage of the sonata. Prince Andrew stopped and made a grimace, as if expecting something unpleasant.
The little princess entered the room. The passage broke off in the middle, a cry was heard, then Princess Mary's heavy tread and the sound of kissing. When Prince Andrew went in the two princesses, who had only met once before for a short time at his wedding, were in each other's arms warmly pressing their lips to whatever place they happened to touch. Mademoiselle Bourienne stood near them pressing her hand to her heart, with a beatific smile and obviously equally ready to cry or to laugh. Prince Andrew shrugged his shoulders and frowned, as lovers of music do when they hear a false note. The two women let go of one another, and then, as if afraid of being too late, seized each other's hands, kissing them and pulling them away, and again began kissing each other on the face, and then to Prince Andrew's surprise both began to cry and kissed again. Mademoiselle Bourienne also began to cry. Prince Andrew evidently felt ill at ease, but to the two women it seemed quite natural that they should cry, and apparently it never entered their heads that it could have been otherwise at this meeting.
"Ah! my dear!... Ah! Mary!" they suddenly exclaimed, and then laughed. "I dreamed last night..."--"You were not expecting us?..."- "Ah! Mary, you have got thinner?..." "And you have grown stouter!..."
Prince Andrew and his sister, hand in hand, kissed one another, and he told her she was still the same crybaby as ever. Princess Mary had turned toward her brother, and through her tears the loving, warm, gentle look of her large luminous eyes, very beautiful at that moment, rested on Prince Andrew's face.
The little princess talked incessantly, her short, downy upper lip continually and rapidly touching her rosy nether lip when necessary and drawing up again next moment when her face broke into a smile of glittering teeth and sparkling eyes. She told of an accident they had had on the Spasski Hill which might have been serious for her in her condition, and immediately after that informed them that she had left all her clothes in Petersburg and that heaven knew what she would have to dress in here; and that Andrew had quite changed, and that Kitty Odyntsova had married an old man, and that there was a suitor for Mary, a real one, but that they would talk of that later. Princess Mary was still looking silently at her brother and her beautiful eyes were full of love and sadness. It was plain that she was following a train of thought independent of her sister-in-law's words. In the midst of a description of the last Petersburg fete she addressed her brother:"So you are really going to the war, Andrew?" she said sighing. Lise sighed too. "Yes, and even tomorrow," replied her brother. "He is leaving me here, God knows why, when he might have had promotion..."
Princess Mary did not listen to the end, but continuing her train of thought turned to her sister-in-law with a tender glance at her figure."Is it certain?" she said.
The face of the little princess changed. She sighed and said: "Yes, quite certain. Ah! it is very dreadful..."
Her lip descended. She brought her face close to her sister-in-law's and unexpectedly again began to cry.
"She needs rest," said Prince Andrew with a frown. "Don't you, Lise? Take her to your room and I'll go to Father. How is he? Just the same?""Yes, just the same. Though I don't know what your opinion will be," answered the princess joyfully.
"And are the hours the same? And the walks in the avenues? And the lathe?" asked Prince Andrew with a scarcely perceptible smile which showed that, in spite of all his love and respect for his father, he was aware of his weaknesses.
"The hours are the same, and the lathe, and also the mathematics and my geometry lessons," said Princess Mary gleefully, as if her lessons in geometry were among the greatest delights of her life.
When the twenty minutes had elapsed and the time had come for the old prince to get up, Tikhon came to call the young prince to his father. The old man made a departure from his usual routine in honor of his son's arrival: he gave orders to admit him to his apartments while he dressed for dinner. The old prince always dressed in old-fashioned style, wearing an antique coat and powdered hair; and when Prince Andrew entered his father's dressing room (not with the contemptuous look and manner he wore in drawing rooms, but with the animated face with which he talked to Pierre), the old man was sitting on a large leather-covered chair, wrapped in a powdering mantle, entrusting his head to Tikhon.
"Ah! here's the warrior! Wants to vanquish Buonaparte?" said the old man, shaking his powdered head as much as the tail, which Tikhon was holding fast to plait, would allow.
"You at least must tackle him properly, or else if he goes on like this he'll soon have us, too, for his subjects! How are you?" And he held out his cheek.
The old man was in a good temper after his nap before dinner. (He used to say that a nap "after dinner was silver--before dinner, golden.") He cast happy, sidelong glances at his son from under his thick, bushy eyebrows. Prince Andrew went up and kissed his father on the spot indicated to him. He made no reply on his father's favorite topic--making fun of the military men of the day, and more particularly of Bonaparte.
"Yes, Father, I have come come to you and brought my wife who is pregnant," said Prince Andrew, following every movement of his father's face with an eager and respectful look. "How is your health?" "Only fools and rakes fall ill, my boy. You know me: I am busy from morning till night and abstemious, so of course I am well.""Thank God," said his son smiling.
"God has nothing to do with it! Well, go on," he continued, returning to his hobby; "tell me how the Germans have taught you to fight Bonaparte by this new science you call 'strategy.'"Prince Andrew smiled.
"Give me time to collect my wits, Father," said he, with a smile that showed that his father's foibles did not prevent his son from loving and honoring him. "Why, I have not yet had time to settle down!"
"Nonsense, nonsense!" cried the old man, shaking his pigtail to see whether it was firmly plaited, and grasping his by the hand. "The house for your wife is ready. Princess Mary will take her there and show her over, and they'll talk nineteen to the dozen. That's their woman's way! I am glad to have her. Sit down and talk. About Mikhelson's army I understand--Tolstoy's too... a simultaneous expedition.... But what's the southern army to do? Prussia is neutral... I know that. What about Austria?" said he, rising from his chair and pacing up and down the room followed by Tikhon, who ran after him, handing him different articles of clothing. "What of Sweden? How will they cross Pomerania?"
Prince Andrew, seeing that his father insisted, began--at first reluctantly, but gradually with more and more animation, and from habit changing unconsciously from Russian to French as he went on- to explain the plan of operation for the coming campaign. He explained how an army, ninety thousand strong, was to threaten Prussia so as to bring her out of her neutrality and draw her into the war; how part of that army was to join some Swedish forces at Stralsund; how two hundred and twenty thousand Austrians, with a hundred thousand Russians, were to operate in Italy and on the Rhine; how fifty thousand Russians and as many English were to land at Naples, and how a total force of five hundred thousand men was to attack the French from different sides. The old prince did not evince the least interest during this explanation, but as if he were not listening to it continued to dress while walking about, and three times unexpectedly interrupted. Once he stopped it by shouting: "The white one, the white one!"This meant that Tikhon was not handing him the waistcoat he wanted. Another time he interrupted, saying: "And will she soon be confined?" and shaking his head reproachfully said: "That's bad! Go on, go on."
The third interruption came when Prince Andrew was finishing his description. The old man began to sing, in the cracked voice of old age: "Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre. Dieu sait quand reviendra."**"Marlborough is going to the wars; God knows when he'll return." His son only smiled.
"I don't say it's a plan I approve of," said the son; "I am only telling you what it is. Napoleon has also formed his plan by now, not worse than this one.""Well, you've told me nothing new," and the old man repeated, meditatively and rapidly: "Dieu sait quand reviendra. Go to the dining room." CHAPTER XXVII
At the appointed hour the prince, powdered and shaven, entered the dining room where his daughter-in-law, Princess Mary, and Mademoiselle Bourienne were already awaiting him together with his architect, who by a strange caprice of his employer's was admitted to table though the position of that insignificant individual was such as could certainly not have caused him to expect that honor. The prince, who generally kept very strictly to social distinctions and rarely
admitted even important government officials to his table, had unexpectedly selected Michael Ivanovich (who always went into a corner to blow his nose on his checked handkerchief) to illustrate the theory that all men are equals, and had more than once impressed on his daughter that Michael Ivanovich was "not a whit worse than you or I." At dinner the prince usually spoke to the taciturn Michael Ivanovich more often than to anyone else.
In the dining room, which like all the rooms in the house was exceedingly lofty, the members of the household and the footmen--one behind each chair--stood waiting for the prince to enter. The head butler, napkin on arm, was scanning the setting of the table, making signs to the footmen, and anxiously glancing from the clock to the door by which the prince was to enter. Prince Andrew was looking at a large gilt frame, new to him, containing the genealogical tree of the Princes Bolkonski, opposite which hung another such frame with a badly painted portrait (evidently by the hand of the artist
belonging to the estate) of a ruling prince, in a crown--an alleged descendant of Rurik and ancestor of the Bolkonskis. Prince Andrew, looking again at that genealogical tree, shook his head, laughing as a man laughs who looks at a portrait so characteristic of the original as to be amusing.
Princess Mary looked at her brother in surprise. She did not understand what he was laughing at. Everything her father did inspired her with reverence and was beyond question."Everyone has his Achilles' heel," continued Prince Andrew. "Fancy, with his powerful mind, indulging in such nonsense!"
Princess Mary could not understand the boldness of her brother's criticism and was about to reply, when the expected footsteps were heard coming from the study. The prince walked in quickly and jauntily as was his wont, as if intentionally contrasting the briskness of his manners with the strict formality of his house. At that moment the great clock struck two and another with a shrill tone joined in from the drawing room. The prince stood still; his lively glittering eyes from under their thick, bushy eyebrows sternly scanned all present and rested on the little princess. She felt, as courtiers do when the Tsar enters, the sensation of fear and respect which the old man inspired in all around him. He stroked her hair and then patted her awkwardly on the back of her neck.
"I'm glad, glad, to see you," he said, looking attentively into her eyes, and then quickly went to his place and sat down. "Sit down, sit down! Sit down, Michael Ianovich!"He indicated a place beside him to his daughter-in-law. A footman moved the chair for her. "Ho, ho!" said the old man, casting his eyes on her rounded figure. "You've been in a hurry. That's bad!" He laughed in his usual dry, cold, unpleasant way, with his lips only and not with his eyes. "You must walk, walk as much as possible, as much as possible," he said.
The little princess did not, or did not wish to, hear his words. She was silent and seemed confused. The prince asked her about her father, and she began to smile and talk. He asked about mutual
acquaintances, and she became still more animated and chattered away giving him greetings from various people and retailing the town gossip.
As she became animated the prince looked at her more and more sternly, and suddenly, as if he had studied her sufficiently and had formed a definite idea of her, he turned away and addressed Michael Ivanovich.
"Well, Michael Ivanovich, our Bonaparte will be having a bad time of it. Prince Andrew" (he always spoke thus of his son) "has been telling me what forces are being collected against him! While you and I never thought much of him."
Michael Ivanovich did not at all know when "you and I" had said such things about Bonaparte, but understanding that he was wanted as a peg on which to hang the prince's favorite topic, he looked inquiringly at the young prince, wondering what would follow."He is a great tactician!" said the prince to his son, pointing to the architect.
And the conversation again turned on the war, on Bonaparte, and the generals and statesmen of the day. The old prince seemed convinced not only that all the men of the day were mere babies who did not know the A B C of war or of politics, and that Bonaparte was an insignificant little Frenchy, successful only because there were no longer any Potemkins or Suvorovs left to oppose him; but he was also convinced that there were no political difficulties in Europe and no real war, but only a sort of puppet show at which the men of the day were playing, pretending to do something real. Prince Andrew gaily bore with his father's ridicule of the new men, and drew him on and listened to him with evident pleasure.
"The past always seems good," said he, "but did not Suvorov himself fall into a trap Moreau set him, and from which he did not know how to escape?"
"Who told you that? Who?" cried the prince. "Suvorov!" And he jerked away his plate, which Tikhon briskly caught. "Suvorov!... Consider, Prince Andrew. Two... Frederick and Suvorov; Moreau!... Moreau would have been a prisoner if Suvorov had had a free hand; but he had the Hofs-kriegs-wurst-schnapps-Rath on his hands. It would have puzzled the devil himself! When you get there you'll find out what those Hofs-kriegs-wurst-Raths are! Suvorov couldn't manage them so what chance has Michael Kutuzov? No, my dear boy," he continued, "you and your generals won't get on against Buonaparte; you'll have to call in the French, so that birds of a feather may fight together. The German, Pahlen, has been sent to New York in America, to fetch the Frenchman, Moreau," he said, alluding to the invitation made that year to Moreau to enter the Russian service.... "Wonderful!... Were the Potemkins, Suvorovs, and Orlovs Germans? No, lad, either you fellows have all lost your wits, or I have outlived mine. May God help you, but we'll see what will happen. Buonaparte has become a great commander among them! Hm!..."
"I don't at all say that all the plans are good," said Prince Andrew, "I am only surprised at your opinion of Bonaparte. You may laugh as much as you like, but all the same Bonaparte is a great general!"
"Michael Ivanovich!" cried the old prince to the architect who, busy with his roast meat, hoped he had been forgotten: "Didn't I tell you Buonaparte was a great tactician? Here, he says the same thing.""To be sure, your excellency." replied the architect. The prince again laughed his frigid laugh.
"Buonaparte was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has got splendid soldiers. Besides he began by attacking Germans. And only idlers have failed to beat the Germans. Since the world began everybody has beaten the Germans. They beat no one--except one another. He made his reputation fighting them."
And the prince began explaining all the blunders which, according to him, Bonaparte had made in his campaigns and even in politics. His son made no rejoinder, but it was evident that whatever arguments were presented he was as little able as his father to change his opinion. He listened, refraining from a reply, and involuntarily wondered how this old man, living alone in the country for so many years, could know and discuss so minutely and acutely all the recent European military and political events.
"You think I'm an old man and don't understand the present state of affairs?" concluded his father. "But it troubles me. I don't sleep at night. Come now, where has this great commander of yours shown his skill?" he concluded."That would take too long to tell," answered the son.
"Well, then go to your Buonaparte! Mademoiselle Bourienne, here's another admirer of that powder-monkey emperor of yours," he exclaimed in excellent French.
"You know, Prince, I am not a Bonapartist!" "Dieu sait quand reviendra..." hummed the prince out of tune and, with a laugh still more so, he quitted the table.
The little princess during the whole discussion and the rest of the dinner sat silent, glancing with a frightened look now at her father-in-law and now at Princess Mary. When they left the table she took her sister-in-law's arm and drew her into another room."What a clever man your father is," said she; "perhaps that is why I am afraid of him." "Oh, he is so kind!" answered Princess Mary. CHAPTER XXVIII
Prince Andrew was to leave next evening. The old prince, not altering his routine, retired as usual after dinner. The little princess was in her sister-in-law's room. Prince Andrew in a traveling coat without epaulettes had been packing with his valet in the rooms assigned to him. After inspecting the carriage himself and seeing the trunks put in, he ordered the horses to be harnessed. Only those things he always kept with him remained in his room; a small box, a large canteen fitted with silver plate, two Turkish pistols and a saber--a present from his father who had brought it from the siege of Ochakov. All these traveling effects of Prince Andrew's were in very good order: new, clean, and in cloth covers carefully tied with tapes.
When starting on a journey or changing their mode of life, men capable of reflection are generally in a serious frame of mind. At such moments one reviews the past and plans for the future. Prince Andrew's face looked very thoughtful and tender. With his hands behind him he paced briskly from corner to corner of the room, looking straight before him and thoughtfully shaking his head. Did he fear going to the war, or was he sad at leaving his wife?--perhaps both, but evidently he did not wish to be seen in that mood, for hearing footsteps in the passage he hurriedly unclasped his hands, stopped at a table as if tying the cover of the small box, and assumed his usual tranquil and impenetrable expression. It was the heavy tread of Princess Mary that he heard.
"I hear you have given orders to harness," she cried, panting (she had apparently been running), "and I did so wish to have another talk with you alone! God knows how long we may again be parted. You are not angry with me for coming? You have changed so, Andrusha," she added, as if to explain such a question.
She smiled as she uttered his pet name, "Andrusha." It was obviously strange to her to think that this stern handsome man should be Andrusha--the slender mischievous boy who had been her playfellow in childhood."And where is Lise?" he asked, answering her question only by a smile.
"She was so tired that she has fallen asleep on the sofa in my room. Oh, Andrew! What a treasure of a wife you have," said she, sitting down on the sofa, facing her brother. "She is quite a child: such a dear, merry child. I have grown so fond of her."Prince Andrew was silent, but the princess noticed the ironical and contemptuous look that showed itself on his face.
"One must be indulgent to little weaknesses; who is free from them, Andrew? Don't forget that she has grown up and been educated in society, and so her position now is not a rosy one. We should enter into everyone's situation. Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner.* Think it must be for her, poor thing, after what she has been used to, to be parted from her husband and be left alone in the country, in her condition! It's very hard."*To understand all is to forgive all. Prince Andrew smiled as he looked at his sister, as we smile at those we think we thoroughly understand. "You live in the country and don't think the life terrible," he replied.
"I... that's different. Why speak of me? I don't want any other life, and can't, for I know no other. But think, Andrew: for a young society woman to be buried in the country during the best years of her life, all alone--for Papa is always busy, and I... well, you know what poor resources I have for entertaining a woman used to the best society. There is only Mademoiselle Bourienne....""I don't like your Mademoiselle Bourienne at all," said Prince Andrew.
"No? She is very nice and kind and, above all, she's much to be pitied. She has no one, no one. To tell the truth, I don't need her, and she's even in my way. You know I always was a savage, and now am even more so. I like being alone.... Father likes her very much. She and Michael Ivanovich are the two people to whom he is always gentle and kind, because he has been a benefactor to them both. As Sterne says: 'We don't love people so much for the good they have done us, as for the good we have done them.' Father took her when she was homeless after losing her own father. She is very good-natured, and my father likes her way of reading. She reads to him in the evenings and reads splendidly."
"To be quite frank, Mary, I expect Father's character sometimes makes things trying for you, doesn't it?" Prince Andrew asked suddenly.Princess Mary was first surprised and then aghast at this question. "For me? For me?... Trying for me!..." said she.
"He always was rather harsh; and now I should think he's getting very trying," said Prince Andrew, apparently speaking lightly of their father in order to puzzle or test his sister.
"You are good in every way, Andrew, but you have a kind of intellectual pride," said the princess, following the train of her own thoughts rather than the trend of the conversation--"and that's a great sin. How can one judge Father? But even if one might, what feeling except veneration could such a man as my father evoke? And I am so contented and happy with him. I only wish you were all as happy as I am."Her brother shook his head incredulously.
"The only thing that is hard for me... I will tell you the truth, Andrew... is Father's way of treating religious subjects. I don't understand how a man of his immense intellect can fail to see what is as clear as day, and can go so far astray. That is the only thing that makes me unhappy. But even in this I can see lately a shade of improvement. His satire has been less bitter of late, and there was a monk he received and had a long talk with.""Ah! my dear, I am afraid you and your monk are wasting your powder," said Prince Andrew banteringly yet tenderly.
"Ah! mon ami, I only pray, and hope that God will hear me. Andrew..." she said timidly after a moment's silence, "I have a great favor to ask of you.""What is it, dear?"
"No--promise that you will not refuse! It will give you no trouble and is nothing unworthy of you, but it will comfort me. Promise, Andrusha!..." said she, putting her hand in her reticule but not yet taking out what she was holding inside it, as if what she held were the subject of her request and must not be shown before the request was granted.She looked timidly at her brother. "Even if it were a great deal of trouble..." answered Prince Andrew, as if guessing what it was about.
"Think what you please! I know you are just like Father. Think as you please, but do this for my sake! Please do! Father's father, our grandfather, wore it in all his wars." (She still did not take out what she was holding in her reticule.) "So you promise?""Of course. What is it?" "Andrew, I bless you with this icon and you must promise me you will never take it off. Do you promise?"
"If it does not weigh a hundredweight and won't break my neck... To please you..." said Prince Andrew. But immediately, noticing the pained expression his joke had brought to his sister's face, he repented and added: "I am glad; really, dear, I am very glad."
"Against your will He will save and have mercy on you and bring you to Himself, for in Him alone is truth and peace," said she in a voice trembling with emotion, solemnly holding up in both hands before her brother a small, oval, antique, dark-faced icon of the Saviour in a gold setting, on a finely wrought silver chain.She crossed herself, kissed the icon, and handed it to Andrew. "Please, Andrew, for my sake!..."
Rays of gentle light shone from her large, timid eyes. Those eyes lit up the whole of her thin, sickly face and made it beautiful. Her brother would have taken the icon, but she stopped him. Andrew understood, crossed himself and kissed the icon. There was a look of tenderness, for he was touched, but also a gleam of irony on his face."Thank you, my dear." She kissed him on the forehead and sat down again on the sofa. They were silent for a while.
"As I was saying to you, Andrew, be kind and generous as you always used to be. Don't judge Lise harshly," she began. "She is so sweet, so good-natured, and her position now is a very hard one."
"I do not think I have complained of my wife to you, Masha, or blamed her. Why do you say all this to me?"
Red patches appeared on Princess Mary's face and she was silent as if she felt guilty.
The patches grew deeper on her forehead, neck, and cheeks. She tried to say something but could not. Her brother had guessed right: the little princess had been crying after dinner and had spoken of her forebodings about her confinement, and how she dreaded it, and had complained of her fate, her father-in-law, and her husband. After crying she had fallen asleep. Prince Andrew felt sorry for his sister.
"Know this, Masha: I can't reproach, have not reproached, and never shall reproach my wife with anything, and I cannot reproach myself with anything in regard to her; and that always will be so in whatever circumstances I may be placed. But if you want to know the truth... if you want to know whether I am happy? No! Is she happy? No! But why this is so I don't know..."
As he said this he rose, went to his sister, and, stooping, kissed her forehead. His fine eyes lit up with a thoughtful, kindly, and unaccustomed brightness, but he was looking not at his sister but over her head toward the darkness of the open doorway.
"Let us go to her, I must say good-by. Or--go and wake and I'll come in a moment. Petrushka!" he called to his valet: "Come here, take these away. Put this on the seat and this to the right."
Princess Mary rose and moved to the door, then stopped and said: "Andrew, if you had faith you would have turned to God and asked Him to give you the love you do not feel, and your prayer would have been answered.""Well, may be!" said Prince Andrew. "Go, Masha; I'll come immediately."
On the way to his sister's room, in the passage which connected one wing with the other, Prince Andrew met Mademoiselle Bourienne smiling sweetly. It was the third time that day that, with an ecstatic and artless smile, she had met him in secluded passages."Oh! I thought you were in your room," she said, for some reason blushing and dropping her eyes.
Prince Andrew looked sternly at her and an expression of anger suddenly came over his face. He said nothing to her but looked at her forehead and hair, without looking at her eyes, with such contempt that the Frenchwoman blushed and went away without a word. When he reached his sister's room his wife was already awake and her merry voice, hurrying one word after another, came through the open door. She was speaking as usual in French, and as if after long self-restraint she wished to make up for lost time.
"No, but imagine the old Countess Zubova, with false curls and her mouth full of false teeth, as if she were trying to cheat old age.... Ha, ha, ha! Mary!"
This very sentence about Countess Zubova and this same laugh Prince Andrew had already heard from his wife in the presence of others some five times. He entered the room softly. The little princess, plump and rosy, was sitting in an easy chair with her work in her hands, talking incessantly, repeating Petersburg
reminiscences and even phrases. Prince Andrew came up, stroked her hair, and asked if she felt rested after their journey. She answered him and continued her chatter.
The coach with six horses was waiting at the porch. It was an autumn night, so dark that the coachman could not see the carriage pole. Servants with lanterns were bustling about in the porch. The immense house was brilliant with lights shining through its lofty windows. The domestic serfs were crowding in the hall, waiting to bid good-by to the young prince. The members of the household were all gathered in the reception hall: Michael Ivanovich, Mademoiselle Bourienne, Princess Mary, and the little princess. Prince Andrew had been called to his father's study as the latter wished to say good-by to him alone. All were waiting for them to come out.
When Prince Andrew entered the study the old man in his old-age spectacles and white dressing gown, in which he received no one but his son, sat at the table writing. He glanced round."Going?" And he went on writing. "I've come to say good-by." "Kiss me here," and he touched his cheek: "Thanks, thanks!" "What do you thank me for?"
"For not dilly-dallying and not hanging to a woman's apron strings. The Service before everything. Thanks, thanks!" And he went on writing, so that his quill spluttered and squeaked. "If you have anything to say, say it. These two things can be done together," he added."About my wife... I am ashamed as it is to leave her on your hands..."
"Why talk nonsense? Say what you want." "When her confinement is due, send to Moscow for an accoucheur.... Let him be here...."The old prince stopped writing and, as if not understanding, fixed his stern eyes on his son.
"I know that no one can help if nature does not do her work," said Prince Andrew, evidently confused. "I know that out of a million cases only one goes wrong, but it is her fancy and mine. They have been telling her things. She has had a dream and is frightened.""Hm... Hm..." muttered the old prince to himself, finishing what he was writing. "I'll do it." He signed with a flourish and suddenly turning to his son began to laugh. "It's a bad business, eh?" "What is bad, Father?" "The wife!" said the old prince, briefly and significantly. "I don't understand!" said Prince Andrew.
"No, it can't be helped, lad," said the prince. "They're all like that; one can't unmarry. Don't be afraid; I won't tell anyone, but you know it yourself."
He seized his son by the hand with small bony fingers, shook it, looked straight into his son's face with keen eyes which seemed to see through him, and again laughed his frigid laugh.
The son sighed, thus admitting that his father had understood him. The old man continued to fold and seal his letter, snatching up and throwing down the wax, the seal, and the paper, with his accustomed rapidity."What's to be done? She's pretty! I will do everything. Make your mind easy," said he in abrupt sentences while sealing his letter.
Andrew did not speak; he was both pleased and displeased that his father understood him. The old man got up and gave the letter to his son.
"Listen!" said he; "don't worry about your wife: what can be done shall be. Now listen! Give this letter to Michael Ilarionovich.* I have written that he should make use of you in proper places and not keep you long as an adjutant: a bad position! Tell him I remember and like him. Write and tell me how he receives you. If he is all right--serve him. Nicholas Bolkonski's son need not serve under anyone if he is in disfavor. Now come here."*Kutuzov.
He spoke so rapidly that he did not finish half his words, but his son was accustomed to understand him. He led him to the desk, raised the lid, drew out a drawer, and took out an exercise book filled with his bold, tall, close handwriting.
"I shall probably die before you. So remember, these are my memoirs; hand them to the Emperor after my death. Now here is a Lombard bond and a letter; it is a premium for the man who writes a history of Suvorov's wars. Send it to the Academy. Here are some jottings for you to read when I am gone. You will find them useful."Andrew did not tell his father that he would no doubt live a long time yet. He felt that he must not say it. "I will do it all, Father," he said.
"Well, now, good-by!" He gave his son his hand to kiss, and embraced him. "Remember this, Prince Andrew, if they kill you it will hurt me, your old father..." he paused unexpectedly, and then in a querulous voice suddenly shrieked: "but if I hear that you have not behaved like a son of Nicholas Bolkonski, I shall be ashamed!""You need not have said that to me, Father," said the son with a smile. The old man was silent.
"I also wanted to ask you," continued Prince Andrew, "if I'm killed and if I have a son, do not let him be taken away from you- as I said yesterday... let him grow up with you.... Please.""Not let the wife have him?" said the old man, and laughed.
They stood silent, facing one another. The old man's sharp eyes were fixed straight on his son's. Something twitched in the lower part of the old prince's face."We've said good-by. Go!" he suddenly shouted in a loud, angry voice, opening his door. "What is it? What?" asked both princesses when they saw for a moment at the door Prince Andrew and the figure of the old man in a white dressing gown, spectacled and wigless, shouting in an angry voice. Prince Andrew sighed and made no reply. "Well!" he said, turning to his wife. And this "Well!" sounded coldly ironic, as if he were saying,: "Now go through your performance." "Andrew, already!" said the little princess, turning pale and looking with dismay at her husband. He embraced her. She screamed and fell unconscious on his shoulder. He cautiously released the shoulder she leaned on, looked into her face, and carefully placed her in an easy chair. "Adieu, Mary," said he gently to his sister, taking her by the hand and kissing her, and then he left the room with rapid steps.
The little princess lay in the armchair, Mademoiselle Bourienne chafing her temples. Princess Mary, supporting her sister-in-law, still looked with her beautiful eyes full of tears at the door through which Prince Andrew had gone and made the sign of the cross in his direction. From the study, like pistol shots, came the frequent sound of the old man angrily blowing his nose. Hardly had Prince Andrew gone when the study door opened quickly and the stern figure of the old man in the white dressing gown looked out.
"Gone? That's all right!" said he; and looking angrily at the unconscious little princess, he shook his head reprovingly and slammed the door.BOOK TWO: 1805 CHAPTER I
In October, 1805, a Russian army was occupying the villages and towns of the Archduchy of Austria, and yet other regiments freshly arriving from Russia were settling near the fortress of Braunau and burdening the inhabitants on whom they were quartered. Braunau was the headquarters of the commander-in-chief, Kutuzov.
On October 11, 1805, one of the infantry regiments that had just reached Braunau had halted half a mile from the town, waiting to be inspected by the commander in chief. Despite the un-Russian appearance of the locality and surroundings--fruit gardens, stone fences, tiled roofs, and hills in the distance--and despite the fact that the inhabitants (who gazed with curiosity at the soldiers) were not Russians, the regiment had just the appearance of any Russian regiment preparing for an inspection anywhere in the heart of Russia.
On the evening of the last day's march an order had been received that the commander in chief would inspect the regiment on the march. Though the words of the order were not clear to the regimental commander, and the question arose whether the troops were to be in marching order or not, it was decided at a consultation between the battalion commanders to present the regiment in parade order, on the principle that it is always better to "bow too low than not bow low enough." So the soldiers, after a twenty-mile march, were kept mending and cleaning all night long without closing their eyes, while the adjutants and company commanders calculated and reckoned, and by morning the regiment--instead of the straggling, disorderly crowd it had been on its last march the day before--presented a well-ordered array of two thousand men each of whom knew his place and his duty, had every button and every strap in place, and shone with cleanliness. And not only externally was all in order, but had it pleased the commander in chief to look under the uniforms he would have found on every man a clean shirt, and in every knapsack the appointed number of articles, "awl, soap, and all," as the soldiers say. There was only one circumstance concerning which no one could be at ease. It was the state of the soldiers' boots. More than half the men's boots were in holes. But this defect was not due to any fault of the regimental commander, for in spite of repeated demands boots had not been issued by the Austrian commissariat, and the regiment had marched some seven hundred miles.
The commander of the regiment was an elderly, choleric, stout, and thick-set general with grizzled eyebrows and whiskers, and wider from chest to back than across the shoulders. He had on a brand-new uniform showing the creases where it had been folded and thick gold epaulettes which seemed to stand rather than lie down on his massive shoulders. He had the air of a man happily performing one of the most solemn duties of his life. He walked about in front of the line and at every step pulled himself up, slightly arching his back. It was plain that the commander admired his regiment, rejoiced in it, and that his whole mind was engrossed by it, yet his strut seemed to indicate that, besides military matters, social interests and the fair sex occupied no small part of his thoughts.
"Well, Michael Mitrich, sir?" he said, addressing one of the battalion commanders who smilingly pressed forward (it was plain that they both felt happy). "We had our hands full last night. However, I think the regiment is not a bad one, eh?"The battalion commander perceived the jovial irony and laughed. "It would not be turned off the field even on the Tsaritsin Meadow." "What?" asked the commander.
At that moment, on the road from the town on which signalers had been posted, two men appeared on horse back. They were an aide-de-camp followed by a Cossack.
The aide-de-camp was sent to confirm the order which had not been clearly worded the day before, namely, that the commander in chief wished to see the regiment just in the state in which it had been on the march: in their greatcoats, and packs, and without any preparation whatever.
A member of the Hofkriegsrath from Vienna had come to Kutuzov the day before with proposals and demands for him to join up with the army of the Archduke Ferdinand and Mack, and Kutuzov, not considering this junction advisable, meant, among other arguments in support of his view, to show the Austrian general the wretched state in which the troops arrived from Russia. With this object he intended to meet the regiment; so the worse the condition it was in, the better pleased the commander in chief would be. Though the aide-de-camp did not know these circumstances, he nevertheless delivered the definite order that the men should be in their greatcoats and in marching order, and that the commander in chief would otherwise be dissatisfied. On hearing this the regimental commander hung his head, silently shrugged his shoulders, and spread out his arms with a choleric gesture."A fine mess we've made of it!" he remarked.
"There now! Didn't I tell you, Michael Mitrich, that if it was said 'on the march' it meant in greatcoats?" said he reproachfully to the battalion commander. "Oh, my God!" he added, stepping resolutely forward. "Company commanders!" he shouted in a voice accustomed to command. "Sergeants major!... How soon will he be here?" he asked the aide-de-camp with a respectful politeness evidently relating to the personage he was referring to."In an hour's time, I should say." "Shall we have time to change clothes?"
"I don't know, General...." The regimental commander, going up to the line himself, ordered the soldiers to change into their greatcoats. The company commanders ran off to their companies, the sergeants major began bustling (the greatcoats were not in very good condition), and instantly the squares that had up to then been in regular order and silent began to sway and stretch and hum with voices. On all sides soldiers were running to and fro, throwing up their knapsacks with a jerk of their shoulders and pulling the straps over their heads, unstrapping their overcoats and drawing the sleeves on with upraised arms.
In half an hour all was again in order, only the squares had become gray instead of black. The regimental commander walked with his jerky steps to the front of the regiment and examined it from a distance."Whatever is this? This!" he shouted and stood still. "Commander of the third company!"
"Commander of the third company wanted by the general!... commander to the general... third company to the commander." The words passed along the lines and an adjutant ran to look for the missing officer.
When the eager but misrepeated words had reached their destination in a cry of: "The general to the third company," the missing officer appeared from behind his company and, though he was a middle-aged man and not in the habit of running, trotted awkwardly stumbling on his toes toward the general. The captain's face showed the uneasiness of a schoolboy who is told to repeat a lesson he has not learned. Spots appeared on his nose, the redness of which was evidently due to intemperance, and his mouth twitched nervously. The general looked the captain up and down as he came up panting, slackening his pace as he approached.
"You will soon be dressing your men in petticoats! What is this?" shouted the regimental commander, thrusting forward his jaw and pointing at a soldier in the ranks of the third company in a greatcoat of bluish cloth, which contrasted with the others. "What have you been after? The commander in chief is expected and you leave your place? Eh? I'll teach you to dress the men in fancy coats for a parade.... Eh...?"
The commander of the company, with his eyes fixed on his superior, pressed two fingers more and more rigidly to his cap, as if in this pressure lay his only hope of salvation."Well, why don't you speak? Whom have you got there dressed up as a Hungarian?" said the commander with an austere gibe.
"Your excellency..." "Well, your excellency, what? Your excellency! But what about your excellency?... nobody knows.""Your excellency, it's the officer Dolokhov, who has been reduced to the ranks," said the captain softly.
"Well? Has he been degraded into a field marshal, or into a soldier? If a soldier, he should be dressed in regulation uniform like the others.""Your excellency, you gave him leave yourself, on the march."
"Gave him leave? Leave? That's just like you young men," said the regimental commander cooling down a little. "Leave indeed.... One says a word to you and you... What?" he added with renewed irritation, "I beg you to dress your men decently."
And the commander, turning to look at the adjutant, directed his jerky steps down the line. He was evidently pleased at his own display of anger and walking up to the regiment wished to find a further excuse for wrath. Having snapped at an officer for an unpolished badge, at another because his line was not straight, he reached the third company.
"H-o-o-w are you standing? Where's your leg? Your leg?" shouted the commander with a tone of suffering in his voice, while there were still five men between him and Dolokhov with his bluish-gray uniform.Dolokhov slowly straightened his bent knee, looking straight with his clear, insolent eyes in the general's face. "Why a blue coat? Off with it... Sergeant major! Change his coat... the ras..." he did not finish. "General, I must obey orders, but I am not bound to endure..." Dolokhov hurriedly interrupted. "No talking in the ranks!... No talking, no talking!" "Not bound to endure insults," Dolokhov concluded in loud, ringing tones. The eyes of the general and the soldier met. The general became silent, angrily pulling down his tight scarf. "I request you to have the goodness to change your coat," he said as he turned away. CHAPTER II "He's coming!" shouted the signaler at that moment.
The regimental commander, flushing, ran to his horse, seized the stirrup with trembling hands, threw his body across the saddle, righted himself, drew his saber, and with a happy and resolute countenance, opening his mouth awry, prepared to shout. The regiment fluttered like a bird preening its plumage and became motionless.
"Att-ention!" shouted the regimental commander in a soul-shaking voice which expressed joy for himself, severity for the regiment, and welcome for the approaching chief.
Along the broad country road, edged on both sides by trees, came a high, light blue Viennese caleche, slightly creaking on its springs and drawn by six horses at a smart trot. Behind the caleche galloped the suite and a convoy of Croats. Beside Kutuzov sat an Austrian general, in a white uniform that looked strange among the Russian black ones. The caleche stopped in front of the regiment. Kutuzov and the Austrian general were talking in low voices and Kutuzov smiled slightly as treading heavily he stepped down from the carriage just as if those two thousand men breathlessly gazing at him and the regimental commander did not exist.
The word of command rang out, and again the regiment quivered, as with a jingling sound it presented arms. Then amidst a dead silence the feeble voice of the commander in chief was heard. The regiment roared, "Health to your ex... len... len... lency!" and again all became silent. At first Kutuzov stood still while the regiment moved; then he and the general in white, accompanied by the suite, walked between the ranks.
From the way the regimental commander saluted the commander in chief and devoured him with his eyes, drawing himself up obsequiously, and from the way he walked through the ranks behind the generals, bending forward and hardly able to restrain his jerky movements, and from the way he darted forward at every word or gesture of the commander in chief, it was evident that he performed his duty as a subordinate with even greater zeal than his duty as a commander. Thanks to the strictness and assiduity of its commander the regiment, in comparison with others that had reached Braunau at the same time, was in splendid condition. There were only 217 sick and stragglers. Everything was in good order except the boots.
Kutuzov walked through the ranks, sometimes stopping to say a few friendly words to officers he had known in the Turkish war,
sometimes also to the soldiers. Looking at their boots he several times shook his head sadly, pointing them out to the Austrian general with an expression which seemed to say that he was not blaming anyone, but could not help noticing what a bad state of things it was. The regimental commander ran forward on each such occasion, fearing to miss a single word of the commander in chief's regarding the regiment. Behind Kutuzov, at a distance that allowed every softly spoken word to be heard, followed some twenty men of his suite. These gentlemen talked among themselves and sometimes laughed. Nearest of all to the commander in chief walked a handsome adjutant. This was Prince Bolkonski. Beside him was his comrade Nesvitski, a tall staff officer, extremely stout, with a kindly, smiling, handsome face and moist eyes. Nesvitski could hardly keep from laughter provoked by a swarthy hussar officer who walked beside him. This hussar, with a grave face and without a smile or a change in the expression of his fixed eyes, watched the regimental commander's back and mimicked his every movement. Each time the commander started and bent forward, the hussar started and bent forward in exactly the same manner. Nesvitski laughed and nudged the others to make them look at the wag.
Kutuzov walked slowly and languidly past thousands of eyes which were starting from their sockets to watch their chief. On reaching the third company he suddenly stopped. His suite, not having expected this, involuntarily came closer to him."Ah, Timokhin!" said he, recognizing the red-nosed captain who had been reprimanded on account of the blue greatcoat.
One would have thought it impossible for a man to stretch himself more than Timokhin had done when he was reprimanded by the regimental commander, but now that the commander in chief addressed him he drew himself up to such an extent that it seemed he could not have sustained it had the commander in chief continued to look at him, and so Kutuzov, who evidently understood his case and wished him nothing but good, quickly turned away, a scarcely perceptible smile flitting over his scarred and puffy face."Another Ismail comrade," said he. "A brave officer! Are you satisfied with him?" he asked the regimental commander.
And the latter--unconscious that he was being reflected in the hussar officer as in a looking glass--started, moved forward, and answered: "Highly satisfied, your excellency!""We all have our weaknesses," said Kutuzov smiling and walking away from him. "He used to have a predilection for Bacchus."
The regimental commander was afraid he might be blamed for this and did not answer. The hussar at that moment noticed the face of the red-nosed captain and his drawn-in stomach, and mimicked his expression and pose with such exactitude that Nesvitski could not help laughing. Kutuzov turned round. The officer evidently had complete control of his face, and while Kutuzov was turning managed to make a grimace and then assume a most serious, deferential, and innocent expression.
The third company was the last, and Kutuzov pondered, apparently trying to recollect something. Prince Andrew stepped forward from among the suite and said in French:"You told me to remind you of the officer Dolokhov, reduced to the ranks in this regiment." "Where is Dolokhov?" asked Kutuzov.
Dolokhov, who had already changed into a soldier's gray greatcoat, did not wait to be called. The shapely figure of the fair-haired soldier, with his clear blue eyes, stepped forward from the ranks, went up to the commander in chief, and presented arms."Have you a complaint to make?" Kutuzov asked with a slight frown. "This is Dolokhov," said Prince Andrew.
"Ah!" said Kutuzov. "I hope this will be a lesson to you. Do your duty. The Emperor is gracious, and I shan't forget you if you deserve well."
The clear blue eyes looked at the commander in chief just as boldly as they had looked at the regimental commander, seeming by their expression to tear open the veil of convention that separates a commander in chief so widely from a private.
"One thing I ask of your excellency," Dolokhov said in his firm, ringing, deliberate voice. "I ask an opportunity to atone for my fault and prove my devotion to His Majesty the Emperor and to Russia!"
Kutuzov turned away. The same smile of the eyes with which he had turned from Captain Timokhin again flitted over his face. He turned away with a grimace as if to say that everything Dolokhov had said to him and everything he could say had long been known to him, that he was weary of it and it was not at all what he wanted. He turned away and went to the carriage.
The regiment broke up into companies, which went to their appointed quarters near Braunau, where they hoped to receive boots and clothes and to rest after their hard marches.
"You won't bear me a grudge, Prokhor Ignatych?" said the regimental commander, overtaking the third company on its way to its quarters and riding up to Captain Timokhin who was walking in front. (The regimental commander's face now that the inspection was happily over beamed with irrepressible delight.) "It's in the Emperor's service... it can't be helped... one is sometimes a bit hasty on parade... I am the first to apologize, you know me!... He was very pleased!" And he held out his hand to the captain.
"Don't mention it, General, as if I'd be so bold!" replied the captain, his nose growing redder as he gave a smile which showed where two front teeth were missing that had been knocked out by the butt end of a gun at Ismail.
"And tell Mr. Dolokhov that I won't forget him--he may be quite easy. And tell me, please--I've been meaning to ask--how is to askhow is he behaving himself, and in general...""As far as the service goes he is quite punctilious, your excellency; but his character..." said Timokhin. "And what about his character?" asked the regimental commander.
"It's different on different days," answered the captain. "One day he is sensible, well educated, and good-natured, and the next he's a wild beast.... In Poland, if you please, he nearly killed a Jew."
"Oh, well, well!" remarked the regimental commander. "Still, one must have pity on a young man in misfortune. You know he has important connections... Well, then, you just...""I will, your excellency," said Timokhin, showing by his smile that he understood his commander's wish. "Well, of course, of course!" The regimental commander sought out Dolokhov in the ranks and, reining in his horse, said to him: "After the next affair... epaulettes." Dolokhov looked round but did not say anything, nor did the mocking smile on his lips change.
"Well, that's all right," continued the regimental commander. "A cup of vodka for the men from me," he added so that the soldiers could hear. "I thank you all! God be praised!" and he rode past that company and overtook the next one."Well, he's really a good fellow, one can serve under him," said Timokhin to the subaltern beside him. "In a word, a hearty one..." said the subaltern, laughing (the regimental commander was nicknamed King of Hearts).
The cheerful mood of their officers after the inspection infected the soldiers. The company marched on gaily. The soldiers' voices could be heard on every side."And they said Kutuzov was blind of one eye?" "And so he is! Quite blind!" "No, friend, he is sharper-eyed than you are. Boots and leg bands... he noticed everything..." "When he looked at my feet, friend... well, thinks I..."
"And that other one with him, the Austrian, looked as if he were smeared with chalk--as white as flour! I suppose they polish him up as they do the guns.""I say, Fedeshon!... Did he say when the battles are to begin? You were near him. Everybody said that Buonaparte himself was at Braunau."
"Buonaparte himself!... Just listen to the fool, what he doesn't know! The Prussians are up in arms now. The Austrians, you see, are putting them down. When they've been put down, the war with Buonaparte will begin. And he says Buonaparte is in Braunau! Shows you're a fool. You'd better listen more carefully!"
"What devils these quartermasters are! See, the fifth company is turning into the village already... they will have their buckwheat cooked before we reach our quarters.""Give me a biscuit, you devil!" "And did you give me tobacco yesterday? That's just it, friend! Ah, well, never mind, here you are." "They might call a halt here or we'll have to do another four miles without eating." "Wasn't it fine when those Germans gave us lifts! You just sit still and are drawn along."
"And here, friend, the people are quite beggarly. There they all seemed to be Poles--all under the Russian crown--but here they're all regular Germans."
"Singers to the front " came the captain's order.
And from the different ranks some twenty men ran to the front. A drummer, their leader, turned round facing the singers, and
flourishing his arm, began a long-drawn-out soldiers' song, commencing with the words: "Morning dawned, the sun was rising," and
concluding: "On then, brothers, on to glory, led by Father
Kamenski." This song had been composed in the Turkish campaign and now being sung in Austria, the only change being that the words "Father Kamenski" were replaced by "Father Kutuzov."
Having jerked out these last words as soldiers do and waved his arms as if flinging something to the ground, the drummer--a lean, handsome soldier of forty--looked sternly at the singers and screwed up his eyes. Then having satisfied himself that all eyes were fixed on him, he raised both arms as if carefully lifting some invisible but precious object above his head and, holding it there for some seconds, suddenly flung it down and began:"Oh, my bower, oh, my bower...!"
"Oh, my bower new...!" chimed in twenty voices, and the castanet player, in spite of the burden of his equipment, rushed out to the front and, walking backwards before the company, jerked his shoulders and flourished his castanets as if threatening someone. The soldiers, swinging their arms and keeping time spontaneously, marched with long steps. Behind the company the sound of wheels, the creaking of springs, and the tramp of horses' hoofs were heard. Kutuzov and his suite were returning to the town. The commander in chief made a sign that the men should continue to march at ease, and he and all his suite showed pleasure at the sound of the singing and the sight of the dancing soldier and the gay and smartly marching men. In the second file from the right flank, beside which the carriage passed the company, a blue-eyed soldier involuntarily attracted notice. It was Dolokhov marching with particular grace and boldness in time to the song and looking at those driving past as if he pitied all who were not at that moment marching with the company. The hussar cornet of Kutuzov's suite who had mimicked the regimental commander, fell back from the carriage and rode up to Dolokhov.
Hussar cornet Zherkov had at one time, in Petersburg, belonged to the wild set led by Dolokhov. Zherkov had met Dolokhov abroad as a private and had not seen fit to recognize him. But now that Kutuzov had spoken to the gentleman ranker, he addressed him with the cordiality of an old friend."My dear fellow, how are you?" said he through the singing, making his horse keep pace with the company.
"How am I?" Dolokhov answered coldly. "I am as you see." The lively song gave a special flavor to the tone of free and easy gaiety with which Zherkov spoke, and to the intentional coldness of Dolokhov's reply."And how do you get on with the officers?" inquired Zherkov. "All right. They are good fellows. And how have you wriggled onto the staff?" "I was attached; I'm on duty." Both were silent.
"She let the hawk fly upward from her wide right sleeve," went the song, arousing an involuntary sensation of courage and cheerfulness. Their conversation would probably have been different but for the effect of that song."Is it true that Austrians have been beaten?" asked Dolokhov. "The devil only knows! They say so." "I'm glad," answered Dolokhov briefly and clearly, as the song demanded. "I say, come round some evening and we'll have a game of faro!" said Zherkov. "Why, have you too much money?" "Do come." "I can't. I've sworn not to. I won't drink and won't play till I get reinstated." "Well, that's only till the first engagement." "We shall see." They were again silent. "Come if you need anything. One can at least be of use on the staff..." Dolokhov smiled. "Don't trouble. If I want anything, I won't beg- I'll take it!" "Well, never mind; I only..." "And I only..." "Good-by." "Good health..." "It's a long, long way. To my native land..."
Zherkov touched his horse with the spurs; it pranced excitedly from foot to foot uncertain with which to start, then settled down, galloped past the company, and overtook the carriage, still keeping time to the song.CHAPTER III
On returning from the review, Kutuzov took the Austrian general into his private room and, calling his adjutant, asked for some papers relating to the condition of the troops on their arrival, and the letters that had come from the Archduke Ferdinand, who was in command of the advanced army. Prince Andrew Bolkonski came into the room with the required papers. Kutuzov and the Austrian member of the Hofkriegsrath were sitting at the table on which a plan was spread out.
"Ah!..." said Kutuzov glancing at Bolkonski as if by this
exclamation he was asking the adjutant to wait, and he went on with the conversation in French.
"All I can say, General," said he with a pleasant elegance of expression and intonation that obliged one to listen to each deliberately spoken word. It was evident that Kutuzov himself listened with pleasure to his own voice. "All I can say, General, is that if the matter depended on my personal wishes, the will of His Majesty the Emperor Francis would have been fulfilled long ago. I should long ago have joined the archduke. And believe me on my honour that to me personally it would be a pleasure to hand over the supreme command of the army into the hands of a better informed and more skillful general--of whom Austria has so many--and to lay down all this heavy responsibility. But circumstances are sometimes too strong for us, General."
And Kutuzov smiled in a way that seemed to say, "You are quite at liberty not to believe me and I don't even care whether you do or not, but you have no grounds for telling me so. And that is the whole point."The Austrian general looked dissatisfied, but had no option but to reply in the same tone.
"On the contrary," he said, in a querulous and angry tone that contrasted with his flattering words, "on the contrary, your excellency's participation in the common action is highly valued by His Majesty; but we think the present delay is depriving the splendid Russian troops and their commander of the laurels they have been accustomed to win in their battles," he concluded his evidently prearranged sentence.Kutuzov bowed with the same smile.
"But that is my conviction, and judging by the last letter with which His Highness the Archduke Ferdinand has honored me, I imagine that the Austrian troops, under the direction of so skillful a leader as General Mack, have by now already gained a decisive victory and no longer need our aid," said Kutuzov.
The general frowned. Though there was no definite news of an Austrian defeat, there were many circumstances confirming the unfavorable rumors that were afloat, and so Kutuzov's suggestion of an Austrian victory sounded much like irony. But Kutuzov went on blandly smiling with the same expression, which seemed to say that he had a right to suppose so. And, in fact, the last letter he had received from Mack's army informed him of a victory and stated strategically the position of the army was very favorable.
"Give me that letter," said Kutuzov turning to Prince Andrew. "Please have a look at it"--and Kutuzov with an ironical smile about the corners of his mouth read to the Austrian general the following passage, in German, from the Archduke Ferdinand's letter:
We have fully concentrated forces of nearly seventy thousand men with which to attack and defeat the enemy should he cross the Lech. Also, as we are masters of Ulm, we cannot be deprived of the advantage of commanding both sides of the Danube, so that should the enemy not cross the Lech, we can cross the Danube, throw ourselves on his line of communications, recross the river lower down, and frustrate his intention should he try to direct his whole force against our faithful ally. We shall therefore confidently await the moment when the Imperial Russian army will be fully equipped, and shall then, in conjunction with it, easily find a way to prepare for the enemy the fate he deserves.
Kutuzov sighed deeply on finishing this paragraph and looked at the member of the Hofkriegsrath mildly and attentively.
"But you know the wise maxim your excellency, advising one to expect the worst," said the Austrian general, evidently wishing to have done with jests and to come to business. He involuntarily looked round at the aide-de-camp.
"Excuse me, General," interrupted Kutuzov, also turning to Prince Andrew. "Look here, my dear fellow, get from Kozlovski all the reports from our scouts. Here are two letters from Count Nostitz and here is one from His Highness the Archduke Ferdinand and here are these," he said, handing him several papers, "make a neat memorandum in French out of all this, showing all the news we have had of the movements of the Austrian army, and then give it to his excellency."
Prince Andrew bowed his head in token of having understood from the first not only what had been said but also what Kutuzov would have liked to tell him. He gathered up the papers and with a bow to both, stepped softly over the carpet and went out into the waiting room.
Though not much time had passed since Prince Andrew had left Russia, he had changed greatly during that period. In the expression of his face, in his movements, in his walk, scarcely a trace was left of his former affected languor and indolence. He now looked like a man who has time to think of the impression he makes on others, but is occupied with agreeable and interesting work. His face expressed more satisfaction with himself and those around him, his smile and glance were brighter and more attractive.
Kutuzov, whom he had overtaken in Poland, had received him very kindly, promised not to forget him, distinguished him above the other adjutants, and had taken him to Vienna and given him the more serious commissions. From Vienna Kutuzov wrote to his old comrade, Prince Andrew's father.
Your son bids fair to become an officer distinguished by his industry, firmness, and expedition. I consider myself fortunate to have such a subordinate by me.
On Kutuzov's staff, among his fellow officers and in the army generally, Prince Andrew had, as he had had in Petersburg society, two quite opposite reputations. Some, a minority, acknowledged him to be different from themselves and from everyone else, expected great things of him, listened to him, admired, and imitated him, and with them Prince Andrew was natural and pleasant. Others, the majority, disliked him and considered him conceited, cold, and disagreeable. But among these people Prince Andrew knew how to take his stand so that they respected and even feared him.
Coming out of Kutuzov's room into the waiting room with the papers in his hand Prince Andrew came up to his comrade, the aide-de-camp on duty, Kozlovski, who was sitting at the window with a book."Well, Prince?" asked Kozlovski. "I am ordered to write a memorandum explaining why we are not advancing." "And why is it?" Prince Andrew shrugged his shoulders. "Any news from Mack?" "No." "If it were true that he has been beaten, news would have come." "Probably," said Prince Andrew moving toward the outer door.
But at that instant a tall Austrian general in a greatcoat, with the order of Maria Theresa on his neck and a black bandage round his head, who had evidently just arrived, entered quickly, slamming the door. Prince Andrew stopped short.
"Commander in Chief Kutuzov?" said the newly arrived general speaking quickly with a harsh German accent, looking to both sides and advancing straight toward the inner door.
"The commander in chief is engaged," said Kozlovski, going hurriedly up to the unknown general and blocking his way to the door. "Whom shall I announce?"The unknown general looked disdainfully down at Kozlovski, who was rather short, as if surprised that anyone should not know him. "The commander in chief is engaged," repeated Kozlovski calmly.
The general's face clouded, his lips quivered and trembled. He took out a notebook, hurriedly scribbled something in pencil, tore out the leaf, gave it to Kozlovski, stepped quickly to the window, and threw himself into a chair, gazing at those in the room as if asking, "Why do they look at me?" Then he lifted his head, stretched his neck as if he intended to say something, but immediately, with affected indifference, began to hum to himself, producing a queer sound which immediately broke off. The door of the private room opened and Kutuzov appeared in the doorway. The general with the bandaged head bent forward as though running away from some danger, and, making long, quick strides with his thin legs, went up to Kutuzov."Vous voyez le malheureux Mack," he uttered in a broken voice.
Kutuzov's face as he stood in the open doorway remained perfectly immobile for a few moments. Then wrinkles ran over his face like a wave and his forehead became smooth again, he bowed his head respectfully, closed his eyes, silently let Mack enter his room before him, and closed the door himself behind him.
The report which had been circulated that the Austrians had been beaten and that the whole army had surrendered at Ulm proved to be correct. Within half an hour adjutants had been sent in various directions with orders which showed that the Russian troops, who had hitherto been inactive, would also soon have to meet the enemy.
Prince Andrew was one of those rare staff officers whose chief interest lay in the general progress of the war. When he saw Mack and heard the details of his disaster he understood that half the campaign was lost, understood all the difficulties of the Russian army's position, and vividly imagined what awaited it and the part he would have to play. Involuntarily he felt a joyful agitation at the thought of the humiliation of arrogant Austria and that in a week's time he might, perhaps, see and take part in the first Russian encounter with the French since Suvorov met them. He feared that Bonaparte's genius might outweigh all the courage of the Russian troops, and at the same time could not admit the idea of his hero being disgraced.
Excited and irritated by these thoughts Prince Andrew went toward his room to write to his father, to whom he wrote every day. In the corridor he met Nesvitski, with whom he shared a room, and the wag Zherkov; they were as usual laughing."Why are you so glum?" asked Nesvitski noticing Prince Andrew's pale face and glittering eyes. "There's nothing to be gay about," answered Bolkonski.
Just as Prince Andrew met Nesvitski and Zherkov, there came toward them from the other end of the corridor, Strauch, an Austrian general who on Kutuzov's staff in charge of the provisioning of the Russian army, and the member of the Hofkriegsrath who had arrived the previous evening. There was room enough in the wide corridor for the generals to pass the three officers quite easily, but Zherkov, pushing Nesvitski aside with his arm, said in a breathless voice,
"They're coming!... they're coming!... Stand aside, make way, please make way!"
The generals were passing by, looking as if they wished to avoid embarrassing attentions. On the face of the wag Zherkov there suddenly appeared a stupid smile of glee which he seemed unable to suppress.
"Your excellency," said he in German, stepping forward and addressing the Austrian general, "I have the honor to congratulate you."He bowed his head and scraped first with one foot and then with the other, awkwardly, like a child at a dancing lesson.
The member of the Hofkriegsrath looked at him severely but, seeing the seriousness of his stupid smile, could not but give him a moment's attention. He screwed up his eyes showing that he was listening.
"I have the honor to congratulate you. General Mack has arrived, quite well, only a little bruised just here," he added, pointing with a beaming smile to his head.The general frowned, turned away, and went on. "Gott, wie naiv!"* said he angrily, after he had gone a few steps. *"Good God, what simplicity!"
Nesvitski with a laugh threw his arms round Prince Andrew, but Bolkonski, turning still paler, pushed him away with an angry look and turned to Zherkov. The nervous irritation aroused by the appearance of Mack, the news of his defeat, and the thought of what lay before the Russian army found vent in anger at Zherkov's untimely jest.
"If you, sir, choose to make a buffoon of yourself," he said sharply, with a slight trembling of the lower jaw, "I can't prevent your doing so; but I warn you that if you dare to play the fool in my presence, I will teach you to behave yourself."Nesvitski and Zherkov were so surprised by this outburst that they gazed at Bolkonski silently with wide-open eyes. "What's the matter? I only congratulated them," said Zherkov.
"I am not jesting with you; please be silent!" cried Bolkonski, and taking Nesvitski's arm he left Zherkov, who did not know what to say.
"Come, what's the matter, old fellow?" said Nesvitski trying to soothe him.
"What's the matter?" exclaimed Prince Andrew standing still in his excitement. "Don't you understand that either we are officers serving our Tsar and our country, rejoicing in the successes and grieving at the misfortunes of our common cause, or we are merely lackeys who care nothing for their master's business. Quarante mille hommes massacres et l'armee de nos allies detruite, et vous trouvez la le mot pour rire,"* he said, as if strengthening his views by this French sentence. "C'est bien pour un garcon de rein comme cet individu dont vous avez fait un ami, mais pas pour vous, pas pour vous.* Only a hobbledehoy could amuse himself in this way," he added in Russian--but pronouncing the word with a French accent- having noticed that Zherkov could still hear him.
The Pavlograd Hussars were stationed two miles from Braunau. The squadron in which Nicholas Rostov served as a cadet was quartered in the German village of Salzeneck. The best quarters in the village were assigned to cavalry-captain Denisov, the squadron commander, known throughout the whole cavalry division as Vaska Denisov. Cadet Rostov, ever since he had overtaken the regiment in Poland, had lived with the squadron commander.
On October 11, the day when all was astir at headquarters over the news of Mack's defeat, the camp life of the officers of this
squadron was proceeding as usual. Denisov, who had been losing at cards all night, had not yet come home when Rostov rode back early in the morning from a foraging expedition. Rostov in his cadet uniform, with a jerk to his horse, rode up to the porch, swung his leg over the saddle with a supple youthful movement, stood for a moment in the stirrup as if loathe to part from his horse, and at last sprang down and called to his orderly.
"Ah, Bondarenko, dear friend!" said he to the hussar who rushed up headlong to the horse. "Walk him up and down, my dear fellow," he continued, with that gay brotherly cordiality which goodhearted young people show to everyone when they are happy."Yes, your excellency," answered the Ukrainian gaily, tossing his head. "Mind, walk him up and down well!"
Another hussar also rushed toward the horse, but Bondarenko had already thrown the reins of the snaffle bridle over the horse's head. It was evident that the cadet was liberal with his tips and that it paid to serve him. Rostov patted the horse's neck and then his flank, and lingered for a moment.
"Splendid! What a horse he will be!" he thought with a smile, and holding up his saber, his spurs jingling, he ran up the steps of the porch. His landlord, who in a waistcoat and a pointed cap, pitchfork in hand, was clearing manure from the cowhouse, looked out, and his face immediately brightened on seeing Rostov. "Schon gut Morgen! Schon gut Morgen!"* he said winking with a merry smile, evidently pleased to greet the young man.*"A very good morning! A very good morning!"
"Schon fleissig?"* said Rostov with the same gay brotherly smile which did not leave his eager face. "Hoch Oestreicher! Hoch Russen! Kaiser Alexander hoch!"* said he, quoting words often repeated by the German landlord.*"Busy already?" * "Hurrah for the Austrians! Hurrah for the Russians! Hurrah for Emperor Alexander!" The German laughed, came out of the cowshed, pulled off his cap, and waving it above his head cried: "Und die ganze Welt hoch!"* *"And hurrah for the whole world!"
Rostov waved his cap above his head like the German and cried laughing, "Und vivat die ganze Welt!" Though neither the German cleaning his cowshed nor Rostov back with his platoon from foraging for hay had any reason for rejoicing, they looked at each other with joyful delight and brotherly love, wagged their heads in token of their mutual affection, and parted smiling, the German returning to his cowshed and Rostov going to the cottage he occupied with Denisov."What about your master?" he asked Lavrushka, Denisov's orderly, whom all the regiment knew for a rogue.
"Hasn't been in since the evening. Must have been losing," answered Lavrushka. "I know by now, if he wins he comes back early to brag about it, but if he stays out till morning it means he's lost and will come back in a rage. Will you have coffee?""Yes, bring some."
Ten minutes later Lavrushka brought the coffee. "He's coming!" said he. "Now for trouble!" Rostov looked out of the window and saw Denisov coming home. Denisov was a small man with a red face, sparkling black eyes, and black tousled mustache and hair. He wore an unfastened cloak, wide breeches hanging down in creases, and a crumpled shako on the back of his head. He came up to the porch gloomily, hanging his head."Lavwuska!" he shouted loudly and angrily, "take it off, blockhead!" "Well, I am taking it off," replied Lavrushka's voice. "Ah, you're up already," said Denisov, entering the room. "Long ago," answered Rostov, "I have already been for the hay, and have seen Fraulein Mathilde."
"Weally! And I've been losing, bwother. I lost yesterday like a damned fool!" cried Denisov, not pronouncing his r's. "Such ill luck! Such ill luck. As soon as you left, it began and went on. Hullo there! Tea!"
Puckering up his face though smiling, and showing his short strong teeth, he began with stubby fingers of both hands to ruffle up his thick tangled black hair.
"And what devil made me go to that wat?" (an officer nicknamed "the rat") he said, rubbing his forehead and whole face with both hands. "Just fancy, he didn't let me win a single cahd, not one cahd."
He took the lighted pipe that was offered to him, gripped it in his fist, and tapped it on the floor, making the sparks fly, while he continued to shout.
"He lets one win the singles and collahs it as soon as one doubles it; gives the singles and snatches the doubles!"
He scattered the burning tobacco, smashed the pipe, and threw it away. Then he remained silent for a while, and all at once looked cheerfully with his glittering, black eyes at Rostov.
"If at least we had some women here; but there's nothing foh one to do but dwink. If we could only get to fighting soon. Hullo, who's there?" he said, turning to the door as he heard a tread of heavy boots and the clinking of spurs that came to a stop, and a respectful cough."The squadron quartermaster!" said Lavrushka. Denisov's face puckered still more.
"Wetched!" he muttered, throwing down a purse with some gold in it. "Wostov, deah fellow, just see how much there is left and shove the purse undah the pillow," he said, and went out to the quartermaster.Rostov took the money and, mechanically arranging the old and new coins in separate piles, began counting them. "Ah! Telyanin! How d'ye do? They plucked me last night," came Denisov's voice from the next room.
"Where? At Bykov's, at the rat's... I knew it," replied a piping voice, and Lieutenant Telyanin, a small officer of the same squadron, entered the room.
Rostov thrust the purse under the pillow and shook the damp little hand which was offered him. Telyanin for some reason had been transferred from the Guards just before this campaign. He behaved very well in the regiment but was not liked; Rostov especially detested him and was unable to overcome or conceal his groundless antipathy to the man."Well, young cavalryman, how is my Rook behaving?" he asked. (Rook was a young horse Telyanin had sold to Rostov.) The lieutenant never looked the man he was speaking to straight in the face; his eyes continually wandered from one object to another. "I saw you riding this morning..." he added.
"Oh, he's all right, a good horse," answered Rostov, though the horse for which he had paid seven hundred rubbles was not worth half that sum. "He's begun to go a little lame on the left foreleg," he added."The hoof's cracked! That's nothing. I'll teach you what to do and show you what kind of rivet to use." "Yes, please do," said Rostov. "I'll show you, I'll show you! It's not a secret. And it's a horse you'll thank me for." "Then I'll have it brought round," said Rostov wishing to avoid Telyanin, and he went out to give the order.
In the passage Denisov, with a pipe, was squatting on the
threshold facing the quartermaster who was reporting to him. On seeing Rostov, Denisov screwed up his face and pointing over his shoulder with his thumb to the room where Telyanin was sitting, he frowned and gave a shudder of disgust.
Rostov shrugged his shoulders as much as to say: "Nor do I, but what's one to do?" and, having given his order, he returned to Telyanin.Telyanin was sitting in the same indolent pose in which Rostov had left him, rubbing his small white hands. "Well there certainly are disgusting people," thought Rostov as he entered. "Have you told them to bring the horse?" asked Telyanin, getting up and looking carelessly about him. "I have." "Let us go ourselves. I only came round to ask Denisov about yesterday's order. Have you got it, Denisov?" "Not yet. But where are you off to?" "I want to teach this young man how to shoe a horse," said Telyanin. They went through the porch and into the stable. The lieutenant explained how to rivet the hoof and went away to his own quarters.
When Rostov went back there was a bottle of vodka and a sausage on the table. Denisov was sitting there scratching with his pen on a sheet of paper. He looked gloomily in Rostov's face and said: "I am witing to her."
He leaned his elbows on the table with his pen in his hand and, evidently glad of a chance to say quicker in words what he wanted to write, told Rostov the contents of his letter.
"You see, my fwiend," he said, "we sleep when we don't love. We are childwen of the dust... but one falls in love and one is a God, one is pua' as on the first day of cweation... Who's that now? Send him to the devil, I'm busy!" he shouted to Lavrushka, who went up to him not in the least abashed."Who should it be? You yourself told him to come. It's the quartermaster for the money." Denisov frowned and was about to shout some reply but stopped. "Wetched business," he muttered to himself. "How much is left in the puhse?" he asked, turning to Rostov. "Seven new and three old imperials." "Oh, it's wetched! Well, what are you standing there for, you sca'cwow? Call the quahtehmasteh," he shouted to Lavrushka. "Please, Denisov, let me lend you some: I have some, you know," said Rostov, blushing. "Don't like bowwowing from my own fellows, I don't," growled Denisov. "But if you won't accept money from me like a comrade, you will offend me. Really I have some," Rostov repeated. "No, I tell you." And Denisov went to the bed to get the purse from under the pillow. "Where have you put it, Wostov?" "Under the lower pillow." "It's not there." Denisov threw both pillows on the floor. The purse was not there. "That's a miwacle." "Wait, haven't you dropped it?" said Rostov, picking up the pillows one at a time and shaking them. He pulled off the quilt and shook it. The purse was not there.
"Dear me, can I have forgotten? No, I remember thinking that you kept it under your head like a treasure," said Rostov. "I put it just here. Where is it?" he asked, turning to Lavrushka."I haven't been in the room. It must be where you put it." "But it isn't?..." "You're always like that; you thwow a thing down anywhere and forget it. Feel in your pockets." "No, if I hadn't thought of it being a treasure," said Rostov, "but I remember putting it there."
Lavrushka turned all the bedding over, looked under the bed and under the table, searched everywhere, and stood still in the middle of the room. Denisov silently watched Lavrushka's movements, and when the latter threw up his arms in surprise saying it was nowhere to be found Denisov glanced at Rostov."Wostov, you've not been playing schoolboy twicks..."
Rostov felt Denisov's gaze fixed on him, raised his eyes, and instantly dropped them again. All the blood which had seemed congested somewhere below his throat rushed to his face and eyes. He could not draw breath."And there hasn't been anyone in the room except the lieutenant and yourselves. It must be here somewhere," said Lavrushka.
"Now then, you devil's puppet, look alive and hunt for it!" shouted Denisov, suddenly, turning purple and rushing at the man with a threatening gesture. "If the purse isn't found I'll flog you, I'll flog you all."Rostov, his eyes avoiding Denisov, began buttoning his coat, buckled on his saber, and put on his cap. "I must have that purse, I tell you," shouted Denisov, shaking his orderly by the shoulders and knocking him against the wall.
"Denisov, let him alone, I know who has taken it," said Rostov, going toward the door without raising his eyes. Denisov paused, thought a moment, and, evidently understanding what Rostov hinted at, seized his arm.
"Nonsense!" he cried, and the veins on his forehead and neck stood out like cords. "You are mad, I tell you. I won't allow it. The purse is here! I'll flay this scoundwel alive, and it will be found.""I know who has taken it," repeated Rostov in an unsteady voice, and went to the door. "And I tell you, don't you dahe to do it!" shouted Denisov, rushing at the cadet to restrain him.
But Rostov pulled away his arm and, with as much anger as though Denisov were his worst enemy, firmly fixed his eyes directly on his face.
"Do you understand what you're saying?" he said in a trembling voice. "There was no one else in the room except myself. So that if it is not so, then..."He could not finish, and ran out of the room. "Ah, may the devil take you and evewybody," were the last words Rostov heard. Rostov went to Telyanin's quarters.
"The master is not in, he's gone to headquarters," said Telyanin's orderly. "Has something happened?" he added, surprised at the cadet's troubled face."No, nothing." "You've only just missed him," said the orderly.
The headquarters were situated two miles away from Salzeneck, and Rostov, without returning home, took a horse and rode there. There was an inn in the village which the officers frequented. Rostov rode up to it and saw Telyanin's horse at the porch.In the second room of the inn the lieutenant was sitting over a dish of sausages and a bottle of wine. "Ah, you've come here too, young man!" he said, smiling and raising his eyebrows. "Yes," said Rostov as if it cost him a great deal to utter the word; and he sat down at the nearest table.
Both were silent. There were two Germans and a Russian officer in the room. No one spoke and the only sounds heard were the clatter of knives and the munching of the lieutenant.
When Telyanin had finished his lunch he took out of his pocket a double purse and, drawing its rings aside with his small, white, turned-up fingers, drew out a gold imperial, and lifting his eyebrows gave it to the waiter.
Rostov took the purse in his hand, examined it and the money in it, and looked at Telyanin. The lieutenant was looking about in his usual way and suddenly seemed to grow very merry.
"If we get to Vienna I'll get rid of it there but in these wretched little towns there's nowhere to spend it," said he. "Well, let me have it, young man, I'm going."Rostov did not speak. "And you? Are you going to have lunch too? They feed you quite decently here," continued Telyanin. "Now then, let me have it."
He stretched out his hand to take hold of the purse. Rostov let go of it. Telyanin took the purse and began carelessly slipping it into the pocket of his riding breeches, with his eyebrows lifted and his mouth slightly open, as if to say, "Yes, yes, I am putting my purse in my pocket and that's quite simple and is no else's business.""Well, young man?" he said with a sigh, and from under his lifted brows he glanced into Rostov's eyes. Some flash as of an electric spark shot from Telyanin's eyes to Rostov's and back, and back again and again in an instant.
"Come here," said Rostov, catching hold of Telyanin's arm and almost dragging him to the window. "That money is Denisov's; you took it..." he whispered just above Telyanin's ear."What? What? How dare you? What?" said Telyanin.
But these words came like a piteous, despairing cry and an entreaty for pardon. As soon as Rostov heard them, an enormous load of doubt fell from him. He was glad, and at the same instant began to pity the miserable man who stood before him, but the task he had begun had to be completed.
"Heaven only knows what the people here may imagine," muttered Telyanin, taking up his cap and moving toward a small empty room. "We must have an explanation...""I know it and shall prove it," said Rostov. "I..."
Every muscle of Telyanin's pale, terrified face began to quiver, his eyes still shifted from side to side but with a downward look not rising to Rostov's face, and his sobs were audible.
"Count!... Don't ruin a young fellow... here is this wretched money, take it..." He threw it on the table. "I have an old father and mother!..."
Rostov took the money, avoiding Telyanin's eyes, and went out of the room without a word. But at the door he stopped and then retraced his steps. "O God," he said with tears in his eyes, "how could you do it?""Count..." said Telyanin drawing nearer to him. "Don't touch me," said Rostov, drawing back. "If you need it, take the money," and he threw the purse to him and ran out of the inn. CHAPTER V That same evening there was an animated discussion among the squadron's officers in Denisov's quarters.
"And I tell you, Rostov, that you must apologize to the colonel!" said a tall, grizzly-haired staff captain, with enormous mustaches and many wrinkles on his large features, to Rostov who was crimson with excitement.The staff captain, Kirsten, had twice been reduced to the ranks for affairs of honor and had twice regained his commission.
"I will allow no one to call me a liar!" cried Rostov. "He told me I lied, and I told him he lied. And there it rests. He may keep me on duty every day, or may place me under arrest, but no one can make me apologize, because if he, as commander of this regiment, thinks it beneath his dignity to give me satisfaction, then..."
"You just wait a moment, my dear fellow, and listen," interrupted the staff captain in his deep bass, calmly stroking his long mustache. "You tell the colonel in the presence of other officers that an officer has stolen..."
"I'm not to blame that the conversation began in the presence of other officers. Perhaps I ought not to have spoken before them, but I am not a diplomatist. That's why I joined the hussars, thinking that here one would not need finesse; and he tells me that I am lying--so let him give me satisfaction..."
"That's all right. No one thinks you a coward, but that's not the point. Ask Denisov whether it is not out of the question for a cadet to demand satisfaction of his regimental commander?"
Denisov sat gloomily biting his mustache and listening to the conversation, evidently with no wish to take part in it. He answered the staff captain's question by a disapproving shake of his head.
"You speak to the colonel about this nasty business before other officers," continued the staff captain, "and Bogdanich" (the colonel was called Bogdanich) "shuts you up.""He did not shut me up, he said I was telling an untruth." "Well, have it so, and you talked a lot of nonsense to him and must apologize." "Not on any account!" exclaimed Rostov.
"I did not expect this of you," said the staff captain seriously and severely. "You don't wish to apologize, but, man, it's not only to him but to the whole regiment--all of us--you're to blame all round. The case is this: you ought to have thought the matter over and taken advice; but no, you go and blurt it all straight out before the officers. Now what was the colonel to do? Have the officer tried and disgrace the whole regiment? Disgrace the whole regiment because of one scoundrel? Is that how you look at it? We don't see it like that. And Bogdanich was a brick: he told you you were saying what was not true. It's not pleasant, but what's to be done, my dear fellow? You landed yourself in it. And now, when one wants to smooth the thing over, some conceit prevents your apologizing, and you wish to make the whole affair public. You are offended at being put on duty a bit, but why not apologize to an old and honorable officer? Whatever Bogdanich may be, anyway he is an honorable and brave old colonel! You're quick at taking offense, but you don't mind disgracing the whole regiment!" The staff captain's voice began to tremble. "You have been in the regiment next to no time, my lad, you're here today and tomorrow you'll be appointed adjutant somewhere and can snap your fingers when it is said 'There are thieves among the Pavlograd officers!' But it's not all the same to us! Am I not right, Denisov? It's not the same!"Denisov remained silent and did not move, but occasionally looked with his glittering black eyes at Rostov.
"You value your own pride and don't wish to apologize," continued the staff captain, "but we old fellows, who have grown up in and, God willing, are going to die in the regiment, we prize the honor of the regiment, and Bogdanich knows it. Oh, we do prize it, old fellow! And all this is not right, it's not right! You may take offense or not but I always stick to mother truth. It's not right!"And the staff captain rose and turned away from Rostov. "That's twue, devil take it!" shouted Denisov, jumping up. "Now then, Wostov, now then!" Rostov, growing red and pale alternately, looked first at one officer and then at the other.
"No, gentlemen, no... you mustn't think... I quite understand. You're wrong to think that of me... I... for me... for the honor of the regiment I'd... Ah well, I'll show that in action, and for me the honor of the flag... Well, never mind, it's true I'm to blame, to blame all round. Well, what else do you want?...""Come, that's right, Count!" cried the staff captain, turning round and clapping Rostov on the shoulder with his big hand. "I tell you," shouted Denisov, "he's a fine fellow."
"That's better, Count," said the staff captain, beginning to address Rostov by his title, as if in recognition of his confession. "Go and apologize, your excellency. Yes, go!"
"Gentlemen, I'll do anything. No one shall hear a word from me," said Rostov in an imploring voice, "but I can't apologize, by God I can't, do what you will! How can I go and apologize like a little boy asking forgiveness?"Denisov began to laugh.
"It'll be worse for you. Bogdanich is vindictive and you'll pay for your obstinacy," said Kirsten.
"No, on my word it's not obstinacy! I can't describe the feeling. I can't..."
"I've been sent back to the regiment all on account of that devil, Mack. An Austrian general complained of me. I congratulated him on Mack's arrival... What's the matter, Rostov? You look as if you'd just come out of a hot bath.""Oh, my dear fellow, we're in such a stew here these last two days." The regimental adjutant came in and confirmed the news brought by Zherkov. They were under orders to advance next day. "We're going into action, gentlemen!" "Well, thank God! We've been sitting here too long!" CHAPTER VI
Kutuzov fell back toward Vienna, destroying behind him the bridges over the rivers Inn (at Braunau) and Traun (near Linz). On October 23 the Russian troops were crossing the river Enns. At midday the Russian baggage train, the artillery, and columns of troops were defiling through the town of Enns on both sides of the bridge.
It was a warm, rainy, autumnal day. The wide expanse that opened out before the heights on which the Russian batteries stood guarding the bridge was at times veiled by a diaphanous curtain of slanting rain, and then, suddenly spread out in the sunlight, far-distant objects could be clearly seen glittering as though freshly varnished. Down below, the little town could be seen with its white, red-roofed houses, its cathedral, and its bridge, on both sides of which streamed jostling masses of Russian troops. At the bend of the Danube, vessels, an island, and a castle with a park surrounded by the waters of the confluence of the Enns and the Danube became visible, and the rocky left bank of the Danube covered with pine forests, with a mystic background of green treetops and bluish gorges. The turrets of a convent stood out beyond a wild virgin pine forest, and far away on the other side of the Enns the enemy's horse patrols could be discerned.
Among the field guns on the brow of the hill the general in command of the rearguard stood with a staff officer, scanning the country through his fieldglass. A little behind them Nesvitski, who had been sent to the rearguard by the commander in chief, was sitting on the trail of a gun carriage. A Cossack who accompanied him had handed him a knapsack and a flask, and Nesvitski was treating some officers to pies and real doppelkummel. The officers gladly gathered round him, some on their knees, some squatting Turkish fashion on the wet grass.
"Yes, the Austrian prince who built that castle was no fool. It's a fine place! Why are you not eating anything, gentlemen?" Nesvitski was saying.
"Thank you very much, Prince," answered one of the officers, pleased to be talking to a staff officer of such importance. "It's a lovely place! We passed close to the park and saw two deer... and what a splendid house!"
"Look, Prince," said another, who would have dearly liked to take another pie but felt shy, and therefore pretended to be examining the countryside--"See, our infantrymen have already got there. Look there in the meadow behind the village, three of them are dragging something. They'll ransack that castle," he remarked with evident approval.
"So they will," said Nesvitski. "No, but what I should like,"
added he, munching a pie in his moist-lipped handsome mouth, "would be to slip in over there."
"Yes, so it is, so it is," said the general angrily, lowering the field glass and shrugging his shoulders, "so it is! They'll be fired on at the crossing. And why are they dawdling there?"
On the opposite side the enemy could be seen by the naked eye, and from their battery a milk-white cloud arose. Then came the distant report of a shot, and our troops could be seen hurrying to the crossing.Nesvitski rose, puffing, and went up to the general, smiling. "Would not your excellency like a little refreshment?" he said. "It's a bad business," said the general without answering him, "our men have been wasting time." "Hadn't I better ride over, your excellency?" asked Nesvitski.
"Yes, please do," answered the general, and he repeated the order that had already once been given in detail: "and tell the hussars that they are to cross last and to fire the bridge as I ordered; and the inflammable material on the bridge must be reinspected.""Very good," answered Nesvitski. He called the Cossack with his horse, told him to put away the knapsack and flask, and swung his heavy person easily into the saddle.
"I'll really call in on the nuns," he said to the officers who watched him smilingly, and he rode off by the winding path down the hill.
"Now then, let's see how far it will carry, Captain. Just try!" said the general, turning to an artillery officer. "Have a little fun to pass the time.""Crew, to your guns!" commanded the officer. In a moment the men came running gaily from their campfires and began loading. "One!" came the command.
Number one jumped briskly aside. The gun rang out with a deafening metallic roar, and a whistling grenade flew above the heads of our troops below the hill and fell far short of the enemy, a little smoke showing the spot where it burst.
The faces of officers and men brightened up at the sound. Everyone got up and began watching the movements of our troops below, as plainly visible as if but a stone's throw away, and the movements of the approaching enemy farther off. At the same instant the sun came fully out from behind the clouds, and the clear sound of the solitary shot and the brilliance of the bright sunshine merged in a single joyous and spirited impression.CHAPTER VII
Two of the enemy's shots had already flown across the bridge, where there was a crush. Halfway across stood Prince Nesvitski, who had alighted from his horse and whose big body was jammed against the railings. He looked back laughing to the Cossack who stood a few steps behind him holding two horses by their bridles. Each time Prince Nesvitski tried to move on, soldiers and carts pushed him back again and pressed him against the railings, and all he could do was to smile.
"What a fine fellow you are, friend!" said the Cossack to a convoy soldier with a wagon, who was pressing onto the infantrymen who were crowded together close to his wheels and his horses. "What a fellow! You can't wait a moment! Don't you see the general wants to pass?"
But the convoyman took no notice of the word "general" and shouted at the soldiers who were blocking his way. "Hi there, boys! Keep to the left! Wait a bit." But the soldiers, crowded together shoulder to shoulder, their bayonets interlocking, moved over the bridge in a dense mass. Looking down over the rails Prince Nesvitski saw the rapid, noisy little waves of the Enns, which rippling and eddying round the piles of the bridge chased each other along. Looking on the bridge he saw equally uniform living waves of soldiers, shoulder straps, covered shakos, knapsacks, bayonets, long muskets, and, under the shakos, faces with broad cheekbones, sunken cheeks, and listless tired expressions, and feet that moved through the sticky mud that covered the planks of the bridge. Sometimes through the monotonous waves of men, like a fleck of white foam on the waves of the Enns, an officer, in a cloak and with a type of face different from that of the men, squeezed his way along; sometimes like a chip of wood whirling in the river, an hussar on foot, an orderly, or a townsman was carried through the waves of infantry; and sometimes like a log floating down the river, an officers' or company's baggage wagon, piled high, leather covered, and hemmed in on all sides, moved across the bridge."It's as if a dam had burst," said the Cossack hopelessly. "Are there many more of you to come?" "A million all but one!" replied a waggish soldier in a torn coat, with a wink, and passed on followed by another, an old man.
"If he" (he meant the enemy) "begins popping at the bridge now," said the old soldier dismally to a comrade, "you'll forget to scratch yourself."That soldier passed on, and after him came another sitting on a cart. "Where the devil have the leg bands been shoved to?" said an orderly, running behind the cart and fumbling in the back of it. And he also passed on with the wagon. Then came some merry soldiers who had evidently been drinking.
"And then, old fellow, he gives him one in the teeth with the butt end of his gun..." a soldier whose greatcoat was well tucked up said gaily, with a wide swing of his arm.
"Yes, the ham was just delicious..." answered another with a loud laugh. And they, too, passed on, so that Nesvitski did not learn who had been struck on the teeth, or what the ham had to do with it."Bah! How they scurry. He just sends a ball and they think they'll all be killed," a sergeant was saying angrily and reproachfully.
"As it flies past me, Daddy, the ball I mean," said a young soldier with an enormous mouth, hardly refraining from laughing, "I felt like dying of fright. I did, 'pon my word, I got that
frightened!" said he, as if bragging of having been frightened.
That one also passed. Then followed a cart unlike any that had gone before. It was a German cart with a pair of horses led by a German, and seemed loaded with a whole houseful of effects. A fine brindled cow with a large udder was attached to the cart behind. A woman with an unweaned baby, an old woman, and a healthy German girl with bright red cheeks were sitting on some feather beds. Evidently these fugitives were allowed to pass by special permission. The eyes of all the soldiers turned toward the women, and while the vehicle was passing at foot pace all the soldiers' remarks related to the two young ones. Every face bore almost the same smile, expressing unseemly thoughts about the women."Just see, the German sausage is making tracks, too!"
"Sell me the missis," said another soldier, addressing the German, who, angry and frightened, strode energetically along with downcast eyes."See how smart she's made herself! Oh, the devils!" "There, Fedotov, you should be quartered on them!" "I have seen as much before now, mate!" "Where are you going?" asked an infantry officer who was eating an apple, also half smiling as he looked at the handsome girl. The German closed his eyes, signifying that he did not understand. "Take it if you like," said the officer, giving the girl an apple.
The girl smiled and took it. Nesvitski like the rest of the men on the bridge did not take his eyes off the women till they had passed. When they had gone by, the same stream of soldiers followed, with the same kind of talk, and at last all stopped. As often happens, the horses of a convoy wagon became restive at the end of the bridge, and the whole crowd had to wait.
"And why are they stopping? There's no proper order!" said the soldiers. "Where are you shoving to? Devil take you! Can't you wait? It'll be worse if he fires the bridge. See, here's an officer jammed in too"--different voices were saying in the crowd, as the men looked at one another, and all pressed toward the exit from the bridge.
Looking down at the waters of the Enns under the bridge, Nesvitski suddenly heard a sound new to him, of something swiftly approaching... something big, that splashed into the water."Just see where it carries to!" a soldier near by said sternly, looking round at the sound. "Encouraging us to get along quicker," said another uneasily. The crowd moved on again. Nesvitski realized that it was a cannon ball. "Hey, Cossack, my horse!" he said. "Now, then, you there! get out of the way! Make way!"
With great difficulty he managed to get to his horse, and shouting continually he moved on. The soldiers squeezed themselves to make way for him, but again pressed on him so that they jammed his leg, and those nearest him were not to blame for they were themselves pressed still harder from behind."Nesvitski, Nesvitski! you numskull!" came a hoarse voice from behind him.
Nesvitski looked round and saw, some fifteen paces away but separated by the living mass of moving infantry, Vaska Denisov, red and shaggy, with his cap on the back of his black head and a cloak hanging jauntily over his shoulder.
"Tell these devils, these fiends, to let me pass!" shouted Denisov evidently in a fit of rage, his coal-black eyes with their bloodshot whites glittering and rolling as he waved his sheathed saber in a small bare hand as red as his face."Ah, Vaska!" joyfully replied Nesvitski. "What's up with you?"
"The squadwon can't pass," shouted Vaska Denisov, showing his white teeth fiercely and spurring his black thoroughbred Arab, which twitched its ears as the bayonets touched it, and snorted, spurting white foam from his bit, tramping the planks of the bridge with his hoofs, and apparently ready to jump over the railings had his rider let him. "What is this? They're like sheep! Just like sheep! Out of the way!... Let us pass!... Stop there, you devil with the cart! I'll hack you with my saber!" he shouted, actually drawing his saber from its scabbard and flourishing it.The soldiers crowded against one another with terrified faces, and Denisov joined Nesvitski.
"How's it you're not drunk today?" said Nesvitski when the other had ridden up to him.
"They don't even give one time to dwink!" answered Vaska Denisov. "They keep dwagging the wegiment to and fwo all day. If they mean to fight, let's fight. But the devil knows what this is."
The imposing figure of Nesvitski followed by his Cossack, and the determination of Denisov who flourished his sword and shouted frantically, had such an effect that they managed to squeeze through to the farther side of the bridge and stopped the infantry. Beside the bridge Nesvitski found the colonel to whom he had to deliver the order, and having done this he rode back.
Having cleared the way Denisov stopped at the end of the bridge. Carelessly holding in his stallion that was neighing and pawing the ground, eager to rejoin its fellows, he watched his squadron draw nearer. Then the clang of hoofs, as of several horses galloping, resounded on the planks of the bridge, and the squadron, officers in front and men four abreast, spread across the bridge and began to emerge on his side of it.
The infantry who had been stopped crowded near the bridge in the trampled mud and gazed with that particular feeling of ill-will, estrangement, and ridicule with which troops of different arms usually encounter one another at the clean, smart hussars who moved past them in regular order."Smart lads! Only fit for a fair!" said one. "What good are they? They're led about just for show!" remarked another. "Don't kick up the dust, you infantry!" jested an hussar whose prancing horse had splashed mud over some foot soldiers.
"I'd like to put you on a two days' march with a knapsack! Your fine cords would soon get a bit rubbed," said an infantryman, wiping the mud off his face with his sleeve. "Perched up there, you're more like a bird than a man.""There now, Zikin, they ought to put you on a horse. You'd look fine," said a corporal, chaffing a thin little soldier who bent under the weight of his knapsack. "Take a stick between your legs, that'll suit you for a horse!" the hussar shouted back. CHAPTER VIII
The last of the infantry hurriedly crossed the bridge, squeezing together as they approached it as if passing through a funnel. At last the baggage wagons had all crossed, the crush was less, and the last battalion came onto the bridge. Only Denisov's squadron of hussars remained on the farther side of the bridge facing the enemy, who could be seen from the hill on the opposite bank but was not yet visible from the bridge, for the horizon as seen from the valley through which the river flowed was formed by the rising ground only half a mile away. At the foot of the hill lay wasteland over which a few groups of our Cossack scouts were moving. Suddenly on the road at the top of the high ground, artillery and troops in blue uniform were seen. These were the French. A group of Cossack scouts retired down the hill at a trot. All the officers and men of Denisov's squadron, though they tried to talk of other things and to look in other directions, thought only of what was there on the hilltop, and kept constantly looking at the patches appearing on the skyline, which they knew to be the enemy's troops. The weather had cleared again since noon and the sun was descending brightly upon the Danube and the dark hills around it. It was calm, and at intervals the bugle calls and the shouts of the enemy could be heard from the hill. There was no one now between the squadron and the enemy except a few scattered skirmishers. An empty space of some seven hundred yards was all that separated them. The enemy ceased firing, and that stern, threatening, inaccessible, and intangible line which separates two hostile armies was all the more clearly felt.
"One step beyond that boundary line which resembles the line dividing the living from the dead lies uncertainty, suffering, and death. And what is there? Who is there?--there beyond that field, that tree, that roof lit up by the sun? No one knows, but one wants to know. You fear and yet long to cross that line, and know that sooner or later it must be crossed and you will have to find out what is there, just as you will inevitably have to learn what lies the other side of death. But you are strong, healthy, cheerful, and excited, and are surrounded by other such excitedly animated and healthy men." So thinks, or at any rate feels, anyone who comes in sight of the enemy, and that feeling gives a particular glamour and glad keenness of impression to everything that takes place at such moments. On the high ground where the enemy was, the smoke of a cannon rose, and a ball flew whistling over the heads of the hussar squadron. The officers who had been standing together rode off to their places. The hussars began carefully aligning their horses. Silence fell on the whole squadron. All were looking at the enemy in front and at the squadron commander, awaiting the word of command. A second and a third cannon ball flew past. Evidently they were firing at the hussars, but the balls with rapid rhythmic whistle flew over the heads of the horsemen and fell somewhere beyond them. The hussars did not look round, but at the sound of each shot, as at the word of command, the whole squadron with its rows of faces so alike yet so different, holding its breath while the ball flew past, rose in the stirrups and sank back again. The soldiers without turning their heads glanced at one another, curious to see their comrades' impression. Every face, from Denisov's to that of the bugler, showed one common expression of conflict, irritation, and excitement, around chin and mouth. The quartermaster frowned, looking at the soldiers as if threatening to punish them. Cadet Mironov ducked every time a ball flew past. Rostov on the left flank, mounted on his Rook--a handsome horse despite its game leg--had the happy air of a schoolboy called up before a large audience for an examination in which he feels sure he will distinguish himself. He was glancing at everyone with a clear, bright expression, as if asking them to notice how calmly he sat under fire. But despite himself, on his face too that same indication of something new and stern showed round the mouth.
"Who's that curtseying there? Cadet Miwonov! That's not wight! Look at me," cried Denisov who, unable to keep still on one spot, kept turning his horse in front of the squadron.
The black, hairy, snub-nosed face of Vaska Denisov, and his whole short sturdy figure with the sinewy hairy hand and stumpy fingers in which he held the hilt of his naked saber, looked just as it usually did, especially toward evening when he had emptied his second bottle; he was only redder than usual. With his shaggy head thrown back like birds when they drink, pressing his spurs mercilessly into the sides of his good horse, Bedouin, and sitting as though falling backwards in the saddle, he galloped to the other flank of the squadron and shouted in a hoarse voice to the men to look to their pistols. He rode up to Kirsten. The staff captain on his broad-backed, steady mare came at a walk to meet him. His face with its long mustache was serious as always, only his eyes were brighter than usual."Well, what about it?" said he to Denisov. "It won't come to a fight. You'll see--we shall retire." "The devil only knows what they're about!" muttered Denisov. "Ah, Wostov," he cried noticing the cadet's bright face, "you've got it at last."
And he smiled approvingly, evidently pleased with the cadet. Rostov felt perfectly happy. Just then the commander appeared on the bridge. Denisov galloped up to him."Your excellency! Let us attack them! I'll dwive them off."
"Attack indeed!" said the colonel in a bored voice, puckering up his face as if driving off a troublesome fly. "And why are you stopping here? Don't you see the skirmishers are retreating? Lead the squadron back."
The squadron crossed the bridge and drew out of range of fire without having lost a single man. The second squadron that had been in the front line followed them across and the last Cossacks quitted the farther side of the river.
The two Pavlograd squadrons, having crossed the bridge, retired up the hill one after the other. Their colonel, Karl Bogdanich
Schubert, came up to Denisov's squadron and rode at a footpace not far from Rostov, without taking any notice of him although they were now meeting for the first time since their encounter concerning
Telyanin. Rostov, feeling that he was at the front and in the power of a man toward whom he now admitted that he had been to blame, did not lift his eyes from the colonel's athletic back, his nape covered with light hair, and his red neck. It seemed to Rostov that
Bogdanich was only pretending not to notice him, and that his whole aim now was to test the cadet's courage, so he drew himself up and looked around him merrily; then it seemed to him that Bogdanich rode so near in order to show him his courage. Next he thought that his enemy would send the squadron on a desperate attack just to punish him--Rostov. Then he imagined how, after the attack, Bogdanich would come up to him as he lay wounded and would magnanimously extend the hand of reconciliation.
The high-shouldered figure of Zherkov, familiar to the Pavlograds as he had but recently left their regiment, rode up to the colonel. After his dismissal from headquarters Zherkov had not remained in the regiment, saying he was not such a fool as to slave at the front when he could get more rewards by doing nothing on the staff, and had succeeded in attaching himself as an orderly officer to Prince Bagration. He now came to his former chief with an order from the commander of the rear guard.