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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 20
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War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 20 Post by :MelBalingit Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2308

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 20 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 20

Rostov had come to Tilsit the day least suitable for a petition on
Denisov's behalf. He could not himself go to the general in attendance
as he was in mufti and had come to Tilsit without permission to do so,
and Boris, even had he wished to, could not have done so on the
following day. On that day, June 27, the preliminaries of peace were
signed. The Emperors exchanged decorations: Alexander received the
Cross of the Legion of Honor and Napoleon the Order of St. Andrew of
the First Degree, and a dinner had been arranged for the evening,
given by a battalion of the French Guards to the Preobrazhensk
battalion. The Emperors were to be present at that banquet.

Rostov felt so ill at ease and uncomfortable with Boris that, when
the latter looked in after supper, he pretended to be asleep, and
early next morning went away, avoiding Boris. In his civilian
clothes and a round hat, he wandered about the town, staring at the
French and their uniforms and at the streets and houses where the
Russian and French Emperors were staying. In a square he saw tables
being set up and preparations made for the dinner; he saw the
Russian and French colors draped from side to side of the streets,
with hugh monograms A and N. In the windows of the houses also flags
and bunting were displayed.

"Boris doesn't want to help me and I don't want to ask him. That's
settled," thought Nicholas. "All is over between us, but I won't leave
here without having done all I can for Denisov and certainly not
without getting his letter to the Emperor. The Emperor!... He is
here!" thought Rostov, who had unconsciously returned to the house
where Alexander lodged.

Saddled horses were standing before the house and the suite were
assembling, evidently preparing for the Emperor to come out.

"I may see him at any moment," thought Rostov. "If only I were to
hand the letter direct to him and tell him all... could they really
arrest me for my civilian clothes? Surely not! He would understand
on whose side justice lies. He understands everything, knows
everything. Who can be more just, more magnanimous than he? And even
if they did arrest me for being here, what would it matter?" thought
he, looking at an officer who was entering the house the Emperor
occupied. "After all, people do go in.... It's all nonsense! I'll go
in and hand the letter to the Emperor myself so much the worse for
Drubetskoy who drives me to it!" And suddenly with a determination
he himself did not expect, Rostov felt for the letter in his pocket
and went straight to the house.

"No, I won't miss my opportunity now, as I did after Austerlitz," he
thought, expecting every moment to meet the monarch, and conscious
of the blood that rushed to his heart at the thought. "I will fall
at his feet and beseech him. He will lift me up, will listen, and will
even thank me. 'I am happy when I can do good, but to remedy injustice
is the greatest happiness,'" Rostov fancied the sovereign saying.
And passing people who looked after him with curiosity, he entered the
porch of the Emperor's house.

A broad staircase led straight up from the entry, and to the right
he saw a closed door. Below, under the staircase, was a door leading
to the lower floor.

"Whom do you want?" someone inquired.

"To hand in a letter, a petition, to His Majesty," said Nicholas,
with a tremor in his voice.

"A petition? This way, to the officer the officer on duty" (he was
shown the door leading downstairs), "only it won't be accepted."

On hearing this indifferent voice, Rostov grew frightened at what he
was doing; the thought of meeting the Emperor at any moment was so
fascinating and consequently so alarming that he was ready to run
away, but the official who had questioned him opened the door, and
Rostov entered.

A short stout man of about thirty, in white breeches and high
boots and a batiste shirt that he had evidently only just put on,
standing in that room, and his valet was buttoning on to the back of
his breeches a new pair of handsome silk-embroidered braces that,
for some reason, attracted Rostov's attention. This man was was
speaking to someone in the adjoining room.

"A good figure and in her first bloom," he was saying, but on seeing
Rostov, he stopped short and frowned.

"What is it? A petition?"

"What is it?" asked the person in the other room.

"Another petitioner," answered the man with the braces.

"Tell him to come later. He'll be coming out directly, we must go."

"Later... later! Tomorrow. It's too late..."

Rostov turned and was about to go, but the man in the braces stopped

"Whom have you come from? Who are you?"

"I come from Major Denisov," answered Rostov.

"Are you an officer?"

"Lieutenant Count Rostov."

"What audacity! Hand it in through your commander. And go along with
you... go," and he continued to put on the uniform the valet handed

Rostov went back into the hall and noticed that in the porch there
were many officers and generals in full parade uniform, whom he had to

Cursing his temerity, his heart sinking at the thought of finding
himself at any moment face to face with the Emperor and being put to
shame and arrested in his presence, fully alive now to the impropriety
of his conduct and repenting of it, Rostov, with downcast eyes, was
making his way out of the house through the brilliant suite when a
familiar voice called him and a hand detained him.

"What are you doing here, sir, in civilian dress?" asked a deep

It was a cavalry general who had obtained the Emperor's special
favor during this campaign, and who had formerly commanded the
division in which Rostov was serving.

Rostov, in dismay, began justifying himself, but seeing the
kindly, jocular face of the general, he took him aside and in an
excited voice told him the whole affair, asking him to intercede for
Denisov, whom the general knew. Having heard Rostov to the end, the
general shook his head gravely.

"I'm sorry, sorry for that fine fellow. Give me the letter."

Hardly had Rostov handed him the letter and finished explaining
Denisov's case, when hasty steps and the jingling of spurs were
heard on the stairs, and the general, leaving him, went to the
porch. The gentlemen of the Emperor's suite ran down the stairs and
went to their horses. Hayne, the same groom who had been at
Austerlitz, led up the Emperor's horse, and the faint creak of a
footstep Rostov knew at once was heard on the stairs. Forgetting the
danger of being recognized, Rostov went close to the porch, together
with some inquisitive civilians, and again, after two years, saw those
features he adored: that same face and same look and step, and the
same union of majesty and mildness.... And the feeling of enthusiasm
and love for his sovereign rose again in Rostov's soul in all its
old force. In the uniform of the Preobrazhensk regiment- white
chamois-leather breeches and high boots- and wearing a star Rostov did
not know (it was that of the Legion d'honneur), the monarch came out
into the porch, putting on his gloves and carrying his hat under his
arm. He stopped and looked about him, brightening everything around by
his glance. He spoke a few words to some of the generals, and,
recognizing the former commander of Rostov's division, smiled and
beckoned to him.

All the suite drew back and Rostov saw the general talking for
some time to the Emperor.

The Emperor said a few words to him and took a step toward his
horse. Again the crowd of members of the suite and street gazers
(among whom was Rostov) moved nearer to the Emperor. Stopping beside
his horse, with his hand on the saddle, the Emperor turned to the
cavalry general and said in a loud voice, evidently wishing to be
heard by all:

"I cannot do it, General. I cannot, because the law is stronger than
I," and he raised his foot to the stirrup.

The general bowed his head respectfully, and the monarch mounted and
rode down the street at a gallop. Beside himself with enthusiasm,
Rostov ran after him with the crowd.

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War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 21 War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 21

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 21
The Emperor rode to the square where, facing one another, abattalion of the Preobrazhensk regiment stood on the right and abattalion of the French Guards in their bearskin caps on the left.As the Tsar rode up to one flank of the battalions, whichpresented arms, another group of horsemen galloped up to theopposite flank, and at the head of them Rostov recognized Napoleon. Itcould be no one else. He came at a gallop, wearing a small hat, a blueuniform open over a white vest, and the St. Andrew ribbon over hisshoulder. He was riding a very fine thoroughbred gray Arab horsewith a

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 19 War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 19

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 19
Having returned to the regiment and told the commander the stateof Denisov's affairs, Rostov rode to Tilsit with the letter to theEmperor.On the thirteenth of June the French and Russian Emperors arrived inTilsit. Boris Drubetskoy had asked the important personage on whomhe was in attendance, to include him in the suite appointed for thestay at Tilsit."I should like to see the great man," he said, alluding to Napoleon,whom hitherto he, like everyone else, had always called Buonaparte."You are speaking of Buonaparte?" asked the general, smiling.Boris looked at his general inquiringly and immediately saw thathe was being tested."I am speaking, Prince, of