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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 16
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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 16 Post by :DrRich Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2182

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 16 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 16

"Well, that's all!" said Kutuzov as he signed the last of the
documents, and rising heavily and smoothing out the folds in his fat
white neck he moved toward the door with a more cheerful expression.

The priest's wife, flushing rosy red, caught up the dish she had
after all not managed to present at the right moment, though she had
so long been preparing for it, and with a low bow offered it to
Kutuzov.

He screwed up his eyes, smiled, lifted her chin with his hand, and
said:

"Ah, what a beauty! Thank you, sweetheart!"

He took some gold pieces from his trouser pocket and put them on the
dish for her. "Well, my dear, and how are we getting on?" he asked,
moving to the door of the room assigned to him. The priest's wife
smiled, and with dimples in her rosy cheeks followed him into the
room. The adjutant came out to the porch and asked Prince Andrew to
lunch with him. Half an hour later Prince Andrew was again called to
Kutuzov. He found him reclining in an armchair, still in the same
unbuttoned overcoat. He had in his hand a French book which he
closed as Prince Andrew entered, marking the place with a knife.
Prince Andrew saw by the cover that it was Les Chevaliers du Cygne
by Madame de Genlis.

"Well, sit down, sit down here. Let's have a talk," said Kutuzov.
"It's sad, very sad. But remember, my dear fellow, that I am a
father to you, a second father...."

Prince Andrew told Kutuzov all he knew of his father's death, and
what he had seen at Bald Hills when he passed through it.

"What... what they have brought us to!" Kutuzov suddenly cried in an
agitated voice, evidently picturing vividly to himself from Prince
Andrew's story the condition Russia was in. "But give me time, give me
time!" he said with a grim look, evidently not wishing to continue
this agitating conversation, and added: "I sent for you to keep you
with me."

"I thank your Serene Highness, but I fear I am longer fit for the
staff," replied Prince Andrew with a smile which Kutuzov noticed.

Kutuzov glanced inquiringly at him.

"But above all," added Prince Andrew, "I have grown used to my
regiment, am fond of the officers, and I fancy the men also like me. I
should be sorry to leave the regiment. If I decline the honor of being
with you, believe me..."

A shrewd, kindly, yet subtly derisive expression lit up Kutuzov's
podgy face. He cut Bolkonski short.

"I am sorry, for I need you. But you're right, you're right! It's
not here that men are needed. Advisers are always plentiful, but men
are not. The regiments would not be what they are if the would-be
advisers served there as you do. I remember you at Austerlitz.... I
remember, yes, I remember you with the standard!" said Kutuzov, and
a flush of pleasure suffused Prince Andrew's face at this
recollection.

Taking his hand and drawing him downwards, Kutuzov offered his cheek
to be kissed, and again Prince Andrew noticed tears in the old man's
eyes. Though Prince Andrew knew that Kutuzov's tears came easily,
and that he was particularly tender to and considerate of him from a
wish to show sympathy with his loss, yet this reminder of Austerlitz
was both pleasant and flattering to him.

"Go your way and God be with you. I know your path is the path of
honor!" He paused. "I missed you at Bucharest, but I needed someone to
send." And changing the subject, Kutuzov began to speak of the Turkish
war and the peace that had been concluded. "Yes, I have been much
blamed," he said, "both for that war and the peace... but everything
came at the right time. Tout vient a point a celui qui sait attendre.*
And there were as many advisers there as here..." he went on,
returning to the subject of "advisers" which evidently occupied him.
"Ah, those advisers!" said he. "If we had listened to them all we
should not have made peace with Turkey and should not have been
through with that war. Everything in haste, but more haste, less
speed. Kamenski would have been lost if he had not died. He stormed
fortresses with thirty thousand men. It is not difficult to capture
a fortress but it is difficult to win a campaign. For that, storming
and attacking but patience and time are wanted. Kamenski sent soldiers
to Rustchuk, but I only employed these two things and took more
fortresses than Kamenski and made the but eat horseflesh!" He swayed
his head. "And the French shall too, believe me," he went on,
growing warmer and beating his chest, "I'll make them eat horseflesh!"
And tears again dimmed his eyes.


*"Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait."


"But shan't we have to accept battle?" remarked Prince Andrew.

"We shall if everybody wants it; it can't be helped.... But
believe me, my dear boy, there is nothing stronger than those two:
patience and time, they will do it all. But the advisers n'entendent
pas de cette oreille, voila le mal.* Some want a thing- others
don't. What's one to do?" he asked, evidently expecting an answer.
"Well, what do you want us to do?" he repeated and his eye shone
with a deep, shrewd look. "I'll tell you what to do," he continued, as
Prince Andrew still did not reply: "I will tell you what to do, and
what I do. Dans le doute, mon cher," he paused, "abstiens-toi"*(2)- he
articulated the French proverb deliberately.


*"Don't see it that way, that's the trouble."

*(2) "When in doubt, my dear fellow, do nothing."


"Well, good-by, my dear fellow; remember that with all my heart I
share your sorrow, and that for you I am not a Serene Highness, nor
a prince, nor a commander in chief, but a father! If you want anything
come straight to me. Good-by, my dear boy."

Again he embraced and kissed Prince Andrew, but before the latter
had left the room Kutuzov gave a sigh of relief and went on with his
unfinished novel, Les Chevaliers du Cygne by Madame de Genlis.

Prince Andrew could not have explained how or why it was, but
after that interview with Kutuzov he went back to his regiment
reassured as to the general course of affairs and as to the man to
whom it had been entrusted. The more he realized the absence of all
personal motive in that old man- in whom there seemed to remain only
the habit of passions, and in place of an intellect (grouping events
and drawing conclusions) only the capacity calmly to contemplate the
course of events- the more reassured he was that everything would be
as it should. "He will not bring in any plan of his own. He will not
devise or undertake anything," thought Prince Andrew, "but he will
hear everything, remember everything, and put everything in its place.
He will not hinder anything useful nor allow anything harmful. He
understands that there is something stronger and more important than
his own will- the inevitable course of events, and he can see them and
grasp their significance, and seeing that significance can refrain
from meddling and renounce his personal wish directed to something
else. And above all," thought Prince Andrew, "one believes in him
because he's Russian, despite the novel by Genlis and the French
proverbs, and because his voice shook when he said: 'What they have
brought us to!' and had a sob in it when he said he would 'make them
eat horseflesh!'"

On such feelings, more or less dimly shared by all, the unanimity
and general approval were founded with which, despite court
influences, the popular choice of Kutuzov as commander in chief was
received.

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On receiving command of the armies Kutuzov remembered PrinceAndrew and sent an order for him to report at headquarters.Prince Andrew arrived at Tsarevo-Zaymishche on the very day and atthe very hour that Kutuzov was reviewing the troops for the firsttime. He stopped in the village at the priest's house in front ofwhich stood the commander in chief's carriage, and he sat down onthe bench at the gate awaiting his Serene Highness, as everyone nowcalled Kutuzov. From the field beyond the village came now sounds ofregimental music and now the roar of many voices shouting "Hurrah!" tothe new commander in chief. Two
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