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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 22
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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 22 Post by :ebookwow Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2610

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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 22

Staggering amid the crush, Pierre looked about him.

"Count Peter Kirilovich! How did you get here?" said a voice.

Pierre looked round. Boris Drubetskoy, brushing his knees with his
hand (he had probably soiled them when he, too, had knelt before the
icon), came up to him smiling. Boris was elegantly dressed, with a
slightly martial touch appropriate to a campaign. He wore a long
coat and like Kutuzov had a whip slung across his shoulder.

Meanwhile Kutuzov had reached the village and seated himself in
the shade of the nearest house, on a bench which one Cossack had run
to fetch and another had hastily covered with a rug. An immense and
brilliant suite surrounded him.

The icon was carried further, accompanied by the throng. Pierre
stopped some thirty paces from Kutuzov, talking to Boris.

He explained his wish to be present at the battle and to see the
position.

"This is what you must do," said Boris. "I will do the honors of the
camp to you. You will see everything best from where Count Bennigsen
will be. I am in attendance on him, you know; I'll mention it to
him. But if you want to ride round the position, come along with us.
We are just going to the left flank. Then when we get back, do spend
the night with me and we'll arrange a game of cards. Of course you
know Dmitri Sergeevich? Those are his quarters," and he pointed to the
third house in the village of Gorki.

"But I should like to see the right flank. They say it's very
strong," said Pierre. "I should like to start from the Moskva River
and ride round the whole position."

"Well, you can do that later, but the chief thing is the left
flank."

"Yes, yes. But where is Prince Bolkonski's regiment? Can you point
it out to me?"

"Prince Andrew's? We shall pass it and I'll take you to him."

What about the left flank?" asked Pierre

"To tell you the truth, between ourselves, God only knows what state
our left flank is in," said Boris confidentially lowering his voice.
"It is not at all what Count Bennigsen intended. He meant to fortify
that knoll quite differently, but..." Boris shrugged his shoulders,
"his Serene Highness would not have it, or someone persuaded him.
You see..." but Boris did not finish, for at that moment Kaysarov,
Kutuzov's adjutant, came up to Pierre. "Ah, Kaysarov!" said Boris,
addressing him with an unembarrassed smile, "I was just trying to
explain our position to the count. It is amazing how his Serene
Highness could so the intentions of the French!"

"You mean the left flank?" asked Kaysarov.

"Yes, exactly; the left flank is now extremely strong."

Though Kutuzov had dismissed all unnecessary men from the staff,
Boris had contrived to remain at headquarters after the changes. He
had established himself with Count Bennigsen, who, like all on whom
Boris had been in attendance, considered young Prince Drubetskoy an
invaluable man.

In the higher command there were two sharply defined parties:
Kutuzov's party and that of Bennigsen, the chief of staff. Boris
belonged to the latter and no one else, while showing servile
respect to Kutuzov, could so create an impression that the old
fellow was not much good and that Bennigsen managed everything. Now
the decisive moment of battle had come when Kutuzov would be destroyed
and the power pass to Bennigsen, or even if Kutuzov won the battle
it would be felt that everything was done by Bennigsen. In any case
many great rewards would have to be given for tomorrow's action, and
new men would come to the front. So Boris was full of nervous vivacity
all day.

After Kaysarov, others whom Pierre knew came up to him, and he had
not time to reply to all the questions about Moscow that were showered
upon him, or to listen to all that was told him. The faces all
expressed animation and apprehension, but it seemed to Pierre that the
cause of the excitement shown in some of these faces lay chiefly in
questions of personal success; his mind, however, was occupied by
the different expression he saw on other faces- an expression that
spoke not of personal matters but of the universal questions of life
and death. Kutuzov noticed Pierre's figure and the group gathered
round him.

"Call him to me," said Kutuzov.

An adjutant told Pierre of his Serene Highness' wish, and Pierre
went toward Kutuzov's bench. But a militiaman got there before him. It
was Dolokhov.

"How did that fellow get here?" asked Pierre.

"He's a creature that wriggles in anywhere!" was the answer. "He has
been degraded, you know. Now he wants to bob up again. He's been
proposing some scheme or other and has crawled into the enemy's picket
line at night.... He's a brave fellow."

Pierre took off his hat and bowed respectfully to Kutuzov.

"I concluded that if I reported to your Serene Highness you might
send me away or say that you knew what I was reporting, but then I
shouldn't lose anything..." Dolokhov was saying.

"Yes, yes."

"But if I were right, I should be rendering a service to my
Fatherland for which I am ready to die."

"Yes, yes."

"And should your Serene Highness require a man who will not spare
his skin, please think of me.... Perhaps I may prove useful to your
Serene Highness."

"Yes... Yes..." Kutuzov repeated, his laughing eye narrowing more
and more as he looked at Pierre.

Just then Boris, with his courtierlike adroitness, stepped up to
Pierre's side near Kutuzov and in a most natural manner, without
raising his voice, said to Pierre, as though continuing an interrupted
conversation:

"The militia have put on clean white shirts to be ready to die. What
heroism, Count!"

Boris evidently said this to Pierre in order to be overheard by
his Serene Highness. He knew Kutuzov's attention would be caught by
those words, and so it was.

"What are you saying about the militia?" he asked Boris.

"Preparing for tomorrow, your Serene Highness- for death- they
have put on clean shirts."

"Ah... a wonderful, a matchless people!" said Kutuzov; and he closed
his eyes and swayed his head. "A matchless people!" he repeated with a
sigh.

"So you want to smell gunpowder?" he said to Pierre. "Yes, it's a
pleasant smell. I have the honor to be one of your wife's adorers.
Is she well? My quarters are at your service."

And as often happens with old people, Kutuzov began looking about
absent-mindedly as if forgetting all he wanted to say or do.

Then, evidently remembering what he wanted, he beckoned to Andrew
Kaysarov, his adjutant's brother.

"Those verses... those verses of Marin's... how do they go, eh?
Those he wrote about Gerakov: 'Lectures for the corps inditing'...
Recite them, recite them!" said he, evidently preparing to laugh.

Kaysarov recited.... Kutuzov smilingly nodded his head to the rhythm
of the verses.

When Pierre had left Kutuzov, Dolokhov came up to him and took his
hand.

"I am very glad to meet you here, Count," he said aloud,
regardless of the presence of strangers and in a particularly resolute
and solemn tone. "On the eve of a day when God alone knows who of us
is fated to survive, I am glad of this opportunity to tell you that
I regret the misunderstandings that occurred between us and should
wish you not to have any ill feeling for me. I beg you to forgive me."

Pierre looked at Dolokhov with a smile, not knowing what to say to
him. With tears in his eyes Dolokhov embraced Pierre and kissed him.

Boris said a few words to his general, and Count Bennigsen turned to
Pierre and proposed that he should ride with him along the line.

"It will interest you," said he.

"Yes, very much," replied Pierre.

Half an hour later Kutuzov left for Tatarinova, and Bennigsen and
his suite, with Pierre among them, set out on their ride along the
line.

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From Gorki, Bennigsen descended the highroad to the bridge which,when they had looked it from the hill, the officer had pointed outas being the center of our position and where rows of fragrantnew-mown hay lay by the riverside. They rode across that bridge intothe village of Borodino and thence turned to the left, passing anenormous number of troops and guns, and came to a high knoll wheremilitiamen were digging. This was the redoubt, as yet unnamed, whichafterwards became known as the Raevski Redoubt, or the KnollBattery, but Pierre paid no special attention to it. He did not knowthat it would become
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Pierre stepped out of his carriage and, passing the toilingmilitiamen, ascended the knoll from which, according to the doctor,the battlefield could be seen.It was about eleven o'clock. The sun shone somewhat to the leftand behind him and brightly lit up the enormous panorama which, risinglike an amphitheater, extended before him in the clear rarefiedatmosphere.From above on the left, bisecting that amphitheater, wound theSmolensk highroad, passing through a village with a white churchsome five hundred paces in front of the knoll and below it. This wasBorodino. Below the village the road crossed the river by a bridgeand, winding down and up, rose
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