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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Three: 1805 - Chapter 11
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War And Peace - Book Three: 1805 - Chapter 11 Post by :loopbiz Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1911

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Three: 1805 - Chapter 11 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Three: 1805 - Chapter 11

The next day the Emperor stopped at Wischau, and Villier, his
physician, was repeatedly summoned to see him. At headquarters and
among the troops near by the news spread that the Emperor was
unwell. He ate nothing and had slept badly that night, those around
him reported. The cause of this indisposition was the strong
impression made on his sensitive mind by the sight of the killed and
wounded.

At daybreak on the seventeenth, a French officer who had come with a
flag of truce, demanding an audience with the Russian Emperor, was
brought into Wischau from our outposts. This officer was Savary. The
Emperor had only just fallen asleep and so Savary had to wait. At
midday he was admitted to the Emperor, and an hour later he rode off
with Prince Dolgorukov to the advanced post of the French army.

It was rumored that Savary had been sent to propose to Alexander a
meeting with Napoleon. To the joy and pride of the whole army, a
personal interview was refused, and instead of the Sovereign, Prince
Dolgorukov, the victor at Wischau, was sent with Savary to negotiate
with Napoleon if, contrary to expectations, these negotiations were
actuated by a real desire for peace.

Toward evening Dolgorukov came back, went straight to the Tsar,
and remained alone with him for a long time.

On the eighteenth and nineteenth of November, the army advanced
two days' march and the enemy's outposts after a brief interchange
of shots retreated. In the highest army circles from midday on the
nineteenth, a great, excitedly bustling activity began which lasted
till the morning of the twentieth, when the memorable battle of
Austerlitz was fought.

Till midday on the nineteenth, the activity- the eager talk, running
to and fro, and dispatching of adjutants- was confined to the
Emperor's headquarters. But on the afternoon of that day, this
activity reached Kutiizov's headquarters and the staffs of the
commanders of columns. By evening, the adjutants had spread it to
all ends and parts of the army, and in the night from the nineteenth
to the twentieth, the whole eighty thousand allied troops rose from
their bivouacs to the hum of voices, and the army swayed and started
in one enormous mass six miles long.

The concentrated activity which had begun at the Emperor's
headquarters in the morning and had started the whole movement that
followed was like the first movement of the main wheel of a large
tower clock. One wheel slowly moved, another was set in motion, and
a third, and wheels began to revolve faster and faster, levers and
cogwheels to work, chimes to play, figures to pop out, and the hands
to advance with regular motion as a result of all that activity.

Just as in the mechanism of a clock, so in the mechanism of the
military machine, an impulse once given leads to the final result; and
just as indifferently quiescent till the moment when motion is
transmitted to them are the parts of the mechanism which the impulse
has not yet reached. Wheels creak on their axles as the cogs engage
one another and the revolving pulleys whirr with the rapidity of their
movement, but a neighboring wheel is as quiet and motionless as though
it were prepared to remain so for a hundred years; but the moment
comes when the lever catches it and obeying the impulse that wheel
begins to creak and joins in the common motion the result and aim of
which are beyond its ken.

Just as in a clock, the result of the complicated motion of
innumerable wheels and pulleys is merely a slow and regular movement
of the hands which show the time, so the result of all the complicated
human activities of 160,000 Russians and French- all their passions,
desires, remorse, humiliations, sufferings, outbursts of pride,
fear, and enthusiasm- was only the loss of the battle of Austerlitz,
the so-called battle of the three Emperors- that is to say, a slow
movement of the hand on the dial of human history.

Prince Andrew was on duty that day and in constant attendance on the
commander in chief.

At six in the evening, Kutuzov went to the Emperor's headquarters
and after staying but a short time with the Tsar went to see the grand
marshal of the court, Count Tolstoy.

Bolkonski took the opportunity to go in to get some details of the
coming action from Dolgorukov. He felt that Kutuzov was upset and
dissatisfied about something and that at headquarters they were
dissatisfied with him, and also that at the Emperor's headquarters
everyone adopted toward him the tone of men who know something
others do not know: he therefore wished to speak to Dolgorukov.

"Well, how d'you do, my dear fellow?" said Dolgorukov, who was
sitting at tea with Bilibin. "The fete is for tomorrow. How is your
old fellow? Out of sorts?"

"I won't say he is out of sorts, but I fancy he would like to be
heard."

"But they heard him at the council of war and will hear him when
he talks sense, but to temporize and wait for something now when
Bonaparte fears nothing so much as a general battle is impossible."

"Yes, you have seen him?" said Prince Andrew. "Well, what is
Bonaparte like? How did he impress you?"

"Yes, I saw him, and am convinced that he fears nothing so much as a
general engagement," repeated Dolgorukov, evidently prizing this
general conclusion which he had arrived at from his interview with
Napoleon. "If he weren't afraid of a battle why did he ask for that
interview? Why negotiate, and above all why retreat, when to retreat
is so contrary to his method of conducting war? Believe me, he is
afraid, afraid of a general battle. His hour has come! Mark my words!"

"But tell me, what is he like, eh?" said Prince Andrew again.

"He is a man in a gray overcoat, very anxious that I should call him
'Your Majesty,' but who, to his chagrin, got no title from me!
That's the sort of man he is, and nothing more," replied Dolgorukov,
looking round at Bilibin with a smile.

"Despite my great respect for old Kutuzov," he continued, "we should
be a nice set of fellows if we were to wait about and so give him a
chance to escape, or to trick us, now that we certainly have him in
our hands! No, we mustn't forget Suvorov and his rule- not to put
yourself in a position to be attacked, but yourself to attack. Believe
me in war the energy of young men often shows the way better than
all the experience of old Cunctators."

"But in what position are we going to attack him? I have been at the
outposts today and it is impossible to say where his chief forces
are situated," said Prince Andrew.

He wished to explain to Dolgorukov a plan of attack he had himself
formed.

"Oh, that is all the same," Dolgorukov said quickly, and getting
up he spread a map on the table. "All eventualities have been
foreseen. If he is standing before Brunn..."

And Prince Dolgorukov rapidly but indistinctly explained Weyrother's
plan of a flanking movement.

Prince Andrew began to reply and to state his own plan, which
might have been as good as Weyrother's, but for the disadvantage
that Weyrother's had already been approved. As soon as Prince Andrew
began to demonstrate the defects of the latter and the merits of his
own plan, Prince Dolgorukov ceased to listen to him and gazed
absent-mindedly not at the map, but at Prince Andrew's face.

"There will be a council of war at Kutuzov's tonight, though; you
can say all this there," remarked Dolgorukov.

"I will do so," said Prince Andrew, moving away from the map.

"Whatever are you bothering about, gentlemen?" said Bilibin, who,
till then, had listened with an amused smile to their conversation and
now was evidently ready with a joke. "Whether tomorrow brings
victory or defeat, the glory of our Russian arms is secure. Except
your Kutuzov, there is not a single Russian in command of a column!
The commanders are: Herr General Wimpfen, le Comte de Langeron, le
Prince de Lichtenstein, le Prince, de Hohenlohe, and finally
Prishprish, and so on like all those Polish names."

"Be quiet, backbiter!" said Dolgorukov. "It is not true; there are
now two Russians, Miloradovich, and Dokhturov, and there would be a
third, Count Arakcheev, if his nerves were not too weak."

"However, I think General Kutuzov has come out," said Prince Andrew.
"I wish you good luck and success, gentlemen!" he added and went out
after shaking hands with Dolgorukov and Bilibin.

On the way home, Prince Andrew could not refrain from asking
Kutuzov, who was sitting silently beside him, what he thought of
tomorrow's battle.

Kutuzov looked sternly at his adjutant and, after a pause,
replied: "I think the battle will be lost, and so I told Count Tolstoy
and asked him to tell the Emperor. What do you think he replied? 'But,
my dear general, I am engaged with rice and cutlets, look after
military matters yourself!' Yes... That was the answer I got!"

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Shortly after nine o'clock that evening, Weyrother drove with hisplans to Kutuzov's quarters where the council of war was to be held.All the commanders of columns were summoned to the commander inchief's and with the exception of Prince Bagration, who declined tocome, were all there at the appointed time.Weyrother, who was in full control of the proposed battle, by hiseagerness and briskness presented a marked contrast to thedissatisfied and drowsy Kutuzov, who reluctantly played the part ofchairman and president of the council of war. Weyrother evidently felthimself to be at the head of a movement that had already becomeunrestrainable. He was
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At dawn on the sixteenth of November, Denisov's squadron, in whichNicholas Rostov served and which was in Prince Bagration's detachment,moved from the place where it had spent the night, advancing intoaction as arranged, and after going behind other columns for about twothirds of a mile was stopped on the highroad. Rostov saw theCossacks and then the first and second squadrons of hussars andinfantry battalions and artillery pass by and go forward and thenGenerals Bagration and Dolgorukov ride past with their adjutants.All the fear before action which he had experienced as previously, allthe inner struggle to conquer that fear, all his dreams
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