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War And Peace 153


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War And Peace



of Weyrothers voice ceased, Kutuzov opened his eye as a miller wakes up when the soporific drone of the mill wheel is interrupted. He listened to what Langeron said, as if remarking, "So you are still at that silly business!" quickly closed his eye again, and let his head sink still lower. Langeron, trying as virulently as possible to sting Weyrothers vanity as author of the military plan, argued that Bonaparte might easily attack instead of being attacked, and so render the whole of this plan perfectly worthless. Weyrother met all objections with a firm and contemptuous smile, evidently prepared beforehand to meet all objections be they what they might. "If he could attack us, he would have done so today," said he. "So you think he is powerless?" said Langeron. "He has forty thousand men at most," replied Weyrother, with the smile of a doctor to whom an old wife wishes to explain the treatment of a case. "In that case he is inviting his doom by awaiting our attack," said Langeron, with a subtly ironical smile, again glancing round for support to Miloradovich who was near him. But Miloradovich was at that moment evidently thinking of anything rather than of what the generals were disputing about. "Ma foi!" said he, "tomorrow we shall see all that on the battlefield." Weyrother again gave that smile which seemed to say that to him it was strange and ridiculous to meet objections from Russian generals and to have to prove to them what he had not merely convinced himself of, but had also convinced the sovereign Emperors of. "The enemy has quenched his fires and a continual noise is heard from his camp," said he. "What does that mean? Either he is retreating, which is the only thing we need fear, or he is changing his position." (He smiled ironically.) "But even if he also took up a position in the Thuerassa, he merely saves us a great deal of trouble and all our arrangements to the minutest detail remain the same." "How is that?..." began Prince Andrew, who had for long been waiting an opportunity to express his doubts. Kutuzov here woke up, coughed heavily, and looked round at the generals. "Gentlemen, the dispositions for tomorrow--or rather for today, for it is past midnight--cannot now be altered," said he. "You have heard them, and we shall all do our duty. But before a battle, there is nothing more important..." he paused, "than to have a good sleep." He moved as if to rise. The generals bowed and retired. It was past midnight. Prince Andrew went out. The council of war, at which Prince Andrew had not been able to express his opinion as he had hoped to, left on him a vague and uneasy impression. Whether Dolgorukov and Weyrother, or Kutuzov, Langeron, and the others who did not approve of the plan of attack, were right--he did not know. "But was it really not possible for Kutuzov to state his views plainly to the Emperor? Is it possible that on account of court and personal considerations tens of thousands of lives, and my life, my life," he thought, "must be risked?" "Yes, it is very likely that I shall be killed tomorrow," he thought. And suddenly, at this thought of death, a whole series of most distant, most intimate, memories rose in his imagination: he remembered his last parting from his father and his wife; he remembered the days when he first loved her. He thought of her pregnancy and felt sorry for her and for himself, and in a nervously emotional and softened mood he went out of the hut in which he was billeted with Nesvitski and began to walk up and down before it. The night was foggy and through the fog the moonlight gleamed mysteriously. "Yes, tomorrow, tomorrow!" he thought. "Tomorrow everything may be over for me! All these memories will be no more, none of them will have any meaning for me. Tomorrow perhaps, even certainly, I have a presentiment that for the first time I shall have to show all I can do." And his fancy pictured the battle, its loss, the concentration of fighting at one point, and the hesitation of all the commanders. And then that happy moment, that Toulon for which he had so long waited, presents itself to him at last. He firmly and clearly expresses his opinion to Kutuzov, to Weyrother, and to the Emperors. All are struck by the justness of his views, but no one undertakes to carry them out, so he takes a regiment, a division-stipulates that no

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