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War And Peace 162

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War And Peace

not, he certainly should not, speak like that," their glances seemed to say. The Tsar looked intently and observantly into Kutuzovs eye waiting to hear whether he would say anything more. But Kutuzov, with respectfully bowed head, seemed also to be waiting. The silence lasted for about a minute. "However, if you command it, Your Majesty," said Kutuzov, lifting his head and again assuming his former tone of a dull, unreasoning, but submissive general. He touched his horse and having called Miloradovich, the commander of the column, gave him the order to advance. The troops again began to move, and two battalions of the Novgorod and one of the Apsheron regiment went forward past the Emperor. As this Apsheron battalion marched by, the red-faced Miloradovich, without his greatcoat, with his Orders on his breast and an enormous tuft of plumes in his cocked hat worn on one side with its corners front and back, galloped strenuously forward, and with a dashing salute reined in his horse before the Emperor. "God be with you, general!" said the Emperor. "Ma foi, sire, nous ferons ce qui sera dans notre possibilite, sire,"* he answered gaily, raising nevertheless ironic smiles among the gentlemen of the Tsars suite by his poor French. *"Indeed, Sire, we shall do everything it is possible to do, Sire." Miloradovich wheeled his horse sharply and stationed himself a little behind the Emperor. The Apsheron men, excited by the Tsars presence, passed in step before the Emperors and their suites at a bold, brisk pace. "Lads!" shouted Miloradovich in a loud, self-confident, and cheery voice, obviously so elated by the sound of firing, by the prospect of battle, and by the sight of the gallant Apsherons, his comrades in Suvorovs time, now passing so gallantly before the Emperors, that he forgot the sovereigns presence. "Lads, its not the first village youve had to take," cried he. "Glad to do our best!" shouted the soldiers. The Emperors horse started at the sudden cry. This horse that had carried the sovereign at reviews in Russia bore him also here on the field of Austerlitz, enduring the heedless blows of his left foot and pricking its ears at the sound of shots just as it had done on the Empress Field, not understanding the significance of the firing, nor of the nearness of the Emperor Francis black cob, nor of all that was being said, thought, and felt that day by its rider. The Emperor turned with a smile to one of his followers and made a remark to him, pointing to the gallant Apsherons. CHAPTER XVI Kutuzov accompanied by his adjutants rode at a walking pace behind the carabineers. When he had gone less than half a mile in the rear of the column he stopped at a solitary, deserted house that had probably once been an inn, where two roads parted. Both of them led downhill and troops were marching along both. The fog had begun to clear and enemy troops were already dimly visible about a mile and a half off on the opposite heights. Down below, on the left, the firing became more distinct. Kutuzov had stopped and was speaking to an Austrian general. Prince Andrew, who was a little behind looking at them, turned to an adjutant to ask him for a field glass. "Look, look!" said this adjutant, looking not at the troops in the distance, but down the hill before him. "Its the French!" The two generals and the adjutant took hold of the field glass, trying to snatch it from one another. The expression on all their faces suddenly changed to one of horror. The French were supposed to be a mile and a half away, but had suddenly and unexpectedly appeared just in front of us. "Its the enemy?... No!... Yes, see it is!... for certain.... But how is that?" said different voices. With the naked eye Prince Andrew saw below them to the right, not more than five hundred paces from where Kutuzov was standing, a dense French column coming up to meet the Apsherons. "Here it is! The decisive moment has arrived. My turn has come," thought Prince Andrew, and striking his horse he rode up to Kutuzov. "The Apsherons must be stopped, your excellency," cried he. But at that very instant a cloud of smoke spread all round, firing was heard quite close at hand, and a voice of naive terror barely two steps from Prince Andrew shouted, "Brothers! Alls lost!" And at this as if at a command, everyone began to run. Confused and ever-increasing crowds were running back to where five minutes before the troops had

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