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War And Peace 245


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War And Peace



do something else. But receiving no orders, he remained for some time in that rigid position. The Emperors remounted and rode away. The Preobrazhensk battalion, breaking rank, mingled with the French Guards and sat down at the tables prepared for them. Lazarev sat in the place of honor. Russian and French officers embraced him, congratulated him, and pressed his hands. Crowds of officers and civilians drew near merely to see him. A rumble of Russian and French voices and laughter filled the air round the tables in the square. Two officers with flushed faces, looking cheerful and happy, passed by Rostov. "What dyou think of the treat? All on silver plate," one of them was saying. "Have you seen Lazarev?" "I have." "Tomorrow, I hear, the Preobrazhenskis will give them a dinner." "Yes, but what luck for Lazarev! Twelve hundred francs pension for life." "Heres a cap, lads!" shouted a Preobrazhensk soldier, donning a shaggy French cap. "Its a fine thing! First-rate!" "Have you heard the password?" asked one Guards officer of another. "The day before yesterday it was Napoleon, France, bravoure; yesterday, Alexandre, Russie, grandeur. One day our Emperor gives it and next day Napoleon. Tomorrow our Emperor will send a St. Georges Cross to the bravest of the French Guards. It has to be done. He must respond in kind." Boris, too, with his friend Zhilinski, came to see the Preobrazhensk banquet. On his way back, he noticed Rostov standing by the corner of a house. "Rostov! How dyou do? We missed one another," he said, and could not refrain from asking what was the matter, so strangely dismal and troubled was Rostovs face. "Nothing, nothing," replied Rostov. "Youll call round?" "Yes, I will." Rostov stood at that corner for a long time, watching the feast from a distance. In his mind, a painful process was going on which he could not bring to a conclusion. Terrible doubts rose in his soul. Now he remembered Denisov with his changed expression, his submission, and the whole hospital, with arms and legs torn off and its dirt and disease. So vividly did he recall that hospital stench of dead flesh that he looked round to see where the smell came from. Next he thought of that self-satisfied Bonaparte, with his small white hand, who was now an Emperor, liked and respected by Alexander. Then why those severed arms and legs and those dead men?... Then again he thought of Lazarev rewarded and Denisov punished and unpardoned. He caught himself harboring such strange thoughts that he was frightened. The smell of the food the Preobrazhenskis were eating and a sense of hunger recalled him from these reflections; he had to get something to eat before going away. He went to a hotel he had noticed that morning. There he found so many people, among them officers who, like himself, had come in civilian clothes, that he had difficulty in getting a dinner. Two officers of his own division joined him. The conversation naturally turned on the peace. The officers, his comrades, like most of the army, were dissatisfied with the peace concluded after the battle of Friedland. They said that had we held out a little longer Napoleon would have been done for, as his troops had neither provisions nor ammunition. Nicholas ate and drank (chiefly the latter) in silence. He finished a couple of bottles of wine by himself. The process in his mind went on tormenting him without reaching a conclusion. He feared to give way to his thoughts, yet could not get rid of them. Suddenly, on one of the officers saying that it was humiliating to look at the French, Rostov began shouting with uncalled-for wrath, and therefore much to the surprise of the officers: "How can you judge whats best?" he cried, the blood suddenly rushing to his face. "How can you judge the Emperors actions? What right have we to argue? We cannot comprehend either the Emperors aims or his actions!" "But I never said a word about the Emperor!" said the officer, justifying himself, and unable to understand Rostovs outburst, except on the supposition that he was drunk. But Rostov did not listen to him. "We are not diplomatic officials, we are soldiers and nothing more," he went on. "If we are ordered to die, we must die. If were punished, it means that we have deserved it, its not for us to judge. If the Emperor pleases to recognize Bonaparte as Emperor and to conclude an alliance with him, it means that that is the right thing to do. If once we begin judging and arguing about everything, nothing sacred will be

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