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War And Peace 446


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because of his old age and experience of life. The only instruction Kutuzov gave of his own accord during that report referred to looting by the Russian troops. At the end of the report the general put before him for signature a paper relating to the recovery of payment from army commanders for green oats mown down by the soldiers, when landowners lodged petitions for compensation. After hearing the matter, Kutuzov smacked his lips together and shook his head. "Into the stove... into the fire with it! I tell you once for all, my dear fellow," said he, "into the fire with all such things! Let them cut the crops and burn wood to their hearts content. I dont order it or allow it, but I dont exact compensation either. One cant get on without it. When wood is chopped the chips will fly." He looked at the paper again. "Oh, this German precision!" he muttered, shaking his head. CHAPTER XVI "Well, thats all!" said Kutuzov as he signed the last of the documents, and rising heavily and smoothing out the folds in his fat white neck he moved toward the door with a more cheerful expression. The priests wife, flushing rosy red, caught up the dish she had after all not managed to present at the right moment, though she had so long been preparing for it, and with a low bow offered it to Kutuzov. He screwed up his eyes, smiled, lifted her chin with his hand, and said: "Ah, what a beauty! Thank you, sweetheart!" He took some gold pieces from his trouser pocket and put them on the dish for her. "Well, my dear, and how are we getting on?" he asked, moving to the door of the room assigned to him. The priests wife smiled, and with dimples in her rosy cheeks followed him into the room. The adjutant came out to the porch and asked Prince Andrew to lunch with him. Half an hour later Prince Andrew was again called to Kutuzov. He found him reclining in an armchair, still in the same unbuttoned overcoat. He had in his hand a French book which he closed as Prince Andrew entered, marking the place with a knife. Prince Andrew saw by the cover that it was Les Chevaliers du Cygne by Madame de Genlis. "Well, sit down, sit down here. Lets have a talk," said Kutuzov. "Its sad, very sad. But remember, my dear fellow, that I am a father to you, a second father...." Prince Andrew told Kutuzov all he knew of his fathers death, and what he had seen at Bald Hills when he passed through it. "What... what they have brought us to!" Kutuzov suddenly cried in an agitated voice, evidently picturing vividly to himself from Prince Andrews story the condition Russia was in. "But give me time, give me time!" he said with a grim look, evidently not wishing to continue this agitating conversation, and added: "I sent for you to keep you with me." "I thank your Serene Highness, but I fear I am no longer fit for the staff," replied Prince Andrew with a smile which Kutuzov noticed. Kutuzov glanced inquiringly at him. "But above all," added Prince Andrew, "I have grown used to my regiment, am fond of the officers, and I fancy the men also like me. I should be sorry to leave the regiment. If I decline the honor of being with you, believe me..." A shrewd, kindly, yet subtly derisive expression lit up Kutuzovs podgy face. He cut Bolkonski short. "I am sorry, for I need you. But youre right, youre right! Its not here that men are needed. Advisers are always plentiful, but men are not. The regiments would not be what they are if the would-be advisers served there as you do. I remember you at Austerlitz.... I remember, yes, I remember you with the standard!" said Kutuzov, and a flush of pleasure suffused Prince Andrews face at this recollection. Taking his hand and drawing him downwards, Kutuzov offered his cheek to be kissed, and again Prince Andrew noticed tears in the old mans eyes. Though Prince Andrew knew that Kutuzovs tears came easily, and that he was particularly tender to and considerate of him from a wish to show sympathy with his loss, yet this reminder of Austerlitz was both pleasant and flattering to him. "Go your way and God be with you. I know your path is the path of honor!" He paused. "I missed you at Bucharest, but I needed someone to send." And changing the subject, Kutuzov began to speak of

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