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War And Peace 452


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there. This could not all be arranged that day, so on Evstafeys representation Pierre had to put off his departure till next day to allow time for the relay horses to be sent on in advance. On the twenty-fourth the weather cleared up after a spell of rain, and after dinner Pierre left Moscow. When changing horses that night in Perkhushkovo, he learned that there had been a great battle that evening. (This was the battle of Shevardino.) He was told that there in Perkhushkovo the earth trembled from the firing, but nobody could answer his questions as to who had won. At dawn next day Pierre was approaching Mozhaysk. Every house in Mozhaysk had soldiers quartered in it, and at the hostel where Pierre was met by his groom and coachman there was no room to be had. It was full of officers. Everywhere in Mozhaysk and beyond it, troops were stationed or on the march. Cossacks, foot and horse soldiers, wagons, caissons, and cannon were everywhere. Pierre pushed forward as fast as he could, and the farther he left Moscow behind and the deeper he plunged into that sea of troops the more was he overcome by restless agitation and a new and joyful feeling he had not experienced before. It was a feeling akin to what he had felt at the Sloboda Palace during the Emperors visit--a sense of the necessity of undertaking something and sacrificing something. He now experienced a glad consciousness that everything that constitutes mens happiness--the comforts of life, wealth, even life itself--is rubbish it is pleasant to throw away, compared with something... With what? Pierre could not say, and he did not try to determine for whom and for what he felt such particular delight in sacrificing everything. He was not occupied with the question of what to sacrifice for; the fact of sacrificing in itself afforded him a new and joyous sensation. CHAPTER XIX On the twenty-fourth of August the battle of the Shevardino Redoubt was fought, on the twenty-fifth not a shot was fired by either side, and on the twenty-sixth the battle of Borodino itself took place. Why and how were the battles of Shevardino and Borodino given and accepted? Why was the battle of Borodino fought? There was not the least sense in it for either the French or the Russians. Its immediate result for the Russians was, and was bound to be, that we were brought nearer to the destruction of Moscow--which we feared more than anything in the world; and for the French its immediate result was that they were brought nearer to the destruction of their whole army--which they feared more than anything in the world. What the result must be was quite obvious, and yet Napoleon offered and Kutuzov accepted that battle. If the commanders had been guided by reason, it would seem that it must have been obvious to Napoleon that by advancing thirteen hundred miles and giving battle with a probability of losing a quarter of his army, he was advancing to certain destruction, and it must have been equally clear to Kutuzov that by accepting battle and risking the loss of a quarter of his army he would certainly lose Moscow. For Kutuzov this was mathematically clear, as it is that if when playing draughts I have one man less and go on exchanging, I shall certainly lose, and therefore should not exchange. When my opponent has sixteen men and I have fourteen, I am only one eighth weaker than he, but when I have exchanged thirteen more men he will be three times as strong as I am. Before the battle of Borodino our strength in proportion to the French was about as five to six, but after that battle it was little more than one to two: previously we had a hundred thousand against a hundred and twenty thousand; afterwards little more than fifty thousand against a hundred thousand. Yet the shrewd and experienced Kutuzov accepted the battle, while Napoleon, who was said to be a commander of genius, gave it, losing a quarter of his army and lengthening his lines of communication still more. If it is said that he expected to end the campaign by occupying Moscow as he had ended a previous campaign by occupying Vienna, there is much evidence to the contrary. Napoleons historians themselves tell us that from Smolensk onwards he wished to stop, knew the danger of his extended position, and knew that the occupation of Moscow would not be the end of the campaign, for he had seen at Smolensk the state in which

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