Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
procession was coming up the hill from Borodino. First
along the dusty road came the infantry in ranks, bareheaded and with
arms reversed. From behind them came the sound of church singing.
Soldiers and militiamen ran bareheaded past Pierre toward the
"They are bringing her, our Protectress!... The Iberian Mother of
God!" someone cried.
"The Smolensk Mother of God," another corrected him.
The militiamen, both those who had been in the village and those who
had been at work on the battery, threw down their spades and ran to
meet the church procession. Following the battalion that marched along
the dusty road came priests in their vestments--one little old man in
a hood with attendants and singers. Behind them soldiers and officers
bore a large, dark-faced icon with an embossed metal cover. This was
the icon that had been brought from Smolensk and had since accompanied
the army. Behind, before, and on both sides, crowds of militiamen with
bared heads walked, ran, and bowed to the ground.
At the summit of the hill they stopped with the icon; the men who had
been holding it up by the linen bands attached to it were relieved by
others, the chanters relit their censers, and service began. The hot
rays of the sun beat down vertically and a fresh soft wind played with
the hair of the bared heads and with the ribbons decorating the icon.
The singing did not sound loud under the open sky. An immense crowd of
bareheaded officers, soldiers, and militiamen surrounded the icon.
Behind the priest and a chanter stood the notabilities on a spot
reserved for them. A bald general with a St. Georges Cross on his
neck stood just behind the priests back, and without crossing himself
(he was evidently a German) patiently awaited the end of the service,
which he considered it necessary to hear to the end, probably to
arouse the patriotism of the Russian people. Another general stood in
a martial pose, crossing himself by shaking his hand in front of his
chest while looking about him. Standing among the crowd of peasants,
Pierre recognized several acquaintances among these notables, but did
not look at them--his whole attention was absorbed in watching the
serious expression on the faces of the crowd of soldiers and
militiamen who were all gazing eagerly at the icon. As soon as the
tired chanters, who were singing the service for the twentieth time
that day, began lazily and mechanically to sing: "Save from calamity
Thy servants, O Mother of God," and the priest and deacon chimed in:
"For to Thee under God we all flee as to an inviolable bulwark and
protection," there again kindled in all those faces the same
expression of consciousness of the solemnity of the impending moment
that Pierre had seen on the faces at the foot of the hill at Mozhaysk
and momentarily on many and many faces he had met that morning; and
heads were bowed more frequently and hair tossed back, and sighs and
the sound men made as they crossed themselves were heard.
The crowd round the icon suddenly parted and pressed against Pierre.
Someone, a very important personage judging by the haste with which
way was made for him, was approaching the icon.
It was Kutuzov, who had been riding round the position and on his
way back to Tatarinova had stopped where the service was being held.
Pierre recognized him at once by his peculiar figure, which
distinguished him from everybody else.
With a long overcoat on his exceedingly stout, round-shouldered body,
with uncovered white head and puffy face showing the white ball of the
eye he had lost, Kutuzov walked with plunging, swaying gait into the
crowd and stopped behind the priest. He crossed himself with an
accustomed movement, bent till he touched the ground with his hand,
and bowed his white head with a deep sigh. Behind Kutuzov was
Bennigsen and the suite. Despite the presence of the commander in
chief, who attracted the attention of all the superior officers, the
militiamen and soldiers continued their prayers without looking at
When the service was over, Kutuzov stepped up to the icon, sank
heavily to his knees, bowed to the ground, and for a long time tried
vainly to rise, but could not do so on account of his weakness and
weight. His white head twitched with the effort. At last he rose,
kissed the icon as a child does with naively pouting lips, and again
bowed till he touched the ground with his hand. The other generals
followed his example, then the
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