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War And Peace 463

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War And Peace

have. Julie Drubetskaya told me so. I went to see them, but missed them. They have gone to your estate near Moscow." CHAPTER XXV The officers were about to take leave, but Prince Andrew, apparently reluctant to be left alone with his friend, asked them to stay and have tea. Seats were brought in and so was the tea. The officers gazed with surprise at Pierres huge stout figure and listened to his talk of Moscow and the position of our army, round which he had ridden. Prince Andrew remained silent, and his expression was so forbidding that Pierre addressed his remarks chiefly to the good-natured battalion commander. "So you understand the whole position of our troops?" Prince Andrew interrupted him. "Yes--that is, how do you mean?" said Pierre. "Not being a military man I cant say I have understood it fully, but I understand the general position." "Well, then, you know more than anyone else, be it who it may," said Prince Andrew. "Oh!" said Pierre, looking over his spectacles in perplexity at Prince Andrew. "Well, and what do you think of Kutuzovs appointment?" he asked. "I was very glad of his appointment, thats all I know," replied Prince Andrew. "And tell me your opinion of Barclay de Tolly. In Moscow they are saying heaven knows what about him.... What do you think of him?" "Ask them," replied Prince Andrew, indicating the officers. Pierre looked at Timokhin with the condescendingly interrogative smile with which everybody involuntarily addressed that officer. "We see light again, since his Serenity has been appointed, your excellency," said Timokhin timidly, and continually turning to glance at his colonel. "Why so?" asked Pierre. "Well, to mention only firewood and fodder, let me inform you. Why, when we were retreating from Sventsyani we dare not touch a stick or a wisp of hay or anything. You see, we were going away, so he would get it all; wasnt it so, your excellency?" and again Timokhin turned to the prince. "But we darent. In our regiment two officers were court-martialed for that kind of thing. But when his Serenity took command everything became straight forward. Now we see light..." "Then why was it forbidden?" Timokhin looked about in confusion, not knowing what or how to answer such a question. Pierre put the same question to Prince Andrew. "Why, so as not to lay waste the country we were abandoning to the enemy," said Prince Andrew with venomous irony. "It is very sound: one cant permit the land to be pillaged and accustom the troops to marauding. At Smolensk too he judged correctly that the French might outflank us, as they had larger forces. But he could not understand this," cried Prince Andrew in a shrill voice that seemed to escape him involuntarily: "he could not understand that there, for the first time, we were fighting for Russian soil, and that there was a spirit in the men such as I had never seen before, that we had held the French for two days, and that that success had increased our strength tenfold. He ordered us to retreat, and all our efforts and losses went for nothing. He had no thought of betraying us, he tried to do the best he could, he thought out everything, and that is why he is unsuitable. He is unsuitable now, just because he plans out everything very thoroughly and accurately as every German has to. How can I explain?... Well, say your father has a German valet, and he is a splendid valet and satisfies your fathers requirements better than you could, then its all right to let him serve. But if your father is mortally sick youll send the valet away and attend to your father with your own unpracticed, awkward hands, and will soothe him better than a skilled man who is a stranger could. So it has been with Barclay. While Russia was well, a foreigner could serve her and be a splendid minister; but as soon as she is in danger she needs one of her own kin. But in your Club they have been making him out a traitor! They slander him as a traitor, and the only result will be that afterwards, ashamed of their false accusations, they will make him out a hero or a genius instead of a traitor, and that will be still more unjust. He is an honest and very punctilious German." "And they say hes a skillful commander," rejoined Pierre. "I dont understand what is meant by a skillful commander," replied Prince Andrew ironically. "A skillful commander?" replied Pierre. "Why, one who foresees all contingencies... and

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