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War And Peace 481

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War And Peace

them and brought them under discipline and under the influence of that discipline led them back to the zone of fire, where under the influence of fear of death they lost their discipline and rushed about according to the chance promptings of the throng. CHAPTER XXXIV Napoleons generals--Davout, Ney, and Murat, who were near that region of fire and sometimes even entered it--repeatedly led into it huge masses of well-ordered troops. But contrary to what had always happened in their former battles, instead of the news they expected of the enemys flight, these orderly masses returned thence as disorganized and terrified mobs. The generals re-formed them, but their numbers constantly decreased. In the middle of the day Murat sent his adjutant to Napoleon to demand reinforcements. Napoleon sat at the foot of the knoll, drinking punch, when Murats adjutant galloped up with an assurance that the Russians would be routed if His Majesty would let him have another division. "Reinforcements?" said Napoleon in a tone of stern surprise, looking at the adjutant--a handsome lad with long black curls arranged like Murats own--as though he did not understand his words. "Reinforcements!" thought Napoleon to himself. "How can they need reinforcements when they already have half the army directed against a weak, unentrenched Russian wing?" "Tell the King of Naples," said he sternly, "that it is not noon yet, and I dont yet see my chessboard clearly. Go!..." The handsome boy adjutant with the long hair sighed deeply without removing his hand from his hat and galloped back to where men were being slaughtered. Napoleon rose and having summoned Caulaincourt and Berthier began talking to them about matters unconnected with the battle. In the midst of this conversation, which was beginning to interest Napoleon, Berthiers eyes turned to look at a general with a suite, who was galloping toward the knoll on a lathering horse. It was Belliard. Having dismounted he went up to the Emperor with rapid strides and in a loud voice began boldly demonstrating the necessity of sending reinforcements. He swore on his honor that the Russians were lost if the Emperor would give another division. Napoleon shrugged his shoulders and continued to pace up and down without replying. Belliard began talking loudly and eagerly to the generals of the suite around him. "You are very fiery, Belliard," said Napoleon, when he again came up to the general. "In the heat of a battle it is easy to make a mistake. Go and have another look and then come back to me." Before Belliard was out of sight, a messenger from another part of the battlefield galloped up. "Now then, what do you want?" asked Napoleon in the tone of a man irritated at being continually disturbed. "Sire, the prince..." began the adjutant. "Asks for reinforcements?" said Napoleon with an angry gesture. The adjutant bent his head affirmatively and began to report, but the Emperor turned from him, took a couple of steps, stopped, came back, and called Berthier. "We must give reserves," he said, moving his arms slightly apart. "Who do you think should be sent there?" he asked of Berthier (whom he subsequently termed "that gosling I have made an eagle"). "Send Claparedes division, sire," replied Berthier, who knew all the divisions regiments, and battalions by heart. Napoleon nodded assent. The adjutant galloped to Claparedes division and a few minutes later the Young Guards stationed behind the knoll moved forward. Napoleon gazed silently in that direction. "No!" he suddenly said to Berthier. "I cant send Claparede. Send Friants division." Though there was no advantage in sending Friants division instead of Claparedes, and even in obvious inconvenience and delay in stopping Claparede and sending Friant now, the order was carried out exactly. Napoleon did not notice that in regard to his army he was playing the part of a doctor who hinders by his medicines--a role he so justly understood and condemned. Friants division disappeared as the others had done into the smoke of the battlefield. From all sides adjutants continued to arrive at a gallop and as if by agreement all said the same thing. They all asked for reinforcements and all said that the Russians were holding their positions and maintaining a hellish fire under which the French army was melting away. Napoleon sat on a campstool, wrapped in thought. M. de Beausset, the man so fond of travel, having fasted since morning, came up to the Emperor and ventured respectfully to suggest lunch to His Majesty. "I hope I may now congratulate Your Majesty on a victory?" said he. Napoleon silently shook his head in negation. Assuming the negation to refer only to the victory and

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