Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
such horrors or so many slain in such a small
area. The roar of guns, that had not ceased for ten hours, wearied the
ear and gave a peculiar significance to the spectacle, as music does
to tableaux vivants. Napoleon rode up the high ground at Semenovsk,
and through the smoke saw ranks of men in uniforms of a color
unfamiliar to him. They were Russians.
The Russians stood in serried ranks behind Semenovsk village and its
knoll, and their guns boomed incessantly along their line and sent
forth clouds of smoke. It was no longer a battle: it was a
continuous slaughter which could be of no avail either to the French
or the Russians. Napoleon stopped his horse and again fell into the
reverie from which Berthier had aroused him. He could not stop what
was going on before him and around him and was supposed to be directed
by him and to depend on him, and from its lack of success this affair,
for the first time, seemed to him unnecessary and horrible.
One of the generals rode up to Napoleon and ventured to offer to
lead the Old Guard into action. Ney and Berthier, standing near
Napoleon, exchanged looks and smiled contemptuously at this
generals senseless offer.
Napoleon bowed his head and remained silent a long time.
"At eight hundred leagues from France, I will not have my Guard
destroyed!" he said, and turning his horse rode back to Shevardino.
On the rug-covered bench where Pierre had seen him in the morning
sat Kutuzov, his gray head hanging, his heavy body relaxed. He gave no
orders, but only assented to or dissented from what others suggested.
"Yes, yes, do that," he replied to various proposals. "Yes, yes: go,
dear boy, and have a look," he would say to one or another of those
about him; or, "No, dont, wed better wait!" He listened to the
reports that were brought him and gave directions when his
subordinates demanded that of him; but when listening to the reports
it seemed as if he were not interested in the import of the words
spoken, but rather in something else--in the expression of face and
tone of voice of those who were reporting. By long years of military
experience he knew, and with the wisdom of age understood, that it
is impossible for one man to direct hundreds of thousands of others
struggling with death, and he knew that the result of a battle is
decided not by the orders of a commander in chief, nor the place where
the troops are stationed, nor by the number of cannon or of
slaughtered men, but by that intangible force called the spirit of the
army, and he watched this force and guided it in as far as that was in
Kutuzovs general expression was one of concentrated quiet
attention, and his face wore a strained look as if he found it
difficult to master the fatigue of his old and feeble body.
At eleven oclock they brought him news that the fleches captured by
the French had been retaken, but that Prince Bagration was wounded.
Kutuzov groaned and swayed his head.
"Ride over to Prince Peter Ivanovich and find out about it exactly,"
he said to one of his adjutants, and then turned to the Duke of
Wurttemberg who was standing behind him.
"Will Your Highness please take command of the first army?"
Soon after the dukes departure--before he could possibly have
reached Semenovsk--his adjutant came back from him and told Kutuzov
that the duke asked for more troops.
Kutuzov made a grimace and sent an order to Dokhturov to take over
the command of the first army, and a request to the duke--whom he said
he could not spare at such an important moment--to return to him. When
they brought him news that Murat had been taken prisoner, and the
staff officers congratulated him, Kutuzov smiled.
"Wait a little, gentlemen," said he. "The battle is won, and there
is nothing extraordinary in the capture of Murat. Still, it is
better to wait before we rejoice."
But he sent an adjutant to take the news round the army.
When Scherbinin came galloping from the left flank with news that
the French had captured the fleches and the village of Semenovsk,
Kutuzov, guessing by the sounds of the battle and by Scherbinins
looks that the news was bad, rose as if to stretch his legs and,
taking Scherbinins arm, led him aside.
"Go, my dear fellow," he said to Ermolov, "and see whether something
cant be done."
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