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War And Peace 484


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War And Peace



in Gorki, near the center of the Russian position. The attack directed by Napoleon against our left flank had been several times repulsed. In the center the French had not got beyond Borodino, and on their left flank Uvarovs cavalry had put the French to flight. Toward three oclock the French attacks ceased. On the faces of all who came from the field of battle, and of those who stood around him, Kutuzov noticed an expression of extreme tension. He was satisfied with the days success--a success exceeding his expectations, but the old mans strength was failing him. Several times his head dropped low as if it were falling and he dozed off. Dinner was brought him. Adjutant General Wolzogen, the man who when riding past Prince Andrew had said, "the war should be extended widely," and whom Bagration so detested, rode up while Kutuzov was at dinner. Wolzogen had come from Barclay de Tolly to report on the progress of affairs on the left flank. The sagacious Barclay de Tolly, seeing crowds of wounded men running back and the disordered rear of the army, weighed all the circumstances, concluded that the battle was lost, and sent his favorite officer to the commander in chief with that news. Kutuzov was chewing a piece of roast chicken with difficulty and glanced at Wolzogen with eyes that brightened under their puckering lids. Wolzogen, nonchalantly stretching his legs, approached Kutuzov with a half-contemptuous smile on his lips, scarcely touching the peak of his cap. He treated his Serene Highness with a somewhat affected nonchalance intended to show that, as a highly trained military man, he left it to Russians to make an idol of this useless old man, but that he knew whom he was dealing with. "Der alte Herr" (as in their own set the Germans called Kutuzov) "is making himself very comfortable," thought Wolzogen, and looking severely at the dishes in front of Kutuzov he began to report to "the old gentleman" the position of affairs on the left flank as Barclay had ordered him to and as he himself had seen and understood it. "All the points of our position are in the enemys hands and we cannot dislodge them for lack of troops, the men are running away and it is impossible to stop them," he reported. Kutuzov ceased chewing and fixed an astonished gaze on Wolzogen, as if not understanding what was said to him. Wolzogen, noticing "the old gentlemans" agitation, said with a smile: "I have not considered it right to conceal from your Serene Highness what I have seen. The troops are in complete disorder..." "You have seen? You have seen?..." Kutuzov shouted frowning, and rising quickly he went up to Wolzogen. "How... how dare you!..." he shouted, choking and making a threatening gesture with his trembling arms: "How dare you, sir, say that to me? You know nothing about it. Tell General Barclay from me that his information is incorrect and that the real course of the battle is better known to me, the commander in chief, than to him." Wolzogen was about to make a rejoinder, but Kutuzov interrupted him. "The enemy has been repulsed on the left and defeated on the right flank. If you have seen amiss, sir, do not allow yourself to say what you dont know! Be so good as to ride to General Barclay and inform him of my firm intention to attack the enemy tomorrow," said Kutuzov sternly. All were silent, and the only sound audible was the heavy breathing of the panting old general. "They are repulsed everywhere, for which I thank God and our brave army! The enemy is beaten, and tomorrow we shall drive him from the sacred soil of Russia," said Kutuzov crossing himself, and he suddenly sobbed as his eyes filled with tears. Wolzogen, shrugging his shoulders and curling his lips, stepped silently aside, marveling at "the old gentlemans" conceited stupidity. "Ah, here he is, my hero!" said Kutuzov to a portly, handsome, dark-haired general who was just ascending the knoll. This was Raevski, who had spent the whole day at the most important part of the field of Borodino. Raevski reported that the troops were firmly holding their ground and that the French no longer ventured to attack. After hearing him, Kutuzov said in French: "Then you do not think, like some others, that we must retreat?" "On the contrary, your Highness, in indecisive actions it is always the most stubborn who remain victors," replied Raevski, "and in my opinion..." "Kaysarov!" Kutuzov called to his adjutant. "Sit down and write out the order of the day for tomorrow. And

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