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War And Peace 561


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our ancient capital, the New Jerusalem, receives her Christ"--he placed a sudden emphasis on the word her--"as a mother receives her zealous sons into her arms, and through the gathering mists, foreseeing the brilliant glory of thy rule, sings in exultation, Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh!" Prince Vasili pronounced these last words in a tearful voice. Bilibin attentively examined his nails, and many of those present appeared intimidated, as if asking in what they were to blame. Anna Pavlovna whispered the next words in advance, like an old woman muttering the prayer at Communion: "Let the bold and insolent Goliath..." she whispered. Prince Vasili continued. "Let the bold and insolent Goliath from the borders of France encompass the realms of Russia with death-bearing terrors; humble Faith, the sling of the Russian David, shall suddenly smite his head in his bloodthirsty pride. This icon of the Venerable Sergius, the servant of God and zealous champion of old of our countrys weal, is offered to Your Imperial Majesty. I grieve that my waning strength prevents rejoicing in the sight of your most gracious presence. I raise fervent prayers to Heaven that the Almighty may exalt the race of the just, and mercifully fulfill the desires of Your Majesty." "What force! What a style!" was uttered in approval both of reader and of author. Animated by that address Anna Pavlovnas guests talked for a long time of the state of the fatherland and offered various conjectures as to the result of the battle to be fought in a few days. "You will see," said Anna Pavlovna, "that tomorrow, on the Emperors birthday, we shall receive news. I have a favorable presentiment!" CHAPTER II Anna Pavlovnas presentiment was in fact fulfilled. Next day during the service at the palace church in honor of the Emperors birthday, Prince Volkonski was called out of the church and received a dispatch from Prince Kutuzov. It was Kutuzovs report, written from Tatarinova on the day of the battle. Kutuzov wrote that the Russians had not retreated a step, that the French losses were much heavier than ours, and that he was writing in haste from the field of battle before collecting full information. It followed that there must have been a victory. And at once, without leaving the church, thanks were rendered to the Creator for His help and for the victory. Anna Pavlovnas presentiment was justified, and all that morning a joyously festive mood reigned in the city. Everyone believed the victory to have been complete, and some even spoke of Napoleons having been captured, of his deposition, and of the choice of a new ruler for France. It is very difficult for events to be reflected in their real strength and completeness amid the conditions of court life and far from the scene of action. General events involuntarily group themselves around some particular incident. So now the courtiers pleasure was based as much on the fact that the news had arrived on the Emperors birthday as on the fact of the victory itself. It was like a successfully arranged surprise. Mention was made in Kutuzovs report of the Russian losses, among which figured the names of Tuchkov, Bagration, and Kutaysov. In the Petersburg world this sad side of the affair again involuntarily centered round a single incident: Kutaysovs death. Everybody knew him, the Emperor liked him, and he was young and interesting. That day everyone met with the words: "What a wonderful coincidence! Just during the service. But what a loss Kutaysov is! How sorry I am!" "What did I tell about Kutuzov?" Prince Vasili now said with a prophets pride. "I always said he was the only man capable of defeating Napoleon." But next day no news arrived from the army and the public mood grew anxious. The courtiers suffered because of the suffering the suspense occasioned the Emperor. "Fancy the Emperors position!" said they, and instead of extolling Kutuzov as they had done the day before, they condemned him as the cause of the Emperors anxiety. That day Prince Vasili no longer boasted of his protege Kutuzov, but remained silent when the commander in chief was mentioned. Moreover, toward evening, as if everything conspired to make Petersburg society anxious and uneasy, a terrible piece of news was added. Countess Helene Bezukhova had suddenly died of that terrible malady it had been so agreeable to mention. Officially, at large gatherings, everyone said that Countess Bezukhova had died of a terrible attack of angina pectoris, but in intimate circles details were mentioned of how the private physician of the Queen of Spain had prescribed small doses of a certain drug to produce

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