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War And Peace 598

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War And Peace

busied themselves. The French, not being farther pursued, began to recover themselves: they formed into detachments and began firing. Orlov-Denisov, still waiting for the other columns to arrive, advanced no further. Meantime, according to the dispositions which said that "the First Column will march" and so on, the infantry of the belated columns, commanded by Bennigsen and directed by Toll, had started in due order and, as always happens, had got somewhere, but not to their appointed places. As always happens the men, starting cheerfully, began to halt; murmurs were heard, there was a sense of confusion, and finally a backward movement. Adjutants and generals galloped about, shouted, grew angry, quarreled, said they had come quite wrong and were late, gave vent to a little abuse, and at last gave it all up and went forward, simply to get somewhere. "We shall get somewhere or other!" And they did indeed get somewhere, though not to their right places; a few eventually even got to their right place, but too late to be of any use and only in time to be fired at. Toll, who in this battle played the part of Weyrother at Austerlitz, galloped assiduously from place to place, finding everything upside down everywhere. Thus he stumbled on Bagovuts corps in a wood when it was already broad daylight, though the corps should long before have joined Orlov-Denisov. Excited and vexed by the failure and supposing that someone must be responsible for it, Toll galloped up to the commander of the corps and began upbraiding him severely, saying that he ought to be shot. General Bagovut, a fighting old soldier of placid temperament, being also upset by all the delay, confusion, and cross-purposes, fell into a rage to everybodys surprise and quite contrary to his usual character and said disagreeable things to Toll. "I prefer not to take lessons from anyone, but I can die with my men as well as anybody," he said, and advanced with a single division. Coming out onto a field under the enemys fire, this brave general went straight ahead, leading his men under fire, without considering in his agitation whether going into action now, with a single division, would be of any use or no. Danger, cannon balls, and bullets were just what he needed in his angry mood. One of the first bullets killed him, and other bullets killed many of his men. And his division remained under fire for some time quite uselessly. CHAPTER VII Meanwhile another column was to have attacked the French from the front, but Kutuzov accompanied that column. He well knew that nothing but confusion would come of this battle undertaken against his will, and as far as was in his power held the troops back. He did not advance. He rode silently on his small gray horse, indolently answering suggestions that they should attack. "The word attack is always on your tongue, but you dont see that we are unable to execute complicated maneuvers," said he to Miloradovich who asked permission to advance. "We couldnt take Murat prisoner this morning or get to the place in time, and nothing can be done now!" he replied to someone else. When Kutuzov was informed that at the French rear--where according to the reports of the Cossacks there had previously been nobody--there were now two battalions of Poles, he gave a sidelong glance at Ermolov who was behind him and to whom he had not spoken since the previous day. "You see! They are asking to attack and making plans of all kinds, but as soon as one gets to business nothing is ready, and the enemy, forewarned, takes measures accordingly." Ermolov screwed up his eyes and smiled faintly on hearing these words. He understood that for him the storm had blown over, and that Kutuzov would content himself with that hint. "Hes having a little fun at my expense," said Ermolov softly, nudging with his knee Raevski who was at his side. Soon after this, Ermolov moved up to Kutuzov and respectfully remarked: "It is not too late yet, your Highness--the enemy has not gone away--if you were to order an attack! If not, the Guards will not so much as see a little smoke." Kutuzov did not reply, but when they reported to him that Murats troops were in retreat he ordered an advance, though at every hundred paces he halted for three quarters of an hour. The whole battle consisted in what Orlov-Denisovs Cossacks had done: the rest of the army merely lost some hundreds of men uselessly. In consequence of this battle Kutuzov received a diamond decoration, and Bennigsen some

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