Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
Russian army was occupying the villages and
towns of the Archduchy of Austria, and yet other regiments freshly
arriving from Russia were settling near the fortress of Braunau and
burdening the inhabitants on whom they were quartered. Braunau was the
headquarters of the commander-in-chief, Kutuzov.
On October 11, 1805, one of the infantry regiments that had just
reached Braunau had halted half a mile from the town, waiting to be
inspected by the commander in chief. Despite the un-Russian appearance
of the locality and surroundings--fruit gardens, stone fences, tiled
roofs, and hills in the distance--and despite the fact that the
inhabitants (who gazed with curiosity at the soldiers) were not
Russians, the regiment had just the appearance of any Russian regiment
preparing for an inspection anywhere in the heart of Russia.
On the evening of the last days march an order had been received
that the commander in chief would inspect the regiment on the march.
Though the words of the order were not clear to the regimental
commander, and the question arose whether the troops were to be in
marching order or not, it was decided at a consultation between the
battalion commanders to present the regiment in parade order, on the
principle that it is always better to "bow too low than not bow low
enough." So the soldiers, after a twenty-mile march, were kept mending
and cleaning all night long without closing their eyes, while the
adjutants and company commanders calculated and reckoned, and by
morning the regiment--instead of the straggling, disorderly crowd it
had been on its last march the day before--presented a well-ordered
array of two thousand men each of whom knew his place and his duty,
had every button and every strap in place, and shone with cleanliness.
And not only externally was all in order, but had it pleased the
commander in chief to look under the uniforms he would have found on
every man a clean shirt, and in every knapsack the appointed number of
articles, "awl, soap, and all," as the soldiers say. There was only
one circumstance concerning which no one could be at ease. It was
the state of the soldiers boots. More than half the mens boots
were in holes. But this defect was not due to any fault of the
regimental commander, for in spite of repeated demands boots had not
been issued by the Austrian commissariat, and the regiment had marched
some seven hundred miles.
The commander of the regiment was an elderly, choleric, stout, and
thick-set general with grizzled eyebrows and whiskers, and wider
from chest to back than across the shoulders. He had on a brand-new
uniform showing the creases where it had been folded and thick gold
epaulettes which seemed to stand rather than lie down on his massive
shoulders. He had the air of a man happily performing one of the
most solemn duties of his life. He walked about in front of the line
and at every step pulled himself up, slightly arching his back. It was
plain that the commander admired his regiment, rejoiced in it, and
that his whole mind was engrossed by it, yet his strut seemed to
indicate that, besides military matters, social interests and the fair
sex occupied no small part of his thoughts.
"Well, Michael Mitrich, sir?" he said, addressing one of the
battalion commanders who smilingly pressed forward (it was plain
that they both felt happy). "We had our hands full last night.
However, I think the regiment is not a bad one, eh?"
The battalion commander perceived the jovial irony and laughed.
"It would not be turned off the field even on the Tsaritsin Meadow."
"What?" asked the commander.
At that moment, on the road from the town on which signalers had
been posted, two men appeared on horse back. They were an
aide-de-camp followed by a Cossack.
The aide-de-camp was sent to confirm the order which had not been
clearly worded the day before, namely, that the commander in chief
wished to see the regiment just in the state in which it had been on
the march: in their greatcoats, and packs, and without any preparation
A member of the Hofkriegsrath from Vienna had come to Kutuzov the
day before with proposals and demands for him to join up with the army
of the Archduke Ferdinand and Mack, and Kutuzov, not considering
this junction advisable, meant, among other arguments in support of
his view, to show the Austrian general the wretched state in which the
troops arrived from Russia. With this object he intended to meet the
regiment; so the worse
War And Peace page 62 War And Peace page 64