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War And Peace 652


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throng of officers surrounded him. He looked attentively around at the circle of officers, recognizing several of them. "I thank you all!" he said, addressing the soldiers and then again the officers. In the stillness around him his slowly uttered words were distinctly heard. "I thank you all for your hard and faithful service. The victory is complete and Russia will not forget you! Honor to you forever." He paused and looked around. "Lower its head, lower it!" he said to a soldier who had accidentally lowered the French eagle he was holding before the Preobrazhensk standards. "Lower, lower, thats it. Hurrah lads!" he added, addressing the men with a rapid movement of his chin. "Hur-r-rah!" roared thousands of voices. While the soldiers were shouting Kutuzov leaned forward in his saddle and bowed his head, and his eye lit up with a mild and apparently ironic gleam. "You see, brothers..." said he when the shouts had ceased... and all at once his voice and the expression of his face changed. It was no longer the commander in chief speaking but an ordinary old man who wanted to tell his comrades something very important. There was a stir among the throng of officers and in the ranks of the soldiers, who moved that they might hear better what he was going to say. "You see, brothers, I know its hard for you, but it cant be helped! Bear up; it wont be for long now! Well see our visitors off and then well rest. The Tsar wont forget your service. It is hard for you, but still you are at home while they--you see what they have come to," said he, pointing to the prisoners. "Worse off than our poorest beggars. While they were strong we didnt spare ourselves, but now we may even pity them. They are human beings too. Isnt it so, lads?" He looked around, and in the direct, respectful, wondering gaze fixed upon him he read sympathy with what he had said. His face grew brighter and brighter with an old mans mild smile, which drew the corners of his lips and eyes into a cluster of wrinkles. He ceased speaking and bowed his head as if in perplexity. "But after all who asked them here? Serves them right, the bloody bastards!" he cried, suddenly lifting his head. And flourishing his whip he rode off at a gallop for the first time during the whole campaign, and left the broken ranks of the soldiers laughing joyfully and shouting "Hurrah!" Kutuzovs words were hardly understood by the troops. No one could have repeated the field marshals address, begun solemnly and then changing into an old mans simplehearted talk; but the hearty sincerity of that speech, the feeling of majestic triumph combined with pity for the foe and consciousness of the justice of our cause, exactly expressed by that old mans good-natured expletives, was not merely understood but lay in the soul of every soldier and found expression in their joyous and long-sustained shouts. Afterwards when one of the generals addressed Kutuzov asking whether he wished his caleche to be sent for, Kutuzov in answering unexpectedly gave a sob, being evidently greatly moved. CHAPTER VII When the troops reached their nights halting place on the eighth of November, the last day of the Krasnoe battles, it was already growing dusk. All day it had been calm and frosty with occasional lightly falling snow and toward evening it began to clear. Through the falling snow a purple-black and starry sky showed itself and the frost grew keener. An infantry regiment which had left Tarutino three thousand strong but now numbered only nine hundred was one of the first to arrive that night at its halting place--a village on the highroad. The quartermasters who met the regiment announced that all the huts were full of sick and dead Frenchmen, cavalrymen, and members of the staff. There was only one hut available for the regimental commander. The commander rode up to his hut. The regiment passed through the village and stacked its arms in front of the last huts. Like some huge many-limbed animal, the regiment began to prepare its lair and its food. One part of it dispersed and waded knee-deep through the snow into a birch forest to the right of the village, and immediately the sound of axes and swords, the crashing of branches, and merry voices could be heard from there. Another section amid the regimental wagons and horses which were standing in a group was busy getting out caldrons and rye biscuit, and feeding the horses. A third section scattered through the

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