Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
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.
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
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
War And Peace page 651 War And Peace page 653