Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
and Konovnitsyn rushed
into the vestibule to inform Kutuzov, who was waiting in the hall
porters little lodge.
A minute later the old mans large stout figure in full-dress
uniform, his chest covered with orders and a scarf drawn round his
stomach, waddled out into the porch. He put on his hat with its
peaks to the sides and, holding his gloves in his hand and walking
with an effort sideways down the steps to the level of the street,
took in his hand the report he had prepared for the Emperor.
There was running to and fro and whispering; another troyka flew
furiously up, and then all eyes were turned on an approaching sleigh
in which the figures of the Emperor and Volkonski could already be
From the habit of fifty years all this had a physically agitating
effect on the old general. He carefully and hastily felt himself all
over, readjusted his hat, and pulling himself together drew himself up
and, at the very moment when the Emperor, having alighted from the
sleigh, lifted his eyes to him, handed him the report and began
speaking in his smooth, ingratiating voice.
The Emperor with a rapid glance scanned Kutuzov from head to foot,
frowned for an instant, but immediately mastering himself went up to
the old man, extended his arms and embraced him. And this embrace too,
owing to a long-standing impression related to his innermost feelings,
had its usual effect on Kutuzov and he gave a sob.
The Emperor greeted the officers and the Semenov guard, and again
pressing the old mans hand went with him into the castle.
When alone with the field marshal the Emperor expressed his
dissatisfaction at the slowness of the pursuit and at the mistakes
made at Krasnoe and the Berezina, and informed him of his intentions
for a future campaign abroad. Kutuzov made no rejoinder or remark. The
same submissive, expressionless look with which he had listened to the
Emperors commands on the field of Austerlitz seven years before
settled on his face now.
When Kutuzov came out of the study and with lowered head was
crossing the ballroom with his heavy waddling gait, he was arrested by
someones voice saying:
"Your Serene Highness!"
Kutuzov raised his head and looked for a long while into the eyes of
Count Tolstoy, who stood before him holding a silver salver on which
lay a small object. Kutuzov seemed not to understand what was expected
Suddenly he seemed to remember; a scarcely perceptible smile flashed
across his puffy face, and bowing low and respectfully he took the
object that lay on the salver. It was the Order of St. George of the
Next day the field marshal gave a dinner and ball which the
Emperor honored by his presence. Kutuzov had received the Order of St.
George of the First Class and the Emperor showed him the highest
honors, but everyone knew of the imperial dissatisfaction with him.
The proprieties were observed and the Emperor was the first to set
that example, but everybody understood that the old man was
blameworthy and good-for-nothing. When Kutuzov, conforming to a custom
of Catherines day, ordered the standards that had been captured to be
lowered at the Emperors feet on his entering the ballroom, the
Emperor made a wry face and muttered something in which some people
caught the words, "the old comedian."
The Emperors displeasure with Kutuzov was specially increased at
Vilna by the fact that Kutuzov evidently could not or would not
understand the importance of the coming campaign.
When on the following morning the Emperor said to the officers
assembled about him: "You have not only saved Russia, you have saved
Europe!" they all understood that the war was not ended.
Kutuzov alone would not see this and openly expressed his opinion
that no fresh war could improve the position or add to the glory of
Russia, but could only spoil and lower the glorious position that
Russia had gained. He tried to prove to the Emperor the
impossibility of levying fresh troops, spoke of the hardships
already endured by the people, of the possibility of failure and so
This being the field marshals frame of mind he was naturally
regarded as merely a hindrance and obstacle to the impending war.
To avoid unpleasant encounters with the old man, the natural
method was to do what had been done with him at Austerlitz and with
Barclay at the beginning of the Russian campaign--to transfer the
authority to the Emperor himself, thus cutting the ground from under
the commander in chiefs feet without upsetting
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