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War And Peace 86


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soldiers. "Theres plenty to do still." "What news, sir?" asked the officer, evidently anxious to start a conversation. "Good news!... Go on!" he shouted to the driver, and they galloped on. It was already quite dark when Prince Andrew rattled over the paved streets of Brunn and found himself surrounded by high buildings, the lights of shops, houses, and street lamps, fine carriages, and all that atmosphere of a large and active town which is always so attractive to a soldier after camp life. Despite his rapid journey and sleepless night, Prince Andrew when he drove up to the palace felt even more vigorous and alert than he had done the day before. Only his eyes gleamed feverishly and his thoughts followed one another with extraordinary clearness and rapidity. He again vividly recalled the details of the battle, no longer dim, but definite and in the concise form in which he imagined himself stating them to the Emperor Francis. He vividly imagined the casual questions that might be put to him and the answers he would give. He expected to be at once presented to the Emperor. At the chief entrance to the palace, however, an official came running out to meet him, and learning that he was a special messenger led him to another entrance. "To the right from the corridor, Euer Hochgeboren! There you will find the adjutant on duty," said the official. "He will conduct you to the Minister of War." The adjutant on duty, meeting Prince Andrew, asked him to wait, and went in to the Minister of War. Five minutes later he returned and bowing with particular courtesy ushered Prince Andrew before him along a corridor to the cabinet where the Minister of War was at work. The adjutant by his elaborate courtesy appeared to wish to ward off any attempt at familiarity on the part of the Russian messenger. Prince Andrews joyous feeling was considerably weakened as he approached the door of the ministers room. He felt offended, and without his noticing it the feeling of offense immediately turned into one of disdain which was quite uncalled for. His fertile mind instantly suggested to him a point of view which gave him a right to despise the adjutant and the minister. "Away from the smell of powder, they probably think it easy to gain victories!" he thought. His eyes narrowed disdainfully, he entered the room of the Minister of War with peculiarly deliberate steps. This feeling of disdain was heightened when he saw the minister seated at a large table reading some papers and making pencil notes on them, and for the first two or three minutes taking no notice of his arrival. A wax candle stood at each side of the ministers bent bald head with its gray temples. He went on reading to the end, without raising his eyes at the opening of the door and the sound of footsteps. "Take this and deliver it," said he to his adjutant, handing him the papers and still taking no notice of the special messenger. Prince Andrew felt that either the actions of Kutuzovs army interested the Minister of War less than any of the other matters he was concerned with, or he wanted to give the Russian special messenger that impression. "But that is a matter of perfect indifference to me," he thought. The minister drew the remaining papers together, arranged them evenly, and then raised his head. He had an intellectual and distinctive head, but the instant he turned to Prince Andrew the firm, intelligent expression on his face changed in a way evidently deliberate and habitual to him. His face took on the stupid artificial smile (which does not even attempt to hide its artificiality) of a man who is continually receiving many petitioners one after another. "From General Field Marshal Kutuzov?" he asked. "I hope it is good news? There has been an encounter with Mortier? A victory? It was high time!" He took the dispatch which was addressed to him and began to read it with a mournful expression. "Oh, my God! My God! Schmidt!" he exclaimed in German. "What a calamity! What a calamity!" Having glanced through the dispatch he laid it on the table and looked at Prince Andrew, evidently considering something. "Ah what a calamity! You say the affair was decisive? But Mortier is not captured." Again he pondered. "I am very glad you have brought good news, though Schmidts death is a heavy price to pay for the victory. His Majesty will no doubt wish to see you, but not today. I thank you! You must have

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