Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
care about that, I dont care at all," said Prince
Andrew, beginning to understand that his news of the battle before
Krems was really of small importance in view of such events as the
fall of Austrias capital. "How is it Vienna was taken? What of the
bridge and its celebrated bridgehead and Prince Auersperg? We heard
reports that Prince Auersperg was defending Vienna?" he said.
"Prince Auersperg is on this, on our side of the river, and is
defending us--doing it very badly, I think, but still he is
defending us. But Vienna is on the other side. No, the bridge has
not yet been taken and I hope it will not be, for it is mined and
orders have been given to blow it up. Otherwise we should long ago
have been in the mountains of Bohemia, and you and your army would
have spent a bad quarter of an hour between two fires."
"But still this does not mean that the campaign is over," said
"Well, I think it is. The bigwigs here think so too, but they
darent say so. It will be as I said at the beginning of the campaign,
it wont be your skirmishing at Durrenstein, or gunpowder at all, that
will decide the matter, but those who devised it," said Bilibin
quoting one of his own mots, releasing the wrinkles on his forehead,
and pausing. "The only question is what will come of the meeting
between the Emperor Alexander and the King of Prussia in Berlin? If
Prussia joins the Allies, Austrias hand will be forced and there will
be war. If not it is merely a question of settling where the
preliminaries of the new Campo Formio are to be drawn up."
"What an extraordinary genius!" Prince Andrew suddenly exclaimed,
clenching his small hand and striking the table with it, "and what
luck the man has!"
"Buonaparte?" said Bilibin inquiringly, puckering up his forehead to
indicate that he was about to say something witty. "Buonaparte?" he
repeated, accentuating the u: "I think, however, now that he lays down
laws for Austria at Schonbrunn, il faut lui faire grace de lu!* I
shall certainly adopt an innovation and call him simply Bonaparte!"
*"We must let him off the u!"
"But joking apart," said Prince Andrew, "do you really think the
campaign is over?"
"This is what I think. Austria has been made a fool of, and she is
not used to it. She will retaliate. And she has been fooled in the
first place because her provinces have been pillaged--they say the
Holy Russian army loots terribly--her army is destroyed, her capital
taken, and all this for the beaux yeux* of His Sardinian Majesty.
And therefore--this is between ourselves--I instinctively feel that we
are being deceived, my instinct tells me of negotiations with France
and projects for peace, a secret peace concluded separately."
"Impossible!" cried Prince Andrew. "That would be too base."
"If we live we shall see," replied Bilibin, his face again
becoming smooth as a sign that the conversation was at an end.
When Prince Andrew reached the room prepared for him and lay down in
a clean shirt on the feather bed with its warmed and fragrant pillows,
he felt that the battle of which he had brought tidings was far, far
away from him. The alliance with Prussia, Austrias treachery,
Bonapartes new triumph, tomorrows levee and parade, and the audience
with the Emperor Francis occupied his thoughts.
He closed his eyes, and immediately a sound of cannonading, of
musketry and the rattling of carriage wheels seemed to fill his
ears, and now again drawn out in a thin line the musketeers were
descending the hill, the French were firing, and he felt his heart
palpitating as he rode forward beside Schmidt with the bullets merrily
whistling all around, and he experienced tenfold the joy of living, as
he had not done since childhood.
He woke up...
"Yes, that all happened!" he said, and, smiling happily to himself
like a child, he fell into a deep, youthful slumber.
Next day he woke late. Recalling his recent impressions, the first
thought that came into his mind was that today he had to be
presented to the Emperor Francis; he remembered the Minister of War,
the polite Austrian adjutant, Bilibin, and last nights
conversation. Having dressed for his attendance at court in full
parade uniform, which he had not worn for a long time, he went into
Bilibins study fresh, animated, and handsome, with his hand bandaged.
In the study were four gentlemen of the diplomatic corps.
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