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War And Peace 93

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War And Peace

it is..."--he seemed to be trying to find the right expression. "Cest... cest du Mack. Nous sommes mackes [It is... it is a bit of Mack. We are Macked]," he concluded, feeling that he had produced a good epigram, a fresh one that would be repeated. His hitherto puckered brow became smooth as a sign of pleasure, and with a slight smile he began to examine his nails. "Where are you off to?" he said suddenly to Prince Andrew who had risen and was going toward his room. "I am going away." "Where to?" "To the army." "But you meant to stay another two days?" "But now I am off at once." And Prince Andrew after giving directions about his departure went to his room. "Do you know, mon cher," said Bilibin following him, "I have been thinking about you. Why are you going?" And in proof of the conclusiveness of his opinion all the wrinkles vanished from his face. Prince Andrew looked inquiringly at him and gave no reply. "Why are you going? I know you think it your duty to gallop back to the army now that it is in danger. I understand that. Mon cher, it is heroism!" "Not at all," said Prince Andrew. "But as you are a philosopher, be a consistent one, look at the other side of the question and you will see that your duty, on the contrary, is to take care of yourself. Leave it to those who are no longer fit for anything else.... You have not been ordered to return and have not been dismissed from here; therefore, you can stay and go with us wherever our ill luck takes us. They say we are going to Olmutz, and Olmutz is a very decent town. You and I will travel comfortably in my caleche." "Do stop joking, Bilibin," cried Bolkonski. "I am speaking sincerely as a friend! Consider! Where and why are you going, when you might remain here? You are faced by one of two things," and the skin over his left temple puckered, "either you will not reach your regiment before peace is concluded, or you will share defeat and disgrace with Kutuzovs whole army." And Bilibin unwrinkled his temple, feeling that the dilemma was insoluble. "I cannot argue about it," replied Prince Andrew coldly, but he thought: "I am going to save the army." "My dear fellow, you are a hero!" said Bilibin. CHAPTER XIII That same night, having taken leave of the Minister of War, Bolkonski set off to rejoin the army, not knowing where he would find it and fearing to be captured by the French on the way to Krems. In Brunn everybody attached to the court was packing up, and the heavy baggage was already being dispatched to Olmutz. Near Hetzelsdorf Prince Andrew struck the high road along which the Russian army was moving with great haste and in the greatest disorder. The road was so obstructed with carts that it was impossible to get by in a carriage. Prince Andrew took a horse and a Cossack from a Cossack commander, and hungry and weary, making his way past the baggage wagons, rode in search of the commander in chief and of his own luggage. Very sinister reports of the position of the army reached him as he went along, and the appearance of the troops in their disorderly flight confirmed these rumors. "Cette armee russe que lor de lAngleterre a transportee des extremites de lunivers, nous allons lui faire eprouver le meme sort--(le sort de larmee dUlm)."* He remembered these words in Bonapartes address to his army at the beginning of the campaign, and they awoke in him astonishment at the genius of his hero, a feeling of wounded pride, and a hope of glory. "And should there be nothing left but to die?" he thought. "Well, if need be, I shall do it no worse than others." *"That Russian army which has been brought from the ends of the earth by English gold, we shall cause to share the same fate--(the fate of the army at Ulm)." He looked with disdain at the endless confused mass of detachments, carts, guns, artillery, and again baggage wagons and vehicles of all kinds overtaking one another and blocking the muddy road, three and sometimes four abreast. From all sides, behind and before, as far as ear could reach, there were the rattle of wheels, the creaking of carts and gun carriages, the tramp of horses, the crack of whips, shouts, the urging of horses, and the swearing of soldiers, orderlies, and officers. All along the sides of the road fallen horses

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