“Well, is she pretty? Ah, friend—my pink one is delicious; her name is Dunyásha....”
But on glancing at Rostóv’s face Ilyín stopped short. He saw that his hero and commander was following quite a different train of thought.
Rostóv glanced angrily at Ilyín and without replying strode off with rapid steps to the village.
“I’ll show them; I’ll give it to them, the brigands!” said he to himself.
Alpátych at a gliding trot, only just managing not to run, kept up with him with difficulty.
“What decision have you been pleased to come to?” said he.
Rostóv stopped and, clenching his fists, suddenly and sternly turned on Alpátych.
“Decision? What decision? Old dotard!...” cried he. “What have you been about? Eh? The peasants are rioting, and you can’t manage them? You’re a traitor yourself! I know you. I’ll flay you all alive!...” And as if afraid of wasting his store of anger, he left Alpátych and went rapidly forward. Alpátych, mastering his offended feelings, kept pace with Rostóv at a gliding gait and continued to impart his views. He said the peasants were obdurate and that at the present moment it would be imprudent to “overresist” them without an armed force, and would it not be better first to send for the military?
“I’ll give them armed force... I’ll ‘overresist’ them!” uttered Rostóv meaninglessly, breathless with irrational animal fury and the need to vent it.
Without considering what he would do he moved unconciously with quick, resolute steps toward the crowd. And the nearer he drew to it the more Alpátych felt that this unreasonable action might produce good results. The peasants in the crowd were similarly impressed when they saw Rostóv’s rapid, firm steps and resolute, frowning face.
After the hussars had come to the village and Rostóv had gone to see the princess, a certain confusion and dissension had arisen among the crowd. Some of the peasants said that these new arrivals were Russians and might take it amiss that the mistress was being detained. Dron was of this opinion, but as soon as he expressed it Karp and others attacked their ex-Elder.
“How many years have you been fattening on the commune?” Karp shouted at him. “It’s all one to you! You’ll dig up your pot of money and take it away with you.... What does it matter to you whether our homes are ruined or not?”
“We’ve been told to keep order, and that no one is to leave their homes or take away a single grain, and that’s all about it!” cried another.
“It was your son’s turn to be conscripted, but no fear! You begrudged your lump of a son,” a little old man suddenly began attacking Dron—“and so they took my Vánka to be shaved for a soldier! But we all have to die.”
“To be sure, we all have to die. I’m not against the commune,” said Dron.
“That’s it—not against it! You’ve filled your belly....”
The two tall peasants had their say. As soon as Rostóv, followed by Ilyín, Lavrúshka, and Alpátych, came up to the crowd, Karp, thrusting his fingers into his belt and smiling a little, walked to the front. Dron on the contrary retired to the rear and the crowd drew closer together.
“Who is your Elder here? Hey?” shouted Rostóv, coming up to the crowd with quick steps.
“The Elder? What do you want with him?...” asked Karp.
But before the words were well out of his mouth, his cap flew off and a fierce blow jerked his head to one side.
“Caps off, traitors!” shouted Rostóv in a wrathful voice. “Where’s the Elder?” he cried furiously.
“The Elder.... He wants the Elder!... Dron Zakhárych, you!” meek and flustered voices here and there were heard calling and caps began to come off their heads.
“We don’t riot, we’re following the orders,” declared Karp, and at that moment several voices began speaking together.
“It’s as the old men have decided—there’s too many of you giving orders.”
“Arguing? Mutiny!... Brigands! Traitors!” cried Rostóv unmeaningly in a voice not his own, gripping Karp by the collar. “Bind him, bind him!” he shouted, though there was no one to bind him but Lavrúshka and Alpátych.
Lavrúshka, however, ran up to Karp and seized him by the arms from behind.
“Shall I call up our men from beyond the hill?” he called out.
Alpátych turned to the peasants and ordered two of them by name to come and bind Karp. The men obediently came out of the crowd and began taking off their belts.
“Where’s the Elder?” demanded Rostóv in a loud voice.
With a pale and frowning face Dron stepped out of the crowd.
“Are you the Elder? Bind him, Lavrúshka!” shouted Rostóv, as if that order, too, could not possibly meet with any opposition.
And in fact two more peasants began binding Dron, who took off his own belt and handed it to them, as if to aid them.
“And you all listen to me!” said Rostóv to the peasants. “Be off to your houses at once, and don’t let one of your voices be heard!”
“Why, we’ve not done any harm! We did it just out of foolishness. It’s all nonsense.... I said then that it was not in order,” voices were heard bickering with one another.
“There! What did I say?” said Alpátych, coming into his own again. “It’s wrong, lads!”
“All our stupidity, Yákov Alpátych,” came the answers, and the crowd began at once to disperse through the village.
The two bound men were led off to the master’s house. The two drunken peasants followed them.
“Aye, when I look at you!...” said one of them to Karp.
“How can one talk to the masters like that? What were you thinking of, you fool?” added the other—“A real fool!”
Two hours later the carts were standing in the courtyard of the Boguchárovo house. The peasants were briskly carrying out the proprietor’s goods and packing them on the carts, and Dron, liberated at Princess Mary’s wish from the cupboard where he had been confined, was standing in the yard directing the men.
“Don’t put it in so carelessly,” said one of the peasants, a man with a round smiling face, taking a casket from a housemaid. “You know it has cost money! How can you chuck it in like that or shove it under the cord where it’ll get rubbed? I don’t like that way of doing things. Let it all be done properly, according to rule. Look here, put it under the bast matting and cover it with hay—that’s the way!”
“Eh, books, books!” said another peasant, bringing out Prince Andrew’s library cupboards. “Don’t catch up against it! It’s heavy, lads—solid books.”
“Yes, they worked all day and didn’t play!” remarked the tall, round-faced peasant gravely, pointing with a significant wink at the dictionaries that were on the top.
Unwilling to obtrude himself on the princess, Rostóv did not go back to the house but remained in the village awaiting her departure. When her carriage drove out of the house, he mounted and accompanied her eight miles from Boguchárovo to where the road was occupied by our troops. At the inn at Yankóvo he respectfully took leave of her, for the first time permitting himself to kiss her hand.
“How can you speak so!” he blushingly replied to Princess Mary’s expressions of gratitude for her deliverance, as she termed what had occurred. “Any police officer would have done as much! If we had had only peasants to fight, we should not have let the enemy come so far,” said he with a sense of shame and wishing to change the subject. “I am only happy to have had the opportunity of making your acquaintance. Good-by, Princess. I wish you happiness and consolation and hope to meet you again in happier circumstances. If you don’t want to make me blush, please don’t thank me!”
But the princess, if she did not again thank him in words, thanked him with the whole expression of her face, radiant with gratitude and tenderness. She could not believe that there was nothing to thank him for. On the contrary, it seemed to her certain that had he not been there she would have perished at the hands of the mutineers and of the French, and that he had exposed himself to terrible and obvious danger to save her, and even more certain was it that he was a man of lofty and noble soul, able to understand her position and her sorrow. His kind, honest eyes, with the tears rising in them when she herself had begun to cry as she spoke of her loss, did not leave her memory.
When she had taken leave of him and remained alone she suddenly felt her eyes filling with tears, and then not for the first time the strange question presented itself to her: did she love him?
On the rest of the way to Moscow, though the princess’ position was not a cheerful one, Dunyásha, who went with her in the carriage, more than once noticed that her mistress leaned out of the window and smiled at something with an expression of mingled joy and sorrow.
“Well, supposing I do love him?” thought Princess Mary.
Ashamed as she was of acknowledging to herself that she had fallen in love with a man who would perhaps never love her, she comforted herself with the thought that no one would ever know it and that she would not be to blame if, without ever speaking of it to anyone, she continued to the end of her life to love the man with whom she had fallen in love for the first and last time in her life.
Sometimes when she recalled his looks, his sympathy, and his words, happiness did not appear impossible to her. It was at those moments that Dunyásha noticed her smiling as she looked out of the carriage window.
“Was it not fate that brought him to Boguchárovo, and at that very moment?” thought Princess Mary. “And that caused his sister to refuse my brother?” And in all this Princess Mary saw the hand of Providence.
The impression the princess made on Rostóv was a very agreeable one. To remember her gave him pleasure, and when his comrades, hearing of his adventure at Boguchárovo, rallied him on having gone to look for hay and having picked up one of the wealthiest heiresses in Russia, he grew angry. It made him angry just because the idea of marrying the gentle Princess Mary, who was attractive to him and had an enormous fortune, had against his will more than once entered his head. For himself personally Nicholas could not wish for a better wife: by marrying her he would make the countess his mother happy, would be able to put his father’s affairs in order, and would even—he felt it—ensure Princess Mary’s happiness.
But Sónya? And his plighted word? That was why Rostóv grew angry when he was rallied about Princess Bolkónskaya.
On receiving command of the armies Kutúzov remembered Prince Andrew and sent an order for him to report at headquarters.
Prince Andrew arrived at Tsárevo-Zaymíshche on the very day and at the very hour that Kutúzov was reviewing the troops for the first time. He stopped in the village at the priest’s house in front of which stood the commander in chief’s carriage, and he sat down on the bench at the gate awaiting his Serene Highness, as everyone now called Kutúzov. From the field beyond the village came now sounds of regimental music and now the roar of many voices shouting “Hurrah!” to the new commander in chief. Two orderlies, a courier and a major-domo, stood near by, some ten paces from Prince Andrew, availing themselves of Kutúzov’s absence and of the fine weather. A short, swarthy lieutenant colonel of hussars with thick mustaches and whiskers rode up to the gate and, glancing at Prince Andrew, inquired whether his Serene Highness was putting up there and whether he would soon be back.
Prince Andrew replied that he was not on his Serene Highness’ staff but was himself a new arrival. The lieutenant colonel turned to a smart orderly, who, with the peculiar contempt with which a commander in chief’s orderly speaks to officers, replied:
“What? His Serene Highness? I expect he’ll be here soon. What do you want?”
The lieutenant colonel of hussars smiled beneath his mustache at the orderly’s tone, dismounted, gave his horse to a dispatch runner, and approached Bolkónski with a slight bow. Bolkónski made room for him on the bench and the lieutenant colonel sat down beside him.
“You’re also waiting for the commander in chief?” said he. “They say he weceives evewyone, thank God!... It’s awful with those sausage eaters! Ermólov had weason to ask to be pwomoted to be a German! Now p’waps Wussians will get a look in. As it was, devil only knows what was happening. We kept wetweating and wetweating. Did you take part in the campaign?” he asked.
“I had the pleasure,” replied Prince Andrew, “not only of taking part in the retreat but of losing in that retreat all I held dear—not to mention the estate and home of my birth—my father, who died of grief. I belong to the province of Smolénsk.”
“Ah? You’re Pwince Bolkónski? Vewy glad to make your acquaintance! I’m Lieutenant Colonel Denísov, better known as ‘Váska,’” said Denísov, pressing Prince Andrew’s hand and looking into his face with a particularly kindly attention. “Yes, I heard,” said he sympathetically, and after a short pause added: “Yes, it’s Scythian warfare. It’s all vewy well—only not for those who get it in the neck. So you are Pwince Andwew Bolkónski?” He swayed his head. “Vewy pleased, Pwince, to make your acquaintance!” he repeated again, smiling sadly, and he again pressed Prince Andrew’s hand.
Prince Andrew knew Denísov from what Natásha had told him of her first suitor. This memory carried him sadly and sweetly back to those painful feelings of which he had not thought lately, but which still found place in his soul. Of late he had received so many new and very serious impressions—such as the retreat from Smolénsk, his visit to Bald Hills, and the recent news of his father’s death—and had experienced so many emotions, that for a long time past those memories had not entered his mind, and now that they did, they did not act on him with nearly their former strength. For Denísov, too, the memories awakened by the name of Bolkónski belonged to a distant, romantic past, when after supper and after Natásha’s singing he had proposed to a little girl of fifteen without realizing what he was doing. He smiled at the recollection of that time and of his love for Natásha, and passed at once to what now interested him passionately and exclusively. This was a plan of campaign he had devised while serving at the outposts during the retreat. He had proposed that plan to Barclay de Tolly and now wished to propose it to Kutúzov. The plan was based on the fact that the French line of operation was too extended, and it proposed that instead of, or concurrently with, action on the front to bar the advance of the French, we should attack their line of communication. He began explaining his plan to Prince Andrew.
“They can’t hold all that line. It’s impossible. I will undertake to bweak thwough. Give me five hundwed men and I will bweak the line, that’s certain! There’s only one way—guewilla warfare!”
Denísov rose and began gesticulating as he explained his plan to Bolkónski. In the midst of his explanation shouts were heard from the army, growing more incoherent and more diffused, mingling with music and songs and coming from the field where the review was held. Sounds of hoofs and shouts were nearing the village.
“He’s coming! He’s coming!” shouted a Cossack standing at the gate.
Bolkónski and Denísov moved to the gate, at which a knot of soldiers (a guard of honor) was standing, and they saw Kutúzov coming down the street mounted on a rather small sorrel horse. A huge suite of generals rode behind him. Barclay was riding almost beside him, and a crowd of officers ran after and around them shouting, “Hurrah!”
His adjutants galloped into the yard before him. Kutúzov was impatiently urging on his horse, which ambled smoothly under his weight, and he raised his hand to his white Horse Guard’s cap with a red band and no peak, nodding his head continually. When he came up to the guard of honor, a fine set of Grenadiers mostly wearing decorations, who were giving him the salute, he looked at them silently and attentively for nearly a minute with the steady gaze of a commander and then turned to the crowd of generals and officers surrounding him. Suddenly his face assumed a subtle expression, he shrugged his shoulders with an air of perplexity.
“And with such fine fellows to retreat and retreat! Well, good-by, General,” he added, and rode into the yard past Prince Andrew and Denísov.
“Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!” shouted those behind him.
Since Prince Andrew had last seen him Kutúzov had grown still more corpulent, flaccid, and fat. But the bleached eyeball, the scar, and the familiar weariness of his expression were still the same. He was wearing the white Horse Guard’s cap and a military overcoat with a whip hanging over his shoulder by a thin strap. He sat heavily and swayed limply on his brisk little horse.
“Whew... whew... whew!” he whistled just audibly as he rode into the yard. His face expressed the relief of relaxed strain felt by a man who means to rest after a ceremony. He drew his left foot out of the stirrup and, lurching with his whole body and puckering his face with the effort, raised it with difficulty onto the saddle, leaned on his knee, groaned, and slipped down into the arms of the Cossacks and adjutants who stood ready to assist him.
He pulled himself together, looked round, screwing up his eyes, glanced at Prince Andrew, and, evidently not recognizing him, moved with his waddling gait to the porch. “Whew... whew... whew!” he whistled, and again glanced at Prince Andrew. As often occurs with old men, it was only after some seconds that the impression produced by Prince Andrew’s face linked itself up with Kutúzov’s remembrance of his personality.
“Ah, how do you do, my dear prince? How do you do, my dear boy? Come along...” said he, glancing wearily round, and he stepped onto the porch which creaked under his weight.
He unbuttoned his coat and sat down on a bench in the porch.
“And how’s your father?”
“I received news of his death, yesterday,” replied Prince Andrew abruptly.
Kutúzov looked at him with eyes wide open with dismay and then took off his cap and crossed himself:
“May the kingdom of Heaven be his! God’s will be done to us all!” He sighed deeply, his whole chest heaving, and was silent for a while. “I loved him and respected him, and sympathize with you with all my heart.”
He embraced Prince Andrew, pressing him to his fat breast, and for some time did not let him go. When he released him Prince Andrew saw that Kutúzov’s flabby lips were trembling and that tears were in his eyes. He sighed and pressed on the bench with both hands to raise himself.
“Come! Come with me, we’ll have a talk,” said he.
But at that moment Denísov, no more intimidated by his superiors than by the enemy, came with jingling spurs up the steps of the porch, despite the angry whispers of the adjutants who tried to stop him. Kutúzov, his hands still pressed on the seat, glanced at him glumly. Denísov, having given his name, announced that he had to communicate to his Serene Highness a matter of great importance for their country’s welfare. Kutúzov looked wearily at him and, lifting his hands with a gesture of annoyance, folded them across his stomach, repeating the words: “For our country’s welfare? Well, what is it? Speak!” Denísov blushed like a girl (it was strange to see the color rise in that shaggy, bibulous, time-worn face) and boldly began to expound his plan of cutting the enemy’s lines of communication between Smolénsk and Vyázma. Denísov came from those parts and knew the country well. His plan seemed decidedly a good one, especially from the strength of conviction with which he spoke. Kutúzov looked down at his own legs, occasionally glancing at the door of the adjoining hut as if expecting something unpleasant to emerge from it. And from that hut, while Denísov was speaking, a general with a portfolio under his arm really did appear.
“What?” said Kutúzov, in the midst of Denísov’s explanations, “are you ready so soon?”
“Ready, your Serene Highness,” replied the general.
Kutúzov swayed his head, as much as to say: “How is one man to deal with it all?” and again listened to Denísov.
“I give my word of honor as a Wussian officer,” said Denísov, “that I can bweak Napoleon’s line of communication!”
“What relation are you to Intendant General Kiríl Andréevich Denísov?” asked Kutúzov, interrupting him.
“He is my uncle, your Sewene Highness.”
“Ah, we were friends,” said Kutúzov cheerfully. “All right, all right, friend, stay here at the staff and tomorrow we’ll have a talk.”
With a nod to Denísov he turned away and put out his hand for the papers Konovnítsyn had brought him.
“Would not your Serene Highness like to come inside?” said the general on duty in a discontented voice, “the plans must be examined and several papers have to be signed.”
An adjutant came out and announced that everything was in readiness within. But Kutúzov evidently did not wish to enter that room till he was disengaged. He made a grimace....
“No, tell them to bring a small table out here, my dear boy. I’ll look at them here,” said he. “Don’t go away,” he added, turning to Prince Andrew, who remained in the porch and listened to the general’s report.
While this was being given, Prince Andrew heard the whisper of a woman’s voice and the rustle of a silk dress behind the door. Several times on glancing that way he noticed behind that door a plump, rosy, handsome woman in a pink dress with a lilac silk kerchief on her head, holding a dish and evidently awaiting the entrance of the commander in chief. Kutúzov’s adjutant whispered to Prince Andrew that this was the wife of the priest whose home it was, and that she intended to offer his Serene Highness bread and salt. “Her husband has welcomed his Serene Highness with the cross at the church, and she intends to welcome him in the house.... She’s very pretty,” added the adjutant with a smile. At those words Kutúzov looked round. He was listening to the general’s report—which consisted chiefly of a criticism of the position at Tsárevo-Zaymíshche—as he had listened to Denísov, and seven years previously had listened to the discussion at the Austerlitz council of war. He evidently listened only because he had ears which, though there was a piece of tow in one of them, could not help hearing; but it was evident that nothing the general could say would surprise or even interest him, that he knew all that would be said beforehand, and heard it all only because he had to, as one has to listen to the chanting of a service of prayer. All that Denísov had said was clever and to the point. What the general was saying was even more clever and to the point, but it was evident that Kutúzov despised knowledge and cleverness, and knew of something else that would decide the matter—something independent of cleverness and knowledge. Prince Andrew watched the commander in chief’s face attentively, and the only expression he could see there was one of boredom, curiosity as to the meaning of the feminine whispering behind the door, and a desire to observe propriety. It was evident that Kutúzov despised cleverness and learning and even the patriotic feeling shown by Denísov, but despised them not because of his own intellect, feelings, or knowledge—he did not try to display any of these—but because of something else. He despised them because of his old age and experience of life. The only instruction Kutúzov gave of his own accord during that report referred to looting by the Russian troops. At the end of the report the general put before him for signature a paper relating to the recovery of payment from army commanders for green oats mown down by the soldiers, when landowners lodged petitions for compensation.
After hearing the matter, Kutúzov smacked his lips together and shook his head.
“Into the stove... into the fire with it! I tell you once for all, my dear fellow,” said he, “into the fire with all such things! Let them cut the crops and burn wood to their hearts’ content. I don’t order it or allow it, but I don’t exact compensation either. One can’t get on without it. ‘When wood is chopped the chips will fly.’” He looked at the paper again. “Oh, this German precision!” he muttered, shaking his head.
“Well, that’s all!” said Kutúzov as he signed the last of the documents, and rising heavily and smoothing out the folds in his fat white neck he moved toward the door with a more cheerful expression.
The priest’s wife, flushing rosy red, caught up the dish she had after all not managed to present at the right moment, though she had so long been preparing for it, and with a low bow offered it to Kutúzov.
He screwed up his eyes, smiled, lifted her chin with his hand, and said:
“Ah, what a beauty! Thank you, sweetheart!”
He took some gold pieces from his trouser pocket and put them on the dish for her. “Well, my dear, and how are we getting on?” he asked, moving to the door of the room assigned to him. The priest’s wife smiled, and with dimples in her rosy cheeks followed him into the room. The adjutant came out to the porch and asked Prince Andrew to lunch with him. Half an hour later Prince Andrew was again called to Kutúzov. He found him reclining in an armchair, still in the same unbuttoned overcoat. He had in his hand a French book which he closed as Prince Andrew entered, marking the place with a knife. Prince Andrew saw by the cover that it was Les Chevaliers du Cygne by Madame de Genlis.
“Well, sit down, sit down here. Let’s have a talk,” said Kutúzov. “It’s sad, very sad. But remember, my dear fellow, that I am a father to you, a second father....”
Prince Andrew told Kutúzov all he knew of his father’s death, and what he had seen at Bald Hills when he passed through it.
“What... what they have brought us to!” Kutúzov suddenly cried in an agitated voice, evidently picturing vividly to himself from Prince Andrew’s story the condition Russia was in. “But give me time, give me time!” he said with a grim look, evidently not wishing to continue this agitating conversation, and added: “I sent for you to keep you with me.”
“I thank your Serene Highness, but I fear I am no longer fit for the staff,” replied Prince Andrew with a smile which Kutúzov noticed.
Kutúzov glanced inquiringly at him.
“But above all,” added Prince Andrew, “I have grown used to my regiment, am fond of the officers, and I fancy the men also like me. I should be sorry to leave the regiment. If I decline the honor of being with you, believe me...”
A shrewd, kindly, yet subtly derisive expression lit up Kutúzov’s podgy face. He cut Bolkónski short.
“I am sorry, for I need you. But you’re right, you’re right! It’s not here that men are needed. Advisers are always plentiful, but men are not. The regiments would not be what they are if the would-be advisers served there as you do. I remember you at Austerlitz.... I remember, yes, I remember you with the standard!” said Kutúzov, and a flush of pleasure suffused Prince Andrew’s face at this recollection.
Taking his hand and drawing him downwards, Kutúzov offered his cheek to be kissed, and again Prince Andrew noticed tears in the old man’s eyes. Though Prince Andrew knew that Kutúzov’s tears came easily, and that he was particularly tender to and considerate of him from a wish to show sympathy with his loss, yet this reminder of Austerlitz was both pleasant and flattering to him.
“Go your way and God be with you. I know your path is the path of honor!” He paused. “I missed you at Bucharest, but I needed someone to send.” And changing the subject, Kutúzov began to speak of the Turkish war and the peace that had been concluded. “Yes, I have been much blamed,” he said, “both for that war and the peace... but everything came at the right time. Tout vient à point à celui qui sait attendre. * And there were as many advisers there as here...” he went on, returning to the subject of “advisers” which evidently occupied him. “Ah, those advisers!” said he. “If we had listened to them all we should not have made peace with Turkey and should not have been through with that war. Everything in haste, but more haste, less speed. Kámenski would have been lost if he had not died. He stormed fortresses with thirty thousand men. It is not difficult to capture a fortress but it is difficult to win a campaign. For that, not storming and attacking but patience and time are wanted. Kámenski sent soldiers to Rustchuk, but I only employed these two things and took more fortresses than Kámenski and made them Turks eat horseflesh!” He swayed his head. “And the French shall too, believe me,” he went on, growing warmer and beating his chest, “I’ll make them eat horseflesh!” And tears again dimmed his eyes.
“But shan’t we have to accept battle?” remarked Prince Andrew.
“We shall if everybody wants it; it can’t be helped.... But believe me, my dear boy, there is nothing stronger than those two: patience and time, they will do it all. But the advisers n’entendent pas de cette oreille, voilà le mal. * Some want a thing—others don’t. What’s one to do?” he asked, evidently expecting an answer. “Well, what do you want us to do?” he repeated and his eye shone with a deep, shrewd look. “I’ll tell you what to do,” he continued, as Prince Andrew still did not reply: “I will tell you what to do, and what I do. Dans le doute, mon cher,” he paused, “abstiens-toi” *(2)—he articulated the French proverb deliberately.
* (2) “When in doubt, my dear fellow, do nothing.”
“Well, good-by, my dear fellow; remember that with all my heart I share your sorrow, and that for you I am not a Serene Highness, nor a prince, nor a commander in chief, but a father! If you want anything come straight to me. Good-by, my dear boy.”
Again he embraced and kissed Prince Andrew, but before the latter had left the room Kutúzov gave a sigh of relief and went on with his unfinished novel, Les Chevaliers du Cygne by Madame de Genlis.
Prince Andrew could not have explained how or why it was, but after that interview with Kutúzov he went back to his regiment reassured as to the general course of affairs and as to the man to whom it had been entrusted. The more he realized the absence of all personal motive in that old man—in whom there seemed to remain only the habit of passions, and in place of an intellect (grouping events and drawing conclusions) only the capacity calmly to contemplate the course of events—the more reassured he was that everything would be as it should. “He will not bring in any plan of his own. He will not devise or undertake anything,” thought Prince Andrew, “but he will hear everything, remember everything, and put everything in its place. He will not hinder anything useful nor allow anything harmful. He understands that there is something stronger and more important than his own will—the inevitable course of events, and he can see them and grasp their significance, and seeing that significance can refrain from meddling and renounce his personal wish directed to something else. And above all,” thought Prince Andrew, “one believes in him because he’s Russian, despite the novel by Genlis and the French proverbs, and because his voice shook when he said: ‘What they have brought us to!’ and had a sob in it when he said he would ‘make them eat horseflesh!’”
On such feelings, more or less dimly shared by all, the unanimity and general approval were founded with which, despite court influences, the popular choice of Kutúzov as commander in chief was received.
After the Emperor had left Moscow, life flowed on there in its usual course, and its course was so very usual that it was difficult to remember the recent days of patriotic elation and ardor, hard to believe that Russia was really in danger and that the members of the English Club were also sons of the Fatherland ready to sacrifice everything for it. The one thing that recalled the patriotic fervor everyone had displayed during the Emperor’s stay was the call for contributions of men and money, a necessity that as soon as the promises had been made assumed a legal, official form and became unavoidable.
With the enemy’s approach to Moscow, the Moscovites’ view of their situation did not grow more serious but on the contrary became even more frivolous, as always happens with people who see a great danger approaching. At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal power in the human soul: one very reasonably tells a man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of escaping it; the other, still more reasonably, says that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger, since it is not in man’s power to foresee everything and avert the general course of events, and it is therefore better to disregard what is painful till it comes, and to think about what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally listens to the first voice, but in society to the second. So it was now with the inhabitants of Moscow. It was long since people had been as gay in Moscow as that year.
Rostopchín’s broadsheets, headed by woodcuts of a drink shop, a potman, and a Moscow burgher called Karpúshka Chigírin, “who—having been a militiaman and having had rather too much at the pub—heard that Napoleon wished to come to Moscow, grew angry, abused the French in very bad language, came out of the drink shop, and, under the sign of the eagle, began to address the assembled people,” were read and discussed, together with the latest of Vasíli Lvóvich Púshkin’s bouts rimés.
In the corner room at the Club, members gathered to read these broadsheets, and some liked the way Karpúshka jeered at the French, saying: “They will swell up with Russian cabbage, burst with our buckwheat porridge, and choke themselves with cabbage soup. They are all dwarfs and one peasant woman will toss three of them with a hayfork.” Others did not like that tone and said it was stupid and vulgar. It was said that Rostopchín had expelled all Frenchmen and even all foreigners from Moscow, and that there had been some spies and agents of Napoleon among them; but this was told chiefly to introduce Rostopchín’s witty remark on that occasion. The foreigners were deported to Nízhni by boat, and Rostopchín had said to them in French: “Rentrez en vous-mêmes; entrez dans la barque, et n’en faites pas une barque de Charon.” * There was talk of all the government offices having been already removed from Moscow, and to this Shinshín’s witticism was added—that for that alone Moscow ought to be grateful to Napoleon. It was said that Mamónov’s regiment would cost him eight hundred thousand rubles, and that Bezúkhov had spent even more on his, but that the best thing about Bezúkhov’s action was that he himself was going to don a uniform and ride at the head of his regiment without charging anything for the show.
make it a barque of Charon.”
“You don’t spare anyone,” said Julie Drubetskáya as she collected and pressed together a bunch of raveled lint with her thin, beringed fingers.
Julie was preparing to leave Moscow next day and was giving a farewell soiree.
“Bezúkhov est ridicule, but he is so kind and good-natured. What pleasure is there to be so caustique?”
“A forfeit!” cried a young man in militia uniform whom Julie called “mon chevalier,” and who was going with her to Nízhni.
In Julie’s set, as in many other circles in Moscow, it had been agreed that they would speak nothing but Russian and that those who made a slip and spoke French should pay fines to the Committee of Voluntary Contributions.
“Another forfeit for a Gallicism,” said a Russian writer who was present. “‘What pleasure is there to be’ is not Russian!”
“You spare no one,” continued Julie to the young man without heeding the author’s remark.
“For caustique—I am guilty and will pay, and I am prepared to pay again for the pleasure of telling you the truth. For Gallicisms I won’t be responsible,” she remarked, turning to the author: “I have neither the money nor the time, like Prince Galítsyn, to engage a master to teach me Russian!”
“Ah, here he is!” she added. “Quand on... No, no,” she said to the militia officer, “you won’t catch me. Speak of the sun and you see its rays!” and she smiled amiably at Pierre. “We were just talking of you,” she said with the facility in lying natural to a society woman. “We were saying that your regiment would be sure to be better than Mamónov’s.”
“Oh, don’t talk to me of my regiment,” replied Pierre, kissing his hostess’ hand and taking a seat beside her. “I am so sick of it.”
“You will, of course, command it yourself?” said Julie, directing a sly, sarcastic glance toward the militia officer.
The latter in Pierre’s presence had ceased to be caustic, and his face expressed perplexity as to what Julie’s smile might mean. In spite of his absent-mindedness and good nature, Pierre’s personality immediately checked any attempt to ridicule him to his face.
“No,” said Pierre, with a laughing glance at his big, stout body. “I should make too good a target for the French, besides I am afraid I should hardly be able to climb onto a horse.”
Among those whom Julie’s guests happened to choose to gossip about were the Rostóvs.
“I hear that their affairs are in a very bad way,” said Julie. “And he is so unreasonable, the count himself I mean. The Razumóvskis wanted to buy his house and his estate near Moscow, but it drags on and on. He asks too much.”
“No, I think the sale will come off in a few days,” said someone. “Though it is madness to buy anything in Moscow now.”
“Why?” asked Julie. “You don’t think Moscow is in danger?”
“Then why are you leaving?”
“I? What a question! I am going because... well, because everyone is going: and besides—I am not Joan of Arc or an Amazon.”
“Well, of course, of course! Let me have some more strips of linen.”
“If he manages the business properly he will be able to pay off all his debts,” said the militia officer, speaking of Rostóv.
“A kindly old man but not up to much. And why do they stay on so long in Moscow? They meant to leave for the country long ago. Natalie is quite well again now, isn’t she?” Julie asked Pierre with a knowing smile.
“They are waiting for their younger son,” Pierre replied. “He joined Obolénski’s Cossacks and went to Bélaya Tsérkov where the regiment is being formed. But now they have had him transferred to my regiment and are expecting him every day. The count wanted to leave long ago, but the countess won’t on any account leave Moscow till her son returns.”
“I met them the day before yesterday at the Arkhárovs’. Natalie has recovered her looks and is brighter. She sang a song. How easily some people get over everything!”
“Get over what?” inquired Pierre, looking displeased.
“You know, Count, such knights as you are only found in Madame de Souza’s novels.”
“What knights? What do you mean?” demanded Pierre, blushing.
“Oh, come, my dear count! C’est la fable de tout Moscou. Je vous admire, ma parole d’honneur!” *