War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy Book II: Chapters 9–21

"It may be treachery," said Prince Andrew, vividly imagining the gray overcoats, wounds, the smoke of gunpowder, the sounds of firing, and the glory that awaited him.

"Not that either. That puts the court in too bad a light," replied Bilibin."It's not treachery nor rascality nor stupidity: it is just as at Ulm . . . it is . . ." — he seemed to be trying to find the right expression."C'est . . . c'est 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 Kutuzov's 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.

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