War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy Book III: Chapters 9–19

"Waiting, Your Majesty," repeated Kutuzov. (Prince Andrew noted that Kutuzov's upper lip twitched unnaturally as he said the word"waiting.")"Not all the columns have formed up yet, Your Majesty."

The Tsar heard but obviously did not like the reply; he shrugged his rather round shoulders and glanced at Novosiltsev who was near him, as if complaining of Kutuzov.

"You know, Michael Ilarionovich, we are not on the Empress' Field where a parade does not begin till all the troops are assembled," said the Tsar with another glance at the Emperor Francis, as if inviting him if not to join in at least to listen to what he was saying. But the Emperor Francis continued to look about him and did not listen.

"That is just why I do not begin, sire," said Kutuzov in a resounding voice, apparently to preclude the possibility of not being heard, and again something in his face twitched —"That is just why I do not begin, sire, because we are not on parade and not on the Empress' Field." said clearly and distinctly.

In the Emperor's suite all exchanged rapid looks that expressed dissatisfaction and reproach."Old though he may be, he should not, he certainly should not, speak like that," their glances seemed to say.

The Tsar looked intently and observantly into Kutuzov's eye waiting to hear whether he would say anything more. But Kutuzov, with respectfully bowed head, seemed also to be waiting. The silence lasted for about a minute.

"However, if you command it, Your Majesty," said Kutuzov, lifting his head and again assuming his former tone of a dull, unreasoning, but submissive general.

He touched his horse and having called Miloradovich, the commander of the column, gave him the order to advance.

The troops again began to move, and two battalions of the Novgorod and one of the Apsheron regiment went forward past the Emperor.

As this Apsheron battalion marched by, the red-faced Miloradovich, without his greatcoat, with his Orders on his breast and an enormous tuft of plumes in his cocked hat worn on one side with its corners front and back, galloped strenuously forward, and with a dashing salute reined in his horse before the Emperor.

"God be with you, general!" said the Emperor.

"Ma foi, sire, nous ferons ce qui sera dans notre possibilite, sire,"* he answered gaily, raising nevertheless ironic smiles among the gentlemen of the Tsar's suite by his poor French.

*"Indeed, Sire, we shall do everything it is possible to do, Sire."

Miloradovich wheeled his horse sharply and stationed himself a little behind the Emperor. The Apsheron men, excited by the Tsar's presence, passed in step before the Emperors and their suites at a bold, brisk pace.

"Lads!" shouted Miloradovich in a loud, self-confident, and cheery voice, obviously so elated by the sound of firing, by the prospect of battle, and by the sight of the gallant Apsherons, his comrades in Suvorov's time, now passing so gallantly before the Emperors, that he forgot the sovereigns' presence."Lads, it's not the first village you've had to take," cried he.

"Glad to do our best!" shouted the soldiers.

The Emperor's horse started at the sudden cry. This horse that had carried the sovereign at reviews in Russia bore him also here on the field of Austerlitz, enduring the heedless blows of his left foot and pricking its ears at the sound of shots just as it had done on the Empress' Field, not understanding the significance of the firing, nor of the nearness of the Emperor Francis' black cob, nor of all that was being said, thought, and felt that day by its rider.

The Emperor turned with a smile to one of his followers and made a remark to him, pointing to the gallant Apsherons.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

After leaving his wife, what does Pierre do that gives him new hope?




Quiz