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

Weyrother again gave that smile which seemed to say that to him it was strange and ridiculous to meet objections from Russian generals and to have to prove to them what he had not merely convinced himself of, but had also convinced the sovereign Emperors of.

"The enemy has quenched his fires and a continual noise is heard from his camp," said he."What does that mean? Either he is retreating, which is the only thing we need fear, or he is changing his position." (He smiled ironically.)"But even if he also took up a position in the Thuerassa, he merely saves us a great deal of trouble and all our arrangements to the minutest detail remain the same."

"How is that? . . ." began Prince Andrew, who had for long been waiting an opportunity to express his doubts.

Kutuzov here woke up, coughed heavily, and looked round at the generals.

"Gentlemen, the dispositions for tomorrow — or rather for today, for it is past midnight — cannot now be altered," said he."You have heard them, and we shall all do our duty. But before a battle, there is nothing more important . . ." he paused,"than to have a good sleep."

He moved as if to rise. The generals bowed and retired. It was past midnight. Prince Andrew went out.

The council of war, at which Prince Andrew had not been able to express his opinion as he had hoped to, left on him a vague and uneasy impression. Whether Dolgorukov and Weyrother, or Kutuzov, Langeron, and the others who did not approve of the plan of attack, were right — he did not know."But was it really not possible for Kutuzov to state his views plainly to the Emperor? Is it possible that on account of court and personal considerations tens of thousands of lives, and my life, my life," he thought,"must be risked?"

"Yes, it is very likely that I shall be killed tomorrow," he thought. And suddenly, at this thought of death, a whole series of most distant, most intimate, memories rose in his imagination: he remembered his last parting from his father and his wife; he remembered the days when he first loved her. He thought of her pregnancy and felt sorry for her and for himself, and in a nervously emotional and softened mood he went out of the hut in which he was billeted with Nesvitski and began to walk up and down before it.

The night was foggy and through the fog the moonlight gleamed mysteriously."Yes, tomorrow, tomorrow!" he thought."Tomorrow everything may be over for me! All these memories will be no more, none of them will have any meaning for me. Tomorrow perhaps, even certainly, I have a presentiment that for the first time I shall have to show all I can do." And his fancy pictured the battle, its loss, the concentration of fighting at one point, and the hesitation of all the commanders. And then that happy moment, that Toulon for which he had so long waited, presents itself to him at last. He firmly and clearly expresses his opinion to Kutuzov, to Weyrother, and to the Emperors. All are struck by the justness of his views, but no one undertakes to carry them out, so he takes a regiment, a division- stipulates that no one is to interfere with his arrangements — leads his division to the decisive point, and gains the victory alone."But death and suffering?" suggested another voice. Prince Andrew, however, did not answer that voice and went on dreaming of his triumphs. The dispositions for the next battle are planned by him alone. Nominally he is only an adjutant on Kutuzov's staff, but he does everything alone. The next battle is won by him alone. Kutuzov is removed and he is appointed . . ."Well and then?" asked the other voice."If before that you are not ten times wounded, killed, or betrayed, well . . . what then? . . .""Well then," Prince Andrew answered himself,"I don't know what will happen and don't want to know, and can't, but if I want this — want glory, want to be known to men, want to be loved by them, it is not my fault that I want it and want nothing but that and live only for that. Yes, for that alone! I shall never tell anyone, but, oh God! what am I to do if I love nothing but fame and men's esteem? Death, wounds, the loss of family — I fear nothing. And precious and dear as many persons are to me — father, sister, wife- those dearest to me — yet dreadful and unnatural as it seems, I would give them all at once for a moment of glory, of triumph over men, of love from men I don't know and never shall know, for the love of these men here," he thought, as he listened to voices in Kutuzov's courtyard. The voices were those of the orderlies who were packing up; one voice, probably a coachman's, was teasing Kutuzov's old cook whom Prince Andrew knew, and who was called Tit. He was saying,"Tit, I say, Tit!"

"Well?" returned the old man.

"Go, Tit, thresh a bit!" said the wag.

"Oh, go to the devil!" called out a voice, drowned by the laughter of the orderlies and servants.

"All the same, I love and value nothing but triumph over them all, I value this mystic power and glory that is floating here above me in this mist!"

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