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Chapter 11

  • The next day the Emperor stopped at Wischau, and Villier, his physician, wa_epeatedly summoned to see him. At headquarters and among the troops near b_he news spread that the Emperor was unwell. He ate nothing and had slep_adly that night, those around him reported. The cause of this indispositio_as the strong impression made on his sensitive mind by the sight of th_illed and wounded.
  • At daybreak on the seventeenth, a French officer who had come with a flag o_ruce, demanding an audience with the Russian Emperor, was brought int_ischau from our outposts. This officer was Savary. The Emperor had only jus_allen asleep and so Savary had to wait. At midday he was admitted to th_mperor, and an hour later he rode off with Prince Dolgorukov to the advance_ost of the French army.
  • It was rumored that Savary had been sent to propose to Alexander a meetin_ith Napoleon. To the joy and pride of the whole army, a personal intervie_as refused, and instead of the Sovereign, Prince Dolgorukov, the victor a_ischau, was sent with Savary to negotiate with Napoleon if, contrary t_xpectations, these negotiations were actuated by a real desire for peace.
  • Toward evening Dolgorukov came back, went straight to the Tsar, and remaine_lone with him for a long time.
  • On the eighteenth and nineteenth of November, the army advanced two days'
  • march and the enemy's outposts after a brief interchange of shots retreated.
  • In the highest army circles from midday on the nineteenth, a great, excitedl_ustling activity began which lasted till the morning of the twentieth, whe_he memorable battle of Austerlitz was fought.
  • Till midday on the nineteenth, the activity—the eager talk, running to an_ro, and dispatching of adjutants—was confined to the Emperor's headquarters.
  • But on the afternoon of that day, this activity reached Kutuzov's headquarter_nd the staffs of the commanders of columns. By evening, the adjutants ha_pread it to all ends and parts of the army, and in the night from th_ineteenth to the twentieth, the whole eighty thousand allied troops rose fro_heir bivouacs to the hum of voices, and the army swayed and started in on_normous mass six miles long.
  • The concentrated activity which had begun at the Emperor's headquarters in th_orning and had started the whole movement that followed was like the firs_ovement of the main wheel of a large tower clock. One wheel slowly moved,
  • another was set in motion, and a third, and wheels began to revolve faster an_aster, levers and cogwheels to work, chimes to play, figures to pop out, an_he hands to advance with regular motion as a result of all that activity.
  • Just as in the mechanism of a clock, so in the mechanism of the militar_achine, an impulse once given leads to the final result; and just a_ndifferently quiescent till the moment when motion is transmitted to them ar_he parts of the mechanism which the impulse has not yet reached. Wheels crea_n their axles as the cogs engage one another and the revolving pulleys whir_ith the rapidity of their movement, but a neighboring wheel is as quiet an_otionless as though it were prepared to remain so for a hundred years; bu_he moment comes when the lever catches it and obeying the impulse that whee_egins to creak and joins in the common motion the result and aim of which ar_eyond its ken.
  • Just as in a clock, the result of the complicated motion of innumerable wheel_nd pulleys is merely a slow and regular movement of the hands which show th_ime, so the result of all the complicated human activities of 160,00_ussians and French—all their passions, desires, remorse, humiliations,
  • sufferings, outbursts of pride, fear, and enthusiasm—was only the loss of th_attle of Austerlitz, the so-called battle of the three Emperors—that is t_ay, a slow movement of the hand on the dial of human history.
  • Prince Andrew was on duty that day and in constant attendance on the commande_n chief.
  • At six in the evening, Kutuzov went to the Emperor's headquarters and afte_taying but a short time with the Tsar went to see the grand marshal of th_ourt, Count Tolstoy.
  • Bolkonski took the opportunity to go in to get some details of the comin_ction from Dolgorukov. He felt that Kutuzov was upset and dissatisfied abou_omething and that at headquarters they were dissatisfied with him, and als_hat at the Emperor's headquarters everyone adopted toward him the tone of me_ho know something others do not know: he therefore wished to speak t_olgorukov.
  • "Well, how d'you do, my dear fellow?" said Dolgorukov, who was sitting at te_ith Bilibin. "The fete is for tomorrow. How is your old fellow? Out o_orts?"
  • "I won't say he is out of sorts, but I fancy he would like to be heard."
  • "But they heard him at the council of war and will hear him when he talk_ense, but to temporize and wait for something now when Bonaparte fear_othing so much as a general battle is impossible."
  • "Yes, you have seen him?" said Prince Andrew. "Well, what is Bonaparte like?
  • How did he impress you?"
  • "Yes, I saw him, and am convinced that he fears nothing so much as a genera_ngagement," repeated Dolgorukov, evidently prizing this general conclusio_hich he had arrived at from his interview with Napoleon. "If he weren'_fraid of a battle why did he ask for that interview? Why negotiate, and abov_ll why retreat, when to retreat is so contrary to his method of conductin_ar? Believe me, he is afraid, afraid of a general battle. His hour has come!
  • Mark my words!"
  • "But tell me, what is he like, eh?" said Prince Andrew again.
  • "He is a man in a gray overcoat, very anxious that I should call him 'You_ajesty,' but who, to his chagrin, got no title from me! That's the sort o_an he is, and nothing more," replied Dolgorukov, looking round at Bilibi_ith a smile.
  • "Despite my great respect for old Kutuzov," he continued, "we should be a nic_et of fellows if we were to wait about and so give him a chance to escape, o_o trick us, now that we certainly have him in our hands! No, we mustn'_orget Suvorov and his rule—not to put yourself in a position to be attacked,
  • but yourself to attack. Believe me in war the energy of young men often show_he way better than all the experience of old Cunctators."
  • "But in what position are we going to attack him? I have been at the outpost_oday and it is impossible to say where his chief forces
  • are situated," said Prince Andrew.
  • He wished to explain to Dolgorukov a plan of attack he had himself formed.
  • "Oh, that is all the same," Dolgorukov said quickly, and getting up he sprea_ map on the table. "All eventualities have been foreseen. If he is standin_efore Brunn… "
  • And Prince Dolgorukov rapidly but indistinctly explained Weyrother's plan of _lanking movement.
  • Prince Andrew began to reply and to state his own plan, which might have bee_s good as Weyrother's, but for the disadvantage that Weyrother's had alread_een approved. As soon as Prince Andrew began to demonstrate the defects o_he latter and the merits of his own plan, Prince Dolgorukov ceased to liste_o him and gazed absent-mindedly not at the map, but at Prince Andrew's face.
  • "There will be a council of war at Kutuzov's tonight, though; you can say al_his there," remarked Dolgorukov.
  • "I will do so," said Prince Andrew, moving away from the map.
  • "Whatever are you bothering about, gentlemen?" said Bilibin, who, till then,
  • had listened with an amused smile to their conversation and now was evidentl_eady with a joke. "Whether tomorrow brings victory or defeat, the glory o_ur Russian arms is secure. Except your Kutuzov, there is not a single Russia_n command of a column! The commanders are: Herr General Wimpfen, le Comte d_angeron, le Prince de Lichtenstein, le Prince, de Hohenlohe, and finall_rishprish, and so on like all those Polish names."
  • "Be quiet, backbiter!" said Dolgorukov. "It is not true; there are now tw_ussians, Miloradovich, and Dokhturov, and there would be a third, Coun_rakcheev, if his nerves were not too weak."
  • "However, I think General Kutuzov has come out," said Prince Andrew. "I wis_ou good luck and success, gentlemen!" he added and went out after shakin_ands with Dolgorukov and Bilibin.
  • On the way home, Prince Andrew could not refrain from asking Kutuzov, who wa_itting silently beside him, what he thought of tomorrow's battle.
  • Kutuzov looked sternly at his adjutant and, after a pause, replied: "I thin_he battle will be lost, and so I told Count Tolstoy and asked him to tell th_mperor. What do you think he replied? 'But, my dear general, I am engage_ith rice and cutlets, look after military matters yourself!' Yes… That wa_he answer I got!"