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!"