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Chapter 16

  • Kutuzov accompanied by his adjutants rode at a walking pace behind th_arabineers.
  • When he had gone less than half a mile in the rear of the column he stopped a_ solitary, deserted house that had probably once been an inn, where two road_arted. Both of them led downhill and troops were marching along both.
  • The fog had begun to clear and enemy troops were already dimly visible about _ile and a half off on the opposite heights. Down below, on the left, th_iring became more distinct. Kutuzov had stopped and was speaking to a_ustrian general. Prince Andrew, who was a little behind looking at them,
  • turned to an adjutant to ask him for a field glass.
  • "Look, look!" said this adjutant, looking not at the troops in the distance,
  • but down the hill before him. "It's the French!"
  • The two generals and the adjutant took hold of the field glass, trying t_natch it from one another. The expression on all their faces suddenly change_o one of horror. The French were supposed to be a mile and a half away, bu_ad suddenly and unexpectedly appeared just in front of us.
  • "It's the enemy?… No!… Yes, see it is!… for certain… . But how is that?" sai_ifferent voices.
  • With the naked eye Prince Andrew saw below them to the right, not more tha_ive hundred paces from where Kutuzov was standing, a dense French colum_oming up to meet the Apsherons.
  • "Here it is! The decisive moment has arrived. My turn has come," though_rince Andrew, and striking his horse he rode up to Kutuzov.
  • "The Apsherons must be stopped, your excellency," cried he. But at that ver_nstant a cloud of smoke spread all round, firing was heard quite close a_and, and a voice of naive terror barely two steps from Prince Andrew shouted,
  • "Brothers! All's lost!" And at this as if at a command, everyone began to run.
  • Confused and ever-increasing crowds were running back to where five minute_efore the troops had passed the Emperors. Not only would it have bee_ifficult to stop that crowd, it was even impossible not to be carried bac_ith it oneself. Bolkonski only tried not to lose touch with it, and looke_round bewildered and unable to grasp what was happening in front of him.
  • Nesvitski with an angry face, red and unlike himself, was shouting to Kutuzo_hat if he did not ride away at once he would certainly be taken prisoner.
  • Kutuzov remained in the same place and without answering drew out _andkerchief. Blood was flowing from his cheek. Prince Andrew forced his wa_o him.
  • "You are wounded?" he asked, hardly able to master the trembling of his lowe_aw.
  • "The wound is not here, it is there!" said Kutuzov, pressing the handkerchie_o his wounded cheek and pointing to the fleeing soldiers. "Stop them!" h_houted, and at the same moment, probably realizing that it was impossible t_top them, spurred his horse and rode to the right.
  • A fresh wave of the flying mob caught him and bore him back with it.
  • The troops were running in such a dense mass that once surrounded by them i_as difficult to get out again. One was shouting, "Get on! Why are yo_indering us?" Another in the same place turned round and fired in the air; _hird was striking the horse Kutuzov himself rode. Having by a great effor_ot away to the left from that flood of men, Kutuzov, with his suit_iminished by more than half, rode toward a sound of artillery fire near by.
  • Having forced his way out of the crowd of fugitives, Prince Andrew, trying t_eep near Kutuzov, saw on the slope of the hill amid the smoke a Russia_attery that was still firing and Frenchmen running toward it. Higher up stoo_ome Russian infantry, neither moving forward to protect the battery no_ackward with the fleeing crowd. A mounted general separated himself from th_nfantry and approached Kutuzov. Of Kutuzov's suite only four remained. The_ere all pale and exchanged looks in silence.
  • "Stop those wretches!" gasped Kutuzov to the regimental commander, pointing t_he flying soldiers; but at that instant, as if to punish him for those words,
  • bullets flew hissing across the regiment and across Kutuzov's suite like _lock of little birds.
  • The French had attacked the battery and, seeing Kutuzov, were firing at him.
  • After this volley the regimental commander clutched at his leg; severa_oldiers fell, and a second lieutenant who was holding the flag let it fal_rom his hands. It swayed and fell, but caught on the muskets of the neares_oldiers. The soldiers started firing without orders.
  • "Oh! Oh! Oh!" groaned Kutuzov despairingly and looked around… . "Bolkonski!"
  • he whispered, his voice trembling from a consciousness of the feebleness o_ge, "Bolkonski!" he whispered, pointing to the disordered battalion and a_he enemy, "what's that?"
  • But before he had finished speaking, Prince Andrew, feeling tears of shame an_nger choking him, had already leapt from his horse and run to the standard.
  • "Forward, lads!" he shouted in a voice piercing as a child's.
  • "Here it is!" thought he, seizing the staff of the standard and hearing wit_leasure the whistle of bullets evidently aimed at him. Several soldiers fell.
  • "Hurrah!" shouted Prince Andrew, and, scarcely able to hold up the heav_tandard, he ran forward with full confidence that the whole battalion woul_ollow him.
  • And really he only ran a few steps alone. One soldier moved and then anothe_nd soon the whole battalion ran forward shouting "Hurrah!" and overtook him.
  • A sergeant of the battalion ran up and took the flag that was swaying from it_eight in Prince Andrew's hands, but he was immediately killed. Prince Andre_gain seized the standard and, dragging it by the staff, ran on with th_attalion. In front he saw our artillerymen, some of whom were fighting, whil_thers, having abandoned their guns, were running toward him. He also sa_rench infantry soldiers who were seizing the artillery horses and turning th_uns round. Prince Andrew and the battalion were already within twenty pace_f the cannon. He heard the whistle of bullets above him unceasingly and t_ight and left of him soldiers continually groaned and dropped. But he did no_ook at them: he looked only at what was going on in front of him—at th_attery. He now saw clearly the figure of a red-haired gunner with his shak_nocked awry, pulling one end of a mop while a French soldier tugged at th_ther. He could distinctly see the distraught yet angry expression on th_aces of these two men, who evidently did not realize what they were doing.
  • "What are they about?" thought Prince Andrew as he gazed at them. "Why doesn'_he red-haired gunner run away as he is unarmed? Why doesn't the Frenchma_tab him? He will not get away before the Frenchman remembers his bayonet an_tabs him… ."
  • And really another French soldier, trailing his musket, ran up to th_truggling men, and the fate of the red-haired gunner, who had triumphantl_ecured the mop and still did not realize what awaited him, was about to b_ecided. But Prince Andrew did not see how it ended. It seemed to him a_hough one of the soldiers near him hit him on the head with the full swing o_ bludgeon. It hurt a little, but the worst of it was that the pain distracte_im and prevented his seeing what he had been looking at.
  • "What's this? Am I falling? My legs are giving way," thought he, and fell o_is back. He opened his eyes, hoping to see how the struggle of the Frenchme_ith the gunners ended, whether the red-haired gunner had been killed or no_nd whether the cannon had been captured or saved. But he saw nothing. Abov_im there was now nothing but the sky—the lofty sky, not clear yet stil_mmeasurably lofty, with gray clouds gliding slowly across it. "How quiet,
  • peaceful, and solemn; not at all as I ran," thought Prince Andrew—"not as w_an, shouting and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman wit_rightened and angry faces struggled for the mop: how differently do thos_louds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did not see tha_ofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it at last! Yes! All i_anity, all falsehood, except that infinite sky. There is nothing, nothing,
  • but that. But even it does not exist, there is nothing but quiet and peace.
  • Thank God!… "