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.
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.