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Chapter 19

  • Having returned to the regiment and told the commander the state of Denisov'_ffairs, Rostov rode to Tilsit with the letter to the Emperor.
  • On the thirteenth of June the French and Russian Emperors arrived in Tilsit.
  • Boris Drubetskoy had asked the important personage on whom he was i_ttendance, to include him in the suite appointed for the stay at Tilsit.
  • "I should like to see the great man," he said, alluding to Napoleon, who_itherto he, like everyone else, had always called Buonaparte.
  • "You are speaking of Buonaparte?" asked the general, smiling.
  • Boris looked at his general inquiringly and immediately saw that he was bein_ested.
  • "I am speaking, Prince, of the Emperor Napoleon," he replied. The genera_atted him on the shoulder, with a smile.
  • "You will go far," he said, and took him to Tilsit with him.
  • Boris was among the few present at the Niemen on the day the two Emperors met.
  • He saw the raft, decorated with monograms, saw Napoleon pass before the Frenc_uards on the farther bank of the river, saw the pensive face of the Empero_lexander as he sat in silence in a tavern on the bank of the Niemen awaitin_apoleon's arrival, saw both Emperors get into boats, and saw how Napoleon-
  • reaching the raft first—stepped quickly forward to meet Alexander and held ou_is hand to him, and how they both retired into the pavilion. Since he ha_egun to move in the highest circles Boris had made it his habit to watc_ttentively all that went on around him and to note it down. At the time o_he meeting at Tilsit he asked the names of those who had come with Napoleo_nd about the uniforms they wore, and listened attentively to words spoken b_mportant personages. At the moment the Emperors went into the pavilion h_ooked at his watch, and did not forget to look at it again when Alexande_ame out. The interview had lasted an hour and fifty-three minutes. He note_his down that same evening, among other facts he felt to be of histori_mportance. As the Emperor's suite was a very small one, it was a matter o_reat importance, for a man who valued his success in the service, to be a_ilsit on the occasion of this interview between the two Emperors, and havin_ucceeded in this, Boris felt that henceforth his position was fully assured.
  • He had not only become known, but people had grown accustomed to him an_ccepted him. Twice he had executed commissions to the Emperor himself, s_hat the latter knew his face, and all those at court, far from cold-
  • shouldering him as at first when they considered him a newcomer, would no_ave been surprised had he been absent.
  • Boris lodged with another adjutant, the Polish Count Zhilinski. Zhilinski, _ole brought up in Paris, was rich, and passionately fond of the French, an_lmost every day of the stay at Tilsit, French officers of the Guard and fro_rench headquarters were dining and lunching with him and Boris.
  • On the evening of the twenty-fourth of June, Count Zhilinski arranged a suppe_or his French friends. The guest of honor was an aide-de-camp of Napoleon's,
  • there were also several French officers of the Guard, and a page o_apoleon's, a young lad of an old aristocratic French family. That same day,
  • Rostov, profiting by the darkness to avoid being recognized in civilian dress,
  • came to Tilsit and went to the lodging occupied by Boris and Zhilinski.
  • Rostov, in common with the whole army from which he came, was far from havin_xperienced the change of feeling toward Napoleon and the French—who fro_eing foes had suddenly become friends—that had taken place at headquarter_nd in Boris. In the army, Bonaparte and the French were still regarded wit_ingled feelings of anger, contempt, and fear. Only recently, talking with on_f Platov's Cossack officers, Rostov had argued that if Napoleon were take_risoner he would be treated not as a sovereign, but as a criminal. Quit_ately, happening to meet a wounded French colonel on the road, Rostov ha_aintained with heat that peace was impossible between a legitimate sovereig_nd the criminal Bonaparte. Rostov was therefore unpleasantly struck by th_resence of French officers in Boris' lodging, dressed in uniforms he had bee_ccustomed to see from quite a different point of view from the outposts o_he flank. As soon as he noticed a French officer, who thrust his head out o_he door, that warlike feeling of hostility which he always experienced at th_ight of the enemy suddenly seized him. He stopped at the threshold and aske_n Russian whether Drubetskoy lived there. Boris, hearing a strange voice i_he anteroom, came out to meet him. An expression of annoyance showed itsel_or a moment on his face on first recognizing Rostov.
  • "Ah, it's you? Very glad, very glad to see you," he said, however, comin_oward him with a smile. But Rostov had noticed his first impulse.
  • "I've come at a bad time I think. I should not have come, but I hav_usiness," he said coldly.
  • "No, I only wonder how you managed to get away from your regiment. Dans u_oment je suis a vous,"[[54]](footnotes.xml#footnote_54) he said, answerin_omeone who called him. "I see I'm intruding," Rostov repeated. The look o_nnoyance had already disappeared from Boris' face: having evidently reflecte_nd decided how to act, he very quietly took both Rostov's hands and led hi_nto the next room. His eyes, looking serenely and steadily at Rostov, seeme_o be veiled by something, as if screened by blue spectacles o_onventionality. So it seemed to Rostov. "Oh, come now! As if you could com_t a wrong time!" said Boris, and he led him into the room where the suppe_able was laid and introduced him to his guests, explaining that he was not _ivilian, but an hussar officer, and an old friend of his. "Count Zhilinski—l_omte N. N.—le Capitaine S. S.," said he, naming his guests. Rostov looke_rowningly at the Frenchmen, bowed reluctantly, and remained silent. Zhilinsk_vidently did not receive this new Russian person very willingly into hi_ircle and did not speak to Rostov. Boris did not appear to notice th_onstraint the newcomer produced and, with the same pleasant composure and th_ame veiled look in his eyes with which he had met Rostov, tried to enlive_he conversation. One of the Frenchmen, with the politeness characteristic o_is countrymen, addressed the obstinately taciturn Rostov, saying that th_atter had probably come to Tilsit to see the Emperor. "No, I came o_usiness," replied Rostov, briefly. Rostov had been out of humor from th_oment he noticed the look of dissatisfaction on Boris' face, and as alway_appens to those in a bad humor, it seemed to him that everyone regarded hi_ith aversion and that he was in everybody's way. He really was in their way,
  • for he alone took no part in the conversation which again became general. Th_ooks the visitors cast on him seemed to say: "And what is he sitting her_or?" He rose and went up to Boris. "Anyhow, I'm in your way," he said in _ow tone. "Come and talk over my business and I'll go away." "Oh, no, not a_ll," said Boris. "But if you are tired, come and lie down in my room and hav_ rest." "Yes, really… " They went into the little room where Boris slept.
  • Rostov, without sitting down, began at once, irritably (as if Boris were t_lame in some way) telling him about Denisov's affair, asking him whether,
  • through his general, he could and would intercede with the Emperor o_enisov's behalf and get Denisov's petition handed in. When he and Boris wer_lone, Rostov felt for the first time that he could not look Boris in the fac_ithout a sense of awkwardness. Boris, with one leg crossed over the other an_troking his left hand with the slender fingers of his right, listened t_ostov as a general listens to the report of a subordinate, now looking asid_nd now gazing straight into Rostov's eyes with the same veiled look. Eac_ime this happened Rostov felt uncomfortable and cast down his eyes. "I hav_eard of such cases and know that His Majesty is very severe in such affairs.
  • I think it would be best not to bring it before the Emperor, but to apply t_he commander of the corps… . But in general, I think… " "So you don't want t_o anything? Well then, say so!" Rostov almost shouted, not looking Boris i_he face. Boris smiled. "On the contrary, I will do what I can. Only _hought… " At that moment Zhilinski's voice was heard calling Boris. "Wel_hen, go, go, go… " said Rostov, and refusing supper and remaining alone i_he little room, he walked up and down for a long time, hearing th_ighthearted French conversation from the next room.