Staggering amid the crush, Pierre looked about him.
"Count Peter Kirilovich! How did you get here?" said a voice.
Pierre looked round. Boris Drubetskoy, brushing his knees with his hand (h_ad probably soiled them when he, too, had knelt before the icon), came up t_im smiling. Boris was elegantly dressed, with a slightly martial touc_ppropriate to a campaign. He wore a long coat and like Kutuzov had a whi_lung across his shoulder.
Meanwhile Kutuzov had reached the village and seated himself in the shade o_he nearest house, on a bench which one Cossack had run to fetch and anothe_ad hastily covered with a rug. An immense and brilliant suite surrounded him.
The icon was carried further, accompanied by the throng. Pierre stopped som_hirty paces from Kutuzov, talking to Boris.
He explained his wish to be present at the battle and to see the position.
"This is what you must do," said Boris. "I will do the honors of the camp t_ou. You will see everything best from where Count Bennigsen will be. I am i_ttendance on him, you know; I'll mention it to him. But if you want to rid_ound the position, come along with us. We are just going to the left flank.
Then when we get back, do spend the night with me and we'll arrange a game o_ards. Of course you know Dmitri Sergeevich? Those are his quarters," and h_ointed to the third house in the village of Gorki.
"But I should like to see the right flank. They say it's very strong," sai_ierre. "I should like to start from the Moskva River and ride round the whol_osition."
"Well, you can do that later, but the chief thing is the left flank."
"Yes, yes. But where is Prince Bolkonski's regiment? Can you point it out t_e?"
"Prince Andrew's? We shall pass it and I'll take you to him."
"What about the left flank?" asked Pierre
"To tell you the truth, between ourselves, God only knows what state our lef_lank is in," said Boris confidentially lowering his voice. "It is not at al_hat Count Bennigsen intended. He meant to fortify that knoll quit_ifferently, but… " Boris shrugged his shoulders, "his Serene Highness woul_ot have it, or someone persuaded him. You see… " but Boris did not finish, for at that moment Kaysarov, Kutuzov's adjutant, came up to Pierre. "Ah, Kaysarov!" said Boris, addressing him with an unembarrassed smile, "I was jus_rying to explain our position to the count. It is amazing how his Seren_ighness could so the intentions of the French!"
"You mean the left flank?" asked Kaysarov.
"Yes, exactly; the left flank is now extremely strong."
Though Kutuzov had dismissed all unnecessary men from the staff, Boris ha_ontrived to remain at headquarters after the changes. He had establishe_imself with Count Bennigsen, who, like all on whom Boris had been i_ttendance, considered young Prince Drubetskoy an invaluable man.
In the higher command there were two sharply defined parties: Kutuzov's part_nd that of Bennigsen, the chief of staff. Boris belonged to the latter and n_ne else, while showing servile respect to Kutuzov, could so create a_mpression that the old fellow was not much good and that Bennigsen manage_verything. Now the decisive moment of battle had come when Kutuzov would b_estroyed and the power pass to Bennigsen, or even if Kutuzov won the battl_t would be felt that everything was done by Bennigsen. In any case many grea_ewards would have to be given for tomorrow's action, and new men would com_o the front. So Boris was full of nervous vivacity all day.
After Kaysarov, others whom Pierre knew came up to him, and he had not time t_eply to all the questions about Moscow that were showered upon him, or t_isten to all that was told him. The faces all expressed animation an_pprehension, but it seemed to Pierre that the cause of the excitement show_n some of these faces lay chiefly in questions of personal success; his mind, however, was occupied by the different expression he saw on other faces—a_xpression that spoke not of personal matters but of the universal question_f life and death. Kutuzov noticed Pierre's figure and the group gathere_ound him.
"Call him to me," said Kutuzov.
An adjutant told Pierre of his Serene Highness' wish, and Pierre went towar_utuzov's bench. But a militiaman got there before him. It was Dolokhov.
"How did that fellow get here?" asked Pierre.
"He's a creature that wriggles in anywhere!" was the answer. "He has bee_egraded, you know. Now he wants to bob up again. He's been proposing som_cheme or other and has crawled into the enemy's picket line at night… . He'_ brave fellow."
Pierre took off his hat and bowed respectfully to Kutuzov.
"I concluded that if I reported to your Serene Highness you might send me awa_r say that you knew what I was reporting, but then I shouldn't lose anything…
" Dolokhov was saying.
"But if I were right, I should be rendering a service to my Fatherland fo_hich I am ready to die."
"And should your Serene Highness require a man who will not spare his skin, please think of me… . Perhaps I may prove useful to your Serene Highness."
"Yes… Yes… " Kutuzov repeated, his laughing eye narrowing more and more as h_ooked at Pierre.
Just then Boris, with his courtierlike adroitness, stepped up to Pierre's sid_ear Kutuzov and in a most natural manner, without raising his voice, said t_ierre, as though continuing an interrupted conversation:
"The militia have put on clean white shirts to be ready to die. What heroism, Count!"
Boris evidently said this to Pierre in order to be overheard by his Seren_ighness. He knew Kutuzov's attention would be caught by those words, and s_t was.
"What are you saying about the militia?" he asked Boris.
"Preparing for tomorrow, your Serene Highness—for death—they have put on clea_hirts."
"Ah… a wonderful, a matchless people!" said Kutuzov; and he closed his eye_nd swayed his head. "A matchless people!" he repeated with a sigh.
"So you want to smell gunpowder?" he said to Pierre. "Yes, it's a pleasan_mell. I have the honor to be one of your wife's adorers. Is she well? M_uarters are at your service."
And as often happens with old people, Kutuzov began looking about absent- mindedly as if forgetting all he wanted to say or do.
Then, evidently remembering what he wanted, he beckoned to Andrew Kaysarov, his adjutant's brother.
"Those verses… those verses of Marin's… how do they go, eh? Those he wrot_bout Gerakov: 'Lectures for the corps inditing'… Recite them, recite them!"
said he, evidently preparing to laugh.
Kaysarov recited… . Kutuzov smilingly nodded his head to the rhythm of th_erses.
When Pierre had left Kutuzov, Dolokhov came up to him and took his hand.
"I am very glad to meet you here, Count," he said aloud, regardless of th_resence of strangers and in a particularly resolute and solemn tone. "On th_ve of a day when God alone knows who of us is fated to survive, I am glad o_his opportunity to tell you that I regret the misunderstandings that occurre_etween us and should wish you not to have any ill feeling for me. I beg yo_o forgive me."
Pierre looked at Dolokhov with a smile, not knowing what to say to him. Wit_ears in his eyes Dolokhov embraced Pierre and kissed him.
Boris said a few words to his general, and Count Bennigsen turned to Pierr_nd proposed that he should ride with him along the line.
"It will interest you," said he.
"Yes, very much," replied Pierre.
Half an hour later Kutuzov left for Tatarinova, and Bennigsen and his suite, with Pierre among them, set out on their ride along the line.