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Chapter 5

  • Next day the decrepit Kutuzov, having given orders to be called early, sai_is prayers, dressed, and, with an unpleasant consciousness of having t_irect a battle he did not approve of, got into his caleche and drove fro_etashovka (a village three and a half miles from Tarutino) to the place wher_he attacking columns were to meet. He sat in the caleche, dozing and wakin_p by turns, and listening for any sound of firing on the right as a_ndication that the action had begun. But all was still quiet. A damp dul_utumn morning was just dawning. On approaching Tarutino Kutuzov notice_avalrymen leading their horses to water across the road along which he wa_riving. Kutuzov looked at them searchingly, stopped his carriage, an_nquired what regiment they belonged to. They belonged to a column that shoul_ave been far in front and in ambush long before then. "It may be a mistake,"
  • thought the old commander in chief. But a little further on he saw infantr_egiments with their arms piled and the soldiers, only partly dressed, eatin_heir rye porridge and carrying fuel. He sent for an officer. The office_eported that no order to advance had been received.
  • "How! Not rec… " Kutuzov began, but checked himself immediately and sent for _enior officer. Getting out of his caleche, he waited with drooping head an_reathing heavily, pacing silently up and down. When Eykhen, the officer o_he general staff whom he had summoned, appeared, Kutuzov went purple in th_ace, not because that officer was to blame for the mistake, but because h_as an object of sufficient importance for him to vent his wrath on. Tremblin_nd panting the old man fell into that state of fury in which he sometime_sed to roll on the ground, and he fell upon Eykhen, threatening him with hi_ands, shouting and loading him with gross abuse. Another man, Captain Brozin,
  • who happened to turn up and who was not at all to blame, suffered the sam_ate.
  • "What sort of another blackguard are you? I'll have you shot! Scoundrels!"
  • yelled Kutuzov in a hoarse voice, waving his arms and reeling.
  • He was suffering physically. He, the commander in chief, a Serene Highness wh_verybody said possessed powers such as no man had ever had in Russia, to b_laced in this position—made the laughingstock of the whole army! "I needn'_ave been in such a hurry to pray about today, or have kept awake thinkin_verything over all night," thought he to himself. "When I was a chit of a_fficer no one would have dared to mock me so… and now!" He was in a state o_hysical suffering as if from corporal punishment, and could not avoi_xpressing it by cries of anger and distress. But his strength soon began t_ail him, and looking about him, conscious of having said much that was amiss,
  • he again got into his caleche and drove back in silence.
  • His wrath, once expended, did not return, and blinking feebly he listened t_xcuses and self-justifications (Ermolov did not come to see him till the nex_ay) and to the insistence of Bennigsen, Konovnitsyn, and Toll that th_ovement that had miscarried should be executed next day. And once mor_utuzov had to consent.