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Chapter 6

  • The fifth of November was the first day of what is called the battle o_rasnoe. Toward evening—after much disputing and many mistakes made b_enerals who did not go to their proper places, and after adjutants had bee_ent about with counterorders—when it had become plain that the enemy wa_verywhere in flight and that there could and would be no battle, Kutuzov lef_rasnoe and went to Dobroe whither his headquarters had that day bee_ransferred.
  • The day was clear and frosty. Kutuzov rode to Dobroe on his plump little whit_orse, followed by an enormous suite of discontented generals who whispere_mong themselves behind his back. All along the road groups of Frenc_risoners captured that day (there were seven thousand of them) were crowdin_o warm themselves at campfires. Near Dobroe an immense crowd of tattere_risoners, buzzing with talk and wrapped and bandaged in anything they ha_een able to get hold of, were standing in the road beside a long row o_nharnessed French guns. At the approach of the commander in chief the buzz o_alk ceased and all eyes were fixed on Kutuzov who, wearing a white cap with _ed band and a padded overcoat that bulged on his round shoulders, move_lowly along the road on his white horse. One of the generals was reporting t_im where the guns and prisoners had been captured.
  • Kutuzov seemed preoccupied and did not listen to what the general was saying.
  • He screwed up his eyes with a dissatisfied look as he gazed attentively an_ixedly at these prisoners, who presented a specially wretched appearance.
  • Most of them were disfigured by frost-bitten noses and cheeks, and nearly al_ad red, swollen and festering eyes.
  • One group of the French stood close to the road, and two of them, one of who_ad his face covered with sores, were tearing a piece of raw flesh with thei_ands. There was something horrible and bestial in the fleeting glance the_hrew at the riders and in the malevolent expression with which, after _lance at Kutuzov, the soldier with the sores immediately turned away and wen_n with what he was doing.
  • Kutuzov looked long and intently at these two soldiers. He puckered his face,
  • screwed up his eyes, and pensively swayed his head. At another spot he notice_ Russian soldier laughingly patting a Frenchman on the shoulder, sayin_omething to him in a friendly manner, and Kutuzov with the same expression o_is face again swayed his head.
  • "What were you saying?" he asked the general, who continuing his repor_irected the commander in chief's attention to some standards captured fro_he French and standing in front of the Preobrazhensk regiment.
  • "Ah, the standards!" said Kutuzov, evidently detaching himself with difficult_rom the thoughts that preoccupied him.
  • He looked about him absently. Thousands of eyes were looking at him from al_ides awaiting a word from him.
  • He stopped in front of the Preobrazhensk regiment, sighed deeply, and close_is eyes. One of his suite beckoned to the soldiers carrying the standards t_dvance and surround the commander in chief with them. Kutuzov was silent fo_ few seconds and then, submitting with evident reluctance to the duty impose_y his position, raised his head and began to speak. A throng of officer_urrounded him. He looked attentively around at the circle of officers,
  • recognizing several of them.
  • "I thank you all!" he said, addressing the soldiers and then again th_fficers. In the stillness around him his slowly uttered words were distinctl_eard. "I thank you all for your hard and faithful service. The victory i_omplete and Russia will not forget you! Honor to you forever."
  • He paused and looked around.
  • "Lower its head, lower it!" he said to a soldier who had accidentally lowere_he French eagle he was holding before the Preobrazhensk standards. "Lower,
  • lower, that's it. Hurrah lads!" he added, addressing the men with a rapi_ovement of his chin.
  • "Hur-r-rah!" roared thousands of voices.
  • While the soldiers were shouting Kutuzov leaned forward in his saddle an_owed his head, and his eye lit up with a mild and apparently ironic gleam.
  • "You see, brothers… " said he when the shouts had ceased… and all at once hi_oice and the expression of his face changed. It was no longer the commande_n chief speaking but an ordinary old man who wanted to tell his comrade_omething very important.
  • There was a stir among the throng of officers and in the ranks of th_oldiers, who moved that they might hear better what he was going to say.
  • "You see, brothers, I know it's hard for you, but it can't be helped! Bear up;
  • it won't be for long now! We'll see our visitors off and then we'll rest. Th_sar won't forget your service. It is hard for you, but still you are at hom_hile they—you see what they have come to," said he, pointing to th_risoners. "Worse off than our poorest beggars. While they were strong w_idn't spare ourselves, but now we may even pity them. They are human being_oo. Isn't it so, lads?"
  • He looked around, and in the direct, respectful, wondering gaze fixed upon hi_e read sympathy with what he had said. His face grew brighter and brighte_ith an old man's mild smile, which drew the corners of his lips and eyes int_ cluster of wrinkles. He ceased speaking and bowed his head as if i_erplexity.
  • "But after all who asked them here? Serves them right, the bloody bastards!"
  • he cried, suddenly lifting his head.
  • And flourishing his whip he rode off at a gallop for the first time during th_hole campaign, and left the broken ranks of the soldiers laughing joyfull_nd shouting "Hurrah!"
  • Kutuzov's words were hardly understood by the troops. No one could hav_epeated the field marshal's address, begun solemnly and then changing into a_ld man's simplehearted talk; but the hearty sincerity of that speech, th_eeling of majestic triumph combined with pity for the foe and consciousnes_f the justice of our cause, exactly expressed by that old man's good-nature_xpletives, was not merely understood but lay in the soul of every soldier an_ound expression in their joyous and long-sustained shouts. Afterwards whe_ne of the generals addressed Kutuzov asking whether he wished his caleche t_e sent for, Kutuzov in answering unexpectedly gave a sob, being evidentl_reatly moved.