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.