War and Peace

Book X, Chapters 21-25


Pierre stepped out of his carriage and, passing the toiling militiamen, ascended the knoll from which, according to the doctor, the battlefield could be seen.

It was about eleven o'clock. The sun shone somewhat to the left and behind him and brightly lit up the enormous panorama which, rising like an amphitheater, extended before him in the clear rarefied atmosphere.

From above on the left, bisecting that amphitheater, wound the Smolensk highroad, passing through a village with a white church some five hundred paces in front of the knoll and below it. This was Borodino. Below the village the road crossed the river by a bridge and, winding down and up, rose higher and higher to the village of Valuevo visible about four miles away, where Napoleon was then stationed. Beyond Valuevo the road disappeared into a yellowing forest on the horizon. Far in the distance in that birch and fir forest to the right of the road, the cross and belfry of the Kolocha Monastery gleamed in the sun. Here and there over the whole of that blue expanse, to right and left of the forest and the road, smoking campfires could be seen and indefinite masses of troops--ours and the enemy's. The ground to the right--along the course of the Kolocha and Moskva rivers--was broken and hilly. Between the hollows the villages of Bezubova and Zakharino showed in the distance. On the left the ground was more level; there were fields of grain, and the smoking ruins of Semenovsk, which had been burned down, could be seen.

All that Pierre saw was so indefinite that neither the left nor the right side of the field fully satisfied his expectations. Nowhere could he see the battlefield he had expected to find, but only fields, meadows, troops, woods, the smoke of campfires, villages, mounds, and streams; and try as he would he could descry no military "position" in this place which teemed with life, nor could he even distinguish our troops from the enemy's.

"I must ask someone who knows," he thought, and addressed an officer who was looking with curiosity at his huge unmilitary figure.

"May I ask you," said Pierre, "what village that is in front?"

"Burdino, isn't it?" said the officer, turning to his companion.

"Borodino," the other corrected him.

The officer, evidently glad of an opportunity for a talk, moved up to Pierre.

"Are those our men there?" Pierre inquired.

"Yes, and there, further on, are the French," said the officer. "There they are, there... you can see them."

"Where? Where?" asked Pierre.

"One can see them with the naked eye... Why, there!"

The officer pointed with his hand to the smoke visible on the left beyond the river, and the same stern and serious expression that Pierre had noticed on many of the faces he had met came into his face.

"Ah, those are the French! And over there?..." Pierre pointed to a knoll on the left, near which some troops could be seen.

"Those are ours."

"Ah, ours! And there?..." Pierre pointed to another knoll in the distance with a big tree on it, near a village that lay in a hollow where also some campfires were smoking and something black was visible.

"That's his again," said the officer. (It was the Shevardino Redoubt.) "It was ours yesterday, but now it is his."

"Then how about our position?"

"Our position?" replied the officer with a smile of satisfaction. "I can tell you quite clearly, because I constructed nearly all our entrenchments. There, you see? There's our center, at Borodino, just there," and he pointed to the village in front of them with the white church. "That's where one crosses the Kolocha. You see down there where the rows of hay are lying in the hollow, there's the bridge. That's our center. Our right flank is over there"--he pointed sharply to the right, far away in the broken ground--"That's where the Moskva River is, and we have thrown up three redoubts there, very strong ones. The left flank..." here the officer paused. "Well, you see, that's difficult to explain.... Yesterday our left flank was there at Shevardino, you see, where the oak is, but now we have withdrawn our left wing--now it is over there, do you see that village and the smoke? That's Semenovsk, yes, there," he pointed to Raevski's knoll. "But the battle will hardly be there. His having moved his troops there is only a ruse; he will probably pass round to the right of the Moskva. But wherever it may be, many a man will be missing tomorrow!" he remarked.

An elderly sergeant who had approached the officer while he was giving these explanations had waited in silence for him to finish speaking, but at this point, evidently not liking the officer's remark, interrupted him.

"Gabions must be sent for," said he sternly.

The officer appeared abashed, as though he understood that one might think of how many men would be missing tomorrow but ought not to speak to speak of it.

"Well, send number three company again," the officer replied hurriedly.

"And you, are you one of the doctors?"

"No, I've come on my own," answered Pierre, and he went down the hill again, passing the militiamen.

"Oh, those damned fellows!" muttered the officer who followed him, holding his nose as he ran past the men at work.

"There they are... bringing her, coming... There they are... They'll be here in a minute..." voices were suddenly heard saying; and officers, soldiers, and militiamen began running forward along the road.

A church procession was coming up the hill from Borodino. First along the dusty road came the infantry in ranks, bareheaded and with arms reversed. From behind them came the sound of church singing.

Soldiers and militiamen ran bareheaded past Pierre toward the procession.

"They are bringing her, our Protectress!... The Iberian Mother of God!" someone cried.

"The Smolensk Mother of God," another corrected him.

The militiamen, both those who had been in the village and those who had been at work on the battery, threw down their spades and ran to meet the church procession. Following the battalion that marched along the dusty road came priests in their vestments--one little old man in a hood with attendants and singers. Behind them soldiers and officers bore a large, dark-faced icon with an embossed metal cover. This was the icon that had been brought from and had since accompanied the army. Behind, before, and on both sides, crowds of militiamen with bared heads walked, ran, and bowed to the ground.

At the summit of the hill they stopped with the icon; the men who had been holding it up by the linen bands attached to it were relieved by others, the chanters relit their censers, and service began. The hot rays of the sun beat down vertically and a fresh soft wind played with the hair of the bared heads and with the ribbons decorating the icon. The singing did not sound loud under the open sky. An immense crowd of bareheaded officers, soldiers, and militiamen surrounded the icon. Behind the priest and a chanter stood the notabilities on a spot reserved for them. A bald general with general with a St. George's Cross on his neck stood just behind the priest's back, and without crossing himself (he was evidently a German) patiently awaited the end of the service, which he considered it necessary to hear to the end, probably to arouse the patriotism of the Russian people. Another general stood in a martial pose, crossing himself by shaking his hand in front of his chest while looking about him. Standing among the crowd of peasants, Pierre recognized several acquaintances among these notables, but did not look at them--his whole attention was absorbed in watching the serious expression on the faces of the crowd of soldiers and militiamen who were all gazing eagerly at the icon. As soon as the tired chanters, who were singing the service for the twentieth time that day, began lazily and mechanically to sing: "Save from calamity Thy servants, O Mother of God," and the priest and deacon chimed in: "For to Thee under God we all flee as to an inviolable bulwark and protection," there again kindled in all those faces the same expression of consciousness of the solemnity of the impending moment that Pierre had seen on the faces at the foot of the hill at Mozhaysk and momentarily on many and many faces he had met that morning; and heads were bowed more frequently and hair tossed back, and sighs and the sound men made as they crossed themselves were heard.

The crowd round the icon suddenly parted and pressed against Pierre. Someone, a very important personage judging by the haste with which way was made for him, was approaching the icon.

It was Kutuzov, who had been riding round the position and on his way back to Tatarinova had stopped where the service was being held. Pierre recognized him at once by his peculiar figure, which distinguished him from everybody else.

With a long overcoat on his his exceedingly stout, round-shouldered body, with uncovered white head and puffy face showing the white ball of the eye he had lost, Kutuzov walked with plunging, swaying gait into the crowd and stopped behind the priest. He crossed himself with an accustomed movement, bent till he touched the ground with his hand, and bowed his white head with a deep sigh. Behind Kutuzov was Bennigsen and the suite. Despite the presence of the commander in chief, who attracted the attention of all the superior officers, the militiamen and soldiers continued their prayers without looking at him.

When the service was over, Kutuzov stepped up to the icon, sank heavily to his knees, bowed to the ground, and for a long time tried vainly to rise, but could not do so on account of his weakness and weight. His white head twitched with the effort. At last he rose, kissed the icon as a child does with naively pouting lips, and again bowed till he touched the ground with his hand. The other generals followed his example, then the officers, and after them with excited faces, pressing on one another, crowding, panting, and pushing, scrambled the soldiers and militiamen.


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 (he had probably soiled them when he, too, had knelt before the icon), came up to him smiling. Boris was elegantly dressed, with a slightly martial touch appropriate to a campaign. He wore a long coat and like Kutuzov had a whip slung across his shoulder.

Meanwhile Kutuzov had reached the village and seated himself in the shade of the nearest house, on a bench which one Cossack had run to fetch and another had hastily covered with a rug. An immense and brilliant suite surrounded him.

The icon was carried further, accompanied by the throng. Pierre stopped some thirty 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 to you. You will see everything best from where Count Bennigsen will be. I am in attendance on him, you know; I'll mention it to him. But if you want to ride round 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 of cards. Of course you know Dmitri Sergeevich? Those are his quarters," and he pointed to the third house in the village of Gorki.

"But I should like to see the right flank. They say it's very strong," said Pierre. "I should like to start from the Moskva River and ride round the whole position."

"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 to me?"

"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 left flank is in," said Boris confidentially lowering his voice. "It is not at all what Count Bennigsen intended. He meant to fortify that knoll quite differently, but..." Boris shrugged his shoulders, "his Serene Highness would not 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 just trying to explain our position to the count. It is amazing how his Serene Highness 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 had contrived to remain at headquarters after the changes. He had established himself with Count Bennigsen, who, like all on whom Boris had been in attendance, considered young Prince Drubetskoy an invaluable man.

In the higher command there were two sharply defined parties: Kutuzov's party and that of Bennigsen, the chief of staff. Boris belonged to the latter and no one else, while showing servile respect to Kutuzov, could so create an impression that the old fellow was not much good and that Bennigsen managed everything. Now the decisive moment of battle had come when Kutuzov would be destroyed and the power pass to Bennigsen, or even if Kutuzov won the battle it would be felt that everything was done by Bennigsen. In any case many great rewards would have to be given for tomorrow's action, and new men would come to 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 to reply to all the questions about Moscow that were showered upon him, or to listen to all that was told him. The faces all expressed animation and apprehension, but it seemed to Pierre that the cause of the excitement shown in 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--an expression that spoke not of personal matters but of the universal questions of life and death. Kutuzov noticed Pierre's figure and the group gathered round him.

"Call him to me," said Kutuzov.

An adjutant told Pierre of his Serene Highness' wish, and Pierre went toward Kutuzov'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 been degraded, you know. Now he wants to bob up again. He's been proposing some scheme or other and has crawled into the enemy's picket line at night.... He's a 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 away or say that you knew what I was reporting, but then I shouldn't lose anything..." Dolokhov was saying.

"Yes, yes."

"But if I were right, I should be rendering a service to my Fatherland for which I am ready to die."

"Yes, yes."

"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 he looked at Pierre.

Just then Boris, with his courtierlike adroitness, stepped up to Pierre's side near Kutuzov and in a most natural manner, without raising his voice, said to Pierre, 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 Serene Highness. He knew Kutuzov's attention would be caught by those words, and so it was.

"What are you saying about the militia?" he asked Boris.

"Preparing for tomorrow, your Serene Highness--for death--they have put on clean shirts."

"Ah... a wonderful, a matchless people!" said Kutuzov; and he closed his eyes and 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 pleasant smell. I have the honor to be one of your wife's adorers. Is she well? My quarters 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 wrote about 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 the verses.

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 the presence of strangers and in a particularly resolute and solemn tone. "On the eve of a day when God alone knows who of us is fated to survive, I am glad of this opportunity to tell you that I regret the misunderstandings that occurred between us and should wish you not to have any ill feeling for me. I beg you to forgive me."

Pierre looked at Dolokhov with a smile, not knowing what to say to him. With tears in his eyes Dolokhov embraced Pierre and kissed him.

Boris said a few words to his general, and Count Bennigsen turned to Pierre and 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.


From Gorki, Bennigsen descended the highroad to the bridge which, when they had looked it from the hill, the officer had pointed out as being the center of our position and where rows of fragrant new-mown hay lay by the riverside. They rode across that bridge into the village of Borodino and thence turned to the left, passing an enormous number of troops and guns, and came to a high knoll where militiamen were digging. This was the redoubt, as yet unnamed, which afterwards became known as the Raevski Redoubt, or the Knoll Battery, but Pierre paid no special attention to it. He did not know that it would become more memorable to him than any other spot on the plain of Borodino.

They then crossed the hollow to Semenovsk, where the soldiers were dragging away the last logs from the huts and barns. Then they rode downhill and uphill, across a ryefield trodden and beaten down as if by hail, following a track freshly made by the artillery over the furrows of the plowed land, and reached some fleches* which were still being dug.

*A kind of entrenchment.

At the fleches Bennigsen stopped and began looking at the Shevardino Redoubt opposite, which had been ours the day before and where several horsemen could be descried. The officers said that either Napoleon or Murat was there, and they all gazed eagerly at this little group of horsemen. Pierre also looked at them, trying to guess which of the scarcely discernible figures was Napoleon. At last those mounted men rode away from the mound and disappeared.

Bennigsen spoke to a general who approached him, and began explaining the whole position of our troops. Pierre listened to him, straining each faculty to understand the essential points of the impending battle, but was mortified to feel that his mental capacity was inadequate for the task. He could make nothing of it. Bennigsen stopped speaking and, noticing that Pierre was listening, suddenly said to him:

"I don't think this interests you?"

"On the contrary it's very interesting!" replied Pierre not quite truthfully.

From the fleches they rode still farther to the left, along a road winding through a thick, low-growing birch wood. In the middle of the wood a brown hare with white feet sprang out and, scared by the tramp of the many horses, grew so confused that it leaped along the road in front of them for some time, arousing general attention and laughter, and only when several voices shouted at it did it dart to one side and disappear in the thicket. After going through the wood for about a mile and a half they came out on a glade where troops of Tuchkov's corps were stationed to defend the left flank.

Here, at the extreme left flank, Bennigsen talked a great deal and with much heat, and, as it seemed to Pierre, gave orders of great military importance. In front of Tuchkov's troops was some high ground not occupied by troops. Bennigsen loudly criticized this mistake, saying that it was madness to leave a height which commanded the country around unoccupied and to place troops below it. Some of the generals expressed the same opinion. One in particular declared with martial heat that they were put there to be slaughtered. Bennigsen on his own authority ordered the troops to occupy the high ground. This disposition on the left flank increased Pierre's doubt of his own capacity to understand military matters. Listening to Bennigsen and the generals criticizing the position of the troops behind the hill, he quite understood them and shared their opinion, but for that very reason he could not understand how the man who put them there behind the hill could have made so gross and palpable a blunder.

Pierre did not know that these troops were not, as Bennigsen supposed, put there to defend the position, but were in a concealed position as an ambush, that they should not be seen and might be able to strike an approaching enemy unexpectedly. Bennigsen did not know this and moved the troops forward according to his own ideas without mentioning the matter to the commander in chief.


On that bright evening of August 25, Prince Andrew lay leaning on his elbow in a broken-down shed in the village of Knyazkovo at the further end of his regiment's encampment. Through a gap in the broken wall he could see, beside the wooden fence, a row of thirty year-old birches with their lower branches lopped off, a field on which shocks of oats were standing, and some bushes near which rose the smoke of campfires--the soldiers' kitchens.

Narrow and burdensome and useless to anyone as his life now seemed to him, Prince Andrew on the eve of battle felt agitated and irritable as he had done seven years before at Austerlitz.

He had received and given the orders for next day's battle and had nothing more to do. But his thoughts--the simplest, clearest, and therefore most terrible thoughts--would give him no peace. He knew that tomorrow's battle would be the most terrible of all he had taken part in, and for the first time in his life the possibility of death presented itself to him--not in relation to any worldly matter or with reference to its effect on others, but simply in relation to himself, to his own soul--vividly, plainly, terribly, and almost as a certainty. And from the height of this perception all that had previously tormented and preoccupied him suddenly became illumined by a cold white light without shadows, without perspective, without distinction of outline. All life appeared to him like magic-lantern pictures at which he had long been gazing by artificial light through a glass. Now he suddenly saw those badly daubed pictures in clear daylight and without a glass. "Yes, yes! There they are, those false images that agitated, enraptured, and tormented me," said he to himself, passing in review the principal pictures of the magic lantern of life and regarding them now in the cold white daylight of his clear perception of death. "There they are, those rudely painted figures that once seemed splendid and mysterious. Glory, the good of society, love of a woman, the Fatherland itself--how important these pictures appeared to me, with what profound meaning they seemed to be filled! And it is all so simple, pale, and crude in the cold white light of this morning which I feel is dawning for me." The three great sorrows of his life held his attention in particular: his love for a woman, his father's death, and the French invasion which had overrun half Russia. "Love... that little girl who seemed to me brimming over with mystic forces! Yes, indeed, I loved her. I made romantic plans of love and happiness with her! Oh, what a boy I was!" he said aloud bitterly. "Ah me! I believed in some ideal love which was to keep her faithful to me for the whole year of my absence! Like the gentle dove in the fable she was to pine apart from me.... But it was much simpler really.... It was all very simple and horrible."

"When my father built Bald Hills he thought the place was his: his land, his air, his peasants. But Napoleon came and swept him aside, unconscious of his existence, as he might brush a chip from his path, and his Bald Hills and his whole life fell to pieces. Princess Mary says it is a trial sent from above. What is the trial for, when he is not here and will never return? He is not here! For whom then is the trial intended? The Fatherland, the destruction of Moscow! And tomorrow I shall be killed, perhaps not even by a Frenchman but by one of our own men, by a soldier discharging a musket close to my ear as one of them did yesterday, and the French will come and take me by head and heels and fling me into a hole that I may not stink under their noses, and new conditions of life will arise, which will seem quite ordinary to others and about which I shall know nothing. I shall not exist..."

He looked at the row of birches shining in the sunshine, with their motionless green and yellow foliage and white bark. "To die... to be killed tomorrow... That I should not exist... That all this should still be, but no me...."

And the birches with their light and shade, the curly clouds, the smoke of the campfires, and all that was around him changed and seemed terrible and menacing. A cold shiver ran down his spine. He rose quickly, went out of the shed, and began to walk about.

After he had returned, voices were heard outside the shed. "Who's that?" he cried.

The red-nosed Captain Timokhin, formerly Dolokhov's squadron commander, but now from lack of officers a battalion commander, shyly entered the shed followed by an adjutant and the regimental paymaster.

Prince Andrew rose hastily, listened to the business they had come about, gave them some further instructions, and was about to dismiss them when he heard a familiar, lisping, voice behind the shed.

"Devil take it!" said the voice of a man stumbling over something.

Prince Andrew looked out of the shed and saw Pierre, who had tripped over a pole on the ground and had nearly fallen, coming his way. It was unpleasant to Prince Andrew to meet people of his own set in general, and Pierre especially, for he reminded him of all the painful moments of his last visit to Moscow.

"You? What a surprise!" said he. "What brings you here? This is unexpected!"

As he said this his eyes and face expressed more than coldness--they expressed hostility, which Pierre noticed at once. He had approached the shed full of animation, but on seeing Prince Andrew's face he felt constrained and ill at ease.

"I have come... simply... you know... come... it interests me," said Pierre, who had so often that day senselessly repeated that word "interesting." "I wish to see the battle."

"Oh yes, and what do the Masonic brothers say about war? How would they stop it?" said Prince Andrew sarcastically. "Well, and how's Moscow? And my people? Have they reached Moscow at last?" he asked seriously.

"Yes, they have. Julie Drubetskaya told me so. I went to see them, but missed them. They have gone to your estate near Moscow."


The officers were about to take leave, but Prince Andrew, apparently reluctant to be left alone with his friend, asked them to stay and have tea. Seats were brought in and so was the tea. The officers gazed with surprise at Pierre's huge stout figure and listened to his talk of Moscow and the position of our army, round which he had ridden. Prince Andrew remained silent, and his expression was so forbidding that Pierre addressed his remarks chiefly to the good-natured battalion commander.

"So you understand the whole position of our troops?" Prince Andrew interrupted him.

"Yes--that is, how do you mean?" said Pierre. "Not being a military man I can't say I have understood it fully, but I understand the general position."

"Well, then, you know more than anyone else, be it who it may," said Prince Andrew.

"Oh!" said Pierre, looking over his spectacles in perplexity at Prince Andrew. "Well, and what do think of Kutuzov's appointment?" he asked.

"I was very glad of his appointment, that's all I know," replied Prince Andrew.

"And tell me your opinion of Barclay de Tolly. In Moscow they are saying heaven knows what about him.... What do you think of him?"

"Ask them," replied Prince Andrew, indicating the officers.

Pierre looked at Timokhin with the condescendingly interrogative smile with which everybody involuntarily addressed that officer.

"We see light again, since his Serenity has been appointed, your excellency," said Timokhin timidly, and continually turning to glance at his colonel.

"Why so?" asked Pierre.

"Well, to mention only firewood and fodder, let me inform you. Why, when we were retreating from Sventsyani we dare not touch a stick or a wisp of hay or anything. You see, we were going away, so he would get it all; wasn't it so, your excellency?" and again Timokhin turned to the prince. "But we daren't. In our regiment two officers were court-martialed for that kind of thing. But when his Serenity took command everything became straight forward. Now we see light..."

"Then why was it forbidden?"

Timokhin looked about in confusion, not knowing what or how to answer such a question. Pierre put the same question to Prince Andrew.

"Why, so as not to lay waste the country we were abandoning to the enemy," said Prince Andrew with venomous irony. "It is very sound: one can't permit the land to be pillaged and accustom the troops to marauding. At Smolensk too he judged correctly that the French might outflank us, as they had larger forces. But he could not understand this," cried Prince Andrew in a shrill voice that seemed to escape him involuntarily: "he could not understand that there, for the first time, we were fighting for Russian soil, and that there was a spirit in the men such as I had never seen before, that we had held the French for two days, and that that success had increased our strength tenfold. He ordered us to retreat, and all our efforts and losses went for nothing. He had no thought of betraying us, he tried to do the best he could, he thought out everything, and that is why he is unsuitable. He is unsuitable now, just because he plans out everything very thoroughly and accurately as every German has to. How can I explain?... Well, say your father has a German valet, and he is a splendid valet and satisfies your father's requirements better than you could, then it's all right to let him serve. But if your father is mortally sick you'll send the valet away and attend to your father with your own unpracticed, awkward hands, and will soothe him better than a skilled man who is a stranger could. So it has been with Barclay. While Russia was well, a foreigner could serve her and be a splendid minister; but as soon as she is in danger she needs one of her own kin. But in your Club they have been making him out a traitor! They slander him as a traitor, and the only result will be that afterwards, ashamed of their false accusations, they will make him out a hero or a genius instead of a traitor, and that will be still more unjust. He is an honest and very punctilious German."

"And they say he's a skillful commander," rejoined Pierre.

"I don't understand what is meant by 'a skillful commander,'" replied Prince Andrew ironically.

"A skillful commander?" replied Pierre. "Why, one who foresees all contingencies... and foresees the adversary's intentions."

"But that's impossible," said Prince Andrew as if it were a matter settled long ago.

Pierre looked at him in surprise.

"And yet they say that war is like a game of chess?" he remarked.

"Yes," replied Prince Andrew, "but with this little difference, that in chess you may think over each move as long as you please and are not limited for time, and with this difference too, that a knight is always stronger than a pawn, and two pawns are always stronger than one, while in war a battalion is sometimes stronger than a division and sometimes weaker than a company. The relative strength of bodies of troops can never be known to anyone. Believe me," he went on, "if things depended on arrangements made by the staff, I should be there making arrangements, but instead of that I have the honor to serve here in the regiment with these gentlemen, and I consider that on us tomorrow's battle will depend and not on those others.... Success never depends, and never will depend, on position, or equipment, or even on numbers, and least of all on position."

"But on what then?"

"On the feeling that is in me and in him," he pointed to Timokhin, "and in each soldier."

Prince Andrew glanced at Timokhin, who looked at his commander in alarm and bewilderment. In contrast to his former reticent taciturnity Prince Andrew now seemed excited. He could apparently not refrain from expressing the thoughts that had suddenly occurred to him.

"A battle is won by those who firmly resolve to win it! Why did we lose the battle at Austerlitz? The French losses were almost equal to ours, but very early we said to ourselves that we were losing the battle, and we did lose it. And we said so because we had nothing to fight for there, we wanted to get away from the battlefield as soon as we could. 'We've lost, so let us run,' and we ran. If we had not said that till the evening, heaven knows what might not have happened. But tomorrow we shan't say it! You talk about our position, the left flank weak and the right flank too extended," he went on. "That's all nonsense, there's nothing of the kind. But what awaits us tomorrow? A hundred million most diverse chances which will be decided on the instant by the fact that our men or theirs run or do not run, and that this man or that man is killed, but all that is being done at present is only play. The fact is that those men with whom you have ridden round the position not only do not help matters, but hinder. They are only concerned with their own petty interests."

"At such a moment?" said Pierre reproachfully.

"At such a moment!" Prince Andrew repeated. "To them it is only a moment affording opportunities to undermine a rival and obtain an extra cross or ribbon. For me tomorrow means this: a Russian army of a hundred thousand and a French army of a hundred thousand have met to fight, and the thing is that these two hundred thousand men will fight and the side that fights more fiercely and spares itself least will win. And if you like I will tell you that whatever happens and whatever muddles those at the top may make, we shall win tomorrow's battle. Tomorrow, happen what may, we shall win!"

"There now, your excellency! That's the truth, the real truth," said Timokhin. "Who would spare himself now? The soldiers in my battalion, believe me, wouldn't drink their vodka! 'It's not the day for that!' they say."

All were silent. The officers rose. Prince Andrew went out of the shed with them, giving final orders to the adjutant. After they had gone Pierre approached Prince Andrew and was about to start a conversation when they heard the clatter of three horses' hoofs on the road not far from the shed, and looking in that direction Prince Andrew recognized Wolzogen and Clausewitz accompanied by a Cossack. They rode close by continuing to converse, and Prince Andrew involuntarily heard these words:

"Der Krieg muss in Raum verlegt werden. Der Ansicht kann ich nicht genug Preis geben,"* said one of them.

*"The war must be extended widely. I cannot sufficiently commend that view."

"Oh, ja," said the other, "der Zweck ist nur den Feind zu schwachen, so kann man gewiss nicht den Verlust der Privat-Personen in Achtung nehmen."*

*"Oh, yes, the only aim is to weaken the enemy, so of course one cannot take into account the loss of private individuals."

"Oh, no," agreed the other.

"Extend widely!" said Prince Andrew with an angry snort, when they had ridden past. "In that 'extend' were my father, son, and sister, at Bald Hills. That's all the same to him! That's what I was saying to you--those German gentlemen won't win the battle tomorrow but will only make all the mess they can, because they have nothing in their German heads but theories not worth an empty eggshell and haven't in their hearts the one thing needed tomorrow--that which Timokhin has. They have yielded up all Europe to him, and have now come to teach us. Fine teachers!" and again his voice grew shrill.

"So you think we shall win tomorrow's battle?" asked Pierre.

"Yes, yes," answered Prince Andrew absently. "One thing I would do if I had the power," he began again, "I would not take prisoners. Why take prisoners? It's chivalry! The French have destroyed my home and are on their way to destroy Moscow, they have outraged and are outraging me every moment. They are my enemies. In my opinion they are all criminals. And so thinks Timokhin and the whole army. They should be executed! Since they are my foes they cannot be my friends, whatever may have been said at Tilsit."

"Yes, yes," muttered Pierre, looking with shining eyes at Prince Andrew. "I quite agree with you!"

The question that had perturbed Pierre on the Mozhaysk hill and all that day now seemed to him quite clear and completely solved. He now understood the whole meaning and importance of this war and of the impending battle. All he had seen that day, all the significant and stern expressions on the faces he had seen in passing, were lit up for him by a new light. He understood that latent heat (as they say in physics) of patriotism which was present in all these men he had seen, and this explained to him why they all prepared for death calmly, and as it were lightheartedly.

"Not take prisoners," Prince Andrew continued: "That by itself would quite change the whole war and make it less cruel. As it is we have played at war--that's what's vile! We play at magnanimity and all that stuff. Such magnanimity and sensibility are like the magnanimity and sensibility of a lady who faints when she sees a calf being killed: she is so kind-hearted that she can't look at blood, but enjoys eating the calf served up with sauce. They talk to us of the rules of war, of chivalry, of flags of truce, of mercy to the unfortunate and so on. It's all rubbish! I saw chivalry and flags of truce in 1805; they humbugged us and we humbugged them. They plunder other people's houses, issue false paper money, and worst of all they kill my children and my father, and then talk of rules of war and magnanimity to foes! Take no prisoners, but kill and be killed! He who has come to this as I have through the same sufferings..."

Prince Andrew, who had thought it was all the same to him whether or not Moscow was taken as Smolensk had been, was suddenly checked in his speech by an unexpected cramp in his throat. He paced up and down a few times in silence, but his eyes glittered feverishly and his lips quivered as he began speaking.

"If there was none of this magnanimity in war, we should go to war only when it was worth while going to certain death, as now. Then there would not be war because Paul Ivanovich had offended Michael Ivanovich. And when there was a war, like this one, it would be war! And then the determination of the troops would be quite different. Then all these Westphalians and Hessians whom Napoleon is leading would not follow him into Russia, and we should not go to fight in Austria and Prussia without knowing why. War is not courtesy but the most horrible thing in life; and we ought to understand that and not play at war. We ought to accept this terrible necessity sternly and seriously. It all lies in that: get rid of falsehood and let war be war and not a game. As it is now, war is the favorite pastime of the idle and frivolous. The military calling is the most highly honored.

"But what is war? What is needed for success in warfare? What are the habits of the military? The aim of war is murder; the methods of war are spying, treachery, and their encouragement, the ruin of a country's inhabitants, robbing them or stealing to provision the army, and fraud and falsehood termed military craft. The habits of the military class are the absence of freedom, that is, discipline, idleness, ignorance, cruelty, debauchery, and drunkenness. And in spite of all this it is the highest class, respected by everyone. All the kings, except the Chinese, wear military uniforms, and he who kills most people receives the highest rewards.

"They meet, as we shall meet tomorrow, to murder one another; they kill and maim tens of thousands, and then have thanksgiving services for having killed so many people (they even exaggerate the number), and they announce a victory, supposing that the more people they have killed the greater their achievement. How does God above look at them and hear them?" exclaimed Prince Andrew in a shrill, piercing voice. "Ah, my friend, it has of late become hard for me to live. I see that I have begun to understand too much. And it doesn't do for man to taste of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.... Ah, well, it's not for long!" he added.

"However, you're sleepy, and it's time for me to sleep. Go back to Gorki!" said Prince Andrew suddenly.

"Oh no!" Pierre replied, looking at Prince Andrew with frightened, compassionate eyes.

"Go, go! Before a battle one must have one's sleep out," repeated Prince Andrew.

He came quickly up to Pierre and embraced and kissed him. "Good-by, be off!" he shouted. "Whether we meet again or not..." and turning away hurriedly he entered the shed.

It was already dark, and Pierre could not make out whether the expression of Prince Andrew's face was angry or tender.

For some time he stood in silence considering whether he should follow him or go away. "No, he does not want it!" Pierre concluded. "And I know that this is our last meeting!" He sighed deeply and rode back to Gorki.

On re-entering the shed Prince Andrew lay down on a rug, but he could not sleep.

He closed his eyes. One picture succeeded another in his imagination. On one of them he dwelt long and joyfully. He vividly recalled an evening in Petersburg. Natasha with animated and excited face was telling him how she had gone to look for mushrooms the previous summer and had lost her way in the big forest. She incoherently described the depths of the forest, her feelings, and a talk with a beekeeper she met, and constantly interrupted her story to say: "No, I can't! I'm not telling it right; no, you don't understand," though he encouraged her by saying that he did understand, and he really had understood all she wanted to say. But Natasha was not satisfied with her own words: she felt that they did not convey the passionately poetic feeling she had experienced that day and wished to convey. "He was such a delightful old man, and it was so dark in the forest... and he had such kind... No, I can't describe it," she had said, flushed and excited. Prince Andrew smiled now the same happy smile as then when he had looked into her eyes. "I understood her," he thought. "I not only understood her, but it was just that inner, spiritual force, that sincerity, that frankness of soul--that very soul of hers which seemed to be fettered by her body--it was that soul I loved in her... loved so strongly and happily..." and suddenly he remembered how his love had ended. "He did not need anything of that kind. He neither saw nor understood anything of the sort. He only saw in her a pretty and fresh young girl, with whom he did not deign to unite his fate. And I?... and he is still alive and gay!"

Prince Andrew jumped up as if someone had burned him, and again began pacing up and down in front of the shed.