She used a few combs to pull hers into a French bun.
I wanted to say the entire French Foreign hiding in the other room but before I could speak, we both could barely hear a voice.
It touted a French cuisine presenting a local fare of fresh products.
Irish and French share common ancestors.
The light beyond the solid French doors made her flinch, but she forced herself to cross the doorway.
"That would be a description of his ego and nothing else," the brooding blond said with a light French accent.
Pierre gave him a sidelong look at his butchered French, and Sofia smiled despite herself.
"You know, the French are the kings and queens of love," he said and sat in his chair by the door.
"If you must be with a man, it's good that he's French," Claire said with a wink at Pierre.
She pulled her hair into a simple French twist, the kind she wore to work, and applied her make-up carefully.
It's because I'm French, isn't it?
You assume we French all eat croissants, Pierre complained.
I'm French, he said and swallowed one whole.
The three moved with her, Pierre speaking tersely in French on the phone.
"Drop her off at my place," he said, referring to the Immortal's stronghold in the French Alps.
Deidre gazed around her, eyes settling on the green glow, visible through the French doors.
She walked to the French doors.
When the sun was up, she retreated from the French doors, troubled by the lost souls and what she did to make Gabriel's life worse, when she'd hoped to make it better.
His French accent rolled off his deep voice in a way that made her smile.
Only when able to tolerate the floor did she cross to the French doors.
The French doors were open, rendering the room cold.
Rhyn stood beside a lake on the property the Immortals owned around the castle in the French Alps.
She turned where he indicated, noticing the double French doors for the first time.
Distressed by the idea, she found herself standing before the French doors again, looking at the green haze over the forest.
His French accent rolled off his deep voice.
No Immortals showed up on her doorstep the first two days after she left the French Alps.
Katie pushed the door to her designated guest room and stripped out of the grease- stained, French fry scented clothing.
"I don't even speak French," she muttered.
The French doors were locked, and she beat on them, looking around wildly for deck furniture to break the glass.
"Is it Old French or English?" another asked.
Katie awoke sweating in her bed in the cavernous room to which she.d been exiled upon arriving to the Immortals. castle in the French Alps.
He stood in front of the glass French doors of the balcony, taking up the whole space with his massive frame and heavy trench coat.
She turned it off and eased out of bed, stopping to gaze out the French doors.
They made their way unscathed through the dining room to their own little corner, where Toby.s favorite food combination of mac-n-cheese and French toast waited for him on the table.
She tossed the covers off, crossing to the French doors.
A bakery box held four small French pastries.
Kris had opened it near the cliff. On the other side of the world from the Caribbean Sanctuary, the French Alps were dark and cold, and it was sleeting.
Rhyn crossed his arms, irritated. Kiki trotted from the patio into the house perched on a hill overlooking Tokyo. He returned ten minutes later with a small briefcase, a jacket and a hard case for his iPad. Rhyn opened the portal, and the two strode through it, back to the massive tree where Rhyn had lost Toby in the cold, wet French Alps.
He grabbed an order of French fries and a burger at the drive-in of a national chain, eating on the road, licking the salt from his fingers as he searched among the glass and steel structures for the address he had jotted down earlier.
After the tuxedoed maitre d' had seated them, Fred had made a pronouncement in his best French accent, There are no problems, no worries at Café Richard.
We're all trapped by a raging blizzard in an obscure little hotel on the French Riviera.
Snow on the French Riviera?
At the moment his French lesson was unwelcome.
If she wanted to learn French or Spanish, she'd take lessons.
Pulling the hair off her neck into a French roll, she used a few bejeweled clips and let it go at that.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, French fries - you know, the usual fast food stuff.
"Take my hand and close your eyes," Jenn said, holding out her hand to reveal a perfect French manicure.
After the French occupation in 1842, the building was used successively as a soap factory, a prison, a canteen, a parish church, and, lastly, as a museum.
LOUIS PIERRE MANUEL (1 75 1 - 1 793), French writer and Revolutionist, was born at Montargis (Loiret).
According to Hagenbeck's estimate, this elephant, which came from the French Congo, was about six years old at the time it came under scientific notice.
Nothing was stated as to the probability of an increase in the stature of the French Congo animal as it grows older; but even if we allow another foot, its height would be considerably less than half that of a large Central African bull of the ordinary elephant.
The bay forms a fairly regular curve, broken on the French seaboard only by the estuaries of the Loire, Garonne, Adour and..
ST VINCENT DE PAUL (1576-1660), French divine, founder of the "Congregation of Priests of the Mission," usually known as Lazarites, was born on the 24th of April 1576 at Pouy, near Dax, in Gascogne, and was educated by the Franciscans at Dax and at Toulouse.
After short stays at Avignon and Rome, Vincent found his way to Paris, where he became favourably known to Monsieur (afterwards Cardinal) de Berulle, who was then founding the congregation of the French Oratory.
Albuera is celebrated on account of the victory gained there on the 16th of May 1811 by the British, Portuguese and Spaniards, under Marshal Beresford, over the French army commanded by Marshal Soult.
ANTOINE LOUIS CLAUDE DESTUTT, COMTE DE TRACY (1754-1836), French philosopher, son of a distinguished soldier, was born in Bourbonnais on the 20th of July 1754.
In 1808 he was elected a member of the French Academy in place of Cabanis, and in 1832 he was also named a member of the Academy of Moral Sciences on its reorganization.
To support one of the French candidates; after the election of Michael Wisniowiecki (June 19, 1669) he openly conspired, again in the French interest, against his lawful sovereign, and that too at the very time when the Turk was ravaging the southern frontier of the republic. Michael was the feeblest monarch the Poles could have placed upon the throne, and Sobieski deliberately attempted to make government of any kind impossible.
Assisted by French diplomacy at the Porte (Louis XIV.
Looked coldly on the project, and from this time forth the old familiar relations between the republic and the French monarchy were strained to breaking point, though the final rupture did not come till 1682 on the arrival of the Austrian minister, Zerowski, at Warsaw.
After resisting every attempt of the French court to draw him into the antiHabsburg league, Sobieski signed the famous treaty of alliance with the emperor Leopold against the Turks (March 31, 1683), which was the prelude to the most glorious episode of his life, the relief of Vienna and the liberation of Hungary from the Ottoman yoke.
Tatham, John Sobieski (Oxford, 1881); Kazimierz Waliszewski, Archives of French Foreign Affairs, 1674-1696, v.
He was of better education than most of his contemporaries, and had married a daughter of Colonel Seves the French non-commissioned officer who became Soliman Pasha under Mehemet Ali.
The impossibility of reconciling the financial requirements of the national party with the demands of the British and French controllers of the public debt, compelled him to resign in the following February.
In European history, the Renaissance (from the French word for "rebirth") was a period of renewed interest in the Classical Greek and Roman civilizations and their art, music, writing, and philosophy.
The French Revolution was a particularly macabre affair where the degree and cruelty of the retribution reached heights (or would it be lows?) seldom seen in Europe since the fall of Rome.
The result was the French Revolution, its Reign of Terror, and blood in the streets (as well as, ultimately, the creation of the metric system).
Back in the 1600s, French mathematician Blaise Pascal complained, "Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man has a right to kill me ... because his ruler has quarrel with mine, although I have none with him?"
French became the language of diplomacy and international affairs.
French wines and luxury brands are appreciated by connoisseurs (another French concept) everywhere.
Long seasoned and weather-stained in the typhoons and calms of all four oceans, her old hull's complexion was darkened like a French grenadier's, who has alike fought in Egypt and Siberia.
This whale, among the English of old vaguely known as the Trumpa whale, and the Physeter whale, and the Anvil Headed whale, is the present Cachalot of the French, and the Pottsfich of the Germans, and the Macrocephalus of the Long Words.
It is the Great Mysticetus of the English naturalists; the Greenland Whale of the English whalemen; the Baliene Ordinaire of the French whalemen; the Growlands Walfish of the Swedes.
This peculiarity is most vividly hit by the French in the name they bestow upon that fish.
Now, in allusion to the white, silent stillness of death in this shark, and the mild deadliness of his habits, the French call him REQUIN.
Some ten days after the French ships sailed, the whale-boat arrived, and the captain was forced to enlist some of the more civilized Tahitians, who had been somewhat used to the sea.
But, taken for all in all, by far the finest, though in some details not the most correct, presentations of whales and whaling scenes to be anywhere found, are two large French engravings, well executed, and taken from paintings by one Garnery.
The French are the lads for painting action.
The natural aptitude of the French for seizing the picturesqueness of things seems to be peculiarly evinced in what paintings and engravings they have of their whaling scenes.
In addition to those fine engravings from Garnery, there are two other French engravings worthy of note, by some one who subscribes himself "H. Durand."
It is a quiet noon-scene among the isles of the Pacific; a French whaler anchored, inshore, in a calm, and lazily taking water on board; the loosened sails of the ship, and the long leaves of the palms in the background, both drooping together in the breezeless air.
But this objection likewise falls to the ground, because a German exegetist supposes that Jonah must have taken refuge in the floating body of a DEAD whale--even as the French soldiers in the Russian campaign turned their dead horses into tents, and crawled into them.
As we glided nearer, the stranger showed French colours from his peak; and by the eddying cloud of vulture sea-fowl that circled, and hovered, and swooped around him, it was plain that the whale alongside must be what the fishermen call a blasted whale, that is, a whale that has died unmolested on the sea, and so floated an unappropriated corpse.
Drawing across her bow, he perceived that in accordance with the fanciful French taste, the upper part of her stem-piece was carved in the likeness of a huge drooping stalk, was painted green, and for thorns had copper spikes projecting from it here and there; the whole terminating in a symmetrical folded bulb of a bright red colour.
"He says, Monsieur," said the Guernsey-man, in French, turning to his captain, "that only yesterday his ship spoke a vessel, whose captain and chief-mate, with six sailors, had all died of a fever caught from a blasted whale they had brought alongside."
Though the word ambergris is but the French compound for grey amber, yet the two substances are quite distinct.
But I may as well say--en passant, as the French remark--that I myself--that is to say, Jack Bunger, late of the reverend clergy--am a strict total abstinence man; I never drink--
And Lacepede, the French naturalist, in his elaborate history of whales, in the very beginning of his work (page 3), sets down the Right Whale at one hundred metres, three hundred and twenty-eight feet.
Everything fascinated me, especially the French bronzes.
I had a French grammar in raised print, and as I already knew some French, I often amused myself by composing in my head short exercises, using the new words as I came across them, and ignoring rules and other technicalities as much as possible.
I even tried, without aid, to master the French pronunciation, as I found all the letters and sounds described in the book.
Of course this was tasking slender powers for great ends; but it gave me something to do on a rainy day, and I acquired a sufficient knowledge of French to read with pleasure La Fontaine's "Fables," "Le Medecin Malgre Lui" and passages from "Athalie."
In addition to my work in these subjects, I studied, during the two years I was in the school, arithmetic, physical geography, French and German.
I found French much more difficult.
I studied it with Madame Olivier, a French lady who did not know the manual alphabet, and who was obliged to give her instruction orally.
I had had, moreover, a good start in French, and received six months' instruction in Latin; but German was the subject with which I was most familiar.
The subjects I offered were Elementary and Advanced German, French, Latin, English, and Greek and Roman history, making nine hours in all.
In the finals, no one read my work over to me, and in the preliminaries I offered subjects with some of which I was in a measure familiar before my work in the Cambridge school; for at the beginning of the year I had passed examinations in English, History, French and German, which Mr. Gilman gave me from previous Harvard papers.
My studies the first year were French, German, history, English composition and English literature.
In the French course I read some of the works of Corneille, Moliere, Racine, Alfred de Musset and Sainte-Beuve, and in the German those of Goethe and Schiller.
With this machine movable type shuttles can be used, and one can have several shuttles, each with a different set of characters--Greek, French, or mathematical, according to the kind of writing one wishes to do on the typewriter.
Later I read the book again in French, and I found that, in spite of the vivid word-pictures, and the wonderful mastery of language, I liked it no better.
In my college reading I have become somewhat familiar with French and German literature.
Of all the French writers that I have read, I like Moliere and Racine best.
A little French boy will say, Parlez-vous Francais? and I will say, Oui, Monsieur, vous avez un joli chapeau.
I am studying French and German and Latin and Greek.
J'ai une bonne petite soeur is French, and it means I have a good little sister.
Like a good many of Helen Keller's early letters, this to her French teacher is her re-phrasing of a story.
I study French, too.
When I talk French to Lioness I will call her mon beau chien.
A French gentleman, whose name I cannot remember, showed me the great French bronzes.
We did not wonder that the great French artist thought the place worthy to be the home of his grand ideal.
TO MISS CAROLINE DERBY New York, April 25, 1896. ...My studies are the same as they were when I saw you, except that I have taken up French with a French teacher who comes three times a week.
I have read "Le Medecin Malgre Lui," a very good French comedy by Moliere, with pleasure; and they say I speak French pretty well now, and German also.
Anyway, French and German people understand what I am trying to say, and that is very encouraging.
We were busy all the time; we attended the meetings and talked with hundreds of people, among whom were dear Dr. Bell, Mr. Banerji of Calcutta, Monsieur Magnat of Paris with whom I conversed in French exclusively, and many other distinguished persons.
I have been examined in English, German, French, and Greek and Roman history.
The subjects I offered were elementary and advanced German, French, Latin, English, and Greek and Roman History.
I am studying English history, English literature, French and Latin, and by and by I shall take up German and English composition--let us groan!
In French Teacher is reading "Columba" to me.
We've just had four lovely dresses made by a French dressmaker.
In French we have finished "Colomba," and I am reading "Horace" by Corneille and La Fontaine's fables, both of which are in braille.
Since receiving my certificate of admission to Radcliffe last July, I have been studying with a private tutor, Horace, Aeschylus, French, German, Rhetoric, English History, English Literature and Criticism, and English composition.
I am studying English--Sophomore English, if you please, (though I can't see that it is different from just plain English) German, French and History.
I passed off my English and advanced French before I entered college, and I choose the courses I like best.
At that time her actual working vocabulary in French was very small, but by using her judgment, as we laughingly called the mental process, she could guess at the meanings of the words and put the sense together much as a child puzzles out a sliced object.
She speaks French and German.
Another friend, who is as familiar with French as with English, finds her French much more intelligible than her English.
When she speaks English she distributes her emphasis as in French and so does not put sufficient stress on accented syllables.
My Dear Mr. Anagnos: You will laugh when you open your little friend's letter and see all the queer mistakes she has made in French, but I think you will be pleased to know that I can write even a short letter in French.
Volapuk is a paradox, unless one has French or English or German or some other language that has grown up in a nation.
If one may judge who rarely looks into the newspapers, nothing new does ever happen in foreign parts, a French revolution not excepted.
I know a woodchopper, of middle age, who takes a French paper, not for news as he says, for he is above that, but to "keep himself in practice," he being a Canadian by birth; and when I ask him what he considers the best thing he can do in this world, he says, beside this, to keep up and add to his English.
These rags in bales, of all hues and qualities, the lowest condition to which cotton and linen descend, the final result of dress--of patterns which are now no longer cried up, unless it be in Milwaukee, as those splendid articles, English, French, or American prints, ginghams, muslins, etc., gathered from all quarters both of fashion and poverty, going to become paper of one color or a few shades only, on which, forsooth, will be written tales of real life, high and low, and founded on fact!
Sometimes I saw him at his work in the woods, felling trees, and he would greet me with a laugh of inexpressible satisfaction, and a salutation in Canadian French, though he spoke English as well.
I sometimes found the name of his native parish handsomely written in the snow by the highway, with the proper French accent, and knew that he had passed.
Jan. 18th, 1742-3, "John Melven Cr. by 1 Grey Fox 0--2--3"; they are not now found here; and in his ledger, Feb, 7th, 1743, Hezekiah Stratton has credit "by 1/2 a Catt skin 0--1--4-1/2"; of course, a wild-cat, for Stratton was a sergeant in the old French war, and would not have got credit for hunting less noble game.
All her invitations without exception, written in French, and delivered by a scarlet-liveried footman that morning, ran as follows:
He spoke in that refined French in which our grandfathers not only spoke but thought, and with the gentle, patronizing intonation natural to a man of importance who had grown old in society and at court.
A propos," she added, becoming calm again, "I am expecting two very interesting men tonight, le Vicomte de Mortemart, who is connected with the Montmorencys through the Rohans, one of the best French families.
"I have brought my work," said she in French, displaying her bag and addressing all present.
"You know," said the princess in the same tone of voice and still in French, turning to a general, "my husband is deserting me?
"General Kutuzov," said Bolkonski, speaking French and stressing the last syllable of the general's name like a Frenchman, "has been pleased to take me as an aide-de-camp...."
By intrigues, violence, exile, and executions, French society--I mean good French society--will have been forever destroyed, and then...
"The Emperor Alexander," said she, with the melancholy which always accompanied any reference of hers to the Imperial family, "has declared that he will leave it to the French people themselves to choose their own form of government; and I believe that once free from the usurper, the whole nation will certainly throw itself into the arms of its rightful king," she concluded, trying to be amiable to the royalist emigrant.
At the present time it is difficult to know the real state of French public opinion.
They listened to the French sentences which to them were meaningless, with an air of understanding but not wishing to appear to do so.
"Well, mon cher," said the vicomte, having seated himself beside Hippolyte in the carriage, "your little princess is very nice, very nice indeed, quite French," and he kissed the tips of his fingers.
"How is it," she began, as usual in French, settling down briskly and fussily in the easy chair, "how is it Annette never got married?
As he said this Prince Andrew was less than ever like that Bolkonski who had lolled in Anna Pavlovna's easy chairs and with half-closed eyes had uttered French phrases between his teeth.
"I bet fifty imperials"--he spoke French that the Englishman might understand him, but he did not speak it very well--"I bet fifty imperials... or do you wish to make it a hundred?" added he, addressing the Englishman.
As soon as he had seen a visitor off he returned to one of those who were still in the drawing room, drew a chair toward him or her, and jauntily spreading out his legs and putting his hands on his knees with the air of a man who enjoys life and knows how to live, he swayed to and fro with dignity, offered surmises about the weather, or touched on questions of health, sometimes in Russian and sometimes in very bad but self-confident French; then again, like a man weary but unflinching in the fulfillment of duty, he rose to see some visitors off and, stroking his scanty gray hairs over his bald patch, also asked them to dinner.
"Prince, humanum est errare, * but..." replied the doctor, swallowing his r's, and pronouncing the Latin words with a French accent.
"Well, then, old chap, mon tres honorable Alphonse Karlovich," said Shinshin, laughing ironically and mixing the most ordinary Russian expressions with the choicest French phrases--which was a peculiarity of his speech.
Je vous demande un peu,*(4) said he, continually changing from French to Russian.
Do you think the French are here?
"Do you think he can last till morning?" asked the German, addressing Lorrain in French which he pronounced badly.
The French doctor held no taper; he was leaning against one of the columns in a respectful attitude implying that he, a foreigner, in spite of all differences of faith, understood the full importance of the rite now being performed and even approved of it.
Prince Andrew, seeing that his father insisted, began--at first reluctantly, but gradually with more and more animation, and from habit changing unconsciously from Russian to French as he went on--to explain the plan of operation for the coming campaign.
He explained how an army, ninety thousand strong, was to threaten Prussia so as to bring her out of her neutrality and draw her into the war; how part of that army was to join some Swedish forces at Stralsund; how two hundred and twenty thousand Austrians, with a hundred thousand Russians, were to operate in Italy and on the Rhine; how fifty thousand Russians and as many English were to land at Naples, and how a total force of five hundred thousand men was to attack the French from different sides.
No, my dear boy," he continued, "you and your generals won't get on against Buonaparte; you'll have to call in the French, so that birds of a feather may fight together.
She was speaking as usual in French, and as if after long self-restraint she wished to make up for lost time.
Here are two letters from Count Nostitz and here is one from His Highness the Archduke Ferdinand and here are these," he said, handing him several papers, "make a neat memorandum in French out of all this, showing all the news we have had of the movements of the Austrian army, and then give it to his excellency."
Involuntarily he felt a joyful agitation at the thought of the humiliation of arrogant Austria and that in a week's time he might, perhaps, see and take part in the first Russian encounter with the French since Suvorov met them.
Quarante mille hommes massacres et l'armee de nos allies detruite, et vous trouvez la le mot pour rire, * he said, as if strengthening his views by this French sentence.
*(2) Only a hobbledehoy could amuse himself in this way, he added in Russian--but pronouncing the word with a French accent--having noticed that Zherkov could still hear him.
Will they get there and fire the bridge or will the French get within grapeshot range and wipe them out?
He pointed to the French guns, the limbers of which were being detached and hurriedly removed.
On the French side, amid the groups with cannon, a cloud of smoke appeared, then a second and a third almost simultaneously, and at the moment when the first report was heard a fourth was seen.
The French guns were hastily reloaded.
The hussars had succeeded in setting it on fire and the French batteries were now firing at them, no longer to hinder them but because the guns were trained and there was someone to fire at.
The French had time to fire three rounds of grapeshot before the hussars got back to their horses.
Pursued by the French army of a hundred thousand men under the command of Bonaparte, encountering a population that was unfriendly to it, losing confidence in its allies, suffering from shortness of supplies, and compelled to act under conditions of war unlike anything that had been foreseen, the Russian army of thirty-five thousand men commanded by Kutuzov was hurriedly retreating along the Danube, stopping where overtaken by the enemy and fighting rearguard actions only as far as necessary to enable it to retreat without losing its heavy equipment.
As a mark of the commander-in-chief's special favor he was sent with the news of this victory to the Austrian court, now no longer at Vienna (which was threatened by the French) but at Brunn.
Then he began to imagine that the Russians were running away and that he himself was killed, but he quickly roused himself with a feeling of joy, as if learning afresh that this was not so but that on the contrary the French had run away.
Besides it was pleasant, after his reception by the Austrians, to speak if not in Russian (for they were speaking French) at least with a Russian who would, he supposed, share the general Russian antipathy to the Austrians which was then particularly strong.
He went on talking in this way in French, uttering only those words in Russian on which he wished to put a contemptuous emphasis.
Kutuzov alone at last gains a real victory, destroying the spell of the invincibility of the French, and the Minister of War does not even care to hear the details.
It's too late now when Vienna is occupied by the French army!
"Count Lichtenfels was here this morning," Bilibin continued, "and showed me a letter in which the parade of the French in Vienna was fully described: Prince Murat et tout le tremblement...
He closed his eyes, and immediately a sound of cannonading, of musketry and the rattling of carriage wheels seemed to fill his ears, and now again drawn out in a thin line the musketeers were descending the hill, the French were firing, and he felt his heart palpitating as he rode forward beside Schmidt with the bullets merrily whistling all around, and he experienced tenfold the joy of living, as he had not done since childhood.
"You, Bolkonski, don't know," said Bilibin turning to Prince Andrew, "that all the atrocities of the French army (I nearly said of the Russian army) are nothing compared to what this man has been doing among the women!"
The French have abandoned the left bank?
Why, the French have crossed the bridge that Auersperg was defending, and the bridge was not blown up: so Murat is now rushing along the road to Brunn and will be here in a day or two.
The French entered Vienna as I told you.
The officer sends for Auersperg; these gentlemen embrace the officers, crack jokes, sit on the cannon, and meanwhile a French battalion gets to the bridge unobserved, flings the bags of incendiary material into the water, and approaches the tÃªte-de-pont.
In a word, those gentlemen, Gascons indeed, so bewildered him with fine words, and he is so flattered by his rapidly established intimacy with the French marshals, and so dazzled by the sight of Murat's mantle and ostrich plumes, qu'il n'y voit que du feu, et oublie celui qu'il devait faire faire sur l'ennemi! *(2) In spite of the animation of his speech, Bilibin did not forget to pause after this mot to give time for its due appreciation.
The French battalion rushes to the bridgehead, spikes the guns, and the bridge is taken!
But what is best of all," he went on, his excitement subsiding under the delightful interest of his own story, "is that the sergeant in charge of the cannon which was to give the signal to fire the mines and blow up the bridge, this sergeant, seeing that the French troops were running onto the bridge, was about to fire, but Lannes stayed his hand.
The sergeant, who was evidently wiser than his general, goes up to Auersperg and says: 'Prince, you are being deceived, here are the French!'
That same night, having taken leave of the Minister of War, Bolkonski set off to rejoin the army, not knowing where he would find it and fearing to be captured by the French on the way to Krems.
The spy reported that the French, after crossing the bridge at Vienna, were advancing in immense force upon Kutuzov's line of communication with the troops that were arriving from Russia.
If Kutuzov decided to retreat along the road from Krems to Olmutz, to unite with the troops arriving from Russia, he risked being forestalled on that road by the French who had crossed the Vienna bridge, and encumbered by his baggage and transport, having to accept battle on the march against an enemy three times as strong, who would hem him in from two sides.
The French, the spy reported, having crossed the Vienna bridge, were advancing by forced marches toward Znaim, which lay sixty-six miles off on the line of Kutuzov's retreat.
If he reached Znaim before the French, there would be great hope of saving the army; to let the French forestall him at Znaim meant the exposure of his whole army to a disgrace such as that of Ulm, or to utter destruction.
But to forestall the French with his whole army was impossible.
The road for the French from Vienna to Znaim was shorter and better than the road for the Russians from Krems to Znaim.
Bagration was to make this march without resting, and to halt facing Vienna with Znaim to his rear, and if he succeeded in forestalling the French he was to delay them as long as possible.
Marching thirty miles that stormy night across roadless hills, with his hungry, ill-shod soldiers, and losing a third of his men as stragglers by the way, Bagration came out on the Vienna-Znaim road at Hollabrunn a few hours ahead of the French who were approaching Hollabrunn from Vienna.
The success of the trick that had placed the Vienna bridge in the hands of the French without a fight led Murat to try to deceive Kutuzov in a similar way.
A truce was Kutuzov's sole chance of gaining time, giving Bagration's exhausted troops some rest, and letting the transport and heavy convoys (whose movements were concealed from the French) advance if but one stage nearer Znaim.
The officer on duty, a handsome, elegantly dressed man with a diamond ring on his forefinger, who was fond of speaking French though he spoke it badly, offered to conduct Prince Andrew.
From there the French could already be seen.
At Grunth also some apprehension and alarm could be felt, but the nearer Prince Andrew came to the French lines the more confident was the appearance of our troops.
The soldiers forming the picket line, like showmen exhibiting a curiosity, no longer looked at the French but paid attention to the sight-seers and grew weary waiting to be relieved.
Look there! one soldier was saying to another, pointing to a Russian musketeer who had gone up to the picket line with an officer and was rapidly and excitedly talking to a French grenadier.
Dolokhov did not answer the captain; he had been drawn into a hot dispute with the French grenadier.
"Only take care you and your Cossacks are not all captured!" said the French grenadier.
The French onlookers and listeners laughed.
"Ah, that's the way to talk French," said the picket soldiers.
Sidorov, turning to the French, winked, and began to jabber meaningless sounds very fast: "Kari, mala, tafa, safi, muter, Kaska," he said, trying to give an expressive intonation to his voice.
Ouh! ouh! came peals of such healthy and good-humored laughter from the soldiers that it infected the French involuntarily, so much so that the only thing left to do seemed to be to unload the muskets, explode the ammunition, and all return home as quickly as possible.
Just facing it, on the crest of the opposite hill, the village of Schon Grabern could be seen, and in three places to left and right the French troops amid the smoke of their campfires, the greater part of whom were evidently in the village itself and behind the hill.
Our right flank was posted on a rather steep incline which dominated the French position.
The French line was wider than ours, and it was plain that they could easily outflank us on both sides.
His eyes ran rapidly over the wide space, but he only saw that the hitherto motionless masses of the French now swayed and that there really was a battery to their left.
(He remembered that in French there is some peculiar way of addressing a prince, but could not get it quite right.)
"A French pancake," answered Zherkov.
Though Tushin's guns had been intended to cannonade the valley, he was firing incendiary balls at the village of Schon Grabern visible just opposite, in front of which large masses of French were advancing.
The French had advanced nearest on our right.
Below the height on which the Kiev regiment was stationed, in the hollow where the rivulet flowed, the soul-stirring rolling and crackling of musketry was heard, and much farther to the right beyond the dragoons, the officer of the suite pointed out to Bagration a French column that was outflanking us.
But at that moment an adjutant galloped up with a message from the commander of the regiment in the hollow and news that immense masses of the French were coming down upon them and that his regiment was in disorder and was retreating upon the Kiev grenadiers.
He reported that his regiment had been attacked by French cavalry and that, though the attack had been repulsed, he had lost more than half his men.
They were still firing, not at the cavalry which had disappeared, but at French infantry who had come into the hollow and were firing at our men.
While he was speaking, the curtain of smoke that had concealed the hollow, driven by a rising wind, began to move from right to left as if drawn by an invisible hand, and the hill opposite, with the French moving about on it, opened out before them.
All eyes fastened involuntarily on this French column advancing against them and winding down over the uneven ground.
The head of the French column, with its officers leading, appeared from below the hill.
The French were already near.
(He distinctly saw an old French officer who, with gaitered legs and turned-out toes, climbed the hill with difficulty.)
Suddenly one shot after another rang out from the French, smoke appeared all along their uneven ranks, and musket shots sounded.
In the center Tushin's forgotten battery, which had managed to set fire to the Schon Grabern village, delayed the French advance.
The French were putting out the fire which the wind was spreading, and thus gave us time to retreat.
But our left--which consisted of the Azov and Podolsk infantry and the Pavlograd hussars--was simultaneously attacked and outflanked by superior French forces under Lannes and was thrown into confusion.
The two commanders were much exasperated with one another and, long after the action had begun on the right flank and the French were already advancing, were engaged in discussion with the sole object of offending one another.
There was nothing fresh to be seen from the line, for from where they had been before it had been evident that it was impossible for cavalry to act among the bushes and broken ground, as well as that the French were outflanking our left.
The French had attacked the men collecting wood in the copse.
Where our men were, and where the French, he did not know.
The French had fallen behind, and just as he looked round the first man changed his run to a walk and, turning, shouted something loudly to a comrade farther back.
Having galloped safely through the French, he reached a field behind the copse across which our men, regardless of orders, were running and descending the valley.
But at that moment the French who were attacking, suddenly and without any apparent reason, ran back and disappeared from the outskirts, and Russian sharpshooters showed themselves in the copse.
It was Timokhin's company, which alone had maintained its order in the wood and, having lain in ambush in a ditch, now attacked the French unexpectedly.
Timokhin, armed only with a sword, had rushed at the enemy with such a desperate cry and such mad, drunken determination that, taken by surprise, the French had thrown down their muskets and run.
Dolokhov, running beside Timokhin, killed a Frenchman at close quarters and was the first to seize the surrendering French officer by his collar.
Our fugitives returned, the battalions re-formed, and the French who had nearly cut our left flank in half were for the moment repulsed.
The man was wearing a bluish coat of broadcloth, he had no knapsack or cap, his head was bandaged, and over his shoulder a French munition pouch was slung.
"Your excellency, here are two trophies," said Dolokhov, pointing to the French sword and pouch.
When the supports attached to Tushin's battery had been moved away in the middle of the action by someone's order, the battery had continued firing and was only not captured by the French because the enemy could not surmise that anyone could have the effrontery to continue firing from four quite undefended guns.
On the contrary, the energetic action of that battery led the French to suppose that here--in the center--the main Russian forces were concentrated.
The French columns that had advanced beyond the village went back; but as though in revenge for this failure, the enemy placed ten guns to the right of the village and began firing them at Tushin's battery.
In their childlike glee, aroused by the fire and their luck in successfully cannonading the French, our artillerymen only noticed this battery when two balls, and then four more, fell among our guns, one knocking over two horses and another tearing off a munition-wagon driver's leg.
Twice they noticed the French appearing below them, and then they fired grapeshot at them.
The French swarming round their guns seemed to him like ants.
He imagined himself as an enormously tall, powerful man who was throwing cannon balls at the French with both hands.
Together with Tushin, stepping across the bodies and under a terrible fire from the French, he attended to the removal of the guns.
This was the last French attack and was met by soldiers who had sheltered in the village houses.
The French had been repulsed for the last time.
In a corner of the hut stood a standard captured from the French, and the accountant with the naive face was feeling its texture, shaking his head in perplexity--perhaps because the banner really interested him, perhaps because it was hard for him, hungry as he was, to look on at a dinner where there was no place for him.
In the next hut there was a French colonel who had been taken prisoner by our dragoons.
The general whose regiment had been inspected at Braunau was informing the prince that as soon as the action began he had withdrawn from the wood, mustered the men who were woodcutting, and, allowing the French to pass him, had made a bayonet charge with two battalions and had broken up the French troops.
"By the way, your excellency, I should inform you," he continued-- remembering Dolokhov's conversation with Kutuzov and his last interview with the gentleman-ranker--"that Private Dolokhov, who was reduced to the ranks, took a French officer prisoner in my presence and particularly distinguished himself."
Next day the French army did not renew their attack, and the remnant of Bagration's detachment was reunited to Kutuzov's army.
The aunt coughed, swallowed, and said in French that she was very pleased to see Helene, then she turned to Pierre with the same words of welcome and the same look.
"Here at least we shall have the benefit of your company all to ourselves, dear prince," said the little princess (of course, in French) to Prince Vasili.
Oh, you petisenfans, allay cushay dormir! he exclaimed, imitating his Russian nurse's French, at which he and Boris used to laugh long ago.
Stopping in front of the Pavlograds, the Tsar said something in French to the Austrian Emperor and smiled.
"Very well, then, be so good as to wait," said Prince Andrew to the general, in Russian, speaking with the French intonation he affected when he wished to speak contemptuously, and noticing Boris, Prince Andrew, paying no more heed to the general who ran after him imploring him to hear something more, nodded and turned to him with a cheerful smile.
The strategic position where the operations would take place was familiar in all its details to the Austrian General Weyrother: a lucky accident had ordained that the Austrian army should maneuver the previous year on the very fields where the French had now to be fought; the adjacent locality was known and shown in every detail on the maps, and Bonaparte, evidently weakened, was undertaking nothing.
To the Head of the French Government...
My brother knows him, he's dined with him--the present Emperor--more than once in Paris, and tells me he never met a more cunning or subtle diplomatist--you know, a combination of French adroitness and Italian play-acting!
At nine in the morning, he heard firing in front and shouts of hurrah, and saw wounded being brought back (there were not many of them), and at last he saw how a whole detachment of French cavalry was brought in, convoyed by a sotnya of Cossacks.
The men and officers returning spoke of a brilliant victory, of the occupation of the town of Wischau and the capture of a whole French squadron.
They are bringing another! cried one of the officers, indicating a captive French dragoon who was being brought in on foot by two Cossacks.
One of them was leading by the bridle a fine large French horse he had taken from the prisoner.
The French dragoon was a young Alsatian who spoke French with a German accent.
He was breathless with agitation, his face was red, and when he heard some French spoken he at once began speaking to the officers, addressing first one, then another.
He brought with him into our rearguard all the freshness of atmosphere of the French army, which was so alien to us.
This battle, which consisted in the capture of a French squadron, was represented as a brilliant victory over the French, and so the Emperor and the whole army, especially while the smoke hung over the battlefield, believed that the French had been defeated and were retreating against their will.
"If we fought before," he said, "not letting the French pass, as at Schon Grabern, what shall we not do now when he is at the front?
At midday he was admitted to the Emperor, and an hour later he rode off with Prince Dolgorukov to the advanced post of the French army.
Just as in a clock, the result of the complicated motion of innumerable wheels and pulleys is merely a slow and regular movement of the hands which show the time, so the result of all the complicated human activities of 160,000 Russians and French--all their passions, desires, remorse, humiliations, sufferings, outbursts of pride, fear, and enthusiasm--was only the loss of the battle of Austerlitz, the so-called battle of the three Emperors--that is to say, a slow movement of the hand on the dial of human history.
Next to Weyrother sat Count Langeron who, with a subtle smile that never left his typically southern French face during the whole time of the reading, gazed at his delicate fingers which rapidly twirled by its corners a gold snuffbox on which was a portrait.
Over there, where the shouting came from, a fire flared up and went out again, then another, and all along the French line on the hill fires flared up and the shouting grew louder and louder.
Rostov could hear the sound of French words but could not distinguish them.
The lights spread farther and farther, probably along the line of the French camp.
Having descended the hill at a trot, he no longer saw either our own or the enemy's fires, but heard the shouting of the French more loudly and distinctly.
"Follow me!" said he, crossed the road, and began riding up the hill at a gallop toward the point where the French pickets had been standing that evening.
Dolgorukov was still insisting that the French had retreated and had only lit fires to deceive us.
I will keep out of fire if you with your habitual valor carry disorder and confusion into the enemy's ranks, but should victory be in doubt, even for a moment, you will see your Emperor exposing himself to the first blows of the enemy, for there must be no doubt of victory, especially on this day when what is at stake is the honor of the French infantry, so necessary to the honor of our nation.
This victory will conclude our campaign and we can return to winter quarters, where fresh French troops who are being raised in France will join us, and the peace I shall conclude will be worthy of my people, of you, and of myself.
The troops of the center, the reserves, and Bagration's right flank had not yet moved, but on the left flank the columns of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, which were to be the first to descend the heights to attack the French right flank and drive it into the Bohemian mountains according to plan, were already up and astir.
The whole French army, and even Napoleon himself with his staff, were not on the far side of the streams and hollows of Sokolnitz and Schlappanitz beyond which we intended to take up our position and begin the action, but were on this side, so close to our own forces that Napoleon with the naked eye could distinguish a mounted man from one on foot.
The marshals, accompanied by adjutants, galloped off in different directions, and a few minutes later the chief forces of the French army moved rapidly toward those Pratzen Heights which were being more and more denuded by Russian troops moving down the valley to their left.
The French were supposed to be a mile and a half away, but had suddenly and unexpectedly appeared just in front of us.
With the naked eye Prince Andrew saw below them to the right, not more than five hundred paces from where Kutuzov was standing, a dense French column coming up to meet the Apsherons.
The French had attacked the battery and, seeing Kutuzov, were firing at him.
He also saw French infantry soldiers who were seizing the artillery horses and turning the guns round.
He now saw clearly the figure of a red-haired gunner with his shako knocked awry, pulling one end of a mop while a French soldier tugged at the other.
And really another French soldier, trailing his musket, ran up to the struggling men, and the fate of the red-haired gunner, who had triumphantly secured the mop and still did not realize what awaited him, was about to be decided.
They were our Horse Guards, advancing to attack the French cavalry that was coming to meet them.
Rostov, fearing to be crushed or swept into the attack on the French, galloped along the front as hard as his horse could go, but still was not in time to avoid them.
This was the brilliant charge of the Horse Guards that amazed the French themselves.
Though he saw French cannon and French troops on the Pratzen Heights just where he had been ordered to look for the commander-in-chief, he could not, did not wish to, believe that.
This whole mass droned and jostled in confusion under the dismal influence of cannon balls flying from the French batteries stationed on the Pratzen Heights.
The French had not yet occupied that region, and the Russians--the uninjured and slightly wounded--had left it long ago.
The French, who had ceased firing at this field strewn with dead and wounded where there was no one left to fire at, on seeing an adjutant riding over it trained a gun on him and fired several shots.
The French cannon did not reach there and the musketry fire sounded far away.
After five o'clock it was only at the Augesd Dam that a hot cannonade (delivered by the French alone) was still to be heard from numerous batteries ranged on the slopes of the Pratzen Heights, directed at our retreating forces.
In the rearguard, Dokhturov and others rallying some battalions kept up a musketry fire at the French cavalry that was pursuing our troops.
(The flag had already been taken by the French as a trophy.)
The first words he heard on coming to his senses were those of a French convoy officer, who said rapidly: "We must halt here: the Emperor will pass here immediately; it will please him to see these gentlemen prisoners."
All Moscow repeated Prince Dolgorukov's saying: "If you go on modeling and modeling you must get smeared with clay," suggesting consolation for our defeat by the memory of former victories; and the words of Rostopchin, that French soldiers have to be incited to battle by highfalutin words, and Germans by logical arguments to show them that it is more dangerous to run away than to advance, but that Russian soldiers only need to be restrained and held back!
Helene laughed, "that Dolokhov was my lover," she said in French with her coarse plainness of speech, uttering the word amant as casually as any other word, "and you believed it!
Willarski, stepping toward him, said something to him in French in an undertone and then went up to a small wardrobe in which Pierre noticed garments such as he had never seen before.
"Ah, my dear vicomte," put in Anna Pavlovna, "L'Urope" (for some reason she called it Urope as if that were a specially refined French pronunciation which she could allow herself when conversing with a Frenchman), "L'Urope ne sera jamais notre alliee sincere." *
Boris, speaking with deliberation, told them in pure, correct French many interesting details about the armies and the court, carefully abstaining from expressing an opinion of his own about the facts he was recounting.
Bilibin was now at army headquarters in a diplomatic capacity, and though he wrote in French and used French jests and French idioms, he described the whole campaign with a fearless self-censure and self- derision genuinely Russian.
The Prussian generals pride themselves on being polite to the French and lay down their arms at the first demand.
A bullet fired by a French sharpshooter hit him in the fleshy part of his leg.
The hospital was in a small Prussian town that had been twice devastated by Russian and French troops.
On the thirteenth of June the French and Russian Emperors arrived in Tilsit.
He saw the raft, decorated with monograms, saw Napoleon pass before the French Guards on the farther bank of the river, saw the pensive face of the Emperor Alexander as he sat in silence in a tavern on the bank of the Niemen awaiting Napoleon's arrival, saw both Emperors get into boats, and saw how Napoleon--reaching the raft first--stepped quickly forward to meet Alexander and held out his hand to him, and how they both retired into the pavilion.
Zhilinski, a Pole brought up in Paris, was rich, and passionately fond of the French, and almost every day of the stay at Tilsit, French officers of the Guard and from French headquarters were dining and lunching with him and Boris.
On the evening of the twenty-fourth of June, Count Zhilinski arranged a supper for his French friends.
The guest of honor was an aide-de-camp of Napoleon's, there were also several French officers of the Guard, and a page of Napoleon's, a young lad of an old aristocratic French family.
Rostov, in common with the whole army from which he came, was far from having experienced the change of feeling toward Napoleon and the French- -who from being foes had suddenly become friends--that had taken place at headquarters and in Boris.
In the army, Bonaparte and the French were still regarded with mingled feelings of anger, contempt, and fear.
Quite lately, happening to meet a wounded French colonel on the road, Rostov had maintained with heat that peace was impossible between a legitimate sovereign and the criminal Bonaparte.
Rostov was therefore unpleasantly struck by the presence of French officers in Boris' lodging, dressed in uniforms he had been accustomed to see from quite a different point of view from the outposts of the flank.
As soon as he noticed a French officer, who thrust his head out of the door, that warlike feeling of hostility which he always experienced at the sight of the enemy suddenly seized him.
"Well then, go, go, go..." said Rostov, and refusing supper and remaining alone in the little room, he walked up and down for a long time, hearing the lighthearted French conversation from the next room.
The Emperors exchanged decorations: Alexander received the Cross of the Legion of Honor and Napoleon the Order of St. Andrew of the First Degree, and a dinner had been arranged for the evening, given by a battalion of the French Guards to the Preobrazhensk battalion.
In his civilian clothes and a round hat, he wandered about the town, staring at the French and their uniforms and at the streets and houses where the Russian and French Emperors were staying.
In a square he saw tables being set up and preparations made for the dinner; he saw the Russian and French colors draped from side to side of the streets, with huge monograms A and N. In the windows of the houses also flags and bunting were displayed.
The Emperor rode to the square where, facing one another, a battalion of the Preobrazhensk regiment stood on the right and a battalion of the French Guards in their bearskin caps on the left.
In spite of the trampling of the French gendarmes' horses, which were pushing back the crowd, Rostov kept his eyes on every movement of Alexander and Bonaparte.
Officious hands, Russian and French, immediately seized the cross and fastened it to the uniform.
The Preobrazhensk battalion, breaking rank, mingled with the French Guards and sat down at the tables prepared for them.
Russian and French officers embraced him, congratulated him, and pressed his hands.
A rumble of Russian and French voices and laughter filled the air round the tables in the square.
Tomorrow our Emperor will send a St. George's Cross to the bravest of the French Guards.
Suddenly, on one of the officers' saying that it was humiliating to look at the French, Rostov began shouting with uncalled-for wrath, and therefore much to the surprise of the officers:
Across the paper was scrawled in pencil, without capital letters, misspelled, and without punctuation: "Unsoundly constructed because resembles an imitation of the French military code and from the Articles of War needlessly deviating."
"Si vous envisagez la question sous ce point de vue," * he began, pronouncing French with evident difficulty, and speaking even slower than in Russian but quite calmly.
The largest of these was the French circle of the Napoleonic alliance, the circle of Count Rumyantsev and Caulaincourt.
She was visited by the members of the French embassy and by many belonging to that circle and noted for their intellect and polished manners.
Oh yes, that's the French ambassador himself! she replied to the countess' inquiry about Caulaincourt.
All the same, the French are charming, very charming.
"A wonderful talent!" he said to Prince Andrew, and Magnitski immediately assumed a pose and began reciting some humorous verses in French which he had composed about various well-known Petersburg people.
He recalled his labors on the Legal Code, and how painstakingly he had translated the articles of the Roman and French codes into Russian, and he felt ashamed of himself.
Vera, having decided in her own mind that Pierre ought to be entertained with conversation about the French embassy, at once began accordingly.
The French ambassador was there, and a foreign prince of the blood who had of late become a frequent visitor of hers, and many brilliant ladies and gentlemen.
It was all dreadfully difficult and complicated; and he replied to his mother in cold, formal letters in French, beginning: "My dear Mamma," and ending: "Your obedient son," which said nothing of when he would return.
Where, how, and when had this young countess, educated by an emigree French governess, imbibed from the Russian air she breathed that spirit and obtained that manner which the pas de chale * would, one would have supposed, long ago have effaced?
* The French shawl dance.
"Natasha!" he whispered in French, "do you know I have made up my mind about Sonya?"
The Spaniards, through the Catholic clergy, offer praise to God for their victory over the French on the fourteenth of June, and the French, also through the Catholic clergy, offer praise because on that same fourteenth of June they defeated the Spaniards.
At that time enthusiasm for the Emperor Alexander's regime had weakened and a patriotic and anti-French tendency prevailed there, and this, together with his past and his intellect and his originality, at once made Prince Nicholas Bolkonski an object of particular respect to the Moscovites and the center of the Moscow opposition to the government.
However often she told herself that she must not get irritable when teaching her nephew, almost every time that, pointer in hand, she sat down to show him the French alphabet, she so longed to pour her own knowledge quickly and easily into the child--who was already afraid that Auntie might at any moment get angry--that at his slightest inattention she trembled, became flustered and heated, raised her voice, and sometimes pulled him by the arm and put him in the corner.
In 1811 there was living in Moscow a French doctor--Metivier--who had rapidly become the fashion.
French spy, slave of Buonaparte, spy, get out of my house!
The figure cut by the new French ambassador.
And he narrated his whole conversation with the French doctor and the reasons that convinced him that Metivier was a spy.
"How can we fight the French, Prince?" said Count Rostopchin.
The French are our Gods: Paris is our Kingdom of Heaven.
French dresses, French ideas, French feelings!
Bonjour, Sonya dear! she added, turning to Sonya and indicating by this French greeting her slightly contemptuous though affectionate attitude toward her.
As Shinshin had remarked, from the time of his arrival Anatole had turned the heads of the Moscow ladies, especially by the fact that he slighted them and plainly preferred the gypsy girls and French actresses--with the chief of whom, Mademoiselle George, he was said to be on intimate relations.
"Dear Princess," she wrote in French quickly and mechanically, and then paused.
Anatole, with uniform unbuttoned, walked to and fro from the room where the witnesses were sitting, through the study to the room behind, where his French valet and others were packing the last of his things.
"Mon cher," answered Anatole (their whole conversation was in French), "I don't consider myself bound to answer questions put to me in that tone."
To us, the wish or objection of this or that French corporal to serve a second term appears as much a cause as Napoleon's refusal to withdraw his troops beyond the Vistula and to restore the duchy of Oldenburg; for had he not wished to serve, and had a second, a third, and a thousandth corporal and private also refused, there would have been so many less men in Napoleon's army and the war could not have occurred.
The people of the west moved eastwards to slay their fellow men, and by the law of coincidence thousands of minute causes fitted in and co- ordinated to produce that movement and war: reproaches for the nonobservance of the Continental System, the Duke of Oldenburg's wrongs, the movement of troops into Prussia--undertaken (as it seemed to Napoleon) only for the purpose of securing an armed peace, the French Emperor's love and habit of war coinciding with his people's inclinations, allurement by the grandeur of the preparations, and the expenditure on those preparations and the need of obtaining advantages to compensate for that expenditure, the intoxicating honors he received in Dresden, the diplomatic negotiations which, in the opinion of contemporaries, were carried on with a sincere desire to attain peace, but which only wounded the self-love of both sides, and millions of other causes that adapted themselves to the event that was happening or coincided with it.
That evening, between issuing one order that the forged Russian paper money prepared for use in Russia should be delivered as quickly as possible and another that a Saxon should be shot, on whom a letter containing information about the orders to the French army had been found, Napoleon also gave instructions that the Polish colonel who had needlessly plunged into the river should be enrolled in the Legion d'honneur of which Napoleon was himself the head.
Boris was thus the first to learn the news that the French army had crossed the Niemen and, thanks to this, was able to show certain important personages that much that was concealed from others was usually known to him, and by this means he rose higher in their estimation.
The unexpected news of the French having crossed the Niemen was particularly startling after a month of unfulfilled expectations, and at a ball.
Having set off in the small hours of the fourteenth, accompanied by a bugler and two Cossacks, Balashev reached the French outposts at the village of Rykonty, on the Russian side of the Niemen, by dawn.
There he was stopped by French cavalry sentinels.
A French noncommissioned officer of hussars, in crimson uniform and a shaggy cap, shouted to the approaching Balashev to halt.
The Russian Cossacks and bugler and the French hussars looked silently at one another from time to time.
A French colonel of hussars, who had evidently just left his bed, came riding from the village on a handsome sleek gray horse, accompanied by two hussars.
The French colonel with difficulty repressed a yawn, but was polite and evidently understood Balashev's importance.
They rode through the village of Rykonty, past tethered French hussar horses, past sentinels and men who saluted their colonel and stared with curiosity at a Russian uniform, and came out at the other end of the village.
He wore a red mantle, and stretched his long legs forward in French fashion.
Balashev was only two horses' length from the equestrian with the bracelets, plumes, necklaces, and gold embroidery, who was galloping toward him with a theatrically solemn countenance, when Julner, the French colonel, whispered respectfully: "The King of Naples!"
On seeing the Russian general he threw back his head, with its long hair curling to his shoulders, in a majestically royal manner, and looked inquiringly at the French colonel.
After four days of solitude, ennui, and consciousness of his impotence and insignificance--particularly acute by contrast with the sphere of power in which he had so lately moved--and after several marches with the marshal's baggage and the French army, which occupied the whole district, Balashev was brought to Vilna--now occupied by the French-- through the very gate by which he had left it four days previously.
Four days before, sentinels of the Preobrazhensk regiment had stood in front of the house to which Balashev was conducted, and now two French grenadiers stood there in blue uniforms unfastened in front and with shaggy caps on their heads, and an escort of hussars and uhlans and a brilliant suite of aides-de-camp, pages, and generals, who were waiting for Napoleon to come out, were standing at the porch, round his saddle horse and his Mameluke, Rustan.
Judging by the calmly moderate and amicable tone in which the French Emperor spoke, Balashev was firmly persuaded that he wished for peace and intended to enter into negotiations.
He grew confused and said: "On condition that the French army retires beyond the Niemen."
Stein, a traitor expelled from his own country; Armfeldt, a rake and an intriguer; Wintzingerode, a fugitive French subject; Bennigsen, rather more of a soldier than the others, but all the same an incompetent who was unable to do anything in 1807 and who should awaken terrible memories in the Emperor Alexander's mind....
Balashev respectfully ventured to disagree with the French Emperor.
This reply of Balashev's, which hinted at the recent defeats of the French in Spain, was much appreciated when he related it at Alexander's court, but it was not much appreciated at Napoleon's dinner, where it passed unnoticed.
To have one's ear pulled by the Emperor was considered the greatest honor and mark of favor at the French court.
The first army, with which was the Emperor, occupied the fortified camp at Drissa; the second army was retreating, trying to effect a junction with the first one from which it was said to be cut off by large French forces.
Of a fourth opinion the most conspicuous representative was the Tsarevich, who could not forget his disillusionment at Austerlitz, where he had ridden out at the head of the Guards, in his casque and cavalry uniform as to a review, expecting to crush the French gallantly; but unexpectedly finding himself in the front line had narrowly escaped amid the general confusion.
Chernyshev was sitting at a window in the first room with a French novel in his hand.
To this semicouncil had been invited the Swedish General Armfeldt, Adjutant General Wolzogen, Wintzingerode (whom Napoleon had referred to as a renegade French subject), Michaud, Toll, Count Stein who was not a military man at all, and Pfuel himself, who, as Prince Andrew had heard, was the mainspring of the whole affair.
What had happened was that news (which afterwards proved to be false) had been received during the night of a movement by the French to outflank the Drissa camp.
Wolzogen came to the assistance of his chief, who spoke French badly, and began translating for him, hardly able to keep pace with Pfuel, who was rapidly demonstrating that not only all that had happened, but all that could happen, had been foreseen in his scheme, and that if there were now any difficulties the whole fault lay in the fact that his plan had not been precisely executed.
Wolzogen took his place and continued to explain his views in French, every now and then turning to Pfuel and saying, "Is it not so, your excellency?"
Armfeldt says our army is cut in half, and Paulucci says we have got the French army between two fires; Michaud says that the worthlessness of the Drissa camp lies in having the river behind it, and Pfuel says that is what constitutes its strength; Toll proposes one plan, Armfeldt another, and they are all good and all bad, and the advantages of any suggestions can be seen only at the moment of trial.
The uhlans started, the streamers on their spears fluttering, and trotted downhill toward the French cavalry which was seen below to the left.
They swooped down close to the French dragoons, something confused happened there amid the smoke, and five minutes later our uhlans were galloping back, not to the place they had occupied but more to the left, and among the orange-colored uhlans on chestnut horses and behind them, in a large group, blue French dragoons on gray horses could be seen.
Rostov, with his keen sportsman's eye, was one of the first to catch sight of these blue French dragoons pursuing our uhlans.
Nearer and nearer in disorderly crowds came the uhlans and the French dragoons pursuing them.
He felt instinctively that if the hussars struck at the French dragoons now, the latter could not withstand them, but if a charge was to be made it must be done now, at that very moment, or it would be too late.
Hardly had they reached the bottom of the hill before their pace instinctively changed to a gallop, which grew faster and faster as they drew nearer to our uhlans and the French dragoons who galloped after them.
Nearly all the French dragoons were galloping back.
The French dragoon officer was hopping with one foot on the ground, the other being caught in the stirrup.
In front, the French infantry were firing as they ran.
Yes, oh yes, that French officer with the dimple.
Doctors came to see her singly and in consultation, talked much in French, German, and Latin, blamed one another, and prescribed a great variety of medicines for all the diseases known to them, but the simple idea never occurred to any of them that they could not know the disease Natasha was suffering from, as no disease suffered by a live man can be known, for every living person has his own peculiarities and always has his own peculiar, personal, novel, complicated disease, unknown to medicine--not a disease of the lungs, liver, skin, heart, nerves, and so on mentioned in medical books, but a disease consisting of one of the innumerable combinations of the maladies of those organs.
The French alphabet, written out with the same numerical values as the Hebrew, in which the first nine letters denote units and the others tens, will have the following significance:
Moreover, by applying the same system to the words quarante-deux, * which was the term allowed to the beast that "spoke great things and blasphemies," the same number 666 was obtained; from which it followed that the limit fixed for Napoleon's power had come in the year 1812 when the French emperor was forty-two.
Once when making such calculations he wrote down his own name in French, Comte Pierre Besouhoff, but the sum of the numbers did not come right.
At dinner, at which champagne was drunk to the health of the new chevalier of St. George, Shinshin told them the town news, of the illness of the old Georgian princess, of Metivier's disappearance from Moscow, and of how some German fellow had been brought to Rostopchin and accused of being a French "spyer" (so Count Rostopchin had told the story), and how Rostopchin let him go and assured the people that he was "not a spire at all, but only an old German ruin."
I've told the countess she should not speak French so much.
It is becoming dangerous to speak French in the streets.
He was agitated; this extraordinary gathering not only of nobles but also of the merchant- class--les etats generaux (States-General)--evoked in him a whole series of ideas he had long laid aside but which were deeply graven in his soul: thoughts of the Contrat Social and the French Revolution.
He himself did not yet know what he would say, but he began to speak eagerly, occasionally lapsing into French or expressing himself in bookish Russian.
Rostov charged the French because he could not restrain his wish for a gallop across a level field; and in the same way the innumerable people who took part in the war acted in accord with their personal characteristics, habits, circumstances, and aims.
The cause of the destruction of the French army in 1812 is clear to us now.
Not only did no one see this, but on the Russian side every effort was made to hinder the only thing that could save Russia, while on the French side, despite Napoleon's experience and so-called military genius, every effort was directed to pushing on to Moscow at the end of the summer, that is, to doing the very thing that was bound to lead to destruction.
In historical works on the year 1812 French writers are very fond of saying that Napoleon felt the danger of extending his line, that he sought a battle and that his marshals advised him to stop at Smolensk, and of making similar statements to show that the danger of the campaign was even then understood.
But all these hints at what happened, both from the French side and the Russian, are advanced only because they fit in with the event.
During the whole period of the war not only was there no wish on the Russian side to draw the French into the heart of the country, but from their first entry into Russia everything was done to stop them.
We tried to unite them, with the evident intention of giving battle and checking the enemy's advance, and by this effort to unite them while avoiding battle with a much stronger enemy, and necessarily withdrawing the armies at an acute angle--we led the French on to Smolensk.
But we withdrew at an acute angle not only because the French advanced between our two armies; the angle became still more acute and we withdrew still farther, because Barclay de Tolly was an unpopular foreigner disliked by Bagration (who would come under his command), and Bagration--being in command of the second army--tried to postpone joining up and coming under Barclay's command as long as he could.
Preparations were made to fight the French before Smolensk.
While disputes and intrigues were going on about the future field of battle, and while we were looking for the French--having lost touch with them--the French stumbled upon Neverovski's division and reached the walls of Smolensk.
"I write you in Russian, my good friend," wrote Julie in her Frenchified Russian, "because I have a detestation for all the French, and the same for their language which I cannot support to hear spoken....
Prince Andrew's second letter, written near Vitebsk after the French had occupied that town, gave a brief account of the whole campaign, enclosed for them a plan he had drawn and forecasts as to the further progress of the war.
At dinner that day, on Dessalles' mentioning that the French were said to have already entered Vitebsk, the old prince remembered his son's letter.
Yes, he writes that the French were beaten at... at... what river is it?
The French at Vitebsk, in four days' march they may be at Smolensk; perhaps are already there!
In Anna Pavlovna's circle only those Frenchmen were admitted who were deep- rooted legitimists, and patriotic views were expressed to the effect that one ought not to go to the French theater and that to maintain the French troupe was costing the government as much as a whole army corps.
In the French circle of Helene and Rumyantsev the reports of the cruelty of the enemy and of the war were contradicted and all Napoleon's attempts at conciliation were discussed.
While this was taking place in Petersburg the French had already passed Smolensk and were drawing nearer and nearer to Moscow.
Several adjutants galloped off, and an hour later, Lavrushka, the serf Denisov had handed over to Rostov, rode up to Napoleon in an orderly's jacket and on a French cavalry saddle, with a merry, and tipsy face.
In reality Lavrushka, having got drunk the day before and left his master dinnerless, had been whipped and sent to the village in quest of chickens, where he engaged in looting till the French took him prisoner.
Lelorgne d'Ideville smilingly interpreted this speech to Napoleon thus: "If a battle takes place within the next three days the French will win, but if later, God knows what will happen."
News of the approach of the French came from all sides, and in one village, ten miles from Bogucharovo, a homestead had been looted by French marauders.
The doctor insisted on the necessity of moving the prince; the provincial Marshal of the Nobility sent an official to Princess Mary to persuade her to get away as quickly as possible, and the head of the rural police having come to Bogucharovo urged the same thing, saying that the French were only some twenty-five miles away, that French proclamations were circulating in the villages, and that if the princess did not take her father away before the fifteenth, he could not answer for the consequences.
Alpatych, who had reached Bogucharovo shortly before the old prince's death, noticed an agitation among the peasants, and that contrary to what was happening in the Bald Hills district, where over a radius of forty miles all the peasants were moving away and leaving their villages to be devastated by the Cossacks, the peasants in the steppe region round Bogucharovo were, it was rumored, in touch with the French, received leaflets from them that passed from hand to hand, and did not migrate.
He learned from domestic serfs loyal to him that the peasant Karp, who possessed great influence in the village commune and had recently been away driving a government transport, had returned with news that the Cossacks were destroying deserted villages, but that the French did not harm them.
Alpatych also knew that on the previous day another peasant had even brought from the village of Visloukhovo, which was occupied by the French, a proclamation by a French general that no harm would be done to the inhabitants, and if they remained they would be paid for anything taken from them.
But this he was unable to do, for he received tidings that the French had unexpectedly advanced, and had barely time to remove his own family and valuables from his estate.
Mademoiselle Bourienne took from her reticule a proclamation (not printed on ordinary Russian paper) of General Rameau's, telling people not to leave their homes and that the French authorities would afford them proper protection.
"They probably recognized that I am French, by my name," replied Mademoiselle Bourienne blushing.
They, the French, would settle in this house: M. le General Rameau would occupy Prince Andrew's study and amuse himself by looking through and reading his letters and papers.
For the last three days Bogucharovo had lain between the two hostile armies, so that it was as easy for the Russian rearguard to get to it as for the French vanguard; Rostov, as a careful squadron commander, wished to take such provisions as remained at Bogucharovo before the French could get them.
"The French," replied Ilyin jestingly, "and here is Napoleon himself"-- and he pointed to Lavrushka.
"I am very, very grateful to you," she said in French, "but I hope it was all a misunderstanding and that no one is to blame for it."
On the contrary, it seemed to her certain that had he not been there she would have perished at the hands of the mutineers and of the French, and that he had exposed himself to terrible and obvious danger to save her, and even more certain was it that he was a man of lofty and noble soul, able to understand her position and her sorrow.
The plan was based on the fact that the French line of operation was too extended, and it proposed that instead of, or concurrently with, action on the front to bar the advance of the French, we should attack their line of communication.
He had in his hand a French book which he closed as Prince Andrew entered, marking the place with a knife.
"And the French shall too, believe me," he went on, growing warmer and beating his chest, "I'll make them eat horseflesh!"
Dans le doute, mon cher," he paused, "abstiens-toi" *(2)--he articulated the French proverb deliberately.
And above all," thought Prince Andrew, "one believes in him because he's Russian, despite the novel by Genlis and the French proverbs, and because his voice shook when he said: 'What they have brought us to!' and had a sob in it when he said he would 'make them eat horseflesh!'"
Rostopchin's broadsheets, headed by woodcuts of a drink shop, a potman, and a Moscow burgher called Karpushka Chigirin, "who--having been a militiaman and having had rather too much at the pub--heard that Napoleon wished to come to Moscow, grew angry, abused the French in very bad language, came out of the drink shop, and, under the sign of the eagle, began to address the assembled people," were read and discussed, together with the latest of Vasili Lvovich Pushkin's bouts rimes.
In the corner room at the club, members gathered to read these broadsheets, and some liked the way Karpushka jeered at the French, saying: They will swell up with Russian cabbage, burst with our buckwheat porridge, and choke themselves with cabbage soup.
The foreigners were deported to Nizhni by boat, and Rostopchin had said to them in French: "Rentrez en vousmemes; entrez dans la barque, et n'en faites pas une barque de Charon." * There was talk of all the government offices having been already removed from Moscow, and to this Shinshin's witticism was added--that for that alone Moscow ought to be grateful to Napoleon.
In Julie's set, as in many other circles in Moscow, it had been agreed that they would speak nothing but Russian and that those who made a slip and spoke French should pay fines to the Committee of Voluntary Contributions.
I should make too good a target for the French, besides I am afraid I should hardly be able to climb onto a horse.
These words showed Pierre clearly for the first time that the French would enter Moscow.
The second broadsheet stated that our headquarters were at Vyazma, that Count Wittgenstein had defeated the French, but that as many of the inhabitants of Moscow wished to be armed, weapons were ready for them at the arsenal: sabers, pistols, and muskets which could be had at a low price.
But, above all, the French will be here any day now, so what are we waiting for?
A French cook accused of being a spy was being flogged.
There was not the least sense in it for either the French or the Russians.
Its immediate result for the Russians was, and was bound to be, that we were brought nearer to the destruction of Moscow--which we feared more than anything in the world; and for the French its immediate result was that they were brought nearer to the destruction of their whole army--which they feared more than anything in the world.
Before the battle of Borodino our strength in proportion to the French was about as five to six, but after that battle it was little more than one to two: previously we had a hundred thousand against a hundred and twenty thousand; afterwards little more than fifty thousand against a hundred thousand.
So it happened that throughout the whole battle the Russians opposed the entire French army launched against our left flank with but half as many men.
(Poniatowski's action against Utitsa, and Uvarov's on the right flank against the French, were actions distinct from the main course of the battle.)
The battle of Borodino was not fought on a chosen and entrenched position with forces only slightly weaker than those of the enemy, but, as a result of the loss of the Shevardino Redoubt, the Russians fought the battle of Borodino on an open and almost unentrenched position, with forces only half as numerous as the French; that is to say, under conditions in which it was not merely unthinkable to fight for ten hours and secure an indecisive result, but unthinkable to keep an army even from complete disintegration and flight.
"Yes, and there, further on, are the French," said the officer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The French have destroyed my home and are on their way to destroy Moscow, they have outraged and are outraging me every moment.
On August 25, the eve of the battle of Borodino, M. de Beausset, prefect of the French Emperor's palace, arrived at Napoleon's quarters at Valuevo with Colonel Fabvier, the former from Paris and the latter from Madrid.
De Beausset bowed low, with that courtly French bow which only the old retainers of the Bourbons knew how to make, and approached him, presenting an envelope.
It was evident to anyone, military or not, that it was here the French should attack.
These dispositions, of which the French historians write with enthusiasm and other historians with profound respect, were as follows:
Many historians say that the French did not win the battle of Borodino because Napoleon had a cold, and that if he had not had a cold the orders he gave before and during the battle would have been still more full of genius and Russia would have been lost and the face of the world have been changed.
The French soldiers went to kill and be killed at the battle of Borodino not because of Napoleon's orders but by their own volition.
The whole army--French, Italian, German, Polish, and Dutch--hungry, ragged, and weary of the campaign, felt at the sight of an army blocking their road to Moscow that the wine was drawn and must be drunk.
Near by, the campfires were dimly burning among the French Guards, and in the distance those of the Russian line shone through the smoke.
The weather was calm, and the rustle and tramp of the French troops already beginning to move to take up their positions were clearly audible.
A crowd of military men was assembled there, members of the staff could be heard conversing in French, and Kutuzov's gray head in a white cap with a red band was visible, his gray nape sunk between his shoulders.
Without being aware of it he had come to the bridge across the Kolocha between Gorki and Borodino, which the French (having occupied Borodino) were attacking in the first phase of the battle.
The knoll to which Pierre ascended was that famous one afterwards known to the Russians as the Knoll Battery or Raevski's Redoubt, and to the French as la grande redoute, la fatale redoute, la redoute du centre, around which tens of thousands fell, and which the French regarded as the key to the whole position.
Instinctively guarding against the shock--for they had been running together at full speed before they saw one another--Pierre put out his hands and seized the man (a French officer) by the shoulder with one hand and by the throat with the other.
But the French officer was evidently more inclined to think he had been taken prisoner because Pierre's strong hand, impelled by instinctive fear, squeezed his throat ever tighter and tighter.
The Frenchman was about to say something, when just above their heads, terrible and low, a cannon ball whistled, and it seemed to Pierre that the French officer's head had been torn off, so swiftly had he ducked it.
The French who had occupied the battery fled, and our troops shouting "Hurrah!" pursued them so far beyond the battery that it was difficult to call them back.
The prisoners were brought down from the battery and among them was a wounded French general, whom the officers surrounded.
Crowds of wounded- -some known to Pierre and some unknown--Russians and French, with faces distorted by suffering, walked, crawled, and were carried on stretchers from the battery.
Then when the whole field was covered with smoke, two divisions, Campan's and Dessaix's, advanced from the French right, while Murat's troops advanced on Borodino from their left.
But whether they were moving or stationary, whether they were French or Russian, could not be discovered from the Shevardino Redoubt.
But not only was it impossible to make out what was happening from where he was standing down below, or from the knoll above on which some of his generals had taken their stand, but even from the fleches themselves--in which by this time there were now Russian and now French soldiers, alternately or together, dead, wounded, alive, frightened, or maddened-- even at those fleches themselves it was impossible to make out what was taking place.
An adjutant galloped up from the fleches with a pale and frightened face and reported to Napoleon that their attack had been repulsed, Campan wounded, and Davout killed; yet at the very time the adjutant had been told that the French had been repulsed, the fleches had in fact been recaptured by other French troops, and Davout was alive and only slightly bruised.
They all asked for reinforcements and all said that the Russians were holding their positions and maintaining a hellish fire under which the French army was melting away.
The news that the Russians were attacking the left flank of the French army aroused that horror in Napoleon.
It was no longer a battle: it was a continuous slaughter which could be of no avail either to the French or the Russians.
At eleven o'clock they brought him news that the fleches captured by the French had been retaken, but that Prince Bagration was wounded.
When Scherbinin came galloping from the left flank with news that the French had captured the fleches and the village of Semenovsk, Kutuzov, guessing by the sounds of the battle and by Scherbinin's looks that the news was bad, rose as if to stretch his legs and, taking Scherbinin's arm, led him aside.
In the center the French had not got beyond Borodino, and on their left flank Uvarov's cavalry had put the French to flight.
Toward three o'clock the French attacks ceased.
Raevski reported that the troops were firmly holding their ground and that the French no longer ventured to attack.
Paris would have been the capital of the world, and the French the envy of the nations!
The Russian expedition actually cost France less than fifty thousand men; the Russian army in its retreat from Vilna to Moscow lost in the various battles four times more men than the French army; the burning of Moscow cost the lives of a hundred thousand Russians who died of cold and want in the woods; finally, in its march from Moscow to the Oder the Russian army also suffered from the severity of the season; so that by the time it reached Vilna it numbered only fifty thousand, and at Kalisch less than eighteen thousand.
Anyone looking at the disorganized rear of the Russian army would have said that, if only the French made one more slight effort, it would disappear; and anyone looking at the rear of the French army would have said that the Russians need only make one more slight effort and the French would be destroyed.
But neither the French nor the Russians made that effort, and the flame of battle burned slowly out.
But even had the aim of the Russians been to drive the French from their positions, they could not have made this last effort, for all the Russian troops had been broken up, there was no part of the Russian army that had not suffered in the battle, and though still holding their positions they had lost ONE HALF of their army.
The French who had attacked the Russian army in order to drive it from its position ought to have made that effort, for as long as the Russians continued to block the road to Moscow as before, the aim of the French had not been attained and all their efforts and losses were in vain.
But the French did not make that effort.
All the generals, officers, and soldiers of the French army knew it could not be done, because the flagging spirit of the troops would not permit it.
The moral force of the attacking French army was exhausted.
The French invaders, like an infuriated animal that has in its onslaught received a mortal wound, felt that they were perishing, but could not stop, any more than the Russian army, weaker by one half, could help swerving.
By impetus gained, the French army was still able to roll forward to Moscow, but there, without further effort on the part of the Russians, it had to perish, bleeding from the mortal wound it had received at Borodino.
The French army pushed on to Moscow, its goal, its impetus ever increasing as it neared its aim, just as the velocity of a falling body increases as it approaches the earth.
The Russians retreated eighty miles--to beyond Moscow--and the French reached Moscow and there came to a standstill.
The French did not move.
And meanwhile, the very next morning after the battle, the French army advanced of itself upon the Russians, carried forward by the force of its own momentum now seemingly increased in inverse proportion to the square of the distance from its aim.
For instance, on the twenty-eighth it is suggested to him to cross to the Kaluga road, but just then an adjutant gallops up from Miloradovich asking whether he is to engage the French or retire.
Admitting the view of Barclay and others that a defensive battle at Fili was impossible, but imbued with Russian patriotism and the love of Moscow, he proposed to move troops from the right to the left flank during the night and attack the French right flank the following day.
What so affected him was Kutuzov's calm and quiet comment on the advantage or disadvantage of Bennigsen's proposal to move troops by night from the right to the left flank to attack the French right wing.
They went away because for Russians there could be no question as to whether things would go well or ill under French rule in Moscow.
It was out of the question to be under French rule, it would be the worst thing that could happen.
They went away even before the battle of Borodino and still more rapidly after it, despite Rostopchin's calls to defend Moscow or the announcement of his intention to take the wonder-working icon of the Iberian Mother of God and go to fight, or of the balloons that were to destroy the French, and despite all the nonsense Rostopchin wrote in his broadsheets.
But Count Rostopchin, who now taunted those who left Moscow and now had the government offices removed; now distributed quite useless weapons to the drunken rabble; now had processions displaying the icons, and now forbade Father Augustin to remove icons or the relics of saints; now seized all the private carts in Moscow and on one hundred and thirty-six of them removed the balloon that was being constructed by Leppich; now hinted that he would burn Moscow and related how he had set fire to his own house; now wrote a proclamation to the French solemnly upbraiding them for having destroyed his Orphanage; now claimed the glory of having hinted that he would burn Moscow and now repudiated the deed; now ordered the people to catch all spies and bring them to him, and now reproached them for doing so; now expelled all the French residents from Moscow, and now allowed Madame Aubert-Chalme (the center of the whole French colony in Moscow) to remain, but ordered the venerable old postmaster Klyucharev to be arrested and exiled for no particular offense; now assembled the people at the Three Hills to fight the French and now, to get rid of them, handed over to them a man to be killed and himself drove away by a back gate; now declared that he would not survive the fall of Moscow, and now wrote French verses in albums concerning his share in the affair--this man did not understand the meaning of what was happening but merely wanted to do something himself that would astonish people, to perform some patriotically heroic feat; and like a child he made sport of the momentous, and unavoidable event-- the abandonment and burning of Moscow--and tried with his puny hand now to speed and now to stay the enormous, popular tide that bore him along with it.
Dans ma position j'ai des devoirs, * said Helene changing from Russian, in which language she always felt that her case did not sound quite clear, into French which suited it better.
The groom, the coachman, and the innkeeper told Pierre that an officer had come with news that the French were already near Mozhaysk and that our men were leaving it.
You did not write it yourself but translated it, and translated it abominably, because you don't even know French, you fool.'
Some said there had been another battle after Borodino at which the French had been routed, while others on the contrary reported that the Russian army had been destroyed.
From the twenty-sixth of August to the second of September, that is from the battle of Borodino to the entry of the French into Moscow, during the whole of that agitating, memorable week, there had been the extraordinary autumn weather that always comes as a surprise, when the sun hangs low and gives more heat than in spring, when everything shines so brightly in the rare clear atmosphere that the eyes smart, when the lungs are strengthened and refreshed by inhaling the aromatic autumn air, when even the nights are warm, and when in those dark warm nights, golden stars startle and delight us continually by falling from the sky.
But when events assumed their true historical character, when expressing hatred for the French in words proved insufficient, when it was not even possible to express that hatred by fighting a battle, when self- confidence was of no avail in relation to the one question before Moscow, when the whole population streamed out of Moscow as one man, abandoning their belongings and proving by that negative action all the depth of their national feeling, then the role chosen by Rostopchin suddenly appeared senseless.
Your excellency, they say they have got ready, according to your orders, to go against the French, and they shouted something about treachery.
A French officer, returning from the advanced detachment, rode up to Murat and reported that the gates of the citadel had been barricaded and that there was probably an ambuscade there.
Several French officers superintended the placing of the guns and looked at the Kremlin through field glasses.
One shot struck a French soldier's foot, and from behind the screens came the strange sound of a few voices shouting.
Instantly as at a word of command the expression of cheerful serenity on the faces of the French general, officers, and men changed to one of determined concentrated readiness for strife and suffering.
A few instants after the echo of the reports resounding over the stone- built Kremlin had died away the French heard a strange sound above their head.
Nothing more stirred behind the screens and the French infantry soldiers and officers advanced to the gate.
"Clear that away!" said the officer, pointing to the beams and the corpses, and the French soldiers, after dispatching the wounded, threw the corpses over the parapet.
The French entered the gates and began pitching their camp in the Senate Square.
No masters of the houses being found anywhere, the French were not billeted on the inhabitants as is usual in towns but lived in it as in a camp.
Though tattered, hungry, worn out, and reduced to a third of their original number, the French entered Moscow in good marching order.
Like a monkey which puts its paw into the narrow neck of a jug, and having seized a handful of nuts will not open its fist for fear of losing what it holds, and therefore perishes, the French when they left Moscow had inevitably to perish because they carried their loot with them, yet to abandon what they had stolen was as impossible for them as it is for the monkey to open its paw and let go of its nuts.
Order after order was issued by the French commanders that day forbidding the men to disperse about the town, sternly forbidding any violence to the inhabitants or any looting, and announcing a roll call for that very evening.
All around the quarters occupied by the French were other regions still unexplored and unoccupied where, they thought, yet greater riches might be found.
The French attributed the Fire of Moscow au patriotisme feroce de Rostopchine, * the Russians to the barbarity of the French.
"Le patriotisme feroce de Rostopchine" and the barbarity of the French were not to blame in the matter.
However tempting it might be for the French to blame Rostopchin's ferocity and for Russians to blame the scoundrel Bonaparte, or later on to place an heroic torch in the hands of their own people, it is impossible not to see that there could be no such direct cause of the fire, for Moscow had to burn as every village, factory, or house must burn which is left by its owners and in which strangers are allowed to live and cook their porridge.
Moscow when occupied by the enemy did not remain intact like Berlin, Vienna, and other towns, simply because its inhabitants abandoned it and did not welcome the French with bread and salt, nor bring them the keys of the city.
The absorption of the French by Moscow, radiating starwise as it did, only reached the quarter where Pierre was staying by the evening of the second of September.
The French had already entered Moscow.
Pierre, having decided that until he had carried out his design he would disclose neither his identity nor his knowledge of French, stood at the half-open door of the corridor, intending to conceal himself as soon as the French entered.
But the French entered and still Pierre did not retire--an irresistible curiosity kept him there.
"Well, does no one speak French in this establishment?" he asked again.
The French are good fellows.
Still smiling, the French officer spread out his hands before Gerasim's nose, intimating that he did not understand him either, and moved, limping, to the door at which Pierre was standing.
Forgetting his intention of concealing his knowledge of French, Pierre, snatching away the pistol and throwing it down, ran up to the officer and addressed him in French.
"We French are merciful after victory, but we do not pardon traitors," he added, with a look of gloomy dignity and a fine energetic gesture.
Pierre continued, in French, to persuade the officer not to hold that drunken imbecile to account.
You are French, said he.
When the French officer went into the room with Pierre the latter again thought it his duty to assure him that he was not French and wished to go away, but the officer would not hear of it.
There was so much good nature and nobility (in the French sense of the word) in the officer's voice, in the expression of his face and in his gestures, that Pierre, unconsciously smiling in response to the Frenchman's smile, pressed the hand held out to him.
When the mutton and an omelet had been served and a samovar and vodka brought, with some wine which the French had taken from a Russian cellar and brought with them, Ramballe invited Pierre to share his dinner, and himself began to eat greedily and quickly like a healthy and hungry man, munching his food rapidly with his strong teeth, continually smacking his lips, and repeating--Excellent!
That beverage was already known to the French and had been given a special name.
Terrible in battle... gallant... with the fair" (he winked and smiled), "that's what the French are, Monsieur Pierre, aren't they?"
"Would not the French ladies leave Paris if the Russians entered it?" asked Pierre.
What a wretched idea to go and bury themselves in the steppes when the French army is in Moscow.
The German who knew little French, answered the two first questions by giving the names of his regiment and of his commanding officer, but in reply to the third question which he did not understand said, introducing broken French into his own German, that he was the quartermaster of the regiment and his commander had ordered him to occupy all the houses one after another.
Finally, the latest episode in Poland still fresh in the captain's memory, and which he narrated with rapid gestures and glowing face, was of how he had saved the life of a Pole (in general, the saving of life continually occurred in the captain's stories) and the Pole had entrusted to him his enchanting wife (parisienne de coeur) while himself entering the French service.
Both the Russians and the French looked at Pierre with surprise.
The French followed him with astonishment in their eyes chiefly because Pierre, unlike all the other Russians who gazed at the French with fear and curiosity, paid no attention to them.
In the middle of the street stood a French general saying something to those around him.
Pierre, accompanied by the maid, was advancing to the spot where the general stood, but the French soldiers stopped him.
Other French soldiers standing below went up to the drawer.
Besides Russian families who had taken refuge here from the fire with their belongings, there were several French soldiers in a variety of clothing.
They went inside the garden when these wolves swooped down, said the woman, pointing to the French soldiers.
He was looking at the Armenian family and at two French soldiers who had gone up to them.
Shouts of approval were heard from the crowd around, and at the same moment a mounted patrol of French uhlans appeared from round the corner.
He only remembered beating someone and being beaten and finally feeling that his hands were bound and that a crowd of French soldiers stood around him and were searching him.
"Do you speak French?" the officer asked again, keeping at a distance from Pierre.
A little man in Russian civilian clothes rode out from the ranks, and by his clothes and manner of speaking Pierre at once knew him to be a French salesman from one of the Moscow shops.
And without knowing how this aimless lie had escaped him, he went along with resolute and triumphant steps between the French soldiers.
The French patrol was one of those sent out through the various streets of Moscow by Durosnel's order to put a stop to the pillage, and especially to catch the incendiaries who, according to the general opinion which had that day originated among the higher French officers, were the cause of the conflagrations.
In Petersburg at that time a complicated struggle was being carried on with greater heat than ever in the highest circles, between the parties of Rumyantsev, the French, Marya Fedorovna, the Tsarevich, and others, drowned as usual by the buzzing of the court drones.
There were the same receptions and balls, the same French theater, the same court interests and service interests and intrigues as usual.
That evening she expected several important personages who had to be made ashamed of their visits to the French theater and aroused to a patriotic temper.
"I think it is delightful," he said, referring to a diplomatic note that had been sent to Vienna with some Austrian banners captured from the French by Wittgenstein, "the hero of Petropol" as he was then called in Petersburg.
Kutuzov wrote that the Russians had not retreated a step, that the French losses were much heavier than ours, and that he was writing in haste from the field of battle before collecting full information.
On the third day after Kutuzov's report a country gentleman arrived from Moscow, and news of the surrender of Moscow to the French spread through the whole town.
In Petersburg and in the provinces at a distance from Moscow, ladies, and gentlemen in militia uniforms, wept for Russia and its ancient capital and talked of self-sacrifice and so on; but in the army which retired beyond Moscow there was little talk or thought of Moscow, and when they caught sight of its burned ruins no one swore to be avenged on the French, but they thought about their next pay, their next quarters, of Matreshka the vivandiere, and like matters.
Among the men was an Italian prisoner, an officer of the French army; and Nicholas felt that the presence of that prisoner enhanced his own importance as a Russian hero.
If they noticed anything remarkable about Pierre, it was only his unabashed, meditative concentration and thoughtfulness, and the way he spoke French, which struck them as surprisingly good.
On the third day he was taken with the others to a house where a French general with a white mustache sat with two colonels and other Frenchmen with scarves on their arms.
He passed four days in the coach house near the Crimean bridge and during that time learned, from the talk of the French soldiers, that all those confined there were awaiting a decision which might come any day from the marshal.
It was plain that the Russian nest was ruined and destroyed, but in place of the Russian order of life that had been destroyed, Pierre unconsciously felt that a quite different, firm, French order had been established over this ruined nest.
He felt this in the looks of the soldiers who, marching in regular ranks briskly and gaily, were escorting him and the other criminals; he felt it in the looks of an important French official in a carriage and pair driven by a soldier, whom they met on the way.
He felt it in the merry sounds of regimental music he heard from the left side of the field, and felt and realized it especially from the list of prisoners the French officer had read out when he came that morning.
To him Davout was not merely a French general, but a man notorious for his cruelty.
To the right and left of the post stood rows of French troops in blue uniforms with red epaulets and high boots and shakos.
Pierre heard the French consulting whether to shoot them separately or two at a time.
A French official wearing a scarf came up to the right of the row of prisoners and read out the sentence in Russian and in French.
On the faces of all the Russians and of the French soldiers and officers without exception, he read the same dismay, horror, and conflict that were in his own heart.
When Pierre saw his neighbor next morning at dawn the first impression of him, as of something round, was fully confirmed: Platon's whole figure--in a French overcoat girdled with a cord, a soldier's cap, and bast shoes--was round.
He loved his dog, his comrades, the French, and Pierre who was his neighbor, but Pierre felt that in spite of Karataev's affectionate tenderness for him (by which he unconsciously gave Pierre's spiritual life its due) he would not have grieved for a moment at parting from him.
The usual route through Moscow could not be thought of, and the roundabout way Princess Mary was obliged to take through Lipetsk, Ryazan, Vladimir, and Shuya was very long and, as post horses were not everywhere obtainable, very difficult, and near Ryazan where the French were said to have shown themselves was even dangerous.
Hardly knowing how she did it, she contrived to utter a few polite phrases in French in the same tone as those that had been addressed to her, and asked: "How is he?"
Even foreign historians, including the French, acknowledge the genius of the Russian commanders when they speak of that flank march.
And it is even more difficult to understand just why they think that this maneuver was calculated to save Russia and destroy the French; for this flank march, had it been preceded, accompanied, or followed by other circumstances, might have proved ruinous to the Russians and salutary for the French.
What would have happened had the French attacked the Russians while they were marching beyond the Pakhra?
What would have happened had the French moved on Petersburg?...
Subsequently the inactivity of the French (who even lost sight of the Russian army), concern for the safety of the arsenal at Tula, and especially the advantages of drawing nearer to its supplies caused the army to turn still further south to the Tula road.
Having crossed over, by a forced march, to the Tula road beyond the Pakhra, the Russian commanders intended to remain at Podolsk and had no thought of the Tarutino position; but innumerable circumstances and the reappearance of French troops who had for a time lost touch with the Russians, and projects of giving battle, and above all the abundance of provisions in Kaluga province, obliged our army to turn still more to the south and to cross from the Tula to the Kaluga road and go to Tarutino, which was between the roads along which those supplies lay.
The famous flank movement merely consisted in this: after the advance of the French had ceased, the Russian army, which had been continually retreating straight back from the invaders, deviated from that direct course and, not finding itself pursued, was naturally drawn toward the district where supplies were abundant.
He alone then understood the meaning of the French army's inactivity, he alone continued to assert that the battle of Borodino had been a victory, he alone--who as commander-in-chief might have been expected to be eager to attack--employed his whole strength to restrain the Russian army from useless engagements.
The moan of that wounded beast (the French army) which betrayed its calamitous condition was the sending of Lauriston to Kutuzov's camp with overtures for peace.
During the month that the French troops were pillaging in Moscow and the Russian troops were quietly encamped at Tarutino, a change had taken place in the relative strength of the two armies--both in spirit and in number--as a result of which the superiority had passed to the Russian side.
Though the condition and numbers of the French army were unknown to the Russians, as soon as that change occurred the need of attacking at once showed itself by countless signs.
These signs were: Lauriston's mission; the abundance of provisions at Tarutino; the reports coming in from all sides of the inactivity and disorder of the French; the flow of recruits to our regiments; the fine weather; the long rest the Russian soldiers had enjoyed, and the impatience to do what they had been assembled for, which usually shows itself in an army that has been resting; curiosity as to what the French army, so long lost sight of, was doing; the boldness with which our outposts now scouted close up to the French stationed at Tarutino; the news of easy successes gained by peasants and guerrilla troops over the French, the envy aroused by this; the desire for revenge that lay in the heart of every Russian as long as the French were in Moscow, and (above all) a dim consciousness in every soldier's mind that the relative strength of the armies had changed and that the advantage was now on our side.
Bennigsen's note and the Cossack's information that the left flank of the French was unguarded were merely final indications that it was necessary to order an attack, and it was fixed for the fifth of October.
He dismounted and went up into the porch of a large country house which had remained intact between the Russian and French forces.
Toward dawn, Count Orlov-Denisov, who had dozed off, was awakened by a deserter from the French army being brought to him.
It seemed to the count that things were beginning to stir in the French camp, and his keen-sighted adjutant confirmed this.
One desperate, frightened yell from the first French soldier who saw the Cossacks, and all who were in the camp, undressed and only just waking up, ran off in all directions, abandoning cannons, muskets, and horses.
Had the Cossacks pursued the French, without heeding what was behind and around them, they would have captured Murat and everything there.
The French, not being farther pursued, began to recover themselves: they formed into detachments and began firing.
Meanwhile another column was to have attacked the French from the front, but Kutuzov accompanied that column.
When Kutuzov was informed that at the French rear--where according to the reports of the Cossacks there had previously been nobody--there were now two battalions of Poles, he gave a sidelong glance at Ermolov who was behind him and to whom he had not spoken since the previous day.
If in the descriptions given by historians, especially French ones, we find their wars and battles carried out in accordance with previously formed plans, the only conclusion to be drawn is that those descriptions are false.
But if the aim of the battle was what actually resulted and what all the Russians of that day desired--to drive the French out of Russia and destroy their army--it is quite clear that the battle of Tarutino, just because of its incongruities, was exactly what was wanted at that stage of the campaign.
With a minimum of effort and insignificant losses, despite the greatest confusion, the most important results of the whole campaign were attained: the transition from retreat to advance, an exposure of the weakness of the French, and the administration of that shock which Napoleon's army had only awaited to begin its flight.
The Russian army, only half the strength of the French, does not make a single attempt to attack for a whole month.
He can either fall on the Russian army with double its strength and destroy it; negotiate an advantageous peace, or in case of a refusal make a menacing move on Petersburg, or even, in the case of a reverse, return to Smolensk or Vilna; or remain in Moscow; in short, no special genius would seem to be required to retain the brilliant position the French held at that time.
For that, only very simple and easy steps were necessary: not to allow the troops to loot, to prepare winter clothing--of which there was sufficient in Moscow for the whole army--and methodically to collect the provisions, of which (according to the French historians) there were enough in Moscow to supply the whole army for six months.
We cannot accurately estimate his genius in Austria or Prussia, for we have to draw our information from French or German sources, and the incomprehensible surrender of whole corps without fighting and of fortresses without a siege must incline Germans to recognize his genius as the only explanation of the war carried on in Germany.
Then, as Thiers eloquently recounts, he ordered his soldiers to be paid in forged Russian money which he had prepared: Raising the use of these means by an act worthy of himself and of the French army, he let relief be distributed to those who had been burned out.
The French generals lost touch with the Russian army of sixty thousand men, and according to Thiers it was only eventually found, like a lost pin, by the skill--and apparently the genius--of Murat.
Two or three priests who were found in Moscow did try to carry out Napoleon's wish, but one of them was slapped in the face by a French soldier while conducting service, and a French official reported of another that: The priest whom I found and invited to say Mass cleaned and locked up the church.
The French, collecting booty, cared only for gold.
The French called it Azor; the soldier who told stories called it Femgalka; Karataev and others called it Gray, or sometimes Flabby.
Near by could be seen the familiar ruins of a half-burned mansion occupied by the French, with lilac bushes still showing dark green beside the fence.
A French corporal, with coat unbuttoned in a homely way, a skullcap on his head, and a short pipe in his mouth, came from behind a corner of the shed and approached Pierre with a friendly wink.
(The affair he had alluded to had happened a few days before--a fight between the prisoners and the French soldiers, in which Pierre had succeeded in pacifying his comrades.)
While Pierre was repeating what he had been told about the army leaving Moscow, a thin, sallow, tattered French soldier came up to the door of the shed.
A week before the French had had boot leather and linen issued to them, which they had given out to the prisoners to make up into boots and shirts for them.
"It's good, quite good, thank you," said the Frenchman, in French, "but there must be some linen left over."
Four weeks had passed since Pierre had been taken prisoner and though the French had offered to move him from the men's to the officers' shed, he had stayed in the shed where he was first put.
With his knowledge of languages, the respect shown him by the French, his simplicity, his readiness to give anything asked of him (he received the allowance of three rubles a week made to officers); with his strength, which he showed to the soldiers by pressing nails into the walls of the hut; his gentleness to his companions, and his capacity for sitting still and thinking without doing anything (which seemed to them incomprehensible), he appeared to them a rather mysterious and superior being.
The French evacuation began on the night between the sixth and seventh of October: kitchens and sheds were dismantled, carts loaded, and troops and baggage trains started.
At seven in the morning a French convoy in marching trim, wearing shakos and carrying muskets, knapsacks, and enormous sacks, stood in front of the sheds, and animated French talk mingled with curses sounded all along the lines.
Pierre, girt with a rope round his waist and wearing shoes Karataev had made for him from some leather a French soldier had torn off a tea chest and brought to have his boots mended with, went up to the sick man and squatted down beside him.
Thirty thousand devils!... the convoy guards began cursing and the French soldiers, with fresh virulence, drove away with their swords the crowd of prisoners who were gazing at the dead man.
Neither Pierre nor any of the others spoke of what they had seen in Moscow, or of the roughness of their treatment by the French, or of the order to shoot them which had been announced to them.
On the road he was stopped by a French sentinel who ordered him back.
Soon after that a report was received from Dorokhov's guerrilla detachment operating to the left of Tarutino that troops of Broussier's division had been seen at Forminsk and that being separated from the rest of the French army they might easily be destroyed.
By a strange coincidence, this task, which turned out to be a most difficult and important one, was entrusted to Dokhturov--that same modest little Dokhturov whom no one had described to us as drawing up plans of battles, dashing about in front of regiments, showering crosses on batteries, and so on, and who was thought to be and was spoken of as undecided and undiscerning--but whom we find commanding wherever the position was most difficult all through the Russo-French wars from Austerlitz to the year 1813.
At the battle of Borodino, when Bagration was killed and nine tenths of the men of our left flank had fallen and the full force of the French artillery fire was directed against it, the man sent there was this same irresolute and undiscerning Dokhturov--Kutuzov hastening to rectify a mistake he had made by sending someone else there first.
It was Dokhturov again whom they sent to Forminsk and from there to Malo-Yaroslavets, the place where the last battle with the French was fought and where the obvious disintegration of the French army began; and we are told of many geniuses and heroes of that period of the campaign, but of Dokhturov nothing or very little is said and that dubiously.
On the tenth of October when Dokhturov had gone halfway to Forminsk and stopped at the village of Aristovo, preparing faithfully to execute the orders he had received, the whole French army having, in its convulsive movement, reached Murat's position apparently in order to give battle-- suddenly without any reason turned off to the left onto the new Kaluga road and began to enter Forminsk, where only Broussier had been till then.
On the evening of October 11 Seslavin came to the Aristovo headquarters with a French guardsman he had captured.
Some Cossacks of Dokhturov's detachment reported having sighted the French Guards marching along the road to Borovsk.
From all these reports it was evident that where they had expected to meet a single division there was now the whole French army marching from Moscow in an unexpected direction--along the Kaluga road.
But only Broussier had been there at that time and now the whole French army was there.
On the one hand the French had occupied Moscow.
Dorokhov's report about Broussier's division, the guerrillas' reports of distress in Napoleon's army, rumors of preparations for leaving Moscow, all confirmed the supposition that the French army was beaten and preparing for flight.
But the destruction of the French, which he alone foresaw, was his heart's one desire.
It was what the French called "le hourra de l'Empereur."
If the Cossacks did not capture Napoleon then, what saved him was the very thing that was destroying the French army, the booty on which the Cossacks fell.
The promised land for the French during their advance had been Moscow, during their retreat it was their native land.
For the French retreating along the old Smolensk road, the final goal-- their native land--was too remote, and their immediate goal was Smolensk, toward which all their desires and hopes, enormously intensified in the mass, urged them on.
Coming out onto the highroad the French fled with surprising energy and unheard-of rapidity toward the goal they had fixed on.
Besides the common impulse which bound the whole crowd of French into one mass and supplied them with a certain energy, there was another cause binding them together--their great numbers.
Each of them desired nothing more than to give himself up as a prisoner to escape from all this horror and misery; but on the one hand the force of this common attraction to Smolensk, their goal, drew each of them in the same direction; on the other hand an army corps could not surrender to a company, and though the French availed themselves of every convenient opportunity to detach themselves and to surrender on the slightest decent pretext, such pretexts did not always occur.
Their very numbers and their crowded and swift movement deprived them of that possibility and rendered it not only difficult but impossible for the Russians to stop this movement, to which the French were directing all their energies.
When the flight of the French army along the Smolensk road became well defined, what Konovnitsyn had foreseen on the night of the eleventh of October began to occur.
The superior officers all wanted to distinguish themselves, to cut off, to seize, to capture, and to overthrow the French, and all clamored for action.
Ermolov, Miloradovich, Platov, and others in proximity to the French near Vyazma could not resist their desire to cut off and break up two French corps, and by way of reporting their intention to Kutuzov they sent him a blank sheet of paper in an envelope.
But they did not cut off or overthrow anybody and the French army, closing up more firmly at the danger, continued, while steadily melting away, to pursue its fatal path to Smolensk.
The Battle of Borodino, with the occupation of Moscow that followed it and the flight of the French without further conflicts, is one of the most instructive phenomena in history.
The victories of the French at Jena and Auerstadt destroy the independent existence of Prussia.
But then, in 1812, the French gain a victory near Moscow.
Moscow is taken and after that, with no further battles, it is not Russia that ceases to exist, but the French army of six hundred thousand, and then Napoleonic France itself.
After the French victory at Borodino there was no general engagement nor any that were at all serious, yet the French army ceased to exist.
The period of the campaign of 1812 from the battle of Borodino to the expulsion of the French proved that the winning of a battle does not produce a conquest and is not even an invariable indication of conquest; it proved that the force which decides the fate of peoples lies not in the conquerors, nor even in armies and battles, but in something else.
The French historians, describing the condition of the French army before it left Moscow, affirm that all was in order in the Grand Army, except the cavalry, the artillery, and the transport--there was no forage for the horses or the cattle.
That was a misfortune no one could remedy, for the peasants of the district burned their hay rather than let the French have it.
The victory gained did not bring the usual results because the peasants Karp and Vlas (who after the French had evacuated Moscow drove in their carts to pillage the town, and in general personally failed to manifest any heroic feelings), and the whole innumerable multitude of such peasants, did not bring their hay to Moscow for the high price offered them, but burned it instead.
The fencer who demanded a contest according to the rules of fencing was the French army; his opponent who threw away the rapier and snatched up the cudgel was the Russian people; those who try to explain the matter according to the rules of fencing are the historians who have described the event.
In spite of the complaints of the French as to the nonobservance of the rules, in spite of the fact that to some highly placed Russians it seemed rather disgraceful to fight with a cudgel and they wanted to assume a pose en quarte or en tierce according to all the rules, and to make an adroit thrust en prime, and so on--the cudgel of the people's war was lifted with all its menacing and majestic strength, and without consulting anyone's tastes or rules and regardless of anything else, it rose and fell with stupid simplicity, but consistently, and belabored the French till the whole invasion had perished.
And it is well for a people who do not--as the French did in 1813-- salute according to all the rules of art, and, presenting the hilt of their rapier gracefully and politely, hand it to their magnanimous conqueror, but at the moment of trial, without asking what rules others have adopted in similar cases, simply and easily pick up the first cudgel that comes to hand and strike with it till the feeling of resentment and revenge in their soul yields to a feeling of contempt and compassion.
The French, retreating in 1812--though according to tactics they should have separated into detachments to defend themselves--congregated into a mass because the spirit of the army had so fallen that only the mass held the army together.
The Russians, on the contrary, ought according to tactics to have attacked in mass, but in fact they split up into small units, because their spirit had so risen that separate individuals, without orders, dealt blows at the French without needing any compulsion to induce them to expose themselves to hardships and dangers.
The so-called partisan war began with the entry of the French into Smolensk.
Denis Davydov, with his Russian instinct, was the first to recognize the value of this terrible cudgel which regardless of the rules of military science destroyed the French, and to him belongs the credit for taking the first step toward regularizing this method of warfare.
They gathered the fallen leaves that dropped of themselves from that withered tree--the French army--and sometimes shook that tree itself.
By October, when the French were fleeing toward Smolensk, there were hundreds of such companies, of various sizes and characters.
Its first period had passed: when the partisans themselves, amazed at their own boldness, feared every minute to be surrounded and captured by the French, and hid in the forests without unsaddling, hardly daring to dismount and always expecting to be pursued.
By the end of October this kind of warfare had taken definite shape: it had become clear to all what could be ventured against the French and what could not.
Now only the commanders of detachments with staffs, and moving according to rules at a distance from the French, still regarded many things as impossible.
The small bands that had started their activities long before and had already observed the French closely considered things possible which the commanders of the big detachments did not dare to contemplate.
The Cossacks and peasants who crept in among the French now considered everything possible.
All day long he had been watching from the forest that skirted the highroad a large French convoy of cavalry baggage and Russian prisoners separated from the rest of the army, which--as was learned from spies and prisoners--was moving under a strong escort to Smolensk.
Since then, and until evening, the party had watched the movements of the French without attacking.
It was necessary to let the French reach Shamshevo quietly without alarming them and then, after joining Dolokhov who was to come that evening to a consultation at a watchman's hut in the forest less than a mile from Shamshevo, to surprise the French at dawn, falling like an avalanche on their heads from two sides, and rout and capture them all at one blow.
In their rear, more than a mile from Mikulino where the forest came right up to the road, six Cossacks were posted to report if any fresh columns of French should show themselves.
Beyond Shamshevo, Dolokhov was to observe the road in the same way, to find out at what distance there were other French troops.
Denisov considered it dangerous to make a second attack for fear of putting the whole column on the alert, so he sent Tikhon Shcherbaty, a peasant of his party, to Shamshevo to try and seize at least one of the French quartermasters who had been sent on in advance.
A little behind, on a poor, small, lean Kirghiz mount with an enormous tail and mane and a bleeding mouth, rode a young officer in a blue French overcoat.
Beside him rode an hussar, with a boy in a tattered French uniform and blue cap behind him on the crupper of his horse.
This was the French drummer boy captured that morning.
Behind them along the narrow, sodden, cutup forest road came hussars in threes and fours, and then Cossacks: some in felt cloaks, some in French greatcoats, and some with horsecloths over their heads.
In the midst of the outspread line of Cossacks two wagons, drawn by French horses and by saddled Cossack horses that had been hitched on in front, rumbled over the tree stumps and branches and splashed through the water that lay in the ruts.
But what's this? he asked, noticing the French drummer boy.
Denisov himself intended going with the esaul and Petya to the edge of the forest where it reached out to Shamshevo, to have a look at the part of the French bivouac they were to attack next day.
Pointing to the French troops, Denisov asked him what these and those of them were.
Petya, rapidly turning his head, looked now at the drummer boy, now at Denisov, now at the esaul, and now at the French in the village and along the road, trying not to miss anything of importance.
While they were talking in undertones the crack of a shot sounded from the low ground by the pond, a puff of white smoke appeared, then another, and the sound of hundreds of seemingly merry French voices shouting together came up from the slope.
The French were evidently firing and shouting at him.
The French who had been pursuing him stopped.
When Denisov had come to Pokrovsk at the beginning of his operations and had as usual summoned the village elder and asked him what he knew about the French, the elder, as though shielding himself, had replied, as all village elders did, that he had neither seen nor heard anything of them.
But when Denisov explained that his purpose was to kill the French, and asked if no French had strayed that way, the elder replied that some "more-orderers" had really been at their village, but that Tikhon Shcherbaty was the only man who dealt with such matters.
Denisov had Tikhon called and, having praised him for his activity, said a few words in the elder's presence about loyalty to the Tsar and the country and the hatred of the French that all sons of the fatherland should cherish.
"We don't do the French any harm," said Tikhon, evidently frightened by Denisov's words.
At night he would go out for booty and always brought back French clothing and weapons, and when told to would bring in French captives also.
When anything particularly difficult or nasty had to be done-- to push a cart out of the mud with one's shoulders, pull a horse out of a swamp by its tail, skin it, slink in among the French, or walk more than thirty miles in a day--everybody pointed laughingly at Tikhon.
And Tikhon, purposely writhing and making faces, pretended to be angry and swore at the French with the funniest curses.
But whether because he had not been content to take only one Frenchman or because he had slept through the night, he had crept by day into some bushes right among the French and, as Denisov had witnessed from above, had been detected by them.
After talking for some time with the esaul about next day's attack, which now, seeing how near they were to the French, he seemed to have definitely decided on, Denisov turned his horse and rode back.
But when dispatching him he recalled Petya's mad action at the battle of Vyazma, where instead of riding by the road to the place to which he had been sent, he had galloped to the advanced line under the fire of the French and had there twice fired his pistol.
But when he saw the French and saw Tikhon and learned that there would certainly be an attack that night, he decided, with the rapidity with which young people change their views, that the general, whom he had greatly respected till then, was a rubbishy German, that Denisov was a hero, the esaul a hero, and Tikhon a hero too, and that it would be shameful for him to leave them at a moment of difficulty.
In the twilight saddled horses could be seen, and Cossacks and hussars who had rigged up rough shelters in the glade and were kindling glowing fires in a hollow of the forest where the French could not see the smoke.
And running over the events of the day he remembered the French drummer boy.
Petya replied that he wanted the French lad who had been captured that day.
Petya had heard in the army many stories of Dolokhov's extraordinary bravery and of his cruelty to the French, so from the moment he entered the hut Petya did not take his eyes from him, but braced himself up more and more and held his head high, that he might not be unworthy even of such company.
Then he told him all he knew of the French detachment.
Here now--wouldn't one of these gentlemen like to ride over to the French camp with me?
Dolokhov answered absently, scrutinizing the face of the French drummer boy.
I have two French uniforms in it.
I will certainly go to the French camp with Dolokhov.
Having put on French greatcoats and shakos, Petya and Dolokhov rode to the clearing from which Denisov had reconnoitered the French camp, and emerging from the forest in pitch darkness they descended into the hollow.
Having ridden up the road, on both sides of which French talk could be heard around the campfires, Dolokhov turned into the courtyard of the landowner's house.
Dolokhov, as if he had not heard the question, did not reply, but lighting a short French pipe which he took from his pocket began asking the officer in how far the road before them was safe from Cossacks.
It would be better to shoot such rabble, and burst into loud laughter, so strange that Petya thought the French would immediately detect their disguise, and involuntarily took a step back from the campfire.
No one replied a word to Dolokhov's laughter, and a French officer whom they could not see (he lay wrapped in a greatcoat) rose and whispered something to a companion.
Petya rode beside him, longing to look round to see whether or not the French were running after them, but not daring to.
We've been into the French camp.
Petya ought to have known that he was in a forest with Denisov's guerrilla band, less than a mile from the road, sitting on a wagon captured from the French beside which horses were tethered, that under it Likhachev was sitting sharpening a saber for him, that the big dark blotch to the right was the watchman's hut, and the red blotch below to the left was the dying embers of a campfire, that the man who had come for the cup was an hussar who wanted a drink; but he neither knew nor waited to know anything of all this.
The French were making a stand there behind a wattle fence in a garden thickly overgrown with bushes and were firing at the Cossacks who crowded at the gateway.
In the dense wavering smoke some of the French threw down their arms and ran out of the bushes to meet the Cossacks, while others ran down the hill toward the pond.
After speaking to the senior French officer, who came out of the house with a white handkerchief tied to his sword and announced that they surrendered, Dolokhov dismounted and went up to Petya, who lay motionless with outstretched arms.
During the whole of their march from Moscow no fresh orders had been issued by the French authorities concerning the party of prisoners among whom was Pierre.
From Vyazma onwards the French army, which had till then moved in three columns, went on as a single group.
At Dorogobuzh while the soldiers of the convoy, after locking the prisoners in a stable, had gone off to pillage their own stores, several of the soldier prisoners tunneled under the wall and ran away, but were recaptured by the French and shot.
Two French soldiers ran past Pierre, one of whom carried a lowered and smoking gun.
French soldiers were running past him.
The French, excited by all that had happened, were talking loudly among themselves, but as they passed Dolokhov who gently switched his boots with his whip and watched them with cold glassy eyes that boded no good, they became silent.
"Filez, filez!" * Dolokhov kept saying, having adopted this expression from the French, and when his eyes met those of the prisoners they flashed with a cruel light.
After the twenty-eighth of October when the frosts began, the flight of the French assumed a still more tragic character, with men freezing, or roasting themselves to death at the campfires, while carriages with people dressed in furs continued to drive past, carrying away the property that had been stolen by the Emperor, kings, and dukes; but the process of the flight and disintegration of the French army went on essentially as before.
From Moscow to Vyazma the French army of seventy-three thousand men not reckoning the Guards (who did nothing during the whole war but pillage) was reduced to thirty-six thousand, though not more than five thousand had fallen in battle.
The French army melted away and perished at the same rate from Moscow to Vyazma, from Vyazma to Smolensk, from Smolensk to the Berezina, and from the Berezina to Vilna- -independently of the greater or lesser intensity of the cold, the pursuit, the barring of the way, or any other particular conditions.
Beyond Vyazma the French army instead of moving in three columns huddled together into one mass, and so went on to the end.
After staggering into Smolensk which seemed to them a promised land, the French, searching for food, killed one another, sacked their own stores, and when everything had been plundered fled farther.
The movements of the Russian and French armies during the campaign from Moscow back to the Niemen were like those in a game of Russian blindman's bluff, in which two players are blindfolded and one of them occasionally rings a little bell to inform the catcher of his whereabouts.
Owing to the rapidity of the French flight and the Russian pursuit and the consequent exhaustion of the horses, the chief means of approximately ascertaining the enemy's position--by cavalry scouting-- was not available.
Beyond Smolensk there were several different roads available for the French, and one would have thought that during their stay of four days they might have learned where the enemy was, might have arranged some more advantageous plan and undertaken something new.
Expecting the enemy from behind and not in front, the French separated in their flight and spread out over a distance of twenty-four hours.
And here as in a game of blindman's buff the French ran into our vanguard.
Seeing their enemy unexpectedly the French fell into confusion and stopped short from the sudden fright, but then they resumed their flight, abandoning their comrades who were farther behind.
Then for three days separate portions of the French army--first Murat's (the vice-king's), then Davout's, and then Ney's--ran, as it were, the gauntlet of the Russian army.
Ney, who came last, had been busying himself blowing up the walls of Smolensk which were in nobody's way, because despite the unfortunate plight of the French or because of it, they wished to punish the floor against which they had hurt themselves.
This campaign consisted in a flight of the French during which they did all they could to destroy themselves.
Who has not asked himself how it is that the French were not all captured or destroyed when our three armies surrounded them in superior numbers, when the disordered French, hungry and freezing, surrendered in crowds, and when (as the historians relate) the aim of the Russians was to stop the French, to cut them off, and capture them all?
How was it that the Russian army, which when numerically weaker than the French had given battle at Borodino, did not achieve its purpose when it had surrounded the French on three sides and when its aim was to capture them?
Can the French be so enormously superior to us that when we had surrounded them with superior forces we could not beat them?
But even if we admitted that Kutuzov, Chichagov, and others were the cause of the Russian failures, it is still incomprehensible why, the position of the Russian army being what it was at Krasnoe and at the Berezina (in both cases we had superior forces), the French army with its marshals, kings, and Emperor was not captured, if that was what the Russians aimed at.
Why was the Russian army--which with inferior forces had withstood the enemy in full strength at Borodino--defeated at Krasnoe and the Berezina by the disorganized crowds of the French when it was numerically superior?
If the aim of the Russians consisted in cutting off and capturing Napoleon and his marshals--and that aim was not merely frustrated but all attempts to attain it were most shamefully baffled--then this last period of the campaign is quite rightly considered by the French to be a series of victories, and quite wrongly considered victorious by Russian historians.
The Russian military historians in so far as they submit to claims of logic must admit that conclusion, and in spite of their lyrical rhapsodies about valor, devotion, and so forth, must reluctantly admit that the French retreat from Moscow was a series of victories for Napoleon and defeats for Kutuzov.
But putting national vanity entirely aside one feels that such a conclusion involves a contradiction, since the series of French victories brought the French complete destruction, while the series of Russian defeats led to the total destruction of their enemy and the liberation of their country.
So what was the use of performing various operations on the French who were running away as fast as they possibly could?
Thirdly, it would have been senseless to sacrifice one's own troops in order to destroy the French army, which without external interference was destroying itself at such a rate that, though its path was not blocked, it could not carry across the frontier more than it actually did in December, namely a hundredth part of the original army.
Still more senseless would have been the wish to capture army corps of the French, when our own army had melted away to half before reaching Krasnoe and a whole division would have been needed to convoy the corps of prisoners, and when our men were not always getting full rations and the prisoners already taken were perishing of hunger.
But the French troops quite rightly did not consider that this suited them, since death by hunger and cold awaited them in flight or captivity alike.
Fourthly and chiefly it was impossible, because never since the world began has a war been fought under such conditions as those that obtained in 1812, and the Russian army in its pursuit of the French strained its strength to the utmost and could not have done more without destroying itself.
And it is of this period of the campaign--when the army lacked boots and sheepskin coats, was short of provisions and without vodka, and was camping out at night for months in the snow with fifteen degrees of frost, when there were only seven or eight hours of daylight and the rest was night in which the influence of discipline cannot be maintained, when men were taken into that region of death where discipline fails, not for a few hours only as in a battle, but for months, where they were every moment fighting death from hunger and cold, when half the army perished in a single month--it is of this period of the campaign that the historians tell us how Miloradovich should have made a flank march to such and such a place, Tormasov to another place, and Chichagov should have crossed (more than knee-deep in snow) to somewhere else, and how so-and-so "routed" and "cut off" the French and so on and so on.
That aim was attained in the first place of itself, as the French ran away, and so it was only necessary not to stop their flight.
Secondly it was attained by the guerrilla warfare which was destroying the French, and thirdly by the fact that a large Russian army was following the French, ready to use its strength in case their movement stopped.
After the encounter at Vyazma, where Kutuzov had been unable to hold back his troops in their anxiety to overwhelm and cut off the enemy and so on, the farther movement of the fleeing French, and of the Russians who pursued them, continued as far as Krasnoe without a battle.
The flight was so rapid that the Russian army pursuing the French could not keep up with them; cavalry and artillery horses broke down, and the information received of the movements of the French was never reliable.
The rapidity of the Russian pursuit was just as destructive to our army as the flight of the French was to theirs.
The only difference was that the Russian army moved voluntarily, with no such threat of destruction as hung over the French, and that the sick Frenchmen were left behind in enemy hands while the sick Russians left behind were among their own people.
Kutuzov as far as was in his power, instead of trying to check the movement of the French as was desired in Petersburg and by the Russian army generals, directed his whole activity here, as he had done at Tarutino and Vyazma, to hastening it on while easing the movement of our army.
The road the French would take was unknown, and so the closer our troops trod on their heels the greater distance they had to cover.
Kutuzov felt and knew--not by reasoning or science but with the whole of his Russian being--what every Russian soldier felt: that the French were beaten, that the enemy was flying and must be driven out; but at the same time he like the soldiers realized all the hardship of this march, the rapidity of which was unparalleled for such a time of the year.
This longing to distinguish themselves, to maneuver, to overthrow, and to cut off showed itself particularly whenever the Russians stumbled on the French army.
So it was at Krasnoe, where they expected to find one of the three French columns and stumbled instead on Napoleon himself with sixteen thousand men.
Despite all Kutuzov's efforts to avoid that ruinous encounter and to preserve his troops, the massacre of the broken mob of French soldiers by worn-out Russians continued at Krasnoe for three days.
Prince Eugene of Wurttemberg fired from a hill over the French crowds that were running past, and demanded reinforcements which did not arrive.
The French, avoiding the Russians, dispersed and hid themselves in the forest by night, making their way round as best they could, and continued their flight.
Miloradovich, who said he did not want to know anything about the commissariat affairs of his detachment, and could never be found when he was wanted--that chevalier sans peur et sans reproche * as he styled himself--who was fond of parleys with the French, sent envoys demanding their surrender, wasted time, and did not do what he was ordered to do.
"I give you that column, lads," he said, riding up to the troops and pointing out the French to the cavalry.
And in a history recently written by order of the Highest Authorities it is said that Kutuzov was a cunning court liar, frightened of the name of Napoleon, and that by his blunders at Krasnoe and the Berezina he deprived the Russian army of the glory of complete victory over the French. *
He alone during the retreat of the French said that all our maneuvers are useless, everything is being accomplished of itself better than we could desire; that the enemy must be offered "a golden bridge"; that neither the Tarutino, the Vyazma, nor the Krasnoe battles were necessary; that we must keep some force to reach the frontier with, and that he would not sacrifice a single Russian for ten Frenchmen.
His actions--without the smallest deviation--were all directed to one and the same threefold end: (1) to brace all his strength for conflict with the French, (2) to defeat them, and (3) to drive them out of Russia, minimizing as far as possible the sufferings of our people and of our army.
All along the road groups of French prisoners captured that day (there were seven thousand of them) were crowding to warm themselves at campfires.
Near Dobroe an immense crowd of tattered prisoners, buzzing with talk and wrapped and bandaged in anything they had been able to get hold of, were standing in the road beside a long row of unharnessed French guns.
One group of the French stood close to the road, and two of them, one of whom had his face covered with sores, were tearing a piece of raw flesh with their hands.
"What were you saying?" he asked the general, who continuing his report directed the commander-in-chief's attention to some standards captured from the French and standing in front of the Preobrazhensk regiment.
"Lower its head, lower it!" he said to a soldier who had accidentally lowered the French eagle he was holding before the Preobrazhensk standards.
A third section scattered through the village arranging quarters for the staff officers, carrying out the French corpses that were in the huts, and dragging away boards, dry wood, and thatch from the roofs, for the campfires, or wattle fences to serve for shelter.
"Right enough, friend," said he, and, having sat down, took out of his knapsack a scrap of blue French cloth, and wrapped it round his foot.
The exhausted French officer was Ramballe and the man with his head wrapped in the shawl was Morel, his orderly.
A Russian officer who had come up to the fire sent to ask his colonel whether he would not take a French officer into his hut to warm him, and when the messenger returned and said that the colonel wished the officer to be brought to him, Ramballe was told to go.
He was evidently tipsy, and was singing a French song in a hoarse broken voice, with an arm thrown round the nearest soldier.
The French army melted away at the uniform rate of a mathematical progression; and that crossing of the Berezina about which so much has been written was only one intermediate stage in its destruction, and not at all the decisive episode of the campaign.
If so much has been and still is written about the Berezina, on the French side this is only because at the broken bridge across that river the calamities their army had been previously enduring were suddenly concentrated at one moment into a tragic spectacle that remained in every memory, and on the Russian side merely because in Petersburg--far from the seat of war--a plan (again one of Pfuel's) had been devised to catch Napoleon in a strategic trap at the Berezina River.
Everyone assured himself that all would happen according to plan, and therefore insisted that it was just the crossing of the Berezina that destroyed the French army.
In reality the results of the crossing were much less disastrous to the French--in guns and men lost--than Krasnoe had been, as the figures show.
The French crowd fled at a continually increasing speed and all its energy was directed to reaching its goal.
When the bridges broke down, unarmed soldiers, people from Moscow and women with children who were with the French transport, all--carried on by vis inertiae-- pressed forward into boats and into the ice-covered water and did not, surrender.
The French did not need to be informed of the fact that half the prisoners--with whom the Russians did not know what to do- -perished of cold and hunger despite their captors' desire to save them; they felt that it could not be otherwise.
The most compassionate Russian commanders, those favorable to the French--and even the Frenchmen in the Russian service--could do nothing for the prisoners.
The French perished from the conditions to which the Russian army was itself exposed.
It was impossible to take bread and clothes from our hungry and indispensable soldiers to give to the French who, though not harmful, or hated, or guilty, were simply unnecessary.
Certain destruction lay behind the French but in front there was hope.
Their ships had been burned, there was no salvation save in collective flight, and on that the whole strength of the French was concentrated.
How splendid! said he to himself when a cleanly laid table was moved up to him with savory beef tea, or when he lay down for the night on a soft clean bed, or when he remembered that the French had gone and that his wife was no more.
There were several prisoners from the French army in Orel, and the doctor brought one of them, a young Italian, to see Pierre.
The Italian seemed happy only when he could come to see Pierre, talk with him, tell him about his past, his life at home, and his love, and pour out to him his indignation against the French and especially against Napoleon.
You, who have suffered so from the French, do not even feel animosity toward them.
The first time he had recourse to his new judge was when a French prisoner, a colonel, came to him and, after talking a great deal about his exploits, concluded by making what amounted to a demand that Pierre should give him four thousand francs to send to his wife and children.
It would be difficult to explain why and whither ants whose heap has been destroyed are hurrying: some from the heap dragging bits of rubbish, larvae, and corpses, others back to the heap, or why they jostle, overtake one another, and fight, and it would be equally difficult to explain what caused the Russians after the departure of the French to throng to the place that had formerly been Moscow.
They continued what the French had begun.
The French found Moscow abandoned but with all the organizations of regular life, with diverse branches of commerce and craftsmanship, with luxury, and governmental and religious institutions.
The longer the French remained the more these forms of town life perished, until finally all was merged into one confused, lifeless scene of plunder.
The more the plundering by the French continued, the more both the wealth of Moscow and the strength of its plunderers was destroyed.
The owners of houses in which much property had been left, brought there from other houses, complained of the injustice of taking everything to the Faceted Palace in the Kremlin; others insisted that as the French had gathered things from different houses into this or that house, it would be unfair to allow its owner to keep all that was found there.
And beginning with the French Revolution the old inadequately large group was destroyed, as well as the old habits and traditions, and step by step a group was formed of larger dimensions with new customs and traditions, and a man was produced who would stand at the head of the coming movement and bear the responsibility for all that had to be done.
A man without convictions, without habits, without traditions, without a name, and not even a Frenchman, emerges--by what seem the strangest chances--from among all the seething French parties, and without joining any one of them is borne forward to a prominent position.
Chance and genius give him the victory at Austerlitz; and by chance all men, not only the French but all Europe--except England which does not take part in the events about to happen--despite their former horror and detestation of his crimes, now recognize his authority, the title he has given himself, and his ideal of grandeur and glory, which seems excellent and reasonable to them all.
"You can see the woman in her already," she said in French, pointing to little Natasha.
Natasha did not follow the golden rule advocated by clever folk, especially by the French, which says that a girl should not let herself go when she marries, should not neglect her accomplishments, should be even more careful of her appearance than when she was unmarried, and should fascinate her husband as much as she did before he became her husband.
Instead of the former divinely appointed aims of the Jewish, Greek, or Roman nations, which ancient historians regarded as representing the progress of humanity, modern history has postulated its own aims--the welfare of the French, German, or English people, or, in its highest abstraction, the welfare and civilization of humanity in general, by which is usually meant that of the peoples occupying a small northwesterly portion of a large continent.
Secondly, it is assumed that the goal toward which humanity is being led is known to the historians: to one of them this goal is the greatness of the Roman, Spanish, or French realm; to another it is liberty, equality, and a certain kind of civilization of a small corner of the world called Europe.
Then Louis XVIII, who till then had been the laughingstock both of the French and the Allies, began to reign.
Suddenly the diplomatists and monarchs nearly quarreled and were on the point of again ordering their armies to kill one another, but just then Napoleon arrived in France with a battalion, and the French, who had been hating him, immediately all submitted to him.
But the Allied monarchs were angry at this and went to fight the French once more.
But despite their endeavors to prove that the cause of events lies in intellectual activity, only by a great stretch can one admit that there is any connection between intellectual activity and the movement of peoples, and in no case can one admit that intellectual activity controls people's actions, for that view is not confirmed by such facts as the very cruel murders of the French Revolution resulting from the doctrine of the equality of man, or the very cruel wars and executions resulting from the preaching of love.
Was the will of the Russian people transferred to Napoleon in 1809, when our army in alliance with the French went to fight the Austrians?
We learn that Luther had a hot temper and said such and such things; we learn that Rousseau was suspicious and wrote such and such books; but we do not learn why after the Reformation the peoples massacred one another, nor why during the French Revolution they guillotined one another.
Napoleon III issues a decree and the French go to Mexico.
Alexander I gives a command and the French submit to the Bourbons.
Today he ordered such and such papers to be written to Vienna, to Berlin, and to Petersburg; tomorrow such and such decrees and orders to the army, the fleet, the commissariat, and so on and so on--millions of commands, which formed a whole series corresponding to a series of events which brought the French armies into Russia.
Apart from that, the chief source of our error in this matter is due to the fact that in the historical accounts a whole series of innumerable, diverse, and petty events, such for instance as all those which led the French armies to Russia, is generalized into one event in accord with the result produced by that series of events, and corresponding with this generalization the whole series of commands is also generalized into a single expression of will.
Amid a long series of unexecuted orders of Napoleon's one series, for the campaign of 1812, was carried out--not because those orders differed in any way from the other, unexecuted orders but because they coincided with the course of events that led the French army into Russia; just as in stencil work this or that figure comes out not because the color was laid on from this side or in that way, but because it was laid on from all sides over the figure cut in the stencil.
For reasons known or unknown to us the French began to drown and kill one another.
Of the French Academy of Sciences for 1719, a toad is described as
Have been dredged up by the French ship Talisman in its exploring
In his poem on astronomy, Daru, of the French Academy, describes this
French expedition left Europe bound for the same spot. From New York
A party of French observers under Monsieur Janssen, of the Paris
Of cocoanut palms, looking for a French flag among their wavy tufts.
Some few years ago, in the summer of 1862, a French artist, M.