His French accent rolled off his deep voice in a way that made her smile.
I study French, too.
The French doors were locked, and she beat on them, looking around wildly for deck furniture to break the glass.
She turned it off and eased out of bed, stopping to gaze out the French doors.
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.
French became the language of diplomacy and international affairs.
French wines and luxury brands are appreciated by connoisseurs (another French concept) everywhere.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A French gentleman, whose name I cannot remember, showed me the great French bronzes.
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.
All her invitations without exception, written in French, and delivered by a scarlet-liveried footman that morning, ran as follows:
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.
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.
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.
Only when able to tolerate the floor did she cross to the French doors.
The French doors were open, rendering the room cold.
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.
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.
"Is it Old French or English?" another asked.
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.
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.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, French fries - you know, the usual fast food stuff.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The subjects I offered were elementary and advanced German, French, Latin, English, and Greek and Roman History.
In French Teacher is reading "Columba" to me.
We've just had four lovely dresses made by a French dressmaker.
I passed off my English and advanced French before I entered college, and I choose the courses I like best.
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.
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.
"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?
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.
"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?
"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.
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 French had time to fire three rounds of grapeshot before the hussars got back to their horses.
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.
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...
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 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.
But to forestall the French with his whole army was impossible.
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 was a handsome, elegantly dressed man with a diamond ring on his forefinger.
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.
"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.
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.
"A French pancake," answered Zherkov.
The French had advanced nearest on our right.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
"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.
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.
Dolgorukov was still insisting that the French had retreated and had only lit fires to deceive us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the thirteenth of June the French and Russian Emperors arrived in Tilsit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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:
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.
I've told the countess she should not speak French so much.
It is becoming dangerous to speak French in the streets.
While this was taking place in Petersburg the French had already passed Smolensk and were drawing nearer and nearer to Moscow.
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."
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.
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.
He had in his hand a French book which he closed as Prince Andrew entered, marking the place with a knife.
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!'"
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.
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.
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.
At Smolensk too he judged correctly that the French might outflank us, as they had larger forces.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
But neither the French nor the Russians made that effort, and the flame of battle burned slowly out.
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.
The Russians retreated eighty miles--to beyond Moscow--and the French reached Moscow and there came to a standstill.
The French did not move.
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.
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.
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.
Your excellency, they say they have got ready, according to your orders, to go against the French, and they shouted something about treachery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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?...
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Russian army, only half the strength of the French, does not make a single attempt to attack for a whole month.
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.
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.)
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."
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.
On the road he was stopped by a French sentinel who ordered him back.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 so-called partisan war began with the entry of the French into Smolensk.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beyond Vyazma the French army instead of moving in three columns huddled together into one mass, and so went on to the end.
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.
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.
So what was the use of performing various operations on the French who were running away as fast as they possibly could?
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.
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.
The rapidity of the Russian pursuit was just as destructive to our army as the flight of the French was to theirs.
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.
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. *
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
"You can see the woman in her already," she said in French, pointing to little Natasha.
But the Allied monarchs were angry at this and went to fight the French once more.
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?
Napoleon III issues a decree and the French go to Mexico.
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.
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.
It's because I'm French, isn't it?
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.
The bay forms a fairly regular curve, broken on the French seaboard only by the estuaries of the Loire, Garonne, Adour and..
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.
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.
The cause of the destruction of the French army in 1812 is clear to us now.
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.
Preparations were made to fight the French before Smolensk.
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 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.
I am studying French and German and Latin and Greek.
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.
Pulling the hair off her neck into a French roll, she used a few bejeweled clips and let it go at that.
You assume we French all eat croissants, Pierre complained.
"Take my hand and close your eyes," Jenn said, holding out her hand to reveal a perfect French manicure.
I found French much more difficult.
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.
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.