You don't know how Kutuzov is pestered since his appointment as Commander in Chief.
Certainly; but about Kutuzov, I don't promise.
A member of the Hofkriegsrath from Vienna had come to Kutuzov the day before with proposals and demands for him to join up with the army of the Archduke Ferdinand and Mack, and Kutuzov, not considering this junction advisable, meant, among other arguments in support of his view, to show the Austrian general the wretched state in which the troops arrived from Russia.
Beside Kutuzov sat an Austrian general, in a white uniform that looked strange among the Russian black ones.
Kutuzov and the Austrian general were talking in low voices and Kutuzov smiled slightly as treading heavily he stepped down from the carriage just as if those two thousand men breathlessly gazing at him and the regimental commander did not exist.
At first Kutuzov stood still while the regiment moved; then he and the general in white, accompanied by the suite, walked between the ranks.
Kutuzov walked through the ranks, sometimes stopping to say a few friendly words to officers he had known in the Turkish war, sometimes also to the soldiers.
Behind Kutuzov, at a distance that allowed every softly spoken word to be heard, followed some twenty men of his suite.
Kutuzov walked slowly and languidly past thousands of eyes which were starting from their sockets to watch their chief.
"We all have our weaknesses," said Kutuzov smiling and walking away from him.
The officer evidently had complete control of his face, and while Kutuzov was turning managed to make a grimace and then assume a most serious, deferential, and innocent expression.
The third company was the last, and Kutuzov pondered, apparently trying to recollect something.
Kutuzov asked with a slight frown.
And they said Kutuzov was blind of one eye?
Kutuzov and his suite were returning to the town.
But now that Kutuzov had spoken to the gentleman ranker, he addressed him with the cordiality of an old friend.
On returning from the review, Kutuzov took the Austrian general into his private room and, calling his adjutant, asked for some papers relating to the condition of the troops on their arrival, and the letters that had come from the Archduke Ferdinand, who was in command of the advanced army.
Kutuzov and the Austrian member of the Hofkriegsrath were sitting at the table on which a plan was spread out.
It was evident that Kutuzov himself listened with pleasure to his own voice.
And Kutuzov smiled in a way that seemed to say, You are quite at liberty not to believe me and I don't even care whether you do or not, but you have no grounds for telling me so.
Kutuzov bowed with the same smile.
But Kutuzov went on blandly smiling with the same expression, which seemed to say that he had a right to suppose so.
"Give me that letter," said Kutuzov turning to Prince Andrew.
"Please have a look at it"--and Kutuzov with an ironical smile about the corners of his mouth read to the Austrian general the following passage, in German, from the Archduke Ferdinand's letter:
Kutuzov sighed deeply on finishing this paragraph and looked at the member of the Hofkriegsrath mildly and attentively.
"Excuse me, General," interrupted Kutuzov, also turning to Prince Andrew.
From Vienna Kutuzov wrote to his old comrade, Prince Andrew's father.
"Commander in Chief Kutuzov?" said the newly arrived general speaking quickly with a harsh German accent, looking to both sides and advancing straight toward the inner door.
The door of the private room opened and Kutuzov appeared in the doorway.
Kutuzov fell back toward Vienna, destroying behind him the bridges over the rivers Inn (at Braunau) and Traun (near Linz).
Austrian troops that had escaped capture at Ulm and had joined Kutuzov at Braunau now separated from the Russian army, and Kutuzov was left with only his own weak and exhausted forces.
On the twenty-eighth of October Kutuzov with his army crossed to the left bank of the Danube and took up a position for the first time with the river between himself and the main body of the French.
Despite his apparently delicate build Prince Andrew could endure physical fatigue far better than many very muscular men, and on the night of the battle, having arrived at Krems excited but not weary, with dispatches from Dokhturov to Kutuzov, he was sent immediately with a special dispatch to Brunn.
"From General Field Marshal Kutuzov?" he asked.
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.
Then followed other questions just as simple: Was Kutuzov well?
A thanksgiving service was arranged, Kutuzov was awarded the Grand Cross of Maria Theresa, and the whole army received rewards.
Kutuzov himself, he was told, was in the house with Prince Bagration and Weyrother.
Just as he was going to open it the sounds ceased, the door opened, and Kutuzov with his eagle nose and puffy face appeared in the doorway.
Prince Andrew stood right in front of Kutuzov but the expression of the commander in chief's one sound eye showed him to be so preoccupied with thoughts and anxieties as to be oblivious of his presence.
"I have the honor to present myself," repeated Prince Andrew rather loudly, handing Kutuzov an envelope.
Kutuzov went out into the porch with Bagration.
Kutuzov repeated and went toward his carriage.
"Get in," said Kutuzov, and noticing that Bolkonski still delayed, he added: "I need good officers myself, need them myself!"
Kutuzov did not reply.
On November 1 Kutuzov had received, through a spy, news that the army he commanded was in an almost hopeless position.
If Kutuzov decided to remain at Krems, Napoleon's army of one hundred and fifty thousand men would cut him off completely and surround his exhausted army of forty thousand, and he would find himself in the position of Mack at Ulm.
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.
Kutuzov chose this latter course.
The night he received the news, Kutuzov sent Bagration's vanguard, four thousand strong, to the right across the hills from the Krems-Znaim to the Vienna-Znaim road.
Kutuzov himself with all his transport took the road to Znaim.
Kutuzov with his transport had still to march for some days before he could reach Znaim.
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.
Bagration replied that he was not authorized either to accept or refuse a truce and sent his adjutant to Kutuzov to report the offer he had received.
Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon Prince Andrew, who had persisted in his request to Kutuzov, arrived at Grunth and reported himself to Bagration.
The command of the left flank belonged by seniority to the commander of the regiment Kutuzov had reviewed at Braunau and in which Dolokhov was serving as a private.
In spite of this, or rather because of it, next day, November 15, after dinner he again went to Olmutz and, entering the house occupied by Kutuzov, asked for Bolkonski.
But this is what we'll do: I have a good friend, an adjutant general and an excellent fellow, Prince Dolgorukov; and though you may not know it, the fact is that now Kutuzov with his staff and all of us count for nothing.
At six in the evening, Kutuzov went to the Emperor's headquarters and after staying but a short time with the Tsar went to see the grand marshal of the court, Count Tolstoy.
"Despite my great respect for old Kutuzov," he continued, "we should be a nice set of fellows if we were to wait about and so give him a chance to escape, or to trick us, now that we certainly have him in our hands!
Except your Kutuzov, there is not a single Russian in command of a column!
"However, I think General Kutuzov has come out," said Prince Andrew.
On the way home, Prince Andrew could not refrain from asking Kutuzov, who was sitting silently beside him, what he thought of tomorrow's battle.
Kutuzov looked sternly at his adjutant and, after a pause, replied: I think the battle will be lost, and so I told Count Tolstoy and asked him to tell the Emperor.
Weyrother, who was in full control of the proposed battle, by his eagerness and briskness presented a marked contrast to the dissatisfied and drowsy Kutuzov, who reluctantly played the part of chairman and president of the council of war.
Kutuzov was occupying a nobleman's castle of modest dimensions near Ostralitz.
In the large drawing room which had become the commander in chief's office were gathered Kutuzov himself, Weyrother, and the members of the council of war.
Prince Andrew came in to inform the commander-in-chief of this and, availing himself of permission previously given him by Kutuzov to be present at the council, he remained in the room.
Kutuzov, with his uniform unbuttoned so that his fat neck bulged over his collar as if escaping, was sitting almost asleep in a low chair, with his podgy old hands resting symmetrically on its arms.
If at first the members of the council thought that Kutuzov was pretending to sleep, the sounds his nose emitted during the reading that followed proved that the commander-in-chief at that moment was absorbed by a far more serious matter than a desire to show his contempt for the dispositions or anything else--he was engaged in satisfying the irresistible human need for sleep.
Weyrother, with the gesture of a man too busy to lose a moment, glanced at Kutuzov and, having convinced himself that he was asleep, took up a paper and in a loud, monotonous voice began to read out the dispositions for the impending battle, under a heading which he also read out:
Kutuzov here woke up, coughed heavily, and looked round at the generals.
Whether Dolgorukov and Weyrother, or Kutuzov, Langeron, and the others who did not approve of the plan of attack, were right--he did not know.
But was it really not possible for Kutuzov to state his views plainly to the Emperor?
He firmly and clearly expresses his opinion to Kutuzov, to Weyrother, and to the Emperors.
Kutuzov is removed and he is appointed...
The fourth column, with which Kutuzov was, stood on the Pratzen Heights.
At eight o'clock Kutuzov rode to Pratzen at the head of the fourth column, Miloradovich's, the one that was to take the place of Przebyszewski's and Langeron's columns which had already gone down into the valley.
That morning Kutuzov seemed worn and irritable.
"The dispositions!" exclaimed Kutuzov bitterly.
An Austrian officer in a white uniform with green plumes in his hat galloped up to Kutuzov and asked in the Emperor's name had the fourth column advanced into action.
Kutuzov turned round without answering and his eye happened to fall upon Prince Andrew, who was beside him.
Kutuzov still in the same place, his stout body resting heavily in the saddle with the lassitude of age, sat yawning wearily with closed eyes.
"Plenty of time, your excellency," muttered Kutuzov in the midst of a yawn.
Just then at a distance behind Kutuzov was heard the sound of regiments saluting, and this sound rapidly came nearer along the whole extended line of the advancing Russian columns.
When the soldiers of the regiment in front of which Kutuzov was standing began to shout, he rode a little to one side and looked round with a frown.
Kutuzov, affecting the manners of an old soldier at the front, gave the command "Attention!" and rode up to the Emperors with a salute.
"That is just why I do not begin, sire," said Kutuzov in a resounding voice, apparently to preclude the possibility of not being heard, and again something in his face twitched--"That is just why I do not begin, sire, because we are not on parade and not on the Empress' Field," said clearly and distinctly.
But Kutuzov, with respectfully bowed head, seemed also to be waiting.
"However, if you command it, Your Majesty," said Kutuzov, lifting his head and again assuming his former tone of a dull, unreasoning, but submissive general.
Kutuzov accompanied by his adjutants rode at a walking pace behind the carabineers.
Kutuzov had stopped and was speaking to an Austrian general.
Nesvitski with an angry face, red and unlike himself, was shouting to Kutuzov that if he did not ride away at once he would certainly be taken prisoner.
Kutuzov remained in the same place and without answering drew out a handkerchief.
"The wound is not here, it is there!" said Kutuzov, pressing the handkerchief to his wounded cheek and pointing to the fleeing soldiers.
Another in the same place turned round and fired in the air; a third was striking the horse Kutuzov himself rode.
Having by a great effort got away to the left from that flood of men, Kutuzov, with his suite diminished by more than half, rode toward a sound of artillery fire near by.
Having forced his way out of the crowd of fugitives, Prince Andrew, trying to keep near Kutuzov, saw on the slope of the hill amid the smoke a Russian battery that was still firing and Frenchmen running toward it.
"Stop those wretches!" gasped Kutuzov to the regimental commander, pointing to the flying soldiers; but at that instant, as if to punish him for those words, bullets flew hissing across the regiment and across Kutuzov's suite like a flock of little birds.
The French had attacked the battery and, seeing Kutuzov, were firing at him.
Oh! groaned Kutuzov despairingly and looked around....
What was he now to say to the Tsar or to Kutuzov, even if they were alive and unwounded?
No one whom Rostov asked could tell him where the Emperor or Kutuzov was.
"Your son," wrote Kutuzov, "fell before my eyes, a standard in his hand and at the head of a regiment--he fell as a hero, worthy of his father and his fatherland.
Kutuzov writes... and he screamed as piercingly as if he wished to drive the princess away by that scream...
As a general on duty on Kutuzov's staff, he applied himself to business with zeal and perseverance and surprised Kutuzov by his willingness and accuracy in work.
Kutuzov, who was already weary of Bolkonski's activity which seemed to reproach his own idleness, very readily let him go and gave him a mission to Barclay de Tolly.
One of the visitors, usually spoken of as "a man of great merit," having described how he had that day seen Kutuzov, the newly chosen chief of the Petersburg militia, presiding over the enrollment of recruits at the Treasury, cautiously ventured to suggest that Kutuzov would be the man to satisfy all requirements.
Now, is it suitable that Count Kutuzov, the oldest general in Russia, should preside at that tribunal?
But on the twenty- ninth of July Kutuzov received the title of Prince.
That same day Kutuzov was appointed commander-in- chief with full powers over the armies and over the whole region occupied by them.
Prince Kutuzov is field marshal!
It is said that the Emperor was reluctant to give Kutuzov those powers.
I know for a fact that Kutuzov made it an absolute condition that the Tsarevich should not be with the army.
Prince Andrew arrived at Tsarevo-Zaymishche on the very day and at the very hour that Kutuzov was reviewing the troops for the first time.
Kutuzov was impatiently urging on his horse, which ambled smoothly under his weight, and he raised his hand to his white Horse Guard's cap with a red band and no peak, nodding his head continually.
Since Prince Andrew had last seen him Kutuzov had grown still more corpulent, flaccid, and fat.
Kutuzov looked at him with eyes wide open with dismay and then took off his cap and crossed himself:
Kutuzov, his hands still pressed on the seat, glanced at him glumly.
"What?" said Kutuzov, in the midst of Denisov's explanations, "are you ready so soon?"
Kutuzov swayed his head, as much as to say: "How is one man to deal with it all?" and again listened to Denisov.
"What relation are you to Intendant General Kiril Andreevich Denisov?" asked Kutuzov, interrupting him.
"Ah, we were friends," said Kutuzov cheerfully.
But Kutuzov evidently did not wish to enter that room till he was disengaged.
At those words Kutuzov looked round.
After hearing the matter, Kutuzov smacked his lips together and shook his head.
"Well, that's all!" said Kutuzov as he signed the last of the documents, and rising heavily and smoothing out the folds in his fat white neck he moved toward the door with a more cheerful expression.
Prince Andrew told Kutuzov all he knew of his father's death, and what he had seen at Bald Hills when he passed through it.
Kutuzov suddenly cried in an agitated voice, evidently picturing vividly to himself from Prince Andrew's story the condition Russia was in.
Kutuzov glanced inquiringly at him.
I remember, yes, I remember you with the standard! said Kutuzov, and a flush of pleasure suffused Prince Andrew's face at this recollection.
Taking his hand and drawing him downwards, Kutuzov offered his cheek to be kissed, and again Prince Andrew noticed tears in the old man's eyes.
As soon as Leppich is ready, get together a crew of reliable and intelligent men for his car and send a courier to General Kutuzov to let him know.
In giving and accepting battle at Borodino, Kutuzov acted involuntarily and irrationally.
With a long overcoat on his exceedingly stout, round-shouldered body, with uncovered white head and puffy face showing the white ball of the eye he had lost, Kutuzov walked with plunging, swaying gait into the crowd and stopped behind the priest.
Behind Kutuzov was Bennigsen and the suite.
When the service was over, Kutuzov stepped up to the icon, sank heavily to his knees, bowed to the ground, and for a long time tried vainly to rise, but could not do so on account of his weakness and weight.
He wore a long coat and like Kutuzov had a whip slung across his shoulder.
Pierre stopped some thirty paces from Kutuzov, talking to Boris.
Though Kutuzov had dismissed all unnecessary men from the staff, Boris had contrived to remain at headquarters after the changes.
Boris belonged to the latter and no one else, while showing servile respect to Kutuzov, could so create an impression that the old fellow was not much good and that Bennigsen managed everything.
Now the decisive moment of battle had come when Kutuzov would be destroyed and the power pass to Bennigsen, or even if Kutuzov won the battle it would be felt that everything was done by Bennigsen.
Kutuzov noticed Pierre's figure and the group gathered round him.
Kutuzov repeated, his laughing eye narrowing more and more as he looked at Pierre.
Just then Boris, with his courtierlike adroitness, stepped up to Pierre's side near Kutuzov and in a most natural manner, without raising his voice, said to Pierre, as though continuing an interrupted conversation:
"Ah... a wonderful, a matchless people!" said Kutuzov; and he closed his eyes and swayed his head.
And as often happens with old people, Kutuzov began looking about absent-mindedly as if forgetting all he wanted to say or do.
Kutuzov smilingly nodded his head to the rhythm of the verses.
When Pierre had left Kutuzov, Dolokhov came up to him and took his hand.
Half an hour later Kutuzov left for Tatarinova, and Bennigsen and his suite, with Pierre among them, set out on their ride along the line.
"Tomorrow we shall have to deal with Kutuzov!" said Napoleon.
He turned to look at Kutuzov and his suite, to compare his impressions with those of others.
Kutuzov was saying to a general who stood beside him, not taking his eye from the battlefield.
On the rug-covered bench where Pierre had seen him in the morning sat Kutuzov, his gray head hanging, his heavy body relaxed.
Kutuzov groaned and swayed his head.
Soon after the duke's departure--before he could possibly have reached Semenovsk--his adjutant came back from him and told Kutuzov that the duke asked for more troops.
Kutuzov made a grimace and sent an order to Dokhturov to take over the command of the first army, and a request to the duke--whom he said he could not spare at such an important moment--to return to him.
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.
Kutuzov was in Gorki, near the center of the Russian position.
On the faces of all who came from the field of battle, and of those who stood around him, Kutuzov noticed an expression of extreme tension.
Adjutant General Wolzogen, the man who when riding past Prince Andrew had said, "the war should be extended widely," and whom Bagration so detested, rode up while Kutuzov was at dinner.
Kutuzov was chewing a piece of roast chicken with difficulty and glanced at Wolzogen with eyes that brightened under their puckering lids.
Kutuzov ceased chewing and fixed an astonished gaze on Wolzogen, as if not understanding what was said to him.
Wolzogen was about to make a rejoinder, but Kutuzov interrupted him.
Be so good as to ride to General Barclay and inform him of my firm intention to attack the enemy tomorrow, said Kutuzov sternly.
"Ah, here he is, my hero!" said Kutuzov to a portly, handsome, dark- haired general who was just ascending the knoll.
After hearing him, Kutuzov said in French:
Kutuzov called to his adjutant.
While Kutuzov was talking to Raevski and dictating the order of the day, Wolzogen returned from Barclay and said that General Barclay wished to have written confirmation of the order the field marshal had given.
Kutuzov, without looking at Wolzogen, gave directions for the order to be written out which the former commander-in-chief, to avoid personal responsibility, very judiciously wished to receive.
The tales passing from mouth to mouth at different ends of the army did not even resemble what Kutuzov had said, but the sense of his words spread everywhere because what he said was not the outcome of cunning calculations, but of a feeling that lay in the commander-in-chief's soul as in that of every Russian.
On the evening of the twenty-sixth of August, Kutuzov and the whole Russian army were convinced that the battle of Borodino was a victory.
Kutuzov reported so to the Emperor.
For people accustomed to think that plans of campaign and battles are made by generals--as any one of us sitting over a map in his study may imagine how he would have arranged things in this or that battle--the questions present themselves: Why did Kutuzov during the retreat not do this or that?
Learned military authorities quite seriously tell us that Kutuzov should have moved his army to the Kaluga road long before reaching Fili, and that somebody actually submitted such a proposal to him.
Kutuzov could not yet admit the possibility of retreating beyond Moscow without a battle.
On the Poklonny Hill, four miles from the Dorogomilov gate of Moscow, Kutuzov got out of his carriage and sat down on a bench by the roadside.
This Kutuzov knew well.
Bennigsen, who had chosen the position, warmly displayed his Russian patriotism (Kutuzov could not listen to this without wincing) by insisting that Moscow must be defended.
"Granddad" himself, as Malasha in her own mind called Kutuzov, sat apart in a dark corner behind the oven.
Raevski, twitching forward the black hair on his temples as was his habit, glanced now at Kutuzov and now at the door with a look of impatience.
"Gentlemen," said Kutuzov, "I cannot approve of the count's plan.
During one of these pauses Kutuzov heaved a deep sigh as if preparing to speak.
When he had dismissed the generals Kutuzov sat a long time with his elbows on the table, thinking always of the same terrible question: When, when did the abandonment of Moscow become inevitable?
Kutuzov himself had driven round by side streets to the other side of Moscow.
When, awakened from his sleep, he received that cold, peremptory note from Kutuzov, he felt the more irritated the more he felt himself to blame.
Count Rostopchin was mentally preparing the angry and stinging reproaches he meant to address to Kutuzov for his deception.
Planning beforehand what he would say to Kutuzov, Rostopchin turned angrily in his caleche and gazed sternly from side to side.
Kutuzov, dejected and frowning, sat on a bench by the bridge toying with his whip in the sand when a caleche dashed up noisily.
A man in a general's uniform with plumes in his hat went up to Kutuzov and said something in French.
He told Kutuzov that he had come because Moscow, the capital, was no more and only the army remained.
Kutuzov looked at Rostopchin as if, not grasping what was said to him, he was trying to read something peculiar written at that moment on the face of the man addressing him.
Kutuzov slightly shook his head and not taking his penetrating gaze from Rostopchin's face muttered softly:
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.
"Fancy the Emperor's position!" said they, and instead of extolling Kutuzov as they had done the day before, they condemned him as the cause of the Emperor's anxiety.
That day Prince Vasili no longer boasted of his protege Kutuzov, but remained silent when the commander-in-chief was mentioned.
On receiving this dispatch the Emperor sent Prince Volkonski to Kutuzov with the following rescript:
Nine days after the abandonment of Moscow, a messenger from Kutuzov reached Petersburg with the official announcement of that event.
That movement from the Nizhni to the Ryazan, Tula, and Kaluga roads was so natural that even the Russian marauders moved in that direction, and demands were sent from Petersburg for Kutuzov to take his army that way.
At Tarutino Kutuzov received what was almost a reprimand from the Emperor for having moved his army along the Ryazan road, and the Emperor's letter indicated to him the very position he had already occupied near Kaluga.
Napoleon, with his usual assurance that whatever entered his head was right, wrote to Kutuzov the first words that occurred to him, though they were meaningless.
The Russian army was commanded by Kutuzov and his staff, and also by the Emperor from Petersburg.
Kutuzov only replied that movements arranged from a distance were always difficult to execute.
As a result of the hostility between Kutuzov and Bennigsen, his Chief of Staff, the presence of confidential representatives of the Emperor, and these transfers, a more than usually complicated play of parties was going on among the staff of the army.
But by the time this letter, which proved that the real relation of the forces had already made itself felt in Petersburg, was dispatched, Kutuzov had found himself unable any longer to restrain the army he commanded from attacking and a battle had taken place.
On the morning of the fourth of October Kutuzov signed the dispositions.
On approaching Tarutino Kutuzov noticed cavalrymen leading their horses to water across the road along which he was driving.
Kutuzov looked at them searchingly, stopped his carriage, and inquired what regiment they belonged to.
Kutuzov began, but checked himself immediately and sent for a senior officer.
Scoundrels! yelled Kutuzov in a hoarse voice, waving his arms and reeling.
And once more Kutuzov had to consent.
Meanwhile another column was to have attacked the French from the front, but Kutuzov accompanied that column.
He understood that for him the storm had blown over, and that Kutuzov would content himself with that hint.
Soon after this, Ermolov moved up to Kutuzov and respectfully remarked:
Kutuzov did not reply, but when they reported to him that Murat's troops were in retreat he ordered an advance, though at every hundred paces he halted for three quarters of an hour.
Of all that Napoleon might have done: wintering in Moscow, advancing on Petersburg or on Nizhni-Novgorod, or retiring by a more northerly or more southerly route (say by the road Kutuzov afterwards took), nothing more stupid or disastrous can be imagined than what he actually did.
He remained in Moscow till October, letting the troops plunder the city; then, hesitating whether to leave a garrison behind him, he quitted Moscow, approached Kutuzov without joining battle, turned to the right and reached Malo-Yaroslavets, again without attempting to break through and take the road Kutuzov took, but retiring instead to Mozhaysk along the devastated Smolensk road.
In the early days of October another envoy came to Kutuzov with a letter from Napoleon proposing peace and falsely dated from Moscow, though Napoleon was already not far from Kutuzov on the old Kaluga road.
Kutuzov replied to this letter as he had done to the one formerly brought by Lauriston, saying that there could be no question of peace.
Generals on the staff, excited by the memory of the easy victory at Tarutino, urged Kutuzov to carry out Dorokhov's suggestion.
Kutuzov did not consider any offensive necessary.
In battle he was always under fire, so that Kutuzov reproved him for it and feared to send him to the front, and like Dokhturov he was one of those unnoticed cogwheels that, without clatter or noise, constitute the most essential part of the machine.
Kutuzov like all old people did not sleep much at night.
Since Bennigsen, who corresponded with the Emperor and had more influence than anyone else on the staff, had begun to avoid him, Kutuzov was more at ease as to the possibility of himself and his troops being obliged to take part in useless aggressive movements.
The lesson of the Tarutino battle and of the day before it, which Kutuzov remembered with pain, must, he thought, have some effect on others too.
"Who brought it?" asked Kutuzov with a look which, when the candle was lit, struck Toll by its cold severity.
Kutuzov sat up with one leg hanging down from the bed and his big paunch resting against the other which was doubled under him.
Toll was beginning to say something but Kutuzov checked him.
Dokhturov went to Malo- Yaroslavets, but Kutuzov lingered with the main army and gave orders for the evacuation of Kaluga--a retreat beyond which town seemed to him quite possible.
Everywhere Kutuzov retreated, but the enemy without waiting for his retreat fled in the opposite direction.
Of the Russian commanders Kutuzov alone understood this.
Kutuzov alone used all his power (and such power is very limited in the case of any commander-in-chief) to prevent an attack.
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.
And try as Kutuzov might to restrain the troops, our men attacked, trying to bar the road.
The retreat from Malo-Yaroslavets when he had a free road into a well- supplied district and the parallel road was open to him along which Kutuzov afterwards pursued him--this unnecessary retreat along a devastated road--is explained to us as being due to profound considerations.
History (or what is called by that name) replying to these questions says that this occurred because Kutuzov and Tormasov and Chichagov, and this man and that man, did not execute such and such maneuvers...
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.
The explanation of this strange fact given by Russian military historians (to the effect that Kutuzov hindered an attack) is unfounded, for we know that he could not restrain the troops from attacking at Vyazma and Tarutino.
It was impossible first because--as experience shows that a three-mile movement of columns on a battlefield never coincides with the plans--the probability of Chichagov, Kutuzov, and Wittgenstein effecting a junction on time at an appointed place was so remote as to be tantamount to impossibility, as in fact thought Kutuzov, who when he received the plan remarked that diversions planned over great distances do not yield the desired results.
Kutuzov merely shrugged his shoulders when one after another they presented projects of maneuvers to be made with those soldiers-- ill-shod, insufficiently clad, and half starved--who within a month and without fighting a battle had dwindled to half their number, and who at the best if the flight continued would have to go a greater distance than they had already traversed, before they reached the frontier.
Not only did his contemporaries, carried away by their passions, talk in this way, but posterity and history have acclaimed Napoleon as grand, while Kutuzov is described by foreigners as a crafty, dissolute, weak old courtier, and by Russians as something indefinite--a sort of puppet useful only because he had a Russian name.
In 1812 and 1813 Kutuzov was openly accused of blundering.
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. *
The character of Kutuzov and reflections on the unsatisfactory results of the battles at Krasnoe, by Bogdanovich.
Kutuzov never talked of "forty centuries looking down from the Pyramids," of the sacrifices he offered for the fatherland, or of what he intended to accomplish or had accomplished; in general he said nothing about himself, adopted no pose, always appeared to be the simplest and most ordinary of men, and said the simplest and most ordinary things.
When Count Rostopchin at the Yauza bridge galloped up to Kutuzov with personal reproaches for having caused the destruction of Moscow, and said: "How was it you promised not to abandon Moscow without a battle?"
Kutuzov replied: "And I shall not abandon Moscow without a battle," though Moscow was then already abandoned.
This procrastinator Kutuzov, whose motto was "Patience and Time," this enemy of decisive action, gave battle at Borodino, investing the preparations for it with unparalleled solemnity.
Kutuzov rode to Dobroe on his plump little white horse, followed by an enormous suite of discontented generals who whispered among themselves behind his back.
Kutuzov seemed preoccupied and did not listen to what the general was saying.
There was something horrible and bestial in the fleeting glance they threw at the riders and in the malevolent expression with which, after a glance at Kutuzov, the soldier with the sores immediately turned away and went on with what he was doing.
Kutuzov looked long and intently at these two soldiers.
At another spot he noticed a Russian soldier laughingly patting a Frenchman on the shoulder, saying something to him in a friendly manner, and Kutuzov with the same expression on his face again swayed his head.
"Ah, the standards!" said Kutuzov, evidently detaching himself with difficulty from the thoughts that preoccupied him.
Kutuzov was silent for a few seconds and then, submitting with evident reluctance to the duty imposed by his position, raised his head and began to speak.
While the soldiers were shouting Kutuzov leaned forward in his saddle and bowed his head, and his eye lit up with a mild and apparently ironic gleam.
Afterwards when one of the generals addressed Kutuzov asking whether he wished his caleche to be sent for, Kutuzov in answering unexpectedly gave a sob, being evidently greatly moved.
The sole importance of the crossing of the Berezina lies in the fact that it plainly and indubitably proved the fallacy of all the plans for cutting off the enemy's retreat and the soundness of the only possible line of action--the one Kutuzov and the general mass of the army demanded--namely, simply to follow the enemy up.
Anticipation that the failure of the Petersburg Berezina plan would be attributed to Kutuzov led to dissatisfaction, contempt, and ridicule, more and more strongly expressed.
Kutuzov saw this and merely sighed and shrugged his shoulders.
Now having come to the army, he informed Kutuzov of the Emperor's displeasure at the poor success of our forces and the slowness of their advance.
On the twenty-ninth of November Kutuzov entered Vilna--his "dear Vilna" as he called it.
In undress naval uniform, with a dirk, and holding his cap under his arm, he handed Kutuzov a garrison report and the keys of the town.
Kutuzov, shrugging his shoulders, replied with his subtle penetrating smile: "I meant merely to say what I said."
Contrary to the Emperor's wish Kutuzov detained the greater part of the army at Vilna.
A courier who galloped to the castle in advance, in a troyka with three foam-flecked horses, shouted "Coming!" and Konovnitsyn rushed into the vestibule to inform Kutuzov, who was waiting in the hall porter's little lodge.
The Emperor with a rapid glance scanned Kutuzov from head to foot, frowned for an instant, but immediately mastering himself went up to the old man, extended his arms and embraced him.
And this embrace too, owing to a long-standing impression related to his innermost feelings, had its usual effect on Kutuzov and he gave a sob.
Kutuzov made no rejoinder or remark.
When Kutuzov came out of the study and with lowered head was crossing the ballroom with his heavy waddling gait, he was arrested by someone's voice saying:
Kutuzov raised his head and looked for a long while into the eyes of Count Tolstoy, who stood before him holding a silver salver on which lay a small object.
Kutuzov seemed not to understand what was expected of him.
Kutuzov had received the Order of St. George of the First Class and the Emperor showed him the highest honors, but everyone knew of the imperial dissatisfaction with him.
The Emperor's displeasure with Kutuzov was specially increased at Vilna by the fact that Kutuzov evidently could not or would not understand the importance of the coming campaign.
Kutuzov alone would not see this and openly expressed his opinion that no fresh war could improve the position or add to the glory of Russia, but could only spoil and lower the glorious position that Russia had gained.
Kutuzov did not understand what Europe, the balance of power, or Napoleon meant.