On reaching home Pierre gave orders to Evstafey--his head coachman who knew everything, could do anything, and was known to all Moscow--that he would leave that night for the army at Mozhaysk, and that his saddle horses should be sent there.
Every house in Mozhaysk had soldiers quartered in it, and at the hostel where Pierre was met by his groom and coachman there was no room to be had.
Everywhere in Mozhaysk and beyond it, troops were stationed or on the march.
And by some latent sequence of thought the descent of the Mozhaysk hill, the carts with the wounded, the ringing bells, the slanting rays of the sun, and the songs of the cavalrymen vividly recurred to his mind.
On seeing these peasants, who were evidently still amused by the novelty of their position as soldiers, Pierre once more thought of the wounded men at Mozhaysk and understood what the soldier had meant when he said: "They want the whole nation to fall on them."
The question that had perturbed Pierre on the Mozhaysk hill and all that day now seemed to him quite clear and completely solved.
Crowds of men of various arms, wounded and unwounded, with frightened faces, dragged themselves back to Mozhaysk from the one army and back to Valuevo from the other.
Having gone a couple of miles along the Mozhaysk road, Pierre sat down by the roadside.
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.
His Serene Highness has passed through Mozhaysk in order to join up with the troops moving toward him and has taken up a strong position where the enemy will not soon attack him.
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.
That Napoleon agreed with Mouton, and that the army retreated, does not prove that Napoleon caused it to retreat, but that the forces which influenced the whole army and directed it along the Mozhaysk (that is, the Smolensk) road acted simultaneously on him also.
He again slept as he had done at Mozhaysk after the battle of Borodino.
"But it's strange, friends," continued the man who had wondered at their whiteness, "the peasants at Mozhaysk were saying that when they began burying the dead--where the battle was you know--well, those dead had been lying there for nearly a month, and says the peasant, 'they lie as white as paper, clean, and not as much smell as a puff of powder smoke.'"
That peasant near Mozhaysk where the battle was said the men were all called up from ten villages around and they carted for twenty days and still didn't finish carting the dead away.