War And Peace



THE DAY AFTER ROSTOV'S VISIT to Boris, the review took place of the Austrian and Russian troops, both the reinforcements freshly arrived from Russia and the troops that had been campaigning with Kutuzov. Both Emperors, the Russian Emperor with the Tsarevitch, and the Austrian with the archduke, were to assist at this review of the allied forces, making up together an army of eighty thousand men. From early morning the troops, all smart and clean, had been moving about the plain before the fortress. Thousands of legs and bayonets moved with flags waving, and halted at the word of command, turned and formed at regular intervals, moving round other similar masses of infantry in different uniforms. With the rhythmic tramp of hoofs, the smartly dressed cavalry in blue, and red, and green laced uniforms rode jingling by on black and chestnut and grey horses, the bandsmen in front covered with embroidery. Between the infantry and the cavalry the artillery, in a long line of polished, shining cannons quivering on their carriages, crawled slowly by with their heavy, brazen sound, and their peculiar smell from the linstocks, and ranged themselves in their places. Not only the generals in their full parade uniform, wearing scarves and all their decorations, with waists, portly and slim alike, pinched in to the uttermost, and red necks squeezed into stiff collars, not only the pomaded, dandified officers, but every soldier, with his clean, washed, and shaven face, and weapons polished to the utmost possibility of glitter, every horse rubbed down till its coat shone like satin, and every hair in its moistened mane lay in place—all alike felt it no joking matter, felt that something grave and solemn was going forward. Every general and every soldier was conscious of his own significance, feeling himself but a grain of sand in that ocean of humanity, and at the same time was conscious of his might, feeling himself a part of that vast whole. There had been strenuous exertion and bustle since early morning, and by ten o'clock everything was in the required order. The rows of soldiers were standing on the immense plain. The whole army was drawn out in three lines. In front was the cavalry; behind, the artillery; still further back, the infantry.

Between each two ranks of soldiery there was as it were a street. The army was sharply divided into three parts: Kutuzov's army (on the right flank of which stood the Pavlograd hussars in the front line), the regiments of the line and the guards that had arrived from Russia, and the Austrian troops. But all stood in one line, under one command, and in similar order.

Like a wind passing over the leaves, the excited whisper fluttered over the plain: “They are coming! they are coming!” There was a sound of frightened voices, and the hurried men's fuss over the last finishing touches ran like a wave over the troops.

A group came into sight moving towards them from Olmütz in front of them. And at the same moment, though there had been no wind, a faint breeze fluttered over the army, and stirred the streamers on the lances, and sent the unfurled flags flapping against their flagstaffs. It looked as though in this slight movement the army itself were expressing its joy at the approach of the Emperors. One voice was heard saying: “Steady!” Then like cocks at sunrise, voices caught up and repeated the sound in different parts of the plain. And all sank into silence.

In the deathlike stillness, the only sound was the tramp of hoofs. It was the Emperors' suite. The Emperors rode towards the flank, and the trumpets of the first cavalry regiment began playing a march. It seemed as though the sound did not come from the trumpeters, but that the army itself was naturally giving forth this music in its delight at the Emperors' approach. Through the music could be distinctly heard one voice, the genial, youthful voice of the Emperor Alexander. He uttered some words of greeting, and the first regiment boomed out: “Hurrah!” with a shout so deafening, so prolonged, so joyful, that the men themselves felt awestruck at the multitude and force of the mass they made up.

Rostov, standing in the foremost ranks of Kutuzov's army, which the Tsar approached first of all, was possessed by the feeling, common to every man in that army—a feeling of self-oblivion, of proud consciousness of their might and passionate devotion to the man who was the centre of that solemn ceremony.

He felt that at one word from that man all that vast mass (and he, an insignificant atom bound up with it) would rush through fire and water, to crime, to death, or to the grandest heroism, and so he could not but thrill and tremble at the sight of the man who was the embodiment of that word.

“Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!” thundered on all sides, and one regiment after another greeted the Tsar with the strains of the march, then hurrah!…then the march, and again hurrah! and hurrah! which growing stronger and fuller, blended into a deafening roar.

Before the Tsar had reached it, each regiment in its speechless immobility seemed like a lifeless body. But as soon as the Tsar was on a level with it, each regiment broke into life and noise, which joined with the roar of all the line, by which the Tsar had passed already. In the terrific, deafening uproar of those voices, between the square masses of troops, immobile as though turned to stone, moved carelessly, but symmetrically and freely, some hundreds of men on horseback, the suite, and in front of them two figures—the Emperors. Upon these was entirely concentrated the repressed, passionate attention of all that mass of men.

The handsome, youthful Emperor Alexander, in the uniform of the Horse Guards, in a triangular hat with the base in front, attracted the greater share of attention with his pleasant face and sonorous, low voice.

Rostov was standing near the trumpeters, and with his keen eyes he recognised the Tsar from a distance and watched him approaching. When the Tsar was only twenty paces away, and Nikolay saw clearly in every detail the handsome, young, and happy face of the Emperor, he experienced a feeling of tenderness and ecstasy such as he had never known before. Everything in the Tsar—every feature, every movement—seemed to him full of charm.

Halting before the Pavlograd regiment, the Tsar said something in French to the Austrian Emperor and smiled.

Seeing that smile, Rostov unconsciously began to smile himself and felt an even stronger rush of love for his Emperor. He longed to express his love for the Tsar in some way. He knew it was impossible, and he wanted to cry. The Tsar called up the colonel of the regiment and said a few words to him.

“By God! what would happen to me if the Emperor were to address me!” thought Rostov; “I should die of happiness.”

The Tsar addressed the officers, too.

“All of you, gentlemen” (every word sounded to Rostov like heavenly music), “I thank you with all my heart.”

How happy Rostov would have been if he could have died on the spot for his Emperor.

“You have won the flags of St. George and will be worthy of them.”

“Only to die, to die for him!” thought Rostov.

The Tsar said something more which Rostov did not catch, and the soldiers, straining their lungs, roared “hurrah!”

Rostov, too, bending over in his saddle, shouted with all his might, feeling he would like to do himself some injury by this shout, if only he could give full expression to his enthusiasm for the Tsar.

The Tsar stood for several seconds facing the hussars, as though he were hesitating.

“How could the Emperor hesitate?” Rostov wondered; but then, even that hesitation seemed to him majestic and enchanting, like all the Tsar did.

The Tsar's hesitation lasted only an instant. The Tsar's foot, in the narrow-pointed boot of the day, touched the belly of the bay English thoroughbred he was riding. The Tsar's hand in its white glove gathered up the reins and he moved off, accompanied by the irregularly heaving sea of adjutants. Further and further he rode away, stopping at the other regiments, and at last the white plume of his hat was all that Rostov could see above the suite that encircled the Emperors.

Among the gentlemen of the suite, Rostov noticed Bolkonsky, sitting his horse in a slack, indolent pose. Rostov remembered his quarrel with him on the previous day and his doubt whether he ought or ought not to challenge him. “Of course, I ought not,” Rostov reflected now.…”And is it worth thinking and speaking of it at such a moment as the present? At the moment of such a feeling of love, enthusiasm, and self-sacrifice, what are all our slights and squabbles? I love every one, I forgive every one at this moment,” thought Rostov.

When the Tsar had made the round of almost all the regiments, the troops began to file by him in a parade march, and Rostov on Bedouin, which he had lately bought from Denisov, was the officer at the rear, that is, had to pass last, alone, and directly in view of the Tsar.

Before he reached the Tsar, Rostov, who was a capital horseman, set spurs twice to his Bedouin, and succeeded in forcing him into that frantic form of gallop into which Bedouin always dropped when he was excited. Bending his foaming nose to his chest, arching his tail, and seeming to skim through the air without touching the earth, Bedouin, as though he, too, were conscious of the Tsar's eye upon him, flew by in superb style, with a graceful high action of his legs.

Rostov himself drew back his legs and drew in his stomach, and feeling himself all of a piece with his horse, rode by the Tsar with a frowning but blissful face, looking a regular devil, as Denisov used to say.

“Bravo, Pavlograds!” said the Tsar.

“My God! shouldn't I be happy if he bade me fling myself into fire this instant,” thought Rostov.

When the review was over, the officers, both of the reinforcements and of Kutuzov's army, began to gather together in groups. Conversations sprang up about the honours that had been conferred, about the Austrians and their uniforms, and their front line, about Bonaparte and the bad time in store for him now, especially when Essen's corps, too, should arrive, and Prussia should take our side. But the chief subject of conversation in every circle was the Emperor Alexander; every word he had uttered, every gesture was described and expatiated upon with enthusiasm.

There was but one desire in all: under the Emperor's leadership to face the enemy as soon as possible. Under the command of the Emperor himself they would not fail to conquer any one whatever: so thought Rostov and most of the officers after the review.

After the review they all felt more certain of victory than they could have been after two decisive victories.




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