Chapter 12

AT THE LEVÉE the Emperor Francis only looked intently into Prince Andrey’s face, and nodded his long head to him as he stood in the place assigned him among the Austrian officers. But after the levée the adjutant of the previous evening ceremoniously communicated to Bolkonsky the Emperor’s desire to give him an audience. The Emperor Francis received him, standing in the middle of the room. Prince Andrey was struck by the fact that before beginning the conversation, the Emperor seemed embarrassed, didn’t know what to say, and reddened.

“Tell me when the battle began,” he asked hurriedly. Prince Andrey answered. The question was followed by others, as simple: “Was Kutuzov well?” “How long was it since he left Krems?” and so on. The Emperor spoke as though his sole aim was to put a certain number of questions. The answers to these questions, as was only too evident, could have no interest for him.

“At what o’clock did the battle begin?” asked the Emperor.

“I cannot inform your majesty at what o’clock the battle began in the front lines, but at Därenstein, where I was, the troops began the attack about six in the evening,” said Bolkonsky, growing more eager, and conceiving that now there was a chance for him to give an accurate description, just as he had it ready in his head, of all he knew and had seen. But the Emperor smiled and interrupted him:

“How many miles?”

“From where to where, your majesty?”

“From Därenstein to Krems?”

“Three and a half miles, your majesty.”

“The French abandoned the left bank?”

“As our scouts reported, the last crossed the river on rafts in the night.”

“Have you enough provisions at Krems?”

“Provisions have not been furnished to the amount…”

The Emperor interrupted him:

“At what o’clock was General Schmidt killed?”

“At seven o’clock, I think.”

“At seven o’clock? Very sad! very sad!”

The Emperor said that he thanked him, and bowed. Prince Andrey withdrew, and was at once surrounded by courtiers on all sides. Everywhere he saw friendly eyes gazing at him, and heard friendly voices addressing him. The adjutant of the preceding evening reproached him for not having stopped at the palace, and offered him his own house. The minister of war came up and congratulated him on the Order of Maria Theresa of the third grade, with which the Emperor was presenting him. The Empress’s chamberlain invited him to her majesty. The archduchess, too, wished to see him. He did not know whom to answer, and for a few seconds he was trying to collect his ideas. The Russian ambassador took him by the shoulder, led him away to a window, and began to talk to him.

Contrary to Bilibin’s prognostications, the news he brought was received with rejoicing. A thanksgiving service was arranged. Kutuzov was decorated with the great cross of Maria Theresa, and rewards were bestowed on the whole army. Bolkonsky received invitations on all hands, and had to spend the whole morning paying visits to the principal personages in the Austrian Government. After paying his visits,

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.