their right, it will be advantageous to attack this last-named wing, especially if we have possession of the villages of Sokolnitz and Kobelnitz, by which means we can at once fall on them in the rear and pursue them in the open between Schlapanitz and the Thuerassa-Wald, thereby avoiding the defiles of Schlapanitz and Bellowitz, which are covered by the enemy’s front. With this ultimate aim it will be necessary … The first column marches … The second column marches … The third column marches” … read Weierother.

The generals seemed to listen reluctantly to the intricate account of the disposition of the troops. The tall, fair-haired general, Buxhevden, stood leaning his back against the wall, and fixing his eyes on a burning candle, he seemed not to be listening, not even to wish to be thought to be listening. Exactly opposite to Weierother, with his bright, wide-open eyes fixed upon him, was Miloradovitch, a ruddy man, with whiskers and shoulders turned upwards, sitting in a military pose with his hands on his knees and his elbows bent outwards. He sat in obstinate silence, staring into Weierother’s face, and only taking his eyes off him when the Austrian staff-commander ceased speaking. Then Miloradovitch looked round significantly at the other generals. But from that significant glance it was impossible to tell whether he agreed or disagreed, was pleased or displeased, at the arrangements. Next to Weierother sat Count Langeron, with a subtle smile that never left his Southern French face during the reading; he gazed at his delicate fingers as he twisted round a golden snuff-box with a portrait on it. In the middle of one of the lengthy paragraphs he stopped the rotatory motion of the snuff-box, lifted his head, and with hostile courtesy lurking in the corners of his thin lips, interrupted Weierother and would have said something. But the Austrian general, continuing to read, frowned angrily with a motion of the elbows that seemed to say: “Later, later, you shall give your opinion, now be so good as to look at the map and listen.” Langeron turned up his eyes with a look of bewilderment, looked round at Miloradovitch, as though seeking enlightenment, but meeting the significant gaze of Miloradovitch, that signified nothing, he dropped his eyes dejectedly, and fell to twisting his snuff-box again.

“A geography lesson,” he murmured as though to himself, but loud enough to be heard.

Przhebyshevsky, with respectful but dignified courtesy, put his hand up to his ear on the side nearest Weierother, with the air of a man absorbed in attention. Dohturov, a little man, sat opposite Weierother with a studious and modest look on his face. Bending over the map, he was conscientiously studying the arrangement of the troops and the unfamiliar locality. Several times he asked Weierother to repeat words and difficult names of villages that he had not caught. Weierother did so, and Dohturov made a note of them.

When the reading, which lasted more than an hour, was over, Langeron, stopping his twisting snuff- box, began to speak without looking at Weierother or any one in particular. He pointed out how difficult it was to carry out such a disposition, in which the enemy’s position was assumed to be known, when it might well be uncertain seeing that the enemy was in movement. Langeron’s objections were well founded, yet it was evident that their principal object was to make Weierother, who had read his plans so conceitedly, as though to a lot of schoolboys, feel that he had to deal not with fools, but with men who could teach him something in military matters.

When the monotonous sound of Weierother’s voice ceased, Kutuzov opened his eyes, as the miller wakes up at any interruption in the droning of the mill-wheels, listened to what Langeron was saying, and as though saying to himself: “Oh, you’re still at the same nonsense!” made haste to close his eyes again, and let his head sink still lower.

Langeron, trying to deal the most malignant thrusts possible at Weierother’s military vanity as author of the plan, showed that Bonaparte might easily become the attacking party instead of waiting to be attacked, and so render all this plan of the disposition of the troops utterly futile. Weierother met all objections with a confident and contemptuous smile, obviously prepared beforehand for every objection, regardless of what they might say to him.

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