Kutuzov turned away without answering, and his eye fell casually on Prince Andrey, who was standing near him. Seeing Bolkonsky, Kutuzov let his vindictive and bitter expression soften, as though recognising that his adjutant was not to blame for what was being done. And still not answering the Austrian adjutant, he addressed Bolkonsky.

“Go and see, my dear fellow, whether the third division has passed the village. Tell them to stop and wait for my orders.”

Prince Andrey had scarcely started when he stopped him.

“And ask whether the sharpshooters are posted,” he added. “What they are doing, what they are doing!” he murmured to himself, still making no reply to the Austrian.

Prince Andrey galloped off to do his bidding. Overtaking all the advancing battalions, he stopped the third division and ascertained that there actually was no line of sharpshooters in advance of our columns. The officer in command of the foremost regiment was greatly astounded on the order being brought him from the commander-in-chief to send a flying line of sharpshooters in advance. The officer had been resting in the full conviction that there were other troops in front of him, and that the enemy could not be less than ten versts away. In reality there was nothing in front of him but an empty stretch of ground, sloping downhill and covered with fog. Giving him the commander-in-chief’s order to rectify the omission, Prince Andrey galloped back. Kutuzov was still at the same spot; his bulky frame drooped in the saddle with the lassitude of old age, and he was yawning wearily with closed eyes. The troops had not yet moved on, but were standing at attention.

“Good, good,” he said to Prince Andrey, and he turned to the general who, watch in hand, was saying that it was time they started, as all the columns of the left flank had gone down already.

“We have plenty of time yet, your excellency,” Kutuzov interpolated between his yawns. “Plenty of time!” he repeated.

At that moment in the distance behind Kutuzov there were sounds of regiments saluting; the shouts came rapidly nearer along the whole drawn-out line of the advancing Russian columns. Clearly he who was the object of these greetings was riding quickly. When the soldiers of the regiment, in front of which Kutuzov was standing, began to shout, he rode off a little on one side, and wrinkling up his face, looked round. Along the road from Pratzen, galloped what looked like a whole squadron of horsemen of different colours. Two of them galloped side by side ahead of the rest. One was in a black uniform with a white plume, on a chestnut English thoroughbred, the other in a white uniform on a black horse. These were the two Emperors and their suites. With a sort of affectation of the manner of an old soldier at the head of his regiment, Kutuzov gave the command, “Steady,” to the standing troops and rode up to the Emperors, saluting. His whole figure and manner were suddenly transformed. He assumed the air of a subordinate, a man who accepts without criticism. With an affectation of respectfulness which unmistakably made an unpleasant impression on Alexander, he rode up and saluted him.

The unpleasant impression, like the traces of fog in a clear sky, merely flitted across the young and happy face of the Emperor and vanished. He looked that day rather thinner after his illness than he had been at the review of Olmütz, where Bolkonsky had seen him for the first time abroad. But there was the same bewitching combination of majesty and mildness in his fine, grey eyes, and on his delicate lips the same possibility of varying expressions and the predominant expression of noble-hearted, guileless youth.

At the Olmütz review he had been more majestic, here he was livelier and more energetic. He was flushed a little from the rapid three-verst gallop, and as he pulled up his horse, he breathed a sigh of relief, and looked round at those among the faces of his suite that were as young and eager as his own. Behind the Tsar were Tchartorizhsky, and Novosiltsov, and Prince Bolkonsky, and Stroganov, and the rest, all richly dressed, gay young men on splendid, well-groomed, fresh horses, slightly heated from the gallop.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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