Chapter 16

KUTUZOV, accompanied by his adjutants, followed the carabineers at a walking pace.

After going on for half a mile at the tail of the column, he stopped at a solitary, deserted house (probably once an inn), near the branching of two roads. Both roads led downhill, and troops were marching along both.

The fog was beginning to part, and a mile and a half away the enemy’s troops could be indistinctly seen on the opposite heights. On the left below, the firing became more distinct. Kutuzov stood still in conversation with an Austrian general. Prince Andrey standing a little behind watched them intently, and turned to an adjutant, meaning to ask him for a field-glass.

“Look, look!” this adjutant said, looking not at the troops in the distance, but down the hill before him. “It’s the French!”

The two generals and the adjutant began snatching at the field-glass, pulling it from one another. All their faces suddenly changed, and horror was apparent in them all. They had supposed the French to be over a mile and a half away, and here they were all of a sudden confronting us.

“Is it the enemy? … No. … But, look, it is … for certain.… What does it mean?” voices were heard saying.

With the naked eye Prince Andrey saw to the right, below them, a dense column of French soldiers coming up towards the Apsheron regiment, not over five hundred paces from where Kutuzov was standing.

“Here it is, it is coming, the decisive moment! My moment has come,” thought Prince Andrey, and slashing his horse, he rode up to Kutuzov.

“We must stop the Apsheron regiment,” he shouted, “your most high excellency.”

But at that instant everything was lost in a cloud of smoke, there was a sound of firing close by, and a voice in naïve terror cried not two paces from Prince Andrey: “Hey, mates, it’s all up!” And this voice was like a command. At that voice there was a general rush, crowds, growing larger every moment, ran back in confusion to the spot where five minutes before they had marched by the Emperors. It was not simply difficult to check this rushing crowd, it was impossible not to be carried back with the stream oneself. Bolkonsky tried only not to be left behind by it, and looked about him in bewilderment, unable to grasp what was taking place. Nesvitsky, with an exasperated, crimson face, utterly unlike himself, was shouting to Kutuzov that if he didn’t get away at once he’d be taken prisoner to a certainty. Kutuzov was standing in the same place: he was taking out his handkerchief, and did not answer. The blood was flowing from his cheek. Prince Andrey forced his way up to him.

“You are wounded?” he asked, hardly able to control the quivering of his lower jaw.

“The wound’s not here, but there, see!” said Kutuzov, pressing the handkerchief to his wounded cheek, and pointing to the running soldiers.

“Stop them!” he shouted, and at the same time convinced that it was impossible to stop them, he lashed his horse and rode to the right. A fresh rush of flying crowds caught him up with it and carried him back.

The troops were running in such a dense multitude, that once getting into the midst of the crowd, it was a hard matter to get out of it. One was shouting: “Get on! what are you lagging for?” Another was turning round to fire in the air; another striking the very horse on which Kutuzov was mounted. Getting out with an immense effort from the stream on the left, Kutuzov, with his suite diminished to a half, rode towards the sounds of cannon close by. Prince Andrey, trying not to be left behind by Kutuzov, saw, as he got out of the racing multitude, a Russian battery still firing in the smoke on the hillside and the French running towards it. A little higher up stood Russian infantry, neither moving forward to the support of the battery, nor back in the same direction as the runaways. A general on horseback detached himself from the

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