“Where are you off to? Stand still!” voices whispered to Lazarev, who did not know where he was to go. Lazarev stopped short, with a sidelong scared look at his colonel, and his face quivered, as one so often sees in soldiers called up in front of the ranks.

Napoleon gave a slight backward turn of his head, and a slight motion of his little fat hand, as though seeking something with it. The members of his suite, who guessed the same second what was wanted, were all in a bustle; they whispered together, passing something from one to another, and a page—the same one Rostov had seen the previous evening at Boris’s quarters—ran forward, and respectfully bowing over the outstretched hand and not keeping it one instant waiting, put in it an order on a red ribbon. Napoleon, without looking at it, pressed two fingers together; the order was between them. Napoleon approached Lazarev, who stood rolling his eyes, and still gazing obstinately at his own Emperor only. Napoleon looked round at the Emperor Alexander, as though to show that what he was doing now he was doing for the sake of his ally. The little white hand, with the order in it, just touched the button of the soldier Lazarev. It was as though Napoleon knew that it was enough for his, Napoleon’s, hand to deign to touch the soldier’s breast, for that soldier to be happy, rewarded, and distinguished from every one in the world. Napoleon merely laid the cross on Lazarev’s breast, and, dropping his hand, turned to Alexander, as though he knew that cross would be sure to stick on Lazarev’s breast. The cross did, in fact, stick on.

Officious hands, Russian and French, were instantaneously ready to support it, to fasten it to his uniform.

Lazarev looked darkly at the little man with white hands who was doing something to him, and still standing rigidly, presenting arms, he looked again straight into Alexander’s face, as though he were asking him: “Was he to go on standing there, or was it his pleasure for him to go now, or perhaps to do something else?” But no order was given him, and he remained for a good while still in the same rigid position.

The Emperors mounted their horses and rode away. The Preobrazhensky battalion broke up, and, mingling with the French guards, sat down to the tables prepared for them.

Lazarev was put in the place of honour. French and Russian officers embraced him, congratulated him, and shook hands with him. Crowds of officers and common people flocked up simply to look at Lazarev. There was a continual hum of laughter and French and Russian chatter round the tables in the square. Two officers with flushed faces passed by Rostov, looking cheerful and happy.

“What do you say to the banquet, my boy? All served on silver,” one was saying. “Seen Lazarev?”


“They say the Preobrazhenskies are to give them a dinner tomorrow.”

“I say, what luck for Lazarev! Twelve hundred francs pension for life.”

“Here’s a cap, lads!” cried a Preobrazhensky soldier, putting on a French soldier’s fur cap.

“It’s awfully nice, first-rate!”

“Have you heard the watchword?” said an officer of the guards to another. “The day before yesterday it was ‘Napoléon, France, bravoure’; to-day it’s ‘Alexandre, Russie, grandeur.” One day our Emperor gives it, and next day Napoleon. To-morrow the Emperor is to send the St. George to the bravest of the French guards. Can’t be helped! Must respond in the same way.”

Boris, with his comrade Zhilinsky, had come too to look at the banquet. On his way back Boris noticed Rostov, who was standing at the corner of a house. “Rostov! good day; we haven’t seen each other,” he said, and could not refrain from asking him what was the matter, so strangely gloomy and troubled was the face of Rostov.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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