Chapter 22

STAGGERING from the crush of the crowd that carried him along with it, Pierre looked about him.

“Count! Pyotr Kirillitch! How did you come here?” said a voice. Pierre looked round.

Boris Drubetskoy, brushing his knee with his hand (he had probably made it dusty in his devotions before the holy picture) came up to Pierre smiling. Boris was elegantly dressed, though his get-up was of a style appropriate to active service. He wore a long military coat and had a riding-whip slung across his shoulder, as Kutuzov had.

Kutuzov had meanwhile reached the village, and sat down in the shade of the nearest house, on a bench which one Cossack ran to fetch him, and another hastily covered with a rug. An immense retinue of magnificent officers surrounded him.

The procession was moving on further, accompanied by the crowd. Pierre stood still about thirty paces from Kutuzov, talking to Boris.

He explained to him his desire to take part in the battle and to inspect the position.

“I tell you what you had better do,” said Boris. “I will do the honours of the camp for you. You will see everything best of all from where Count Bennigsen is to be. I am in attendance on him. I will mention it to him. And if you like to go over the position, come along with us; we are just going to the left flank. And then when we come back, I beg you will stay the night with me, and we will make up a game of cards. You know Dmitry Sergeitch, of course. He is staying there.” He pointed to the third house in Gorky.

“But I should have liked to have seen the right flank. I’m told it is very strong,” said Pierre. “I should have liked to go from the river Moskva through the whole position.”

“Well, that you can do later, but the great thing is the left flank.”

“Yes, yes. And where is Prince Bolkonsky’s regiment? can you point it out to me?” asked Pierre.

“Andrey Nikolaevitch’s? We shall pass it. I will take you to him.”

“What about the left flank?” asked Pierre.

“To tell you the truth, between ourselves, there’s no making out how things stand with the left flank,” said Boris confidentially, dropping his voice. “Count Bennigsen had proposed something quite different. He proposed to fortify that knoll over there, not at all as it has … but …” Boris shrugged his shoulders. “His highness would not have it so, or he was talked over. You see …” Boris did not finish because Kaisarov, Kutuzov’s adjutant, at that moment came up to Pierre. “Ah, Paisy Sergeitch,” said Boris to him, with an unembarrassed smile, “I am trying, you see, to explain the position to the count. It’s amazing how his highness can gauge the enemy’s plans so accurately!”

“Do you mean about the left flank?” said Kaisarov.

“Yes, yes; just so. Our left flank is now extremely strong.”

Although Kutuzov had made a clearance of the superfluous persons on the staff, Boris had succeeded, after the change he had made, in retaining a post at headquarters. Boris was in attendance on Count Bennigsen. Count Bennigsen, like every one on whom Boris had been in attendance, looked on young Prince Drubetskoy as an invaluable man. Among the chief officers of the army there were two clearly defined parties: Kutuzov’s party and the party of Bennigsen, the chief of the staff. Boris belonged to the latter faction, and no one succeeded better than he did in paying the most servile adulation to Kutuzov, while managing to insinuate that the old fellow was not good for much, and that everything was really due to the initiative of Bennigsen. Now the decisive moment of battle had come, which must mean the

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