downfall of Kutuzov and the transfer of the command to Bennigsen, or if Kutuzov should gain the battle, the credit of it must be skilfully put down to Bennigsen. In any case many promotions were bound to be made, and many new men were certain to be brought to the front after the morrow. And Boris was consequently in a state of nervous exhilaration all that day.

Others of Pierre’s acquaintances joined him; and he had not time to answer all the questions about Moscow that were showered upon him, nor to listen to all they had to tell him. Every face wore a look of excitement and agitation. But it seemed to Pierre that the cause of the excitement that was betrayed by some of those faces was to be found in questions of personal success, and he could not forget that other look of excitement he had seen in the other faces, that suggested problems, not of personal success, but the universal questions of life and death.

Kutuzov noticed Pierre’s figure and the group gathered about him.

“Call him to me,” said Kutuzov.

An adjutant communicated his highness’s desire, and Pierre went towards the bench. But a militiaman approached Kutuzov before him. It was Dolohov.

“How does that man come to be here?” asked Pierre.

“Oh, he’s such a sly dog, he pokes himself in everywhere!” was the answer he received. “He has been degraded to the ranks, you know. Now he wants to pop up again. He has made plans of some sort and spies in the enemy’s lines at night … but he’s a plucky fellow …”

Pierre took off his hat and bowed respectfully to Kutuzov.

“I decided that if I were to lay the matter before your highness, you might dismiss me or say that you were aware of the facts and then I shouldn’t lose anything,” Dolohov was saying.

“To be sure.”

“And if I were right, I should do a service for my fatherland, for which I am ready to die.”

“To be sure … to be sure …”

“And if your highness has need of a man who would not spare his skin graciously remember me … perhaps I might be of use to your highness …”

“To be sure … to be sure …” repeated Kutuzov, looking with laughing, half-closed eye at Pierre.

Meanwhile Boris, with his courtier-like tact, had moved close to the commander-in-chief with Pierre, and in the most natural manner, in a quiet voice, as though continuing his previous conversation, he said to Pierre:

“The peasant militiamen have simply put on clean, white shirts to be ready to die. What heroism, count!”

Boris said this to Pierre with the evident intention of being overheard by his excellency. He knew Kutuzov’s attention would be caught by those words, and his highness did in fact address him.

“What are you saying about the militia?” he said to Boris.

“They have put on white shirts, your highness, by way of preparing for to-morrow, to be ready for death.”

“Ah! … A marvellous, unique people,” said Kutuzov, and closing his eyes he shook his head. “A unique people!” he repeated, with a sigh.

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