an excellent minister he was, but as soon as she’s in danger, she wants a man of her own kith and kin. So you in your club have been making him out to be a traitor! They slander him now as a traitor; and afterwards, ashamed of their false accusations, they will suddenly glorify him as a hero or a genius, which would be even more unfair to him. He’s an honest and conscientious German …”

“They say he’s an able general, though,” said Pierre.

“I don’t know what’s meant by an able general,” Prince Andrey said ironically.

“An able general,” said Pierre; “well, it’s one who foresees all contingencies … well, divines the enemy’s projects.”

“But that’s impossible,” said Prince Andrey, as though of a matter long ago settled.

Pierre looked at him in surprise.

“But you know they say,” he said, “that war is like a game of chess.”

“Yes,” said Prince Andrey, “only with this little difference, that in chess you may think over each move as long as you please, that you are not limited as to time, and with this further difference that a knight is always stronger than a pawn and two pawns are always stronger than one, while in war a battalion is sometimes stronger than a division, and sometimes weaker than a company. No one can ever be certain of the relative strength of armies. Believe me,” he said, “if anything did depend on the arrangements made by the staff, I would be there, and helping to make them, but instead of that I have the honour of serving here in the regiment with these gentlemen here, and I consider that the day really depends upon us to-morrow and not on them. … Success never has depended and never will depend on position, on arms, nor even on numbers; and, least of all, on position.”

“On what then?”

“On the feeling that is in me and him,” he indicated Timohin, “and every soldier.”

Prince Andrey glanced at Timohin, who was staring in alarm and bewilderment at his colonel. In contrast to his usual reserved taciturnity, Prince Andrey seemed excited now. Apparently he could not refrain from expressing the ideas that suddenly rose to his mind. “The battle is won by the side that has firmly resolved to win. Why did we lose the battle of Austerlitz? Our losses were almost equalled by the French losses; but we said to ourselves very early in the day that we were losing the battle, and we lost it. And we said so because we had nothing to fight for then; we wanted to get out of fighting as quick as we could. ‘We are defeated; so let us run!’ and we did run. If we had not said that till evening, God knows what might not have happened. But to-morrow we shan’t say that. You talk of our position, of the left flank being weak, and the right flank too extended,” he went on; “all that’s nonsense; that’s all nothing. But what awaits us to-morrow? A hundred millions of the most diverse contingencies, which will determine on the instant whether they run or we do; whether one man is killed and then another; but all that’s being done now is all mere child’s play. The fact is that these people with whom you have been inspecting the positions do nothing towards the progress of things; they are a positive hindrance. They are entirely taken up with their own petty interests.”

“At such a moment?” said Pierre reproachfully.

At such a moment,” repeated Prince Andrey. “To them this is simply a moment on which one may score off a rival and win a cross or ribbon the more. To my mind what is before us to-morrow is this: a hundred thousand Russian and a hundred thousand French troops have met to fight, and the fact is that these two hundred thousand men will fight, and the side that fights most desperataly and spares itself least will conquer. And if you like, I’ll tell you that whatever happens, and whatever mess they make up yonder, we shall win the battle to-morrow; whatever happens we shall win the victory.”

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