“Did you get here quickly? Let us go to his highness.”

Konovnitsyn understood at once that the news was of great importance, and that they must lose no time. As to whether it were good news or bad, he had no opinion and did not even put the question to himself. That did not interest him. He looked at the whole subject of the war, not with his intellect, not with his reason, but with something different. In his heart he had a deep, unaltered conviction that all would be well, yet that he ought not to believe in this, and still more ought not to say so, but ought simply to do his duty. And that he did do, giving all his energies to it.

Pyotr Petrovich Konovnitsyn, like Dohturov, is simply as a formality included in the list of the so-called heroes of 1812 with the Barclays, Raevskys, Yermolovs, Platovs and Miloradovitchs. Like Dohturov, he had the reputation of being a man of very limited capacities and information; and, like Dohturov, he never proposed plans of campaign, but was always to be found in the most difficult position. Ever since he had been appointed the general on duty, he had slept with his door open, and given orders to be waked on the arrival of any messenger. In battle he was always under fire, so that Kutuzov even reproached him for it, and was afraid to send him to the front. Like Dohturov, he was one of those inconspicuous cogwheels, which, moving without creaking or rattling, make up the most essential part of the machine.

Coming out of the hut into the damp, dark night, Konovnitsyn frowned, partly from his headache getting worse, and partly from the disagreeable thought that occurred to him of the stir this would make in all the nest of influential persons on the staff; of its effect on Bennigsen in particular, who since the battle of Tarutino had been at daggers drawn with Kutuzov; of the suppositions and discussions and orders and counter-orders. And the presentiment of all that was disagreeable to him, though he knew it to be inevitable.

Toll, to whom he went to communicate the news, did in fact begin at once expounding his views on the situation to the general who shared his abode; and Konovnitsyn, after listening in weary silence, reminded him that they must go to his highness.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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