On the night of the 11th of October he lay leaning on his arm and thinking of that.

There was a stir in the next room, and he heard the steps of Toll, Konovnitsyn and Bolhovitinov.

“Hey, who is there? Come in, come in! Anything new?” the commander-in-chief called to them.

While a footman lighted a candle, Toll told the drift of the news.

“Who brought it?” asked Kutuzov, with a face that impressed Toll when the candle was lighted by its frigid sternness.

“There can be no doubt of it, your highness.”

“Call him, call him here!”

Kutuzov sat with one leg out of bed and his unwieldy, corpulent body propped on the other leg bent under him. He screwed up his one seeing eye to get a better view of the messenger, as though he hoped in his face to read what he cared to know.

“Tell me, tell me, my dear fellow,” he said to Bolhovitinov, in his low, aged voice, pulling the shirt together that had come open over his chest. “Come here, come closer. What news is this you have brought me? Eh? Napoleon has marched out of Moscow? Is it truly so? Eh?”

Bolhovitinov began repeating in detail the message that had been given him.

“Tell me, make haste, don’t torture me,” Kutuzov interrupted him.

Bolhovitinov told him all and paused, awaiting instructions. Toll was beginning to speak, but Kutuzov checked him. He tried to say something, but all at once his face began to work, to pucker; waving his hand at Toll, he turned the other way to the corner of the hut, which looked black with the holy pictures. “Lord, my Creator! Thou hast heard our prayer …” he said in a trembling voice, clasping his hands. “Russia is saved. I thank Thee, O Lord.” And he burst into tears.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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