On the cover of my Maude translation of War and Peace, there is a vast picture of Napoleon on a rearing horse.

But really, Tolstoy would have been a bit disgusted with this.  After all, if there’s any real hero to this story (at least in military terms) – a guy that you can look up to, it’s Commander-in-Chief Kutuzov.

With one-eye, and a deceptively laid-back approach to war, he makes his first appearance inspecting the men, Austrian general in tow.  Thanks to Prince Andrei (also making a return appearance), Kutuzov makes a personal acknowledgment of Dolohov, setting him up as a special man in the forces – however, still demoted until he proves himself in the first engagement.

We’re all being set up for that first battle.  The question really is, where’s Napoleon?  What’s going on?

Take a deep breath folks – this book might take a while to answer those questions – and you’ve going to have to settle for the antics of Kutuzov’s clown sidekicks, Zherkov the mimic and Nesvitsky the giggler.

If they irritate you, that’s nothing compared with what Andrei thinks of them . . . but we’ll find out about that in due course.

See you tomorrow.

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3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 1.2 – The Entrance of Kutozov

  1. Janine and I are still here. The story is just warming up! My parents and in-laws are taking up the challenge too.

    I love Kutuzov’s hints to the Austrian general regarding the shabby Russian boots.

  2. It begins with ‘the regimental commander’ – but that isn’t Kutusov, is it? No, he’s about to welcome the Chief (Kutusov). At any rate, I don’t think he needs to go on my illustrious character count – even Kutusov himself is already on there.

    Austrian General . . . Beside Kutuzov sat an Austrian general, in a white uniform that looked strange among the Russian black ones.

    Castenet Player – “Oh, my bower new…!” chimed in twenty voices, and the castanet player, in spite of the burden of his equipment, rushed out to the front and, walking backwards before the company, jerked his shoulders and flourished his castanets as if threatening someone.

    Drummer – A drummer, their leader, turned round facing the singers, and flourishing his arm, began a long-drawn-out soldiers’ song, commencing with the words: “Morning dawned, the sun was rising,” and concluding: “On then, brothers, on to glory, led by Father Kamenski.”

    Fedeshon – “I say, Fedeshon!… Did he say when the battles are to begin? You were near him. Everybody said that Buonaparte himself was at Braunau.”

    Hussar – Nesvitski could hardly keep from laughter provoked by a swarthy hussar officer who walked beside him.

    Ignatych – “You won’t bear me a grudge, Prokhor Ignatych?” said the regimental commander, overtaking the third company on its way to its quarters and riding up to Captain Timokhin who was walking in front.

    Kamenski – Father Kamenski – see quoted text above

    Nesvitski – This was Prince Bolkonski. Beside him was his comrade Nesvitski, a tall staff officer, extremely stout, with a kindly, smiling, handsome face and moist eyes.

    Subaltern – “Well, he’s really a good fellow, one can serve under him,” said Timokhin to the subaltern beside him.

    Timokhin – “Ah, Timokhin!” said he, recognizing the red-nosed captain who had been reprimanded on account of the blue greatcoat.

    Zherkov – Hussar cornet Zherkov had at one time, in Petersburg, belonged to the wild set led by Dolokhov.

    *******************************************************

    “We all have our weaknesses,” said Kutuzov smiling and walking away from him. “He used to have a predilection for Bacchus.”

    Question – what is ‘Bacchus’? Can anyone explain that to me?

    113 plus the names I’ve collected here, brings me to a total of . . .

    124!

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