Obviously, the main part of this chapter is Kutuzov’s increasing worry as his nightmare comes true – and he realises how close the Russians are to the French.  Followed by his showdown with the Tsar.

But I thought I’d mention a throwaway line that has some significance: early in the chapter, Andrei is convinced that this day will be his bridge of Arcola.  If you’re blessed with footnotes in your book, you’ll have looked up and found out that the bridge of Arcola was a daring stand of Napoleon’s in 1796, where the man bravely grabbed a flag and ran out onto a bridge to lead his troops to victory.

This idea – to grab a flag and lead troops to victory – just floats around in Andrei’s head and makes the next chapter all that more powerful . . .

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 3.15 – The Bridge of Arcola

  1. It certainly is a very tense chapter, isn’t it? There has been all this build-up to the battle – and we now know how close it all is, and then for a moment there is this one final pause while Kutuzov and the Tsar have their stand-off – where so little, and yet so much, is said between them. It kind of makes you realise how much on knife edge everything rests.

    But for me, the highlight of this chapter was the description of the Tsar’s horse near the end. It is just so Tolstoy to convey so much with such a small, incidental, innocent image as a horse pricking up her ears at the sound of gunfire.

  2. I can just imagine (then again, I cannot imagine) how it is being out there, all set for battle, then you can’t see anything, like in the last chapter . . . you don’t even know where the enemy is.
    It must be bloody scary for a person if it’s their first time on the actual battlefield.

    I’m adding these fellas to my count (including any Counts that are there – ha! ha!)

    Adjutant – One of Emperor Francis’s white adjutants

    He beckoned to one of his white adjutants and asked some question- “Most likely he is asking at what o’clock they started,” thought Prince Andrew, watching his old acquaintance with a smile he could not repress as he recalled his reception at Brunn.

    Austrian Officer –

    An Austrian officer in a white uniform with green plumes in his hat galloped up to Kutuzov and asked in the Emperor’s name had the fourth column advanced into action.

    General –

    “Do order them to form into battalion columns and go round the village!” he said angrily to a general who had ridden up. “Don’t you understand, your excellency, my dear sir, that you must not defile through narrow village streets when we are marching against the enemy?”

    General –

    “All right, all right!” he said to Prince Andrew, and turned to a general who, watch in hand, was saying it was time they started as all the left-flank columns had already descended.

    Strogonov –

    Czartoryski, Novosiltsev, Prince Volkonsky, Strogonov, and the others, all richly dressed gay young men on splendid, well-groomed, fresh, only slightly heated horses, exchanging remarks and smiling, had stopped behind the Emperor.

    Volkonsky –

    Czartoryski, Novosiltsev, Prince Volkonsky, Strogonov, and the others, all richly dressed gay young men on splendid, well-groomed, fresh, only slightly heated horses, exchanging remarks and smiling, had stopped behind the Emperor.

    368

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s