A Year of War and Peace+ Day 28

In which the Russian army learns of an unfortunate loss and we contemplate the three eidetic reductions of future misfortune


War and Peace — Book One, Part Two

Chapter Three

On returning from the review, Kutúzov took the Austrian general into his private room and, calling his adjutant, asked for some papers relating to the condition of the troops on their arrival, and the letters that had come from the Archduke Ferdinand, who was in command of the advanced army. Prince Andrew Bolkónski came into the room with the required papers. Kutúzov and the Austrian member of the Hofkriegsrath were sitting at the table on which a plan was spread out.

We have fully concentrated forces of nearly seventy thousand men with which to attack and defeat the enemy should he cross the Lech. Also, as we are masters of Ulm, we cannot be deprived of the advantage of commanding both sides of the Danube, so that should the enemy not cross the Lech, we can cross the Danube, throw ourselves on his line of communications, recross the river lower down, and frustrate his intention should he try to direct his whole force against our faithful ally. We shall therefore confidently await the moment when the Imperial Russian army will be fully equipped, and shall then, in conjunction with it, easily find a way to prepare for the enemy the fate he deserves.

Kutúzov sighed deeply on finishing this paragraph and looked at the member of the Hofkriegsrath mildly and attentively.

Your son bids fair to become an officer distinguished by his industry, firmness, and expedition. I consider myself fortunate to have such a subordinate by me.

On Kutúzov’s staff, among his fellow officers and in the army generally, Prince Andrew had, as he had had in Petersburg society, two quite opposite reputations. Some, a minority, acknowledged him to be different from themselves and from everyone else, expected great things of him, listened to him, admired, and imitated him, and with them Prince Andrew was natural and pleasant. Others, the majority, disliked him and considered him conceited, cold, and disagreeable. But among these people Prince Andrew knew how to take his stand so that they respected and even feared him.

A Year of War and Peace — Day 28

ॐ it will get worse, it will get worse, it will get worse ॐ

Return of the Mack

Kutúzov and the Austrian general convene in a private room to discuss the campaign. Looking on, in silent attention, is Kutúzov’s aide-de-camp, Prince Andrew Bolkónski. Prince Andrew watches and listens as Kutúzov attempts to delay the deployment of Russian troops just a bit longer. The Austrian general, however, wants to get the Russians into the fight as soon as possible. Kutúzov’s argument is that surely this is unnecessary. After all, he argues, certainly Mack, an esteemed Austrian general, has already gained a decisive victory against the French. So why rush things? In support of this view Kutúzov reads a letter from Archduke Ferdinand himself saying that the Austrians are in a position of power. The Austrian general replies, rather sensibly, that still one should always plan for the worst.

“But you know the wise maxim, your Excellency, advising one to expect the worst.”

So says the Austrian general in today’s chapter. We’ve already explored this idea in A Year of War and Peace. By thinking about stressful situations we can better prepare ourselves for when stressful situations actually manifest.

Daily Meditation

That concludes today’s reading and reflection. Let me know what you think in the comments. I love talking War and Peace.

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