“Only look, your excellency!” He called his attention to the bullets which were continually whizzing, singing, and hissing about them. He spoke in the tone of protest and entreaty with which a carpenter speaks to a gentleman who has picked up a hatchet. “We are used to it, but you may blister your fingers.” He talked as though these bullets could not kill him, and his half-closed eyes gave a still more persuasive effect to his words. The staff-officer added his protests to the colonel, but Bagration made them no answer. He merely gave the order to cease firing, and to form so as to make room for the two battalions of reinforcements. Just as he was speaking the cloud of smoke covering the hollow was lifted as by an unseen hand and blown by the rising wind from right to left. and the opposite hill came into sight with the French moving across it. All eyes instinctively fastened on that French column moving down upon them and winding in and out over the ups and downs of the ground. Already they could see the fur caps of the soldiers, could distinguish officers from privates, could see their flag flapping against its staff.
“Make haste, please,” he said.
The letter taken back by Balashov was Napoleon's last letter to Alexander. Every detail of the conversation was transmitted to the Russian Emperor, and the war began.
“Every one has his weak spot,” Prince Andrey went on; “with his vast intellect to condescend to such triviality!”
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