The handsome young Emperor Alexander, in the uniform of the Horse Guards, wearing a cocked hat with its peaks front and back, with his pleasant face and resonant though not loud voice, attracted everyone's attention.
Rostov was not far from the trumpeters, and with his keen sight had recognized the Tsar and watched his approach. When he was within twenty paces, and Nicholas could clearly distinguish every detail of his handsome, happy young face, he experienced a feeling tenderness and ecstasy such as he had never before known. Every trait and every movement of the Tsar's seemed to him enchanting.
Stopping in front of the Pavlograds, the Tsar said something in French to the Austrian Emperor and smiled.
Seeing that smile, Rostov involuntarily smiled himself and felt a still stronger flow of love for his sovereign. He longed to show that love in some way and knowing that this was impossible was ready to cry. The Tsar called the colonel of the regiment and said a few words to him.
"Oh God, what would happen to me if the Emperor spoke to me?" thought Rostov. "I should die of happiness!"
The Tsar addressed the officers also: "I thank you all, gentlemen, I thank you with my whole heart." To Rostov every word sounded like a voice from heaven. How gladly would he have died at once for his Tsar!
"You have earned the St. George's standards and will be worthy of them."
"Oh, to die, to die for him " thought Rostov.
The Tsar said something more which Rostov did not hear, and the soldiers, straining their lungs, shouted "Hurrah!"
Rostov too, bending over his saddle, shouted "Hurrah!" with all his might, feeling that he would like to injure himself by that shout, if only to express his rapture fully.
The Tsar stopped a few minutes in front of the hussars as if undecided.
"How can the Emperor be undecided?" thought Rostov, but then even this indecision appeared to him majestic and enchanting, like everything else the Tsar did.
That hesitation lasted only an instant. The Tsar's foot, in the narrow pointed boot then fashionable, touched the groin of the bobtailed bay mare he rode, his hand in a white glove gathered up the reins, and he moved off accompanied by an irregularly swaying sea of aides-de-camp. Farther and farther he rode away, stopping at other regiments, till at last only his white plumes were visible to Rostov from amid the suites that surrounded the Emperors.
Among the gentlemen of the suite, Rostov noticed Bolkonski, sitting his horse indolently and carelessly. Rostov recalled their quarrel of yesterday and the question presented itself whether he ought or ought not to challenge Bolkonski. "Of course not!" he now thought. "Is it worth thinking or speaking of it at such a moment? At a time of such love, such rapture, and such self-sacrifice, what do any of our quarrels and affronts matter? I love and forgive everybody now."
When the Emperor had passed nearly all the regiments, the troops began a ceremonial march past him, and Rostov on Bedouin, recently purchased from Denisov, rode past too, at the rear of his squadron- that is, alone and in full view of the Emperor.
Before he reached him, Rostov, who was a splendid horseman, spurred Bedouin twice and successfully put him to the showy trot in which the animal went when excited. Bending his foaming muzzle to his chest, his tail extended, Bedouin, as if also conscious of the Emperor's eye upon him, passed splendidly, lifting his feet with a high and graceful action, as if flying through the air without touching the ground.
Rostov himself, his legs well back and his stomach drawn in and feeling himself one with his horse, rode past the Emperor with a frowning but blissful face "like a vewy devil," as Denisov expressed it.
"Fine fellows, the Pavlograds!" remarked the Emperor.
"My God, how happy I should be if he ordered me to leap into the fire this instant!" thought Rostov.
When the review was over, the newly arrived officers, and also Kutuzov's, collected in groups and began to talk about the awards, about the Austrians and their uniforms, about their lines, about Bonaparte, and how badly the latter would fare now, especially if the Essen corps arrived and Prussia took our side.
But the talk in every group was chiefly about the Emperor Alexander. His every word and movement was described with ecstasy.
They all had but one wish: to advance as soon as possible against the enemy under the Emperor's command. Commanded by the Emperor himself they could not fail to vanquish anyone, be it whom it might: so thought Rostov and most of the officers after the review.
All were then more confident of victory than the winning of two battles would have made them.
War and Peace -by- Leo Tolstoy