War and Peace Volume 3, Part 3, Chapter 20 Summary
Moscow is empty. Well, not totally empty, but you know – only the dregs of the population are left.
Tolstoy does an elaborate Homeric simile (check out the “Writing Style” section) about how the city is now like a beehive that no longer has a queen. The bees that are left have no purpose, and the hive is pretty obviously dead.
Napoleon finally gets the news that the city has been deserted. He’s way P.O.’ed, since this means that his big dramatic entrance has been ruined.