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War And Peace 102


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Here it is!" was seen even on Prince Bagrations hard brown face with its half-closed, dull, sleepy eyes. Prince Andrew gazed with anxious curiosity at that impassive face and wished he could tell what, if anything, this man was thinking and feeling at that moment. "Is there anything at all behind that impassive face?" Prince Andrew asked himself as he looked. Prince Bagration bent his head in sign of agreement with what Prince Andrew told him, and said, "Very good!" in a tone that seemed to imply that everything that took place and was reported to him was exactly what he had foreseen. Prince Andrew, out of breath with his rapid ride, spoke quickly. Prince Bagration, uttering his words with an Oriental accent, spoke particularly slowly, as if to impress the fact that there was no need to hurry. However, he put his horse to a trot in the direction of Tushins battery. Prince Andrew followed with the suite. Behind Prince Bagration rode an officer of the suite, the princes personal adjutant, Zherkov, an orderly officer, the staff officer on duty, riding a fine bobtailed horse, and a civilian--an accountant who had asked permission to be present at the battle out of curiosity. The accountant, a stout, full-faced man, looked around him with a naive smile of satisfaction and presented a strange appearance among the hussars, Cossacks, and adjutants, in his camlet coat, as he jolted on his horse with a convoy officers saddle. "He wants to see a battle," said Zherkov to Bolkonski, pointing to the accountant, "but he feels a pain in the pit of his stomach already." "Oh, leave off!" said the accountant with a beaming but rather cunning smile, as if flattered at being made the subject of Zherkovs joke, and purposely trying to appear stupider than he really was. "It is very strange, mon Monsieur Prince," said the staff officer. (He remembered that in French there is some peculiar way of addressing a prince, but could not get it quite right.) By this time they were all approaching Tushins battery, and a ball struck the ground in front of them. "Whats that that has fallen?" asked the accountant with a naive smile. "A French pancake," answered Zherkov. "So thats what they hit with?" asked the accountant. "How awful!" He seemed to swell with satisfaction. He had hardly finished speaking when they again heard an unexpectedly violent whistling which suddenly ended with a thud into something soft... f-f-flop! and a Cossack, riding a little to their right and behind the accountant, crashed to earth with his horse. Zherkov and the staff officer bent over their saddles and turned their horses away. The accountant stopped, facing the Cossack, and examined him with attentive curiosity. The Cossack was dead, but the horse still struggled. Prince Bagration screwed up his eyes, looked round, and, seeing the cause of the confusion, turned away with indifference, as if to say, "Is it worth while noticing trifles?" He reined in his horse with the case of a skillful rider and, slightly bending over, disengaged his saber which had caught in his cloak. It was an old-fashioned saber of a kind no longer in general use. Prince Andrew remembered the story of Suvorov giving his saber to Bagration in Italy, and the recollection was particularly pleasant at that moment. They had reached the battery at which Prince Andrew had been when he examined the battlefield. "Whose company?" asked Prince Bagration of an artilleryman standing by the ammunition wagon. He asked, "Whose company?" but he really meant, "Are you frightened here?" and the artilleryman understood him. "Captain Tushins, your excellency!" shouted the red-haired, freckled gunner in a merry voice, standing to attention. "Yes, yes," muttered Bagration as if considering something, and he rode past the limbers to the farthest cannon. As he approached, a ringing shot issued from it deafening him and his suite, and in the smoke that suddenly surrounded the gun they could see the gunners who had seized it straining to roll it quickly back to its former position. A huge, broad-shouldered gunner, Number One, holding a mop, his legs far apart, sprang to the wheel; while Number Two with a trembling hand placed a charge in the cannons mouth. The short, round-shouldered Captain Tushin, stumbling over the tail of the gun carriage, moved forward and, not noticing the general, looked out shading his eyes with his small hand. "Lift it two lines more and it will be just right," cried he in a feeble voice to which he tried to impart a dashing note, ill suited to his weak figure. "Number Two!" he squeaked. "Fire,

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