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War And Peace 105


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distinguish the officers from the men, and see the standard flapping against its staff. "They march splendidly," remarked someone in Bagrations suite. The head of the column had already descended into the hollow. The clash would take place on this side of it... The remains of our regiment which had been in action rapidly formed up and moved to the right; from behind it, dispersing the laggards, came two battalions of the Sixth Chasseurs in fine order. Before they had reached Bagration, the weighty tread of the mass of men marching in step could be heard. On their left flank, nearest to Bagration, marched a company commander, a fine round-faced man, with a stupid and happy expression--the same man who had rushed out of the wattle shed. At that moment he was clearly thinking of nothing but how dashing a fellow he would appear as he passed the commander. With the self-satisfaction of a man on parade, he stepped lightly with his muscular legs as if sailing along, stretching himself to his full height without the smallest effort, his ease contrasting with the heavy tread of the soldiers who were keeping step with him. He carried close to his leg a narrow unsheathed sword (small, curved, and not like a real weapon) and looked now at the superior officers and now back at the men without losing step, his whole powerful body turning flexibly. It was as if all the powers of his soul were concentrated on passing the commander in the best possible manner, and feeling that he was doing it well he was happy. "Left... left... left..." he seemed to repeat to himself at each alternate step; and in time to this, with stern but varied faces, the wall of soldiers burdened with knapsacks and muskets marched in step, and each one of these hundreds of soldiers seemed to be repeating to himself at each alternate step, "Left... left... left..." A fat major skirted a bush, puffing and falling out of step; a soldier who had fallen behind, his face showing alarm at his defection, ran at a trot, panting to catch up with his company. A cannon ball, cleaving the air, flew over the heads of Bagration and his suite, and fell into the column to the measure of "Left... left!" "Close up!" came the company commanders voice in jaunty tones. The soldiers passed in a semicircle round something where the ball had fallen, and an old trooper on the flank, a noncommissioned officer who had stopped beside the dead men, ran to catch up his line and, falling into step with a hop, looked back angrily, and through the ominous silence and the regular tramp of feet beating the ground in unison, one seemed to hear left... left... left. "Well done, lads!" said Prince Bagration. "Glad to do our best, your exlen-lency!" came a confused shout from the ranks. A morose soldier marching on the left turned his eyes on Bagration as he shouted, with an expression that seemed to say: "We know that ourselves!" Another, without looking round, as though fearing to relax, shouted with his mouth wide open and passed on. The order was given to halt and down knapsacks. Bagration rode round the ranks that had marched past him and dismounted. He gave the reins to a Cossack, took off and handed over his felt coat, stretched his legs, and set his cap straight. The head of the French column, with its officers leading, appeared from below the hill. "Forward, with God!" said Bagration, in a resolute, sonorous voice, turning for a moment to the front line, and slightly swinging his arms, he went forward uneasily over the rough field with the awkward gait of a cavalryman. Prince Andrew felt that an invisible power was leading him forward, and experienced great happiness. The French were already near. Prince Andrew, walking beside Bagration, could clearly distinguish their bandoliers, red epaulets, and even their faces. (He distinctly saw an old French officer who, with gaitered legs and turned-out toes, climbed the hill with difficulty.) Prince Bagration gave no further orders and silently continued to walk on in front of the ranks. Suddenly one shot after another rang out from the French, smoke appeared all along their uneven ranks, and musket shots sounded. Several of our men fell, among them the round-faced officer who had marched so gaily and complacently. But at the moment the first report was heard, Bagration looked round and shouted, "Hurrah!" "Hurrah--ah!--ah!" rang a long-drawn shout from our ranks, and passing Bagration and racing one another they rushed in an irregular but joyous and

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