Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
a field behind
the copse across which our men, regardless of orders, were running and
descending the valley. That moment of moral hesitation which decides
the fate of battles had arrived. Would this disorderly crowd of
soldiers attend to the voice of their commander, or would they,
disregarding him, continue their flight? Despite his desperate
shouts that used to seem so terrible to the soldiers, despite his
furious purple countenance distorted out of all likeness to his former
self, and the flourishing of his saber, the soldiers all continued
to run, talking, firing into the air, and disobeying orders. The moral
hesitation which decided the fate of battles was evidently culminating
in a panic.
The general had a fit of coughing as a result of shouting and of the
powder smoke and stopped in despair. Everything seemed lost. But at
that moment the French who were attacking, suddenly and without any
apparent reason, ran back and disappeared from the outskirts, and
Russian sharpshooters showed themselves in the copse. It was
Timokhins company, which alone had maintained its order in the wood
and, having lain in ambush in a ditch, now attacked the French
unexpectedly. Timokhin, armed only with a sword, had rushed at the
enemy with such a desperate cry and such mad, drunken determination
that, taken by surprise, the French had thrown down their muskets
and run. Dolokhov, running beside Timokhin, killed a Frenchman at
close quarters and was the first to seize the surrendering French
officer by his collar. Our fugitives returned, the battalions
re-formed, and the French who had nearly cut our left flank in half
were for the moment repulsed. Our reserve units were able to join
up, and the fight was at an end. The regimental commander and Major
Ekonomov had stopped beside a bridge, letting the retreating companies
pass by them, when a soldier came up and took hold of the
commanders stirrup, almost leaning against him. The man was wearing a
bluish coat of broadcloth, he had no knapsack or cap, his head was
bandaged, and over his shoulder a French munition pouch was slung.
He had an officers sword in his hand. The soldier was pale, his
blue eyes looked impudently into the commanders face, and his lips
were smiling. Though the commander was occupied in giving instructions
to Major Ekonomov, he could not help taking notice of the soldier.
"Your excellency, here are two trophies," said Dolokhov, pointing to
the French sword and pouch. "I have taken an officer prisoner. I
stopped the company." Dolokhov breathed heavily from weariness and
spoke in abrupt sentences. "The whole company can bear witness. I
beg you will remember this, your excellency!"
"All right, all right," replied the commander, and turned to Major
But Dolokhov did not go away; he untied the handkerchief around
his head, pulled it off, and showed the blood congealed on his hair.
"A bayonet wound. I remained at the front. Remember, your
Tushins battery had been forgotten and only at the very end of the
action did Prince Bagration, still hearing the cannonade in the
center, send his orderly staff officer, and later Prince Andrew also,
to order the battery to retire as quickly as possible. When the
supports attached to Tushins battery had been moved away in the
middle of the action by someones order, the battery had continued
firing and was only not captured by the French because the enemy could
not surmise that anyone could have the effrontery to continue firing
from four quite undefended guns. On the contrary, the energetic action
of that battery led the French to suppose that here--in the
center--the main Russian forces were concentrated. Twice they had
attempted to attack this point, but on each occasion had been driven
back by grapeshot from the four isolated guns on the hillock.
Soon after Prince Bagration had left him, Tushin had succeeded in
setting fire to Schon Grabern.
"Look at them scurrying! Its burning! Just see the smoke! Fine!
Grand! Look at the smoke, the smoke!" exclaimed the artillerymen,
All the guns, without waiting for orders, were being fired in the
direction of the conflagration. As if urging each other on, the
soldiers cried at each shot: "Fine! Thats good! Look at it... Grand!"
The fire, fanned by the breeze, was rapidly spreading. The French
columns that had advanced beyond the village went back; but as
though in revenge for this failure, the enemy placed ten guns to the
right of the village and began firing them at Tushins battery.
In their childlike glee, aroused by the fire and their luck in
War And Peace page 108 War And Peace page 110