Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
the French, our artillerymen only noticed
this battery when two balls, and then four more, fell among our
guns, one knocking over two horses and another tearing off a
munition-wagon drivers leg. Their spirits once roused were,
however, not diminished, but only changed character. The horses were
replaced by others from a reserve gun carriage, the wounded were
carried away, and the four guns were turned against the ten-gun
battery. Tushins companion officer had been killed at the beginning
of the engagement and within an hour seventeen of the forty men of the
guns crews had been disabled, but the artillerymen were still as
merry and lively as ever. Twice they noticed the French appearing
below them, and then they fired grapeshot at them.
Little Tushin, moving feebly and awkwardly, kept telling his orderly
to "refill my pipe for that one!" and then, scattering sparks from it,
ran forward shading his eyes with his small hand to look at the
"Smack at em, lads!" he kept saying, seizing the guns by the wheels
and working the screws himself.
Amid the smoke, deafened by the incessant reports which always
made him jump, Tushin not taking his pipe from his mouth ran from
gun to gun, now aiming, now counting the charges, now giving orders
about replacing dead or wounded horses and harnessing fresh ones,
and shouting in his feeble voice, so high pitched and irresolute.
His face grew more and more animated. Only when a man was killed or
wounded did he frown and turn away from the sight, shouting angrily at
the men who, as is always the case, hesitated about lifting the
injured or dead. The soldiers, for the most part handsome fellows and,
as is always the case in an artillery company, a head and shoulders
taller and twice as broad as their officer--all looked at their
commander like children in an embarrassing situation, and the
expression on his face was invariably reflected on theirs.
Owing to the terrible uproar and the necessity for concentration and
activity, Tushin did not experience the slightest unpleasant sense
of fear, and the thought that he might be killed or badly wounded
never occurred to him. On the contrary, he became more and more
elated. It seemed to him that it was a very long time ago, almost a
day, since he had first seen the enemy and fired the first shot, and
that the corner of the field he stood on was well-known and familiar
ground. Though he thought of everything, considered everything, and
did everything the best of officers could do in his position, he was
in a state akin to feverish delirium or drunkenness.
From the deafening sounds of his own guns around him, the whistle
and thud of the enemys cannon balls, from the flushed and
perspiring faces of the crew bustling round the guns, from the sight
of the blood of men and horses, from the little puffs of smoke on
the enemys side (always followed by a ball flying past and striking
the earth, a man, a gun, a horse), from the sight of all these
things a fantastic world of his own had taken possession of his
brain and at that moment afforded him pleasure. The enemys guns
were in his fancy not guns but pipes from which occasional puffs
were blown by an invisible smoker.
"There... hes puffing again," muttered Tushin to himself, as a
small cloud rose from the hill and was borne in a streak to the left
by the wind.
"Now look out for the ball... well throw it back."
"What do you want, your honor?" asked an artilleryman, standing
close by, who heard him muttering.
"Nothing... only a shell..." he answered.
"Come along, our Matvevna!" he said to himself. "Matvevna"* was
the name his fancy gave to the farthest gun of the battery, which
was large and of an old pattern. The French swarming round their
guns seemed to him like ants. In that world, the handsome drunkard
Number One of the second guns crew was "uncle"; Tushin looked at
him more often than at anyone else and took delight in his every
movement. The sound of musketry at the foot of the hill, now
diminishing, now increasing, seemed like someones breathing. He
listened intently to the ebb and flow of these sounds.
*Daughter of Matthew.
"Ah! Breathing again, breathing!" he muttered to himself.
He imagined himself as an enormously tall, powerful man who was
throwing cannon balls at the French with both hands.
"Now then, Matvevna, dear old lady, dont let me down!" he was
saying as he moved from
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