Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
in Prince Bagrations detachment,
moved from the place where it had spent the night, advancing into
action as arranged, and after going behind other columns for about two
thirds of a mile was stopped on the highroad. Rostov saw the
Cossacks and then the first and second squadrons of hussars and
infantry battalions and artillery pass by and go forward and then
Generals Bagration and Dolgorukov ride past with their adjutants.
All the fear before action which he had experienced as previously, all
the inner struggle to conquer that fear, all his dreams of
distinguishing himself as a true hussar in this battle, had been
wasted. Their squadron remained in reserve and Nicholas Rostov spent
that day in a dull and wretched mood. At nine in the morning, he heard
firing in front and shouts of hurrah, and saw wounded being brought
back (there were not many of them), and at last he saw how a whole
detachment of French cavalry was brought in, convoyed by a sotnya
of Cossacks. Evidently the affair was over and, though not big, had
been a successful engagement. The men and officers returning spoke
of a brilliant victory, of the occupation of the town of Wischau and
the capture of a whole French squadron. The day was bright and sunny
after a sharp night frost, and the cheerful glitter of that autumn day
was in keeping with the news of victory which was conveyed, not only
by the tales of those who had taken part in it, but also by the joyful
expression on the faces of soldiers, officers, generals, and
adjutants, as they passed Rostov going or coming. And Nicholas, who
had vainly suffered all the dread that precedes a battle and had spent
that happy day in inactivity, was all the more depressed.
"Come here, Wostov. Lets dwink to dwown our gwief!" shouted
Denisov, who had settled down by the roadside with a flask and some
The officers gathered round Denisovs canteen, eating and talking.
"There! They are bringing another!" cried one of the officers,
indicating a captive French dragoon who was being brought in on foot
by two Cossacks.
One of them was leading by the bridle a fine large French horse he
had taken from the prisoner.
"Sell us that horse!" Denisov called out to the Cossacks.
"If you like, your honor!"
The officers got up and stood round the Cossacks and their prisoner.
The French dragoon was a young Alsatian who spoke French with a German
accent. He was breathless with agitation, his face was red, and when
he heard some French spoken he at once began speaking to the officers,
addressing first one, then another. He said he would not have been
taken, it was not his fault but the corporals who had sent him to
seize some horsecloths, though he had told him the Russians were
there. And at every word he added: "But dont hurt my little horse!"
and stroked the animal. It was plain that he did not quite grasp where
he was. Now he excused himself for having been taken prisoner and now,
imagining himself before his own officers, insisted on his soldierly
discipline and zeal in the service. He brought with him into our
rearguard all the freshness of atmosphere of the French army, which
was so alien to us.
The Cossacks sold the horse for two gold pieces, and Rostov, being
the richest of the officers now that he had received his money, bought
"But dont hurt my little horse!" said the Alsatian good-naturedly
to Rostov when the animal was handed over to the hussar.
Rostov smilingly reassured the dragoon and gave him money.
"Alley! Alley!" said the Cossack, touching the prisoners arm to
make him go on.
"The Emperor! The Emperor!" was suddenly heard among the hussars.
All began to run and bustle, and Rostov saw coming up the road
behind him several riders with white plumes in their hats. In a moment
everyone was in his place, waiting.
Rostov did not know or remember how he ran to his place and mounted.
Instantly his regret at not having been in action and his dejected
mood amid people of whom he was weary had gone, instantly every
thought of himself had vanished. He was filled with happiness at his
nearness to the Emperor. He felt that this nearness by itself made
up to him for the day he had lost. He was happy as a lover when the
longed-for moment of meeting arrives. Not daring to look round and
without looking round, he was ecstatically conscious of his
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