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War And Peace 155

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War And Peace

the left he saw a sloping descent lit up, and facing it a black knoll that seemed as steep as a wall. On this knoll there was a white patch that Rostov could not at all make out: was it a glade in the wood lit up by the moon, or some unmelted snow, or some white houses? He even thought something moved on that white spot. "I expect its snow... that spot... a spot--une tache," he thought. "There now... its not a tache... Natasha... sister, black eyes... Na... tasha... (Wont she be surprised when I tell her how Ive seen the Emperor?) Natasha... take my sabretache..."--"Keep to the right, your honor, there are bushes here," came the voice of an hussar, past whom Rostov was riding in the act of falling asleep. Rostov lifted his head that had sunk almost to his horses mane and pulled up beside the hussar. He was succumbing to irresistible, youthful, childish drowsiness. "But what was I thinking? I mustnt forget. How shall I speak to the Emperor? No, thats not it--thats tomorrow. Oh yes! Natasha... sabretache... saber them... Whom? The hussars... Ah, the hussars with mustaches. Along the Tverskaya Street rode the hussar with mustaches... I thought about him too, just opposite Guryevs house... Old Guryev.... Oh, but Denisovs a fine fellow. But thats all nonsense. The chief thing is that the Emperor is here. How he looked at me and wished to say something, but dared not.... No, it was I who dared not. But thats nonsense, the chief thing is not to forget the important thing I was thinking of. Yes, Na-tasha, sabretache, oh, yes, yes! Thats right!" And his head once more sank to his horses neck. All at once it seemed to him that he was being fired at. "What? What? What?... Cut them down! What?..." said Rostov, waking up. At the moment he opened his eyes he heard in front of him, where the enemy was, the long-drawn shouts of thousands of voices. His horse and the horse of the hussar near him pricked their ears at these shouts. Over there, where the shouting came from, a fire flared up and went out again, then another, and all along the French line on the hill fires flared up and the shouting grew louder and louder. Rostov could hear the sound of French words but could not distinguish them. The din of many voices was too great; all he could hear was: "ahahah!" and "rrrr!" "Whats that? What do you make of it?" said Rostov to the hussar beside him. "That must be the enemys camp!" The hussar did not reply. "Why, dont you hear it?" Rostov asked again, after waiting for a reply. "Who can tell, your honor?" replied the hussar reluctantly. "From the direction, it must be the enemy," repeated Rostov. "It may be he or it may be nothing," muttered the hussar. "Its dark... Steady!" he cried to his fidgeting horse. Rostovs horse was also getting restive: it pawed the frozen ground, pricking its ears at the noise and looking at the lights. The shouting grew still louder and merged into a general roar that only an army of several thousand men could produce. The lights spread farther and farther, probably along the line of the French camp. Rostov no longer wanted to sleep. The gay triumphant shouting of the enemy army had a stimulating effect on him. "Vive lEmpereur! LEmpereur!" he now heard distinctly. "They cant be far off, probably just beyond the stream," he said to the hussar beside him. The hussar only sighed without replying and coughed angrily. The sound of horses hoofs approaching at a trot along the line of hussars was heard, and out of the foggy darkness the figure of a sergeant of hussars suddenly appeared, looming huge as an elephant. "Your honor, the generals!" said the sergeant, riding up to Rostov. Rostov, still looking round toward the fires and the shouts, rode with the sergeant to meet some mounted men who were riding along the line. One was on a white horse. Prince Bagration and Prince Dolgorukov with their adjutants had come to witness the curious phenomenon of the lights and shouts in the enemys camp. Rostov rode up to Bagration, reported to him, and then joined the adjutants listening to what the generals were saying. "Believe me," said Prince Dolgorukov, addressing Bagration, "it is nothing but a trick! He has retreated and ordered the rearguard to kindle fires and make a noise to deceive us." "Hardly," said Bagration. "I saw them this evening on that knoll; if they had

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