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War And Peace 166


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because he saw uneasiness on the soldiers faces and unnatural warlike solemnity on those of the officers. Passing behind one of the lines of a regiment of Foot Guards he heard a voice calling him by name. "Rostov!" "What?" he answered, not recognizing Boris. "I say, weve been in the front line! Our regiment attacked!" said Boris with the happy smile seen on the faces of young men who have been under fire for the first time. Rostov stopped. "Have you?" he said. "Well, how did it go?" "We drove them back!" said Boris with animation, growing talkative. "Can you imagine it?" and he began describing how the Guards, having taken up their position and seeing troops before them, thought they were Austrians, and all at once discovered from the cannon balls discharged by those troops that they were themselves in the front line and had unexpectedly to go into action. Rostov without hearing Boris to the end spurred his horse. "Where are you off to?" asked Boris. "With a message to His Majesty." "There he is!" said Boris, thinking Rostov had said "His Highness," and pointing to the Grand Duke who with his high shoulders and frowning brows stood a hundred paces away from them in his helmet and Horse Guards jacket, shouting something to a pale, white uniformed Austrian officer. "But thats the Grand Duke, and I want the commander in chief or the Emperor," said Rostov, and was about to spur his horse. "Count! Count!" shouted Berg who ran up from the other side as eager as Boris. "Count! I am wounded in my right hand" (and he showed his bleeding hand with a handkerchief tied round it) "and I remained at the front. I held my sword in my left hand, Count. All our family--the von Bergs--have been knights!" He said something more, but Rostov did not wait to hear it and rode away. Having passed the Guards and traversed an empty space, Rostov, to avoid again getting in front of the first line as he had done when the Horse Guards charged, followed the line of reserves, going far round the place where the hottest musket fire and cannonade were heard. Suddenly he heard musket fire quite close in front of him and behind our troops, where he could never have expected the enemy to be. "What can it be?" he thought. "The enemy in the rear of our army? Impossible!" And suddenly he was seized by a panic of fear for himself and for the issue of the whole battle. "But be that what it may," he reflected, "there is no riding round it now. I must look for the commander in chief here, and if all is lost it is for me to perish with the rest." The foreboding of evil that had suddenly come over Rostov was more and more confirmed the farther he rode into the region behind the village of Pratzen, which was full of troops of all kinds. "What does it mean? What is it? Whom are they firing at? Who is firing?" Rostov kept asking as he came up to Russian and Austrian soldiers running in confused crowds across his path. "The devil knows! Theyve killed everybody! Its all up now!" he was told in Russian, German, and Czech by the crowd of fugitives who understood what was happening as little as he did. "Kill the Germans!" shouted one. "May the devil take them--the traitors!" "Zum Henker diese Russen!"* muttered a German. *"Hang these Russians!" Several wounded men passed along the road, and words of abuse, screams, and groans mingled in a general hubbub, then the firing died down. Rostov learned later that Russian and Austrian soldiers had been firing at one another. "My God! What does it all mean?" thought he. "And here, where at any moment the Emperor may see them.... But no, these must be only a handful of scoundrels. It will soon be over, it cant be that, it cant be! Only to get past them quicker, quicker!" The idea of defeat and flight could not enter Rostovs head. Though he saw French cannon and French troops on the Pratzen Heights just where he had been ordered to look for the commander in chief, he could not, did not wish to, believe that. CHAPTER XVIII Rostov had been ordered to look for Kutuzov and the Emperor near the village of Pratzen. But neither they nor a single commanding officer were there, only disorganized crowds of troops of various kinds. He urged on his already weary horse to get quickly past these crowds, but the farther he went the more disorganized they

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