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War And Peace 172

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War And Peace

be if I could now say: Lord, have mercy on me!... But to whom should I say that? Either to a Power indefinable, incomprehensible, which I not only cannot address but which I cannot even express in words--the Great All or Nothing-" said he to himself, "or to that God who has been sewn into this amulet by Mary! There is nothing certain, nothing at all except the unimportance of everything I understand, and the greatness of something incomprehensible but all-important." The stretchers moved on. At every jolt he again felt unendurable pain; his feverishness increased and he grew delirious. Visions of his father, wife, sister, and future son, and the tenderness he had felt the night before the battle, the figure of the insignificant little Napoleon, and above all this the lofty sky, formed the chief subjects of his delirious fancies. The quiet home life and peaceful happiness of Bald Hills presented itself to him. He was already enjoying that happiness when that little Napoleon had suddenly appeared with his unsympathizing look of shortsighted delight at the misery of others, and doubts and torments had followed, and only the heavens promised peace. Toward morning all these dreams melted and merged into the chaos and darkness of unconciousness and oblivion which in the opinion of Napoleons doctor, Larrey, was much more likely to end in death than in convalescence. "He is a nervous, bilious subject," said Larrey, "and will not recover." And Prince Andrew, with others fatally wounded, was left to the care of the inhabitants of the district. BOOK FOUR: 1806 CHAPTER I Early in the year 1806 Nicholas Rostov returned home on leave. Denisov was going home to Voronezh and Rostov persuaded him to travel with him as far as Moscow and to stay with him there. Meeting a comrade at the last post station but one before Moscow, Denisov had drunk three bottles of wine with him and, despite the jolting ruts across the snow-covered road, did not once wake up on the way to Moscow, but lay at the bottom of the sleigh beside Rostov, who grew more and more impatient the nearer they got to Moscow. "How much longer? How much longer? Oh, these insufferable streets, shops, bakers signboards, street lamps, and sleighs!" thought Rostov, when their leave permits had been passed at the town gate and they had entered Moscow. "Denisov! Were here! Hes asleep," he added, leaning forward with his whole body as if in that position he hoped to hasten the speed of the sleigh. Denisov gave no answer. "Theres the corner at the crossroads, where the cabman, Zakhar, has his stand, and theres Zakhar himself and still the same horse! And heres the little shop where we used to buy gingerbread! Cant you hurry up? Now then!" "Which house is it?" asked the driver. "Why, that one, right at the end, the big one. Dont you see? Thats our house," said Rostov. "Of course, its our house! Denisov, Denisov! Were almost there!" Denisov raised his head, coughed, and made no answer. "Dmitri," said Rostov to his valet on the box, "those lights are in our house, arent they?" "Yes, sir, and theres a light in your fathers study." "Then theyve not gone to bed yet? What do you think? Mind now, dont forget to put out my new coat," added Rostov, fingering his new mustache. "Now then, get on," he shouted to the driver. "Do wake up, Vaska!" he went on, turning to Denisov, whose head was again nodding. "Come, get on! You shall have three rubles for vodka--get on!" Rostov shouted, when the sleigh was only three houses from his door. It seemed to him the horses were not moving at all. At last the sleigh bore to the right, drew up at an entrance, and Rostov saw overhead the old familiar cornice with a bit of plaster broken off, the porch, and the post by the side of the pavement. He sprang out before the sleigh stopped, and ran into the hall. The house stood cold and silent, as if quite regardless of who had come to it. There was no one in the hall. "Oh God! Is everyone all right?" he thought, stopping for a moment with a sinking heart, and then immediately starting to run along the hall and up the warped steps of the familiar staircase. The well-known old door handle, which always angered the countess when it was not properly cleaned, turned as loosely as ever. A solitary tallow candle burned in the anteroom. Old Michael was asleep on the chest. Prokofy, the footman, who was so strong that he

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