Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
and behind his back. His old sister-in-law popped in a small bundle,
and one of the coachmen helped him into the vehicle.
"There! There! Womens fuss! Women, women!" said Alpatych, puffing
and speaking rapidly just as the prince did, and he climbed into the
After giving the clerk orders about the work to be done, Alpatych,
not trying to imitate the prince now, lifted the hat from his bald
head and crossed himself three times.
"If there is anything... come back, Yakov Alpatych! For Christs
sake think of us!" cried his wife, referring to the rumors of war
and the enemy.
"Women, women! Womens fuss!" muttered Alpatych to himself and
started on his journey, looking round at the fields of yellow rye
and the still-green, thickly growing oats, and at other quite black
fields just being plowed a second time.
As he went along he looked with pleasure at the years splendid crop
of corn, scrutinized the strips of ryefield which here and there
were already being reaped, made his calculations as to the sowing
and the harvest, and asked himself whether he had not forgotten any of
the princes orders.
Having baited the horses twice on the way, he arrived at the town
toward evening on the fourth of August.
Alpatych kept meeting and overtaking baggage trains and troops on
the road. As he approached Smolensk he heard the sounds of distant
firing, but these did not impress him. What struck him most was the
sight of a splendid field of oats in which a camp had been pitched and
which was being mown down by the soldiers, evidently for fodder.
This fact impressed Alpatych, but in thinking about his own business
he soon forgot it.
All the interests of his life for more than thirty years had been
bounded by the will of the prince, and he never went beyond that
limit. Everything not connected with the execution of the princes
orders did not interest and did not even exist for Alpatych.
On reaching Smolensk on the evening of the fourth of August he put
up in the Gachina suburb across the Dnieper, at the inn kept by
Ferapontov, where he had been in the habit of putting up for the
last thirty years. Some thirty years ago Ferapontov, by Alpatychs
advice, had bought a wood from the prince, had begun to trade, and now
had a house, an inn, and a corn dealers shop in that province. He was
a stout, dark, red-faced peasant in the forties, with thick lips, a
broad knob of a nose, similar knobs over his black frowning brows, and
a round belly.
Wearing a waistcoat over his cotton shirt, Ferapontov was standing
before his shop which opened onto the street. On seeing Alpatych he
went up to him.
"Youre welcome, Yakov Alpatych. Folks are leaving the town, but you
have come to it," said he.
"Why are they leaving the town?" asked Alpatych.
"Thats what I say. Folks are foolish! Always afraid of the French."
"Womens fuss, womens fuss!" said Alpatych.
"Just what I think, Yakov Alpatych. What I say is: orders have
been given not to let them in, so that must be right. And the peasants
are asking three rubles for carting--it isnt Christian!"
Yakov Alpatych heard without heeding. He asked for a samovar and for
hay for his horses, and when he had had his tea he went to bed.
All night long troops were moving past the inn. Next morning
Alpatych donned a jacket he wore only in town and went out on
business. It was a sunny morning and by eight oclock it was already
hot. "A good day for harvesting," thought Alpatych.
From beyond the town firing had been heard since early morning. At
eight oclock the booming of cannon was added to the sound of
musketry. Many people were hurrying through the streets and there were
many soldiers, but cabs were still driving about, tradesmen stood at
their shops, and service was being held in the churches as usual.
Alpatych went to the shops, to government offices, to the post office,
and to the Governors. In the offices and shops and at the post office
everyone was talking about the army and about the enemy who was
already attacking the town, everybody was asking what should be
done, and all were trying to calm one another.
In front of the Governors house Alpatych found a large number of
people, Cossacks, and a traveling carriage of the Governors. At the
porch he met two of the landed gentry, one of whom he knew. This
man, an ex-captain
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