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War And Peace 418


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was shrouded in smoke. "Scoundrel, what are you doing?" shouted the innkeeper, rushing to the cook. At that moment the pitiful wailing of women was heard from different sides, the frightened baby began to cry, and people crowded silently with pale faces round the cook. The loudest sound in that crowd was her wailing. "Oh-h-h! Dear souls, dear kind souls! Dont let me die! My good souls!..." Five minutes later no one remained in the street. The cook, with her thigh broken by a shell splinter, had been carried into the kitchen. Alpatych, his coachman, Ferapontovs wife and children and the house porter were all sitting in the cellar, listening. The roar of guns, the whistling of projectiles, and the piteous moaning of the cook, which rose above the other sounds, did not cease for a moment. The mistress rocked and hushed her baby and when anyone came into the cellar asked in a pathetic whisper what had become of her husband who had remained in the street. A shopman who entered told her that her husband had gone with others to the cathedral, whence they were fetching the wonder-working icon of Smolensk. Toward dusk the cannonade began to subside. Alpatych left the cellar and stopped in the doorway. The evening sky that had been so clear was clouded with smoke, through which, high up, the sickle of the new moon shone strangely. Now that the terrible din of the guns had ceased a hush seemed to reign over the town, broken only by the rustle of footsteps, the moaning, the distant cries, and the crackle of fires which seemed widespread everywhere. The cooks moans had now subsided. On two sides black curling clouds of smoke rose and spread from the fires. Through the streets soldiers in various uniforms walked or ran confusedly in different directions like ants from a ruined ant-hill. Several of them ran into Ferapontovs yard before Alpatychs eyes. Alpatych went out to the gate. A retreating regiment, thronging and hurrying, blocked the street. Noticing him, an officer said: "The town is being abandoned. Get away, get away!" and then, turning to the soldiers, shouted: "Ill teach you to run into the yards!" Alpatych went back to the house, called the coachman, and told him to set off. Ferapontovs whole household came out too, following Alpatych and the coachman. The women, who had been silent till then, suddenly began to wail as they looked at the fires--the smoke and even the flames of which could be seen in the failing twilight--and as if in reply the same kind of lamentation was heard from other parts of the street. Inside the shed Alpatych and the coachman arranged the tangled reins and traces of their horses with trembling hands. As Alpatych was driving out of the gate he saw some ten soldiers in Ferapontovs open shop, talking loudly and filling their bags and knapsacks with flour and sunflower seeds. Just then Ferapontov returned and entered his shop. On seeing the soldiers he was about to shout at them, but suddenly stopped and, clutching at his hair, burst into sobs and laughter: "Loot everything, lads! Dont let those devils get it!" he cried, taking some bags of flour himself and throwing them into the street. Some of the soldiers were frightened and ran away, others went on filling their bags. On seeing Alpatych, Ferapontov turned to him: "Russia is done for!" he cried. "Alpatych, Ill set the place on fire myself. Were done for!..." and Ferapontov ran into the yard. Soldiers were passing in a constant stream along the street blocking it completely, so that Alpatych could not pass out and had to wait. Ferapontovs wife and children were also sitting in a cart waiting till it was possible to drive out. Night had come. There were stars in the sky and the new moon shone out amid the smoke that screened it. On the sloping descent to the Dnieper Alpatychs cart and that of the innkeepers wife, which were slowly moving amid the rows of soldiers and of other vehicles, had to stop. In a side street near the crossroads where the vehicles had stopped, a house and some shops were on fire. This fire was already burning itself out. The flames now died down and were lost in the black smoke, now suddenly flared up again brightly, lighting up with strange distinctness the faces of the people crowding at the crossroads. Black figures flitted about before the fire, and through the incessant crackling of the flames talking and shouting could be heard. Seeing that his trap would not be

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