Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
able to move on for some
time, Alpatych got down and turned into the side street to look at the
fire. Soldiers were continually rushing backwards and forwards near
it, and he saw two of them and a man in a frieze coat dragging burning
beams into another yard across the street, while others carried
bundles of hay.
Alpatych went up to a large crowd standing before a high barn
which was blazing briskly. The walls were all on fire and the back
wall had fallen in, the wooden roof was collapsing, and the rafters
were alight. The crowd was evidently watching for the roof to fall in,
and Alpatych watched for it too.
"Alpatych!" a familiar voice suddenly hailed the old man.
"Mercy on us! Your excellency!" answered Alpatych, immediately
recognizing the voice of his young prince.
Prince Andrew in his riding cloak, mounted on a black horse, was
looking at Alpatych from the back of the crowd.
"Why are you here?" he asked.
"Your... your excellency," stammered Alpatych and broke into sobs.
"Are we really lost? Master!..."
"Why are you here?" Prince Andrew repeated.
At that moment the flames flared up and showed his young masters
pale worn face. Alpatych told how he had been sent there and how
difficult it was to get away.
"Are we really quite lost, your excellency?" he asked again.
Prince Andrew without replying took out a notebook and raising his
knee began writing in pencil on a page he tore out. He wrote to his
"Smolensk is being abandoned. Bald Hills will be occupied by the
enemy within a week. Set off immediately for Moscow. Let me know at
once when you will start. Send by special messenger to Usvyazh."
Having written this and given the paper to Alpatych, he told him how
to arrange for departure of the prince, the princess, his son, and the
boys tutor, and how and where to let him know immediately. Before
he had had time to finish giving these instructions, a chief of
staff followed by a suite galloped up to him.
"You are a colonel?" shouted the chief of staff with a German
accent, in a voice familiar to Prince Andrew. "Houses are set on
fire in your presence and you stand by! What does this mean? You
will answer for it!" shouted Berg, who was now assistant to the
chief of staff of the commander of the left flank of the infantry of
the first army, a place, as Berg said, "very agreeable and well en
Prince Andrew looked at him and without replying went on speaking to
"So tell them that I shall await a reply till the tenth, and if by
the tenth I dont receive news that they have all got away I shall
have to throw up everything and come myself to Bald Hills."
"Prince," said Berg, recognizing Prince Andrew, "I only spoke
because I have to obey orders, because I always do obey exactly....
You must please excuse me," he went on apologetically.
Something cracked in the flames. The fire died down for a moment and
wreaths of black smoke rolled from under the roof. There was another
terrible crash and something huge collapsed.
"Ou-rou-rou!" yelled the crowd, echoing the crash of the
collapsing roof of the barn, the burning grain in which diffused a
cakelike aroma all around. The flames flared up again, lighting the
animated, delighted, exhausted faces of the spectators.
The man in the frieze coat raised his arms and shouted:
"Its fine, lads! Now its raging... Its fine!"
"Thats the owner himself," cried several voices.
"Well then," continued Prince Andrew to Alpatych, "report to them as
I have told you"; and not replying a word to Berg who was now mute
beside him, he touched his horse and rode down the side street.
From Smolensk the troops continued to retreat, followed by the
enemy. On the tenth of August the regiment Prince Andrew commanded was
marching along the highroad past the avenue leading to Bald Hills.
Heat and drought had continued for more than three weeks. Each day
fleecy clouds floated across the sky and occasionally veiled the
sun, but toward evening the sky cleared again and the sun set in
reddish-brown mist. Heavy night dews alone refreshed the earth. The
unreaped corn was scorched and shed its grain. The marshes dried up.
The cattle lowed from hunger, finding no food on the sun-parched
meadows. Only at night and in the forests while the dew lasted was
there any freshness. But on the road, the highroad along which the
troops marched, there was no
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