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War And Peace 421


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to like to sit on, and beside him strips of bast were hanging on the broken and withered branch of a magnolia. Prince Andrew rode up to the house. Several limes in the old garden had been cut down and a piebald mare and her foal were wandering in front of the house among the rosebushes. The shutters were all closed, except at one window which was open. A little serf boy, seeing Prince Andrew, ran into the house. Alpatych, having sent his family away, was alone at Bald Hills and was sitting indoors reading the Lives of the Saints. On hearing that Prince Andrew had come, he went out with his spectacles on his nose, buttoning his coat, and, hastily stepping up, without a word began weeping and kissing Prince Andrews knee. Then, vexed at his own weakness, he turned away and began to report on the position of affairs. Everything precious and valuable had been removed to Bogucharovo. Seventy quarters of grain had also been carted away. The hay and the spring corn, of which Alpatych said there had been a remarkable crop that year, had been commandeered by the troops and mown down while still green. The peasants were ruined; some of them too had gone to Bogucharovo, only a few remained. Without waiting to hear him out, Prince Andrew asked: "When did my father and sister leave?" meaning when did they leave for Moscow. Alpatych, understanding the question to refer to their departure for Bogucharovo, replied that they had left on the seventh and again went into details concerning the estate management, asking for instructions. "Am I to let the troops have the oats, and to take a receipt for them? We have still six hundred quarters left," he inquired. "What am I to say to him?" thought Prince Andrew, looking down on the old mans bald head shining in the sun and seeing by the expression on his face that the old man himself understood how untimely such questions were and only asked them to allay his grief. "Yes, let them have it," replied Prince Andrew. "If you noticed some disorder in the garden," said Alpatych, "it was impossible to prevent it. Three regiments have been here and spent the night, dragoons mostly. I took down the name and rank of their commanding officer, to hand in a complaint about it." "Well, and what are you going to do? Will you stay here if the enemy occupies the place?" asked Prince Andrew. Alpatych turned his face to Prince Andrew, looked at him, and suddenly with a solemn gesture raised his arm. "He is my refuge! His will be done!" he exclaimed. A group of bareheaded peasants was approaching across the meadow toward the prince. "Well, good-by!" said Prince Andrew, bending over to Alpatych. "You must go away too, take away what you can and tell the serfs to go to the Ryazan estate or to the one near Moscow." Alpatych clung to Prince Andrews leg and burst into sobs. Gently disengaging himself, the prince spurred his horse and rode down the avenue at a gallop. The old man was still sitting in the ornamental garden, like a fly impassive on the face of a loved one who is dead, tapping the last on which he was making the bast shoe, and two little girls, running out from the hot house carrying in their skirts plums they had plucked from the trees there, came upon Prince Andrew. On seeing the young master, the elder one with frightened look clutched her younger companion by the hand and hid with her behind a birch tree, not stopping to pick up some green plums they had dropped. Prince Andrew turned away with startled haste, unwilling to let them see that they had been observed. He was sorry for the pretty frightened little girl, was afraid of looking at her, and yet felt an irresistible desire to do so. A new sensation of comfort and relief came over him when, seeing these girls, he realized the existence of other human interests entirely aloof from his own and just as legitimate as those that occupied him. Evidently these girls passionately desired one thing--to carry away and eat those green plums without being caught--and Prince Andrew shared their wish for the success of their enterprise. He could not resist looking at them once more. Believing their danger past, they sprang from their ambush and, chirruping something in their shrill little voices and holding up their skirts, their bare little sunburned feet scampered merrily and quickly across the meadow grass. Prince Andrew was somewhat refreshed by

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