Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
to like to sit on, and beside him
strips of bast were hanging on the broken and withered branch of a
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
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
"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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