Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
having ridden off the
dusty highroad along which the troops were moving. But not far from
Bald Hills he again came out on the road and overtook his regiment
at its halting place by the dam of a small pond. It was past one
oclock. The sun, a red ball through the dust, burned and scorched his
back intolerably through his black coat. The dust always hung
motionless above the buzz of talk that came from the resting troops.
There was no wind. As he crossed the dam Prince Andrew smelled the
ooze and freshness of the pond. He longed to get into that water,
however dirty it might be, and he glanced round at the pool from
whence came sounds of shrieks and laughter. The small, muddy, green
pond had risen visibly more than a foot, flooding the dam, because
it was full of the naked white bodies of soldiers with brick-red
hands, necks, and faces, who were splashing about in it. All this
naked white human flesh, laughing and shrieking, floundered about in
that dirty pool like carp stuffed into a watering can, and the
suggestion of merriment in that floundering mass rendered it specially
One fair-haired young soldier of the third company, whom Prince
Andrew knew and who had a strap round the calf of one leg, crossed
himself, stepped back to get a good run, and plunged into the water;
another, a dark noncommissioned officer who was always shaggy, stood
up to his waist in the water joyfully wriggling his muscular figure
and snorted with satisfaction as he poured the water over his head
with hands blackened to the wrists. There were sounds of men
slapping one another, yelling, and puffing.
Everywhere on the bank, on the dam, and in the pond, there was
healthy, white, muscular flesh. The officer, Timokhin, with his red
little nose, standing on the dam wiping himself with a towel, felt
confused at seeing the prince, but made up his mind to address him
"Its very nice, your excellency! Wouldnt you like to?" said he.
"Its dirty," replied Prince Andrew, making a grimace.
"Well clear it out for you in a minute," said Timokhin, and,
still undressed, ran off to clear the men out of the pond.
"The prince wants to bathe."
"What prince? Ours?" said many voices, and the men were in such
haste to clear out that the prince could hardly stop them. He
decided that he would rather wash himself with water in the barn.
"Flesh, bodies, cannon fodder!" he thought, and he looked at his own
naked body and shuddered, not from cold but from a sense of disgust
and horror he did not himself understand, aroused by the sight of that
immense number of bodies splashing about in the dirty pond.
On the seventh of August Prince Bagration wrote as follows from
his quarters at Mikhaylovna on the Smolensk road:
Dear Count Alexis Andreevich--(He was writing to Arakcheev but
knew that his letter would be read by the Emperor, and therefore
weighed every word in it to the best of his ability.)
I expect the Minister [Barclay de Tolly] has already reported the
abandonment of Smolensk to the enemy. It is pitiable and sad, and
the whole army is in despair that this most important place has been
wantonly abandoned. I, for my part, begged him personally most
urgently and finally wrote him, but nothing would induce him to
consent. I swear to you on my honor that Napoleon was in such a fix as
never before and might have lost half his army but could not have
taken Smolensk. Our troops fought, and are fighting, as never
before. With fifteen thousand men I held the enemy at bay for
thirty-five hours and beat him; but he would not hold out even for
fourteen hours. It is disgraceful, a stain on our army, and as for
him, he ought, it seems to me, not to live. If he reports that our
losses were great, it is not true; perhaps about four thousand, not
more, and not even that; but even were they ten thousand, thats
war! But the enemy has lost masses...
What would it have cost him to hold out for another two days? They
would have had to retire of their own accord, for they had no water
for men or horses. He gave me his word he would not retreat, but
suddenly sent instructions that he was retiring that night. We
cannot fight in this way, or we may soon bring the enemy to Moscow...
There is a rumor
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