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War And Peace 457

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War And Peace

and fir forest to the right of the road, the cross and belfry of the Kolocha Monastery gleamed in the sun. Here and there over the whole of that blue expanse, to right and left of the forest and the road, smoking campfires could be seen and indefinite masses of troops--ours and the enemys. The ground to the right--along the course of the Kolocha and Moskva rivers--was broken and hilly. Between the hollows the villages of Bezubova and Zakharino showed in the distance. On the left the ground was more level; there were fields of grain, and the smoking ruins of Semenovsk, which had been burned down, could be seen. All that Pierre saw was so indefinite that neither the left nor the right side of the field fully satisfied his expectations. Nowhere could he see the battlefield he had expected to find, but only fields, meadows, troops, woods, the smoke of campfires, villages, mounds, and streams; and try as he would he could descry no military "position" in this place which teemed with life, nor could he even distinguish our troops from the enemys. "I must ask someone who knows," he thought, and addressed an officer who was looking with curiosity at his huge unmilitary figure. "May I ask you," said Pierre, "what village that is in front?" "Burdino, isnt it?" said the officer, turning to his companion. "Borodino," the other corrected him. The officer, evidently glad of an opportunity for a talk, moved up to Pierre. "Are those our men there?" Pierre inquired. "Yes, and there, further on, are the French," said the officer. "There they are, there... you can see them." "Where? Where?" asked Pierre. "One can see them with the naked eye... Why, there!" The officer pointed with his hand to the smoke visible on the left beyond the river, and the same stern and serious expression that Pierre had noticed on many of the faces he had met came into his face. "Ah, those are the French! And over there?..." Pierre pointed to a knoll on the left, near which some troops could be seen. "Those are ours." "Ah, ours! And there?..." Pierre pointed to another knoll in the distance with a big tree on it, near a village that lay in a hollow where also some campfires were smoking and something black was visible. "Thats his again," said the officer. (It was the Shevardino Redoubt.) "It was ours yesterday, but now it is his." "Then how about our position?" "Our position?" replied the officer with a smile of satisfaction. "I can tell you quite clearly, because I constructed nearly all our entrenchments. There, you see? Theres our center, at Borodino, just there," and he pointed to the village in front of them with the white church. "Thats where one crosses the Kolocha. You see down there where the rows of hay are lying in the hollow, theres the bridge. Thats our center. Our right flank is over there"--he pointed sharply to the right, far away in the broken ground--"Thats where the Moskva River is, and we have thrown up three redoubts there, very strong ones. The left flank..." here the officer paused. "Well, you see, thats difficult to explain.... Yesterday our left flank was there at Shevardino, you see, where the oak is, but now we have withdrawn our left wing--now it is over there, do you see that village and the smoke? Thats Semenovsk, yes, there," he pointed to Raevskis knoll. "But the battle will hardly be there. His having moved his troops there is only a ruse; he will probably pass round to the right of the Moskva. But wherever it may be, many a man will be missing tomorrow!" he remarked. An elderly sergeant who had approached the officer while he was giving these explanations had waited in silence for him to finish speaking, but at this point, evidently not liking the officers remark, interrupted him. "Gabions must be sent for," said he sternly. The officer appeared abashed, as though he understood that one might think of how many men would be missing tomorrow but ought not to speak of it. "Well, send number three company again," the officer replied hurriedly. "And you, are you one of the doctors?" "No, Ive come on my own," answered Pierre, and he went down the hill again, passing the militiamen. "Oh, those damned fellows!" muttered the officer who followed him, holding his nose as he ran past the men at work. "There they are... bringing her, coming... There they are... Theyll be here in a minute..." voices were suddenly heard saying; and officers, soldiers, and militiamen began running forward along the road. A church

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