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War And Peace 460

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War And Peace

militiaman got there before him. It was Dolokhov. "How did that fellow get here?" asked Pierre. "Hes a creature that wriggles in anywhere!" was the answer. "He has been degraded, you know. Now he wants to bob up again. Hes been proposing some scheme or other and has crawled into the enemys picket line at night.... Hes a brave fellow." Pierre took off his hat and bowed respectfully to Kutuzov. "I concluded that if I reported to your Serene Highness you might send me away or say that you knew what I was reporting, but then I shouldnt lose anything..." Dolokhov was saying. "Yes, yes." "But if I were right, I should be rendering a service to my Fatherland for which I am ready to die." "Yes, yes." "And should your Serene Highness require a man who will not spare his skin, please think of me.... Perhaps I may prove useful to your Serene Highness." "Yes... Yes..." Kutuzov repeated, his laughing eye narrowing more and more as he looked at Pierre. Just then Boris, with his courtierlike adroitness, stepped up to Pierres side near Kutuzov and in a most natural manner, without raising his voice, said to Pierre, as though continuing an interrupted conversation: "The militia have put on clean white shirts to be ready to die. What heroism, Count!" Boris evidently said this to Pierre in order to be overheard by his Serene Highness. He knew Kutuzovs attention would be caught by those words, and so it was. "What are you saying about the militia?" he asked Boris. "Preparing for tomorrow, your Serene Highness--for death--they have put on clean shirts." "Ah... a wonderful, a matchless people!" said Kutuzov; and he closed his eyes and swayed his head. "A matchless people!" he repeated with a sigh. "So you want to smell gunpowder?" he said to Pierre. "Yes, its a pleasant smell. I have the honor to be one of your wifes adorers. Is she well? My quarters are at your service." And as often happens with old people, Kutuzov began looking about absent-mindedly as if forgetting all he wanted to say or do. Then, evidently remembering what he wanted, he beckoned to Andrew Kaysarov, his adjutants brother. "Those verses... those verses of Marins... how do they go, eh? Those he wrote about Gerakov: Lectures for the corps inditing... Recite them, recite them!" said he, evidently preparing to laugh. Kaysarov recited.... Kutuzov smilingly nodded his head to the rhythm of the verses. When Pierre had left Kutuzov, Dolokhov came up to him and took his hand. "I am very glad to meet you here, Count," he said aloud, regardless of the presence of strangers and in a particularly resolute and solemn tone. "On the eve of a day when God alone knows who of us is fated to survive, I am glad of this opportunity to tell you that I regret the misunderstandings that occurred between us and should wish you not to have any ill feeling for me. I beg you to forgive me." Pierre looked at Dolokhov with a smile, not knowing what to say to him. With tears in his eyes Dolokhov embraced Pierre and kissed him. Boris said a few words to his general, and Count Bennigsen turned to Pierre and proposed that he should ride with him along the line. "It will interest you," said he. "Yes, very much," replied Pierre. Half an hour later Kutuzov left for Tatarinova, and Bennigsen and his suite, with Pierre among them, set out on their ride along the line. CHAPTER XXIII From Gorki, Bennigsen descended the highroad to the bridge which, when they had looked at it from the hill, the officer had pointed out as being the center of our position and where rows of fragrant new-mown hay lay by the riverside. They rode across that bridge into the village of Borodino and thence turned to the left, passing an enormous number of troops and guns, and came to a high knoll where militiamen were digging. This was the redoubt, as yet unnamed, which afterwards became known as the Raevski Redoubt, or the Knoll Battery, but Pierre paid no special attention to it. He did not know that it would become more memorable to him than any other spot on the plain of Borodino. They then crossed the hollow to Semenovsk, where the soldiers were dragging away the last logs from the huts and barns. Then they rode downhill and uphill, across a ryefield trodden and beaten down as if by hail, following a track freshly made by the artillery over the furrows of the plowed land, and reached some fleches* which were still being dug. *A kind of entrenchment. At

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