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War And Peace 473


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he asked with that affectation of military bluntness and geniality with which he always addressed the soldiers. The man answered the question. "Ah! One of the old ones! Has your regiment had its rice?" "It has, Your Majesty." Napoleon nodded and walked away. At half-past five Napoleon rode to the village of Shevardino. It was growing light, the sky was clearing, only a single cloud lay in the east. The abandoned campfires were burning themselves out in the faint morning light. On the right a single deep report of a cannon resounded and died away in the prevailing silence. Some minutes passed. A second and a third report shook the air, then a fourth and a fifth boomed solemnly near by on the right. The first shots had not yet ceased to reverberate before others rang out and yet more were heard mingling with and overtaking one another. Napoleon with his suite rode up to the Shevardino Redoubt where he dismounted. The game had begun. CHAPTER XXX On returning to Gorki after having seen Prince Andrew, Pierre ordered his groom to get the horses ready and to call him early in the morning, and then immediately fell asleep behind a partition in a corner Boris had given up to him. Before he was thoroughly awake next morning everybody had already left the hut. The panes were rattling in the little windows and his groom was shaking him. "Your excellency! Your excellency! Your excellency!" he kept repeating pertinaciously while he shook Pierre by the shoulder without looking at him, having apparently lost hope of getting him to wake up. "What? Has it begun? Is it time?" Pierre asked, waking up. "Hear the firing," said the groom, a discharged soldier. "All the gentlemen have gone out, and his Serene Highness himself rode past long ago." Pierre dressed hastily and ran out to the porch. Outside all was bright, fresh, dewy, and cheerful. The sun, just bursting forth from behind a cloud that had concealed it, was shining, with rays still half broken by the clouds, over the roofs of the street opposite, on the dew-besprinkled dust of the road, on the walls of the houses, on the windows, the fence, and on Pierres horses standing before the hut. The roar of guns sounded more distinct outside. An adjutant accompanied by a Cossack passed by at a sharp trot. "Its time, Count; its time!" cried the adjutant. Telling the groom to follow him with the horses, Pierre went down the street to the knoll from which he had looked at the field of battle the day before. A crowd of military men was assembled there, members of the staff could be heard conversing in French, and Kutuzovs gray head in a white cap with a red band was visible, his gray nape sunk between his shoulders. He was looking through a field glass down the highroad before him. Mounting the steps to the knoll Pierre looked at the scene before him, spellbound by beauty. It was the same panorama he had admired from that spot the day before, but now the whole place was full of troops and covered by smoke clouds from the guns, and the slanting rays of the bright sun, rising slightly to the left behind Pierre, cast upon it through the clear morning air penetrating streaks of rosy, golden tinted light and long dark shadows. The forest at the farthest extremity of the panorama seemed carved in some precious stone of a yellowish-green color; its undulating outline was silhouetted against the horizon and was pierced beyond Valuevo by the Smolensk highroad crowded with troops. Nearer at hand glittered golden cornfields interspersed with copses. There were troops to be seen everywhere, in front and to the right and left. All this was vivid, majestic, and unexpected; but what impressed Pierre most of all was the view of the battlefield itself, of Borodino and the hollows on both sides of the Kolocha. Above the Kolocha, in Borodino and on both sides of it, especially to the left where the Voyna flowing between its marshy banks falls into the Kolocha, a mist had spread which seemed to melt, to dissolve, and to become translucent when the brilliant sun appeared and magically colored and outlined everything. The smoke of the guns mingled with this mist, and over the whole expanse and through that mist the rays of the morning sun were reflected, flashing back like lightning from the water, from the dew, and from the bayonets of the troops crowded together by the riverbanks and in Borodino. A white church could be seen through the mist, and here

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