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War And Peace 475

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War And Peace

that there was a bridge in front of him and that soldiers were doing something on both sides of it and in the meadow, among the rows of new-mown hay which he had taken no notice of amid the smoke of the campfires the day before; but despite the incessant firing going on there he had no idea that this was the field of battle. He did not notice the sound of the bullets whistling from every side, or the projectiles that flew over him, did not see the enemy on the other side of the river, and for a long time did not notice the killed and wounded, though many fell near him. He looked about him with a smile which did not leave his face. "Whys that fellow in front of the line?" shouted somebody at him again. "To the left!... Keep to the right!" the men shouted to him. Pierre went to the right, and unexpectedly encountered one of Raevskis adjutants whom he knew. The adjutant looked angrily at him, evidently also intending to shout at him, but on recognizing him he nodded. "How have you got here?" he said, and galloped on. Pierre, feeling out of place there, having nothing to do, and afraid of getting in someones way again, galloped after the adjutant. "Whats happening here? May I come with you?" he asked. "One moment, one moment!" replied the adjutant, and riding up to a stout colonel who was standing in the meadow, he gave him some message and then addressed Pierre. "Why have you come here, Count?" he asked with a smile. "Still inquisitive?" "Yes, yes," assented Pierre. But the adjutant turned his horse about and rode on. "Here its tolerable," said he, "but with Bagration on the left flank theyre getting it frightfully hot." "Really?" said Pierre. "Where is that?" "Come along with me to our knoll. We can get a view from there and in our battery it is still bearable," said the adjutant. "Will you come?" "Yes, Ill come with you," replied Pierre, looking round for his groom. It was only now that he noticed wounded men staggering along or being carried on stretchers. On that very meadow he had ridden over the day before, a soldier was lying athwart the rows of scented hay, with his head thrown awkwardly back and his shako off. "Why havent they carried him away?" Pierre was about to ask, but seeing the stern expression of the adjutant who was also looking that way, he checked himself. Pierre did not find his groom and rode along the hollow with the adjutant to Raevskis Redoubt. His horse lagged behind the adjutants and jolted him at every step. "You dont seem to be used to riding, Count?" remarked the adjutant. "No its not that, but her action seems so jerky," said Pierre in a puzzled tone. "Why... shes wounded!" said the adjutant. "In the off foreleg above the knee. A bullet, no doubt. I congratulate you, Count, on your baptism of fire!" Having ridden in the smoke past the Sixth Corps, behind the artillery which had been moved forward and was in action, deafening them with the noise of firing, they came to a small wood. There it was cool and quiet, with a scent of autumn. Pierre and the adjutant dismounted and walked up the hill on foot. "Is the general here?" asked the adjutant on reaching the knoll. "He was here a minute ago but has just gone that way," someone told him, pointing to the right. The adjutant looked at Pierre as if puzzled what to do with him now. "Dont trouble about me," said Pierre. "Ill go up onto the knoll if I may?" "Yes, do. Youll see everything from there and its less dangerous, and Ill come for you." Pierre went to the battery and the adjutant rode on. They did not meet again, and only much later did Pierre learn that he lost an arm that day. The knoll to which Pierre ascended was that famous one afterwards known to the Russians as the Knoll Battery or Raevskis Redoubt, and to the French as la grande redoute, la fatale redoute, la redoute du centre, around which tens of thousands fell, and which the French regarded as the key to the whole position. This redoubt consisted of a knoll, on three sides of which trenches had been dug. Within the entrenchment stood ten guns that were being fired through openings in the earthwork. In line with the knoll on both sides stood other guns which also fired incessantly. A little behind the guns stood infantry. When ascending that knoll Pierre

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