Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
suddenly a shell fell close by, when it yelped,
tucked its tail between its legs, and darted aside. Yells and
shrieks of laughter rose from the whole regiment. But such
distractions lasted only a moment, and for eight hours the men had
been inactive, without food, in constant fear of death, and their pale
and gloomy faces grew ever paler and gloomier.
Prince Andrew, pale and gloomy like everyone in the regiment,
paced up and down from the border of one patch to another, at the edge
of the meadow beside an oatfield, with head bowed and arms behind
his back. There was nothing for him to do and no orders to be given.
Everything went on of itself. The killed were dragged from the
front, the wounded carried away, and the ranks closed up. If any
soldiers ran to the rear they returned immediately and hastily. At
first Prince Andrew, considering it his duty to rouse the courage of
the men and to set them an example, walked about among the ranks,
but he soon became convinced that this was unnecessary and that
there was nothing he could teach them. All the powers of his soul,
as of every soldier there, were unconsciously bent on avoiding the
contemplation of the horrors of their situation. He walked along the
meadow, dragging his feet, rustling the grass, and gazing at the
dust that covered his boots; now he took big strides trying to keep to
the footprints left on the meadow by the mowers, then he counted his
steps, calculating how often he must walk from one strip to another to
walk a mile, then he stripped the flowers from the wormwood that
grew along a boundary rut, rubbed them in his palms, and smelled their
pungent, sweetly bitter scent. Nothing remained of the previous
days thoughts. He thought of nothing. He listened with weary ears
to the ever-recurring sounds, distinguishing the whistle of flying
projectiles from the booming of the reports, glanced at the tiresomely
familiar faces of the men of the first battalion, and waited. "Here it
comes... this one is coming our way again!" he thought, listening to
an approaching whistle in the hidden region of smoke. "One, another!
Again! It has hit...." He stopped and looked at the ranks. "No, it has
gone over. But this one has hit!" And again he started trying to reach
the boundary strip in sixteen paces. A whizz and a thud! Five paces
from him, a cannon ball tore up the dry earth and disappeared. A chill
ran down his back. Again he glanced at the ranks. Probably many had
been hit--a large crowd had gathered near the second battalion.
"Adjutant!" he shouted. "Order them not to crowd together."
The adjutant, having obeyed this instruction, approached Prince
Andrew. From the other side a battalion commander rode up.
"Look out!" came a frightened cry from a soldier and, like a bird
whirring in rapid flight and alighting on the ground, a shell
dropped with little noise within two steps of Prince Andrew and
close to the battalion commanders horse. The horse first,
regardless of whether it was right or wrong to show fear, snorted,
reared almost throwing the major, and galloped aside. The horses
terror infected the men.
"Lie down!" cried the adjutant, throwing himself flat on the ground.
Prince Andrew hesitated. The smoking shell spun like a top between
him and the prostrate adjutant, near a wormwood plant between the
field and the meadow.
"Can this be death?" thought Prince Andrew, looking with a quite
new, envious glance at the grass, the wormwood, and the streamlet of
smoke that curled up from the rotating black ball. "I cannot, I do not
wish to die. I love life--I love this grass, this earth, this air...."
He thought this, and at the same time remembered that people were
looking at him.
"Its shameful, sir!" he said to the adjutant. "What..."
He did not finish speaking. At one and the same moment came the
sound of an explosion, a whistle of splinters as from a breaking
window frame, a suffocating smell of powder, and Prince Andrew started
to one side, raising his arm, and fell on his chest. Several
officers ran up to him. From the right side of his abdomen, blood
was welling out making a large stain on the grass.
The militiamen with stretchers who were called up stood behind the
officers. Prince Andrew lay on his chest with his face in the grass,
breathing heavily and noisily.
"What are you waiting for? Come along!"
The peasants went up and took
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