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War And Peace 522

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War And Peace

Pierre nodded. "As it was sealed up so it has remained, but Sophia Danilovna gave orders that if anyone should come from you they were to have the books." Pierre went into that gloomy study which he had entered with such trepidation in his benefactors lifetime. The room, dusty and untouched since the death of Joseph Bazdeev was now even gloomier. Gerasim opened one of the shutters and left the room on tiptoe. Pierre went round the study, approached the cupboard in which the manuscripts were kept, and took out what had once been one of the most important, the holy of holies of the order. This was the authentic Scotch Acts with Bazdeevs notes and explanations. He sat down at the dusty writing table, and, having laid the manuscripts before him, opened them out, closed them, finally pushed them away, and resting his head on his hand sank into meditation. Gerasim looked cautiously into the study several times and saw Pierre always sitting in the same attitude. More than two hours passed and Gerasim took the liberty of making a slight noise at the door to attract his attention, but Pierre did not hear him. "Is the cabman to be discharged, your honor?" "Oh yes!" said Pierre, rousing himself and rising hurriedly. "Look here," he added, taking Gerasim by a button of his coat and looking down at the old man with moist, shining, and ecstatic eyes, "I say, do you know that there is going to be a battle tomorrow?" "We heard so," replied the man. "I beg you not to tell anyone who I am, and to do what I ask you." "Yes, your excellency," replied Gerasim. "Will you have something to eat?" "No, but I want something else. I want peasant clothes and a pistol," said Pierre, unexpectedly blushing. "Yes, your excellency," said Gerasim after thinking for a moment. All the rest of that day Pierre spent alone in his benefactors study, and Gerasim heard him pacing restlessly from one corner to another and talking to himself. And he spent the night on a bed made up for him there. Gerasim, being a servant who in his time had seen many strange things, accepted Pierres taking up his residence in the house without surprise, and seemed pleased to have someone to wait on. That same evening--without even asking himself what they were wanted for--he procured a coachmans coat and cap for Pierre, and promised to get him the pistol next day. Makar Alexeevich came twice that evening shuffling along in his galoshes as far as the door and stopped and looked ingratiatingly at Pierre. But as soon as Pierre turned toward him he wrapped his dressing gown around him with a shamefaced and angry look and hurried away. It was when Pierre (wearing the coachmans coat which Gerasim had procured for him and had disinfected by steam) was on his way with the old man to buy the pistol at the Sukharev market that he met the Rostovs. CHAPTER XIX Kutuzovs order to retreat through Moscow to the Ryazan road was issued at night on the first of September. The first troops started at once, and during the night they marched slowly and steadily without hurry. At daybreak, however, those nearing the town at the Dorogomilov bridge saw ahead of them masses of soldiers crowding and hurrying across the bridge, ascending on the opposite side and blocking the streets and alleys, while endless masses of troops were bearing down on them from behind, and an unreasoning hurry and alarm overcame them. They all rushed forward to the bridge, onto it, and to the fords and the boats. Kutuzov himself had driven round by side streets to the other side of Moscow. By ten oclock in the morning of the second of September, only the rear guard remained in the Dorogomilov suburb, where they had ample room. The main army was on the other side of Moscow or beyond it. At that very time, at ten in the morning of the second of September, Napoleon was standing among his troops on the Poklonny Hill looking at the panorama spread out before him. From the twenty-sixth of August to the second of September, that is from the battle of Borodino to the entry of the French into Moscow, during the whole of that agitating, memorable week, there had been the extraordinary autumn weather that always comes as a surprise, when the sun hangs low and gives more heat than in spring, when everything shines so brightly in the rare clear atmosphere that the eyes smart, when the lungs are strengthened

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