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War And Peace 529

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War And Peace

by. A crowd gathered round the bloodstained smith. "Havent you robbed people enough--taking their last shirts?" said a voice addressing the publican. "What have you killed a man for, you thief?" The tall lad, standing in the porch, turned his bleared eyes from the publican to the smith and back again as if considering whom he ought to fight now. "Murderer!" he shouted suddenly to the publican. "Bind him, lads!" "I daresay you would like to bind me!" shouted the publican, pushing away the men advancing on him, and snatching his cap from his head he flung it on the ground. As if this action had some mysterious and menacing significance, the workmen surrounding the publican paused in indecision. "I know the law very well, mates! Ill take the matter to the captain of police. You think I wont get to him? Robbery is not permitted to anybody now a days!" shouted the publican, picking up his cap. "Come along then! Come along then!" the publican and the tall young fellow repeated one after the other, and they moved up the street together. The bloodstained smith went beside them. The factory hands and others followed behind, talking and shouting. At the corner of the Moroseyka, opposite a large house with closed shutters and bearing a bootmakers signboard, stood a score of thin, worn-out, gloomy-faced bootmakers, wearing overalls and long tattered coats. "He should pay folks off properly," a thin workingman, with frowning brows and a straggly beard, was saying. "But hes sucked our blood and now he thinks hes quit of us. Hes been misleading us all the week and now that hes brought us to this pass hes made off." On seeing the crowd and the bloodstained man the workman ceased speaking, and with eager curiosity all the bootmakers joined the moving crowd. "Where are all the folks going?" "Why, to the police, of course!" "I say, is it true that we have been beaten?" "And what did you think? Look what folks are saying." Questions and answers were heard. The publican, taking advantage of the increased crowd, dropped behind and returned to his tavern. The tall youth, not noticing the disappearance of his foe, waved his bare arm and went on talking incessantly, attracting general attention to himself. It was around him that the people chiefly crowded, expecting answers from him to the questions that occupied all their minds. "He must keep order, keep the law, thats what the government is there for. Am I not right, good Christians?" said the tall youth, with a scarcely perceptible smile. "He thinks theres no government! How can one do without government? Or else there would be plenty whod rob us." "Why talk nonsense?" rejoined voices in the crowd. "Will they give up Moscow like this? They told you that for fun, and you believed it! Arent there plenty of troops on the march? Let him in, indeed! Thats what the government is for. Youd better listen to what people are saying," said some of the mob pointing to the tall youth. By the wall of China-Town a smaller group of people were gathered round a man in a frieze coat who held a paper in his hand. "An ukase, they are reading an ukase! Reading an ukase!" cried voices in the crowd, and the people rushed toward the reader. The man in the frieze coat was reading the broadsheet of August 31 When the crowd collected round him he seemed confused, but at the demand of the tall lad who had pushed his way up to him, he began in a rather tremulous voice to read the sheet from the beginning. "Early tomorrow I shall go to his Serene Highness," he read ("Sirin Highness," said the tall fellow with a triumphant smile on his lips and a frown on his brow), "to consult with him to act, and to aid the army to exterminate these scoundrels. We too will take part..." the reader went on, and then paused ("Do you see," shouted the youth victoriously, "hes going to clear up the whole affair for you...."), "in destroying them, and will send these visitors to the devil. I will come back to dinner, and well set to work. We will do, completely do, and undo these scoundrels." The last words were read out in the midst of complete silence. The tall lad hung his head gloomily. It was evident that no one had understood the last part. In particular, the words "I will come back to dinner," evidently displeased both reader and audience. The peoples minds were tuned to a high pitch and this was too simple and needlessly

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