Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
the condition in which they had found the
citadel, le Kremlin.
Around Murat gathered a group of those who had remained in Moscow.
They all stared in timid bewilderment at the strange, long-haired
commander dressed up in feathers and gold.
"Is that their Tsar himself? Hes not bad!" low voices could be
An interpreter rode up to the group.
"Take off your cap... your caps!" These words went from one to
another in the crowd. The interpreter addressed an old porter and
asked if it was far to the Kremlin. The porter, listening in
perplexity to the unfamiliar Polish accent and not realizing that
the interpreter was speaking Russian, did not understand what was
being said to him and slipped behind the others.
Murat approached the interpreter and told him to ask where the
Russian army was. One of the Russians understood what was asked and
several voices at once began answering the interpreter. A French
officer, returning from the advanced detachment, rode up to Murat
and reported that the gates of the citadel had been barricaded and
that there was probably an ambuscade there.
"Good!" said Murat and, turning to one of the gentlemen in his
suite, ordered four light guns to be moved forward to fire at the
The guns emerged at a trot from the column following Murat and
advanced up the Arbat. When they reached the end of the Vozdvizhenka
Street they halted and drew in the Square. Several French officers
superintended the placing of the guns and looked at the Kremlin
through field glasses.
The bells in the Kremlin were ringing for vespers, and this sound
troubled the French. They imagined it to be a call to arms. A few
infantrymen ran to the Kutafyev Gate. Beams and wooden screens had
been put there, and two musket shots rang out from under the gate as
soon as an officer and men began to run toward it. A general who was
standing by the guns shouted some words of command to the officer, and
the latter ran back again with his men.
The sound of three more shots came from the gate.
One shot struck a French soldiers foot, and from behind the screens
came the strange sound of a few voices shouting. Instantly as at a
word of command the expression of cheerful serenity on the faces of
the French general, officers, and men changed to one of determined
concentrated readiness for strife and suffering. To all of them from
the marshal to the least soldier, that place was not the Vozdvizhenka,
Mokhavaya, or Kutafyev Street, nor the Troitsa Gate (places familiar
in Moscow), but a new battlefield which would probably prove
sanguinary. And all made ready for that battle. The cries from the
gates ceased. The guns were advanced, the artillerymen blew the ash
off their linstocks, and an officer gave the word "Fire!" This was
followed by two whistling sounds of canister shot, one after
another. The shot rattled against the stone of the gate and upon the
wooden beams and screens, and two wavering clouds of smoke rose over
A few instants after the echo of the reports resounding over the
stone-built Kremlin had died away the French heard a strange sound
above their head. Thousands of crows rose above the walls and
circled in the air, cawing and noisily flapping their wings.
Together with that sound came a solitary human cry from the gateway
and amid the smoke appeared the figure of a bareheaded man in a
peasants coat. He grasped a musket and took aim at the French.
"Fire!" repeated the officer once more, and the reports of a musket
and of two cannon shots were heard simultaneously. The gate was again
hidden by smoke.
Nothing more stirred behind the screens and the French infantry
soldiers and officers advanced to the gate. In the gateway lay three
wounded and four dead. Two men in peasant coats ran away at the foot
of the wall, toward the Znamenka.
"Clear that away!" said the officer, pointing to the beams and the
corpses, and the French soldiers, after dispatching the wounded, threw
the corpses over the parapet.
Who these men were nobody knew. "Clear that away!" was all that
was said of them, and they were thrown over the parapet and removed
later on that they might not stink. Thiers alone dedicates a few
eloquent lines to their memory: "These wretches had occupied the
sacred citadel, having supplied themselves with guns from the arsenal,
and fired" (the wretches) "at the French. Some of them were sabered
and the Kremlin was purged of
War And Peace page 536 War And Peace page 538