Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
some Wurttemberg hussars
had come and wanted to put up their horses in the yard where the
captains horses were. This difficulty had arisen chiefly because
the hussars did not understand what was said to them in French.
The captain had their senior sergeant called in, and in a stern
voice asked him to what regiment he belonged, who was his commanding
officer, and by what right he allowed himself to claim quarters that
were already occupied. The German who knew little French, answered the
two first questions by giving the names of his regiment and of his
commanding officer, but in reply to the third question which he did
not understand said, introducing broken French into his own German,
that he was the quartermaster of the regiment and his commander had
ordered him to occupy all the houses one after another. Pierre, who
knew German, translated what the German said to the captain and gave
the captains reply to the Wurttemberg hussar in German. When he had
understood what was said to him, the German submitted and took his men
elsewhere. The captain went out into the porch and gave some orders in
a loud voice.
When he returned to the room Pierre was sitting in the same place as
before, with his head in his hands. His face expressed suffering. He
really was suffering at that moment. When the captain went out and
he was left alone, suddenly he came to himself and realized the
position he was in. It was not that Moscow had been taken or that
the happy conquerors were masters in it and were patronizing him.
Painful as that was it was not that which tormented Pierre at the
moment. He was tormented by the consciousness of his own weakness. The
few glasses of wine he had drunk and the conversation with this
good-natured man had destroyed the mood of concentrated gloom in which
he had spent the last few days and which was essential for the
execution of his design. The pistol, dagger, and peasant coat were
ready. Napoleon was to enter the town next day. Pierre still
considered that it would be a useful and worthy action to slay the
evildoer, but now he felt that he would not do it. He did not know
why, but he felt a foreboding that he would not carry out his
intention. He struggled against the confession of his weakness but
dimly felt that he could not overcome it and that his former gloomy
frame of mind, concerning vengeance, killing, and self-sacrifice,
had been dispersed like dust by contact with the first man he met.
The captain returned to the room, limping slightly and whistling a
The Frenchmans chatter which had previously amused Pierre now
repelled him. The tune he was whistling, his gait, and the gesture
with which he twirled his mustache, all now seemed offensive. "I
will go away immediately. I wont say another word to him," thought
Pierre. He thought this, but still sat in the same place. A strange
feeling of weakness tied him to the spot; he wished to get up and go
away, but could not do so.
The captain, on the other hand, seemed very cheerful. He paced up
and down the room twice. His eyes shone and his mustache twitched as
if he were smiling to himself at some amusing thought.
"The colonel of those Wurttembergers is delightful," he suddenly
said. "Hes a German, but a nice fellow all the same.... But hes a
German." He sat down facing Pierre. "By the way, you know German,
Pierre looked at him in silence.
"What is the German for shelter?"
"Shelter?" Pierre repeated. "The German for shelter is Unterkunft."
"How do you say it?" the captain asked quickly and doubtfully.
"Unterkunft," Pierre repeated.
"Onterkoff," said the captain and looked at Pierre for some
seconds with laughing eyes. "These Germans are first-rate fools, dont
you think so, Monsieur Pierre?" he concluded.
"Well, lets have another bottle of this Moscow Bordeaux, shall
we? Morel will warm us up another little bottle. Morel!" he called out
Morel brought candles and a bottle of wine. The captain looked at
Pierre by the candlelight and was evidently struck by the troubled
expression on his companions face. Ramballe, with genuine distress
and sympathy in his face, went up to Pierre and bent over him.
"There now, were sad," said he, touching Pierres hand. "Have I
upset you? No, really, have you anything against me?" he asked Pierre.
"Perhaps its the state of affairs?"
Pierre did not answer, but looked cordially into the Frenchmans
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