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War And Peace 558


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him. "Have you lost anyone, my dear fellow? Youre of the gentry yourself, arent you? Whose child is it?" they asked him. Pierre replied that the child belonged to a woman in a black coat who had been sitting there with her other children, and he asked whether anyone knew where she had gone. "Why, that must be the Anferovs," said an old deacon, addressing a pockmarked peasant woman. "Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy!" he added in his customary bass. "The Anferovs? No," said the woman. "They left in the morning. That must be either Mary Nikolievnas or the Ivanovs!" "He says a woman, and Mary Nikolievna is a lady," remarked a house serf. "Do you know her? Shes thin, with long teeth," said Pierre. "Thats Mary Nikolievna! They went inside the garden when these wolves swooped down," said the woman, pointing to the French soldiers. "O Lord, have mercy!" added the deacon. "Go over that way, theyre there. Its she! She kept on lamenting and crying," continued the woman. "Its she. Here, this way!" But Pierre was not listening to the woman. He had for some seconds been intently watching what was going on a few steps away. He was looking at the Armenian family and at two French soldiers who had gone up to them. One of these, a nimble little man, was wearing a blue coat tied round the waist with a rope. He had a nightcap on his head and his feet were bare. The other, whose appearance particularly struck Pierre, was a long, lank, round-shouldered, fair-haired man, slow in his movements and with an idiotic expression of face. He wore a womans loose gown of frieze, blue trousers, and large torn Hessian boots. The little barefooted Frenchman in the blue coat went up to the Armenians and, saying something, immediately seized the old man by his legs and the old man at once began pulling off his boots. The other in the frieze gown stopped in front of the beautiful Armenian girl and with his hands in his pockets stood staring at her, motionless and silent. "Here, take the child!" said Pierre peremptorily and hurriedly to the woman, handing the little girl to her. "Give her back to them, give her back!" he almost shouted, putting the child, who began screaming, on the ground, and again looking at the Frenchman and the Armenian family. The old man was already sitting barefoot. The little Frenchman had secured his second boot and was slapping one boot against the other. The old man was saying something in a voice broken by sobs, but Pierre caught but a glimpse of this, his whole attention was directed to the Frenchman in the frieze gown who meanwhile, swaying slowly from side to side, had drawn nearer to the young woman and taking his hands from his pockets had seized her by the neck. The beautiful Armenian still sat motionless and in the same attitude, with her long lashes drooping as if she did not see or feel what the soldier was doing to her. While Pierre was running the few steps that separated him from the Frenchman, the tall marauder in the frieze gown was already tearing from her neck the necklace the young Armenian was wearing, and the young woman, clutching at her neck, screamed piercingly. "Let that woman alone!" exclaimed Pierre hoarsely in a furious voice, seizing the soldier by his round shoulders and throwing him aside. The soldier fell, got up, and ran away. But his comrade, throwing down the boots and drawing his sword, moved threateningly toward Pierre. "Voyons, Pas de betises!"* he cried. *"Look here, no nonsense!" Pierre was in such a transport of rage that he remembered nothing and his strength increased tenfold. He rushed at the barefooted Frenchman and, before the latter had time to draw his sword, knocked him off his feet and hammered him with his fists. Shouts of approval were heard from the crowd around, and at the same moment a mounted patrol of French Uhlans appeared from round the corner. The Uhlans came up at a trot to Pierre and the Frenchman and surrounded them. Pierre remembered nothing of what happened after that. He only remembered beating someone and being beaten and finally feeling that his hands were bound and that a crowd of French soldiers stood around him and were searching him. "Lieutenant, he has a dagger," were the first words Pierre understood. "Ah, a weapon?" said the officer and turned to the barefooted soldier who had been arrested with Pierre. "All right, you can tell all about it at the court-martial." Then he

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