Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
from the list of prisoners the French
officer had read out when he came that morning. Pierre had been
taken by one set of soldiers and led first to one and then to
another place with dozens of other men, and it seemed that they
might have forgotten him, or confused him with the others. But no: the
answers he had given when questioned had come back to him in his
designation as "the man who does not give his name," and under that
appellation, which to Pierre seemed terrible, they were now leading
him somewhere with unhesitating assurance on their faces that he and
all the other prisoners were exactly the ones they wanted and that
they were being taken to the proper place. Pierre felt himself to be
an insignificant chip fallen among the wheels of a machine whose
action he did not understand but which was working well.
He and the other prisoners were taken to the right side of the
Virgins Field, to a large white house with an immense garden not
far from the convent. This was Prince Shcherbitovs house, where
Pierre had often been in other days, and which, as he learned from the
talk of the soldiers, was now occupied by the marshal, the Duke of
They were taken to the entrance and led into the house one by one.
Pierre was the sixth to enter. He was conducted through a glass
gallery, an anteroom, and a hall, which were familiar to him, into a
long low study at the door of which stood an adjutant.
Davout, spectacles on nose, sat bent over a table at the further end
of the room. Pierre went close up to him, but Davout, evidently
consulting a paper that lay before him, did not look up. Without
raising his eyes, he said in a low voice:
"Who are you?"
Pierre was silent because he was incapable of uttering a word. To
him Davout was not merely a French general, but a man notorious for
his cruelty. Looking at his cold face, as he sat like a stern
schoolmaster who was prepared to wait awhile for an answer, Pierre
felt that every instant of delay might cost him his life; but he did
not know what to say. He did not venture to repeat what he had said at
his first examination, yet to disclose his rank and position was
dangerous and embarrassing. So he was silent. But before he had
decided what to do, Davout raised his head, pushed his spectacles back
on his forehead, screwed up his eyes, and looked intently at him.
"I know that man," he said in a cold, measured tone, evidently
calculated to frighten Pierre.
The chill that had been running down Pierres back now seized his
head as in a vise.
"You cannot know me, General, I have never seen you..."
"He is a Russian spy," Davout interrupted, addressing another
general who was present, but whom Pierre had not noticed.
Davout turned away. With an unexpected reverberation in his voice
Pierre rapidly began:
"No, monseigneur," he said, suddenly remembering that Davout was a
duke. "No, monseigneur, you cannot have known me. I am a militia
officer and have not quitted Moscow."
"Your name?" asked Davout.
"What proof have I that you are not lying?"
"Monseigneur!" exclaimed Pierre, not in an offended but in a
Davout looked up and gazed intently at him. For some seconds they
looked at one another, and that look saved Pierre. Apart from
conditions of war and law, that look established human relations
between the two men. At that moment an immense number of things passed
dimly through both their minds, and they realized that they were
both children of humanity and were brothers.
At the first glance, when Davout had only raised his head from the
papers where human affairs and lives were indicated by numbers, Pierre
was merely a circumstance, and Davout could have shot him without
burdening his conscience with an evil deed, but now he saw in him a
human being. He reflected for a moment.
"How can you show me that you are telling the truth?" said Davout
Pierre remembered Ramballe, and named him and his regiment and the
street where the house was.
"You are not what you say," returned Davout.
In a trembling, faltering voice Pierre began adducing proofs of
the truth of his statements.
But at that moment an adjutant entered and reported something to
Davout brightened up at the news the adjutant brought, and began
buttoning up his uniform. It seemed that he had quite forgotten
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