Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
adjutant reminded him of the prisoner, he jerked his head
in Pierres direction with a frown and ordered him to be led away. But
where they were to take him Pierre did not know: back to the coach
house or to the place of execution his companions had pointed out to
him as they crossed the Virgins Field.
He turned his head and saw that the adjutant was putting another
question to Davout.
"Yes, of course!" replied Davout, but what this "yes" meant,
Pierre did not know.
Pierre could not afterwards remember how he went, whether it was
far, or in which direction. His faculties were quite numbed, he was
stupefied, and noticing nothing around him went on moving his legs
as the others did till they all stopped and he stopped too. The only
thought in his mind at that time was: who was it that had really
sentenced him to death? Not the men on the commission that had first
examined him--not one of them wished to or, evidently, could have done
it. It was not Davout, who had looked at him in so human a way. In
another moment Davout would have realized that he was doing wrong, but
just then the adjutant had come in and interrupted him. The
adjutant, also, had evidently had no evil intent though he might
have refrained from coming in. Then who was executing him, killing
him, depriving him of life--him, Pierre, with all his memories,
aspirations, hopes, and thoughts? Who was doing this? And Pierre
felt that it was no one.
It was a system--a concurrence of circumstances.
A system of some sort was killing him--Pierre--depriving him of
life, of everything, annihilating him.
From Prince Shcherbatovs house the prisoners were led straight down
the Virgins Field, to the left of the nunnery, as far as a kitchen
garden in which a post had been set up. Beyond that post a fresh pit
had been dug in the ground, and near the post and the pit a large
crowd stood in a semicircle. The crowd consisted of a few Russians and
many of Napoleons soldiers who were not on duty--Germans, Italians,
and Frenchmen, in a variety of uniforms. To the right and left of
the post stood rows of French troops in blue uniforms with red
epaulets and high boots and shakos.
The prisoners were placed in a certain order, according to the
list (Pierre was sixth), and were led to the post. Several drums
suddenly began to beat on both sides of them, and at that sound Pierre
felt as if part of his soul had been torn away. He lost the power of
thinking or understanding. He could only hear and see. And he had only
one wish--that the frightful thing that had to happen should happen
quickly. Pierre looked round at his fellow prisoners and scrutinized
The two first were convicts with shaven heads. One was tall and
thin, the other dark, shaggy, and sinewy, with a flat nose. The
third was a domestic serf, about forty-five years old, with grizzled
hair and a plump, well-nourished body. The fourth was a peasant, a
very handsome man with a broad, light-brown beard and black eyes.
The fifth was a factory hand, a thin, sallow-faced lad of eighteen
in a loose coat.
Pierre heard the French consulting whether to shoot them
separately or two at a time. "In couples," replied the officer in
command in a calm voice. There was a stir in the ranks of the soldiers
and it was evident that they were all hurrying--not as men hurry to do
something they understand, but as people hurry to finish a necessary
but unpleasant and incomprehensible task.
A French official wearing a scarf came up to the right of the row of
prisoners and read out the sentence in Russian and in French.
Then two pairs of Frenchmen approached the criminals and at the
officers command took the two convicts who stood first in the row.
The convicts stopped when they reached the post and, while sacks
were being brought, looked dumbly around as a wounded beast looks at
an approaching huntsman. One crossed himself continually, the other
scratched his back and made a movement of the lips resembling a smile.
With hurried hands the soldiers blindfolded them, drawing the sacks
over their heads, and bound them to the post.
Twelve sharpshooters with muskets stepped out of the ranks with a
firm regular tread and halted eight paces from the post. Pierre turned
away to avoid seeing what was going to happen. Suddenly a crackling,
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