Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
was heard which seemed to him louder than the most
terrific thunder, and he looked round. There was some smoke, and the
Frenchmen were doing something near the pit, with pale faces and
trembling hands. Two more prisoners were led up. In the same way and
with similar looks, these two glanced vainly at the onlookers with
only a silent appeal for protection in their eyes, evidently unable to
understand or believe what was going to happen to them. They could not
believe it because they alone knew what their life meant to them,
and so they neither understood nor believed that it could be taken
Again Pierre did not wish to look and again turned away; but again
the sound as of a frightful explosion struck his ear, and at the
same moment he saw smoke, blood, and the pale, scared faces of the
Frenchmen who were again doing something by the post, their
trembling hands impeding one another. Pierre, breathing heavily,
looked around as if asking what it meant. The same question was
expressed in all the looks that met his.
On the faces of all the Russians and of the French soldiers and
officers without exception, he read the same dismay, horror, and
conflict that were in his own heart. "But who, after all, is doing
this? They are all suffering as I am. Who then is it? Who?" flashed
for an instant through his mind.
"Sharpshooters of the 86th, forward!" shouted someone. The fifth
prisoner, the one next to Pierre, was led away--alone. Pierre did
not understand that he was saved, that he and the rest had been
brought there only to witness the execution. With ever-growing horror,
and no sense of joy or relief, he gazed at what was taking place.
The fifth man was the factory lad in the loose cloak. The moment
they laid hands on him he sprang aside in terror and clutched at
Pierre. (Pierre shuddered and shook himself free.) The lad was
unable to walk. They dragged him along, holding him up under the arms,
and he screamed. When they got him to the post he grew quiet, as if he
suddenly understood something. Whether he understood that screaming
was useless or whether he thought it incredible that men should kill
him, at any rate he took his stand at the post, waiting to be
blindfolded like the others, and like a wounded animal looked around
him with glittering eyes.
Pierre was no longer able to turn away and close his eyes. His
curiosity and agitation, like that of the whole crowd, reached the
highest pitch at this fifth murder. Like the others this fifth man
seemed calm; he wrapped his loose cloak closer and rubbed one bare
foot with the other.
When they began to blindfold him he himself adjusted the knot
which hurt the back of his head; then when they propped him against
the bloodstained post, he leaned back and, not being comfortable in
that position, straightened himself, adjusted his feet, and leaned
back again more comfortably. Pierre did not take his eyes from him and
did not miss his slightest movement.
Probably a word of command was given and was followed by the reports
of eight muskets; but try as he would Pierre could not afterwards
remember having heard the slightest sound of the shots. He only saw
how the workman suddenly sank down on the cords that held him, how
blood showed itself in two places, how the ropes slackened under the
weight of the hanging body, and how the workman sat down, his head
hanging unnaturally and one leg bent under him. Pierre ran up to the
post. No one hindered him. Pale, frightened people were doing
something around the workman. The lower jaw of an old Frenchman with a
thick mustache trembled as he untied the ropes. The body collapsed.
The soldiers dragged it awkwardly from the post and began pushing it
into the pit.
They all plainly and certainly knew that they were criminals who
must hide the traces of their guilt as quickly as possible.
Pierre glanced into the pit and saw that the factory lad was lying
with his knees close up to his head and one shoulder higher than the
other. That shoulder rose and fell rhythmically and convulsively,
but spadefuls of earth were already being thrown over the whole
body. One of the soldiers, evidently suffering, shouted gruffly and
angrily at Pierre to go back. But Pierre did not understand him and
remained near the post, and no one drove him away.
When the pit
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