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War And Peace 609

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War And Peace

exclamations, and dimly made out something leaning against the palings surrounding the church. From the words of his comrades who saw better than he did, he found that this was the body of a man, set upright against the palings with its face smeared with soot. "Go on! What the devil... Go on! Thirty thousand devils!..." the convoy guards began cursing and the French soldiers, with fresh virulence, drove away with their swords the crowd of prisoners who were gazing at the dead man. CHAPTER XIV Through the cross streets of the Khamovniki quarter the prisoners marched, followed only by their escort and the vehicles and wagons belonging to that escort, but when they reached the supply stores they came among a huge and closely packed train of artillery mingled with private vehicles. At the bridge they all halted, waiting for those in front to get across. From the bridge they had a view of endless lines of moving baggage trains before and behind them. To the right, where the Kaluga road turns near Neskuchny, endless rows of troops and carts stretched away into the distance. These were troops of Beauharnais corps which had started before any of the others. Behind, along the riverside and across the Stone Bridge, were Neys troops and transport. Davouts troops, in whose charge were the prisoners, were crossing the Crimean bridge and some were already debouching into the Kaluga road. But the baggage trains stretched out so that the last of Beauharnais train had not yet got out of Moscow and reached the Kaluga road when the vanguard of Neys army was already emerging from the Great Ordynka Street. When they had crossed the Crimean bridge the prisoners moved a few steps forward, halted, and again moved on, and from all sides vehicles and men crowded closer and closer together. They advanced the few hundred paces that separated the bridge from the Kaluga road, taking more than an hour to do so, and came out upon the square where the streets of the Transmoskva ward and the Kaluga road converge, and the prisoners jammed close together had to stand for some hours at that crossway. From all sides, like the roar of the sea, were heard the rattle of wheels, the tramp of feet, and incessant shouts of anger and abuse. Pierre stood pressed against the wall of a charred house, listening to that noise which mingled in his imagination with the roll of the drums. To get a better view, several officer prisoners climbed onto the wall of the half-burned house against which Pierre was leaning. "What crowds! Just look at the crowds!... Theyve loaded goods even on the cannon! Look there, those are furs!" they exclaimed. "Just see what the blackguards have looted.... There! See what that one has behind in the cart.... Why, those are settings taken from some icons, by heaven!... Oh, the rascals!... See how that fellow has loaded himself up, he can hardly walk! Good lord, theyve even grabbed those chaises!... See that fellow there sitting on the trunks.... Heavens! Theyre fighting." "Thats right, hit him on the snout--on his snout! Like this, we shant get away before evening. Look, look there.... Why, that must be Napoleons own. See what horses! And the monograms with a crown! Its like a portable house.... That fellows dropped his sack and doesnt see it. Fighting again... A woman with a baby, and not bad-looking either! Yes, I dare say, thats the way theyll let you pass... Just look, theres no end to it. Russian wenches, by heaven, so they are! In carriages--see how comfortably theyve settled themselves!" Again, as at the church in Khamovniki, a wave of general curiosity bore all the prisoners forward onto the road, and Pierre, thanks to his stature, saw over the heads of the others what so attracted their curiosity. In three carriages involved among the munition carts, closely squeezed together, sat women with rouged faces, dressed in glaring colors, who were shouting something in shrill voices. From the moment Pierre had recognized the appearance of the mysterious force nothing had seemed to him strange or dreadful: neither the corpse smeared with soot for fun nor these women hurrying away nor the burned ruins of Moscow. All that he now witnessed scarcely made an impression on him--as if his soul, making ready for a hard struggle, refused to receive impressions that might weaken it. The womens vehicles drove by. Behind them came more carts, soldiers, wagons, soldiers, gun carriages, carriages, soldiers, ammunition carts, more soldiers, and now and then women. Pierre did not see the people as individuals but saw their

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