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War And Peace 631


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sorry for it afterwards. I dont like that." "Just so," said the Cossack. "Oh yes, another thing! Please, my dear fellow, will you sharpen my saber for me? Its got bl..." (Petya feared to tell a lie, and the saber never had been sharpened.) "Can you do it?" "Of course I can." Likhachev got up, rummaged in his pack, and soon Petya heard the warlike sound of steel on whetstone. He climbed onto the wagon and sat on its edge. The Cossack was sharpening the saber under the wagon. "I say! Are the lads asleep?" asked Petya. "Some are, and some arent--like us." "Well, and that boy?" "Vesenny? Oh, hes thrown himself down there in the passage. Fast asleep after his fright. He was that glad!" After that Petya remained silent for a long time, listening to the sounds. He heard footsteps in the darkness and a black figure appeared. "What are you sharpening?" asked a man coming up to the wagon. "Why, this gentlemans saber." "Thats right," said the man, whom Petya took to be an hussar. "Was the cup left here?" "There, by the wheel!" The hussar took the cup. "It must be daylight soon," said he, yawning, and went away. Petya ought to have known that he was in a forest with Denisovs guerrilla band, less than a mile from the road, sitting on a wagon captured from the French beside which horses were tethered, that under it Likhachev was sitting sharpening a saber for him, that the big dark blotch to the right was the watchmans hut, and the red blotch below to the left was the dying embers of a campfire, that the man who had come for the cup was an hussar who wanted a drink; but he neither knew nor waited to know anything of all this. He was in a fairy kingdom where nothing resembled reality. The big dark blotch might really be the watchmans hut or it might be a cavern leading to the very depths of the earth. Perhaps the red spot was a fire, or it might be the eye of an enormous monster. Perhaps he was really sitting on a wagon, but it might very well be that he was not sitting on a wagon but on a terribly high tower from which, if he fell, he would have to fall for a whole day or a whole month, or go on falling and never reach the bottom. Perhaps it was just the Cossack, Likhachev, who was sitting under the wagon, but it might be the kindest, bravest, most wonderful, most splendid man in the world, whom no one knew of. It might really have been that the hussar came for water and went back into the hollow, but perhaps he had simply vanished--disappeared altogether and dissolved into nothingness. Nothing Petya could have seen now would have surprised him. He was in a fairy kingdom where everything was possible. He looked up at the sky. And the sky was a fairy realm like the earth. It was clearing, and over the tops of the trees clouds were swiftly sailing as if unveiling the stars. Sometimes it looked as if the clouds were passing, and a clear black sky appeared. Sometimes it seemed as if the black spaces were clouds. Sometimes the sky seemed to be rising high, high overhead, and then it seemed to sink so low that one could touch it with ones hand. Petyas eyes began to close and he swayed a little. The trees were dripping. Quiet talking was heard. The horses neighed and jostled one another. Someone snored. "Ozheg-zheg, Ozheg-zheg..." hissed the saber against the whetstone, and suddenly Petya heard an harmonious orchestra playing some unknown, sweetly solemn hymn. Petya was as musical as Natasha and more so than Nicholas, but had never learned music or thought about it, and so the melody that unexpectedly came to his mind seemed to him particularly fresh and attractive. The music became more and more audible. The melody grew and passed from one instrument to another. And what was played was a fugue--though Petya had not the least conception of what a fugue is. Each instrument--now resembling a violin and now a horn, but better and clearer than violin or horn--played its own part, and before it had finished the melody merged with another instrument that began almost the same air, and then with a third and a fourth; and they all blended into one and again became separate and again blended, now into solemn church music, now into something dazzlingly brilliant and triumphant. "Oh--why, that was in a

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