Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
into action, gentlemen!"
"Well, thank God! Weve been sitting here too long!"
Kutuzov fell back toward Vienna, destroying behind him the bridges
over the rivers Inn (at Braunau) and Traun (near Linz). On October
23 the Russian troops were crossing the river Enns. At midday the
Russian baggage train, the artillery, and columns of troops were
defiling through the town of Enns on both sides of the bridge.
It was a warm, rainy, autumnal day. The wide expanse that opened out
before the heights on which the Russian batteries stood guarding the
bridge was at times veiled by a diaphanous curtain of slanting rain,
and then, suddenly spread out in the sunlight, far-distant objects
could be clearly seen glittering as though freshly varnished. Down
below, the little town could be seen with its white, red-roofed
houses, its cathedral, and its bridge, on both sides of which streamed
jostling masses of Russian troops. At the bend of the Danube, vessels,
an island, and a castle with a park surrounded by the waters of the
confluence of the Enns and the Danube became visible, and the rocky
left bank of the Danube covered with pine forests, with a mystic
background of green treetops and bluish gorges. The turrets of a
convent stood out beyond a wild virgin pine forest, and far away on
the other side of the Enns the enemys horse patrols could be
Among the field guns on the brow of the hill the general in
command of the rearguard stood with a staff officer, scanning the
country through his fieldglass. A little behind them Nesvitski, who
had been sent to the rearguard by the commander in chief, was
sitting on the trail of a gun carriage. A Cossack who accompanied
him had handed him a knapsack and a flask, and Nesvitski was
treating some officers to pies and real doppelkummel. The officers
gladly gathered round him, some on their knees, some squatting Turkish
fashion on the wet grass.
"Yes, the Austrian prince who built that castle was no fool. Its
a fine place! Why are you not eating anything, gentlemen?" Nesvitski
"Thank you very much, Prince," answered one of the officers, pleased
to be talking to a staff officer of such importance. "Its a lovely
place! We passed close to the park and saw two deer... and what a
"Look, Prince," said another, who would have dearly liked to take
another pie but felt shy, and therefore pretended to be examining
the countryside--"See, our infantrymen have already got there. Look
there in the meadow behind the village, three of them are dragging
something. Theyll ransack that castle," he remarked with evident
"So they will," said Nesvitski. "No, but what I should like,"
added he, munching a pie in his moist-lipped handsome mouth, "would be
to slip in over there."
He pointed with a smile to a turreted nunnery, and his eyes narrowed
"That would be fine, gentlemen!"
The officers laughed.
"Just to flutter the nuns a bit. They say there are Italian girls
among them. On my word Id give five years of my life for it!"
"They must be feeling dull, too," said one of the bolder officers,
Meanwhile the staff officer standing in front pointed out
something to the general, who looked through his field glass.
"Yes, so it is, so it is," said the general angrily, lowering the
field glass and shrugging his shoulders, "so it is! Theyll be fired
on at the crossing. And why are they dawdling there?"
On the opposite side the enemy could be seen by the naked eye, and
from their battery a milk-white cloud arose. Then came the distant
report of a shot, and our troops could be seen hurrying to the
Nesvitski rose, puffing, and went up to the general, smiling.
"Would not your excellency like a little refreshment?" he said.
"Its a bad business," said the general without answering him,
"our men have been wasting time."
"Hadnt I better ride over, your excellency?" asked Nesvitski.
"Yes, please do," answered the general, and he repeated the order
that had already once been given in detail: "and tell the hussars that
they are to cross last and to fire the bridge as I ordered; and the
inflammable material on the bridge must be reinspected."
"Very good," answered Nesvitski.
He called the Cossack with his horse, told him to put away the
knapsack and flask, and swung his heavy person easily into the saddle.
"Ill really call in on the nuns," he said to the officers who
watched him smilingly, and he rode off by the winding
War And Peace page 76 War And Peace page 78