Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
path down the
"Now then, lets see how far it will carry, Captain. Just try!" said
the general, turning to an artillery officer. "Have a little fun to
pass the time."
"Crew, to your guns!" commanded the officer.
In a moment the men came running gaily from their campfires and
"One!" came the command.
Number one jumped briskly aside. The gun rang out with a deafening
metallic roar, and a whistling grenade flew above the heads of our
troops below the hill and fell far short of the enemy, a little
smoke showing the spot where it burst.
The faces of officers and men brightened up at the sound. Everyone
got up and began watching the movements of our troops below, as
plainly visible as if but a stones throw away, and the movements of
the approaching enemy farther off. At the same instant the sun came
fully out from behind the clouds, and the clear sound of the
solitary shot and the brilliance of the bright sunshine merged in a
single joyous and spirited impression.
Two of the enemys shots had already flown across the bridge,
where there was a crush. Halfway across stood Prince Nesvitski, who
had alighted from his horse and whose big body was jammed
against the railings. He looked back laughing to the Cossack who stood
a few steps behind him holding two horses by their bridles. Each
time Prince Nesvitski tried to move on, soldiers and carts pushed
him back again and pressed him against the railings, and all he
could do was to smile.
"What a fine fellow you are, friend!" said the Cossack to a convoy
soldier with a wagon, who was pressing onto the infantrymen who were
crowded together close to his wheels and his horses. "What a fellow!
You cant wait a moment! Dont you see the general wants to pass?"
But the convoyman took no notice of the word "general" and shouted
at the soldiers who were blocking his way. "Hi there, boys! Keep to
the left! Wait a bit." But the soldiers, crowded together shoulder
to shoulder, their bayonets interlocking, moved over the bridge in a
dense mass. Looking down over the rails Prince Nesvitski saw the
rapid, noisy little waves of the Enns, which rippling and eddying
round the piles of the bridge chased each other along. Looking on
the bridge he saw equally uniform living waves of soldiers, shoulder
straps, covered shakos, knapsacks, bayonets, long muskets, and,
under the shakos, faces with broad cheekbones, sunken cheeks, and
listless tired expressions, and feet that moved through the sticky mud
that covered the planks of the bridge. Sometimes through the
monotonous waves of men, like a fleck of white foam on the waves of
the Enns, an officer, in a cloak and with a type of face different
from that of the men, squeezed his way along; sometimes like a chip of
wood whirling in the river, an hussar on foot, an orderly, or a
townsman was carried through the waves of infantry; and sometimes like
a log floating down the river, an officers or companys baggage
wagon, piled high, leather covered, and hemmed in on all sides,
moved across the bridge.
"Its as if a dam had burst," said the Cossack hopelessly. "Are
there many more of you to come?"
"A million all but one!" replied a waggish soldier in a torn coat,
with a wink, and passed on followed by another, an old man.
"If he" (he meant the enemy) "begins popping at the bridge now,"
said the old soldier dismally to a comrade, "youll forget to
That soldier passed on, and after him came another sitting on a
"Where the devil have the leg bands been shoved to?" said an
orderly, running behind the cart and fumbling in the back of it.
And he also passed on with the wagon. Then came some merry
soldiers who had evidently been drinking.
"And then, old fellow, he gives him one in the teeth with the butt
end of his gun..." a soldier whose greatcoat was well tucked up said
gaily, with a wide swing of his arm.
"Yes, the ham was just delicious..." answered another with a loud
laugh. And they, too, passed on, so that Nesvitski did not learn who
had been struck on the teeth, or what the ham had to do with it.
"Bah! How they scurry. He just sends a ball and they think theyll
all be killed," a sergeant was saying angrily and reproachfully.
"As it flies past me, Daddy, the ball I mean," said a young
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