Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
to the French
lines the more confident was the appearance of our troops. The
soldiers in their greatcoats were ranged in lines, the sergeants major
and company officers were counting the men, poking the last man in
each section in the ribs and telling him to hold his hand up. Soldiers
scattered over the whole place were dragging logs and brushwood and
were building shelters with merry chatter and laughter; around the
fires sat others, dressed and undressed, drying their shirts and leg
bands or mending boots or overcoats and crowding round the boilers and
porridge cookers. In one company dinner was ready, and the soldiers
were gazing eagerly at the steaming boiler, waiting till the sample,
which a quartermaster sergeant was carrying in a wooden bowl to an
officer who sat on a log before his shelter, had been tasted.
Another company, a lucky one for not all the companies had vodka,
crowded round a pockmarked, broad-shouldered sergeant major who,
tilting a keg, filled one after another the canteen lids held out to
him. The soldiers lifted the canteen lids to their lips with
reverential faces, emptied them, rolling the vodka in their mouths,
and walked away from the sergeant major with brightened expressions,
licking their lips and wiping them on the sleeves of their greatcoats.
All their faces were as serene as if all this were happening at home
awaiting peaceful encampment, and not within sight of the enemy before
an action in which at least half of them would be left on the field.
After passing a chasseur regiment and in the lines of the Kiev
grenadiers--fine fellows busy with similar peaceful affairs--near
the shelter of the regimental commander, higher than and different
from the others, Prince Andrew came out in front of a platoon of
grenadiers before whom lay a naked man. Two soldiers held him while
two others were flourishing their switches and striking him
regularly on his bare back. The man shrieked unnaturally. A stout
major was pacing up and down the line, and regardless of the screams
"Its a shame for a soldier to steal; a soldier must be honest,
honorable, and brave, but if he robs his fellows there is no honor
in him, hes a scoundrel. Go on! Go on!"
So the swishing sound of the strokes, and the desperate but
unnatural screams, continued.
"Go on, go on!" said the major.
A young officer with a bewildered and pained expression on his
face stepped away from the man and looked round inquiringly at the
adjutant as he rode by.
Prince Andrew, having reached the front line, rode along it. Our
front line and that of the enemy were far apart on the right and
left flanks, but in the center where the men with a flag of truce
had passed that morning, the lines were so near together that the
men could see one anothers faces and speak to one another. Besides
the soldiers who formed the picket line on either side, there were
many curious onlookers who, jesting and laughing, stared at their
strange foreign enemies.
Since early morning--despite an injunction not to approach the
picket line--the officers had been unable to keep sight-seers away.
The soldiers forming the picket line, like showmen exhibiting a
curiosity, no longer looked at the French but paid attention to the
sight-seers and grew weary waiting to be relieved. Prince Andrew
halted to have a look at the French.
"Look! Look there!" one soldier was saying to another, pointing to a
Russian musketeer who had gone up to the picket line with an officer
and was rapidly and excitedly talking to a French grenadier. "Hark
to him jabbering! Fine, isnt it? Its all the Frenchy can do to
keep up with him. There now, Sidorov!"
"Wait a bit and listen. Its fine!" answered Sidorov, who was
considered an adept at French.
The soldier to whom the laughers referred was Dolokhov. Prince
Andrew recognized him and stopped to listen to what he was saying.
Dolokhov had come from the left flank where their regiment was
stationed, with his captain.
"Now then, go on, go on!" incited the officer, bending forward and
trying not to lose a word of the speech which was incomprehensible
to him. "More, please: more! Whats he saying?"
Dolokhov did not answer the captain; he had been drawn into a hot
dispute with the French grenadier. They were naturally talking about
the campaign. The Frenchman, confusing the Austrians with the
Russians, was trying to prove that the Russians had surrendered and
had fled all the way from Ulm, while Dolokhov maintained that the
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