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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Nine: 1812 - Chapter 21
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War And Peace - Book Nine: 1812 - Chapter 21 Post by :aikpin Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :3095

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Nine: 1812 - Chapter 21 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Nine: 1812 - Chapter 21

After the definite refusal he had received, Petya went to his room
and there locked himself in and wept bitterly. When he came in to tea,
silent, morose, and with tear-stained face, everybody pretended not to
notice anything.

Next day the Emperor arrived in Moscow, and several of the
Rostovs' domestic serfs begged permission to go to have a look at him.
That morning Petya was a long time dressing and arranging his hair and
collar to look like a grown-up man. He frowned before his looking
glass, gesticulated, shrugged his shoulders, and finally, without
saying a word to anyone, took his cap and left the house by the back
door, trying to avoid notice. Petya decided to go straight to where
the Emperor was and to explain frankly to some gentleman-in-waiting
(he imagined the Emperor to be always surrounded by
gentlemen-in-waiting) that he, Count Rostov, in spite of his youth
wished to serve his country; that youth could be no hindrance to
loyalty, and that he was ready to... While dressing, Petya had
prepared many fine things he meant to say to the gentleman-in-waiting.

It was on the very fact of being so young that Petya counted for
success in reaching the Emperor- he even thought how surprised
everyone would be at his youthfulness- and yet in the arrangement of
his collar and hair and by his sedate deliberate walk he wished to
appear a grown-up man. But the farther he went and the more his
attention was diverted by the ever-increasing crowds moving toward the
Kremlin, the less he remembered to walk with the sedateness and
deliberation of a man. As he approached the Kremlin he even began to
avoid being crushed and resolutely stuck out his elbows in a
menacing way. But within the Trinity Gateway he was so pressed to
the wall by people who probably were unaware of the patriotic
intentions with which he had come that in spite of all his
determination he had to give in, and stop while carriages passed in,
rumbling beneath the archway. Beside Petya stood a peasant woman, a
footman, two tradesmen, and a discharged soldier. After standing
some time in the gateway, Petya tried to move forward in front of
the others without waiting for all the carriages to pass, and he began
resolutely working his way with his elbows, but the woman just in
front of him, who was the first against whom he directed his
efforts, angrily shouted at him:

"What are you shoving for, young lordling? Don't you see we're all
standing still? Then why push?"

"Anybody can shove," said the footman, and also began working his
elbows to such effect that he pushed Petya into a very filthy corner
of the gateway.

Petya wiped his perspiring face with his hands and pulled up the
damp collar which he had arranged so well at home to seem like a
man's.

He felt that he no longer looked presentable, and feared that if
he were now to approach the gentlemen-in-waiting in that plight he
would not be admitted to the Emperor. But it was impossible to smarten
oneself up or move to another place, because of the crowd. One of
the generals who drove past was an acquaintance of the Rostovs', and
Petya thought of asking his help, but came to the conclusion that that
would not be a manly thing to do. When the carriages had all passed
in, the crowd, carrying Petya with it, streamed forward into the
Kremlin Square which was already full of people. There were people not
only in the square, but everywhere- on the slopes and on the roofs. As
soon as Petya found himself in the square he clearly heard the sound
of bells and the joyous voices of the crowd that filled the whole
Kremlin.

For a while the crowd was less dense, but suddenly all heads were
bared, and everyone rushed forward in one direction. Petya was being
pressed so that he could scarcely breathe, and everybody shouted,
"Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" Petya stood on tiptoe and pushed and
pinched, but could see nothing except the people about him.

All the faces bore the same expression of excitement and enthusiasm.
A tradesman's wife standing beside Petya sobbed, and the tears ran
down her cheeks.

"Father! Angel! Dear one!" she kept repeating, wiping away her tears
with her fingers.

"Hurrah!" was heard on all sides.

For a moment the crowd stood still, but then it made another rush
forward.

Quite beside himself, Petya, clinching his teeth and rolling his
eyes ferociously, pushed forward, elbowing his way and shouting
"hurrah!" as if he were prepared that instant to kill himself and
everyone else, but on both sides of him other people with similarly
ferocious faces pushed forward and everybody shouted "hurrah!"

"So this is what the Emperor is!" thought Petya. "No, I can't
petition him myself- that would be too bold." But in spite of this
he continued to struggle desperately forward, and from between the
backs of those in front he caught glimpses of an open space with a
strip of red cloth spread out on it; but just then the crowd swayed
back- the police in front were pushing back those who had pressed
too close to the procession: the Emperor was passing from the palace
to the Cathedral of the Assumption- and Petya unexpectedly received
such a blow on his side and ribs and was squeezed so hard that
suddenly everything grew dim before his eyes and he lost
consciousness. When he came to himself, a man of clerical appearance
with a tuft of gray hair at the back of his head and wearing a
shabby blue cassock- probably a church clerk and chanter- was
holding him under the arm with one hand while warding off the pressure
of the crowd with the other.

"You've crushed the young gentleman!" said the clerk. "What are
you up to? Gently!... They've crushed him, crushed him!"

The Emperor entered the Cathedral of the Assumption. The crowd
spread out again more evenly, and the clerk led Petya- pale and
breathless- to the Tsar-cannon. Several people were sorry for Petya,
and suddenly a crowd turned toward him and pressed round him. Those
who stood nearest him attended to him, unbuttoned his coat, seated him
on the raised platform of the cannon, and reproached those others
(whoever they might be) who had crushed him.

"One might easily get killed that way! What do they mean by it?
Killing people! Poor dear, he's as white as a sheet!"- various
voices were heard saying.

Petya soon came to himself, the color returned to his face, the pain
had passed, and at the cost of that temporary unpleasantness he had
obtained a place by the cannon from where he hoped to see the
Emperor who would be returning that way. Petya no longer thought of
presenting his petition. If he could only see the Emperor he would
be happy!

While the service was proceeding in the Cathedral of the Assumption-
it was a combined service of prayer on the occasion of the Emperor's
arrival and of thanksgiving for the conclusion of peace with the
Turks- the crowd outside spread out and hawkers appeared, selling
kvas, gingerbread, and poppyseed sweets (of which Petya was
particularly fond), and ordinary conversation could again be heard.
A tradesman's wife was showing a rent in her shawl and telling how
much the shawl had cost; another was saying that all silk goods had
now got dear. The clerk who had rescued Petya was talking to a
functionary about the priests who were officiating that day with the
bishop. The clerk several times used the word "plenary" (of the
service), a word Petya did not understand. Two young citizens were
joking with some serf girls who were cracking nuts. All these
conversations, especially the joking with the girls, were such as
might have had a particular charm for Petya at his age, but they did
not interest him now. He sat on his elevation- the pedestal of the
cannon- still agitated as before by the thought of the Emperor and
by his love for him. The feeling of pain and fear he had experienced
when he was being crushed, together with that of rapture, still
further intensified his sense of the importance of the occasion.

Suddenly the sound of a firing of cannon was heard from the
embankment, to celebrate the signing of peace with the Turks, and
the crowd rushed impetuously toward the embankment to watch the
firing. Petya too would have run there, but the clerk who had taken
the young gentleman under his protection stopped him. The firing was
still proceeding when officers, generals, and gentlemen-in-waiting
came running out of the cathedral, and after them others in a more
leisurely manner: caps were again raised, and those who had run to
look at the cannon ran back again. At last four men in uniforms and
sashes emerged from the cathedral doors. "Hurrah! hurrah!" shouted the
crowd again.

"Which is he? Which?" asked Petya in a tearful voice, of those
around him, but no one answered him, everybody was too excited; and
Petya, fixing on one of those four men, whom he could not clearly
see for the tears of joy that filled his eyes, concentrated all his
enthusiasm on him- though it happened not to be the Emperor-
frantically shouted "Hurrah!" and resolved that tomorrow, come what
might, he would join the army.

The crowd ran after the Emperor, followed him to the palace, and
began to disperse. It was already late, and Petya had not eaten
anything and was drenched with perspiration, yet he did not go home
but stood with that diminishing, but still considerable, crowd
before the palace while the Emperor dined- looking in at the palace
windows, expecting he knew not what, and envying alike the notables he
saw arriving at the entrance to dine with the Emperor and the court
footmen who served at table, glimpses of whom could be seen through
the windows.

While the Emperor was dining, Valuev, looking out of the window,
said:

"The people are still hoping to see Your Majesty again."

The dinner was nearly over, and the Emperor, munching a biscuit,
rose and went out onto the balcony. The people, with Petya among them,
rushed toward the balcony.

"Angel! Dear one! Hurrah! Father!..." cried the crowd, and Petya
with it, and again the women and men of weaker mold, Petya among them,
wept with joy.

A largish piece of the biscuit the Emperor was holding in his hand
broke off, fell on the balcony parapet, and then to the ground. A
coachman in a jerkin, who stood nearest, sprang forward and snatched
it up. Several people in the crowd rushed at the coachman. Seeing this
the Emperor had a plateful of biscuits brought him and began
throwing them down from the balcony. Petya's eyes grew bloodshot,
and still more excited by the danger of being crushed, he rushed at
the biscuits. He did not know why, but he had to have a biscuit from
the Tsar's hand and he felt that he must not give way. He sprang
forward and upset an old woman who was catching at a biscuit; the
old woman did not consider herself defeated though she was lying on
the ground- she grabbed at some biscuits but her hand did not reach
them. Petya pushed her hand away with his knee, seized a biscuit,
and as if fearing to be too late, again shouted "Hurrah!" with a voice
already hoarse.

The Emperor went in, and after that the greater part of the crowd
began to disperse.

"There! I said if only we waited- and so it was!" was being joyfully
said by various people.

Happy as Petya was, he felt sad at having to go home knowing that
all the enjoyment of that day was over. He did not go straight home
from the Kremlin, but called on his friend Obolenski, who was
fifteen and was also entering the regiment. On returning home Petya
announced resolutely and firmly that if he was not allowed to enter
the service he would run away. And next day, Count Ilya Rostov- though
he had not yet quite yielded- went to inquire how he could arrange for
Petya to serve where there would be least danger.

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Two days later, on the fifteenth of July, an immense number ofcarriages were standing outside the Sloboda Palace.The great halls were full. In the first were the nobility and gentryin their uniforms, in the second bearded merchants in full-skirtedcoats of blue cloth and wearing medals. in the noblemen's hall therewas an incessant movement and buzz of voices. The chief magnates saton high-backed chairs at a large table under the portrait of theEmperor, but most of the gentry were strolling about the room.All these nobles, whom Pierre met every day at the Club or intheir own houses, were in uniform- some in
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A few intimate friends were dining with the Rostovs that day, asusual on Sundays.Pierre came early so as to find them alone.He had grown so stout this year that he would have been abnormal hadhe not been so tall, so broad of limb, and so strong that he carriedhis bulk with evident ease.He went up the stairs, puffing and muttering something. His coachmandid not even ask whether he was to wait. He knew that when hismaster was at the Rostovs' he stayed till midnight. The Rostovs'footman rushed eagerly forward to help him off with his cloak and takehis hat and stick.
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