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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 30
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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 30 Post by :Joshua_Rose Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2483

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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 30

On returning to Gorki after having seen Prince Andrew, Pierre
ordered his groom to get the horses ready and to call him early in the
morning, and then immediately fell asleep behind a partition in a
corner Boris had given up to him.

Before he was thoroughly awake next morning everybody had already
left the hut. The panes were rattling in the little windows and his
groom was shaking him.

"Your excellency! Your excellency! Your excellency!" he kept
repeating pertinaciously while he shook Pierre by the shoulder without
looking at him, having apparently lost hope of getting him to wake up.

"What? Has it begun? Is it time?" Pierre asked, waking up.

"Hear the firing," said the groom, a discharged soldier. "All the
gentlemen have gone out, and his Serene Highness himself rode past
long ago."

Pierre dressed hastily and ran out to the porch. Outside all was
bright, fresh, dewy, and cheerful. The sun, just bursting forth from
behind a cloud that had concealed it, was shining, with rays still
half broken by the clouds, over the roofs of the street opposite, on
the dew-besprinkled dust of the road, on the walls of the houses, on
the windows, the fence, and on Pierre's horses standing before the
hut. The roar of guns sounded more distinct outside. An adjutant
accompanied by a Cossack passed by at a sharp trot.

"It's time, Count; it's time!" cried the adjutant.

Telling the groom to follow him with the horses, Pierre went down
the street to the knoll from which he had looked at the field of
battle the day before. A crowd of military men was assembled there,
members of the staff could be heard conversing in French, and
Kutuzov's gray head in a white cap with a red band was visible, his
gray nape sunk between his shoulders. He was looking through a field
glass down the highroad before him.

Mounting the steps to the knoll Pierre looked at the scene before
him, spellbound by beauty. It was the same panorama he had admired
from that spot the day before, but now the whole place was full of
troops and covered by smoke clouds from the guns, and the slanting
rays of the bright sun, rising slightly to the left behind Pierre,
cast upon it through the clear morning air penetrating streaks of
rosy, golden tinted light and long dark shadows. The forest at the
farthest extremity of the panorama seemed carved in some precious
stone of a yellowish-green color; its undulating outline was
silhouetted against the horizon and was pierced beyond Valuevo by
the Smolensk highroad crowded with troops. Nearer at hand glittered
golden cornfields interspersed with copses. There were troops to be
seen everywhere, in front and to the right and left. All this was
vivid, majestic, and unexpected; but what impressed Pierre most of all
was the view of the battlefield itself, of Borodino and the hollows on
both sides of the Kolocha.

Above the Kolocha, in Borodino and on both sides of it, especially
to the left where the Voyna flowing between its marshy banks falls
into the Kolocha, a mist had spread which seemed to melt, to dissolve,
and to become translucent when the brilliant sun appeared and
magically colored and outlined everything. The smoke of the guns
mingled with this mist, and over the whole expanse and through that
mist the rays of the morning sun were reflected, flashing back like
lightning from the water, from the dew, and from the bayonets of the
troops crowded together by the riverbanks and in Borodino. A white
church could be seen through the mist, and here and there the roofs of
huts in Borodino as well as dense masses of soldiers, or green
ammunition chests and ordnance. And all this moved, or seemed to move,
as the smoke and mist spread out over the whole space. Just as in
the mist-enveloped hollow near Borodino, so along the entire line
outside and above it and especially in the woods and fields to the
left, in the valleys and on the summits of the high ground, clouds
of powder smoke seemed continually to spring up out of nothing, now
singly, now several at a time, some translucent, others dense,
which, swelling, growing, rolling, and blending, extended over the
whole expanse.

These puffs of smoke and (strange to say) the sound of sound of
the firing produced the chief beauty of the spectacle.

"Puff!"- suddenly a round compact cloud of smoke was seen merging
from violet into gray and milky white, and "boom!" came the report a
second later.

"Puff! puff!"- and two clouds arose pushing one another and blending
together; and "boom, boom!" came the sounds confirming what the eye
had seen.

Pierre glanced round at the first cloud, which he had seen as a
round compact ball, and in its place already were balloons of smoke
floating to one side, and- "puff" (with a pause)- "puff, puff!"
three and then four more appeared and then from each, with the same
interval- "boom- boom, boom!" came the fine, firm, precise sounds in
reply. It seemed as if those smoke clouds sometimes ran and
sometimes stood still while woods, fields, and glittering bayonets ran
past them. From the left, over fields and bushes, those large balls of
smoke were continually appearing followed by their solemn reports,
while nearer still, in the hollows and woods, there burst from the
muskets small cloudlets that had no time to become balls, but had
their little echoes in just the same way. "Trakh-ta-ta-takh!" came the
frequent crackle of musketry, but it was irregular and feeble in
comparison with the reports of the cannon.

Pierre wished to be there with that smoke, those shining bayonets,
that movement, and those sounds. He turned to look at Kutuzov and
his suite, to compare his impressions with those of others. They
were all looking at the field of battle as he was, and, as it seemed
to him, with the same feelings. All their faces were now shining
with that latent warmth of feeling Pierre had noticed the day before
and had fully understood after his talk with Prince Andrew.

"Go, my dear fellow, go... and Christ be with you!" Kutuzov was
saying to a general who stood beside him, not taking his eye from
the battlefield.

Having received this order the general passed by Pierre on his way
down the knoll.

"To the crossing!" said the general coldly and sternly in reply to
one of the staff who asked where he was going.

"I'll go there too, I too!" thought Pierre, and followed the

The general mounted a horse a Cossack had brought him. Pierre went
to his groom who was holding his horses and, asking which was the
quietest, clambered onto it, seized it by the mane, and turning out
his toes pressed his heels against its sides and, feeling that his
spectacles were slipping off but unable to let go of the mane and
reins, he galloped after the general, causing the staff officers to
smile as they watched him from the knoll.

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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 31 War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 31

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 31
Having descended the hill the general after whom Pierre wasgalloping turned sharply to the left, and Pierre, losing sight of him,galloped in among some ranks of infantry marching ahead of him. Hetried to pass either in front of them or to the right or left, butthere were soldiers everywhere, all with expression and busy with someunseen but evidently important task. They all gazed with the samedissatisfied and inquiring expression at this stout man in a whitehat, who for some unknown reason threatened to trample them underhis horse's hoofs."Why ride into the middle of the battalion?" one of them shoutedat him.Another prodded

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 29 War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 29

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 29
On returning from a second inspection of the lines, Napoleonremarked:"The chessmen are set up, the game will begin tomorrow!"Having ordered punch and summoned de Beausset, he began to talk tohim about Paris and about some changes he meant to make the Empress'household, surprising the prefect by his memory of minute detailsrelating to the court.He showed an interest in trifles, joked about de Beausset's loveof travel, and chatted carelessly, as a famous, self-confident surgeonwho knows his job does when turning up his sleeves and putting onhis apron while a patient is being strapped to the operating table."The matter is in my hands