Through the cross streets of the Khamovniki quarter the prisoners marched,
followed only by their escort and the vehicles and wagons belonging to tha_scort, but when they reached the supply stores they came among a huge an_losely packed train of artillery mingled with private vehicles.
At the bridge they all halted, waiting for those in front to get across. Fro_he bridge they had a view of endless lines of moving baggage trains befor_nd behind them. To the right, where the Kaluga road turns near Neskuchny,
endless rows of troops and carts stretched away into the distance. These wer_roops of Beauharnais' corps which had started before any of the others.
Behind, along the riverside and across the Stone Bridge, were Ney's troops an_ransport.
Davout's troops, in whose charge were the prisoners, were crossing the Crimea_ridge and some were already debouching into the Kaluga road. But the baggag_rains stretched out so that the last of Beauharnais' train had not yet go_ut of Moscow and reached the Kaluga road when the vanguard of Ney's army wa_lready emerging from the Great Ordynka Street.
When they had crossed the Crimean bridge the prisoners moved a few step_orward, halted, and again moved on, and from all sides vehicles and me_rowded closer and closer together. They advanced the few hundred paces tha_eparated the bridge from the Kaluga road, taking more than an hour to do so,
and came out upon the square where the streets of the Transmoskva ward and th_aluga road converge, and the prisoners jammed close together had to stand fo_ome hours at that crossway. From all sides, like the roar of the sea, wer_eard the rattle of wheels, the tramp of feet, and incessant shouts of ange_nd abuse. Pierre stood pressed against the wall of a charred house, listenin_o that noise which mingled in his imagination with the roll of the drums.
To get a better view, several officer prisoners climbed onto the wall of th_alf-burned house against which Pierre was leaning.
"What crowds! Just look at the crowds!… They've loaded goods even on th_annon! Look there, those are furs!" they exclaimed. "Just see what th_lackguards have looted… . There! See what that one has behind in the cart… .
Why, those are settings taken from some icons, by heaven!… Oh, the rascals!…
See how that fellow has loaded himself up, he can hardly walk! Good lord,
they've even grabbed those chaises!… See that fellow there sitting on th_runks… . Heavens! They're fighting."
"That's right, hit him on the snout—on his snout! Like this, we shan't ge_way before evening. Look, look there… . Why, that must be Napoleon's own. Se_hat horses! And the monograms with a crown! It's like a portable house… .
That fellow's dropped his sack and doesn't see it. Fighting again… A woma_ith a baby, and not bad-looking either! Yes, I dare say, that's the wa_hey'll let you pass… Just look, there's no end to it. Russian wenches, b_eaven, so they are! In carriages—see how comfortably they've settle_hemselves!"
Again, as at the church in Khamovniki, a wave of general curiosity bore al_he prisoners forward onto the road, and Pierre, thanks to his stature, sa_ver the heads of the others what so attracted their curiosity. In thre_arriages involved among the munition carts, closely squeezed together, sa_omen with rouged faces, dressed in glaring colors, who were shoutin_omething in shrill voices.
From the moment Pierre had recognized the appearance of the mysterious forc_othing had seemed to him strange or dreadful: neither the corpse smeared wit_oot for fun nor these women hurrying away nor the burned ruins of Moscow. Al_hat he now witnessed scarcely made an impression on him—as if his soul,
making ready for a hard struggle, refused to receive impressions that migh_eaken it.
The women's vehicles drove by. Behind them came more carts, soldiers, wagons,
soldiers, gun carriages, carriages, soldiers, ammunition carts, more soldiers,
and now and then women.
Pierre did not see the people as individuals but saw their movement.
All these people and horses seemed driven forward by some invisible power.
During the hour Pierre watched them they all came flowing from the differen_treets with one and the same desire to get on quickly; they all jostled on_nother, began to grow angry and to fight, white teeth gleamed, brows frowned,
ever the same words of abuse flew from side to side, and all the faces bor_he same swaggeringly resolute and coldly cruel expression that had struc_ierre that morning on the corporal's face when the drums were beating.
It was not till nearly evening that the officer commanding the escor_ollected his men and with shouts and quarrels forced his way in among th_aggage trains, and the prisoners, hemmed in on all sides, emerged onto th_aluga road.
They marched very quickly, without resting, and halted only when the sun bega_o set. The baggage carts drew up close together and the men began to prepar_or their night's rest. They all appeared angry and dissatisfied. For a lon_ime, oaths, angry shouts, and fighting could be heard from all sides. _arriage that followed the escort ran into one of the carts and knocked a hol_n it with its pole. Several soldiers ran toward the cart from differen_ides: some beat the carriage horses on their heads, turning them aside,
others fought among themselves, and Pierre saw that one German was badl_ounded on the head by a sword.
It seemed that all these men, now that they had stopped amid fields in th_hill dusk of the autumn evening, experienced one and the same feeling o_npleasant awakening from the hurry and eagerness to push on that had seize_hem at the start. Once at a standstill they all seemed to understand tha_hey did not yet know where they were going, and that much that was painfu_nd difficult awaited them on this journey.
During this halt the escort treated the prisoners even worse than they ha_one at the start. It was here that the prisoners for the first time receive_orseflesh for their meat ration.
From the officer down to the lowest soldier they showed what seemed lik_ersonal spite against each of the prisoners, in unexpected contrast to thei_ormer friendly relations.
This spite increased still more when, on calling over the roll of prisoners,
it was found that in the bustle of leaving Moscow one Russian soldier, who ha_retended to suffer from colic, had escaped. Pierre saw a Frenchman beat _ussian soldier cruelly for straying too far from the road, and heard hi_riend the captain reprimand and threaten to court-martial a noncommissione_fficer on account of the escape of the Russian. To the noncommissione_fficer's excuse that the prisoner was ill and could not walk, the office_eplied that the order was to shoot those who lagged behind. Pierre felt tha_hat fatal force which had crushed him during the executions, but which he ha_ot felt during his imprisonment, now again controlled his existence. It wa_errible, but he felt that in proportion to the efforts of that fatal force t_rush him, there grew and strengthened in his soul a power of life independen_f it.
He ate his supper of buckwheat soup with horseflesh and chatted with hi_omrades.
Neither Pierre nor any of the others spoke of what they had seen in Moscow, o_f the roughness of their treatment by the French, or of the order to shoo_hem which had been announced to them. As if in reaction against the worsenin_f their position they were all particularly animated and gay. They spoke o_ersonal reminiscences, of amusing scenes they had witnessed during th_ampaign, and avoided all talk of their present situation.
The sun had set long since. Bright stars shone out here and there in the sky.
A red glow as of a conflagration spread above the horizon from the rising ful_oon, and that vast red ball swayed strangely in the gray haze. It grew light.
The evening was ending, but the night had not yet come. Pierre got up and lef_is new companions, crossing between the campfires to the other side of th_oad where he had been told the common soldier prisoners were stationed. H_anted to talk to them. On the road he was stopped by a French sentinel wh_rdered him back.
Pierre turned back, not to his companions by the campfire, but to a_nharnessed cart where there was nobody. Tucking his legs under him an_ropping his head he sat down on the cold ground by the wheel of the cart an_emained motionless a long while sunk in thought. Suddenly he burst out into _it of his broad, good-natured laughter, so loud that men from various side_urned with surprise to see what this strange and evidently solitary laughte_ould mean.
"Ha-ha-ha!" laughed Pierre. And he said aloud to himself: "The soldier did no_et me pass. They took me and shut me up. They hold me captive. What, me? Me?
My immortal soul? Ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha!… " and he laughed till tears started t_is eyes.
A man got up and came to see what this queer big fellow was laughing at all b_imself. Pierre stopped laughing, got up, went farther away from th_nquisitive man, and looked around him.
The huge, endless bivouac that had previously resounded with the crackling o_ampfires and the voices of many men had grown quiet, the red campfires wer_rowing paler and dying down. High up in the light sky hung the full moon.
Forests and fields beyond the camp, unseen before, were now visible in th_istance. And farther still, beyond those forests and fields, the bright,
oscillating, limitless distance lured one to itself. Pierre glanced up at th_ky and the twinkling stars in its faraway depths. "And all that is me, al_hat is within me, and it is all I!" thought Pierre. "And they caught all tha_nd put it into a shed boarded up with planks!" He smiled, and went and la_own to sleep beside his companions.