Having ridden round the whole line from right flank to left, Prince Andre_ade his way up to the battery from which the staff officer had told him th_hole field could be seen. Here he dismounted, and stopped beside the farthes_f the four unlimbered cannon. Before the guns an artillery sentry was pacin_p and down; he stood at attention when the officer arrived, but at a sig_esumed his measured, monotonous pacing. Behind the guns were their limber_nd still farther back picket ropes and artillerymen's bonfires. To the left,
not far from the farthest cannon, was a small, newly constructed wattle she_rom which came the sound of officers' voices in eager conversation.
It was true that a view over nearly the whole Russian position and the greate_art of the enemy's opened out from this battery. Just facing it, on the cres_f the opposite hill, the village of Schon Grabern could be seen, and in thre_laces to left and right the French troops amid the smoke of their campfires,
the greater part of whom were evidently in the village itself and behind th_ill. To the left from that village, amid the smoke, was something resemblin_ battery, but it was impossible to see it clearly with the naked eye. Ou_ight flank was posted on a rather steep incline which dominated the Frenc_osition. Our infantry were stationed there, and at the farthest point th_ragoons. In the center, where Tushin's battery stood and from which Princ_ndrew was surveying the position, was the easiest and most direct descent an_scent to the brook separating us from Schon Grabern. On the left our troop_ere close to a copse, in which smoked the bonfires of our infantry who wer_elling wood. The French line was wider than ours, and it was plain that the_ould easily outflank us on both sides. Behind our position was a steep an_eep dip, making it difficult for artillery and cavalry to retire. Princ_ndrew took out his notebook and, leaning on the cannon, sketched a plan o_he position. He made some notes on two points, intending to mention them t_agration. His idea was, first, to concentrate all the artillery in th_enter, and secondly, to withdraw the cavalry to the other side of the dip.
Prince Andrew, being always near the commander in chief, closely following th_ass movements and general orders, and constantly studying historical account_f battles, involuntarily pictured to himself the course of events in th_orthcoming action in broad outline. He imagined only important possibilities:
"If the enemy attacks the right flank," he said to himself, "the Kie_renadiers and the Podolsk chasseurs must hold their position till reserve_rom the center come up. In that case the dragoons could successfully make _lank counterattack. If they attack our center we, having the center batter_n this high ground, shall withdraw the left flank under its cover, an_etreat to the dip by echelons." So he reasoned… . All the time he had bee_eside the gun, he had heard the voices of the officers distinctly, but a_ften happens had not understood a word of what they were saying. Suddenly,
however, he was struck by a voice coming from the shed, and its tone was s_incere that he could not but listen.
"No, friend," said a pleasant and, as it seemed to Prince Andrew, a familia_oice, "what I say is that if it were possible to know what is beyond death,
none of us would be afraid of it. That's so, friend."
Another, a younger voice, interrupted him: "Afraid or not, you can't escape i_nyhow."
"All the same, one is afraid! Oh, you clever people," said a third manly voic_nterrupting them both. "Of course you artillery men are very wise, becaus_ou can take everything along with you—vodka and snacks."
And the owner of the manly voice, evidently an infantry officer, laughed.
"Yes, one is afraid," continued the first speaker, he of the familiar voice.
"One is afraid of the unknown, that's what it is. Whatever we may say abou_he soul going to the sky… we know there is no sky but only an atmosphere."
The manly voice again interrupted the artillery officer.
"Well, stand us some of your herb vodka, Tushin," it said.
"Why," thought Prince Andrew, "that's the captain who stood up in the sutler'_ut without his boots." He recognized the agreeable, philosophizing voice wit_leasure.
"Some herb vodka? Certainly!" said Tushin. "But still, to conceive a futur_ife… "
He did not finish. Just then there was a whistle in the air; nearer an_earer, faster and louder, louder and faster, a cannon ball, as if it had no_inished saying what was necessary, thudded into the ground near the shed wit_uper human force, throwing up a mass of earth. The ground seemed to groan a_he terrible impact.
And immediately Tushin, with a short pipe in the corner of his mouth and hi_ind, intelligent face rather pale, rushed out of the shed followed by th_wner of the manly voice, a dashing infantry officer who hurried off to hi_ompany, buttoning up his coat as he ran.