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Chapter 20

  • The infantry regiments that had been caught unawares in the outskirts of th_ood ran out of it, the different companies getting mixed, and retreated as _isorderly crowd. One soldier, in his fear, uttered the senseless cry, "Cu_ff!" that is so terrible in battle, and that word infected the whole crow_ith a feeling of panic.
  • "Surrounded! Cut off? We're lost!" shouted the fugitives.
  • The moment he heard the firing and the cry from behind, the general realize_hat something dreadful had happened to his regiment, and the thought that he,
  • an exemplary officer of many years' service who had never been to blame, migh_e held responsible at headquarters for negligence or inefficiency s_taggered him that, forgetting the recalcitrant cavalry colonel, his ow_ignity as a general, and above all quite forgetting the danger and all regar_or self-preservation, he clutched the crupper of his saddle and, spurring hi_orse, galloped to the regiment under a hail of bullets which fell around, bu_ortunately missed him. His one desire was to know what was happening and a_ny cost correct, or remedy, the mistake if he had made one, so that he, a_xemplary officer of twenty-two years' service, who had never been censured,
  • should not be held to blame.
  • Having galloped safely through the French, he reached a field behind the cops_cross which our men, regardless of orders, were running and descending th_alley. That moment of moral hesitation which decides the fate of battles ha_rrived. Would this disorderly crowd of soldiers attend to the voice of thei_ommander, or would they, disregarding him, continue their flight? Despite hi_esperate shouts that used to seem so terrible to the soldiers, despite hi_urious purple countenance distorted out of all likeness to his former self,
  • and the flourishing of his saber, the soldiers all continued to run, talking,
  • firing into the air, and disobeying orders. The moral hesitation which decide_he fate of battles was evidently culminating in a panic.
  • The general had a fit of coughing as a result of shouting and of the powde_moke and stopped in despair. Everything seemed lost. But at that moment th_rench who were attacking, suddenly and without any apparent reason, ran bac_nd disappeared from the outskirts, and Russian sharpshooters showe_hemselves in the copse. It was Timokhin's company, which alone had maintaine_ts order in the wood and, having lain in ambush in a ditch, now attacked th_rench unexpectedly. Timokhin, armed only with a sword, had rushed at th_nemy with such a desperate cry and such mad, drunken determination that,
  • taken by surprise, the French had thrown down their muskets and run. Dolokhov,
  • running beside Timokhin, killed a Frenchman at close quarters and was th_irst to seize the surrendering French officer by his collar. Our fugitive_eturned, the battalions re-formed, and the French who had nearly cut our lef_lank in half were for the moment repulsed. Our reserve units were able t_oin up, and the fight was at an end. The regimental commander and Majo_konomov had stopped beside a bridge, letting the retreating companies pass b_hem, when a soldier came up and took hold of the commander's stirrup, almos_eaning against him. The man was wearing a bluish coat of broadcloth, he ha_o knapsack or cap, his head was bandaged, and over his shoulder a Frenc_unition pouch was slung. He had an officer's sword in his hand. The soldie_as pale, his blue eyes looked impudently into the commander's face, and hi_ips were smiling. Though the commander was occupied in giving instructions t_ajor Ekonomov, he could not help taking notice of the soldier.
  • "Your excellency, here are two trophies," said Dolokhov, pointing to th_rench sword and pouch. "I have taken an officer prisoner. I stopped th_ompany." Dolokhov breathed heavily from weariness and spoke in abrup_entences. "The whole company can bear witness. I beg you will remember this,
  • your excellency!"
  • "All right, all right," replied the commander, and turned to Major Ekonomov.
  • But Dolokhov did not go away; he untied the handkerchief around his head,
  • pulled it off, and showed the blood congealed on his hair.
  • "A bayonet wound. I remained at the front. Remember, your excellency!"
  • Tushin's battery had been forgotten and only at the very end of the action di_rince Bagration, still hearing the cannonade in the center, send his orderl_taff officer, and later Prince Andrew also, to order the battery to retire a_uickly as possible. When the supports attached to Tushin's battery had bee_oved away in the middle of the action by someone's order, the battery ha_ontinued firing and was only not captured by the French because the enem_ould not surmise that anyone could have the effrontery to continue firin_rom four quite undefended guns. On the contrary, the energetic action of tha_attery led the French to suppose that here—in the center- the main Russia_orces were concentrated. Twice they had attempted to attack this point, bu_n each occasion had been driven back by grapeshot from the four isolated gun_n the hillock.
  • Soon after Prince Bagration had left him, Tushin had succeeded in setting fir_o Schon Grabern.
  • "Look at them scurrying! It's burning! Just see the smoke! Fine! Grand! Loo_t the smoke, the smoke!" exclaimed the artillerymen, brightening up.
  • All the guns, without waiting for orders, were being fired in the direction o_he conflagration. As if urging each other on, the soldiers cried at eac_hot: "Fine! That's good! Look at it… Grand!" The fire, fanned by the breeze,
  • was rapidly spreading. The French columns that had advanced beyond the villag_ent back; but as though in revenge for this failure, the enemy placed te_uns to the right of the village and began firing them at Tushin's battery.
  • In their childlike glee, aroused by the fire and their luck in successfull_annonading the French, our artillerymen only noticed this battery when tw_alls, and then four more, fell among our guns, one knocking over two horse_nd another tearing off a munition-wagon driver's leg. Their spirits onc_oused were, however, not diminished, but only changed character. The horse_ere replaced by others from a reserve gun carriage, the wounded were carrie_way, and the four guns were turned against the ten-gun battery. Tushin'_ompanion officer had been killed at the beginning of the engagement an_ithin an hour seventeen of the forty men of the guns' crews had bee_isabled, but the artillerymen were still as merry and lively as ever. Twic_hey noticed the French appearing below them, and then they fired grapeshot a_hem.
  • Little Tushin, moving feebly and awkwardly, kept telling his orderly to
  • "refill my pipe for that one!" and then, scattering sparks from it, ra_orward shading his eyes with his small hand to look at the French.
  • "Smack at 'em, lads!" he kept saying, seizing the guns by the wheels an_orking the screws himself.
  • Amid the smoke, deafened by the incessant reports which always made him jump,
  • Tushin not taking his pipe from his mouth ran from gun to gun, now aiming, no_ounting the charges, now giving orders about replacing dead or wounded horse_nd harnessing fresh ones, and shouting in his feeble voice, so high pitche_nd irresolute. His face grew more and more animated. Only when a man wa_illed or wounded did he frown and turn away from the sight, shouting angril_t the men who, as is always the case, hesitated about lifting the injured o_ead. The soldiers, for the most part handsome fellows and, as is always th_ase in an artillery company, a head and shoulders taller and twice as broa_s their officer—all looked at their commander like children in a_mbarrassing situation, and the expression on his face was invariabl_eflected on theirs.
  • Owing to the terrible uproar and the necessity for concentration and activity,
  • Tushin did not experience the slightest unpleasant sense of fear, and th_hought that he might be killed or badly wounded never occurred to him. On th_ontrary, he became more and more elated. It seemed to him that it was a ver_ong time ago, almost a day, since he had first seen the enemy and fired th_irst shot, and that the corner of the field he stood on was well-known an_amiliar ground. Though he thought of everything, considered everything, an_id everything the best of officers could do in his position, he was in _tate akin to feverish delirium or drunkenness.
  • From the deafening sounds of his own guns around him, the whistle and thud o_he enemy's cannon balls, from the flushed and perspiring faces of the cre_ustling round the guns, from the sight of the blood of men and horses, fro_he little puffs of smoke on the enemy's side (always followed by a bal_lying past and striking the earth, a man, a gun, a horse), from the sight o_ll these things a fantastic world of his own had taken possession of hi_rain and at that moment afforded him pleasure. The enemy's guns were in hi_ancy not guns but pipes from which occasional puffs were blown by a_nvisible smoker.
  • "There… he's puffing again," muttered Tushin to himself, as a small cloud ros_rom the hill and was borne in a streak to the left by the wind.
  • "Now look out for the ball… we'll throw it back."
  • "What do you want, your honor?" asked an artilleryman, standing close by, wh_eard him muttering.
  • "Nothing… only a shell… " he answered.
  • "Come along, our Matvevna!" he said to himself.
  • "Matvevna"[[36]](footnotes.xml#footnote_36) was the name his fancy gave to th_arthest gun of the battery, which was large and of an old pattern. The Frenc_warming round their guns seemed to him like ants. In that world, the handsom_runkard Number One of the second gun's crew was "uncle"; Tushin looked at hi_ore often than at anyone else and took delight in his every movement. Th_ound of musketry at the foot of the hill, now diminishing, now increasing,
  • seemed like someone's breathing. He listened intently to the ebb and flow o_hese sounds. "Ah! Breathing again, breathing!" he muttered to himself. H_magined himself as an enormously tall, powerful man who was throwing canno_alls at the French with both hands. "Now then, Matvevna, dear old lady, don'_et me down!" he was saying as he moved from the gun, when a strange,
  • unfamiliar voice called above his head: "Captain Tushin! Captain!" Tushi_urned round in dismay. It was the staff officer who had turned him out of th_ooth at Grunth. He was shouting in a gasping voice: "Are you mad? You hav_wice been ordered to retreat, and you… " "Why are they down on me?" though_ushin, looking in alarm at his superior. "I… don't… " he muttered, holding u_wo fingers to his cap. "I… " But the staff officer did not finish what h_anted to say. A cannon ball, flying close to him, caused him to duck and ben_ver his horse. He paused, and just as he was about to say something more,
  • another ball stopped him. He turned his horse and galloped off. "Retire! Al_o retire!" he shouted from a distance. The soldiers laughed. A moment later,
  • an adjutant arrived with the same order. It was Prince Andrew. The first thin_e saw on riding up to the space where Tushin's guns were stationed was a_nharnessed horse with a broken leg, that lay screaming piteously beside th_arnessed horses. Blood was gushing from its leg as from a spring. Among th_imbers lay several dead men. One ball after another passed over as h_pproached and he felt a nervous shudder run down his spine. But the mer_hought of being afraid roused him again. "I cannot be afraid," thought he,
  • and dismounted slowly among the guns. He delivered the order and did not leav_he battery. He decided to have the guns removed from their positions an_ithdrawn in his presence. Together with Tushin, stepping across the bodie_nd under a terrible fire from the French, he attended to the removal of th_uns. "A staff officer was here a minute ago, but skipped off," said a_rtilleryman to Prince Andrew. "Not like your honor!" Prince Andrew sai_othing to Tushin. They were both so busy as to seem not to notice on_nother. When having limbered up the only two cannon that remained uninjure_ut of the four, they began moving down the hill (one shattered gun and on_nicorn were left behind), Prince Andrew rode up to Tushin. "Well, till w_eet again… " he said, holding out his hand to Tushin. "Good-by, my dea_ellow," said Tushin. "Dear soul! Good-by, my dear fellow!" and for som_nknown reason tears suddenly filled his eyes.