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Chapter 34

  • Having run through different yards and side streets, Pierre got back with hi_ittle burden to the Gruzinski garden at the corner of the Povarskoy. He di_ot at first recognize the place from which he had set out to look for th_hild, so crowded was it now with people and goods that had been dragged ou_f the houses. Besides Russian families who had taken refuge here from th_ire with their belongings, there were several French soldiers in a variety o_lothing. Pierre took no notice of them. He hurried to find the family of tha_ivil servant in order to restore the daughter to her mother and go to sav_omeone else. Pierre felt that he had still much to do and to do quickly.
  • Glowing with the heat and from running, he felt at that moment more strongl_han ever the sense of youth, animation, and determination that had come o_im when he ran to save the child. She had now become quiet and, clinging wit_er little hands to Pierre's coat, sat on his arm gazing about her like som_ittle wild animal. He glanced at her occasionally with a slight smile. H_ancied he saw something pathetically innocent in that frightened, sickl_ittle face.
  • He did not find the civil servant or his wife where he had left them. H_alked among the crowd with rapid steps, scanning the various faces he met.
  • Involuntarily he noticed a Georgian or Armenian family consisting of a ver_andsome old man of Oriental type, wearing a new, cloth-covered, sheepski_oat and new boots, an old woman of similar type, and a young woman. That ver_oung woman seemed to Pierre the perfection of Oriental beauty, with he_harply outlined, arched, black eyebrows and the extraordinarily soft, brigh_olor of her long, beautiful, expressionless face. Amid the scattered propert_nd the crowd on the open space, she, in her rich satin cloak with a brigh_ilac shawl on her head, suggested a delicate exotic plant thrown out onto th_now. She was sitting on some bundles a little behind the old woman, an_ooked from under her long lashes with motionless, large, almond-shaped eye_t the ground before her. Evidently she was aware of her beauty and fearfu_ecause of it. Her face struck Pierre and, hurrying along by the fence, h_urned several times to look at her. When he had reached the fence, stil_ithout finding those he sought, he stopped and looked about him.
  • With the child in his arms his figure was now more conspicuous than before,
  • and a group of Russians, both men and women, gathered about him.
  • "Have you lost anyone, my dear fellow? You're of the gentry yourself, aren'_ou? Whose child is it?" they asked him.
  • Pierre replied that the child belonged to a woman in a black coat who had bee_itting there with her other children, and he asked whether anyone knew wher_he had gone.
  • "Why, that must be the Anferovs," said an old deacon, addressing a pockmarke_easant woman. "Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy!" he added in his customar_ass.
  • "The Anferovs? No," said the woman. "They left in the morning. That must b_ither Mary Nikolievna's or the Ivanovs'!"
  • "He says 'a woman,' and Mary Nikolievna is a lady," remarked a house serf.
  • "Do you know her? She's thin, with long teeth," said Pierre.
  • "That's Mary Nikolievna! They went inside the garden when these wolves swoope_own," said the woman, pointing to the French soldiers.
  • "O Lord, have mercy!" added the deacon.
  • "Go over that way, they're there. It's she! She kept on lamenting and crying,"
  • continued the woman. "It's she. Here, this way!"
  • But Pierre was not listening to the woman. He had for some seconds bee_ntently watching what was going on a few steps away. He was looking at th_rmenian family and at two French soldiers who had gone up to them. One o_hese, a nimble little man, was wearing a blue coat tied round the waist wit_ rope. He had a nightcap on his head and his feet were bare. The other, whos_ppearance particularly struck Pierre, was a long, lank, round-shouldered,
  • fair-haired man, slow in his movements and with an idiotic expression of face.
  • He wore a woman's loose gown of frieze, blue trousers, and large torn Hessia_oots. The little barefooted Frenchman in the blue coat went up to th_rmenians and, saying something, immediately seized the old man by his leg_nd the old man at once began pulling off his boots. The other in the friez_own stopped in front of the beautiful Armenian girl and with his hands in hi_ockets stood staring at her, motionless and silent.
  • "Here, take the child!" said Pierre peremptorily and hurriedly to the woman,
  • handing the little girl to her. "Give her back to them, give her back!" h_lmost shouted, putting the child, who began screaming, on the ground, an_gain looking at the Frenchman and the Armenian family.
  • The old man was already sitting barefoot. The little Frenchman had secured hi_econd boot and was slapping one boot against the other. The old man wa_aying something in a voice broken by sobs, but Pierre caught but a glimpse o_his, his whole attention was directed to the Frenchman in the frieze gown wh_eanwhile, swaying slowly from side to side, had drawn nearer to the youn_oman and taking his hands from his pockets had seized her by the neck.
  • The beautiful Armenian still sat motionless and in the same attitude, with he_ong lashes drooping as if she did not see or feel what the soldier was doin_o her.
  • While Pierre was running the few steps that separated him from the Frenchman,
  • the tall marauder in the frieze gown was already tearing from her neck th_ecklace the young Armenian was wearing, and the young woman, clutching at he_eck, screamed piercingly.
  • "Let that woman alone!" exclaimed Pierre hoarsely in a furious voice, seizin_he soldier by his round shoulders and throwing him aside.
  • The soldier fell, got up, and ran away. But his comrade, throwing down th_oots and drawing his sword, moved threateningly toward Pierre.
  • "Voyons, Pas de betises!"[[104]](footnotes.xml#footnote_104) he cried. Pierr_as in such a transport of rage that he remembered nothing and his strengt_ncreased tenfold. He rushed at the barefooted Frenchman and, before th_atter had time to draw his sword, knocked him off his feet and hammered hi_ith his fists. Shouts of approval were heard from the crowd around, and a_he same moment a mounted patrol of French Uhlans appeared from round th_orner. The Uhlans came up at a trot to Pierre and the Frenchman an_urrounded them. Pierre remembered nothing of what happened after that. H_nly remembered beating someone and being beaten and finally feeling that hi_ands were bound and that a crowd of French soldiers stood around him and wer_earching him. "Lieutenant, he has a dagger," were the first words Pierr_nderstood. "Ah, a weapon?" said the officer and turned to the barefoote_oldier who had been arrested with Pierre. "All right, you can tell all abou_t at the court-martial." Then he turned to Pierre. "Do you speak French?"
  • Pierre looked around him with bloodshot eyes and did not reply. His fac_robably looked very terrible, for the officer said something in a whisper an_our more Uhlans left the ranks and placed themselves on both sides of Pierre.
  • "Do you speak French?" the officer asked again, keeping at a distance fro_ierre. "Call the interpreter." A little man in Russian civilian clothes rod_ut from the ranks, and by his clothes and manner of speaking Pierre at onc_new him to be a French salesman from one of the Moscow shops. "He does no_ook like a common man," said the interpreter, after a searching look a_ierre. "Ah, he looks very much like an incendiary," remarked the officer.
  • "And ask him who he is," he added. "Who are you?" asked the interpreter i_oor Russian. "You must answer the chief." "I will not tell you who I am. I a_our prisoner—take me!" Pierre suddenly replied in French. "Ah, ah!" muttere_he officer with a frown. "Well then, march!" A crowd had collected round th_hlans. Nearest to Pierre stood the pockmarked peasant woman with the littl_irl, and when the patrol started she moved forward. "Where are they takin_ou to, you poor dear?" said she. "And the little girl, the little girl, wha_m I to do with her if she's not theirs?" said the woman. "What does tha_oman want?" asked the officer. Pierre was as if intoxicated. His elatio_ncreased at the sight of the little girl he had saved. "What does she want?"
  • he murmured. "She is bringing me my daughter whom I have just saved from th_lames," said he. "Good-by!" And without knowing how this aimless lie ha_scaped him, he went along with resolute and triumphant steps between th_rench soldiers. The French patrol was one of those sent out through th_arious streets of Moscow by Durosnel's order to put a stop to the pillage,
  • and especially to catch the incendiaries who, according to the general opinio_hich had that day originated among the higher French officers, were the caus_f the conflagrations. After marching through a number of streets the patro_rrested five more Russian suspects: a small shopkeeper, two seminar_tudents, a peasant, and a house serf, besides several looters. But of al_hese various suspected characters, Pierre was considered to be the mos_uspicious of all. When they had all been brought for the night to a larg_ouse on the Zubov Rampart that was being used as a guardhouse, Pierre wa_laced apart under strict guard.