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Chapter 8

  • Toward the end of the battle of Borodino, Pierre, having run down fro_aevski's battery a second time, made his way through a gully to Knyazkov_ith a crowd of soldiers, reached the dressing station, and seeing blood an_earing cries and groans hurried on, still entangled in the crowds o_oldiers.
  • The one thing he now desired with his whole soul was to get away quickly fro_he terrible sensations amid which he had lived that day and return t_rdinary conditions of life and sleep quietly in a room in his own bed. H_elt that only in the ordinary conditions of life would he be able t_nderstand himself and all he had seen and felt. But such ordinary condition_f life were nowhere to be found.
  • Though shells and bullets did not whistle over the road along which he wa_oing, still on all sides there was what there had been on the field o_attle. There were still the same suffering, exhausted, and sometime_trangely indifferent faces, the same blood, the same soldiers' overcoats, th_ame sounds of firing which, though distant now, still aroused terror, an_esides this there were the foul air and the dust.
  • Having gone a couple of miles along the Mozhaysk road, Pierre sat down by th_oadside.
  • Dusk had fallen, and the roar of guns died away. Pierre lay leaning on hi_lbow for a long time, gazing at the shadows that moved past him in th_arkness. He was continually imagining that a cannon ball was flying towar_im with a terrific whizz, and then he shuddered and sat up. He had no ide_ow long he had been there. In the middle of the night three soldiers, havin_rought some firewood, settled down near him and began lighting a fire.
  • The soldiers, who threw sidelong glances at Pierre, got the fire to burn an_laced an iron pot on it into which they broke some dried bread and put _ittle dripping. The pleasant odor of greasy viands mingled with the smell o_moke. Pierre sat up and sighed. The three soldiers were eating and talkin_mong themselves, taking no notice of him.
  • "And who may you be?" one of them suddenly asked Pierre, evidently meanin_hat Pierre himself had in mind, namely: "If you want to eat we'll give yo_ome food, only let us know whether you are an honest man."
  • "I, I… " said Pierre, feeling it necessary to minimize his social position a_uch as possible so as to be nearer to the soldiers and better understood b_hem. "By rights I am a militia officer, but my men are not here. I came t_he battle and have lost them."
  • "There now!" said one of the soldiers.
  • Another shook his head.
  • "Would you like a little mash?" the first soldier asked, and handed Pierre _ooden spoon after licking it clean.
  • Pierre sat down by the fire and began eating the mash, as they called the foo_n the cauldron, and he thought it more delicious than any food he had eve_asted. As he sat bending greedily over it, helping himself to large spoonful_nd chewing one after another, his was lit up by the fire and the soldier_ooked at him in silence.
  • "Where have you to go to? Tell us!" said one of them.
  • "To Mozhaysk."
  • "You're a gentleman, aren't you?"
  • "Yes."
  • "And what's your name?"
  • "Peter Kirilych."
  • "Well then, Peter Kirilych, come along with us, we'll take you there."
  • In the total darkness the soldiers walked with Pierre to Mozhaysk.
  • By the time they got near Mozhaysk and began ascending the steep hill into th_own, the cocks were already crowing. Pierre went on with the soldiers, quit_orgetting that his inn was at the bottom of the hill and that he had alread_assed it. He would not soon have remembered this, such was his state o_orgetfulness, had he not halfway up the hill stumbled upon his groom, who ha_een to look for him in the town and was returning to the inn. The groo_ecognized Pierre in the darkness by his white hat.
  • "Your excellency!" he said. "Why, we were beginning to despair! How is it yo_re on foot? And where are you going, please?"
  • "Oh, yes!" said Pierre.
  • The soldiers stopped.
  • "So you've found your folk?" said one of them. "Well, good-by, Pete_irilych—isn't it?"
  • "Good-by, Peter Kirilych!" Pierre heard the other voices repeat.
  • "Good-by!" he said and turned with his groom toward the inn.
  • "I ought to give them something!" he thought, and felt in his pocket. "No,
  • better not!" said another, inner voice.
  • There was not a room to be had at the inn, they were all occupied. Pierre wen_ut into the yard and, covering himself up head and all, lay down in hi_arriage.