Book 14 Chapter 14

“TO YOUR PLACES!” a voice shouted suddenly.

There was a cheerful stir among the prisoners and convoy soldiers, and an air of expecting something festive and solemn. Shouted commands could be heard on all sides, and a party of well-dressed cavalry soldiers on good horses came trotting up from the left, making a circuit round the prisoners. Every face wore the look of nervousness commonly seen at the approach of men in authority. The prisoners huddled together and were shoved out of the way. The convoy soldiers formed in ranks.

“The Emperor! The Emperor! The marshal! The duke!…” and the sleek cavalry soldiers had hardly ridden by when a carriage rattled up drawn by grey horses. Pierre had a passing glimpse of the serene, handsome, fat, white face of a man in a three-cornered hat. It was one of the marshals. The marshal's eye was caught by Pierre's big, striking figure; and in the expression with which he frowned and looked away Pierre fancied he saw pity and the desire to conceal it.

The general in charge of the transport whipped up his lean horse, and galloped after the carriage with a red, panic-stricken face. Several officers met in a group; the soldiers came round them. All had excited and uneasy faces.

“What did he say? What was it he said? …” Pierre heard.

While the marshal was driving by, the prisoners had been hustled together into one group, and Pierre caught sight of Karataev, whom he had not yet seen that morning. He was sitting, wrapped in his little military coat, leaning against a birch-tree. His face still wore the same look of joyous emotion as when he had been telling the story of the merchant, but it had another expression too, a look of subdued solemnity.

Karataev looked at Pierre with his kindly, round eyes, that were bright now with tears, and there was an unmistakable appeal in them. He evidently wanted to say something to him. But Pierre was in too great dread for himself. He made as though he had not seen that look, and hastily walked away.

When the prisoners set off again Pierre looked back. Karataev was sitting under the birch-tree by the edge of the road, and two Frenchmen were bending over him in conversation. Pierre did not look again. He went on limping up the hill.

There was the sound of a shot behind, at the spot where Karataev was sitting. Pierre heard that shot distinctly, but at the moment that he heard it, he recalled that he had not finished reckoning up how many stages were left to Smolensk, the calculation he had begun before the marshal rode by. And he began to reckon. Two French soldiers ran by Pierre, one holding a still smoking gun. They were both pale, and in the expression of their faces—one of them glanced timidly at Pierre—there was something like what he had seen in the young soldier at the execution in Moscow. Pierre looked at the soldier and remembered how, the day before yesterday, the man had burnt his shirt in drying it before the fire, and how the others had laughed at him.

The dog began to howl behind at the spot where Karataev was sitting. “Silly creature! what is she howling for?” thought Pierre

The prisoners, his companions marching at his side, like him, refrained from looking back to the place whence came the sound of the shot and the dog's howl. There was a set look on all their faces.