BOOK THIRTEEN: 1812
13. CHAPTER XIII
The French evacuation began on the night between the sixth and
seventh of October: kitchens and sheds were dismantled, carts
loaded, and troops and baggage trains started.
At seven in the morning a French convoy in marching trim, wearing
shakos and carrying muskets, knapsacks, and enormous sacks, stood in
front of the sheds, and animated French talk mingled with curses
sounded all along the lines.
In the shed everyone was ready, dressed, belted, shod, and only
awaited the order to start. The sick soldier, Sokolov, pale and thin
with dark shadows round his eyes, alone sat in his place barefoot
and not dressed. His eyes, prominent from the emaciation of his
face, gazed inquiringly at his comrades who were paying no attention
to him, and he moaned regularly and quietly. It was evidently not so
much his sufferings that caused him to moan (he had dysentery) as
his fear and grief at being left alone.
Pierre, girt with a rope round his waist and wearing shoes
Karataev had made for him from some leather a French soldier had
torn off a tea chest and brought to have his boots mended with, went
up to the sick man and squatted down beside him.
"You know, Sokolov, they are not all going away! They have a
hospital here. You may be better off than we others," said Pierre.
"O Lord! Oh, it will be the death of me! O Lord!" moaned the man
in a louder voice.
"I'll go and ask them again directly," said Pierre, rising and going
to the door of the shed.
Just as Pierre reached the door, the corporal who had offered him
a pipe the day before came up to it with two soldiers. The corporal
and soldiers were in marching kit with knapsacks and shakos that had
metal straps, and these changed their familiar faces.
The corporal came, according to orders, to shut the door. The
prisoners had to be counted before being let out.
"Corporal, what will they do with the sick man?..." Pierre began.