BOOK THREE: 1805
17. CHAPTER XVII
"Zum Henker diese Russen!"* muttered a German.
*"Hang these Russians!"
Several wounded men passed along the road, and words of abuse,
screams, and groans mingled in a general hubbub, then the firing
died down. Rostov learned later that Russian and Austrian soldiers had
been firing at one another.
"My God! What does it all mean?" thought he. "And here, where at any
moment the Emperor may see them.... But no, these must be only a
handful of scoundrels. It will soon be over, it can't be that, it
can't be! Only to get past them quicker, quicker!"
The idea of defeat and flight could not enter Rostov's head.
Though he saw French cannon and French troops on the Pratzen Heights
just where he had been ordered to look for the commander in chief,
he could not, did not wish to, believe that.