BOOK THREE: 1805
16. CHAPTER XVI
"What are they about?" thought Prince Andrew as he gazed at them.
"Why doesn't the red-haired gunner run away as he is unarmed? Why
doesn't the Frenchman stab him? He will not get away before the
Frenchman remembers his bayonet and stabs him...."
And really another French soldier, trailing his musket, ran up to
the struggling men, and the fate of the red-haired gunner, who had
triumphantly secured the mop and still did not realize what awaited
him, was about to be decided. But Prince Andrew did not see how it
ended. It seemed to him as though one of the soldiers near him hit him
on the head with the full swing of a bludgeon. It hurt a little, but
the worst of it was that the pain distracted him and prevented his
seeing what he had been looking at.
"What's this? Am I falling? My legs are giving way," thought he, and
fell on his back. He opened his eyes, hoping to see how the struggle
of the Frenchmen with the gunners ended, whether the red-haired gunner
had been killed or not and whether the cannon had been captured or
saved. But he saw nothing. Above him there was now nothing but the
sky- the lofty sky, not clear yet still immeasurably lofty, with
gray clouds gliding slowly across it. "How quiet, peaceful, and
solemn; not at all as I ran," thought Prince Andrew- "not as we ran,
shouting and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman with
frightened and angry faces struggled for the mop: how differently do
those clouds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did
not see that lofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it
at last! Yes! All is vanity, all falsehood, except that infinite
sky. There is nothing, nothing, but that. But even it does not
exist, there is nothing but quiet and peace. Thank God!..."