BOOK THREE: 1805
17. CHAPTER XVII
In the fresh morning air were now heard, not two or three musket
shots at irregular intervals as before, followed by one or two
cannon shots, but a roll of volleys of musketry from the slopes of the
hill before Pratzen, interrupted by such frequent reports of cannon
that sometimes several of them were not separated from one another but
merged into a general roar.
He could see puffs of musketry smoke that seemed to chase one
another down the hillsides, and clouds of cannon smoke rolling,
spreading, and mingling with one another. He could also, by the
gleam of bayonets visible through the smoke, make out moving masses of
infantry and narrow lines of artillery with green caissons.
Rostov stopped his horse for a moment on a hillock to see what was
going on, but strain his attention as he would he could not understand
or make out anything of what was happening: there in the smoke men
of some sort were moving about, in front and behind moved lines of
troops; but why, whither, and who they were, it was impossible to make
out. These sights and sounds had no depressing or intimidating
effect on him; on the contrary, they stimulated his energy and
"Go on! Go on! Give it them!" he mentally exclaimed at these sounds,
and again proceeded to gallop along the line, penetrating farther
and farther into the region where the army was already in action.
"How it will be there I don't know, but all will be well!" thought
After passing some Austrian troops he noticed that the next part
of the line (the Guards) was already in action.
"So much the better! I shall see it close," he thought.
He was riding almost along the front line. A handful of men came
galloping toward him. They were our Uhlans who with disordered ranks
were returning from the attack. Rostov got out of their way,
involuntarily noticed that one of them was bleeding, and galloped on.