BOOK THREE: 1805
17. CHAPTER XVII
"Count! Count!" shouted Berg who ran up from the other side as eager
as Boris. "Count! I am wounded in my right hand" (and he showed his
bleeding hand with a handkerchief tied round it) "and I remained at
the front. I held my sword in my left hand, Count. All our family- the
von Bergs- have been knights!"
He said something more, but Rostov did not wait to hear it and
Having passed the Guards and traversed an empty space, Rostov, to
avoid again getting in front of the first line as he had done when the
Horse Guards charged, followed the line of reserves, going far round
the place where the hottest musket fire and cannonade were heard.
Suddenly he heard musket fire quite close in front of him and behind
our troops, where he could never have expected the enemy to be.
"What can it be?" he thought. "The enemy in the rear of our army?
Impossible!" And suddenly he was seized by a panic of fear for himself
and for the issue of the whole battle. "But be that what it may," he
reflected, "there is no riding round it now. I must look for the
commander in chief here, and if all is lost it is for me to perish
with the rest."
The foreboding of evil that had suddenly come over Rostov was more
and more confirmed the farther he rode into the region behind the
village of Pratzen, which was full of troops of all kinds.
"What does it mean? What is it? Whom are they firing at? Who is
firing?" Rostov kept asking as he came up to Russian and Austrian
soldiers running in confused crowds across his path.
"The devil knows! They've killed everybody! It's all up now!" he was
told in Russian, German, and Czech by the crowd of fugitives who
understood what was happening as little as he did.
"Kill the Germans!" shouted one.
"May the devil take them- the traitors!"