Pooff-pooff!” two clouds of smoke rose, meeting and mingling into one; and “boom-boom,” the sound repeated what the eye had seen.

Pierre looked round at the first puff of smoke, which he had seen a second before a round, compact ball, and already in its place were wreaths of smoke trailing away to one side, and “pooff”…(then a pause) “pooff-pooff”—three more flew up, and another four at once, and at the same intervals after each other “boom…boom-boom-boom,” rang out the sonorous, resolute, unfailing sounds. At one moment it seemed that those clouds of smoke were scudding across the plain, at the next, that they were stationary, and the copses, fields, and glittering bayonets were flying by them. From the left side these great clouds of smoke were incessantly flying over the fields and bushes, with the stately roar resounding after each of them. Still nearer, in the low meadows and copses, there darted up from the musket-fire tiny puffs that hardly formed into balls of smoke, and each of these, too, had its tiny report echoing after it. Tra-ta-ta- ta sounded the crack of the muskets at frequent intervals, but thin and irregular in comparison with the rhythmic roar of the cannon.

Pierre longed to be there in the midst of the smoke, the glittering bayonets, the movement, and the noise. He looked round at Kutuzov and his suite to compare his own impression with that of others. All like him were looking before them at the field, and, he fancied, with the same feeling. Every face now was lighted up by that latent heat of feeling that Pierre had noticed the day before, and understood perfectly after his talk with Prince Andrey.

“Go, my dear fellow, go, and Christ be with you!” said Kutuzov, never taking his eyes off the field of battle, to a general standing beside him. The general, who received this order, ran by Pierre down the descent from the mound.

“To ride across!…” the general said coldly and severely, in answer to a question from one of the staff.

“And I too, I too,” thought Pierre, and he went in the same direction.

The general mounted a horse, led up to him by a Cossack. Pierre went up to the groom, who was holding his horses. Asking him which was the quietest, Pierre got on it, clutched at the horse’s mane, pressed his heels into the beast’s stomach, and feeling that his spectacles were slipping off, and that he was incapable of letting go of the mane and the reins, he galloped after the general, followed by smiles from the staff officers staring at him from the mound.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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