War and Peace : Book 11, Chapter 30

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1869

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(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "Only by recognizing the land as just such an article of common possession as the sun and air will you be able, without bias and justly, to establish the ownership of land among all men, according to any of the existing projects or according to some new project composed or chosen by you in common." (From : "To the Working People," by Leo Tolstoy, Yasnaya P....)
• "...the dissemination of the truth in a society based on coercion was always hindered in one and the same manner, namely, those in power, feeling that the recognition of this truth would undermine their position, consciously or sometimes unconsciously perverted it by explanations and additions quite foreign to it, and also opposed it by open violence." (From : "A Letter to a Hindu: The Subjection of India- Its....)
• "It is necessary that men should understand things as they are, should call them by their right names, and should know that an army is an instrument for killing, and that the enrollment and management of an army -- the very things which Kings, Emperors, and Presidents occupy themselves with so self-confidently -- is a preparation for murder." (From : "'Thou Shalt Not Kill'," by Leo Tolstoy, August 8,....)

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Book 11, Chapter 30

CHAPTER XXX

The glow of the first fire that began on the second of September was watched from the various roads by the fugitive Muscovites and by the retreating troops, with many different feelings.

The Rostóv party spent the night at Mytíshchi, fourteen miles from Moscow. They had started so late on the first of September, the road had been so blocked by vehicles and troops, so many things had been forgotten for which servants were sent back, that they had decided to spend that night at a place three miles out of Moscow. The next morning they woke late and were again delayed so often that they only got as far as Great Mytíshchi. At ten o’clock that evening the Rostóv family and the wounded traveling with them were all distributed in the yards and huts of that large village. The Rostóvs’ servants and coachmen and the orderlies of the wounded officers, after attending to their masters, had supper, fed the horses, and came out into the porches.

In a neighboring hut lay Raévski’s adjutant with a fractured wrist. The awful pain he suffered made him moan incessantly and piteously, and his moaning sounded terrible in the darkness of the autumn night. He had spent the first night in the same yard as the Rostóvs. The countess said she had been unable to close her eyes on account of his moaning, and at Mytíshchi she moved into a worse hut simply to be farther away from the wounded man.

In the darkness of the night one of the servants noticed, above the high body of a coach standing before the porch, the small glow of another fire. One glow had long been visible and everybody knew that it was Little Mytíshchi burning—set on fire by Mamónov’s Cossacks.

“But look here, brothers, there’s another fire!” remarked an orderly.

All turned their attention to the glow.

“But they told us Little Mytíshchi had been set on fire by Mamónov’s Cossacks.”

“But that’s not Mytíshchi, it’s farther away.”

“Look, it must be in Moscow!”

Two of the gazers went round to the other side of the coach and sat down on its steps.

“It’s more to the left, why, Little Mytíshchi is over there, and this is right on the other side.”

Several men joined the first two.

“See how it’s flaring,” said one. “That’s a fire in Moscow: either in the Sushchévski or the Rogózhski quarter.”

No one replied to this remark and for some time they all gazed silently at the spreading flames of the second fire in the distance.

Old Daniel Teréntich, the count’s valet (as he was called), came up to the group and shouted at Míshka.

“What are you staring at, you good-for-nothing?... The count will be calling and there’s nobody there; go and gather the clothes together.”

“I only ran out to get some water,” said Míshka.

“But what do you think, Daniel Teréntich? Doesn’t it look as if that glow were in Moscow?” remarked one of the footmen.

Daniel Teréntich made no reply, and again for a long time they were all silent. The glow spread, rising and falling, farther and farther still.

“God have mercy.... It’s windy and dry...” said another voice.

“Just look! See what it’s doing now. O Lord! You can even see the crows flying. Lord have mercy on us sinners!”

“They’ll put it out, no fear!”

“Who’s to put it out?” Daniel Teréntich, who had hitherto been silent, was heard to say. His voice was calm and deliberate. “Moscow it is, brothers,” said he. “Mother Moscow, the white...” his voice faltered, and he gave way to an old man’s sob.

And it was as if they had all only waited for this to realize the significance for them of the glow they were watching. Sighs were heard, words of prayer, and the sobbing of the count’s old valet.

From : Gutenberg.org

Chronology

November 30, 1868 :
Book 11, Chapter 30 -- Publication.

February 11, 2017 13:15:53 :
Book 11, Chapter 30 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

May 28, 2017 15:35:13 :
Book 11, Chapter 30 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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