War and Peace (Volume 2.); A Historical Novel

9781154113297: War and Peace (Volume 2.); A Historical Novel
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Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1886. Excerpt: ... the lowest depths of wretchedness and were objects of compassion to the soldiers, who, rather than rob them of their last mouthful, gave them what little they could spare. The regiment had lost but two men in their late skirmishes, but sickness and famine had reduced them to half their number. The mortality in the hospitals was so great that the soldier reduced by fever and swellings produced by bad food, would remain at his post and drag himself in the ranks with his aching feet, rather than go into hospital. In the early days of spring the soldiers unearthed from the soil a plant somewhat resembling asparagus, which they named "sweet-root" -- why, no one knew, since it was in fact very bitter. They hunted for it in every direction, dug it up and ate it, though this was expressly forbidden. A new form of disease -- swelling of the face, hands and feet -- which the doctors ascribed to the use of this noxious plant, carried off numerous victims, and yet Denissow's squadron continued to feed principally on this root. For a fortnight they had been kept on short rations of biscuit, and the last supplies of potatoes sent to the front had been found sprouting and frostbitten. The horses, quite appallingly lean, had nothing to eat but the straw of old thatch, and their winter coats were staring and knotted. But in spite of all this misery, officers and soldiers alike lived on in the same routine. With pale and swollen faces, dressed in ragged uniforms, the hussars drew up in line as usual, fetched forage, groomed their horses, cleaned their arms and accoutrements, tore the thatch off the roofs, sat round their kettles to dine and got up famishing, laughing all the while at their meagre fare and hunger. In leisure moments they lighted their fires as usual, stripped to warm themselves, smoke...

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