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the highest towers on those parts of the city which had yet escaped destruction, and which resembled at a distance so many passing meteors. Nothing could equal the anguish that absorbed every feeling heart, and which was increased in the dead of the night by the cries of the miserable victims who were savagely murdered, or by the screams of the young females who fled for protection to their weeping mothers, and whose ineffectual struggles tended only to inflame the passion of their violators. To these dreadful groans and heart-rending cries, which every moment broke upon the ear, were added the howlings of the dogs, which, chained to the doors of the palaces, according to the custom at Moscow, could not escape from the fire which surrounded them.

Overpowered with regret and with terror, I flattered myself that sleep would for a while release me from these revolting scenes; but the most frightful recollections crowded upon me, and all the horrors of the day again passed in review. My wearied senses seemed at last sinking into repose, when the light of a near and dreadful conflagration piercing into my room suddenly awoke

I thought that my chamber was a prey to the flames. It was no idle dream, for when I approached the window, I saw that our quarters were on fire, and that the house in which I lodged was in the utmost danger. Sparks were thickly falling in our yard and on the wooden roof of our stables. I ran quickly to my landlord and his family. Perceiving their danger, they had already quitted their habitation, and had retired to a subterranean vault which afforded them more security. I found them with their servants all assembled there; nor could I prevail on them to leave it, for they dreaded our soldiers more than the fire. The father was sitting on the threshold of the vault, and appeared desirous of first exposing himself to the calamities which threatened his family. Two of his daughters, pale, with dishevelled hair, and whose tears added to their beauty, disputed with him the honour of the sacrifice. It was not without violence that I could snatch them from the building,


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under which they would otherwise soon have been buried. When these unhappy creatures again saw the light, they contemplated with indifference the loss of all their property, and were only astonished that they were still alive. Though they were convinced that no personal injury would now be offered them, they exhibited not any tokens of gratitude; but resembled those miserable criminals, who, having been ordered to execution, are bewildered when a reprieve unexpectedly arrives, and whom the agonies of death render insensible to the gift, of life.

Desirous of terminating the recital of this horrible catastrophe, for which history wants expressions, and poetry has no colours, I shall pass over in silence many circumstances revolting to humanity, and merely describe the dreadful confusion which arose in our army, when the fire had reached every part of Moscow, and the whole city was become one immense flame.

The different streets could no longer be distinguished, and the places on which the houses had stood were marked only by confused piles of stones, calcined and black. The wind, blowing with violence, howled mournfully, and overwhelmed us with ashes, with burning fragments, and even with the iron plates which covered the palace. On whatever side we turned we saw only ruins and flames. The fire raged as if it were fanned by some invisible power. The most extensive ranges of buildings seemed to kindle, to burn, and to disappear in an instant.

--A long row of carriages was perceived through the thick smoke loaded with booty. Being too heavily laden for the exhausted cattle to draw them along, they were obliged to halt at every step, when we heard the execrations of the drivers, who, terrified at the surrounding flames, endeavoured to push forward with dreadful outcries. The soldiers were diligently employed in forcing open every door. They seemed to fear lest they should leave one house untouched, and, as if the booty last acquired was preferable to what they had already obtained, they abandoned their former prize



to seize on every new object. Some, when their carriages were laden almost to breaking down, bore the rest of their plunder on their backs. The flames, obstructing the passage of the principal streets, often obliged them to retrace their steps. Thus, wandering from place to place through an immense town, the avenues of which they did not know, they sought in vain to extricate themselves from a labyrinth of fire. Many, instead of approaching the gates by which they might have escaped, wandered further from them, and thus became the victims of their own rapacity. The love of plunder was yet predominant, and induced our soldiers to brave every danger. They precipitated themselves into the midst of the flames. They waded in blood, treading upon the dead bodies without remorse, whilst the ruins of the houses, mixed with burning coals, fell thick on their murderous hands. They would probably all have perished, if the insupportable heat had not forced them at length to withdraw into the camp.

The fourth corps having also received orders to leave Moscow, we proceeded (September 17th) towards Peterskoë, where our divisions were encamped. At that moment, about the dawn of day, I witnessed a spectacle at once affecting and terrible, namely, a crowd of the miserable inhabitants drawing upon some mean vehicles all that they had been able to save from the conflagration. The soldiers having robbed them of their horses, the men and women were slowly and painfully dragging along their little carts, some of which contained an infirm mother, others a paralytic old man, and others the miserable wrecks of half-consumed furniture. Children half naked followed these interesting groups. Affliction, to which their age is commonly a stranger, was impressed on their features, and, when the soldiers approached them, they ran crying into the arms of their mothers. Alas! what habitation could be offered them which would not constantly recall the object of their terror!. Without a shelter and without food, these unfortunate beings wandered in the fields, and fled into the woods; but wherever they bent their steps, they met the

conquerors of Moscow, who frequently ill treated them, and sold before their eyes the goods which had been stolen from their deserted habitations.

During the four days (17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th September) that we remained near Peterskoë, Moscow did not cease to burn. In the mean time the rain fell in torrents; and the houses near the chateau being too few in number to contain the numerous troops who were encamped there, it was almost impossible to obtain shelter:

: men, horses, and carriages bivouacked in the middle of the fields. The staff-officers, placed around the chateau where their generals resided, were established in the English gardens, and lodged under grottos, Chinese pavilions, or green-houses, whilst the horses, tied under acacias or linden trees, were separated from each other by hedges or beds of flowers. This camp, whose very situation rendered it truly picturesque, appeared still more extraordinary from the new costume adopted by the soldiers, most of whom, as some defence from the inclemency of the weather, had covered themselves with every species of apparel used by the northern nations, and which had formed the most pleasing and amusing variety on the public walks of that city. Thus we saw, walking in our camp, soldiers dressed à la Tartare, à la Čosaque, à la Chinoise ; one wore the Polish cap, another the high bonnet of the Persians, the Baskirs, or the Kalmouks. In short, our army presented the image of a carnival; and it was afterwards justly said, that our retreat commenced with a masquerade and ended with a funeral.

The abundance which the soldiers now enjoyed made them speedily forget their fatigues. With the rain pouring on their heads, and their feet immersed in the mud, they consoled themselves with good cheer, and the advantages which they derived from trafficking in the plunder of Moscow. Although it was forbidden to go into the city, the soldiers, allured by the hope of gain, violated the order, and always returned loaded with provisions and merchandise. Under the pretence of going on marauding parties, they returned near the Kremlin,

and dug amongst the ruins, where they discovered entire magazines, whence they drew a profusion of articles of every description.-Our camp no longer resembled an army, but a great fair, at which each soldier, metamorphosed into a merchant, sold the most valuable articles at an inconsiderable price; and although unsheltered in the fields, and exposed to the inclemency of the weather, he, by a singular contrast, ate off china plates, drank out of silver vases, and possessed almost every elegant and expensive article which luxury could invent.

The neighbourhood of Peterskoë and its gardens at length became as unhealthy as it was inconvenient. Napoleon returned to establish himself at the Kremlin, which had not been burnt, and the guards and staffofficers received orders to re-enter the city (the 20th and 21st of September). According to the calculations of the engineers, the 10th part of the houses still remained. They were divided between the different corps of the grand army. We possessed the fauxbourg of St. Petersburg, in which we had been quartered at our first entry into the city.

As we again traversed the streets of Moscow, we experienced the most heart-rending sensations, at perceiving that no vestige remained of those noble hotels at which we had formerly been established. They were entirely demolished, and their ruins, still smoking, exhaled a vapour which, filling the whole atmosphere, and forming the densest clouds, either totally obscured the sun, or gave to his disk a red and bloody appearance. The outline of the streets was no longer to be distinguished. The stone palaces were the only buildings which preserved any traces of their former magnifcence. Standing alone amidst piles of ruins, and blackened with smoke, these wrecks of a city so newly built resembled some of the venerable remains of antiquity.

Each one endeavoured to find quarters for himself, but rarely could we meet with houses which joined together; and to shelter a few companies we were obliged to occupy a vast tract of land, which only offered a few

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