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Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace: Book Eleven: 1812 - Chapter XX

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In yet another corner two old bees are languidly fighting, or cleaning themselves, or feeding 1 anot
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  Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace: Book Eleven: 1812 - Chapter XX In yet another corner two old bees are languidly fighting, or cleaning themselves, or feeding 1another, with out themselves understanding whether they do it with friendly or hostile intent. Thereare no longer sentinels sounding the alarm with their abdomens raised, and ready to die in defenseof the hive. Rather of a neatly glued floor, swept by the bees with the fanning of their wings, there isa floor littered with bits of wax, excrement, dying bees scarcely moving their legs, and dead onesthat have not been cleared away.He did not drive into the town, but place up at an inn in the Dorogomilov suburb.In numerous corners of Moscow there still remained a handful of individuals aimlessly moving about,following their old habits and hardly aware of what they have been doing.. Here and there a coupleof bees, by force of habit and custom cleaning out the brood cells, with efforts beyond their strengthlaboriously drag away a dead bee or bumblebee with out knowing why they do it. The bees do not flyin the identical way, the smell and the sound that meet the beekeeper are not the identical. Theyhave nearly all died unawares, sitting in the sanctuary they had guarded and which is now no more.Here and there among the cells containing dead brood and honey an angry buzzing can at times beheard. Moscow deserted! he stated to himself. They do not sting, but crawl away from danger.They reek of decay and death. There is no longer the measured quiet sound of throbbing activity,like the sound of boiling water, but diverse discordant sounds of disorder. All is neglected and foul.To the beekeeper's tap on the wall of the sick hive, instead of the former instant unanimoushumming of tens of thousands of bees with their abdomens threateningly compressed, andgenerating by the rapid vibration of their wings an aerial living sound, the only reply is adisconnected buzzing from different parts of the deserted hive. Meanwhile Moscow was empty. Inlocation of the former close dark circles  vestidos de comunion formed by thousands of bees sittingback to back and guarding the higher mystery of generation, he sees hundreds of dull, listless, andsleepy shells of bees. As an alternative of serried rows of bees sealing up each and every gap in thecombs and maintaining the brood warm, he sees the skillful complex structures of the combs, but nolonger in their former state of purity. The keeper opens the two center partitions to examine thebrood cells. The beekeeper closes the hive, chalks a mark on it, and when he has time tears out itscontents and burns it clean. My carriage! he said.  He took his seat beside the aide-de-camp on duty and drove into the suburb. There were nonethelesspeople in it, possibly a fiftieth element of its former inhabitants had remained, but it was empty. What an amazing occasion! In a queenless hive no life is left though to a superficial glance it appears as much alive as otherhives.SubsequentThe bees circle round a queenless hive in the hot beams of the midday sun as gaily as about theliving hives from a distance it smells of honey like the other people, and bees fly in and out in theidentical way. Black robber bees are swiftly and stealthily prowling about the combs, and the quick house bees, shriveled and listless as if they had been old, creep slowly about without having tryingto hinder the robbers, having lost all motive and all sense of life. In and out of the hive extended  black robber bees smeared with honey fly timidly and shiftily. In a third place a crowd of bees,crushing 1 another, attack some victim and fight and smother it, and the victim, enfeebled or killed,drops from above gradually and lightly as a feather, among the heap of corpses. Formerly only beesladen with honey flew into the hive, and they flew out empty now they fly out laden. But one has onlyto observe that hive to understand that there is no longer any life in it. Only a couple of of themnonetheless move, rise, and feebly fly to settle on the enemy's hand, lacking the spirit to die stinginghim the rest are dead and fall as lightly as fish scales. As an alternative of black, glossy bees- tamedby toil, clinging to one another's legs and drawing out the wax, with a ceaseless hum of labor- thatutilized to hang in  vestidos de comunion extended clusters down to the floor of the hive, drowsyshriveled bees crawl about separately in different directions on the floor and walls of the hive.Drones, bumblebees, wasps, and butterflies knock awkwardly against the walls of the hive in theirflight. From the alighting board, rather of the former spirituous fragrant smell of honey and venom,and the  vestidos de comunion warm whiffs of crowded life, comes an odor of emptiness and decaymingling with the smell of honey. It was empty in the sense that a dying queenless hive is empty.So in the identical way Moscow was empty when Napoleon, weary, uneasy, and morose, paced upand down in front of the Kammer-Kollezski rampart, awaiting what to his thoughts was a necessary,if but formal, observance of the proprieties- a deputation.The coup de theatre had not come off.When with due circumspection Napoleon was informed that Moscow was empty, he looked angrily athis informant, turned away, and silently continued to stroll to and fro.  The beekeeper opens the upper element of the hive and examines the super. The beekeeper opensthe reduced component of the hive and peers in
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