Piotr Karpenko

After eating some lunch I even, without knowing it, fell asleep. Evidently the nervous system, after such intensive activity, urgently demanded rest. I do not know how long I slept, but when I woke up it was already evening and everything was quiet.

When I was fully awake and realized clearly the reasons for my being in that place, I first assured myself with great joy that I was safe and sound, and it was only when this egoistic gladness of mine had subsided that I suddenly remembered and began to feel concerned about my comrade in misfortune. So creeping quietly out of my hole and taking a good look round, I went over to the place where he should have been.

Seeing him lying there motionless, I was very frightened, though I thought and was even quite sure that he was asleep; but when I suddenly noticed blood on his leg, I completely lost my head, and all the hatred of the day before turned into pity. With a fear as great as I had experienced only a few hours earlier for my own life, I crouched down as though still instinctively trying not to be seen.

I was still in this position when the seconds crawled up to me on all fours. Seeing me looking so strangely at the outstretched Karpenko and then noticing the blood on his leg, they felt that something terrible had happened, and crouching there, glued to the spot, they also began to stare at him. As they later told me, they too were quite certain that he was dead.

The whole group of us remained as though self-hypnotized, until accidentally we were aroused out of our stupor by Kerensky. As he later explained, having been for some time in a cramped position while staring at Karpenko, he suddenly felt his corn hurting him, and leaning forward a little to change his position, he noticed that the edge of Karpenko’s coat was moving at regular intervals. Creeping nearer, he became convinced that he was breathing, and informed us of this almost with a shout.

Instantly brought back to our senses, we also crept forward, and right there in the ditch round the motionless Karpenko, we began, constantly interrupting each other, to deliberate on what was to be done. Suddenly by some kind of tacit agreement, we made a chair of our arms and carried Karpenko to the river.