“He’s coming!” shouted the signaler at that moment.
The regimental commander, flushing, ran to his horse, seized the stirrup with trembling hands, threw his body across the saddle, righted himself, drew his saber, and with a happy and resolute countenance, opening his mouth awry, prepared to shout. The regiment fluttered like a bird preening its plumage and became motionless.
“Att-ention!” shouted the regimental commander in a soul-shaking voice which expressed joy for himself, severity for the regiment, and welcome for the approaching chief.
Along the broad country road, edged on both sides by trees, came a high, light blue Viennese calèche, slightly creaking on its springs and drawn by six horses at a smart trot. Behind the calèche galloped the suite and a convoy of Croats. Beside Kutúzov sat an Austrian general, in a white uniform that looked strange among the Russian black ones. The calèche stopped in front of the regiment. Kutúzov and the Austrian general were talking in low voices and Kutúzov smiled slightly as treading heavily he stepped down from the carriage just as if those two thousand men breathlessly gazing at him and the regimental commander did not exist.
The word of command rang out, and again the regiment quivered, as with a jingling sound it presented arms. Then amidst a dead silence the feeble voice of the commander in chief was heard. The regiment roared, “Health to your ex... len... len... lency!” and again all became silent. At first Kutúzov stood still while the regiment moved; then he and the general in white, accompanied by the suite, walked between the ranks.
From the way the regimental commander saluted the commander in chief and devoured him with his eyes, drawing himself up obsequiously, and from the way he walked through the ranks behind the generals, bending forward and hardly able to restrain his jerky movements, and from the way he darted forward at every word or gesture of the commander in chief, it was evident that he performed his duty as a subordinate with even greater zeal than his duty as a commander. Thanks to the strictness and assiduity of its commander the regiment, in comparison with others that had reached Braunau at the same time, was in splendid condition. There were only 217 sick and stragglers. Everything was in good order except the boots.
Kutúzov walked through the ranks, sometimes stopping to say a few friendly words to officers he had known in the Turkish war, sometimes also to the soldiers. Looking at their boots he several times shook his head sadly, pointing them out to the Austrian general with an expression which seemed to say that he was not blaming anyone, but could not help noticing what a bad state of things it was. The regimental commander ran forward on each such occasion, fearing to miss a single word of the commander in chief’s regarding the regiment. Behind Kutúzov, at a distance that allowed every softly spoken word to be heard, followed some twenty men of his suite. These gentlemen talked among themselves and sometimes laughed. Nearest of all to the commander in chief walked a handsome adjutant. This was Prince Bolkónski. Beside him was his comrade Nesvítski, a tall staff officer, extremely stout, with a kindly, smiling, handsome face and moist eyes. Nesvítski could hardly keep from laughter provoked by a swarthy hussar officer who walked beside him. This hussar, with a grave face and without a smile or a change in the expression of his fixed eyes, watched the regimental commander’s back and mimicked his every movement. Each time the commander started and bent forward, the hussar started and bent forward in exactly the same manner. Nesvítski laughed and nudged the others to make them look at the wag.
Kutúzov walked slowly and languidly past thousands of eyes which were starting from their sockets to watch their chief. On reaching the third company he suddenly stopped. His suite, not having expected this, involuntarily came closer to him.
“Ah, Timókhin!” said he, recognizing the red-nosed captain who had been reprimanded on account of the blue greatcoat.
One would have thought it impossible for a man to stretch himself more than Timókhin had done when he was reprimanded by the regimental commander, but now that the commander in chief addressed him he drew himself up to such an extent that it seemed he could not have sustained it had the commander in chief continued to look at him, and so Kutúzov, who evidently understood his case and wished him nothing but good, quickly turned away, a scarcely perceptible smile flitting over his scarred and puffy face.
“Another Ismail comrade,” said he. “A brave officer! Are you satisfied with him?” he asked the regimental commander.
And the latter—unconscious that he was being reflected in the hussar officer as in a looking glass—started, moved forward, and answered: “Highly satisfied, your excellency!”
“We all have our weaknesses,” said Kutúzov smiling and walking away from him. “He used to have a predilection for Bacchus.”
The regimental commander was afraid he might be blamed for this and did not answer. The hussar at that moment noticed the face of the red-nosed captain and his drawn-in stomach, and mimicked his expression and pose with such exactitude that Nesvítski could not help laughing. Kutúzov turned round. The officer evidently had complete control of his face, and while Kutúzov was turning managed to make a grimace and then assume a most serious, deferential, and innocent expression.
The third company was the last, and Kutúzov pondered, apparently trying to recollect something. Prince Andrew stepped forward from among the suite and said in French:
“You told me to remind you of the officer Dólokhov, reduced to the ranks in this regiment.”
“Where is Dólokhov?” asked Kutúzov.
Dólokhov, who had already changed into a soldier’s gray greatcoat, did not wait to be called. The shapely figure of the fair-haired soldier, with his clear blue eyes, stepped forward from the ranks, went up to the commander in chief, and presented arms.
“Have you a complaint to make?” Kutúzov asked with a slight frown.
“This is Dólokhov,” said Prince Andrew.
“Ah!” said Kutúzov. “I hope this will be a lesson to you. Do your duty. The Emperor is gracious, and I shan’t forget you if you deserve well.”
The clear blue eyes looked at the commander in chief just as boldly as they had looked at the regimental commander, seeming by their expression to tear open the veil of convention that separates a commander in chief so widely from a private.
“One thing I ask of your excellency,” Dólokhov said in his firm, ringing, deliberate voice. “I ask an opportunity to atone for my fault and prove my devotion to His Majesty the Emperor and to Russia!”
Kutúzov turned away. The same smile of the eyes with which he had turned from Captain Timókhin again flitted over his face. He turned away with a grimace as if to say that everything Dólokhov had said to him and everything he could say had long been known to him, that he was weary of it and it was not at all what he wanted. He turned away and went to the carriage.
The regiment broke up into companies, which went to their appointed quarters near Braunau, where they hoped to receive boots and clothes and to rest after their hard marches.
“You won’t bear me a grudge, Prokhór Ignátych?” said the regimental commander, overtaking the third company on its way to its quarters and riding up to Captain Timókhin who was walking in front. (The regimental commander’s face now that the inspection was happily over beamed with irrepressible delight.) “It’s in the Emperor’s service... it can’t be helped... one is sometimes a bit hasty on parade... I am the first to apologize, you know me!... He was very pleased!” And he held out his hand to the captain.
“Don’t mention it, General, as if I’d be so bold!” replied the captain, his nose growing redder as he gave a smile which showed where two front teeth were missing that had been knocked out by the butt end of a gun at Ismail.
“And tell Mr. Dólokhov that I won’t forget him—he may be quite easy. And tell me, please—I’ve been meaning to ask—how is he behaving himself, and in general...”
“As far as the service goes he is quite punctilious, your excellency; but his character...” said Timókhin.
“And what about his character?” asked the regimental commander.
“It’s different on different days,” answered the captain. “One day he is sensible, well educated, and good-natured, and the next he’s a wild beast.... In Poland, if you please, he nearly killed a Jew.”
“Oh, well, well!” remarked the regimental commander. “Still, one must have pity on a young man in misfortune. You know he has important connections... Well, then, you just...”
“I will, your excellency,” said Timókhin, showing by his smile that he understood his commander’s wish.
“Well, of course, of course!”
The regimental commander sought out Dólokhov in the ranks and, reining in his horse, said to him:
“After the next affair... epaulettes.”
Dólokhov looked round but did not say anything, nor did the mocking smile on his lips change.
“Well, that’s all right,” continued the regimental commander. “A cup of vodka for the men from me,” he added so that the soldiers could hear. “I thank you all! God be praised!” and he rode past that company and overtook the next one.
“Well, he’s really a good fellow, one can serve under him,” said Timókhin to the subaltern beside him.
“In a word, a hearty one...” said the subaltern, laughing (the regimental commander was nicknamed King of Hearts).
The cheerful mood of their officers after the inspection infected the soldiers. The company marched on gaily. The soldiers’ voices could be heard on every side.
“And they said Kutúzov was blind of one eye?”
“And so he is! Quite blind!”
“No, friend, he is sharper-eyed than you are. Boots and leg bands... he noticed everything...”
“When he looked at my feet, friend... well, thinks I...”
“And that other one with him, the Austrian, looked as if he were smeared with chalk—as white as flour! I suppose they polish him up as they do the guns.”
“I say, Fédeshon!... Did he say when the battles are to begin? You were near him. Everybody said that Buonaparte himself was at Braunau.”
“Buonaparte himself!... Just listen to the fool, what he doesn’t know! The Prussians are up in arms now. The Austrians, you see, are putting them down. When they’ve been put down, the war with Buonaparte will begin. And he says Buonaparte is in Braunau! Shows you’re a fool. You’d better listen more carefully!”
“What devils these quartermasters are! See, the fifth company is turning into the village already... they will have their buckwheat cooked before we reach our quarters.”
“Give me a biscuit, you devil!”
“And did you give me tobacco yesterday? That’s just it, friend! Ah, well, never mind, here you are.”
“They might call a halt here or we’ll have to do another four miles without eating.”
“Wasn’t it fine when those Germans gave us lifts! You just sit still and are drawn along.”
“And here, friend, the people are quite beggarly. There they all seemed to be Poles—all under the Russian crown—but here they’re all regular Germans.”
“Singers to the front” came the captain’s order.
And from the different ranks some twenty men ran to the front. A drummer, their leader, turned round facing the singers, and flourishing his arm, began a long-drawn-out soldiers’ song, commencing with the words: “Morning dawned, the sun was rising,” and concluding: “On then, brothers, on to glory, led by Father Kámenski.” This song had been composed in the Turkish campaign and now being sung in Austria, the only change being that the words “Father Kámenski” were replaced by “Father Kutúzov.”
Having jerked out these last words as soldiers do and waved his arms as if flinging something to the ground, the drummer—a lean, handsome soldier of forty—looked sternly at the singers and screwed up his eyes. Then having satisfied himself that all eyes were fixed on him, he raised both arms as if carefully lifting some invisible but precious object above his head and, holding it there for some seconds, suddenly flung it down and began:
“Oh, my bower, oh, my bower...!”
“Oh, my bower new...!” chimed in twenty voices, and the castanet player, in spite of the burden of his equipment, rushed out to the front and, walking backwards before the company, jerked his shoulders and flourished his castanets as if threatening someone. The soldiers, swinging their arms and keeping time spontaneously, marched with long steps. Behind the company the sound of wheels, the creaking of springs, and the tramp of horses’ hoofs were heard. Kutúzov and his suite were returning to the town. The commander in chief made a sign that the men should continue to march at ease, and he and all his suite showed pleasure at the sound of the singing and the sight of the dancing soldier and the gay and smartly marching men. In the second file from the right flank, beside which the carriage passed the company, a blue-eyed soldier involuntarily attracted notice. It was Dólokhov marching with particular grace and boldness in time to the song and looking at those driving past as if he pitied all who were not at that moment marching with the company. The hussar cornet of Kutúzov’s suite who had mimicked the regimental commander, fell back from the carriage and rode up to Dólokhov.
Hussar cornet Zherkóv had at one time, in Petersburg, belonged to the wild set led by Dólokhov. Zherkóv had met Dólokhov abroad as a private and had not seen fit to recognize him. But now that Kutúzov had spoken to the gentleman ranker, he addressed him with the cordiality of an old friend.
“My dear fellow, how are you?” said he through the singing, making his horse keep pace with the company.
“How am I?” Dólokhov answered coldly. “I am as you see.”
The lively song gave a special flavor to the tone of free and easy gaiety with which Zherkóv spoke, and to the intentional coldness of Dólokhov’s reply.
“And how do you get on with the officers?” inquired Zherkóv.
“All right. They are good fellows. And how have you wriggled onto the staff?”
“I was attached; I’m on duty.”
Both were silent.
“She let the hawk fly upward from her wide right sleeve,” went the song, arousing an involuntary sensation of courage and cheerfulness. Their conversation would probably have been different but for the effect of that song.
“Is it true that Austrians have been beaten?” asked Dólokhov.
“The devil only knows! They say so.”
“I’m glad,” answered Dólokhov briefly and clearly, as the song demanded.
“I say, come round some evening and we’ll have a game of faro!” said Zherkóv.
“Why, have you too much money?”
“I can’t. I’ve sworn not to. I won’t drink and won’t play till I get reinstated.”
“Well, that’s only till the first engagement.”
“We shall see.”
They were again silent.
“Come if you need anything. One can at least be of use on the staff...”
Dólokhov smiled. “Don’t trouble. If I want anything, I won’t beg—I’ll take it!”
“Well, never mind; I only...”
“And I only...”
To my native land...”
Zherkóv touched his horse with the spurs; it pranced excitedly from foot to foot uncertain with which to start, then settled down, galloped past the company, and overtook the carriage, still keeping time to the song.
On returning from the review, Kutúzov took the Austrian general into his private room and, calling his adjutant, asked for some papers relating to the condition of the troops on their arrival, and the letters that had come from the Archduke Ferdinand, who was in command of the advanced army. Prince Andrew Bolkónski came into the room with the required papers. Kutúzov and the Austrian member of the Hofkriegsrath were sitting at the table on which a plan was spread out.
“Ah!...” said Kutúzov glancing at Bolkónski as if by this exclamation he was asking the adjutant to wait, and he went on with the conversation in French.
“All I can say, General,” said he with a pleasant elegance of expression and intonation that obliged one to listen to each deliberately spoken word. It was evident that Kutúzov himself listened with pleasure to his own voice. “All I can say, General, is that if the matter depended on my personal wishes, the will of His Majesty the Emperor Francis would have been fulfilled long ago. I should long ago have joined the archduke. And believe me on my honour that to me personally it would be a pleasure to hand over the supreme command of the army into the hands of a better informed and more skillful general—of whom Austria has so many—and to lay down all this heavy responsibility. But circumstances are sometimes too strong for us, General.”
And Kutúzov smiled in a way that seemed to say, “You are quite at liberty not to believe me and I don’t even care whether you do or not, but you have no grounds for telling me so. And that is the whole point.”
The Austrian general looked dissatisfied, but had no option but to reply in the same tone.
“On the contrary,” he said, in a querulous and angry tone that contrasted with his flattering words, “on the contrary, your excellency’s participation in the common action is highly valued by His Majesty; but we think the present delay is depriving the splendid Russian troops and their commander of the laurels they have been accustomed to win in their battles,” he concluded his evidently prearranged sentence.
Kutúzov bowed with the same smile.
“But that is my conviction, and judging by the last letter with which His Highness the Archduke Ferdinand has honored me, I imagine that the Austrian troops, under the direction of so skillful a leader as General Mack, have by now already gained a decisive victory and no longer need our aid,” said Kutúzov.
The general frowned. Though there was no definite news of an Austrian defeat, there were many circumstances confirming the unfavorable rumors that were afloat, and so Kutúzov’s suggestion of an Austrian victory sounded much like irony. But Kutúzov went on blandly smiling with the same expression, which seemed to say that he had a right to suppose so. And, in fact, the last letter he had received from Mack’s army informed him of a victory and stated strategically the position of the army was very favorable.
“Give me that letter,” said Kutúzov turning to Prince Andrew. “Please have a look at it”—and Kutúzov with an ironical smile about the corners of his mouth read to the Austrian general the following passage, in German, from the Archduke Ferdinand’s letter:
We have fully concentrated forces of nearly seventy thousand men with which to attack and defeat the enemy should he cross the Lech. Also, as we are masters of Ulm, we cannot be deprived of the advantage of commanding both sides of the Danube, so that should the enemy not cross the Lech, we can cross the Danube, throw ourselves on his line of communications, recross the river lower down, and frustrate his intention should he try to direct his whole force against our faithful ally. We shall therefore confidently await the moment when the Imperial Russian army will be fully equipped, and shall then, in conjunction with it, easily find a way to prepare for the enemy the fate he deserves.
Kutúzov sighed deeply on finishing this paragraph and looked at the member of the Hofkriegsrath mildly and attentively.
“But you know the wise maxim your excellency, advising one to expect the worst,” said the Austrian general, evidently wishing to have done with jests and to come to business. He involuntarily looked round at the aide-de-camp.
“Excuse me, General,” interrupted Kutúzov, also turning to Prince Andrew. “Look here, my dear fellow, get from Kozlóvski all the reports from our scouts. Here are two letters from Count Nostitz and here is one from His Highness the Archduke Ferdinand and here are these,” he said, handing him several papers, “make a neat memorandum in French out of all this, showing all the news we have had of the movements of the Austrian army, and then give it to his excellency.”
Prince Andrew bowed his head in token of having understood from the first not only what had been said but also what Kutúzov would have liked to tell him. He gathered up the papers and with a bow to both, stepped softly over the carpet and went out into the waiting room.
Though not much time had passed since Prince Andrew had left Russia, he had changed greatly during that period. In the expression of his face, in his movements, in his walk, scarcely a trace was left of his former affected languor and indolence. He now looked like a man who has time to think of the impression he makes on others, but is occupied with agreeable and interesting work. His face expressed more satisfaction with himself and those around him, his smile and glance were brighter and more attractive.
Kutúzov, whom he had overtaken in Poland, had received him very kindly, promised not to forget him, distinguished him above the other adjutants, and had taken him to Vienna and given him the more serious commissions. From Vienna Kutúzov wrote to his old comrade, Prince Andrew’s father.
Your son bids fair to become an officer distinguished by his industry, firmness, and expedition. I consider myself fortunate to have such a subordinate by me.
On Kutúzov’s staff, among his fellow officers and in the army generally, Prince Andrew had, as he had had in Petersburg society, two quite opposite reputations. Some, a minority, acknowledged him to be different from themselves and from everyone else, expected great things of him, listened to him, admired, and imitated him, and with them Prince Andrew was natural and pleasant. Others, the majority, disliked him and considered him conceited, cold, and disagreeable. But among these people Prince Andrew knew how to take his stand so that they respected and even feared him.
Coming out of Kutúzov’s room into the waiting room with the papers in his hand Prince Andrew came up to his comrade, the aide-de-camp on duty, Kozlóvski, who was sitting at the window with a book.
“Well, Prince?” asked Kozlóvski.
“I am ordered to write a memorandum explaining why we are not advancing.”
“And why is it?”
Prince Andrew shrugged his shoulders.
“Any news from Mack?”
“If it were true that he has been beaten, news would have come.”
“Probably,” said Prince Andrew moving toward the outer door.
But at that instant a tall Austrian general in a greatcoat, with the order of Maria Theresa on his neck and a black bandage round his head, who had evidently just arrived, entered quickly, slamming the door. Prince Andrew stopped short.
“Commander in Chief Kutúzov?” said the newly arrived general speaking quickly with a harsh German accent, looking to both sides and advancing straight toward the inner door.
“The commander in chief is engaged,” said Kozlóvski, going hurriedly up to the unknown general and blocking his way to the door. “Whom shall I announce?”
The unknown general looked disdainfully down at Kozlóvski, who was rather short, as if surprised that anyone should not know him.
“The commander in chief is engaged,” repeated Kozlóvski calmly.
The general’s face clouded, his lips quivered and trembled. He took out a notebook, hurriedly scribbled something in pencil, tore out the leaf, gave it to Kozlóvski, stepped quickly to the window, and threw himself into a chair, gazing at those in the room as if asking, “Why do they look at me?” Then he lifted his head, stretched his neck as if he intended to say something, but immediately, with affected indifference, began to hum to himself, producing a queer sound which immediately broke off. The door of the private room opened and Kutúzov appeared in the doorway. The general with the bandaged head bent forward as though running away from some danger, and, making long, quick strides with his thin legs, went up to Kutúzov.
“Vous voyez le malheureux Mack,” he uttered in a broken voice.
Kutúzov’s face as he stood in the open doorway remained perfectly immobile for a few moments. Then wrinkles ran over his face like a wave and his forehead became smooth again, he bowed his head respectfully, closed his eyes, silently let Mack enter his room before him, and closed the door himself behind him.
The report which had been circulated that the Austrians had been beaten and that the whole army had surrendered at Ulm proved to be correct. Within half an hour adjutants had been sent in various directions with orders which showed that the Russian troops, who had hitherto been inactive, would also soon have to meet the enemy.
Prince Andrew was one of those rare staff officers whose chief interest lay in the general progress of the war. When he saw Mack and heard the details of his disaster he understood that half the campaign was lost, understood all the difficulties of the Russian army’s position, and vividly imagined what awaited it and the part he would have to play. Involuntarily he felt a joyful agitation at the thought of the humiliation of arrogant Austria and that in a week’s time he might, perhaps, see and take part in the first Russian encounter with the French since Suvórov met them. He feared that Bonaparte’s genius might outweigh all the courage of the Russian troops, and at the same time could not admit the idea of his hero being disgraced.
Excited and irritated by these thoughts Prince Andrew went toward his room to write to his father, to whom he wrote every day. In the corridor he met Nesvítski, with whom he shared a room, and the wag Zherkóv; they were as usual laughing.
“Why are you so glum?” asked Nesvítski noticing Prince Andrew’s pale face and glittering eyes.
“There’s nothing to be gay about,” answered Bolkónski.
Just as Prince Andrew met Nesvítski and Zherkóv, there came toward them from the other end of the corridor, Strauch, an Austrian general who on Kutúzov’s staff in charge of the provisioning of the Russian army, and the member of the Hofkriegsrath who had arrived the previous evening. There was room enough in the wide corridor for the generals to pass the three officers quite easily, but Zherkóv, pushing Nesvítski aside with his arm, said in a breathless voice,
“They’re coming!... they’re coming!... Stand aside, make way, please make way!”
The generals were passing by, looking as if they wished to avoid embarrassing attentions. On the face of the wag Zherkóv there suddenly appeared a stupid smile of glee which he seemed unable to suppress.
“Your excellency,” said he in German, stepping forward and addressing the Austrian general, “I have the honor to congratulate you.”
He bowed his head and scraped first with one foot and then with the other, awkwardly, like a child at a dancing lesson.
The member of the Hofkriegsrath looked at him severely but, seeing the seriousness of his stupid smile, could not but give him a moment’s attention. He screwed up his eyes showing that he was listening.
“I have the honor to congratulate you. General Mack has arrived, quite well, only a little bruised just here,” he added, pointing with a beaming smile to his head.
The general frowned, turned away, and went on.
“Gott, wie naiv!” * said he angrily, after he had gone a few steps.
Nesvítski with a laugh threw his arms round Prince Andrew, but Bolkónski, turning still paler, pushed him away with an angry look and turned to Zherkóv. The nervous irritation aroused by the appearance of Mack, the news of his defeat, and the thought of what lay before the Russian army found vent in anger at Zherkóv’s untimely jest.
“If you, sir, choose to make a buffoon of yourself,” he said sharply, with a slight trembling of the lower jaw, “I can’t prevent your doing so; but I warn you that if you dare to play the fool in my presence, I will teach you to behave yourself.”
Nesvítski and Zherkóv were so surprised by this outburst that they gazed at Bolkónski silently with wide-open eyes.
“What’s the matter? I only congratulated them,” said Zherkóv.
“I am not jesting with you; please be silent!” cried Bolkónski, and taking Nesvítski’s arm he left Zherkóv, who did not know what to say.
“Come, what’s the matter, old fellow?” said Nesvítski trying to soothe him.
“What’s the matter?” exclaimed Prince Andrew standing still in his excitement. “Don’t you understand that either we are officers serving our Tsar and our country, rejoicing in the successes and grieving at the misfortunes of our common cause, or we are merely lackeys who care nothing for their master’s business. Quarante mille hommes massacrés et l’armée de nos alliés détruite, et vous trouvez là le mot pour rire,” * he said, as if strengthening his views by this French sentence. “C’est bien pour un garçon de rien comme cet individu dont vous avez fait un ami, mais pas pour vous, pas pour vous. *(2) Only a hobbledehoy could amuse himself in this way,” he added in Russian—but pronouncing the word with a French accent—having noticed that Zherkóv could still hear him.
destroyed, and you find that a cause for jesting!”
* (2) “It is all very well for that good-for-nothing fellow
of whom you have made a friend, but not for you, not for
He waited a moment to see whether the cornet would answer, but he turned and went out of the corridor.
The Pávlograd Hussars were stationed two miles from Braunau. The squadron in which Nicholas Rostóv served as a cadet was quartered in the German village of Salzeneck. The best quarters in the village were assigned to cavalry-captain Denísov, the squadron commander, known throughout the whole cavalry division as Váska Denísov. Cadet Rostóv, ever since he had overtaken the regiment in Poland, had lived with the squadron commander.
On October 11, the day when all was astir at headquarters over the news of Mack’s defeat, the camp life of the officers of this squadron was proceeding as usual. Denísov, who had been losing at cards all night, had not yet come home when Rostóv rode back early in the morning from a foraging expedition. Rostóv in his cadet uniform, with a jerk to his horse, rode up to the porch, swung his leg over the saddle with a supple youthful movement, stood for a moment in the stirrup as if loathe to part from his horse, and at last sprang down and called to his orderly.
“Ah, Bondarénko, dear friend!” said he to the hussar who rushed up headlong to the horse. “Walk him up and down, my dear fellow,” he continued, with that gay brotherly cordiality which goodhearted young people show to everyone when they are happy.
“Yes, your excellency,” answered the Ukrainian gaily, tossing his head.
“Mind, walk him up and down well!”
Another hussar also rushed toward the horse, but Bondarénko had already thrown the reins of the snaffle bridle over the horse’s head. It was evident that the cadet was liberal with his tips and that it paid to serve him. Rostóv patted the horse’s neck and then his flank, and lingered for a moment.
“Splendid! What a horse he will be!” he thought with a smile, and holding up his saber, his spurs jingling, he ran up the steps of the porch. His landlord, who in a waistcoat and a pointed cap, pitchfork in hand, was clearing manure from the cowhouse, looked out, and his face immediately brightened on seeing Rostóv. “Schön gut Morgen! Schön gut Morgen!” * he said winking with a merry smile, evidently pleased to greet the young man.
“Schon fleissig?” * said Rostóv with the same gay brotherly smile which did not leave his eager face. “Hoch Oestreicher! Hoch Russen! Kaiser Alexander hoch!” *(2) said he, quoting words often repeated by the German landlord.
* (2) “Hurrah for the Austrians! Hurrah for the Russians!
Hurrah for Emperor Alexander!”
The German laughed, came out of the cowshed, pulled off his cap, and waving it above his head cried:
“Und die ganze Welt hoch!” *
Rostóv waved his cap above his head like the German and cried laughing, “Und vivat die ganze Welt!” Though neither the German cleaning his cowshed nor Rostóv back with his platoon from foraging for hay had any reason for rejoicing, they looked at each other with joyful delight and brotherly love, wagged their heads in token of their mutual affection, and parted smiling, the German returning to his cowshed and Rostóv going to the cottage he occupied with Denísov.
“What about your master?” he asked Lavrúshka, Denísov’s orderly, whom all the regiment knew for a rogue.
“Hasn’t been in since the evening. Must have been losing,” answered Lavrúshka. “I know by now, if he wins he comes back early to brag about it, but if he stays out till morning it means he’s lost and will come back in a rage. Will you have coffee?”
“Yes, bring some.”
Ten minutes later Lavrúshka brought the coffee. “He’s coming!” said he. “Now for trouble!” Rostóv looked out of the window and saw Denísov coming home. Denísov was a small man with a red face, sparkling black eyes, and black tousled mustache and hair. He wore an unfastened cloak, wide breeches hanging down in creases, and a crumpled shako on the back of his head. He came up to the porch gloomily, hanging his head.
“Lavwúska!” he shouted loudly and angrily, “take it off, blockhead!”
“Well, I am taking it off,” replied Lavrúshka’s voice.
“Ah, you’re up already,” said Denísov, entering the room.
“Long ago,” answered Rostóv, “I have already been for the hay, and have seen Fräulein Mathilde.”
“Weally! And I’ve been losing, bwother. I lost yesterday like a damned fool!” cried Denísov, not pronouncing his r’s. “Such ill luck! Such ill luck. As soon as you left, it began and went on. Hullo there! Tea!”
Puckering up his face though smiling, and showing his short strong teeth, he began with stubby fingers of both hands to ruffle up his thick tangled black hair.
“And what devil made me go to that wat?” (an officer nicknamed “the rat”) he said, rubbing his forehead and whole face with both hands. “Just fancy, he didn’t let me win a single cahd, not one cahd.”
He took the lighted pipe that was offered to him, gripped it in his fist, and tapped it on the floor, making the sparks fly, while he continued to shout.
“He lets one win the singles and collahs it as soon as one doubles it; gives the singles and snatches the doubles!”
He scattered the burning tobacco, smashed the pipe, and threw it away. Then he remained silent for a while, and all at once looked cheerfully with his glittering, black eyes at Rostóv.
“If at least we had some women here; but there’s nothing foh one to do but dwink. If we could only get to fighting soon. Hullo, who’s there?” he said, turning to the door as he heard a tread of heavy boots and the clinking of spurs that came to a stop, and a respectful cough.
“The squadron quartermaster!” said Lavrúshka.
Denísov’s face puckered still more.
“Wetched!” he muttered, throwing down a purse with some gold in it. “Wostóv, deah fellow, just see how much there is left and shove the purse undah the pillow,” he said, and went out to the quartermaster.
Rostóv took the money and, mechanically arranging the old and new coins in separate piles, began counting them.
“Ah! Telyánin! How d’ye do? They plucked me last night,” came Denísov’s voice from the next room.
“Where? At Bykov’s, at the rat’s... I knew it,” replied a piping voice, and Lieutenant Telyánin, a small officer of the same squadron, entered the room.
Rostóv thrust the purse under the pillow and shook the damp little hand which was offered him. Telyánin for some reason had been transferred from the Guards just before this campaign. He behaved very well in the regiment but was not liked; Rostóv especially detested him and was unable to overcome or conceal his groundless antipathy to the man.
“Well, young cavalryman, how is my Rook behaving?” he asked. (Rook was a young horse Telyánin had sold to Rostóv.)
The lieutenant never looked the man he was speaking to straight in the face; his eyes continually wandered from one object to another.
“I saw you riding this morning...” he added.
“Oh, he’s all right, a good horse,” answered Rostóv, though the horse for which he had paid seven hundred rubbles was not worth half that sum. “He’s begun to go a little lame on the left foreleg,” he added.
“The hoof’s cracked! That’s nothing. I’ll teach you what to do and show you what kind of rivet to use.”
“Yes, please do,” said Rostóv.
“I’ll show you, I’ll show you! It’s not a secret. And it’s a horse you’ll thank me for.”
“Then I’ll have it brought round,” said Rostóv wishing to avoid Telyánin, and he went out to give the order.
In the passage Denísov, with a pipe, was squatting on the threshold facing the quartermaster who was reporting to him. On seeing Rostóv, Denísov screwed up his face and pointing over his shoulder with his thumb to the room where Telyánin was sitting, he frowned and gave a shudder of disgust.
“Ugh! I don’t like that fellow,” he said, regardless of the quartermaster’s presence.
Rostóv shrugged his shoulders as much as to say: “Nor do I, but what’s one to do?” and, having given his order, he returned to Telyánin.
Telyánin was sitting in the same indolent pose in which Rostóv had left him, rubbing his small white hands.
“Well there certainly are disgusting people,” thought Rostóv as he entered.
“Have you told them to bring the horse?” asked Telyánin, getting up and looking carelessly about him.
“Let us go ourselves. I only came round to ask Denísov about yesterday’s order. Have you got it, Denísov?”
“Not yet. But where are you off to?”
“I want to teach this young man how to shoe a horse,” said Telyánin.
They went through the porch and into the stable. The lieutenant explained how to rivet the hoof and went away to his own quarters.
When Rostóv went back there was a bottle of vodka and a sausage on the table. Denísov was sitting there scratching with his pen on a sheet of paper. He looked gloomily in Rostóv’s face and said: “I am witing to her.”
He leaned his elbows on the table with his pen in his hand and, evidently glad of a chance to say quicker in words what he wanted to write, told Rostóv the contents of his letter.
“You see, my fwiend,” he said, “we sleep when we don’t love. We are childwen of the dust... but one falls in love and one is a God, one is pua’ as on the fihst day of cweation... Who’s that now? Send him to the devil, I’m busy!” he shouted to Lavrúshka, who went up to him not in the least abashed.
“Who should it be? You yourself told him to come. It’s the quartermaster for the money.”
Denísov frowned and was about to shout some reply but stopped.
“Wetched business,” he muttered to himself. “How much is left in the puhse?” he asked, turning to Rostóv.
“Seven new and three old imperials.”
“Oh, it’s wetched! Well, what are you standing there for, you sca’cwow? Call the quahtehmasteh,” he shouted to Lavrúshka.
“Please, Denísov, let me lend you some: I have some, you know,” said Rostóv, blushing.
“Don’t like bowwowing from my own fellows, I don’t,” growled Denísov.
“But if you won’t accept money from me like a comrade, you will offend me. Really I have some,” Rostóv repeated.
“No, I tell you.”
And Denísov went to the bed to get the purse from under the pillow.
“Where have you put it, Wostóv?”
“Under the lower pillow.”
“It’s not there.”
Denísov threw both pillows on the floor. The purse was not there.
“That’s a miwacle.”
“Wait, haven’t you dropped it?” said Rostóv, picking up the pillows one at a time and shaking them.
He pulled off the quilt and shook it. The purse was not there.
“Dear me, can I have forgotten? No, I remember thinking that you kept it under your head like a treasure,” said Rostóv. “I put it just here. Where is it?” he asked, turning to Lavrúshka.
“I haven’t been in the room. It must be where you put it.”
“But it isn’t?...”
“You’re always like that; you thwow a thing down anywhere and forget it. Feel in your pockets.”
“No, if I hadn’t thought of it being a treasure,” said Rostóv, “but I remember putting it there.”
Lavrúshka turned all the bedding over, looked under the bed and under the table, searched everywhere, and stood still in the middle of the room. Denísov silently watched Lavrúshka’s movements, and when the latter threw up his arms in surprise saying it was nowhere to be found Denísov glanced at Rostóv.
“Wostóv, you’ve not been playing schoolboy twicks...”
Rostóv felt Denísov’s gaze fixed on him, raised his eyes, and instantly dropped them again. All the blood which had seemed congested somewhere below his throat rushed to his face and eyes. He could not draw breath.
“And there hasn’t been anyone in the room except the lieutenant and yourselves. It must be here somewhere,” said Lavrúshka.
“Now then, you devil’s puppet, look alive and hunt for it!” shouted Denísov, suddenly, turning purple and rushing at the man with a threatening gesture. “If the purse isn’t found I’ll flog you, I’ll flog you all.”
Rostóv, his eyes avoiding Denísov, began buttoning his coat, buckled on his saber, and put on his cap.
“I must have that purse, I tell you,” shouted Denísov, shaking his orderly by the shoulders and knocking him against the wall.
“Denísov, let him alone, I know who has taken it,” said Rostóv, going toward the door without raising his eyes. Denísov paused, thought a moment, and, evidently understanding what Rostóv hinted at, seized his arm.
“Nonsense!” he cried, and the veins on his forehead and neck stood out like cords. “You are mad, I tell you. I won’t allow it. The purse is here! I’ll flay this scoundwel alive, and it will be found.”
“I know who has taken it,” repeated Rostóv in an unsteady voice, and went to the door.
“And I tell you, don’t you dahe to do it!” shouted Denísov, rushing at the cadet to restrain him.
But Rostóv pulled away his arm and, with as much anger as though Denísov were his worst enemy, firmly fixed his eyes directly on his face.
“Do you understand what you’re saying?” he said in a trembling voice. “There was no one else in the room except myself. So that if it is not so, then...”
He could not finish, and ran out of the room.
“Ah, may the devil take you and evewybody,” were the last words Rostóv heard.
Rostóv went to Telyánin’s quarters.
“The master is not in, he’s gone to headquarters,” said Telyánin’s orderly. “Has something happened?” he added, surprised at the cadet’s troubled face.
“You’ve only just missed him,” said the orderly.
The headquarters were situated two miles away from Salzeneck, and Rostóv, without returning home, took a horse and rode there. There was an inn in the village which the officers frequented. Rostóv rode up to it and saw Telyánin’s horse at the porch.
In the second room of the inn the lieutenant was sitting over a dish of sausages and a bottle of wine.
“Ah, you’ve come here too, young man!” he said, smiling and raising his eyebrows.
“Yes,” said Rostóv as if it cost him a great deal to utter the word; and he sat down at the nearest table.
Both were silent. There were two Germans and a Russian officer in the room. No one spoke and the only sounds heard were the clatter of knives and the munching of the lieutenant.
When Telyánin had finished his lunch he took out of his pocket a double purse and, drawing its rings aside with his small, white, turned-up fingers, drew out a gold imperial, and lifting his eyebrows gave it to the waiter.
“Please be quick,” he said.
The coin was a new one. Rostóv rose and went up to Telyánin.
“Allow me to look at your purse,” he said in a low, almost inaudible, voice.
With shifting eyes but eyebrows still raised, Telyánin handed him the purse.
“Yes, it’s a nice purse. Yes, yes,” he said, growing suddenly pale, and added, “Look at it, young man.”
Rostóv took the purse in his hand, examined it and the money in it, and looked at Telyánin. The lieutenant was looking about in his usual way and suddenly seemed to grow very merry.
“If we get to Vienna I’ll get rid of it there but in these wretched little towns there’s nowhere to spend it,” said he. “Well, let me have it, young man, I’m going.”
Rostóv did not speak.
“And you? Are you going to have lunch too? They feed you quite decently here,” continued Telyánin. “Now then, let me have it.”
He stretched out his hand to take hold of the purse. Rostóv let go of it. Telyánin took the purse and began carelessly slipping it into the pocket of his riding breeches, with his eyebrows lifted and his mouth slightly open, as if to say, “Yes, yes, I am putting my purse in my pocket and that’s quite simple and is no one else’s business.”
“Well, young man?” he said with a sigh, and from under his lifted brows he glanced into Rostóv’s eyes.
Some flash as of an electric spark shot from Telyánin’s eyes to Rostóv’s and back, and back again and again in an instant.
“Come here,” said Rostóv, catching hold of Telyánin’s arm and almost dragging him to the window. “That money is Denísov’s; you took it...” he whispered just above Telyánin’s ear.
“What? What? How dare you? What?” said Telyánin.
But these words came like a piteous, despairing cry and an entreaty for pardon. As soon as Rostóv heard them, an enormous load of doubt fell from him. He was glad, and at the same instant began to pity the miserable man who stood before him, but the task he had begun had to be completed.
“Heaven only knows what the people here may imagine,” muttered Telyánin, taking up his cap and moving toward a small empty room. “We must have an explanation...”
“I know it and shall prove it,” said Rostóv.
Every muscle of Telyánin’s pale, terrified face began to quiver, his eyes still shifted from side to side but with a downward look not rising to Rostóv’s face, and his sobs were audible.
“Count!... Don’t ruin a young fellow... here is this wretched money, take it...” He threw it on the table. “I have an old father and mother!...”
Rostóv took the money, avoiding Telyánin’s eyes, and went out of the room without a word. But at the door he stopped and then retraced his steps. “O God,” he said with tears in his eyes, “how could you do it?”
“Count...” said Telyánin drawing nearer to him.
“Don’t touch me,” said Rostóv, drawing back. “If you need it, take the money,” and he threw the purse to him and ran out of the inn.