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War And Peace 139


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meeting his eyes, hid his face behind the letter. "Well, theyve sent you a tidy sum," said Berg, eying the heavy purse that sank into the sofa. "As for us, Count, we get along on our pay. I can tell you for myself..." "I say, Berg, my dear fellow," said Rostov, "when you get a letter from home and meet one of your own people whom you want to talk everything over with, and I happen to be there, Ill go at once, to be out of your way! Do go somewhere, anywhere... to the devil!" he exclaimed, and immediately seizing him by the shoulder and looking amiably into his face, evidently wishing to soften the rudeness of his words, he added, "Dont be hurt, my dear fellow; you know I speak from my heart as to an old acquaintance." "Oh, dont mention it, Count! I quite understand," said Berg, getting up and speaking in a muffled and guttural voice. "Go across to our hosts: they invited you," added Boris. Berg put on the cleanest of coats, without a spot or speck of dust, stood before a looking glass and brushed the hair on his temples upwards, in the way affected by the Emperor Alexander, and, having assured himself from the way Rostov looked at it that his coat had been noticed, left the room with a pleasant smile. "Oh dear, what a beast I am!" muttered Rostov, as he read the letter. "Why?" "Oh, what a pig I am, not to have written and to have given them such a fright! Oh, what a pig I am!" he repeated, flushing suddenly. "Well, have you sent Gabriel for some wine? All right lets have some!" In the letter from his parents was enclosed a letter of recommendation to Bagration which the old countess at Anna Mikhaylovnas advice had obtained through an acquaintance and sent to her son, asking him to take it to its destination and make use of it. "What nonsense! Much I need it!" said Rostov, throwing the letter under the table. "Why have you thrown that away?" asked Boris. "It is some letter of recommendation... what the devil do I want it for!" "Why What the devil?" said Boris, picking it up and reading the address. "This letter would be of great use to you." "I want nothing, and I wont be anyones adjutant." "Why not?" inquired Boris. "Its a lackeys job!" "You are still the same dreamer, I see," remarked Boris, shaking his head. "And youre still the same diplomatist! But thats not the point... Come, how are you?" asked Rostov. "Well, as you see. So far everythings all right, but I confess I should much like to be an adjutant and not remain at the front." "Why?" "Because when once a man starts on military service, he should try to make as successful a career of it as possible." "Oh, thats it!" said Rostov, evidently thinking of something else. He looked intently and inquiringly into his friends eyes, evidently trying in vain to find the answer to some question. Old Gabriel brought in the wine. "Shouldnt we now send for Berg?" asked Boris. "He would drink with you. I cant." "Well, send for him... and how do you get on with that German?" asked Rostov, with a contemptuous smile. "He is a very, very nice, honest, and pleasant fellow," answered Boris. Again Rostov looked intently into Boris eyes and sighed. Berg returned, and over the bottle of wine conversation between the three officers became animated. The Guardsmen told Rostov of their march and how they had been made much of in Russia, Poland, and abroad. They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the Grand Duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility. Berg, as usual, kept silent when the subject did not relate to himself, but in connection with the stories of the Grand Dukes quick temper he related with gusto how in Galicia he had managed to deal with the Grand Duke when the latter made a tour of the regiments and was annoyed at the irregularity of a movement. With a pleasant smile Berg related how the Grand Duke had ridden up to him in a violent passion, shouting: "Arnauts!" ("Arnauts" was the Tsarevichs favorite expression when he was in a rage) and called for the company commander. "Would you believe it, Count, I was not at all alarmed, because I knew I was right. Without boasting, you know, I may say that I know the Army Orders by heart and know the Regulations as well as I do the Lords Prayer. So, Count, there never is any negligence

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