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War And Peace 236

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War And Peace

on this advice. In the evening he came back to his dugout in a state such as Rostov had never yet seen him in. Denisov could not speak and gasped for breath. When Rostov asked what was the matter, he only uttered some incoherent oaths and threats in a hoarse, feeble voice. Alarmed at Denisovs condition, Rostov suggested that he should undress, drink some water, and send for the doctor. "Twy me for wobbewy... oh! Some more water... Let them twy me, but Ill always thwash scoundwels... and Ill tell the Empewo... Ice..." he muttered. The regimental doctor, when he came, said it was absolutely necessary to bleed Denisov. A deep saucer of black blood was taken from his hairy arm and only then was he able to relate what had happened to him. "I get there," began Denisov. "Now then, wheres your chiefs quarters? They were pointed out. Please to wait. Ive widden twenty miles and have duties to attend to and no time to wait. Announce me. Vewy well, so out comes their head chief--also took it into his head to lecture me: Its wobbewy!--Wobbewy, I say, is not done by man who seizes pwovisions to feed his soldiers, but by him who takes them to fill his own pockets! Will you please be silent? Vewy good! Then he says: Go and give a weceipt to the commissioner, but your affair will be passed on to headquarters. I go to the commissioner. I enter, and at the table... who do you think? No, but wait a bit!... Who is it thats starving us?" shouted Denisov, hitting the table with the fist of his newly bled arm so violently that the table nearly broke down and the tumblers on it jumped about. "Telyanin! What? So its you whos starving us to death! Is it? Take this and this! and I hit him so pat, stwaight on his snout... Ah, what a... what a...! and I stated fwashing him... Well, Ive had a bit of fun I can tell you!" cried Denisov, gleeful and yet angry, his white teeth showing under his black mustache. "Id have killed him if they hadnt taken him away!" "But what are you shouting for? Calm yourself," said Rostov. "Youve set your arm bleeding afresh. Wait, we must tie it up again." Denisov was bandaged up again and put to bed. Next day he woke calm and cheerful. But at noon the adjutant of the regiment came into Rostovs and Denisovs dugout with a grave and serious face and regretfully showed them a paper addressed to Major Denisov from the regimental commander in which inquiries were made about yesterdays occurrence. The adjutant told them that the affair was likely to take a very bad turn: that a court-martial had been appointed, and that in view of the severity with which marauding and insubordination were now regarded, degradation to the ranks would be the best that could be hoped for. The case, as represented by the offended parties, was that, after seizing the transports, Major Denisov, being drunk, went to the chief quartermaster and without any provocation called him a thief, threatened to strike him, and on being led out had rushed into the office and given two officials a thrashing, and dislocated the arm of one of them. In answer to Rostovs renewed questions, Denisov said, laughing, that he thought he remembered that some other fellow had got mixed up in it, but that it was all nonsense and rubbish, and he did not in the least fear any kind of trial, and that if those scoundrels dared attack him he would give them an answer that they would not easily forget. Denisov spoke contemptuously of the whole matter, but Rostov knew him too well not to detect that (while hiding it from others) at heart he feared a court-martial and was worried over the affair, which was evidently taking a bad turn. Every day, letters of inquiry and notices from the court arrived, and on the first of May, Denisov was ordered to hand the squadron over to the next in seniority and appear before the staff of his division to explain his violence at the commissariat office. On the previous day Platov reconnoitered with two Cossack regiments and two squadrons of hussars. Denisov, as was his wont, rode out in front of the outposts, parading his courage. A bullet fired by a French sharpshooter hit him in the fleshy part of his leg. Perhaps at another time Denisov would not have left the regiment for so slight a wound, but now he

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