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War And Peace 543


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and some wine," answered the captain. CHAPTER XXIX When the French officer went into the room with Pierre the latter again thought it his duty to assure him that he was not French and wished to go away, but the officer would not hear of it. He was so very polite, amiable, good-natured, and genuinely grateful to Pierre for saving his life that Pierre had not the heart to refuse, and sat down with him in the parlor--the first room they entered. To Pierres assurances that he was not a Frenchman, the captain, evidently not understanding how anyone could decline so flattering an appellation, shrugged his shoulders and said that if Pierre absolutely insisted on passing for a Russian let it be so, but for all that he would be forever bound to Pierre by gratitude for saving his life. Had this man been endowed with the slightest capacity for perceiving the feelings of others, and had he at all understood what Pierres feelings were, the latter would probably have left him, but the mans animated obtuseness to everything other than himself disarmed Pierre. "A Frenchman or a Russian prince incognito," said the officer, looking at Pierres fine though dirty linen and at the ring on his finger. "I owe my life to you and offer you my friendship. A Frenchman never forgets either an insult or a service. I offer you my friendship. That is all I can say." There was so much good nature and nobility (in the French sense of the word) in the officers voice, in the expression of his face and in his gestures, that Pierre, unconsciously smiling in response to the Frenchmans smile, pressed the hand held out to him. "Captain Ramballe, of the 13th Light Regiment, Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for the affair on the seventh of September," he introduced himself, a self-satisfied irrepressible smile puckering his lips under his mustache. "Will you now be so good as to tell me with whom I have the honor of conversing so pleasantly, instead of being in the ambulance with that maniacs bullet in my body?" Pierre replied that he could not tell him his name and, blushing, began to try to invent a name and to say something about his reason for concealing it, but the Frenchman hastily interrupted him. "Oh, please!" said he. "I understand your reasons. You are an officer... a superior officer perhaps. You have borne arms against us. Thats not my business. I owe you my life. That is enough for me. I am quite at your service. You belong to the gentry?" he concluded with a shade of inquiry in his tone. Pierre bent his head. "Your baptismal name, if you please. That is all I ask. Monsieur Pierre, you say.... Thats all I want to know." When the mutton and an omelet had been served and a samovar and vodka brought, with some wine which the French had taken from a Russian cellar and brought with them, Ramballe invited Pierre to share his dinner, and himself began to eat greedily and quickly like a healthy and hungry man, munching his food rapidly with his strong teeth, continually smacking his lips, and repeating--"Excellent! Delicious!" His face grew red and was covered with perspiration. Pierre was hungry and shared the dinner with pleasure. Morel, the orderly, brought some hot water in a saucepan and placed a bottle of claret in it. He also brought a bottle of kvass, taken from the kitchen for them to try. That beverage was already known to the French and had been given a special name. They called it limonade de cochon (pigs lemonade), and Morel spoke well of the limonade de cochon he had found in the kitchen. But as the captain had the wine they had taken while passing through Moscow, he left the kvass to Morel and applied himself to the bottle of Bordeaux. He wrapped the bottle up to its neck in a table napkin and poured out wine for himself and for Pierre. The satisfaction of his hunger and the wine rendered the captain still more lively and he chatted incessantly all through dinner. "Yes, my dear Monsieur Pierre, I owe you a fine votive candle for saving me from that maniac.... You see, I have bullets enough in my body already. Here is one I got at Wagram" (he touched his side) "and a second at Smolensk"--he showed a scar on his cheek--"and this leg which as you see does not want to march, I got that on the seventh at the great battle of la

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