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of the rain and also from hunger (none of them had eaten anything since morning), and yet more because he still had no news from Dolokhov and the man sent to capture a "tongue" had not returned. "Therell hardly be another such chance to fall on a transport as today. Its too risky to attack them by oneself, and if we put it off till another day one of the big guerrilla detachments will snatch the prey from under our noses," thought Denisov, continually peering forward, hoping to see a messenger from Dolokhov. On coming to a path in the forest along which he could see far to the right, Denisov stopped. "Theres someone coming," said he. The esaul looked in the direction Denisov indicated. "There are two, an officer and a Cossack. But it is not presupposable that it is the lieutenant colonel himself," said the esaul, who was fond of using words the Cossacks did not know. The approaching riders having descended a decline were no longer visible, but they reappeared a few minutes later. In front, at a weary gallop and using his leather whip, rode an officer, disheveled and drenched, whose trousers had worked up to above his knees. Behind him, standing in the stirrups, trotted a Cossack. The officer, a very young lad with a broad rosy face and keen merry eyes, galloped up to Denisov and handed him a sodden envelope. "From the general," said the officer. "Please excuse its not being quite dry." Denisov, frowning, took the envelope and opened it. "There, they kept telling us: Its dangerous, its dangerous," said the officer, addressing the esaul while Denisov was reading the dispatch. "But Komarov and I"--he pointed to the Cossack--"were prepared. We have each of us two pistols.... But whats this?" he asked, noticing the French drummer boy. "A prisoner? Youve already been in action? May I speak to him?" "Wostov! Petya!" exclaimed Denisov, having run through the dispatch. "Why didnt you say who you were?" and turning with a smile he held out his hand to the lad. The officer was Petya Rostov. All the way Petya had been preparing himself to behave with Denisov as befitted a grownup man and an officer--without hinting at their previous acquaintance. But as soon as Denisov smiled at him Petya brightened up, blushed with pleasure, forgot the official manner he had been rehearsing, and began telling him how he had already been in a battle near Vyazma and how a certain hussar had distinguished himself there. "Well, I am glad to see you," Denisov interrupted him, and his face again assumed its anxious expression. "Michael Feoklitych," said he to the esaul, "this is again fwom that German, you know. He"--he indicated Petya--"is serving under him." And Denisov told the esaul that the dispatch just delivered was a repetition of the German generals demand that he should join forces with him for an attack on the transport. "If we dont take it tomowwow, hell snatch it fwom under our noses," he added. While Denisov was talking to the esaul, Petya--abashed by Denisovs cold tone and supposing that it was due to the condition of his trousers--furtively tried to pull them down under his greatcoat so that no one should notice it, while maintaining as martial an air as possible. "Will there be any orders, your honor?" he asked Denisov, holding his hand at the salute and resuming the game of adjutant and general for which he had prepared himself, "or shall I remain with your honor?" "Orders?" Denisov repeated thoughtfully. "But can you stay till tomowwow?" "Oh, please... May I stay with you?" cried Petya. "But, just what did the genewal tell you? To weturn at once?" asked Denisov. Petya blushed. "He gave me no instructions. I think I could?" he returned, inquiringly. "Well, all wight," said Denisov. And turning to his men he directed a party to go on to the halting place arranged near the watchmans hut in the forest, and told the officer on the Kirghiz horse (who performed the duties of an adjutant) to go and find out where Dolokhov was and whether he would come that evening. Denisov himself intended going with the esaul and Petya to the edge of the forest where it reached out to Shamshevo, to have a look at the part of the French bivouac they were to attack next day. "Well, old fellow," said he to the peasant guide, "lead us to Shamshevo." Denisov, Petya, and the esaul, accompanied by some Cossacks and the hussar who had the prisoner, rode to the left across a ravine to the edge of the forest. CHAPTER V The rain had stopped, and

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