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ecstatic hurry not to miss any chance to do something really heroic. He was highly delighted with what he saw and experienced in the army, but at the same time it always seemed to him that the really heroic exploits were being performed just where he did not happen to be. And he was always in a hurry to get where he was not. When on the twenty-first of October his general expressed a wish to send somebody to Denisovs detachment, Petya begged so piteously to be sent that the general could not refuse. But when dispatching him he recalled Petyas mad action at the battle of Vyazma, where instead of riding by the road to the place to which he had been sent, he had galloped to the advanced line under the fire of the French and had there twice fired his pistol. So now the general explicitly forbade his taking part in any action whatever of Denisovs. That was why Petya had blushed and grown confused when Denisov asked him whether he could stay. Before they had ridden to the outskirts of the forest Petya had considered he must carry out his instructions strictly and return at once. But when he saw the French and saw Tikhon and learned that there would certainly be an attack that night, he decided, with the rapidity with which young people change their views, that the general, whom he had greatly respected till then, was a rubbishy German, that Denisov was a hero, the esaul a hero, and Tikhon a hero too, and that it would be shameful for him to leave them at a moment of difficulty. It was already growing dusk when Denisov, Petya, and the esaul rode up to the watchhouse. In the twilight saddled horses could be seen, and Cossacks and hussars who had rigged up rough shelters in the glade and were kindling glowing fires in a hollow of the forest where the French could not see the smoke. In the passage of the small watchhouse a Cossack with sleeves rolled up was chopping some mutton. In the room three officers of Denisovs band were converting a door into a tabletop. Petya took off his wet clothes, gave them to be dried, and at once began helping the officers to fix up the dinner table. In ten minutes the table was ready and a napkin spread on it. On the table were vodka, a flask of rum, white bread, roast mutton, and salt. Sitting at table with the officers and tearing the fat savory mutton with his hands, down which the grease trickled, Petya was in an ecstatic childish state of love for all men, and consequently of confidence that others loved him in the same way. "So then what do you think, Vasili Dmitrich?" said he to Denisov. "Its all right my staying a day with you?" And not waiting for a reply he answered his own question: "You see I was told to find out--well, I am finding out.... Only do let me into the very... into the chief... I dont want a reward... But I want..." Petya clenched his teeth and looked around, throwing back his head and flourishing his arms. "Into the vewy chief..." Denisov repeated with a smile. "Only, please let me command something, so that I may really command..." Petya went on. "What would it be to you?... Oh, you want a knife?" he said, turning to an officer who wished to cut himself a piece of mutton. And he handed him his clasp knife. The officer admired it. "Please keep it. I have several like it," said Petya, blushing. "Heavens! I was quite forgetting!" he suddenly cried. "I have some raisins, fine ones; you know, seedless ones. We have a new sutler and he has such capital things. I bought ten pounds. I am used to something sweet. Would you like some?..." and Petya ran out into the passage to his Cossack and brought back some bags which contained about five pounds of raisins. "Have some, gentlemen, have some!" "You want a coffeepot, dont you?" he asked the esaul. "I bought a capital one from our sutler! He has splendid things. And hes very honest, thats the chief thing. Ill be sure to send it to you. Or perhaps your flints are giving out, or are worn out--that happens sometimes, you know. I have brought some with me, here they are"--and he showed a bag--"a hundred flints. I bought them very cheap. Please take as many as you want, or all if you like...." Then suddenly, dismayed

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