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War And Peace 627

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War And Peace

lest he had said too much, Petya stopped and blushed. He tried to remember whether he had not done anything else that was foolish. And running over the events of the day he remembered the French drummer boy. "Its capital for us here, but what of him? Where have they put him? Have they fed him? Havent they hurt his feelings?" he thought. But having caught himself saying too much about the flints, he was now afraid to speak out. "I might ask," he thought, "but theyll say: Hes a boy himself and so he pities the boy. Ill show them tomorrow whether Im a boy. Will it seem odd if I ask?" Petya thought. "Well, never mind!" and immediately, blushing and looking anxiously at the officers to see if they appeared ironical, he said: "May I call in that boy who was taken prisoner and give him something to eat?... Perhaps..." "Yes, hes a poor little fellow," said Denisov, who evidently saw nothing shameful in this reminder. "Call him in. His name is Vincent Bosse. Have him fetched." "Ill call him," said Petya. "Yes, yes, call him. A poor little fellow," Denisov repeated. Petya was standing at the door when Denisov said this. He slipped in between the officers, came close to Denisov, and said: "Let me kiss you, dear old fellow! Oh, how fine, how splendid!" And having kissed Denisov he ran out of the hut. "Bosse! Vincent!" Petya cried, stopping outside the door. "Who do you want, sir?" asked a voice in the darkness. Petya replied that he wanted the French lad who had been captured that day. "Ah, Vesenny?" said a Cossack. Vincent, the boys name, had already been changed by the Cossacks into Vesenny (vernal) and into Vesenya by the peasants and soldiers. In both these adaptations the reference to spring (vesna) matched the impression made by the young lad. "He is warming himself there by the bonfire. Ho, Vesenya! Vesenya!--Vesenny!" laughing voices were heard calling to one another in the darkness. "Hes a smart lad," said an hussar standing near Petya. "We gave him something to eat a while ago. He was awfully hungry!" The sound of bare feet splashing through the mud was heard in the darkness, and the drummer boy came to the door. "Ah, cest vous!" said Petya. "Voulez-vous manger? Nayez pas peur, on ne vous fera pas de mal,"* he added shyly and affectionately, touching the boys hand. "Entrez, entrez."*[2] *"Ah, its you! Do you want something to eat? Dont be afraid, they wont hurt you." *[2] "Come in, come in." "Merci, monsieur,"* said the drummer boy in a trembling almost childish voice, and he began scraping his dirty feet on the threshold. *"Thank you, sir." There were many things Petya wanted to say to the drummer boy, but did not dare to. He stood irresolutely beside him in the passage. Then in the darkness he took the boys hand and pressed it. "Come in, come in!" he repeated in a gentle whisper. "Oh, what can I do for him?" he thought, and opening the door he let the boy pass in first. When the boy had entered the hut, Petya sat down at a distance from him, considering it beneath his dignity to pay attention to him. But he fingered the money in his pocket and wondered whether it would seem ridiculous to give some to the drummer boy. CHAPTER VIII The arrival of Dolokhov diverted Petyas attention from the drummer boy, to whom Denisov had had some mutton and vodka given, and whom he had had dressed in a Russian coat so that he might be kept with their band and not sent away with the other prisoners. Petya had heard in the army many stories of Dolokhovs extraordinary bravery and of his cruelty to the French, so from the moment he entered the hut Petya did not take his eyes from him, but braced himself up more and more and held his head high, that he might not be unworthy even of such company. Dolokhovs appearance amazed Petya by its simplicity. Denisov wore a Cossack coat, had a beard, had an icon of Nicholas the Wonder-Worker on his breast, and his way of speaking and everything he did indicated his unusual position. But Dolokhov, who in Moscow had worn a Persian costume, had now the appearance of a most correct officer of the Guards. He was clean-shaven and wore a Guardsmans padded coat with an Order of St. George at his buttonhole and a plain forage cap set straight on his head. He took off his wet felt cloak in a corner of the

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