Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
room, and without greeting
anyone went up to Denisov and began questioning him about the matter
in hand. Denisov told him of the designs the large detachments had
on the transport, of the message Petya had brought, and his own
replies to both generals. Then he told him all he knew of the French
"Thats so. But we must know what troops they are and their
numbers," said Dolokhov. "It will be necessary to go there. We cant
start the affair without knowing for certain how many there are. I
like to work accurately. Here now--wouldnt one of these gentlemen
like to ride over to the French camp with me? I have brought a spare
"I, I... Ill go with you!" cried Petya.
"Theres no need for you to go at all," said Denisov, addressing
Dolokhov, "and as for him, I wont let him go on any account."
"I like that!" exclaimed Petya. "Why shouldnt I go?"
"Because its useless."
"Well, you must excuse me, because... because... I shall go, and
thats all. Youll take me, wont you?" he said, turning to Dolokhov.
"Why not?" Dolokhov answered absently, scrutinizing the face of
the French drummer boy. "Have you had that youngster with you long?"
he asked Denisov.
"He was taken today but he knows nothing. Im keeping him with me."
"Yes, and where do you put the others?" inquired Dolokhov.
"Where? I send them away and take a weceipt for them," shouted
Denisov, suddenly flushing. "And I say boldly that I have not a single
mans life on my conscience. Would it be difficult for you to send
thirty or thwee hundwed men to town under escort, instead of
staining--I speak bluntly--staining the honor of a soldier?"
"That kind of amiable talk would be suitable from this young count
of sixteen," said Dolokhov with cold irony, "but its time for you
to drop it."
"Why, Ive not said anything! I only say that Ill certainly go with
you," said Petya shyly.
"But for you and me, old fellow, its time to drop these amenities,"
continued Dolokhov, as if he found particular pleasure in speaking
of this subject which irritated Denisov. "Now, why have you kept
this lad?" he went on, swaying his head. "Because you are sorry for
him! Dont we know those receipts of yours? You send a hundred men
away, and thirty get there. The rest either starve or get killed. So
isnt it all the same not to send them?"
The esaul, screwing up his light-colored eyes, nodded approvingly.
"Thats not the point. Im not going to discuss the matter. I do not
wish to take it on my conscience. You say theyll die. All wight. Only
not by my fault!"
Dolokhov began laughing.
"Who has told them not to capture me these twenty times over? But if
they did catch me theyd string me up to an aspen tree, and with all
your chivalry just the same." He paused. "However, we must get to
work. Tell the Cossack to fetch my kit. I have two French uniforms
in it. Well, are you coming with me?" he asked Petya.
"I? Yes, yes, certainly!" cried Petya, blushing almost to tears
and glancing at Denisov.
While Dolokhov had been disputing with Denisov what should be done
with prisoners, Petya had once more felt awkward and restless; but
again he had no time to grasp fully what they were talking about.
"If grown-up, distinguished men think so, it must be necessary and
right," thought he. "But above all Denisov must not dare to imagine
that Ill obey him and that he can order me about. I will certainly go
to the French camp with Dolokhov. If he can, so can I!"
And to all Denisovs persuasions, Petya replied that he too was
accustomed to do everything accurately and not just anyhow, and that
he never considered personal danger.
"For youll admit that if we dont know for sure how many of them
there are... hundreds of lives may depend on it, while there are
only two of us. Besides, I want to go very much and certainly will go,
so dont hinder me," said he. "It will only make things worse..."
Having put on French greatcoats and shakos, Petya and Dolokhov
rode to the clearing from which Denisov had reconnoitered the French
camp, and emerging from the forest in pitch darkness they descended
into the hollow. On reaching the bottom, Dolokhov told the Cossacks
accompanying him to await him there and rode on at a quick trot
along the road to the bridge. Petya, his heart in his mouth
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