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War And Peace 75


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you? Are you going to have lunch too? They feed you quite decently here," continued Telyanin. "Now then, let me have it." He stretched out his hand to take hold of the purse. Rostov let go of it. Telyanin took the purse and began carelessly slipping it into the pocket of his riding breeches, with his eyebrows lifted and his mouth slightly open, as if to say, "Yes, yes, I am putting my purse in my pocket and thats quite simple and is no one elses business." "Well, young man?" he said with a sigh, and from under his lifted brows he glanced into Rostovs eyes. Some flash as of an electric spark shot from Telyanins eyes to Rostovs and back, and back again and again in an instant. "Come here," said Rostov, catching hold of Telyanins arm and almost dragging him to the window. "That money is Denisovs; you took it..." he whispered just above Telyanins ear. "What? What? How dare you? What?" said Telyanin. But these words came like a piteous, despairing cry and an entreaty for pardon. As soon as Rostov heard them, an enormous load of doubt fell from him. He was glad, and at the same instant began to pity the miserable man who stood before him, but the task he had begun had to be completed. "Heaven only knows what the people here may imagine," muttered Telyanin, taking up his cap and moving toward a small empty room. "We must have an explanation..." "I know it and shall prove it," said Rostov. "I..." Every muscle of Telyanins pale, terrified face began to quiver, his eyes still shifted from side to side but with a downward look not rising to Rostovs face, and his sobs were audible. "Count!... Dont ruin a young fellow... here is this wretched money, take it..." He threw it on the table. "I have an old father and mother!..." Rostov took the money, avoiding Telyanins eyes, and went out of the room without a word. But at the door he stopped and then retraced his steps. "O God," he said with tears in his eyes, "how could you do it?" "Count..." said Telyanin drawing nearer to him. "Dont touch me," said Rostov, drawing back. "If you need it, take the money," and he threw the purse to him and ran out of the inn. CHAPTER V That same evening there was an animated discussion among the squadrons officers in Denisovs quarters. "And I tell you, Rostov, that you must apologize to the colonel!" said a tall, grizzly-haired staff captain, with enormous mustaches and many wrinkles on his large features, to Rostov who was crimson with excitement. The staff captain, Kirsten, had twice been reduced to the ranks for affairs of honor and had twice regained his commission. "I will allow no one to call me a liar!" cried Rostov. "He told me I lied, and I told him he lied. And there it rests. He may keep me on duty every day, or may place me under arrest, but no one can make me apologize, because if he, as commander of this regiment, thinks it beneath his dignity to give me satisfaction, then..." "You just wait a moment, my dear fellow, and listen," interrupted the staff captain in his deep bass, calmly stroking his long mustache. "You tell the colonel in the presence of other officers that an officer has stolen..." "Im not to blame that the conversation began in the presence of other officers. Perhaps I ought not to have spoken before them, but I am not a diplomatist. Thats why I joined the hussars, thinking that here one would not need finesse; and he tells me that I am lying--so let him give me satisfaction..." "Thats all right. No one thinks you a coward, but thats not the point. Ask Denisov whether it is not out of the question for a cadet to demand satisfaction of his regimental commander?" Denisov sat gloomily biting his mustache and listening to the conversation, evidently with no wish to take part in it. He answered the staff captains question by a disapproving shake of his head. "You speak to the colonel about this nasty business before other officers," continued the staff captain, "and Bogdanich" (the colonel was called Bogdanich) "shuts you up." "He did not shut me up, he said I was telling an untruth." "Well, have it so, and you talked a lot of nonsense to him and must apologize." "Not on any account!" exclaimed Rostov. "I did not expect this of you," said the staff captain seriously and severely. "You dont wish to apologize, but, man,

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