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War And Peace 76


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its not only to him but to the whole regiment--all of us--youre to blame all round. The case is this: you ought to have thought the matter over and taken advice; but no, you go and blurt it all straight out before the officers. Now what was the colonel to do? Have the officer tried and disgrace the whole regiment? Disgrace the whole regiment because of one scoundrel? Is that how you look at it? We dont see it like that. And Bogdanich was a brick: he told you you were saying what was not true. Its not pleasant, but whats to be done, my dear fellow? You landed yourself in it. And now, when one wants to smooth the thing over, some conceit prevents your apologizing, and you wish to make the whole affair public. You are offended at being put on duty a bit, but why not apologize to an old and honorable officer? Whatever Bogdanich may be, anyway he is an honorable and brave old colonel! Youre quick at taking offense, but you dont mind disgracing the whole regiment!" The staff captains voice began to tremble. "You have been in the regiment next to no time, my lad, youre here today and tomorrow youll be appointed adjutant somewhere and can snap your fingers when it is said There are thieves among the Pavlograd officers! But its not all the same to us! Am I not right, Denisov? Its not the same!" Denisov remained silent and did not move, but occasionally looked with his glittering black eyes at Rostov. "You value your own pride and dont wish to apologize," continued the staff captain, "but we old fellows, who have grown up in and, God willing, are going to die in the regiment, we prize the honor of the regiment, and Bogdanich knows it. Oh, we do prize it, old fellow! And all this is not right, its not right! You may take offense or not but I always stick to mother truth. Its not right!" And the staff captain rose and turned away from Rostov. "Thats twue, devil take it!" shouted Denisov, jumping up. "Now then, Wostov, now then!" Rostov, growing red and pale alternately, looked first at one officer and then at the other. "No, gentlemen, no... you mustnt think... I quite understand. Youre wrong to think that of me... I... for me... for the honor of the regiment Id... Ah well, Ill show that in action, and for me the honor of the flag... Well, never mind, its true Im to blame, to blame all round. Well, what else do you want?..." "Come, thats right, Count!" cried the staff captain, turning round and clapping Rostov on the shoulder with his big hand. "I tell you," shouted Denisov, "hes a fine fellow." "Thats better, Count," said the staff captain, beginning to address Rostov by his title, as if in recognition of his confession. "Go and apologize, your excellency. Yes, go!" "Gentlemen, Ill do anything. No one shall hear a word from me," said Rostov in an imploring voice, "but I cant apologize, by God I cant, do what you will! How can I go and apologize like a little boy asking forgiveness?" Denisov began to laugh. "Itll be worse for you. Bogdanich is vindictive and youll pay for your obstinacy," said Kirsten. "No, on my word its not obstinacy! I cant describe the feeling. I cant..." "Well, its as you like," said the staff captain. "And what has become of that scoundrel?" he asked Denisov. "He has weported himself sick, hes to be stwuck off the list tomowwow," muttered Denisov. "It is an illness, theres no other way of explaining it," said the staff captain. "Illness or not, hed better not cwoss my path. Id kill him!" shouted Denisov in a bloodthirsty tone. Just then Zherkov entered the room. "What brings you here?" cried the officers turning to the newcomer. "Were to go into action, gentlemen! Mack has surrendered with his whole army." "Its not true!" "Ive seen him myself!" "What? Saw the real Mack? With hands and feet?" "Into action! Into action! Bring him a bottle for such news! But how did you come here?" "Ive been sent back to the regiment all on account of that devil, Mack. An Austrian general complained of me. I congratulated him on Macks arrival... Whats the matter, Rostov? You look as if youd just come out of a hot bath." "Oh, my dear fellow, were in such a stew here these last two days." The regimental adjutant came in and confirmed the news brought by Zherkov. They were under orders to advance next day. "Were going

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