One would have thought it impossible to stand more rigidly erect than Timohin had done when the general in command of the regiment had made his remarks to him; but at the instant when the commander-in- chief addressed him, the captain stood with such erect rigidity that it seemed that, were the commander- in-chief to remain for some time looking at him, the captain could hardly sustain the ordeal, and for that reason Kutuzov, realising his position, and wishing him nothing but good, hurriedly turned away. A scarcely perceptible smile passed over Kutuzov’s podgy face, disfigured by the scar of a wound.

“Another old comrade at Ismail!” he said. “A gallant officer! Are you satisfied with him?” Kutuzov asked of the general in command.

And the general, all unconscious that he was being reflected as in a mirror in the officer of hussars behind him, quivered, pressed forward, and answered: “Fully, your most high excellency.”

“We all have our weaknesses,” said Kutuzov, smiling and walking away from him. “He had a predilection for Bacchus.”

The general in command was afraid that he might be to blame for this, and made no answer. The officer of hussars at that instant noticed the face of the captain with the red nose, and the rigidly drawn-in stomach, and mimicked his face and attitude in such a life-like manner that Nesvitsky could not restrain his laughter. Kutuzov turned round. The officer could apparently do anything he liked with his face; at the instant Kutuzov turned round, the officer had time to get in a grimace before assuming the most serious, respectful, and innocent expression.

The third company was the last, and Kutuzov seemed pondering, as though trying to recall something. Prince Andrey stepped forward and said softly in French: “You told me to remind you of the degraded officer, Dolohov, serving in the ranks in this regiment.”

“Where is Dolohov?” asked Kutuzov.

Dolohov, attired by now in the grey overcoat of a private soldier, did not wait to be called up. The slender figure of the fair-haired soldier, with his bright blue eyes, stepped out of the line. He went up to the commander- in-chief and presented arms.

“A complaint to make?” Kutuzov asked with a slight frown.

“This is Dolohov,” said Prince Andrey.

“Ah!” said Kutuzov. “I hope this will be a lesson to you, do your duty thoroughly. The Emperor is gracious. And I shall not forget you, if you deserve it.”

The bright blue eyes looked at the commander-in-chief just as impudently as at the general of his regiment, as though by his expression tearing down the veil of convention that removed the commander-in-chief so far from the soldier.

“The only favour I beg of your most high excellency,” he said in his firm, ringing, deliberate voice, “is to give me a chance to atone for my offence, and to prove my devotion to his majesty the Emperor, and to Russia.”

Kutuzov turned away. There was a gleam in his eyes of the same smile with which he had turned away from Captain Timohin. He turned away and frowned, as though to express that all Dolohov had said to him and all he could say, he had known long, long ago, that he was sick to death long ago of it, and that it was not at all what was wanted. He turned away and went towards the coach.

The regiment broke into companies and went towards the quarters assigned them at no great distance from Braunau, where they hoped to find boots and clothes, and to rest after their hard marches.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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