Chapter 15

ON RETURNING this time from his leave, Rostov for the first time felt and recognised how strong was the tie that bound him to Denisov and all his regiment.

When Rostov reached the regiment, he experienced a sensation akin to what he had felt on reaching his home at Moscow. When he caught sight of the first hussar in the unbuttoned uniform of his regiment, when he recognised red-haired Dementyev, and saw the picket ropes of the chestnut horses, when Lavrushka gleefully shouted to his master, “The count has come!” and Denisov, who had been asleep on his bed, ran all dishevelled out of the mud-hut, and embraced him, and the officers gathered around to welcome the newcomer—Rostov felt the same sensation as when his mother had embraced him, and his father and sisters, and the tears of joy that rose in his throat prevented his speaking. The regiment was a home, too, and a home as unchangeably dear and precious as the parental home.

After reporting himself to his colonel, being assigned to his own squadron, and serving on orderly duty and going for forage, after entering into all the little interests of the regiment, and feeling himself deprived of liberty and nailed down within one narrow, unchangeable framework, Rostov had the same feeling of peace and of moral support and the same sense of being at home here, and in his proper place, as he had once felt under his father’s roof. Here was none of all that confusion of the free world, where he did not know his proper place, and made mistakes in exercising free choice. There was no Sonya, with whom one ought or ought not to have a clear understanding. There was no possibility of going to one place or to another. There were not twenty-four hours every day which could be used in so many different ways. There were not those innumerable masses of people of whom no one was nearer or further from one. There were none of those vague and undefined money relations with his father; no memories of his awful loss to Dolohov. Here in the regiment everything was clear and simple. The whole world was divided into two unequal parts: one, our Pavlograd regiment, and the other—all the remainder. And with all that great remainder one had no concern. In the regiment everything was well known: this man was a lieutenant, that one a captain; this was a good fellow and that one was not; but most of all, every one was a comrade. The canteen keeper would give him credit, his pay would come every four months. There was no need of thought or of choice; one had only to do nothing that was considered low in the Pavlograd regiment, and when occasion came, to do what was clear and distinct, defined and commanded; and all would be well.

On becoming subject again to the definite regulations of regimental life, Rostov had a sense of pleasure and relief, such as a weary man feels in lying down to rest. The regimental life was the greater relief to Rostov on this campaign, because after his loss to Dolohov (for which, in spite of his family’s efforts to console him, he could not forgive himself), he had resolved not to serve as before, but to atone for his fault by good conduct, and by being a thoroughly good soldier and officer, that is a good man, a task so difficult in the world, but so possible in the regiment.

Rostov had determined to repay his gambling debt to his parents in the course of five years. He had been sent ten thousand a year; now he had made up his mind to take only two thousand, and to leave the remainder to repay the debt to his parents.

After continual retreats, advances, and engagements at Pultusk and Preussisch-Eylau, our army was concentrated about Bartenstein. They were waiting for the arrival of the Tsar and the beginning of a new campaign.

The Pavlograd regiment, belonging to that part of the army which had been in the campaign of 1805, had stayed behind in Russia to make up its full complement of men, and did not arrive in time for the first actions of the campaign. It took no part in the battles of Pultusk and of Preussisch-Eylau, and joining the army in the field, in the second half of the campaign, was attached to Platov’s detachment.

Platov’s detachment was acting independently of the main army. Several times the Pavlograd hussars had taken part in skirmishes with the enemy, had captured prisoners, and on one occasion had even

  By PanEris using Melati.

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