driving up to them, some fifteen hussars on lean horses rode behind them. The transport waggons, escorted by the hussars, drove up to the picket ropes, and a crowd of hussars surrounded them.

“There, look! Denisov was always fretting about it,” said Rostov; “here are provisions come at last.”

“High time, too!” said the officers. “Won’t the soldiers be pleased!”

A little behind the hussars rode Denisov, accompanied by two infantry officers, with whom he was in conversation. Rostov went to meet them.

“I warn you, captain,” one of the officers was saying, a thin, little man, visibly wrathful.

“Well, I have told you, I won’t give them up,” answered Denisov.

“You will have to answer for it, captain. It’s mutiny—carrying off transports from your own army! Our men have had no food for two days.”

“Mine have had nothing for a fortnight,” answered Denisov.

“It’s brigandage; you will answer for it, sir!” repeated the infantry officer, raising his voice.

“But why do you keep pestering me? Eh?” roared Denisov, suddenly getting furious. “It’s I will have to answer for it, and not you; and you’d better not cry out till you’re hurt. Be off!” he shouted at the officers.

“All right!” the little officer responded, not the least intimidated, and not moving away. “It’s robbery, so I tell you.…”

“Go to the devil, quick march, while you’re safe and sound.” And Denisov moved towards the officer.

“All right, all right,” said the officer threateningly; and he turned his horse and trotted away, swaying in the saddle.

“A dog astride a fence, a dog astride a fence to the life!” Denisov called after him—the bitterest insult a cavalry man can pay an infantry man on horseback; and riding up to Rostov he broke into a guffaw.

“Carried off the transports, carried them off from the infantry by force!” he said. “Why, am I to let the men die of hunger?”

The stores carried off by the hussars had been intended for an infantry regiment, but learning from Lavrushka that the transport was unescorted, Denisov and his hussars had carried off the stores by force. Biscuits were dealt out freely to the soldiers; they even shared them with the other squadrons.

Denisov went straight from the colonel to the staff with a sincere desire to follow his advice.

In the evening he came back to his hut in a condition such as Rostov had never seen his friend in before. Denisov could not speak, and was gasping for breath. When Rostov asked him what was wrong with him, he could only in a faint and husky voice utter incoherent oaths and threats.

Alarmed at Denisov’s condition, Rostov suggested he should undress, drink some water, and sent for the doctor.

“Me to be court-martialled for brigandage—oh! some more water!—Let them court-martial me; I will, I always will, beat blackguards, and I’ll tell the Emperor.—Ice,” he kept saying.

The regimental doctor said it was necessary to bleed him. A deep saucer of black blood was drawn from Denisov’s hairy arm, and only then did he recover himself sufficiently to relate what had happened.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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