and he felt the tears rising. At the same second, leaving no time for Pierre’s embarrassment to appear, the little man said, in the same pleasant voice:

“Ay, darling, don’t grieve,” he said, in that tender, caressing sing-song in which old Russian peasant women talk. “Don’t grieve, dearie; trouble lasts an hour, but life lasts for ever! Ay, ay, my dear. And we get on here finely, thank God; nothing to vex us. They’re men, too, and bad and good among them,” he said; and, while still speaking, got with a supple movement on his knees to his feet, and clearing his throat walked away.

“Hey, the hussy, here she is!” Pierre heard at the end of the shed the same caressing voice. “Here she is, the hussy; she remembers me! There, there, lie down!” And the soldier, pushing down a dog that was jumping up on him, came back to his place and sat down. In his hands he had something wrapped up in a cloth.

“Here, you taste this, sir,” he said, returning to the respectful tone he had used at first, and untying and handing to Pierre several baked potatoes. “At dinner we had soup. But the potatoes are first-rate!”

Pierre had eaten nothing the whole day, and the smell of the potatoes struck him as extraordinarily pleasant. He thanked the soldier and began eating.

“But why so, eh?” said the soldier smiling, and he took one of the potatoes. “You try them like this.” He took out his clasp-knife again, cut the potato in his hand into two even halves, and sprinkled them with salt from the cloth, and offered them to Pierre.

“The potatoes are first-rate,” he repeated. “You taste them like that.”

It seemed to Pierre that he had never eaten anything so good.

“No, I am all right,” said Pierre; “but why did they shoot those poor fellows?…The last was a lad of twenty.”

“Tss…tss…” said the little man. “Sin, indeed,…sin…” he added quickly, just as though the words were already in his mouth and flew out of it by accident; he went on: “How was it, sir, you came to stay in Moscow like this?”

“I didn’t think they would come so soon. I stayed by accident,” said Pierre.

“But how did they take you, darling; from your home?”

“No, I went out to see the fire, and then they took me up and brought me to judgment as an incendiary.”

“Where there’s judgment, there there’s falsehood,” put in the little man.

“And have you been here long?” asked Pierre, as he munched the last potato.

“I? On Sunday they took me out of the hospital in Moscow.”

“Who are you, a soldier?”

“We are soldiers of the Apsheron regiment. I was dying of fever. We were never told anything. There were twenty of us lying sick. And we had never a thought, never a guess of how it was.”

“Well, and are you miserable here?” asked Pierre.

“Miserable, to be sure, darling. My name’s Platon, surname Karataev,” he added, evidently to make it easier for Pierre to address him. “In the regiment they called me ‘the little hawk.’ How can one help

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