Qui eut le triple talent de boire, de battre, et d’être un vert galant.”

“That sounds well too. Now, Zaletaev!…”

Kyu,” Zaletaev articulated with effort. “Kyu-yu-yu …” he sang, puckering up his lips elaborately; “le-trip-ta- la-de-boo-de-ba-ce-detra-va-ga-la.”

“That’s fine! That’s a fine Frenchman, to be sure! oy … ho-ho-ho. Well, do you want some more to eat?”

“Give him some porridge; it’ll take him some time to satisfy his hunger.”

They gave him more porridge, and Morel, laughing, attacked a third bowlful. There were gleeful smiles on the faces of all the young soldiers watching him. The old soldiers, considering it beneath their dignity to show interest in such trifles, lay on the other side of the fire, but now and then one would raise himself on his elbow and glance with a smile at Morel.

“They are men, too,” said one, rolling himself up in his coat. “Even the wormwood has its roots.”

“O Lord! What lots of stars! It’s a sign of frost …” And all sank into silence.

The stars, as though they knew no one would see them now, were twinkling brightly in the black sky. Flaring up and growing dim again, and quivering, they seemed to be busily signalling some joyful mystery to each other.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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