In April the troops were enlivened by news of the Emperor's arrival, but Rostov had no chance of being present at the review he held at Bartenstein, as the Pavlograds were at the outposts far beyond that place.
They were bivouacking. Denisov and Rostov were living in an earth hut, dug out for them by the soldiers and roofed with branches and turf. The hut was made in the following manner, which had then come into vogue. A trench was dug three and a half feet wide, four feet eight inches deep, and eight feet long. At one end of the trench, steps were cut out and these formed the entrance and vestibule. The trench itself was the room, in which the lucky ones, such as the squadron commander, had a board, lying on piles at the end opposite the entrance, to serve as a table. On each side of the trench, the earth was cut out to a breadth of about two and a half feet, and this did duty for bedsteads and couches. The roof was so constructed that one could stand up in the middle of the trench and could even sit up on the beds if one drew close to the table. Denisov, who was living luxuriously because the soldiers of his squadron liked him, had also a board in the roof at the farther end, with a piece of (broken but mended) glass in it for a window. When it was very cold, embers from the soldiers' campfire were placed on a bent sheet of iron on the steps in the "reception room"--as Denisov called that part of the hut- and it was then so warm that the officers, of whom there were always some with Denisov and Rostov, sat in their shirt sleeves.
In April, Rostov was on orderly duty. One morning, between seven and eight, returning after a sleepless night, he sent for embers, changed his rain-soaked underclothes, said his prayers, drank tea, got warm, then tidied up the things on the table and in his own corner, and, his face glowing from exposure to the wind and with nothing on but his shirt, lay down on his back, putting his arms under his head. He was pleasantly considering the probability of being promoted in a few days for his last reconnoitering expedition, and was awaiting Denisov, who had gone out somewhere and with whom he wanted a talk.
Suddenly he heard Denisov shouting in a vibrating voice behind the hut, evidently much excited. Rostov moved to the window to see whom he was speaking to, and saw the quartermaster, Topcheenko.
"I ordered you not to let them eat that Mashka woot stuff!" Denisov was shouting. "And I saw with my own eyes how Lazarchuk bwought some fwom the fields."
"I have given the order again and again, your honor, but they don't obey," answered the quartermaster.
Rostov lay down again on his bed and thought complacently: "Let him fuss and bustle now, my job's done and I'm lying down--capitally!" He could hear that Lavrushka--that sly, bold orderly of Denisov's--was talking, as well as the quartermaster. Lavrushka was saying something about loaded wagons, biscuits, and oxen he had seen when he had gone out for provisions.
Then Denisov's voice was heard shouting farther and farther away. "Saddle! Second platoon!"
"Where are they off to now?" thought Rostov.
Five minutes later, Denisov came into the hut, climbed with muddy boots on the bed, lit his pipe, furiously scattered his things about, took his leaded whip, buckled on his saber, and went out again. In answer to Rostov's inquiry where he was going, he answered vaguely and crossly that he had some business.
"Let God and our gweat monarch judge me afterwards!" said Denisov going out, and Rostov heard the hoofs of several horses splashing through the mud. He did not even trouble to find out where Denisov had gone. Having got warm in his corner, he fell asleep and did not leave the hut till toward evening. Denisov had not yet returned. The weather had cleared up, and near the next hut two officers and a cadet were playing svayka, laughing as they threw their missiles which buried themselves in the soft mud. Rostov joined them. In the middle of the game, the officers saw some wagons approaching with fifteen hussars on their skinny horses behind them. The wagons escorted by the hussars drew up to the picket ropes and a crowd of hussars surrounded them.
"There now, Denisov has been worrying," said Rostov, "and here are the provisions."
"So they are!" said the officers. "Won't the soldiers be glad!"
A little behind the hussars came Denisov, accompanied by two infantry officers with whom he was talking.
Rostov went to meet them.
"I warn you, Captain," one of the officers, a short thin man, evidently very angry, was saying.
"Haven't I told you I won't give them up?" replied Denisov.
"You will answer for it, Captain. It is mutiny--seizing the transport of one's own army. Our men have had nothing to eat for two days."
"And mine have had nothing for two weeks," said Denisov.
"It is robbery! You'll answer for it, sir!" said the infantry officer, raising his voice.
"Now, what are you pestewing me for?" cried Denisov, suddenly losing his temper. "I shall answer for it and not you, and you'd better not buzz about here till you get hurt. Be off! Go!" he shouted at the officers.
"Very well, then!" shouted the little officer, undaunted and not riding away. "If you are determined to rob, I'll..."
"Go to the devil! quick ma'ch, while you're safe and sound!" and Denisov turned his horse on the officer.
"Very well, very well!" muttered the officer, threateningly, and turning his horse he trotted away, jolting in his saddle.
"A dog astwide a fence! A weal dog astwide a fence!" shouted Denisov after him (the most insulting expression a cavalryman can address to a mounted infantryman) and riding up to Rostov, he burst out laughing.
"I've taken twansports from the infantwy by force!" he said. "After all, can't let our men starve."
The wagons that had reached the hussars had been consigned to an infantry regiment, but learning from Lavrushka that the transport was unescorted, Denisov with his hussars had seized it by force. The soldiers had biscuits dealt out to them freely, and they even shared them with the other squadrons.
The next day the regimental commander sent for Denisov, and holding his fingers spread out before his eyes said:
"This is how I look at this affair: I know nothing about it and won't begin proceedings, but I advise you to ride over to the staff and settle the business there in the commissariat department and if possible sign a receipt for such and such stores received. If not, as the demand was booked against an infantry regiment, there will be a row and the affair may end badly."
From the regimental commander's, Denisov rode straight to the staff with a sincere desire to act on this advice. In the evening he came back to his dugout in a state such as Rostov had never yet seen him in. Denisov could not speak and gasped for breath. When Rostov asked what was the matter, he only uttered some incoherent oaths and threats in a hoarse, feeble voice.
Alarmed at Denisov's condition, Rostov suggested that he should undress, drink some water, and send for the doctor.
"Twy me for wobbewy... oh! Some more water... Let them twy me, but I'll always thwash scoundwels... and I'll tell the Empewo'... Ice..." he muttered.
The regimental doctor, when he came, said it was absolutely necessary to bleed Denisov. A deep saucer of black blood was taken from his hairy arm and only then was he able to relate what had happened to him.
"I get there," began Denisov. "'Now then, where's your chief's quarters?' They were pointed out. 'Please to wait.' 'I've widden twenty miles and have duties to attend to and no time to wait. Announce me.' Vewy well, so out comes their head chief--also took it into his head to lecture me: 'It's wobbewy!'--'Wobbewy,' I say, 'is not done by man who seizes pwovisions to feed his soldiers, but by him who takes them to fill his own pockets!' 'Will you please be silent?' 'Vewy good!' Then he says: 'Go and give a weceipt to the commissioner, but your affair will be passed on to headquarters.' I go to the commissioner. I enter, and at the table... who do you think? No, but wait a bit!... Who is it that's starving us?" shouted Denisov, hitting the table with the fist of his newly bled arm so violently that the table nearly broke down and the tumblers on it jumped about. "Telyanin! 'What? So it's you who's starving us to death! Is it? Take this and this!' and I hit him so pat, stwaight on his snout... 'Ah, what a... what...!' and I sta'ted fwashing him... Well, I've had a bit of fun I can tell you!" cried Denisov, gleeful and yet angry, his showing under his black mustache. "I'd have killed him if they hadn't taken him away!"
"But what are you shouting for? Calm yourself," said Rostov. "You've set your arm bleeding afresh. Wait, we must tie it up again."
Denisov was bandaged up again and put to bed. Next day he woke calm and cheerful.
But at noon the adjutant of the regiment came into Rostov's and Denisov's dugout with a grave and serious face and regretfully showed them a paper addressed to Major Denisov from the regimental commander in which inquiries were made about yesterday's occurrence. The adjutant told them that the affair was likely to take a very bad turn: that a court-martial had been appointed, and that in view of the severity with which marauding and insubordination were now regarded, degradation to the ranks would be the best that could be hoped for.
The case, as represented by the offended parties, was that, after seizing the transports, Major Denisov, being drunk, went to the chief quartermaster and without any provocation called him a thief, threatened to strike him, and on being led out had rushed into the office and given two officials a thrashing, and dislocated the arm of one of them.
In answer to Rostov's renewed questions, Denisov said, laughing, that he thought he remembered that some other fellow had got mixed up in it, but that it was all nonsense and rubbish, and he did not in the least fear any kind of trial, and that if those scoundrels dared attack him he would give them an answer that they would not easily forget.
Denisov spoke contemptuously of the whole matter, but Rostov knew him too well not to detect that (while hiding it from others) at heart he feared a court-martial and was worried over the affair, which was evidently taking a bad turn. Every day, letters of inquiry and notices from the court arrived, and on the first of May, Denisov was ordered to hand the squadron over to the next in seniority and appear before the staff of his division to explain his violence at the commissariat office. On the previous day Platov reconnoitered with two Cossack regiments and two squadrons of hussars. Denisov, as was his wont, rode out in front of the outposts, parading his courage. A bullet fired by a French sharpshooter hit him in the fleshy part of his leg. Perhaps at another time Denisov would not have left the regiment for so slight a wound, but now he took advantage of it to excuse himself from appearing at the staff and went into hospital.
In June the battle of Friedland was fought, in which the Pavlograds did not take part, and after that an armistice was proclaimed. Rostov, who felt his friend's absence very much, having no news of him since he left and feeling very anxious about his wound and the progress of his affairs, took advantage of the armistice to get leave to visit Denisov in hospital.
The hospital was in a small Prussian town that had been twice devastated by Russian and French troops. Because it was summer, when it is so beautiful out in the fields, the little town presented a particularly dismal appearance with its broken roofs and fences, its foul streets, tattered inhabitants, and the sick and drunken soldiers wandering about.
The hospital was in a brick building with some of the window frames and panes broken and a courtyard surrounded by the remains of a wooden fence that had been pulled to pieces. Several bandaged soldiers, with pale swollen faces, were sitting or walking about in the sunshine in the yard.
Directly Rostov entered the door he was enveloped by a smell of putrefaction and hospital air. On the stairs he met a Russian army doctor smoking a cigar. The doctor was followed by a Russian assistant.
"I can't tear myself to pieces," the doctor was saying. "Come to Makar Alexeevich in the evening. I shall be there."
The assistant asked some further questions.
"Oh, do the best you can! Isn't it all the same?" The doctor noticed Rostov coming upstairs.
"What do you want, sir?" said the doctor. "What do you want? The bullets having spared you, do you want to try typhus? This is a pesthouse, sir."
"How so?" asked Rostov.
"Typhus, sir. It's death to go in. Only we two, Makeev and I" (he pointed to the assistant), "keep on here. Some five of us doctors have died in this place.... When a new one comes he is done for in a week," said the doctor with evident satisfaction. "Prussian doctors have been invited here, but our allies don't like it at all."
Rostov explained that he wanted to see Major Denisov of the hussars, who was wounded.
"I don't know. I can't tell you, sir. Only think! I am alone in charge of three hospitals with more than four hundred patients! It's well that the charitable Prussian ladies send us two pounds of coffee and some lint each month or we should be lost!" he laughed. "Four hundred, sir, and they're always sending me fresh ones. There are four hundred? Eh?" he asked, turning to the assistant.
The assistant looked fagged out. He was evidently vexed and impatient for the talkative doctor to go.
"Major Denisov," Rostov said again. "He was wounded at Molliten."
"Dead, I fancy. Eh, Makeev?" queried the doctor, in a tone of indifference.
The assistant, however, did not confirm the doctor's words.
"Is he tall and with reddish hair?" asked the doctor.
Rostov described Denisov's appearance.
"There was one like that," said the doctor, as if pleased. "That one is dead, I fancy. However, I'll look up our list. We had a list. Have you got it, Makeev?"
"Makar Alexeevich has the list," answered the assistant. "But if you'll step into the officers' wards you'll see for yourself," he added, turning to Rostov.
"Ah, you'd better not go, sir," said the doctor, "or you may have to stay here yourself."
But Rostov bowed himself away from the doctor and asked the assistant to show him the way.
"Only don't blame me!" the doctor shouted up after him.
Rostov and the assistant went into the dark corridor. The smell was so strong there that Rostov held his nose and had to pause and collect his strength before he could go on. A door opened to the right, and an emaciated sallow man on crutches, barefoot and in underclothing, limped out and, leaning against the doorpost, looked with glittering envious eyes at those who were passing. Glancing in at the door, Rostov saw that the sick and wounded were lying on the floor on straw and overcoats.
"May I go in and look?"
"What is there to see?" said the assistant.
But, just because the assistant evidently did not want him to go in, Rostov entered the soldiers' ward. The foul air, to which he had already begun to get used in the corridor, was still stronger here. It was a little different, more pungent, and one felt that this was where it originated.
In the long room, brightly lit up by the sun through the large windows, the sick and wounded lay in two rows with their heads to the walls, and leaving a passage in the middle. Most of them were unconscious and paid no attention to the newcomers. Those who were conscious raised themselves or lifted their thin yellow faces, and all looked intently at Rostov with the same expression of hope, of relief, reproach, and envy of another's health. Rostov went to the middle of the room and looking through the open doors into the two adjoining rooms saw the same thing there. He stood still, looking silently around. He had not at all expected such a sight. Just before him, almost across the middle of the passage on the bare floor, lay a sick man, probably a Cossack to judge by the cut of his hair. The man lay on his back, his huge arms and legs outstretched. His face was purple, his eyes were rolled back so that only the whites were seen, and on his bare legs and arms which were still red, the veins stood out like cords. He was knocking the back of his head against the floor, hoarsely uttering some word which he kept repeating. Rostov listened and made out the word. It was "drink, drink, a drink!" Rostov glanced round, looking for someone who would put this man back in his place and bring him water.
"Who looks after the sick here?" he asked the assistant.
Just then a commissariat soldier, a hospital orderly, came in from the next room, marching stiffly, and drew up in front of Rostov.
"Good day, your honor!" he shouted, rolling his eyes at Rostov and evidently mistaking him for one of the hospital authorities.
"Get him to his place and give him some water," said Rostov, pointing to the Cossack.
"Yes, your honor," the soldier replied complacently, and rolling his eyes more than ever he drew himself up still straighter, but did not move.
"No, it's impossible to do anything here," thought Rostov, lowering his eyes, and he was going out, but became aware of an intense look fixed on him on his right, and he turned. Close to the corner, on an overcoat, sat an old, unshaven, gray-bearded soldier as thin as a skeleton, with a stern sallow face and eyes intently fixed on Rostov. The man's neighbor on one side whispered something to him, pointing at Rostov, who noticed that the old man wanted to speak to him. He drew nearer and saw that the old man had only one leg bent under him, the other had been amputated above the knee. His neighbor on the other side, who lay motionless some distance from him with his head thrown back, was a young soldier with a snub nose. His pale waxen face was still freckled and his eyes were rolled back. Rostov looked at the young soldier and a cold chill ran down his back.
"Why, this one seems..." he began, turning to the assistant.
"And how we've been begging, your honor," said the old soldier, his jaw quivering. "He's been dead since morning. After all we're men, not dogs."
"I'll send someone at once. He shall be taken away--taken away at once," said the assistant hurriedly. "Let us go, your honor."
"Yes, yes, let us go," said Rostov hastily, and lowering his eyes and shrinking, he tried to pass unnoticed between the rows of reproachful envious eyes that were fixed upon him, and went out of the room.
Going along the corridor, the assistant led Rostov to the officers' wards, consisting of three rooms, the doors of which stood open. There were beds in these rooms and the sick and wounded officers were lying or sitting on them. Some were walking about the rooms in hospital dressing gowns. The first person Rostov met in the officers' ward was a thin little man with one arm, who was walking about the first room in a nightcap and hospital dressing gown, with a pipe between his teeth. Rostov looked at him, trying to remember where he had seen him before.
"See where we've met again!" said the little man. "Tushin, Tushin, don't you remember, who gave you a lift at Schon Grabern? And I've had a bit cut off, you see..." he went on with a smile, pointing to the empty sleeve of his dressing gown. "Looking for Vasili Dmitrich Denisov? My neighbor," he added, when he heard who Rostov wanted. "Here, here," and Tushin led him into the next room, from whence came sounds of several laughing voices.
"How can they laugh, or even live at all here?" thought Rostov, still aware of that smell of decomposing flesh that had been so strong in the soldiers' ward, and still seeming to see fixed on him those envious looks which had followed him out from both sides, and the face of that young soldier with eyes rolled back.
Denisov lay asleep on his bed with his head under the blanket, though it was nearly noon.
"Ah, Wostov? How are you, how are you?" he called out, still in the same voice as in the regiment, but Rostov noticed sadly that under this habitual ease and animation some new, sinister, hidden feeling showed itself in the expression of Denisov's face and the intonations of his voice.
His wound, though a slight one, had not yet healed even now, six weeks after he had been hit. His face had the same swollen pallor as the faces of the other hospital patients, but it was not this that struck Rostov. What struck him was that Denisov did not seem glad to see him, and smiled at him unnaturally. He did not ask about the regiment, nor about the general state of affairs, and when Rostov spoke of these matters did not listen.
Rostov even noticed that Denisov did not like to be reminded of the regiment, or in general of that other free life which was going on outside the hospital. He seemed to try to forget that old life and was only interested in the affair with the commissariat officers. On Rostov's inquiry as to how the matter stood, he at once produced from under his pillow a paper he had received from the commission and the rough draft of his answer to it. He became animated when he began reading his paper and specially drew Rostov's attention to the stinging rejoinders he made to his enemies. His hospital companions, who had gathered round Rostov--a fresh arrival from the world outside- gradually began to disperse as soon as Denisov began reading his answer. Rostov noticed by their faces that all those gentlemen had already heard that story more than once and were tired of it. Only the man who had the next bed, a stout Uhlan, continued to sit on his bed, gloomily frowning and smoking a pipe, and little one-armed Tushin still listened, shaking his head disapprovingly. In the middle of the reading, the Uhlan interrupted Denisov.
"But what I say is," he said, turning to Rostov, "it would be best simply to petition the Emperor for pardon. They say great rewards will now be distributed, and surely a pardon would be granted...."
"Me petition the Empewo'!" exclaimed Denisov, in a voice to which he tried hard to give the old energy and fire, but which sounded like an expression of irritable impotence. "What for? If I were a wobber I would ask mercy, but I'm being court-martialed for bwinging wobbers to book. Let them twy me, I'm not afwaid of anyone. I've served the Tsar and my countwy honowably and have not stolen! And am I to be degwaded?... Listen, I'm w'iting to them stwaight. This is what I say: 'If I had wobbed the Tweasuwy...'"
"It's certainly well written," said Tushin, "but that's not the point, Vasili Dmitrich," and he also turned to Rostov. "One has to submit, and Vasili Dmitrich doesn't want to. You know the auditor told you it was a bad business."
"Well, let it be bad," said Denisov.
"The auditor wrote out a petition for you," continued Tushin, "and you ought to sign it and ask this gentleman to take it. No doubt he" (indicating Rostov) "has connections on the staff. You won't find a better opportunity."
"Haven't I said I'm not going to gwovel?" Denisov interrupted him, went on reading his paper.
Rostov had not the courage to persuade Denisov, though he instinctively felt that the way advised by Tushin and the other officers was the safest, and though he would have been glad to be of service to Denisov. He knew his stubborn will and straightforward hasty temper.
When the reading of Denisov's virulent reply, which took more than an hour, was over, Rostov said nothing, and he spent the rest of the day in a most dejected state of mind amid Denisov's hospital comrades, who had round him, telling them what he knew and listening to their stories. Denisov was moodily silent all the evening.
Late in the evening, when Rostov was about to leave, he asked Denisov whether he had no commission for him.
"Yes, wait a bit," said Denisov, glancing round at the officers, and taking his papers from under his pillow he went to the window, where he had an inkpot, and sat down to write.
"It seems it's no use knocking one's head against a wall!" he said, coming from the window and giving Rostov a large envelope. In it was the petition to the Emperor drawn up by the auditor, in which Denisov, without alluding to the offenses of the commissariat officials, simply asked for pardon.
"Hand it in. It seems..."
He did not finish, but gave a painfully unnatural smile.
Having returned to the regiment and told the commander the state of Denisov's affairs, Rostov rode to Tilsit with the letter to the Emperor.
On the thirteenth of June the French and Russian Emperors arrived in Tilsit. Boris Drubetskoy had asked the important personage on whom he was in attendance, to include him in the suite appointed for the stay at Tilsit.
"I should like to see the great man," he said, alluding to Napoleon, whom hitherto he, like everyone else, had always called Buonaparte.
"You are speaking of Buonaparte?" asked the general, smiling.
Boris looked at his general inquiringly and immediately saw that he was being tested.
"I am speaking, Prince, of the Emperor Napoleon," he replied. The general patted him on the shoulder, with a smile.
"You will go far," he said, and took him to Tilsit with him.
Boris was among the few present at the Niemen on the day the two Emperors met. He saw the raft, decorated with monograms, saw Napoleon pass before the French Guards on the farther bank of the river, saw the pensive face of the Emperor Alexander as he sat in silence in a tavern on the bank of the Niemen awaiting Napoleon's arrival, saw both Emperors get into boats, and saw how Napoleon- reaching the raft first--stepped quickly forward to meet Alexander and held out his hand to him, and how they both retired into the pavilion. Since he had begun to move in the highest circles Boris had made it his habit to watch attentively all that went on around him and to note it down. At the time of the meeting at Tilsit he asked the names of those who had come with Napoleon and about the uniforms they wore, and listened attentively to words spoken by important personages. At the moment the Emperors went into the pavilion he looked at his watch, and did not forget to look at it again when Alexander came out. The interview had lasted an hour and fifty-three minutes. He noted this down that same evening, among other facts he felt to be of historic importance. As the Emperor's suite was a very small one, it was a matter of great importance, for a man who valued his success in the service, to be at Tilsit on the occasion of this interview between the two Emperors, and having succeeded in this, Boris felt that henceforth his position was fully assured. He had not only become known, but people had grown accustomed to him and accepted him. Twice he had executed commissions to the Emperor himself, so that the latter knew his face, and all those at court, far from cold-shouldering him as at first when they considered him a newcomer, would now have been surprised had he been absent.
Boris lodged with another adjutant, the Polish Count Zhilinski. Zhilinski, a Pole brought up in Paris, was rich, and passionately fond of the French, and almost every day of the stay at Tilsit, French officers of the Guard and from French headquarters were dining and lunching with him and Boris.
On the evening of the twenty-fourth of June, Count Zhilinski arranged a supper for his French friends. The guest of honor was an aide-de-camp of Napoleon's, there were also several French officers of the Guard, and a page of Napoleon's, a young lad of an old aristocratic French family. That same day, Rostov, profiting by the darkness to avoid being recognized in civilian dress, came to Tilsit and went to the lodging occupied by Boris and Zhilinski.
Rostov, in common with the whole army from which he came, was far from having experienced the change of feeling toward Napoleon and the French--who from being foes had suddenly become friends--that had taken place at headquarters and in Boris. In the army, Bonaparte and the French were still regarded with mingled feelings of anger, contempt, and fear. Only recently, talking with one of Platov's Cossack officers, Rostov had argued that if Napoleon were taken prisoner he would be treated not as a sovereign, but as a criminal. Quite lately, happening to meet a wounded French colonel on the road, Rostov had maintained with heat that peace was impossible between a legitimate sovereign and the criminal Bonaparte. Rostov was therefore unpleasantly struck by the presence of French officers in Boris' lodging, dressed in uniforms he had been accustomed to see from quite a different point of view from the outposts of the flank. As soon as he noticed a French officer, who thrust his head out of the door, that warlike feeling of hostility which he always experienced at the sight of the enemy suddenly seized him. He stopped at the threshold and asked in Russian whether Drubetskoy lived there. Boris, hearing a strange voice in the anteroom, came out to meet him. An expression of annoyance showed itself for a moment on his face on first recognizing Rostov.
"Ah, it's you? Very glad, very glad to see you," he said, however, coming toward him with a smile. But Rostov had noticed his first impulse.
"I've come at a bad time I think. I should not have come, but I have business," he said coldly.
"No, I only wonder how you managed to get away from your regiment. Dans un moment je suis a vous,"* he said, answering someone who called him.
*"In a minute I shall be at your disposal."
"I see I'm intruding," Rostov repeated.
The look of annoyance had already disappeared from Boris' face: having evidently reflected and decided how to act, he very quietly took both Rostov's hands and led him into the next room. His eyes, looking serenely and steadily at Rostov, seemed to be veiled by something, as if screened by blue spectacles of conventionality. So it seemed to Rostov.
"Oh, come now! As if you could come at a wrong time!" said Boris, and he led him into the room where the supper table was laid and introduced him to his guests, explaining that he was not a civilian, but an hussar officer, and an old friend of his.
"Count Zhilinski--le Comte N. N.--le Capitaine S. S.," said he, naming his guests. Rostov looked frowningly at the Frenchmen, bowed reluctantly, and remained silent.
Zhilinski evidently did not receive this new Russian person very willingly into his circle and did not speak to Rostov. Boris did not appear to notice the constraint the newcomer produced and, with the same pleasant composure and the same veiled look in his eyes with which he had met Rostov, tried to enliven the conversation. One of the Frenchmen, with the politeness characteristic of his countrymen, addressed the obstinately taciturn Rostov, saying that the latter had probably come to Tilsit to see the Emperor.
"No, I came on business," replied Rostov, briefly.
Rostov had been out of humor from the moment he noticed the look of dissatisfaction on Boris' face, and as always happens to those in a bad humor, it seemed to him that everyone regarded him with aversion and that he was in everybody's way. He really was in their way, for he alone took no part in the conversation which again became general. The looks the visitors cast on him seemed to say: "And what is he sitting here for?" He rose and went up to Boris.
"Anyhow, I'm in your way," he said in a low tone. "Come and talk over my business and I'll go away."
"Oh, no, not at all," said Boris. "But if you are tired, come and lie down in my room and have a rest."
They went into the little room where Boris slept. Rostov, without sitting down, began at once, irritably (as if Boris were to blame in some way) telling him about Denisov's affair, asking him whether, through his general, he could and would intercede with the Emperor on Denisov's behalf and get Denisov's petition handed in. When he and Boris were alone, Rostov felt for the first time that he could not look Boris in the face without a sense of awkwardness. Boris, with one leg crossed over the other and stroking his left hand with the slender fingers of his right, listened to Rostov as a general listens to the report of a subordinate, now looking aside and now gazing straight into Rostov's eyes with the same veiled look. Each time this happened Rostov felt uncomfortable and cast down his eyes.
"I have heard of such cases and know that His Majesty is very severe in such affairs. I think it would be best not to bring it before the Emperor, but to apply to the commander of the corps.... But in general, I think..."
"So you don't want to do anything? Well then, say so!" Rostov almost shouted, not looking Boris in the face.
"On the contrary, I will do what I can. Only I thought..."
At that moment Zhilinski's voice was heard calling Boris.
"Well then, go, go, go..." said Rostov, and refusing supper and remaining alone in the little room, he walked up and down for a long time, hearing the lighthearted French conversation from the next room.
Rostov had come to Tilsit the day least suitable for a petition on Denisov's behalf. He could not himself go to the general in attendance as he was in mufti and had come to Tilsit without permission to do so, and Boris, even had he wished to, could not have done so on the following day. On that day, June 27, the preliminaries of peace were signed. The Emperors exchanged decorations: Alexander received the Cross of the Legion of Honor and Napoleon the Order of St. Andrew of the First Degree, and a dinner had been arranged for the evening, given by a battalion of the French Guards to the Preobrazhensk battalion. The Emperors were to be present at that banquet.
Rostov felt so ill at ease and uncomfortable with Boris that, when the latter looked in after supper, he pretended to be asleep, and early next morning went away, avoiding Boris. In his civilian clothes and a round hat, he wandered about the town, staring at the French and their uniforms and at the streets and houses where the Russian and French Emperors were staying. In a square he saw tables being set up and preparations made for the dinner; he saw the Russian and French colors draped from side to side of the streets, with hugh monograms A and N. In the windows of the houses also flags and bunting were displayed.
"Boris doesn't want to help me and I don't want to ask him. That's settled," thought Nicholas. "All is over between us, but I won't leave here without having done all I can for Denisov and certainly not without getting his letter to the Emperor. The Emperor!... He is here!" thought Rostov, who had unconsciously returned to the house where Alexander lodged.
Saddled horses were standing before the house and the suite were assembling, evidently preparing for the Emperor to come out.
"I may see him at any moment," thought Rostov. "If only I were to hand the letter direct to him and tell him all... could they really arrest me for my civilian clothes? Surely not! He would understand on whose side justice lies. He understands everything, knows everything. Who can be more just, more magnanimous than he? And even if they did arrest me for being here, what would it matter?" thought he, looking at an officer who was entering the house the Emperor occupied. "After all, people do go in.... It's all nonsense! I'll go in and hand the letter to the Emperor myself so much the worse for Drubetskoy who drives me to it!" And suddenly with a determination he himself did not expect, Rostov felt for the letter in his pocket and went straight to the house.
"No, I won't miss my opportunity now, as I did after Austerlitz," he thought, expecting every moment to meet the monarch, and conscious of the blood that rushed to his heart at the thought. "I will fall at his feet and beseech him. He will lift me up, will listen, and will even thank me. 'I am happy when I can do good, but to remedy injustice is the greatest happiness,'" Rostov fancied the sovereign saying. And passing people who looked after him with curiosity, he entered the porch of the Emperor's house.
A broad staircase led straight up from the entry, and to the right he saw a closed door. Below, under the staircase, was a door leading to the lower floor.
"Whom do you want?" someone inquired.
"To hand in a letter, a petition, to His Majesty," said Nicholas, with a tremor in his voice.
"A petition? This way, to the officer on duty" (he was shown the door leading downstairs), "only it won't be accepted."
On hearing this indifferent voice, Rostov grew frightened at what he was doing; the thought of meeting the Emperor at any moment was so fascinating and consequently so alarming that he was ready to run away, but the official who had questioned him opened the door, and Rostov entered.
A short stout man of about thirty, in white breeches and high boots and a batiste shirt that he had evidently only just put on, standing in that room, and his valet was buttoning on to the back of his breeches a new pair of handsome silk-embroidered braces that, for some reason, attracted Rostov's attention. This man was was speaking to someone in the adjoining room.
"A good figure and in her first bloom," he was saying, but on seeing Rostov, he stopped short and frowned.
"What is it? A petition?"
"What is it?" asked the person in the other room.
"Another petitioner," answered the man with the braces.
"Tell him to come later. He'll be coming out directly, we must go."
"Later... later! Tomorrow. It's too late..."
Rostov turned and was about to go, but the man in the braces stopped him.
"Whom have you come from? Who are you?"
"I come from Major Denisov," answered Rostov.
"Are you an officer?"
"Lieutenant Count Rostov."
"What audacity! Hand it in through your commander. And go along with you... go," and he continued to put on the uniform the valet handed him.
Rostov went back into the hall and noticed that in the porch there were many officers and generals in full parade uniform, whom he had to pass.
Cursing his temerity, his heart sinking at the thought of finding himself at any moment face to face with the Emperor and being put to shame and arrested in his presence, fully alive now to the impropriety of his conduct and repenting of it, Rostov, with downcast eyes, was making his way out of the house through the brilliant suite when a familiar voice called him and a hand detained him.
"What are you doing here, sir, in civilian dress?" asked a deep voice.
It was a cavalry general who had obtained the Emperor's special favor during this campaign, and who had formerly commanded the division in which Rostov was serving.
Rostov, in dismay, began justifying himself, but seeing the kindly, jocular face of the general, he took him aside and in an excited voice told him the whole affair, asking him to intercede for Denisov, whom the general knew. Having heard Rostov to the end, the general shook his head gravely.
"I'm sorry, sorry for that fine fellow. Give me the letter."
Hardly had Rostov handed him the letter and finished explaining Denisov's case, when hasty steps and the jingling of spurs were heard on the stairs, and the general, leaving him, went to the porch. The gentlemen of the Emperor's suite ran down the stairs and went to their horses. Hayne, the same groom who had been at Austerlitz, led up the Emperor's horse, and the faint creak of a footstep Rostov knew at once was heard on the stairs. Forgetting the danger of being recognized, Rostov went close to the porch, together with some inquisitive civilians, and again, after two years, saw those features he adored: that same face and same look and step, and the same union of majesty and mildness.... And the feeling of enthusiasm and love for his sovereign rose again in Rostov's soul in all its old force. In the uniform of the Preobrazhensk regiment--white chamois-leather breeches and high boots--and wearing a star Rostov did not know (it was that of the Legion d'honneur), the monarch came out into the porch, putting on his gloves and carrying his hat under his arm. He stopped and looked about him, brightening everything around by his glance. He spoke a few words to some of the generals, and, recognizing the former commander of Rostov's division, smiled and beckoned to him.
All the suite drew back and Rostov saw the general talking for some time to the Emperor.
The Emperor said a few words to him and took a step toward his horse. Again the crowd of members of the suite and street gazers (among whom was Rostov) moved nearer to the Emperor. Stopping beside his horse, with his hand on the saddle, the Emperor turned to the cavalry general and said in a loud voice, evidently wishing to be heard by all:
"I cannot do it, General. I cannot, because the law is stronger than I," and he raised his foot to the stirrup.
The general bowed his head respectfully, and the monarch mounted and rode down the street at a gallop. Beside himself with enthusiasm, Rostov ran after him with the crowd.