At that instant the sun began to hide behind the clouds, and other stretchers came into view before Rostov. And the fear of death and of the stretchers, and love of the sun and of life, all merged into one feeling of sickening agitation.
"O Lord God! Thou who art in that heaven, save, forgive, and protect me!" Rostov whispered.
The hussars ran back to the men who held their horses; their voices sounded louder and calmer, the stretchers disappeared from sight.
"Well, fwiend? So you've smelt powdah!" shouted Vaska Denisov just above his ear.
"It's all over; but I am a coward — yes, a coward!" thought Rostov, and sighing deeply he took Rook, his horse, which stood resting one foot, from the orderly and began to mount.
"Was that grapeshot?" he asked Denisov.
"Yes and no mistake!" cried Denisov."You worked like wegular bwicks and it's nasty work! An attack's pleasant work! Hacking away at the dogs! But this sort of thing is the very devil, with them shooting at you like a target."
And Denisov rode up to a group that had stopped near Rostov, composed of the colonel, Nesvitski, Zherkov, and the officer from the suite.
"Well, it seems that no one has noticed," thought Rostov. And this was true. No one had taken any notice, for everyone knew the sensation which the cadet under fire for the first time had experienced.
"Here's something for you to report," said Zherkov."See if I don't get promoted to a sublieutenancy."
"Inform the prince that I the bridge fired!" said the colonel triumphantly and gaily.
"And if he asks about the losses?"
"A trifle," said the colonel in his bass voice:"two hussars wounded, and one knocked out," he added, unable to restrain a happy smile, and pronouncing the phrase"knocked out" with ringing distinctness.