The headquarters were situated two miles away from Salzeneck, and Rostov, without returning home, took a horse and rode there. There was an inn in the village which the officers frequented. Rostov rode up to it and saw Telyanin's horse at the porch.
In the second room of the inn the lieutenant was sitting over a dish of sausages and a bottle of wine.
"Ah, you've come here too, young man!" he said, smiling and raising his eyebrows.
"Yes," said Rostov as if it cost him a great deal to utter the word; and he sat down at the nearest table.
Both were silent. There were two Germans and a Russian officer in the room. No one spoke and the only sounds heard were the clatter of knives and the munching of the lieutenant.
When Telyanin had finished his lunch he took out of his pocket a double purse and, drawing its rings aside with his small, white, turned-up fingers, drew out a gold imperial, and lifting his eyebrows gave it to the waiter.
"Please be quick," he said.
The coin was a new one. Rostov rose and went up to Telyanin.
"Allow me to look at your purse," he said in a low, almost inaudible, voice.
With shifting eyes but eyebrows still raised, Telyanin handed him the purse.
"Yes, it's a nice purse. Yes, yes," he said, growing suddenly pale, and added,"Look at it, young man."
Rostov took the purse in his hand, examined it and the money in it, and looked at Telyanin. The lieutenant was looking about in his usual way and suddenly seemed to grow very merry.
"If we get to Vienna I'll get rid of it there but in these wretched little towns there's nowhere to spend it," said he."Well, let me have it, young man, I'm going."
Rostov did not speak.
"And you? Are you going to have lunch too? They feed you quite decently here," continued Telyanin."Now then, let me have it."
He stretched out his hand to take hold of the purse. Rostov let go of it. Telyanin took the purse and began carelessly slipping it into the pocket of his riding breeches, with his eyebrows lifted and his mouth slightly open, as if to say,"Yes, yes, I am putting my purse in my pocket and that's quite simple and is no else's business."
"Well, young man?" he said with a sigh, and from under his lifted brows he glanced into Rostov's eyes.
Some flash as of an electric spark shot from Telyanin's eyes to Rostov's and back, and back again and again in an instant.
"Come here," said Rostov, catching hold of Telyanin's arm and almost dragging him to the window."That money is Denisov's; you took it . . ." he whispered just above Telyanin's ear.
"What? What? How dare you? What?" said Telyanin.
But these words came like a piteous, despairing cry and an entreaty for pardon. As soon as Rostov heard them, an enormous load of doubt fell from him. He was glad, and at the same instant began to pity the miserable man who stood before him, but the task he had begun had to be completed.
"Heaven only knows what the people here may imagine," muttered Telyanin, taking up his cap and moving toward a small empty room."We must have an explanation . . ."
"I know it and shall prove it," said Rostov.
"I . . ."
Every muscle of Telyanin's pale, terrified face began to quiver, his eyes still shifted from side to side but with a downward look not rising to Rostov's face, and his sobs were audible.
"Count! . . . Don't ruin a young fellow . . . here is this wretched money, take it . . ." He threw it on the table."I have an old father and mother! . . ."
Rostov took the money, avoiding Telyanin's eyes, and went out of the room without a word. But at the door he stopped and then retraced his steps."O God," he said with tears in his eyes,"how could you do it?"
"Count . . ." said Telyanin drawing nearer to him.
"Don't touch me," said Rostov, drawing back."If you need it, take the money," and he threw the purse to him and ran out of the inn.