War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy Book V: Chapters 15–22

"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.

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