BOOK FOURTEEN: 1812
6. CHAPTER VI
"What a bwute you are!... Well?"
"I went for another one," Tikhon continued, "and I crept like this
through the wood and lay down." (He suddenly lay down on his stomach
with a supple movement to show how he had done it.) "One turned up and
I grabbed him, like this." (He jumped up quickly and lightly.)
"'Come along to the colonel,' I said. He starts yelling, and
suddenly there were four of them. They rushed at me with their
little swords. So I went for them with my ax, this way: 'What are
you up to?' says I. 'Christ be with you!'" shouted Tikhon, waving
his arms with an angry scowl and throwing out his chest.
"Yes, we saw from the hill how you took to your heels through the
puddles!" said the esaul, screwing up his glittering eyes.
Petya badly wanted to laugh, but noticed that they all refrained
from laughing. He turned his eyes rapidly from Tikhon's face to the
esaul's and Denisov's, unable to make out what it all meant.
"Don't play the fool!" said Denisov, coughing angrily. "Why didn't
you bwing the first one?"
Tikhon scratched his back with one hand and his head with the other,
then suddenly his whole face expanded into a beaming, foolish grin,
disclosing a gap where he had lost a tooth (that was why he was called
Shcherbaty- the gap-toothed). Denisov smiled, and Petya burst into a
peal of merry laughter in which Tikhon himself joined.
"Oh, but he was a regular good-for-nothing," said Tikhon. "The
clothes on him- poor stuff! How could I bring him? And so rude, your
honor! Why, he says: 'I'm a general's son myself, I won't go!' he
"You are a bwute!" said Denisov. "I wanted to question..."
"But I questioned him," said Tikhon. "He said he didn't know much.
'There are a lot of us,' he says, 'but all poor stuff- only soldiers
in name,' he says. 'Shout loud at them,' he says, 'and you'll take
them all,'" Tikhon concluded, looking cheerfully and resolutely into