BOOK ELEVEN: 1812
28. CHAPTER XXVIII
Pierre, having decided that until he had carried out his design he
would disclose neither his identity nor his knowledge of French, stood
at the half-open door of the corridor, intending to conceal himself as
soon as the French entered. But the French entered and still Pierre
did not retire- an irresistible curiosity kept him there.
There were two of them. One was an officer- a tall, soldierly,
handsome man- the other evidently a private or an orderly,
sunburned, short, and thin, with sunken cheeks and a dull
expression. The officer walked in front, leaning on a stick and
slightly limping. When he had advanced a few steps he stopped,
having apparently decided that these were good quarters, turned
round to the soldiers standing at the entrance, and in a loud voice of
command ordered them to put up the horses. Having done that, the
officer, lifting his elbow with a smart gesture, stroked his
mustache and lightly touched his hat.
"Bonjour, la compagnie!"* said he gaily, smiling and looking about
*"Good day, everybody!"
No one gave any reply.
"Vous etes le bourgeois?"* the officer asked Gerasim.
*"Are you the master here?"
Gerasim gazed at the officer with an alarmed and inquiring look.
"Quartier, quartier, logement!" said the officer, looking down at
the little man with a condescending and good-natured smile. "Les
francais sont de bons enfants. Que diable! Voyons! Ne nous fachons
pas, mon vieux!"* added he, clapping the scared and silent Gerasim
on the shoulder. "Well, does no one speak French in this
establishment?" he asked again in French, looking around and meeting
Pierre's eyes. Pierre moved away from the door.
*"Quarters, quarters, lodgings! The French are good fellows. What
the devil! There, don't let us be cross, old fellow!"
Again the officer turned to Gerasim and asked him to show him the
rooms in the house.