BOOK TWO: 1805
15. CHAPTER XV
"Yes, let's go in and I will get myself a roll and some cheese,"
said Prince Andrew who had not yet had time to eat anything.
"Why didn't you mention it, Prince? I would have offered you
They dismounted and entered the tent. Several officers, with flushed
and weary faces, were sitting at the table eating and drinking.
"Now what does this mean, gentlemen?" said the staff officer, in the
reproachful tone of a man who has repeated the same thing more than
once. "You know it won't do to leave your posts like this. The
prince gave orders that no one should leave his post. Now you,
Captain," and he turned to a thin, dirty little artillery officer
who without his boots (he had given them to the canteen keeper to
dry), in only his stockings, rose when they entered, smiling not
"Well, aren't you ashamed of yourself, Captain Tushin?" he
continued. "One would think that as an artillery officer you would set
a good example, yet here you are without your boots! The alarm will be
sounded and you'll be in a pretty position without your boots!" (The
staff officer smiled.) "Kindly return to your posts, gentlemen, all of
you, all!" he added in a tone of command.
Prince Andrew smiled involuntarily as he looked at the artillery
officer Tushin, who silent and smiling, shifting from one stockinged
foot to the other, glanced inquiringly with his large, intelligent,
kindly eyes from Prince Andrew to the staff officer.
"The soldiers say it feels easier without boots," said Captain
Tushin smiling shyly in his uncomfortable position, evidently
wishing to adopt a jocular tone. But before he had finished he felt
that his jest was unacceptable and had not come off. He grew confused.
"Kindly return to your posts," said the staff officer trying to
preserve his gravity.
Prince Andrew glanced again at the artillery officer's small figure.
There was something peculiar about it, quite unsoldierly, rather
comic, but extremely attractive.