Thursday, February 25, 2010

Volume I, Book I, Chapter VI

Mostly Nesvitsky and the General. Two bridges have been blown up, one on the River Inn in Braunau, and the other on the Traun in Linz. The armies (our troops, as T reminds us which side we're on and where our sympathies lie) are somewhere at the convergence of the Enns and the Danube. The rain has stopped: "the bridge, was now suddenly covered by a muslin curtain of slanting raining, then suddenly widened out, and in the sunlight objects became visible and clear in the distance, as if freshly varnished."

Nesvitsky, for want of a better word, is shooting the shit with the officers, as they sit on the ground eating little pies and Doppelkummel, which is some kind of almond, anise liquer (I just found this out). Sampling of the conversation while looking toward the enemy on a far outcropping:

"No,but what I'd like [Netsvitsky] added, chewing a little pie with his handsome, moist mouth, "is to climb in there."
He pointed to the convent with its towers, visible on the hilltop. He smiled, his eyes narrowed and lit up.
"wouldn't that be nice gentlemen?"
The officers laughed.
"At least to put a fright into those little nuns. There are some Italian girls, young ones, they say. Really, I'd give five years of my life!"
"They must be bored, too," an officer, a bolder one, said laughing.

Here's his brilliance - this in the midst of this battle scene. The General gives the hussars orders to go blow up a bridge, since he's waiting for the enemy to move. We don't get caught up in strategy, though, we just spend some time with these guys as they wait and shoot the breeze, savoring pies. And that mouth thing - he must have been such a sensualist - "handsome, moist mouth".

I'm a little concerned for Nikolai. I don't know that he's going to scrape out of this alive, though if this is a romance he could. We'll see.

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