EARLY in the year 1806 Nicholas Rostov returned home on leave. Denisov was going home to Voronezh and Rostov persuaded him to travel with him as far as Moscow and to stay with him there. Meeting a comrade at the last post-station but one before Moscow, Denisov had drunk three bottles of wine with him, and despite the jolting ruts across the snow-covered road, did not once wake up, on the way to Moscow, but lay at the bottom of the sledge beside Rostov, who grew more and more impatient the nearer they got to Moscow.
'How much longer? How much longer? Oh, these insufferable streets, shops, bakers' signboards, street lamps and sledges!' thought Rostov when their leave-permits had been passed at the town gate, and they had entered Moscow.
' Denisov! We're here! He's asleep,' he added, leaning forward with his whole body as if in that position he hoped to hasten the speed of the sledge.
Denisov gave no answer.
'There's the comer at the cross-roads, where the cabman Zakhar has his stand, and there's Zakhar himself and still the same horse! And here's the little shop where we used to buy gingerbread! Can't you hurry up? Now then!'
'Which house is it?' asked the driver.
'Why that one, right at the end, the big one. Don't you see? That's our house,' said Rostov. 'Of course it's our house! Denisov, Denisov! We're almost there!'
Denisov raised his head, coughed, and made no answer.
'Dmitri,' said Rostov to his valet on the box, 'those lights are in our house, aren't they?'
'Yes, sir, and there's a light in your father's study.'
'Then they've not gone to bed yet? What do you think? Mind now, don't forget to put out my new coat,' added Rostov, fingering his new moustache. 'Now then, get on,' he shouted to the driver. 'Do wake up, Vaska,' he went on, turning to Denisov, whose head was again nodding. 'Come, get on! You shall have three rubles