But when Denisov explained that his purpose was to kill the French, and asked if no French had strayed that way, the elder replied that some "more-orderers" had really been at their village, but that Tikhon Shcherbaty was the only man who dealt with such matters.
"Who is he?" asked Petya. "He's our plastun. I sent him to capture a 'tongue." "Oh, yes," said Petya, nodding at the first words Denisov uttered as if he understood it all, though he really did not understand anything of it. Tikhon Shcherbaty was one of the most indispensable men in their band. He was a peasant from Pokrovsk, near the river Gzhat.
Denisov considered it dangerous to make a second attack for fear of putting the whole column on the alert, so he sent Tikhon Shcherbaty, a peasant of his party, to Shamshevo to try and seize at least one of the French quartermasters who had been sent on in advance. It was a warm rainy autumn day. The sky and the horizon were both the color of muddy water.