Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
after the murder of the duc there was one martyr more in heaven and
one hero less on earth."
Before Anna Pavlovna and the others had time to smile their
appreciation of the vicomtes epigram, Pierre again broke into the
conversation, and though Anna Pavlovna felt sure he would say
something inappropriate, she was unable to stop him.
"The execution of the Duc dEnghien," declared Monsieur Pierre, "was
a political necessity, and it seems to me that Napoleon showed
greatness of soul by not fearing to take on himself the whole
responsibility of that deed."
"Dieu! Mon Dieu!" muttered Anna Pavlovna in a terrified whisper.
"What, Monsieur Pierre... Do you consider that assassination shows
greatness of soul?" said the little princess, smiling and drawing
her work nearer to her.
"Oh! Oh!" exclaimed several voices.
"Capital!" said Prince Hippolyte in English, and began slapping
his knee with the palm of his hand.
The vicomte merely shrugged his shoulders. Pierre looked solemnly at
his audience over his spectacles and continued.
"I say so," he continued desperately, "because the Bourbons fled
from the Revolution leaving the people to anarchy, and Napoleon
alone understood the Revolution and quelled it, and so for the general
good, he could not stop short for the sake of one mans life."
"Wont you come over to the other table?" suggested Anna Pavlovna.
But Pierre continued his speech without heeding her.
"No," cried he, becoming more and more eager, "Napoleon is great
because he rose superior to the Revolution, suppressed its abuses,
preserved all that was good in it--equality of citizenship and freedom
of speech and of the press--and only for that reason did he obtain
"Yes, if having obtained power, without availing himself of it to
commit murder he had restored it to the rightful king, I should have
called him a great man," remarked the vicomte.
"He could not do that. The people only gave him power that he
might rid them of the Bourbons and because they saw that he was a
great man. The Revolution was a grand thing!" continued Monsieur
Pierre, betraying by this desperate and provocative proposition his
extreme youth and his wish to express all that was in his mind.
"What? Revolution and regicide a grand thing?... Well, after that...
But wont you come to this other table?" repeated Anna Pavlovna.
"Rousseaus Contrat social," said the vicomte with a tolerant smile.
"I am not speaking of regicide, I am speaking about ideas."
"Yes: ideas of robbery, murder, and regicide," again interjected
an ironical voice.
"Those were extremes, no doubt, but they are not what is most
important. What is important are the rights of man, emancipation
from prejudices, and equality of citizenship, and all these ideas
Napoleon has retained in full force."
"Liberty and equality," said the vicomte contemptuously, as if at
last deciding seriously to prove to this youth how foolish his words
were, "high-sounding words which have long been discredited. Who
does not love liberty and equality? Even our Saviour preached
liberty and equality. Have people since the Revolution become happier?
On the contrary. We wanted liberty, but Buonaparte has destroyed it."
Prince Andrew kept looking with an amused smile from Pierre to the
vicomte and from the vicomte to their hostess. In the first moment
of Pierres outburst Anna Pavlovna, despite her social experience, was
horror-struck. But when she saw that Pierres sacrilegious words had
not exasperated the vicomte, and had convinced herself that it was
impossible to stop him, she rallied her forces and joined the
vicomte in a vigorous attack on the orator.
"But, my dear Monsieur Pierre," said she, "how do you explain the
fact of a great man executing a duc--or even an ordinary man who--is
innocent and untried?"
"I should like," said the vicomte, "to ask how monsieur explains the
18th Brumaire; was not that an imposture? It was a swindle, and not at
all like the conduct of a great man!"
"And the prisoners he killed in Africa? That was horrible!" said the
little princess, shrugging her shoulders.
"Hes a low fellow, say what you will," remarked Prince Hippolyte.
Pierre, not knowing whom to answer, looked at them all and smiled.
His smile was unlike the half-smile of other people. When he smiled,
his grave, even rather gloomy, look was instantaneously replaced by
another--a childlike, kindly, even rather silly look, which seemed
to ask forgiveness.
The vicomte who was meeting him for the first time saw clearly
that this young Jacobin was not so terrible as his words suggested.
All were silent.
"How do you expect him to answer you all at once?" said Prince
Andrew. "Besides, in the actions
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