Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
important personage and Boris had only
recently married, they met as good friends of long standing.
At midnight dancing was still going on. Helene, not having a
suitable partner, herself offered to dance the mazurka with Boris.
They were the third couple. Boris, coolly looking at Helenes dazzling
bare shoulders which emerged from a dark, gold-embroidered, gauze
gown, talked to her of old acquaintances and at the same time, unaware
of it himself and unnoticed by others, never for an instant ceased
to observe the Emperor who was in the same room. The Emperor was not
dancing, he stood in the doorway, stopping now one pair and now
another with gracious words which he alone knew how to utter.
As the mazurka began, Boris saw that Adjutant General Balashev,
one of those in closest attendance on the Emperor, went up to him
and contrary to court etiquette stood near him while he was talking to
a Polish lady. Having finished speaking to her, the Emperor looked
inquiringly at Balashev and, evidently understanding that he only
acted thus because there were important reasons for so doing, nodded
slightly to the lady and turned to him. Hardly had Balashev begun to
speak before a look of amazement appeared on the Emperors face. He
took Balashev by the arm and crossed the room with him,
unconsciously clearing a path seven yards wide as the people on both
sides made way for him. Boris noticed Arakcheevs excited face when
the sovereign went out with Balashev. Arakcheev looked at the
Emperor from under his brow and, sniffing with his red nose, stepped
forward from the crowd as if expecting the Emperor to address him.
(Boris understood that Arakcheev envied Balashev and was displeased
that evidently important news had reached the Emperor otherwise than
But the Emperor and Balashev passed out into the illuminated
garden without noticing Arakcheev who, holding his sword and
glancing wrathfully around, followed some twenty paces behind them.
All the time Boris was going through the figures of the mazurka,
he was worried by the question of what news Balashev had brought and
how he could find it out before others. In the figure in which he
had to choose two ladies, he whispered to Helene that he meant to
choose Countess Potocka who, he thought, had gone out onto the
veranda, and glided over the parquet to the door opening into the
garden, where, seeing Balashev and the Emperor returning to the
veranda, he stood still. They were moving toward the door. Boris,
fluttering as if he had not had time to withdraw, respectfully pressed
close to the doorpost with bowed head.
The Emperor, with the agitation of one who has been personally
affronted, was finishing with these words:
"To enter Russia without declaring war! I will not make peace as
long as a single armed enemy remains in my country!" It seemed to
Boris that it gave the Emperor pleasure to utter these words. He was
satisfied with the form in which he had expressed his thoughts, but
displeased that Boris had overheard it.
"Let no one know of it!" the Emperor added with a frown.
Boris understood that this was meant for him and, closing his
eyes, slightly bowed his head. The Emperor re-entered the ballroom and
remained there about another half-hour.
Boris was thus the first to learn the news that the French army
had crossed the Niemen and, thanks to this, was able to show certain
important personages that much that was concealed from others was
usually known to him, and by this means he rose higher in their
The unexpected news of the French having crossed the Niemen was
particularly startling after a month of unfulfilled expectations,
and at a ball. On first receiving the news, under the influence of
indignation and resentment the Emperor had found a phrase that pleased
him, fully expressed his feelings, and has since become famous. On
returning home at two oclock that night he sent for his secretary,
Shishkov, and told him to write an order to the troops and a
rescript to Field Marshal Prince Saltykov, in which he insisted on the
words being inserted that he would not make peace so long as a
single armed Frenchman remained on Russian soil.
Next day the following letter was sent to Napoleon:
Monsieur mon frere,
Yesterday I learned that, despite the loyalty with which I have kept my
engagements with Your Majesty, your troops have crossed the Russian
frontier, and I have this moment received from Petersburg a note, in
which Count Lauriston informs me, as a reason for
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