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War And Peace 366


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he believed, not far off. They rode through the village of Rykonty, past tethered French hussar horses, past sentinels and men who saluted their colonel and stared with curiosity at a Russian uniform, and came out at the other end of the village. The colonel said that the commander of the division was a mile and a quarter away and would receive Balashev and conduct him to his destination. The sun had by now risen and shone gaily on the bright verdure. They had hardly ridden up a hill, past a tavern, before they saw a group of horsemen coming toward them. In front of the group, on a black horse with trappings that glittered in the sun, rode a tall man with plumes in his hat and black hair curling down to his shoulders. He wore a red mantle, and stretched his long legs forward in French fashion. This man rode toward Balashev at a gallop, his plumes flowing and his gems and gold lace glittering in the bright June sunshine. Balashev was only two horses length from the equestrian with the bracelets, plumes, necklaces, and gold embroidery, who was galloping toward him with a theatrically solemn countenance, when Julner, the French colonel, whispered respectfully: "The King of Naples!" It was, in fact, Murat, now called "King of Naples." Though it was quite incomprehensible why he should be King of Naples, he was called so, and was himself convinced that he was so, and therefore assumed a more solemn and important air than formerly. He was so sure that he really was the King of Naples that when, on the eve of his departure from that city, while walking through the streets with his wife, some Italians called out to him: "Viva il re!"* he turned to his wife with a pensive smile and said: "Poor fellows, they dont know that I am leaving them tomorrow!" *"Long live the king." But though he firmly believed himself to be King of Naples and pitied the grief felt by the subjects he was abandoning, latterly, after he had been ordered to return to military service--and especially since his last interview with Napoleon in Danzig, when his august brother-in-law had told him: "I made you King that you should reign in my way, but not in yours!"--he had cheerfully taken up his familiar business, and--like a well-fed but not overfat horse that feels himself in harness and grows skittish between the shafts--he dressed up in clothes as variegated and expensive as possible, and gaily and contentedly galloped along the roads of Poland, without himself knowing why or whither. On seeing the Russian general he threw back his head, with its long hair curling to his shoulders, in a majestically royal manner, and looked inquiringly at the French colonel. The colonel respectfully informed His Majesty of Balashevs mission, whose name he could not pronounce. "De Bal-macheve!" said the King (overcoming by his assurance the difficulty that had presented itself to the colonel). "Charmed to make your acquaintance, General!" he added, with a gesture of kingly condescension. As soon as the King began to speak loud and fast his royal dignity instantly forsook him, and without noticing it he passed into his natural tone of good-natured familiarity. He laid his hand on the withers of Balashevs horse and said: "Well, General, it all looks like war," as if regretting a circumstance of which he was unable to judge. "Your Majesty," replied Balashev, "my master, the Emperor, does not desire war and as Your Majesty sees..." said Balashev, using the words Your Majesty at every opportunity, with the affectation unavoidable in frequently addressing one to whom the title was still a novelty. Murats face beamed with stupid satisfaction as he listened to "Monsieur de Bal-macheve." But royaute oblige!* and he felt it incumbent on him, as a king and an ally, to confer on state affairs with Alexanders envoy. He dismounted, took Balashevs arm, and moving a few steps away from his suite, which waited respectfully, began to pace up and down with him, trying to speak significantly. He referred to the fact that the Emperor Napoleon had resented the demand that he should withdraw his troops from Prussia, especially when that demand became generally known and the dignity of France was thereby offended. *"Royalty has its obligations." Balashev replied that there was "nothing offensive in the demand, because..." but Murat interrupted him. "Then you dont consider the Emperor Alexander the aggressor?" he asked unexpectedly, with a kindly and foolish smile. Balashev told him why he considered Napoleon to be the originator of the war. "Oh, my dear general!" Murat again interrupted him,

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