Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
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
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
"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
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
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
*"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
"Oh, my dear general!" Murat again interrupted him,
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