Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
"with all my
heart I wish the Emperors may arrange the affair between them, and
that the war begun by no wish of mine may finish as quickly as
possible!" said he, in the tone of a servant who wants to remain
good friends with another despite a quarrel between their masters.
And he went on to inquiries about the Grand Duke and the state of
his health, and to reminiscences of the gay and amusing times he had
spent with him in Naples. Then suddenly, as if remembering his royal
dignity, Murat solemnly drew himself up, assumed the pose in which
he had stood at his coronation, and, waving his right arm, said:
"I wont detain you longer, General. I wish success to your
mission," and with his embroidered red mantle, his flowing feathers,
and his glittering ornaments, he rejoined his suite who were
respectfully awaiting him.
Balashev rode on, supposing from Murats words that he would very
soon be brought before Napoleon himself. But instead of that, at the
next village the sentinels of Davouts infantry corps detained him
as the pickets of the vanguard had done, and an adjutant of the
corps commander, who was fetched, conducted him into the village to
Davout was to Napoleon what Arakcheev was to Alexander--though not a
coward like Arakcheev, he was as precise, as cruel, and as unable to
express his devotion to his monarch except by cruelty.
In the organism of states such men are necessary, as wolves are
necessary in the organism of nature, and they always exist, always
appear and hold their own, however incongruous their presence and
their proximity to the head of the government may be. This
inevitability alone can explain how the cruel Arakcheev, who tore
out a grenadiers mustache with his own hands, whose weak nerves
rendered him unable to face danger, and who was neither an educated
man nor a courtier, was able to maintain his powerful position with
Alexander, whose own character was chivalrous, noble, and gentle.
Balashev found Davout seated on a barrel in the shed of a
peasants hut, writing--he was auditing accounts. Better quarters
could have been found him, but Marshal Davout was one of those men who
purposely put themselves in most depressing conditions to have a
justification for being gloomy. For the same reason they are always
hard at work and in a hurry. "How can I think of the bright side of
life when, as you see, I am sitting on a barrel and working in a dirty
shed?" the expression of his face seemed to say. The chief pleasure
and necessity of such men, when they encounter anyone who shows
animation, is to flaunt their own dreary, persistent activity.
Davout allowed himself that pleasure when Balashev was brought in.
He became still more absorbed in his task when the Russian general
entered, and after glancing over his spectacles at Balashevs face,
which was animated by the beauty of the morning and by his talk with
Murat, he did not rise or even stir, but scowled still more and
When he noticed in Balashevs face the disagreeable impression
this reception produced, Davout raised his head and coldly asked
what he wanted.
Thinking he could have been received in such a manner only because
Davout did not know that he was adjutant general to the Emperor
Alexander and even his envoy to Napoleon, Balashev hastened to
inform him of his rank and mission. Contrary to his expectation,
Davout, after hearing him, became still surlier and ruder.
"Where is your dispatch?" he inquired. "Give it to me. I will send
it to the Emperor."
Balashev replied that he had been ordered to hand it personally to
"Your Emperors orders are obeyed in your army, but here," said
Davout, "you must do as youre told."
And, as if to make the Russian general still more conscious of his
dependence on brute force, Davout sent an adjutant to call the officer
Balashev took out the packet containing the Emperors letter and
laid it on the table (made of a door with its hinges still hanging
on it, laid across two barrels). Davout took the packet and read the
"You are perfectly at liberty to treat me with respect or not,"
protested Balashev, "but permit me to observe that I have the honor to
be adjutant general to His Majesty...."
Davout glanced at him silently and plainly derived pleasure from the
signs of agitation and confusion which appeared on Balashevs face.
"You will be treated as is fitting," said he and, putting the packet
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