Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
by the calmly
moderate and amicable tone in which the French Emperor spoke, Balashev
was firmly persuaded that he wished for peace and intended to enter
When Napoleon, having finished speaking, looked inquiringly at the
Russian envoy, Balashev began a speech he had prepared long before:
"Sire! The Emperor, my master..." but the sight of the Emperors
eyes bent on him confused him. "You are flurried--compose yourself!"
Napoleon seemed to say, as with a scarcely perceptible smile he looked
at Balashevs uniform and sword.
Balashev recovered himself and began to speak. He said that the
Emperor Alexander did not consider Kurakins demand for his
passports a sufficient cause for war; that Kurakin had acted on his
own initiative and without his sovereigns assent, that the Emperor
Alexander did not desire war, and had no relations with England.
"Not yet!" interposed Napoleon, and, as if fearing to give vent to
his feelings, he frowned and nodded slightly as a sign that Balashev
After saying all he had been instructed to say, Balashev added
that the Emperor Alexander wished for peace, but would not enter
into negotiations except on condition that... Here Balashev hesitated:
he remembered the words the Emperor Alexander had not written in his
letter, but had specially inserted in the rescript to Saltykov and had
told Balashev to repeat to Napoleon. Balashev remembered these
words, "So long as a single armed foe remains on Russian soil," but
some complex feeling restrained him. He could not utter them, though
he wished to do so. He grew confused and said: "On condition that
the French army retires beyond the Niemen."
Napoleon noticed Balashevs embarrassment when uttering these last
words; his face twitched and the calf of his left leg began to
quiver rhythmically. Without moving from where he stood he began
speaking in a louder tone and more hurriedly than before. During the
speech that followed, Balashev, who more than once lowered his eyes,
involuntarily noticed the quivering of Napoleons left leg which
increased the more Napoleon raised his voice.
"I desire peace, no less than the Emperor Alexander," he began.
"Have I not for eighteen months been doing everything to obtain it?
I have waited eighteen months for explanations. But in order to
begin negotiations, what is demanded of me?" he said, frowning and
making an energetic gesture of inquiry with his small white plump
"The withdrawal of your army beyond the Niemen, sire," replied
"The Niemen?" repeated Napoleon. "So now you want me to retire
beyond the Niemen--only the Niemen?" repeated Napoleon, looking
straight at Balashev.
The latter bowed his head respectfully.
Instead of the demand of four months earlier to withdraw from
Pomerania, only a withdrawal beyond the Niemen was now demanded.
Napoleon turned quickly and began to pace the room.
"You say the demand now is that I am to withdraw beyond the Niemen
before commencing negotiations, but in just the same way two months
ago the demand was that I should withdraw beyond the Vistula and the
Oder, and yet you are willing to negotiate."
He went in silence from one corner of the room to the other and
again stopped in front of Balashev. Balashev noticed that his left leg
was quivering faster than before and his face seemed petrified in
its stern expression. This quivering of his left leg was a thing
Napoleon was conscious of. "The vibration of my left calf is a great
sign with me," he remarked at a later date.
"Such demands as to retreat beyond the Vistula and Oder may be
made to a Prince of Baden, but not to me!" Napoleon almost screamed,
quite to his own surprise. "If you gave me Petersburg and Moscow I
could not accept such conditions. You say I have begun this war! But
who first joined his army? The Emperor Alexander, not I! And you offer
me negotiations when I have expended millions, when you are in
alliance with England, and when your position is a bad one. You
offer me negotiations! But what is the aim of your alliance with
England? What has she given you?" he continued hurriedly, evidently no
longer trying to show the advantages of peace and discuss its
possibility, but only to prove his own rectitude and power and
Alexanders errors and duplicity.
The commencement of his speech had obviously been made with the
intention of demonstrating the advantages of his position and
showing that he was nevertheless willing to negotiate. But he had
begun talking, and the more he talked the less could he control his
The whole purport of his remarks now was evidently to
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