Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
himself and insult Alexander--just what he had least desired at the
commencement of the interview.
"I hear you have made peace with Turkey?"
Balashev bowed his head affirmatively.
"Peace has been concluded..." he began.
But Napoleon did not let him speak. He evidently wanted to do all
the talking himself, and continued to talk with the sort of
eloquence and unrestrained irritability to which spoiled people are so
"Yes, I know you have made peace with the Turks without obtaining
Moldavia and Wallachia; I would have given your sovereign those
provinces as I gave him Finland. Yes," he went on, "I promised and
would have given the Emperor Alexander Moldavia and Wallachia, and now
he wont have those splendid provinces. Yet he might have united
them to his empire and in a single reign would have extended Russia
from the Gulf of Bothnia to the mouths of the Danube. Catherine the
Great could not have done more," said Napoleon, growing more and
more excited as he paced up and down the room, repeating to Balashev
almost the very words he had used to Alexander himself at Tilsit. "All
that, he would have owed to my friendship. Oh, what a splendid reign!"
he repeated several times, then paused, drew from his pocket a gold
snuffbox, lifted it to his nose, and greedily sniffed at it.
"What a splendid reign the Emperor Alexanders might have been!"
He looked compassionately at Balashev, and as soon as the latter
tried to make some rejoinder hastily interrupted him.
"What could he wish or look for that he would not have obtained
through my friendship?" demanded Napoleon, shrugging his shoulders in
perplexity. "But no, he has preferred to surround himself with my
enemies, and with whom? With Steins, Armfeldts, Bennigsens, and
Wintzingerodes! Stein, a traitor expelled from his own country;
Armfeldt, a rake and an intriguer; Wintzingerode, a fugitive French
subject; Bennigsen, rather more of a soldier than the others, but all
the same an incompetent who was unable to do anything in 1807 and who
should awaken terrible memories in the Emperor Alexanders mind....
Granted that were they competent they might be made use of," continued
Napoleon--hardly able to keep pace in words with the rush of thoughts
that incessantly sprang up, proving how right and strong he was (in
his perception the two were one and the same)--"but they are not even
that! They are neither fit for war nor peace! Barclay is said to be
the most capable of them all, but I cannot say so, judging by his
first movements. And what are they doing, all these courtiers? Pfuel
proposes, Armfeldt disputes, Bennigsen considers, and Barclay, called
on to act, does not know what to decide on, and time passes bringing
no result. Bagration alone is a military man. Hes stupid, but he has
experience, a quick eye, and resolution.... And what role is your
young monarch playing in that monstrous crowd? They compromise him and
throw on him the responsibility for all that happens. A sovereign
should not be with the army unless he is a general!" said Napoleon,
evidently uttering these words as a direct challenge to the Emperor.
He knew how Alexander desired to be a military commander.
"The campaign began only a week ago, and you havent even been
able to defend Vilna. You are cut in two and have been driven out of
the Polish provinces. Your army is grumbling."
"On the contrary, Your Majesty," said Balashev, hardly able to
remember what had been said to him and following these verbal
fireworks with difficulty, "the troops are burning with eagerness..."
"I know everything!" Napoleon interrupted him. "I know everything. I
know the number of your battalions as exactly as I know my own. You
have not two hundred thousand men, and I have three times that number.
I give you my word of honor," said Napoleon, forgetting that his
word of honor could carry no weight--"I give you my word of honor that
I have five hundred and thirty thousand men this side of the
Vistula. The Turks will be of no use to you; they are worth nothing
and have shown it by making peace with you. As for the Swedes--it is
their fate to be governed by mad kings. Their king was insane and they
changed him for another--Bernadotte, who promptly went mad--for no
Swede would ally himself with Russia unless he were mad."
Napoleon grinned maliciously and again raised his snuffbox to his
Balashev knew how to reply to each of Napoleons remarks, and
would have done so; he continually made the
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