Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
his own words.
"Eh? Nonsense! He sees well enough," said Prince Vasili rapidly,
in a deep voice and with a slight cough--the voice and cough with
which he was wont to dispose of all difficulties.
"He sees well enough," he added. "And what I am so pleased about,"
he went on, "is that our sovereign has given him full powers over
all the armies and the whole region--powers no commander in chief ever
had before. He is a second autocrat," he concluded with a victorious
"God grant it! God grant it!" said Anna Pavlovna.
The "man of great merit," who was still a novice in court circles,
wishing to flatter Anna Pavlovna by defending her former position on
this question, observed:
"It is said that the Emperor was reluctant to give Kutuzov those
powers. They say he blushed like a girl to whom Joconde is read,
when he said to Kutuzov: Your Emperor and the Fatherland award you
"Perhaps the heart took no part in that speech," said Anna Pavlovna.
"Oh, no, no!" warmly rejoined Prince Vasili, who would not now yield
Kutuzov to anyone; in his opinion Kutuzov was not only admirable
himself, but was adored by everybody. "No, thats impossible," said
he, "for our sovereign appreciated him so highly before."
"God grant only that Prince Kutuzov assumes real power and does
not allow anyone to put a spoke in his wheel," observed Anna Pavlovna.
Understanding at once to whom she alluded, Prince Vasili said in a
"I know for a fact that Kutuzov made it an absolute condition that
the Tsarevich should not be with the army. Do you know what he said to
And Prince Vasili repeated the words supposed to have been spoken by
Kutuzov to the Emperor. "I can neither punish him if he does wrong nor
reward him if he does right."
"Oh, a very wise man is Prince Kutuzov! I have known him a long
"They even say," remarked the "man of great merit" who did not yet
possess courtly tact, "that his excellency made it an express
condition that the sovereign himself should not be with the army."
As soon as he said this both Prince Vasili and Anna Pavlovna
turned away from him and glanced sadly at one another with a sigh at
While this was taking place in Petersburg the French had already
passed Smolensk and were drawing nearer and nearer to Moscow.
Napoleons historian Thiers, like other of his historians, trying to
justify his hero says that he was drawn to the walls of Moscow against
his will. He is as right as other historians who look for the
explanation of historic events in the will of one man; he is as
right as the Russian historians who maintain that Napoleon was drawn
to Moscow by the skill of the Russian commanders. Here besides the law
of retrospection, which regards all the past as a preparation for
events that subsequently occur, the law of reciprocity comes in,
confusing the whole matter. A good chessplayer having lost a game is
sincerely convinced that his loss resulted from a mistake he made
and looks for that mistake in the opening, but forgets that at each
stage of the game there were similar mistakes and that none of his
moves were perfect. He only notices the mistake to which he pays
attention, because his opponent took advantage of it. How much more
complex than this is the game of war, which occurs under certain
limits of time, and where it is not one will that manipulates lifeless
objects, but everything results from innumerable conflicts of
After Smolensk Napoleon sought a battle beyond Dorogobuzh at Vyazma,
and then at Tsarevo-Zaymishche, but it happened that owing to a
conjunction of innumerable circumstances the Russians could not give
battle till they reached Borodino, seventy miles from Moscow. From
Vyazma Napoleon ordered a direct advance on Moscow.
Moscou, la capitale asiatique de ce grand empire, la ville sacree
des peuples dAlexandre, Moscou avec ses innombrables eglises en forme
de pagodes chinoises,* this Moscow gave Napoleons imagination no
rest. On the march from Vyazma to Tsarevo-Zaymishche he rode his light
bay bobtailed ambler accompanied by his Guards, his bodyguard, his
pages, and aides-de-camp. Berthier, his chief of staff, dropped behind
to question a Russian prisoner captured by the cavalry. Followed by
Lelorgne dIdeville, an interpreter, he overtook Napoleon at a
gallop and reined in his horse with an amused expression.
*"Moscow, the Asiatic capital of this great empire, the sacred
city of Alexanders people, Moscow with its innumerable churches
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