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War And Peace 523


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and refreshed by inhaling the aromatic autumn air, when even the nights are warm, and when in those dark warm nights, golden stars startle and delight us continually by falling from the sky. At ten in the morning of the second of September this weather still held. The brightness of the morning was magical. Moscow seen from the Poklonny Hill lay spaciously spread out with her river, her gardens, and her churches, and she seemed to be living her usual life, her cupolas glittering like stars in the sunlight. The view of the strange city with its peculiar architecture, such as he had never seen before, filled Napoleon with the rather envious and uneasy curiosity men feel when they see an alien form of life that has no knowledge of them. This city was evidently living with the full force of its own life. By the indefinite signs which, even at a distance, distinguish a living body from a dead one, Napoleon from the Poklonny Hill perceived the throb of life in the town and felt, as it were, the breathing of that great and beautiful body. Every Russian looking at Moscow feels her to be a mother; every foreigner who sees her, even if ignorant of her significance as the mother city, must feel her feminine character, and Napoleon felt it. "Cette ville asiatique aux innombrables eglises, Moscou la sainte. La voila done enfin, cette fameuse ville! Il etait temps,"* said he, and dismounting he ordered a plan of Moscow to be spread out before him, and summoned Lelorgne dIdeville, the interpreter. *"That Asiatic city of the innumerable churches, holy Moscow! Here it is then at last, that famous city. It was high time." "A town captured by the enemy is like a maid who has lost her honor," thought he (he had said so to Tuchkov at Smolensk). From that point of view he gazed at the Oriental beauty he had not seen before. It seemed strange to him that his long-felt wish, which had seemed unattainable, had at last been realized. In the clear morning light he gazed now at the city and now at the plan, considering its details, and the assurance of possessing it agitated and awed him. "But could it be otherwise?" he thought. "Here is this capital at my feet. Where is Alexander now, and of what is he thinking? A strange, beautiful, and majestic city; and a strange and majestic moment! In what light must I appear to them!" thought he, thinking of his troops. "Here she is, the reward for all those fainthearted men," he reflected, glancing at those near him and at the troops who were approaching and forming up. "One word from me, one movement of my hand, and that ancient capital of the Tsars would perish. But my clemency is always ready to descend upon the vanquished. I must be magnanimous and truly great. But no, it cant be true that I am in Moscow," he suddenly thought. "Yet here she is lying at my feet, with her golden domes and crosses scintillating and twinkling in the sunshine. But I shall spare her. On the ancient monuments of barbarism and despotism I will inscribe great words of justice and mercy.... It is just this which Alexander will feel most painfully, I know him." (It seemed to Napoleon that the chief import of what was taking place lay in the personal struggle between himself and Alexander.) "From the height of the Kremlin--yes, there is the Kremlin, yes--I will give them just laws; I will teach them the meaning of true civilization, I will make generations of boyars remember their conqueror with love. I will tell the deputation that I did not, and do not, desire war, that I have waged war only against the false policy of their court; that I love and respect Alexander and that in Moscow I will accept terms of peace worthy of myself and of my people. I do not wish to utilize the fortunes of war to humiliate an honored monarch. Boyars, I will say to them, I do not desire war, I desire the peace and welfare of all my subjects. However, I know their presence will inspire me, and I shall speak to them as I always do: clearly, impressively, and majestically. But can it be true that I am in Moscow? Yes, there she lies." "Quon mamene les boyars,"* said he to his suite. *"Bring the boyars to me." A general with a brilliant suite galloped off at once to fetch the boyars. Two hours passed. Napoleon had

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