Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
lunched and was again standing in the
same place on the Poklonny Hill awaiting the deputation. His speech to
the boyars had already taken definite shape in his imagination. That
speech was full of dignity and greatness as Napoleon understood it.
He was himself carried away by the tone of magnanimity he intended
to adopt toward Moscow. In his imagination he appointed days for
assemblies at the palace of the Tsars, at which Russian notables and
his own would mingle. He mentally appointed a governor, one who
would win the hearts of the people. Having learned that there were
many charitable institutions in Moscow he mentally decided that he
would shower favors on them all. He thought that, as in Africa he
had to put on a burnoose and sit in a mosque, so in Moscow he must
be beneficent like the Tsars. And in order finally to touch the hearts
of the Russians--and being like all Frenchmen unable to imagine
anything sentimental without a reference to ma chere, ma tendre, ma
pauvre mere* --he decided that he would place an inscription on all
these establishments in large letters: "This establishment is
dedicated to my dear mother." Or no, it should be simply: Maison de ma
Mere,* he concluded. "But am I really in Moscow? Yes, here it
lies before me, but why is the deputation from the city so long in
appearing?" he wondered.
*"My dear, my tender, my poor mother."
* "House of my Mother."
Meanwhile an agitated consultation was being carried on in
whispers among his generals and marshals at the rear of his suite.
Those sent to fetch the deputation had returned with the news that
Moscow was empty, that everyone had left it. The faces of those who
were not conferring together were pale and perturbed. They were not
alarmed by the fact that Moscow had been abandoned by its
inhabitants (grave as that fact seemed), but by the question how to
tell the Emperor--without putting him in the terrible position of
appearing ridiculous--that he had been awaiting the boyars so long
in vain: that there were drunken mobs left in Moscow but no one
else. Some said that a deputation of some sort must be scraped
together, others disputed that opinion and maintained that the Emperor
should first be carefully and skillfully prepared, and then told the
"He will have to be told, all the same," said some gentlemen of
the suite. "But, gentlemen..."
The position was the more awkward because the Emperor, meditating
upon his magnanimous plans, was pacing patiently up and down before
the outspread map, occasionally glancing along the road to Moscow from
under his lifted hand with a bright and proud smile.
"But its impossible..." declared the gentlemen of the suite, shrugging
their shoulders but not venturing to utter the implied word--le
At last the Emperor, tired of futile expectation, his actors
instinct suggesting to him that the sublime moment having been too
long drawn out was beginning to lose its sublimity, gave a sign with
his hand. A single report of a signaling gun followed, and the troops,
who were already spread out on different sides of Moscow, moved into
the city through Tver, Kaluga, and Dorogomilov gates. Faster and
faster, vying with one another, they moved at the double or at a trot,
vanishing amid the clouds of dust they raised and making the air
ring with a deafening roar of mingling shouts.
Drawn on by the movement of his troops Napoleon rode with them as
far as the Dorogomilov gate, but there again stopped and,
dismounting from his horse, paced for a long time by the
Kammer-Kollezski rampart, awaiting the deputation.
Meanwhile Moscow was empty. There were still people in it, perhaps a
fiftieth part of its former inhabitants had remained, but it was
empty. It was empty in the sense that a dying queenless hive is empty.
In a queenless hive no life is left though to a superficial glance
it seems as much alive as other hives.
The bees circle round a queenless hive in the hot beams of the midday
sun as gaily as around the living hives; from a distance it smells of
honey like the others, and bees fly in and out in the same way. But
one has only to observe that hive to realize that there is no longer
any life in it. The bees do not fly in the same way, the smell and the
sound that meet the beekeeper are not the same. To the beekeepers tap
on the wall of the sick hive, instead
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