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War And Peace 524

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Emma Watson Pussy


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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,*[2] 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." *[2] "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 truth. "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 ridicule... 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. CHAPTER XX 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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