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as if blaming himself for his weakness, and raising his head addressed Michaud in a firm voice: "I see, Colonel, from all that is happening, that Providence requires great sacrifices of us... I am ready to submit myself in all things to His will; but tell me, Michaud, how did you leave the army when it saw my ancient capital abandoned without a battle? Did you not notice discouragement?..." Seeing that his most gracious ruler was calm once more, Michaud also grew calm, but was not immediately ready to reply to the Emperors direct and relevant question which required a direct answer. "Sire, will you allow me to speak frankly as befits a loyal soldier?" he asked to gain time. "Colonel, I always require it," replied the Emperor. "Conceal nothing from me, I wish to know absolutely how things are." "Sire!" said Michaud with a subtle, scarcely perceptible smile on his lips, having now prepared a well-phrased reply, "sire, I left the whole army, from its chiefs to the lowest soldier, without exception in desperate and agonized terror..." "How is that?" the Emperor interrupted him, frowning sternly. "Would misfortune make my Russians lose heart?... Never!" Michaud had only waited for this to bring out the phrase he had prepared. "Sire," he said, with respectful playfulness, "they are only afraid lest Your Majesty, in the goodness of your heart, should allow yourself to be persuaded to make peace. They are burning for the combat," declared this representative of the Russian nation, "and to prove to Your Majesty by the sacrifice of their lives how devoted they are...." "Ah!" said the Emperor reassured, and with a kindly gleam in his eyes, he patted Michaud on the shoulder. "You set me at ease, Colonel." He bent his head and was silent for some time. "Well, then, go back to the army," he said, drawing himself up to his full height and addressing Michaud with a gracious and majestic gesture, "and tell our brave men and all my good subjects wherever you go that when I have not a soldier left I shall put myself at the head of my beloved nobility and my good peasants and so use the last resources of my empire. It still offers me more than my enemies suppose," said the Emperor growing more and more animated; "but should it ever be ordained by Divine Providence," he continued, raising to heaven his fine eyes shining with emotion, "that my dynasty should cease to reign on the throne of my ancestors, then after exhausting all the means at my command, I shall let my beard grow to here" (he pointed halfway down his chest) "and go and eat potatoes with the meanest of my peasants, rather than sign the disgrace of my country and of my beloved people whose sacrifices I know how to appreciate." Having uttered these words in an agitated voice the Emperor suddenly turned away as if to hide from Michaud the tears that rose to his eyes, and went to the further end of his study. Having stood there a few moments, he strode back to Michaud and pressed his arm below the elbow with a vigorous movement. The Emperors mild and handsome face was flushed and his eyes gleamed with resolution and anger. "Colonel Michaud, do not forget what I say to you here, perhaps we may recall it with pleasure someday... Napoleon or I," said the Emperor, touching his breast. "We can no longer both reign together. I have learned to know him, and he will not deceive me any more...." And the Emperor paused, with a frown. When he heard these words and saw the expression of firm resolution in the Emperors eyes, Michaud--quoique etranger, russe de coeur et dame--at that solemn moment felt himself enraptured by all that he had heard (as he used afterwards to say), and gave expression to his own feelings and those of the Russian people whose representative he considered himself to be, in the following words: "Sire!" said he, "Your Majesty is at this moment signing the glory of the nation and the salvation of Europe!" With an inclination of the head the Emperor dismissed him. CHAPTER IV It is natural for us who were not living in those days to imagine that when half Russia had been conquered and the inhabitants were fleeing to distant provinces, and one levy after another was being raised for the defense of the fatherland, all Russians from the greatest to the least were solely engaged in sacrificing themselves, saving their fatherland, or weeping over its downfall. The tales and descriptions of that time without

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