Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
in which all those who are in it are inevitably wiped
out and destroyed. And by chance an escape from this dangerous
position presents itself in the form of an aimless and senseless
expedition to Africa. Again so-called chance accompanies him.
Impregnable Malta surrenders without a shot; his most reckless schemes
are crowned with success. The enemys fleet, which subsequently did
not let a single boat pass, allows his entire army to elude it. In
Africa a whole series of outrages are committed against the almost
unarmed inhabitants. And the men who commit these crimes, especially
their leader, assure themselves that this is admirable, this is
glory--it resembles Caesar and Alexander the Great and is therefore
This ideal of glory and grandeur--which consists not merely in
considering nothing wrong that one does but in priding oneself on
every crime one commits, ascribing to it an incomprehensible
supernatural significance--that ideal, destined to guide this man
and his associates, had scope for its development in Africa.
Whatever he does succeeds. The plague does not touch him. The
cruelty of murdering prisoners is not imputed to him as a fault. His
childishly rash, uncalled-for, and ignoble departure from Africa,
leaving his comrades in distress, is set down to his credit, and again
the enemys fleet twice lets him slip past. When, intoxicated by the
crimes he has committed so successfully, he reaches Paris, the
dissolution of the republican government, which a year earlier might
have ruined him, has reached its extreme limit, and his presence there
now as a newcomer free from party entanglements can only serve to
exalt him--and though he himself has no plan, he is quite ready for
his new role.
He had no plan, he was afraid of everything, but the parties
snatched at him and demanded his participation.
He alone--with his ideal of glory and grandeur developed in Italy
and Egypt, his insane self-adulation, his boldness in crime and
frankness in lying--he alone could justify what had to be done.
He is needed for the place that awaits him, and so almost apart from
his will and despite his indecision, his lack of a plan, and all his
mistakes, he is drawn into a conspiracy that aims at seizing power and
the conspiracy is crowned with success.
He is pushed into a meeting of the legislature. In alarm he wishes
to flee, considering himself lost. He pretends to fall into a swoon
and says senseless things that should have ruined him. But the once
proud and shrewd rulers of France, feeling that their part is played
out, are even more bewildered than he, and do not say the words they
should have said to destroy him and retain their power.
Chance, millions of chances, give him power, and all men as if by
agreement co-operate to confirm that power. Chance forms the
characters of the rulers of France, who submit to him; chance forms
the character of Paul I of Russia who recognizes his government;
chance contrives a plot against him which not only fails to harm him
but confirms his power. Chance puts the Duc dEnghien in his hands and
unexpectedly causes him to kill him--thereby convincing the mob more
forcibly than in any other way that he had the right, since he had the
might. Chance contrives that though he directs all his efforts to
prepare an expedition against England (which would inevitably have
ruined him) he never carries out that intention, but unexpectedly
falls upon Mack and the Austrians, who surrender without a battle.
Chance and genius give him the victory at Austerlitz; and by chance
all men, not only the French but all Europe--except England which does
not take part in the events about to happen--despite their former
horror and detestation of his crimes, now recognize his authority, the
title he has given himself, and his ideal of grandeur and glory, which
seems excellent and reasonable to them all.
As if measuring themselves and preparing for the coming movement,
the western forces push toward the east several times in 1805, 1806,
1807, and 1809, gaining strength and growing. In 1811 the group of
people that had formed in France unites into one group with the
peoples of Central Europe. The strength of the justification of the
man who stands at the head of the movement grows with the increased
size of the group. During the ten-year preparatory period this man had
formed relations with all the crowned heads of Europe. The discredited
rulers of the world can oppose no reasonable ideal to the insensate
Napoleonic ideal of glory and grandeur. One after another
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