Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
when little Nicholas perceived him he grew faint with
love: he felt himself powerless, limp, and formless. His father
caressed and pitied him. But Uncle Nicholas came nearer and nearer to
them. Terror seized young Nicholas and he awoke.
"My father!" he thought. (Though there were two good portraits of
Prince Andrew in the house, Nicholas never imagined him in human
form.) "My father has been with me and caressed me. He approved of
me and of Uncle Pierre. Whatever he may tell me, I will do it.
Mucius Scaevola burned his hand. Why should not the same sort of thing
happen to me? I know they want me to learn. And I will learn. But
someday I shall have finished learning, and then I will do
something. I only pray God that something may happen to me such as
happened to Plutarchs men, and I will act as they did. I will do
better. Everyone shall know me, love me, and be delighted with me!"
And suddenly his bosom heaved with sobs and he began to cry.
"Are you ill?" he heard Dessalles voice asking.
"No," answered Nicholas, and lay back on his pillow.
"He is good and kind and I am fond of him!" he thought of Dessalles.
"But Uncle Pierre! Oh, what a wonderful man he is! And my father?
Oh, Father, Father! Yes, I will do something with which even he
would be satisfied...."
History is the life of nations and of humanity. To seize and put
into words, to describe directly the life of humanity or even of a
single nation, appears impossible.
The ancient historians all employed one and the same method to
describe and seize the apparently elusive--the life of a people.
They described the activity of individuals who ruled the people, and
regarded the activity of those men as representing the activity of the
The question: how did individuals make nations act as they wished
and by what was the will of these individuals themselves guided? the
ancients met by recognizing a divinity which subjected the nations
to the will of a chosen man, and guided the will of that chosen man so
as to accomplish ends that were predestined.
For the ancients these questions were solved by a belief in the
direct participation of the Deity in human affairs.
Modern history, in theory, rejects both these principles.
It would seem that having rejected the belief of the ancients in
mans subjection to the Deity and in a predetermined aim toward
which nations are led, modern history should study not the
manifestations of power but the causes that produce it. But modern
history has not done this. Having in theory rejected the view held
by the ancients, it still follows them in practice.
Instead of men endowed with divine authority and directly guided by
the will of God, modern history has given us either heroes endowed
with extraordinary, superhuman capacities, or simply men of very
various kinds, from monarchs to journalists, who lead the masses.
Instead of the former divinely appointed aims of the Jewish, Greek, or
Roman nations, which ancient historians regarded as representing the
progress of humanity, modern history has postulated its own aims--the
welfare of the French, German, or English people, or, in its highest
abstraction, the welfare and civilization of humanity in general, by
which is usually meant that of the peoples occupying a small
northwesterly portion of a large continent.
Modern history has rejected the beliefs of the ancients without
replacing them by a new conception, and the logic of the situation has
obliged the historians, after they had apparently rejected the
divine authority of the kings and the "fate" of the ancients, to reach
the same conclusion by another road, that is, to recognize (1) nations
guided by individual men, and (2) the existence of a known aim to
which these nations and humanity at large are tending.
At the basis of the works of all the modern historians from Gibbon
to Buckle, despite their seeming disagreements and the apparent
novelty of their outlooks, lie those two old, unavoidable assumptions.
In the first place the historian describes the activity of
individuals who in his opinion have directed humanity (one historian
considers only monarchs, generals, and ministers as being such men,
while another includes also orators, learned men, reformers,
philosophers, and poets). Secondly, it is assumed that the goal toward
which humanity is being led is known to the historians: to one of them
this goal is the greatness of the Roman, Spanish, or French realm;
to another it is liberty, equality, and a
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