Full Online Books
BOOK CATEGORIES
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
LINKS
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
donate
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 26
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 26 Post by :acstanfieldent Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1002

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 26 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 26

On August 25, the eve of the battle of Borodino, M. de Beausset,
prefect of the French Emperor's palace, arrived at Napoleon's quarters
at Valuevo with Colonel Fabvier, the former from Paris and the
latter from Madrid.

Donning his court uniform, M. de Beausset ordered a box he had
brought for the Emperor to be carried before him and entered the first
compartment of Napoleon's tent, where he began opening the box while
conversing with Napoleon's aides-de-camp who surrounded him.

Fabvier, not entering the tent, remained at the entrance talking
to some generals of his acquaintance.

The Emperor Napoleon had not yet left his bedroom and was
finishing his toilet. Slightly snorting and grunting, he presented now
his back and now his plump hairy chest to the brush with which his
valet was rubbing him down. Another valet, with his finger over the
mouth of a bottle, was sprinkling Eau de Cologne on the Emperor's
pampered body with an expression which seemed to say that he alone
knew where and how much Eau de Cologne should be sprinkled. Napoleon's
short hair was wet and matted on the forehead, but his face, though
puffy and yellow, expressed physical satisfaction. "Go on, harder,
go on!" he muttered to the valet who was rubbing him, slightly
twitching and grunting. An aide-de-camp, who had entered the bedroom
to report to the Emperor the number of prisoners taken in
yesterday's action, was standing by the door after delivering his
message, awaiting permission to withdraw. Napoleon, frowning, looked
at him from under his brows.

"No prisoners!" said he, repeating the aide-de-camp's words. "They
are forcing us to exterminate them. So much the worse for the
Russian army.... Go on... harder, harder!" he muttered, hunching his
back and presenting his fat shoulders.

"All right. Let Monsieur de Beausset enter, and Fabvier too," he
said, nodding to the aide-de-camp.

"Yes, sire," and the aide-de-camp disappeared through the door of
the tent.

Two valets rapidly dressed His Majesty, and wearing the blue uniform
of the Guards he went with firm quick steps to the reception room.

De Beausset's hands meanwhile were busily engaged arranging the
present he had brought from the Empress, on two chairs directly in
front of the entrance. But Napoleon had dressed and come out with such
unexpected rapidity that he had not time to finish arranging the
surprise.

Napoleon noticed at once what they were about and guessed that
they were not ready. He did not wish to deprive them of the pleasure
of giving him a surprise, so he pretended not to see de Beausset and
called Fabvier to him, listening silently and with a stern frown to
what Fabvier told him of the heroism and devotion of his troops
fighting at Salamanca, at the other end of Europe, with but one
thought- to be worthy of their Emperor- and but one fear- to fail to
please him. The result of that battle had been deplorable. Napoleon
made ironic remarks during Fabvier's account, as if he had not
expected that matters could go otherwise in his absence.

"I must make up for that in Moscow," said Napoleon. "I'll see you
later," he added, and summoned de Beausset, who by that time had
prepared the surprise, having placed something on the chairs and
covered it with a cloth.

De Beausset bowed low, with that courtly French bow which only the
old retainers of the Bourbons knew how to make, and approached him,
presenting an envelope.

Napoleon turned to him gaily and pulled his ear.

"You have hurried here. I am very glad. Well, what is Paris saying?"
he asked, suddenly changing his former stern expression for a most
cordial tone.

"Sire, all Paris regrets your absence," replied de Beausset as was
proper.

But though Napoleon knew that de Beausset had to say something of
this kind, and though in his lucid moments he knew it was untrue, he
was pleased to hear it from him. Again he honored him by touching
his ear.

"I am very sorry to have made you travel so far," said he.

"Sire, I expected nothing less than to find you at the gates of
Moscow," replied de Beausset.

Napoleon smiled and, lifting his head absentmindedly, glanced to the
right. An aide-de-camp approached with gliding steps and offered him a
gold snuffbox, which he took.

"Yes, it has happened luckily for you," he said, raising the open
snuffbox to his nose. "You are fond of travel, and in three days you
will see Moscow. You surely did not expect to see that Asiatic
capital. You will have a pleasant journey."

De Beausset bowed gratefully at this regard for his taste for travel
(of which he had not till then been aware).

"Ha, what's this?" asked Napoleon, noticing that all the courtiers
were looking at something concealed under a cloth.

With courtly adroitness de Beausset half turned and without
turning his back to the Emperor retired two steps, twitching off the
cloth at the same time, and said:

"A present to Your Majesty from the Empress."

It was a portrait, painted in bright colors by Gerard, of the son
borne to Napoleon by the daughter of the Emperor of Austria, the boy
whom for some reason everyone called "The King of Rome."

A very pretty curly-headed boy with a look of the Christ in the
Sistine Madonna was depicted playing at stick and ball. The ball
represented the terrestrial globe and the stick in his other hand a
scepter.

Though it was not clear what the artist meant to express by
depicting the so-called King of Rome spiking the earth with a stick,
the allegory apparently seemed to Napoleon, as it had done to all
who had seen it in Paris, quite clear and very pleasing.

"The King of Rome!" he said, pointing to the portrait with a
graceful gesture. "Admirable!"

With the natural capacity of an Italian for changing the
expression of his face at will, he drew nearer to the portrait and
assumed a look of pensive tenderness. He felt that what he now said
and did would be historical, and it seemed to him that it would now be
best for him- whose grandeur enabled his son to play stick and ball
with the terrestrial globe- to show, in contrast to that grandeur, the
simplest paternal tenderness. His eyes grew dim, he moved forward,
glanced round at a chair (which seemed to place itself under him), and
sat down on it before the portrait. At a single gesture from him
everyone went out on tiptoe, leaving the great man to himself and
his emotion.

Having sat still for a while he touched- himself not knowing why-
the thick spot of paint representing the highest light in the
portrait, rose, and recalled de Beausset and the officer on duty. He
ordered the portrait to be carried outside his tent, that the Old
Guard, stationed round it, might not be deprived of the pleasure of
seeing the King of Rome, the son and heir of their adored monarch.

And while he was doing M. de Beausset the honor of breakfasting with
him, they heard, as Napoleon had anticipated, the rapturous cries of
the officers and men of the Old Guard who had run up to see the
portrait.

"Vive l'Empereur! Vive le roi de Rome! Vive l'Empereur!" came
those ecstatic cries.

After breakfast Napoleon in de Beausset's presence dictated his
order of the day to the army.

"Short and energetic!" he remarked when he had read over the
proclamation which he had dictated straight off without corrections.
It ran:


Soldiers! This is the battle you have so longed for. Victory depends
on you. It is essential for us; it will give us all we need:
comfortable quarters and a speedy return to our country. Behave as you
did at Austerlitz, Friedland, Vitebsk, and Smolensk. Let our
remotest posterity recall your achievements this day with pride. Let
it be said of each of you: "He was in the great battle before Moscow!"


"Before Moscow!" repeated Napoleon, and inviting M. de Beausset, who
was so fond of travel, to accompany him on his ride, he went out of
the tent to where the horses stood saddled.

"Your Majesty is too kind!" replied de Beausset to the invitation to
accompany the Emperor; he wanted to sleep, did not know how to ride
and was afraid of doing so.

But Napoleon nodded to the traveler, and de Beausset had to mount.
When Napoleon came out of the tent the shouting of the Guards before
his son's portrait grew still louder. Napoleon frowned.

"Take him away!" he said, pointing with a gracefully majestic
gesture to the portrait. "It is too soon for him to see a field of
battle."

De Beausset closed his eyes, bowed his head, and sighed deeply, to
indicate how profoundly he valued and comprehended the Emperor's
words.

If you like this book please share to your friends :
NEXT BOOKS

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 27 War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 27

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 27
On the twenty-fifth of August, so his historians tell us, Napoleonspent the whole day on horseback inspecting the locality,considering plans submitted to him by his marshals, and personallygiving commands to his generals.The original line of the Russian forces along the river Kolochahad been dislocated by the capture of the Shevardino Redoubt on thetwenty-fourth, and part of the line- the left flank- had been drawnback. That part of the line was not entrenched and in front of itthe ground was more open and level than elsewhere. It was evident toanyone, military or not, that it was here the French should attack. Itwould
PREVIOUS BOOKS

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 25 War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 25

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 25
The officers were about to take leave, but Prince Andrew, apparentlyreluctant to be left alone with his friend, asked them to stay andhave tea. Seats were brought in and so was the tea. The officers gazedwith surprise at Pierre's huge stout figure and listened to his talkof Moscow and the position of our army, round which he had ridden.Prince Andrew remained silent, and his expression was so forbiddingthat Pierre addressed his remarks chiefly to the good-naturedbattalion commander."So you understand the whole position of our troops?" PrinceAndrew interrupted him."Yes- that is, how do you mean?" said Pierre. "Not being amilitary man I
NEXT 10 BOOKS | PREVIOUS 10 BOOKS | RANDOM 10 BOOKS
LEAVE A COMMENT