There's a great little character detail to start the chapter with the Tsar, and something that made me laugh. The sovereign doesn't include his (T tells us) famousphrase about not surrendering while there is an armed man in Russia in the note to Napoleon as he feels "it would be inappropriate to convey these works when a last attemot at reconciliation was being make; but he told Balashov to convey them without fail to Napoleon in person."
It's two in the morning on the 14th of June, but the sovereign sends Balashov out with the note. He reaches the French at dawn. No one really wants to take him seriously, and he's taken to a colonel to take him to a commander to take him to his destination. At this point he runs into Murat, who is known as the King of Naples, and brother-in-law to Napoleon. He has much plumage, having a reputation for just dressing as gaudily as possible and riding through the streets. He assures Balashov that Napoleon has no wish for war, but was offended by the request to withdraw his troops from Prussia. So, Murat considered Alexander the instigator.
This line of conversation Murat broke off "in the tone of a conversation between servants who wish to remain good friends despite a quarrel between their masters." Balashov thinks he'll now meet Napoleon, but instead is sent to Davout. Hmmmm.
1 year ago