This description of Davout is just wonderful (after we're told he's just a mean person, the likes of which are inexplicably near power but necessary in the state mechanism)-
It would have been possible to find a better location, but Marshal Davout was one of those people who deliverately set themselves up in the most gloony conditions of life, so as to have the right to be gloomy. Fo the same reson they are always in a hurry and stubbornly busy. "How can I think you about the happy side of human life, when, as you see, I'm sitting in a dirty shed and working," said the expression of his face. The chief pleasure and need of these people, on meeting life's animation, consists in throwing their glomy, stubborn activity into the eyes of that animation.
Davout is short and rude to Balashov, and takes the package from him and reads it. He orders Balashov to stay, and he ends up riding with them for four days. Finally, it looks like he'll meet Napoleon. "Four days earlier, the sentinels of the Preobrazhensky regiment were standing by the house to which Balashov was brought....Napoleon was to recieve Balashov in the same house in Vilno from which Alexander had sent him off."
Wow - that's ballsy. I think beyond that, even. He's marched around for four days, to end up in the same place he left from, but this time as a prisoner, ostensibly. If Napoleon wanted to show power, this is certainly a way.
6 months ago