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Chapter 11

  • Next day the field marshal gave a dinner and ball which the Emperor honored b_is presence. Kutuzov had received the Order of St. George of the First Clas_nd the Emperor showed him the highest honors, but everyone knew of th_mperial dissatisfaction with him. The proprieties were observed and th_mperor was the first to set that example, but everybody understood that th_ld man was blameworthy and good-for-nothing. When Kutuzov, conforming to _ustom of Catherine's day, ordered the standards that had been captured to b_owered at the Emperor's feet on his entering the ballroom, the Emperor made _ry face and muttered something in which some people caught the words, "th_ld comedian."
  • The Emperor's displeasure with Kutuzov was specially increased at Vilna by th_act that Kutuzov evidently could not or would not understand the importanc_f the coming campaign.
  • When on the following morning the Emperor said to the officers assembled abou_im: "You have not only saved Russia, you have saved Europe!" they al_nderstood that the war was not ended.
  • Kutuzov alone would not see this and openly expressed his opinion that n_resh war could improve the position or add to the glory of Russia, but coul_nly spoil and lower the glorious position that Russia had gained. He tried t_rove to the Emperor the impossibility of levying fresh troops, spoke of th_ardships already endured by the people, of the possibility of failure and s_orth.
  • This being the field marshal's frame of mind he was naturally regarded a_erely a hindrance and obstacle to the impending war.
  • To avoid unpleasant encounters with the old man, the natural method was to d_hat had been done with him at Austerlitz and with Barclay at the beginning o_he Russian campaign—to transfer the authority to the Emperor himself, thu_utting the ground from under the commander in chief's feet without upsettin_he old man by informing him of the change.
  • With this object his staff was gradually reconstructed and its real strengt_emoved and transferred to the Emperor. Toll, Konovnitsyn, and Ermolo_eceived fresh appointments. Everyone spoke loudly of the field marshal'_reat weakness and failing health.
  • His health had to be bad for his place to be taken away and given to another.
  • And in fact his health was poor.
  • So naturally, simply, and gradually—just as he had come from Turkey to th_reasury in Petersburg to recruit the militia, and then to the army when h_as needed there—now when his part was played out, Kutuzov's place was take_y a new and necessary performer.
  • The war 1812, besides its national significance dear to every Russian heart,
  • was now to assume another, a European, significance.
  • The movement of peoples from west to east was to be succeeded by a movement o_eoples from east to west, and for this fresh war another leader wa_ecessary, having qualities and views differing from Kutuzov's and animated b_ifferent motives.
  • Alexander I was as necessary for the movement of the peoples from east to wes_nd for the refixing of national frontiers as Kutuzov had been for th_alvation and glory of Russia.
  • Kutuzov did not understand what Europe, the balance of power, or Napoleo_eant. He could not understand it. For the representative of the Russia_eople, after the enemy had been destroyed and Russia had been liberated an_aised to the summit of her glory, there was nothing left to do as a Russian.
  • Nothing remained for the representative of the national war but to die, an_utuzov died.