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.