a deluge of fire. You cut us out a tough job; you can boast of that, my word on it! And on my word, in spite of the cough I caught, I should be ready to begin again. I pity those who did not see it.”

“I was there,” said Pierre.

“Really!” pursued the Frenchman. “Well, so much the better. You are fine enemies, though. The great redoubt was well held, by my pipe. And you made us pay heavily for it too. I was at it three times, as I’m sitting here. Three times we were upon the cannons, and three times we were driven back like cardboard figures. Oh, it was fine, M. Pierre. Your grenadiers were superb, God’s thunder. I saw them six times in succession close the ranks and march as though on parade. Fine fellows. Our king of Naples, who knows all about it, cried, Bravo! Ah, ah, soldiers like ourselves,” he said after a moment’s silence. “So much the better, so much the better, M. Pierre. Terrible in war … gallant, with the fair” (he winked with a smile)—“there you have the French, M. Pierre, eh?”

The captain was so naïvely and good-humouredly gay and obtuse and self-satisfied that Pierre almost winked in response, as he looked good-humouredly at him. Probably the word “gallant” brought the captain to reflect on the state of things in Moscow.

“By the way, tell me, is it true that all the women have left Moscow? What a queer idea! What had they to fear?”

“Would not the French ladies quit Paris, if the Russians were to enter it?” said Pierre.

“Ha—ha—ha!…” The Frenchman gave vent to a gay, sanguine chuckle, slapping Pierre on the shoulder. “That’s a good one, that is,” he went on. “Paris … But Paris…”

“Paris is the capital of the world,” said Pierre, finishing the sentence for him.

The captain looked at Pierre. He had the habit of stopping short in the middle of conversation, and staring intently with his laughing genial eyes.

“Well, if you had not told me you are a Russian, I would have wagered you were a Parisian. You have that indescribable something …” and uttering this compliment, he again gazed at him mutely.

“I have been in Paris. I spent years there,” said Pierre.

“One can see that! Paris! A man who does not know Paris is a savage … A Parisian can be told two leagues off. Paris—it is Talma, la Duschénois, Potier, the Sorbonne, the boulevards.” Perceiving that the conclusion of his phrase was somewhat of an anticlimax, he added hurriedly, “There is only one Paris in the world.… You have been in Paris, and you remain Russian. Well, I don’t think the less of you for that.”

After the days he had spent alone with his gloomy thoughts, Pierre, under the influence of the wine he had drunk, could not help taking pleasure in conversing with this good-humoured and naïve person.

“To return to your ladies, they are said to be beautiful. What a silly idea to go and bury themselves in the steppes, when the French army is in Moscow. What a chance they have lost. Your peasants are different; but you civilised people ought to know better than that. We have taken Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Naples, Rome, Warsaw—all the capitals in the world. We are feared, but we are loved. We are worth knowing. And then the Emperor…” he was beginning, but Pierre interrupted him.

“The Emperor,” repeated Pierre, and his face suddenly wore a mournful and embarrassed look. “What of the Emperor?”

“The Emperor? He is generosity, mercy, justice, order, genius—that is the Emperor. It is I, Ramballe, who tell you that. I was his enemy eight years ago. My father was an emigrant count. But he has conquered me, that man. He has taken hold of me. I could not resist the spectacle of the greatness and glory with

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