Reading for Tuesday, 3 March
Here Napoleon is at the gates of Moscow, but in a moment that feels historical (but could also have been invented by Tolstoy), it’s not all as much fun as he would have hoped.
He was hoping to waltz in to the city, be met by the Tsar’s men and welcomed as a great benevolent leader coming in to change the world.
But a deserted city?
It goes to show that (at least in this portrayal) the conquering wasn’t half so important as the ego boost. Anyone could take a city. But to have people fawn over you and think you’re magnificent is what Napoleon wanted.
I like the little bit where Napoleon’s offsiders are wondering whether they should scrape some people together to pretend to be deputation. Either way, French honour was at stake here . . .