Some people procrastinate, others plan. Tsar Alexander is a procrastinator. Boris Drubetskoy is a planner. The contrast between the two are presented in stark relief in today’s chapter.
The procrastinators are in charge. Everyone expects Napoleon to bring war but no one seems interested in preparing for it. Alexander has come all the way from Petersburg to Vilna for the express purpose of war preparation and, yet, nothing gets done save for the planning of a ball or two.
Boris makes sure he attends these balls even though he has already climbed about as high up the Russian social ladder as he can hope to. He’s a rich man now that he’s married Julie Karagina. But grind is life so when Boris’s keen eyes note that Alexander is getting some important news at the ball he makes sure he’s there to hear it too. That’s how Boris learns of Napoleon’s invasion before anyone else.
We’ve spoke harshly of Boris before but you have to give it to him: the man knows what he wants and how to get it. You’ll find no dilly-dallying in his game. Boris is always on. He sets goals and then immediately sets out to achieve them. Sometimes I feel his inauthenticity can be forgiven just because of the sheer commitment, discipline, and dedication with which he plays his game. There’s something there we could all learn from, especially if we devote that drive to virtuous ends.
Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations