The Ryazan Road to Ruin by Revolution

Day 234 of A Year of War and Peace

“Here she is, the reward for all those fainthearted men,” he reflected, glancing at those near him and at the troops who were approaching and forming up. “One word from me, one movement of my hand, and that ancient capital of the Tsars would perish. But my clemency is always ready to descend upon the vanquished. I must be magnanimous and truly great. But no, it can’t be true that I am in Moscow,” he suddenly thought. “Yet here she is lying at my feet, with her golden domes and crosses scintillating and twinkling in the sunshine. But I shall spare her. On the ancient monuments of barbarism and despotism I will inscribe great words of justice and mercy…. It is just this which Alexander will feel most painfully, I know him.” (It seemed to Napoleon that the chief import of what was taking place lay in the personal struggle between himself and Alexander.) “From the height of the Krémlin — yes, there is the Krémlin, yes — I will give them just laws; I will teach them the meaning of true civilization.”

DAILY MEDITATION

This is the two hundred and forty fourth installment in a daily, yearlong, chapter-by-chapter reading devotional and meditation on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. For more information on this project please read the introduction to the series here.

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