BOOK NINE: 1812
2. CHAPTER II
For him it was no new conviction that his presence in any part of
the world, from Africa to the steppes of Muscovy alike, was enough
to dumfound people and impel them to insane self-oblivion. He called
for his horse and rode to his quarters.
Some forty Uhlans were drowned in the river, though boats were
sent to their assistance. The majority struggled back to the bank from
which they had started. The colonel and some of his men got across and
with difficulty clambered out on the further bank. And as soon as they
had got out, in their soaked and streaming clothes, they shouted
"Vivat!" and looked ecstatically at the spot where Napoleon had been
but where he no longer was and at that moment considered themselves
That evening, between issuing one order that the forged Russian
paper money prepared for use in Russia should be delivered as
quickly as possible and another that a Saxon should be shot, on whom a
letter containing information about the orders to the French army
had been found, Napoleon also gave instructions that the Polish
colonel who had needlessly plunged into the river should be enrolled
in the Legion d'honneur of which Napoleon was himself the head.
Quos vult perdere dementat.*
*Those whom (God) wishes to destroy he drives mad.