After his great crisis and conversion in 1878, Tolstoy came to believe that lovewas the most important value by which people should live their lives. Moments like this, however, show that the seed of this idea was within him for far longer.
His belief in the importance of love led to a theory of nonviolence which in turn had an enormous impact on Mahatma Gandhi, whose idea of Satyagraha (non-violent protest) was inspired by his reading of Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You. Gandhi and Tolstoy exchanged letters during the last year of Tolstoy's life.
At the time of the invasion of Moscow Miloradovich negotiated with Murat to ensure the safe retreat of two Russian regiments that were in danger of being trapped by the French army. Murat's general Sebastiani pulled his cavalry back in order to let them escape to the south, but Murat then lost contact with Miloradovich's rear guard, allowing the Russians to make a sudden turn to the west whilst fooling Murat into chasing them towards the south-east. Through these actions Kutuzov's army was well placed, come the French retreat from Moscow, to force Napoleon's army to withdraw along the same route they had recently advanced, which was largely devastated, rather than moving to other roads that would have refreshed their provisions.
It took Napoleon five weeks to decide what to do after the invasion of Moscow did not prove to be the decisive blow he thought it would be. By the time the Grand Army was on the move again in mid-October, the Russian winter was underway. The weather was not wholly responsible for the disastrous nature of Napoleon's retreat, as is often said, but it certainly exacerbated the woes of the poorly supplied, depleted army.
Strangely enough, the French Army was clad in British-made greatcoats. Napoleon ordered a million woollen greatcoats from a company in West Riding, Yorkshire, which provided a tremendous, if somewhat treacherous, boost to the economy at a time when Britain was fighting both against Napoleon and against America.
As the French retreated they were harassed by smalls groups of Russian guerillas, either working independently or under orders from Kutuzov's army, which aimed to force the Grand Army back down the same burnt-out route through which they had already passed. Reacting to the invasion of their motherland, groups of Russian peasants and independent-minded mounted Cossacks spontaneously formed into disparate, disorganised groups that were nevertheless an effective means of undermining the French army.
A torban is a rare Ukrainian lute that seems to have descended from the theorbo during the eighteenth century. The word 'torban' was often misapplied to mean any form of lute, but a true torban is strung with additional treble strings. Its complex and expensive construction and difficulty in playing reduced the torban's appeal, turning it into an instrument of the gentry, to whom it appealed as a status symbol.