They went away each on his own account, and yet it was only in consequence of their going away that the momentous event was accomplished that will always remain the greatest glory of the Russian people.
The third and most incomprehensible thing is that people studying history deliberately avoid seeing that this flank march cannot be attributed to any one man, that no one ever foresaw it, and that in reality, like the retreat from Fili, it did not suggest itself to anyone in its entirety, but resulted--moment by moment, step by step, event by event--from an endless number of most diverse circumstances and was only seen in its entirety when it had been accomplished and belonged to the past.
Had Napoleon's aim been to destroy his army, the most skillful strategist could hardly have devised any series of actions that would so completely have accomplished that purpose, independently of anything the Russian army might do.
It seemed to them that what they had lived through and experienced could not be expressed in words, and that any reference to the details of his life infringed the majesty and sacredness of the mystery that had been accomplished before their eyes.
A revolt within the city soon afterwards resulted in the abdication of the reigning emperor Maurice, and in the elevation of Phocas to the throne, which seems to have been accomplished by one of the circus factions against the wish of the troops.