on a light note

Prince Andrew after returning to Moscow to find Natalie broke their engagement seeks out Kutuzov to be admitted back to the army. He has been summoned to meet the Emperor but while waiting he meets Pfuel, a German theorist of war, and this is how he describes him and others

[]Pfuel was one of those hopelessly and immutably self- confident man, self- confident to the point of martyrdom as only Germans are, because only Germans are self confident on the basis of an abstract notion- science, that is, the supposed knowledge of absolute truth. A Frenchman is self assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self assured, as being a citizen of the best-organised state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German’s self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth- science- which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.

I believe most, if not all of you, dear readers may disagree with Prince Andrew’s assessment.