The visitor, compelled to look on at this family scene, thought it necessary to take some part in it.
Providence compelled all these men, striving to attain personal aims, to further the accomplishment of a stupendous result no one of them at all expected—neither Napoleon, nor Alexander, nor still less any of those who did the actual fighting.
From the moment she recognized that dear, loved face, a new life force took possession of her and compelled her to speak and act apart from her own will.
But Pierre’s face quivering with emotion, his questions and his eager restless expression, gradually compelled her to go into details which she feared to recall for her own sake.
Pursued by the French army of a hundred thousand men under the command of Bonaparte, encountering a population that was unfriendly to it, losing confidence in its allies, suffering from shortness of supplies, and compelled to act under conditions of war unlike anything that had been foreseen, the Russian army of thirty-five thousand men commanded by Kutuzov was hurriedly retreating along the Danube, stopping where overtaken by the enemy and fighting rearguard actions only as far as…
In the corporal’s changed face, in the sound of his voice, in the stirring and deafening noise of the drums, he recognized that mysterious, callous force which compelled people against their will to kill their fellow men—that force the effect of which he had witnessed during the executions.
Though Napoleon at that time, in 1812, was more convinced than ever that it depended on him, verser (ou ne pas verser) le sang de ses peuples *—as Alexander expressed it in the last letter he wrote him—he had never been so much in the grip of inevitable laws, which compelled him, while thinking that he was acting on his own volition, to perform for the hive life—that is to say, for history—whatever had to be performed.
It was impossible not to retreat a day’s march, and then in the same way it was impossible not to retreat another and a third day’s march, and at last, on the first of September when the army drew near Moscow—despite the strength of the feeling that had arisen in all ranks—the force of circumstances compelled it to retire beyond Moscow.