CHAPTER III
GOURGAUD

BUT the one capital and supreme record of life at St Helena is the private journal of Gourgaud, written, in the main at least, for his own eye and conscience alone, without flattery or even prejudice, almost brutal in its raw realism. He alone of all the chroniclers strove to be accurate, and, on the whole, succeeded. For no man would willingly draw such a portrait of himself as Gourgaud has page by page delineated. He takes, indeed, the greatest pains to prove that no more captious, cantankerous, sullen, and impossible a being than himself has ever existed. He watched his master like a jealous woman: as Napoleon himself remarked, "He loved me as a lover loves his mistress, he was impossible." Did Napoleon call Bertrand an excellent engineer, or Las Cases a devoted friend, or Montholon by the endearing expression of son, Gourgaud went off into a dumb, glowering, self-torturing rage, which he fuses into his journal; and yet, by a strange hazard, writing sometimes with almost insane fury about his master, produces the most pleasing portrait of Napoleon that exists. The fact is, he was utterly out of place. On active service, on the field of battle, he would have been of the utmost service to his chief: a keen, intelligent, devoted aide-de-camp. But in the inaction of St Helena his energy, deprived of its natural outlet, turned on himself, on his nerves, on his relations to others. The result is that he was never happy except when quarrel

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