THE DRAMATIS PRERSONÆ
THE dramatis personæ of this long tragedy are few in number, and some even of these, the Poppletons and the like, flit like ghosts across the stage, without voice or substance. Of Poppleton, for example, whose name occurs so frequently, we only know that he was long the orderly officer at Longwood, that he was not much of a horseman, that he sometimes dug potatoes, and that, on leaving, he surreptitiously accepted a snuff-box as a present from the Emperor, one of the greatest crimes in Lowe's long calendar. We have, indeed, occasional vivid glimpses, such as Napoleon's description of the Admiral who succeeded Malcolm: He "reminds me of one of those drunken little Dutch skippers that I have seen in Holland, sitting at a table with a pipe in his mouth, a cheese and a bottle of Geneva before him." But there are other names which occur in every page of the various narratives, notably those of the Emperor's little suite. Of the characters not already noticed the Grand Marshal, Count Bertrand, and his wife take, of course, the first place.
Bertrand has one agreeable singularity, he wrote no book, and tells us nothing, which is in itself a pleasant contrast to the copious self-revelation of Gourgaud and Las Cases. He seems to have been an excellent officer-- Napoleon repeatedly said that he was the best engineer officer in existence, but this may possibly have been alleged for the purpose of teasing Gourgaud. He