CLEMENCEAU LIVED for nearly ten years after his retirement. They were years of almost complete oblivion. It was known that he had made his home on the Vendéen coast and that he still kept his Paris flat in the Rue Franklin where he spent some winter months, but he was forgotten, a relict of the past, no more noticed though a good deal better preserved than most ancient monuments in France.
At Saint-Vincent-sur-Jard he lived more than modestly. His home was a single-story cottage, pitched low against the Atlantic gales. There were three rooms opening out of each other, a barn which he converted into a library, a strip of sand which he coaxed into a garden. His household consisted of Albert, his old valet, with Madame Albert looking after the kitchen, and the chauffeur Brabant who had always driven his car. There was no guest-room, and the only regular visitors were his daughters, Madame Jacquemaire and Madame Jung, and his son Michel.
He was a very old man, preparing to meet the Maker whom he had always denied in the manner which he had always upheld. His mind turned to ancient Athens: "It's something that has always sustained me. When I was weary of all the imbecilities of which politics is composed, I turned my spirit towards Greece. Others went fishing. To each his own way." He was not a scholar, only an enthusiast. Thinking about Greece meant thinking about Pericles' oration and of the victory that the Athenians had won and thrown away. Soon he was writing about Demosthenes, his hero of heroes. The little book which he published in 1926 was ostensibly a eulogy of Demosthenes, but actually an apologia pro vita sua. One hardly knows whether one is reading about Athens or about France, about Demosthenes or about Clemenceau. "He would have saved his country if it had consented to be saved. Athens needed to exert a continuous effort of will if it were to remain independent. It lacked nothing but