THE EMPEROR said to me one day: "In the order of things, I must die before you. When I am no more what will you do? You will write."
I was not prepared for this thought of death, thus unexpectedly expressed, and Napoleon seemed to me immortal. As I did not answer him immediately, he added: "You will not be able to resist the desire to write Memoirs."
I vigorously rejected the idea that I should survive him. I could not foresee that the vigorous oak would, in a very few years, be struck down by a terrible storm, and that the humble plant which raised itself under his protection would vegetate after he was gone.
Napoleon, during his last moments at St. Helena, amongst other recommendations which were contained in the instructions which he addressed to his testamentary executors, expressed a desire that certain persons, amongst whom he deigned to include my name, should undertake to direct