That morning he had asked twenty times if he could be allowed some coffee.
‘Might the doctors allow me just a spoonful?’
‘No, Sire, not at the moment, your stomach is too irritated, you would vomit a little earlier, perhaps.’
He had already vomited perhaps nine times during the day. What a great change had overtaken him! Tears came to my eyes, seeing this formidable man, who had commanded with such authority, in a manner so absolute, beg for a spoonful of coffee, seek permission, obedient as a child, asking again and again for permission and not obtaining it, without ever losing his temper. At other times during his illness, he would have thrown his doctors out, flouted their advice and done as he wanted. Now he was as docile as a child. So, here is the great Napoleon: pitiful, humble.
Maréchal Bertrand, follower and biographer of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) who lived with him in exile in St. Helena