Two weeks later, Eugene continues to oppose the suggestion that his servant be fired because it would cause that man sorrow and misfortune.
I don’t, strictly speaking, need this man’s services, nor anybody else’s. What I can’t bear is having in my hands the fate of someone devoted to me, having it in my power to make him happy or unhappy, and giving my consent to his being plunged into misfortune. Were it question of someone else altogether in the same position regarding myself, I would say the same thing, for I would experience the same scruples.
God made me that way; and I say that God made me that way with good reason, for if you went back over my whole life, you’d find I don’t know how many times when I had precisely the same feelings I’m experiencing now. When nine years old I almost choked in my grief just at getting the news of the death of my nurse’s daughter, for the sole reason that this sorrow would sadden my nurse. You must note that the persons concerned were not there with me; I was at Turin and they were at Aix. I repeat. should this man’s happiness be assured, I give way without any problem.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 17 October 1835, EO VIII n 550
Three years later, Eugene had to eventually give in and dismissed him in January 1839. In his journal he wrote:
Departure of my servant Pascal Testamire. This time I have let him go for good, sorry though I am for him. His dreadful character shocked everyone and has asked too much of me during these three years.
Even Eugene’s soft heart had to recognize the limits of realism.