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Pavie’s departure

His years in Cambodia had left Pavie exhausted. He expressed a certain weariness and sometimes irritation - almost anger. He understood that the frankness of his words irritated his superiors, doubtless preventing the expected advancement. Also, he wished to return to France. In July 1885 he wrote: "I am in quite good health as I have been able to walk with impunity and without sickness recently in spite of a state of fatigue that has troubled me a little. In these conditions and with my normal service at the telegraph company, there is no doubt that not having any savings and nothing to bring me to France, I could have continued to potter around here. However, this greater state of fatigue that I mentioned prevents me from giving my spare time to my additional work. No matter what I do, I am soon exhausted; if I am writing in my journal, I close it, if it is the map I roll it away, if I am occupying my time with photography, I pack up my things again, but if I am speaking, if someone asks me something, questions me above all, I am absolutely incapable of going beyond a certain limit without being unable to continue. When this moment arrives I cannot abide foolish talk, or bear to be asked any naïve questions. I drive people away by becoming disagreeable, in spite of myself. It is because I wish to work that I am considering returning, I cannot do it here."

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"6th July. In the course of this short journey, M. Klobukowski, who will probably run Cambodia in future, had the opportunity to see me in a light which may seem bad to him as well as to other people with whom we travelled. However, overall I am more satisfied than annoyed at having often been curt, sometimes disagreeable, of having never seen a thing that seemed wrong to me without having given my opinion. It is certain that I displeased sometimes, perhaps I was wrong to let everyone see that it did not matter to me. Whilst being a simple fellow traveller charged with minute details, I do not hide from myself the fact that all those who know Cambodia will attribute to me a large amount of responsibility in all that has been done. I am not one of those who recoil before their responsibilities, I would ask for them if necessary, but those who know the country do not belittle my qualifications, they know, whether it pleases them or not, that I take no benefit from my prolonged stay in Cambodia, that if I remain here it is because I consider it my duty to be here in the current circumstances; I may exaggerate my role, but it would seem to me to be acting badly to leave, even though I have strong reasons for wishing to return to France as quickly as possible. No matter what happens, I will leave as soon as I believe that it is right to do so."

Pavie left Cambodia. He had been appreciated there. He had already expressed his new ambitions to Harmand in 1883: "All the countries from the Upper to the Lower Mekong, from the border of Cambodia to the Peking Menam are in a sort of anticipation. The moment has come to stock these countries with French officials at their important points. If before placing these officers, one would, in spite of what one already knows, wish to know something more, one should not make those wait who are enthusiastically standing to attention. You could ensure that I am one of those chosen; make me the first, allow me to go the furthest, to leave at once and alone and have them report to me; France and the Republic will never have been better served, tell them. The government of Cochinchina having believed in me, charged me with linking Saigon to Bangkok, and it was done. I want to march ahead; it is clear that I need a greater task, and this is it. If you wish, I will take it. So give it to me. Vive la République!" His skills, no matter what he said, were acknowledged. In 1885, the director of the interior noted: "Educated, intelligent official, likes to occupy himself with issues that are extraneous to his role and to use recommendations obtained beyond his direct or rather immediate superiors. Will make a good Resident in Indochina (Cambodia), this will be more his thing." On 11th November 1885, Pavie was appointed vice consul second class. It was a post that he had requested, and thanks to his various supporters – Harmand, Le Myre de Vilers -, and thanks also to his own qualities, it had been awarded to him. He left for Luang Prabang.