JI1Å1IJ J

LITERATURE
NINETEENTH PRINTING
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Baudelaire composed the series of prose poems known
as larisSp/een between 1855 and his death in 1867. He at­
tached great importance to his work in this then unusual
form, asking, "Which one of us, in his moments of ambition,
has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical,
without rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and
rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the
soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience?"
In his biography of Baudelaire, Lewis Pia get Shanks
calls larisS¡/een "the fnal expression of the poet's vision of
the world, of his melancholia, his idealism, his desperate
desire to fee from the prison of his subjectivity, his furious
longing to find some escape from the ugliness of moder
life. They are the center of his work: absolutely devoid of
pose, they explain all the rest of it."
Where Baudelaire treated the same theme both in lris
Sp/een and in F/ouers oj Lti/, Enid Starkie fnds the prose
poems "more mature in conception, containing more har­
mony in the contrast between the fesh and the spirit.?'
Several of these "corresponding" poems are given in an
appendix to this edition.
--j
Cover: 1
ANEW
DlRECTIO B
PAPERBOO �
NDP294


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L1½J11^ U½1Ã11½ÃJ1
PARI
S
SPLEEN
i1DÙ
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY
LOUISE VARESE
A NE W D I R E C TIONS B OOK
Copyright © 1947, 1955, 1962, 1970 by New Directions
Publishing Corporation.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 48·5012
1hÜÝ´ 0·8112·0007·8
All rights reserved. Except for brief passages quoted in a
newspaper, magazine, radio, or television review, no part of this
book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any
information storage and retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the Publisher.
English translation made from the French text of Oeuvres de
Baudelaire, La Pleiade, 1931.
À!YÝͯL1ULW1ÝÅh
For permission to reprint the copyrighted translations in the
"correspondence" section of this volume the Publisher is indebted
to the following translators and publishers: Thomas Cole, editor
and publisher of [magi for the translation "Invitation To The
Voyage" by Richard Wilbur and the Harvill Press, Ltd., and
Pantheon Books, Inc., for translations by Roy Campbell from
Poems of Baudelaire, Copyright 1952 by Pantheon Books, Inc.,
and to Frederick Morgan and David Paul whose translations frst
appeared in The Flowers of Evil, New Directions, 1962.
Manufactured in the United States of America
New Directions books are printed on acid-free paper
First published as New Directions Paperbook 294 in 1970
Published simultaneously in Canada by Penguin Books Canada Limited.
New Directions Books are published for James Laughlin
by New Directions Publishing Corporation,
80 Eighth Avenue, New York lOOll.
NINETEENTH PRINTING
CONTENTS
To Arstme Houesaye . . . . . " . . . . .. . . . . . . . . ix
I. The Stranger . . . . . ø . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II. The Old Woman's Despair . . . . . . . . . ....... 2
III. Artist's Confteor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . e . . . . . 3
-IV. A Wag .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 4
V. The Double Room. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
--VI. To Every Man His Chimera . . . . '" . .. . . .. . 8
VII. Venus And The Motley Fool . . . .. " .... " .. 10
VIII. The Dog And The Scent-Bottle. . .. . . . . . . ... 11
IX. The Bad Glazier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 12
X. One O'Clock In The Morning . s . . . . . . . . . . .. 15
XI. The Wild Woman And The Fashionable
XII.
XIII.
- XIV.
XV.
Coquette . . . . . . . . . . . ø .... . .. . . .. . . . 17
Crowds
Widows
The Old Clown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .. . . . . .. . . . .
20
22
25
28
XVI. The Clock . . . . r . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .. . . e . . 30
XVII. A Hemisphere In Your Hair . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 31
XVIII. L'/nvitation Au Voyage . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . 32
XIX. The Poor Child's Toy. . . . . .. . . . . .. . ... . .. 3
5
XX. The Fairies' Gifts . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . 37
-
XXI. The Temptations or Eros, Plutus And Fame . .
40
XXII. Evening Twilight . . . . . ø . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
V
XXIII. Solitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . 4
- XXIV. Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . 4
XXV. The Beautiful Dorothea . . " . . . . . . . ... . . .. 50
Ñ
XXVI.
XXVII.
- _XVIII.
XXIX.
XXX.
XXXI.
XXXII.
~
XXXIII.

XXXIV.
a
XXXV.
XXXVI.
XXXVII.
XXXVIII.
XXXIX.
XL.
XLI.
XLII.
XLIII.
XLIV.
XLV.
XLVI.
XLVII.
XLVIII.
XIX.
L.
The Eyes of The Poor . .6 . . . . . 4 . . . . . . . . ø . , 52
A Heroic Death . . . . . .. . . . . . . . 4 . . . . . . . . . 5
4
Counterfeit . . . j.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 58
The Generous Gambler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
The Rope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 64
Vocations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . « . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
The Thyrsus . . . . . . . . . . . . . « . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Get Drunk . « . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , 74
Already! . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . . ¤ . ¤ . .. . . 75
Windows . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . .. 77
The Desire To Paint . . ø o e a + + o e o e » » e » » ø e e • 78
The Moon's Favors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 79
Which Is The Real One? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
A Thoroughbred .. . . . .. . . . . . e . . . « . . . . . . 82
The Mirror . . . . . . . . » . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Sea·Ports . . . . » . . .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
B
Portraits of Mistresses .................. 85
The Gallant Marksman
9
The Soup And The Clouds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 91
The Shooting Gallery AdThe Cemetery. . .. 92
Loss Of A Halo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 94
Miss Bistoury . . . 4 .4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 95
Any Where Out Of The World. . . . . . . . . . . ..
9
Beat Up The Poor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 101
The Faithful Dog . . . . . . . ø . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
4
EPILOGUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 108
vi
TO ARSENE HOUSSAYE
My DEAR FRIEND, I send you a little work of which no one can
say, without doing it an injustice, that it has neither head nor
tail, since, on the contrary, everything in it is both head and
tail, alternately and reciprocally. I beg you to consider how
admirably convenient this combination is for all of us, for you,
for me, and for the reader. We can cut wherever we please, I my
dreaming, you your manuscript, the reader his reading; for I
do not keep the reader's restive mind hanging in suspense on
the threads of an interminable and superfuous plot. Take away
one vertebra and the two ends of this tortuous fantasy come
together again without pain. Chop it into numerous pieces and
you will see that each one can get along alone. In the hope that
there is enough life in some of these segments to please and to
amuse you, I take the liberty of dedicating the whole serpent
to you.
I have a little confession to make. It was while running
through, for the twentieth time at least, the pages of the famous
Gaspard de la Nuit of Aloysius Bertrand (has not a book known
to you, to me, and to a few of our friends the right to be called
famous ? ) that the idea came to me of attempting something in
the same vein, and of applying to the description of our more
abstract modern life the same method he used in depicting the
old days, so strangely picturesque.
Which one of us, in his moments of ambition, has not
dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical, without
rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough
ix
toadaptitseIItotheIyricaIimpuIsesoIthesouI,theunduIations
oIreverie,the] ibesoIconscience:
lt was, above aII, out oImyexpIoration oIhuge cities, out
oI the medIey oI their innumerabIe interreIations, that this
haunting ideaI was born. You yourseII, dear Iriend, have you
nottriedtotransIate in asongtheGlzier's stridentcry, andto
express inIyricproseaIIthedismaI suggestionsthis cry sends
upthroughtheIog oIthestreettothehighestgarrets:
JoteIIthetruth,however, lamaIraidthatmyenvy hasnot
been propitious. Fromtheverybeginninglperceivedthatl was
not onIy Iar Irom mymysteriousandbriIIiantmodeI, but was,
indeed, doingsomething (iI it can becaIIedsomething) singu-
IarIydi6erent, an accIdent which any one eIsewouId gIory in,
nodoubt,butwhichcanonIydeepIyhumiIiateamindconvinced
thatthegreatesthonorIor apoetistosucceedin doingexactIy
whatheset outtodo.
Yours most a6ectionateIy,
C. B.
x
I
THE S TRAN GER
TELL ME, enigmatical man, whom do you love best, your fathe��
your mother, your sister, or your brother?

I have neither father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother.
Your friends ?
Now you use a word whose meaning I have never known.
Your country?
I do not know in what latitude it lies.
Beauty?
I could indeed love her, Goddess and Immortal.
Gold?
I hate it as you hate God.
f
Then, what do you love, extraordinary stranger?
I love the clouds . . . the clouds that pass . . . up
up there . . . the wonderful clouds !
| \|
there . ø + ¸
II
THE OLD WOMAN' S DES PAIR
AWIZENED IittIe oId womanIeIt gIaddenedand gay at the sight
oItheprettybabythatevery one wasmaking such a Iuss over,
andthatevery onewantedtopIease, suchaprettyIittIecreature,
as IraiI as the oId woman herseII, and toothIess and hairIess
Iikeher.
Shewentup to him aII nods and smiIes.
8ut the inIant, terrihed, struggIed to get away Irom her
caresses, hIIing the house with his howIs.
Jhenthe oIdwoman wentbackintohereternaIsoIitude and
wept aIone, saying. "Ah, Ior us miserabIe oId IemaIes the age
oIpIeasin
.
ure us and
we are scarecrowstoIittIechiIdren whomwe IongtoIove."
[
2
]
III
ARTIS T' S CON FITEOR
How POIGNANT the late afternoons of autumn! Ah! poignant to
the verge of pain, for there are certain delicious sensations which
are no less intense for being vague; and there is no sharper
point than that of Infnity.
-
What bliss to
p
lunge the e
y
es into the immensit
y
of sky and
sea! Solitude, silence, incomparable chastity of the blue! a tiny
.
sail shivering on the horizon, imitating by its littleness and
loneliness my irremediable existence, monotonous melody of
the waves, all these things think through me or I through them
(for in the grandeur of reverie the ego is quickly lost ! ) ; I say
they think, but musically and picturesquely, witout quibblings,
without syllogisms, without deductions.
These thoughts, whether they come from me or spring from
things, soon, at all events, grow too intense. Energy in voluptu.
ousness creates uneasiness and actual pain.
M
y
nerves are strung
� suc
h
a pitc
h
that t
h
e
y
can no longer give out anything but
shrill and
p
ainful vibrations.
And now the profound depth of the sky dismays me; its
purity irritates me. The insensibility of the sea, te immutability
of the whole spectacle revolt me . . . Ah! must one eternally
sufer, or else eternally fee beauty? Nature, pitiless sorceress,
ever victorious rival, do let me be ! Stop tempting my desires
and my pride! The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist
shrieks with terror before being overcome.

|³!
IV
A WAG
PANDEMONIUM oI New Year`s Eve . chaos oI snow and mud
churned up by a thousand carriages gIittering with toys and
bonbons
,
swarmingwithcupidityanddespair, oHciaIIrenzy oI
a big city designed to troubIe the mind oI the most impervi-
oussoIitary.
lnthemidstoIthisdeaIenInghubbub,adonkeywastrotting
briskIy aIong, beIaboredby aIowIeIIowarmedwith a whip.
1ustasthedonkeywasabouttoturnacorner, arespIendent
gentIeman,aIIgroomed, gIoved,crueIIycravatedandimprisoned
inbrand newcIothes, made a ceremon¡ous bow to thehumbIe
beast, saying ashetook o0 his hat. "A very happy and pros-
perousNew Year to youl "Then he turned witha Iatuous air
towardsomevaguecompanions,asthoughtobegthemtomake
hissatisIaction compIete by their appIause.
The donkey paid no attention to this eIegantwag, and con-
tinuedtotrotzeaIousIyaIongwhere dutycaIIed.
� As Ior me, l was suddenIy seized by an incomprehensibIe
rage against this bedizened imbeciIe, Ior it seemed to me that
inhimwasconcentratedaIIthewitoIFrance.
[4 ]
v
THE DOU BLE ROOM
A ROOM that is Iike a dream, a truIy sµit�|µ/ ;oom, where the
stagnantatmosphere isnebuIousIy�dpink and Hue.¯
Herethe souItakes abath oIindoLrrce�+:entedwith aIIthe
aromaticperIumes oI desireand regret.There is aboutitsome-
thing crepuscuIar, bIuish shot with rose, a voIuptuous dream
in an ecIipse. '-> ¬�«� �7� n
Every piece oI Iurniture is oI an eIongated Iorm, Ianguid

andprostrate, andseems to be dreaming, endowed, one wouId
say,with asomnambuIarexistenceIikemineraIsandvegetabIes.
The hangings speak a siIent Ianguage Iike ßowers, skies and
settingsuns.
No artisticabominations onthewaIIs. De6nite, positive art
isbIasphemycomparedtodreamandtheunanaIyzedimpression.
Here aII is bathed in harmony's own adequate and deIicious
obscurity.
An inhnitesimaI scent oI the most exquisite choosing,
mingIed withthemerestbreathoIhumidity, ßoatsthroughthis
atmosphere where hot-house sensations cradle the drows
y
spirit.
MusIin in diaphanous masses rains over the window and
overthebed,spreadsinsnowycataracts.AndonthisbedIiesthe
ldoI,thesovereignqueen oI my dreams. But why is she here:
Who hasbrought her: What magic powerhas instaIIedher on
thisthrone oIreveryand oIpIeasure: No matter. She is here.
lrecognizeher.
Yes, those are her eyes whose ßame pierces the gIoaming,
those subtIe and terribIe eyes that l recognize by their dread
mockeryl They attract,they subjugate, they devour the impru·
[ 5 ]
dent gaze. UIten l have studied them-bIack stars compeIIing
curiosity and wonder.
= =
-
To what gooddemon am l indebted Ior this encompassing
atmosphere oI mystery, siIence, perIume and peace: 0 bIiss l
Whatwe are wontto caII IiIe,even in its happiest moments oI
expansion, has nothing in common with this supreme IiIe
which l am now experiencing, and which l reIish minute by
minute, second bysecond.
No l therearenomoreminutes,thereare no moreseconds l
Time has disappeared, it is Eternity that reigns, an eternity
oIbIiss l
8utaknockIaIIsonthe door, anawIuI, aresoundingknock,
andl IeeI, as in mydreamsoIheII,apitchIorkbeing stuck into
my-tomach.
Then a Spectre enters. lt is a baiIi6 come to torture me in
thenameoItheIaw, itisaninIamousconcubinecomewithher
compIaints to add the triviaIities oI her IiIe to the sorrows oI
mine, itisamessengerboyIromanewspapereditorcIamoring
Ior theIast instaIIment oIamanuscript.
The paradisiac room andthe idoI, thesovereign oI dreams,
the Sylphi, as thegreat Kenê used to say, the whoIe enchant·
menthasvanishedatthe Spectre`sbrutaIknock.
Horrors l l remember l Yes, l rememberl this hIthy hoIe,
thisabodeoIeternaIboredomistruIymine.Lookatthe stupid,
dusty, diIapidated Iurniture, the hearm without hre, without
embers, disgusting with spittIe, the sad windows where rain
hastracedIurrowsthrough the dust, manuscripts covered with
erasures orunhnished, thecaIendarwhere a penciIhas marked
all the direst dates!
AndthatperIumeoutoIanotherworIdwhichinmystate oI
exquisite sensibiIity was so intoxicating: AIas, another odor
has taken its pIace, oI staIe tobacco mixed with nauseating
mustiness. The rancid smeII oI desoIation.
ln thIs narrow worId, but with pIenty oI room Ior disgust,
there is one object aIone that deIights me: the viaI oI opium.
|¤]
an old and dreadful love ; and like all mistresses, alas ! prolifc
in caresses and betrayals.
Oh! yes ! Time has reappeared; Time is sovereign ruler
now, and with that hideous old man the entire retinue of Memo·
ries, Regrets, Spasms, Fears, Agonies, Nightmares, Nerves, and
Rages have returned.
1 can assure you that the seconds are now strongly accented,
and rush out of the clock crying: "I am Life, unbearable and
implacable Life ! "
There is only one Second in human life whose mission it is
to bring good news, the good news that causes every one such
inexplicable terror.
]
Yes, Time reigns ; he has resumed his brutal tyranny. And he
pokes me with his double goad as if I were an ox. "Then hoi,
donkey! Sweat, slave ! Man, be damned and live! "
|7
]
VI
TO E VER Y MAN HIS
CHIMERA
UNDER avastgraysky, onavastanddustypIainwimoutpaths,
withoutgrass,withoutanettIe orathistIe, 1 cameuponseveraI
men bentdoubIe asthey waIked.
EachonecarriedonhisbackanenormousChimeraasheavy
as a sack oIßour, as a sack oIcoaI, as the accoutrement oI a
Koman Ioot-soIdier.
ßut the monstrous beast was no inanimate weight, on the
contrary,ithuggedandbore downheaviIy on theman with its
eIastic and powerIuI muscIes , it cIutched at the breast oI its
mount with enormous cIaws; and its IabuIous head overhung
the man`s Iorehead Iike those horribIe heImets with which
ancientwarriorstriedtostriketerrorintotheirenemies.
I questioned one oI these menand asked him where they
weregoingIikethat. He repIiedthathe didnotknow and that
none oI them knew; but that obviousIy they must be going
somewhere since they were impeIIed by an irresistibIe urge
togoon.
A curiousthingto note: not one oIthesetraveIers seemed

t

resen[)heIerociousbeasthangingaroundhIS ne

ndgIued
to his back; apparentIytheyconsidered it a part oIthemseIves.
AII those won and serious Iaces showed not theIeast sign oI
despair, under the depressing dome oIthe sky, with their Ieet
deep in the dust oI the earth as desoIate as the sky, they went
aIong with the resigned Iook oI men who are condemned to
h�eIorevep.

And the procession passed by me and disappeared in the
hazeoIthehorizon]ustwheretheroundedsurIaceoIthepIanet.
preventsman's gaze Irom IoIIowing.
|
8
!
And for a few moments I persisted in trying to understand
this mystery; but soon irresistible Indiference descended upon �
me, and I was more cruelly oppressed by its weight than those
men had been by their crushing Chimeras.
VII
VEN US AND
THE MOTLE Y FOOL
WHAT a wonderful day! The vast park lies swooning under the
sun's burning eye, like youth under Love's dominion.
Not a sound gives voice to the universal ecstacy of things ;
even the waters seem to be asleep. Quite unlike human holidays,
this is an orgy of silence.
It is as though an ever more luminous light kept making
each object glitter with an ever more dazzling splendor ; as
though the frenzied fowers were trying to rival the azure of the
sky by the intensity of their colors, as though the heat, mak·
ing the perfumes visible, were drawing them up to the sun
like smoke.
Yet, in the midst of all this universal joy I caught sight of a
grief·stricken soul.
At the feet of a colossal Venus, all of a heap against the
pedestal, one of those so·called fools, those voluntary bufoons
who, with cap and bells and tricked out in a ridiculous and
gaudy costume, are called upon to make kings laugh when they
are beset by Boredom or Remorse, raises his tear·flled eyes
toward the immortal Goddess.
And his eyes say: "I am the least and the loneliest of men,
deprived of love and friendship, wherein I am inferior even to
the lowest animals. Yet I, too, am made to understand and to
feel immortal Beauty! Ah! Goddess ! take pity on my fever
and my pain! "
But the implacable Goddess with her marble eyes continues
to gaze into the distance, at 1 know not what.
[
10 ]
HE DOG AND THE
S CENT.BOTTLE
COME HERE, my u doggie, and smell this
excellent perfume which comes from the best perfumer of Paris.
And the dog, wagging his tail, which, I believe, is that poor
creatu:.'e's way of laughing and smiling, came up and put his
curious nose on the uncorked bottle. Then, suddenly, he backed
away in terror, barking at me reproachfully.
"Ah miserable dog, if I had ofered you a package of excre­
ment you would have snifed at it with delight and perhaps
gobbled it up. In this you resemble the public, which should
never be ofered delicate perfumes that infuriate them, but only
carefully selected garbage."
|
JJ
]
1
IX
THE BAD GLAZIER
THERE are certain natures, purely contemplative and totally
unft for action, which nevertheless, moved by some mysterious
and unaccountable impulse, act at times with a rapidity of which
they would never have dreamed themselves capable.
Like the man who, dreading some painful news, instead of
going for his mail as usual, cravenly prowls around his con·
cierge's door without daring to go in; or the one who keeps a
letter for two weeks without opening it; or the man who only
makes up his mind at the end of six months to do something
t rgently needed doing for a year; then, al en,
- e ee t emselves hurled into action by an irresistible force
like an arrow out of a bow. e mora 1st and the doctor, who
pretend to know everything, are unable to explain how these
voluptuous, indolent souls suddenly acquire such a mad energy,
or how it is that, although incapable of doing te simplest and
most necessary things, they yet discover in themselves at a given
moment a lavish courage for performing the most absurd and
the most dangerous acts.
One of my friends, the most inofensive dreamer that ever
lived, once set fre to a forest to see, he explained, if it were
really as easy to start a fre as people said. Ten times in succes­
sion the experiment failed; but the eleventh time it succeeded
only too well.
Aother will light a cigar standing beside a keg of gun­
powder, just to see, to Jmout, to te��hi�!�k, to prove!Qhim.
s.IL�h�s enou�h_en���y tplay the gambler, to taste the
p
l
easureQLfear, or for no reason at all, trough caprice,
through idleness.
[
12 ]
ltisthekindoIenergythatspringsIromboredom andday-
dreaming, and those who dispIay it so unexpectedIy are, m
generaI, as l have said, the most indoIent and dreamiet oI
mortaIs.
And another man l kow, who isso shythat l:eIowers his
eyes even when men !ook at him, so shy that it takes aII the
poorcouragehecanmustertoentera caIê or,atthetheatre,to
approach the ticket controlleurs who seem to him invested with
aII the majesty oI Minos, lacchus and Kadamanthus, wiII sud·
denIythrow his arms around an oIdman in the streetand kiss
him impetuousIy beIore the astonished eyes oI the passers-by.
Why: 8ecause . . . becausesuddenIythat particuIar physiog-
nomy seemed irresistibIy appeaIing: !erhaps; but it wouId
probabIybenearerthetruthto supposethathehimseII hasno
ideawhy.
l, too, have more than once been the victim oI these out-
bursts�gy which ] ustiIy om concIuding that some maIi-
cious� gets into us, Iorcin���_�.oLnurse|ces,.1o
carry outh

s¸�ost¸rd ,¦�
Une morning l got up IeeIing out oI sorts, sad, and worn
outwithidIeness,andwithwhatseemedtomeacompeIIingurge
to dosomethingextraordinary,to perIorm somebriIIiant deed.
And l opened the window-aIas l
(l shouIdIiketo point outthatwith certainpersonspIaying
practicaI ] okes is not the resuIt oI pIanning or scheming, but
a Iortuitous inspiration akin, iI onIybecause oIthe compeIIing
Iorce oIthe impuIse,tothathumorcaIIedhystericaIbydoctors,
satanic by thosewithmore insightthan doctors, that drives us
toward a muItitude oI dangerous or improper actions. )
The hrst person l noticed inthestreetwas s

whose
piercinganddiscordantcryßoateduptomethroughtheheavy,
hIthy !aris air. lt wouId be impossibIe Ior me to say why l
wassuddenIyseizedbyanarbitraryIoathingIorthispoorman.
"Heyl Heyl " l shouted, motioning him to come q
thethoughtthatmy room was up six ßights oI stairs, andthat
[13 ]

themanmustbehavingaterribIetimegettingupthem withhis
IragiIewares,addednotaIittIetomyhiIarity.
FinaIIy he appeared. AIter Iooking curiousIy over his panes
oIgIassoneby one, I excIaimed. "Whatl You have no coIored
gIass, no pink, no red, no bIuel No magic panes, no panes oI
!aradise: ScoundreI, what do you mean by going into poor
neighborhoods without a singIe gIass to makeIiIe beautiIuI l "
Andlpushedhim,stumbIingandgrumbIing,towardthe stairs.
CoingoutonmybaIconylpickedupaIittIeßowerpot, and
whenthegIazierappearedattheentrancebeIow, I Ietmyengine
oI warIaIIdown perpendicuIarIy ontheedge oI hispack. The
shock knocked him over and, IaIIing on his back, he succeeded
inbreakingtherestoIhispoorambuIatorystockwithashatter·
ing noiseas oIIightning striking a crystaI paIace.
And drunk with my madness, l shouted down at him Iuri·
ousIy. "Make IiIe beautiIuI l Make IiIe beautiIuI l "
Such erratic pranks are not without danger and one oIten
has to pay dearIy Iorthem. 8ut what is an eternity oI damna-
tion compared to an inhnity oI pIeasure in a singIe second:
o ': I
'1¹]
j´ h,!;,J:c ¯''¨
'
' ·rv·
: f(.- .
D! ¯
´
l ,
.
. ' º
x
ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING
AT LAST! I am alone! Nothing can be heard but the rumbling
of a few belated and weary cabs. For a few hours at least silence
will be ours, if not sleep. At last ! the tyranny of the human !
face has disappeared, and now there will be no one but myself

l'
to make me sufer.
At last ! I am allowed to relax in a bath of darkness ! First
a double turn of the key in the lock. This turn of the key will,
it seems to me, increase my solitude and strengthen the barri­
cades that, for the moment, separate me from the world.
Horrible life ! Horrible city! Let us glance back over the
events of the day: saw several writers, one of them asking me
if you could go to Russia by land (he thought Russia was
an island, l suppose) ; disagreed liberally with the editor of a
review who to all my objections kept saying: "Here we are on
the side of respectability," implying that all the other periodicals
were run by rascals ; bowed to twenty or more persons of whom
ffteen were unknown to me; distributed hand shakes in about
the same proportion without having frst taken the precaution
of buying gloves; to kill time during a shower, dropped in on a
dancer who asked me to design her a costume for Venustre;
went to pay court to a theatrical director who in dismissing
me said: "Perhaps you would do well to see Z ø u ¢ ¢ ; he is the
dullest, stupidet and most celebrated of our authors ; with him
you might get somewhere. Consult him and then we'll see";
boasted (why?) of several ugly things I never did, and cravenly
denied some other misdeeds that I had accomplished with the
greatest delight ; ofense of fanfaronnade, crime against human
dignity; refused a slight favor to a friend and gave a written
[ 15 ]
recommendationto a per!ectrogue; Lordl Iet'shopethat's aII l
Uiæatis5edwitheverything, dissatished withmyseI!, I Iong
to redeem myseI! and to restore my pride in the siIence and
soIitude o!the night. bouIs o!those whom I have Ioved, souIs
o!thosewhomlhavesung,strengthenme,sustainme,keepme
!romthevanitieso!theworIdanditscontaminating!umes; and
You,dearCodl grantmegracetoproducea!ewbeauti!uIverses
to prove to myseI!that l am notthe Iowest o! men, that l am
notin!eriortothosewhom l despise.
l 16
]
THE

XI
¯
WOMAN WILD
AND THE
FASHIONABLE COQUE TTE
"REALLY, my dear, you weary me beyond endurance and I
have no pity Ior you; to hear you sighing one wouId think
you were as mIserabIe as those aged women who toiI in the
heIds, or the oId beggar women who pick up crusts at taven
doors.
"1£ at Ieast your sighs indicated remorse they wouId be
some credit to you, but they mean nothing more than the
satietyoIgratihcationandthedespondencyoItoomuchIeisure.
And younever cease youruseIessbabbIe. 'You must Iove mel
I needso to beIovedl ComIort mehere, caressmetherel ' 8ut
I have an idea whichmay cure you. Fortwo ðÜMð and without
goingveryIar,theremaybeawayrightinthemidstoItheIair.
"Now just observe, iI youpIease,this soIid iron cage, and
seethathairymonsterhowIingIikeone oIthedamned, shaking
the bars Iike an orang-utan maddened by exiIe, imitating to
perIection both the circuIar spring oI the tiger, and the stupid
posturing of a white bear, and kindly notice that it has a form
veryvagueIyresembIing yours.
"This monster is one oI those animaIsgeneraIIy caIIed 'my
angeI l '-that is, a woman. The other monster, the oneyeIIing
his head o0 and brandishing a stick, is a husband. He has
chained his Iegitimate spouse as though she were an animaI,
and dispIays her at aII thestreet Iairs with, oI course, the per-
mission oItheauthorities.
"Now watch careIuIIyl See with what voracity (and not
shammed either, perhaps} shetears apart those Iiving rabbits
[ 17 ]
andsquaIIingchickensthatherkeeperhasthrowntoher.'Come,
comel ' he says, 'one must aIways keep something Ior a rainy
dayl ' andwiththesewords oIwisdomhecrueIIysnatchesaway
her prey, the entraiIs stiII cIingingto the teeth oI the Ierocious
beast-woman, ! mean.
"That's it l A goodbIow oI yoursticktocaImher l For she
is dartingthe most terrihc and greedygIances at the piIIered
Iood.CoodCodl thatstickisnostagepropl Didyouhearhow
that whaek resounded, in spite oI her artihciaI coat oI hair:
Moreo er her eyes are starting Irom her head, and she yeIIs
more naturalµn .ThesparksIairIyßy IromherasIrom iron
"Such are the conjugaI customs oI these descendants oI
Adam and Eve, these works oI thy hands, 0 my Codl This
woman has certainIy the rightto compIain, aIthough aIter aII,
thetittiIatingdeIightsoIIame areperhapsnotunknownto her.
There areotherirremediabIemisIortuneswithoutsuchcompen·
sations. 8ut intheworId!nt_ whichshehasbeenthrown, ithas
never occuredto her that women deserve a better Iate.
" owwhatoIus,myprecious? SeeingtheheIIswithwhich
the worId abounds, what do you expect me to think oI your
prettyIittIeheII, youwhoIieonstu0sassoItasyour 0\ skin,
who eat onIy cooked meat careIuIIy cut Ior you by a skiIIed
servant:
"Andwhatcantheymattertome,aIIthoseIittIesighssweII-
ing your perIumed breast, my haiI and hearty coquette: And
aII those a0ectations you have Iearned Irom books, or that
indeIatigabIemeIanchoIy which inspires anythingbut pity in a
spectator. !ntruth,sometimes! amseizedwith adesiretoteach
you what reaI misIortune is.
"Seeing you Iike this, my dainty beauty, your Ieet in the
mireandyoureyesturnedswooningIytowardtheskyasthough
waiting Ior a king, ! cannot heIp thinking oI a Irog invoking
the !deaI. !Iyou despise 'KingLog' (that's what ! am now, as
youveryweII know} , beware oIthe crane who will crunch you
up, andgobble you up, andkill you at his pleasure!
[ 18]
"Although I may be a poet, I am not such a dupe as you
would like to believe, and if you weary me too often with your
precious whinings, I am going to treat you like the wild woman,
or else throw you out of the window like an empty bottle."
`
[ 19
]
XII
CROWDS
IT IS NOT given to every man to take a bath of multitude; enjoy-
) ing a crowd is an art; and only he can relish a debauch of
vitality at the expense of the human species, on whom, in his
cradle, a fairy has bestowed the love of masks and masquerad­
ing, the hate of home, and the passion for roaming.
- Multitud ¿identical terms, and interchangeable by
the active and fertile poet. The man who is unable to people
�s solitude is equally unable to be alone 1 a bustling cro�.
The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able
to be himself or some one else, as he chooses. Like those wan­
dering souls who go looking for a body, he enters as he likes
into each man's personality.¿r him alone everything is vac1�ti�
and if certain places seem cTsed to him, it is only because in
his eyes they are not worth visiting.
The solitary and thoughtful stroller fnds a singular intoxi­
cation in this universal communion. The man who loves to lose
himself in a crowd enjoys feverish delights that the egoist locked
up in himself as in a box, and the slothful man like a mollusk
in his shell, will be eternally deprived of. He adopts as his
own all the occupations, all the joys and all the sorrows that
chance ofers.
What men call love is a very small, restricted, feeble thing
� compared with this inefable orgy, this divine prostitution of

the soul giving itself entire, all its poetry and all its charity, to

the unexpected as it comes along, to the stranger as he passes.
It is a good thing sometimes to teach the fortunate of this
world, if only to humble for an instant their foolish pride, that
there are higher joys than theirs, fner and more uncircum-
[
20
]
scribed. The Iounders oI coIonù, shepherds of peopIes, mis·
sionarypriestsexiIedtotheendsoItheearth, doubtIessIyknow
something oIthismysterious drunkenness , and inthe midst oI
the vast IamiIy create4

( ueir g�nius,they must oIten Iaugh
at'hcsc who pity them because oI their troubIed Iortunes and
chasteIives.
[
21
Ì
XIII
WIDOWS
VAUVENARGUES says that certain avenues in the public parks
are haunted almost exclusively by disappointed ambitions, frus­
trated inventors, abortive glories, and broken hearts, by all
those tumultuous and secret souls still agitated by the last rum­
blings of the storm, who withdraw as far as possible from the
insolent eyes of the gay and the idle. These shady retreats are
the meeting places of all those whom life has maimed.
And toward these places poets and phosophers love to
direct their avid speculations. 'ere they are sure t¯fnd rich
pasture. For, as I have said before, they scornfully avoid,
above all other places, the ones where the ri_�Ijoyous con-
'. . " gregate; that trepidation in a void has nothing to attract them.
0u¬econtrarythey £��l th�mselves irresistably drawn toward
¡ everything that is feeble, destitute, orp1aned, and forlorn
,
An experienced eye is never mistaken. It can at once decipher
in those set or dejected faces, in those eyes, dull and hollow or
still shining with the last sparks of struggle, in those deep and
numerous wrinkles, in that slow or dislocated gait, the innumer­
able stories of love deceived, of devotion unrecognized, of efort
nrecompensed, of hunger and cold silently endured.
Have you ever noticed widows, poverty-stricken widows,
sitting on lonely benches? Whether they are wearing mourning
or not they are not difcult to recognize. Moreover, in the mourn­
ing of the poor there is invariably sOnethiI_�_anting, an
absence of consistency that makes it so heartbreaking.-The poor
a;e ·£o���dt(1eniggardly with their sorrow. The ric faunt
tb!i.s. in. all itscoI!ummate perfection:
Wi�h·s��dder, and more saddening, the widow holding
[
22
]
by the hand a little child with whom she cannot share her
thought, or the one who is completely alone? I do not know . o . ¤
I once followed for many hours one of those solitary widows ;
she held herself stif and straight in her little threadbare shawl,
a stoic pride apparent in her whole bearing.
She was seemingly condemned by her absolute solitude to
lead the life of an old bachelor, and this masculine character of
her habits added a mysterious piquancy to their austerity. I
know not in what miserable eating-place she had lunched, nor
how. I followed her into a reading-room and watched her for
a long time as she looked through the newspapers with eager
eyes -eyes once scalded by bitter tears -searching for some­
thing of a passionate and a personal interest.
Finally, in the afternoon, under a lovely autumn sky, one of
those skies out of which such a multitude of memories and
regrets rain down, she sat on a bench some distance from the
crowd, to listen to one of those concerts ofered the Parisian
public by military bands.
This is probably the little debauch of the innocent old lady
(or purifed old lady) , the well-earned consolation for one of
those dull days without a friend, without conversation, without
j oy, without a soul to confde in, which God, perhaps for many
years now, has allowed to descend upon her three hundred and
sixty-fve times a year.
And another:
I can never help casting a glance, which if not universally
sympathetic is at least curious, at the mob of pariahs that
crowd around the enclosure of an outdoor concert. The orches·
tra pours its festive, martial, or voluptuous airs into the night ;
glittering gows trail on the ground; glances cross ; the idle,
tired of having nothing to do, attitudinize and pretend to be
indolently relishing the music. Here nothing that is not rich
_ and happy; nothing that does not breathe forth and inspire
indolence and the pleasure of heedlessly living; nothing--except
.
that rabble over there leaning on the outside enclosure, catching
[ 23
]
a snatch o! music gratis at the wind's pIeasure, and gazing at
the sparkIing spIendor within.
The reßection o!thej oys o!the rich in the eyes o!thepoor
is aIways a curious sight. 8ut on this particuIar day, in that
crowd o! work bIouses and caIico dresses, my attention was
caughtbyahgureo!suchnobiIitythatitstoodout in shocking
contrasttothe environingvuIgarity.
This was a ta|I majestic woman whose whoIe bearing
expressedanobiIitysuchasI cannotremembereverhavingseen
be!ore, not even in the coIIections o! the aristocratic beauties
o!thepast.The odoro!proud virtueemanated!romher entire
person.Hersad,emaciated!acewas inharmonywiththeheavy
mourning she was wearing. She, too, Iike the pIebeians around
her, o!whomshetooknonotice,gazed atthat other gIittering
worId with a thought!uI eye, gentIy nodding her head as she
Iistenedtothemusic.
Strangesight l "SureIy," I saidtomyseI!, "thatis a poverty
-i! poverty it be-which is incapabIe o! sordid economy,
her nobIe countenance is proo! o! that. Why then does she
choose to stay in a miIieu where she oßers so conspicuous
acontrastì
8ut drawing nearer to her out o! curiosity, l seemed to
understandthereason.ThetaII widow washoIdingaIittIe boy
by the hand who, Iike herseI!, was dressed in mourning. the
price o! admission, no matter how modest, wouId perhaps be
suõcient to pay !or one o!the chiId's needs, or pre!erabIy !or
some superßuity-a toy.
And now she wiII return home on !oot, meditating and
dreaming, aIone, aIways aIone, !or a chiId is turbuIent and
seIñsh, without gentIeness or patience, and cannot, even Iess
than a simpIe animaI, a dog or a cat, serve as the conhdant
o!Ione|y sorrows.
[
2
4]
XIV
THE OLD CLOWN
/ • c � ¹




HOLIDAY crowds swarmed, sprawled, and frolicked everywlre�
It was one of those gala days that all the clowns, j ugglers, ani- _
mal trainers, and ambulant hucksters count on, long in advance,
.
to make up for the lean seasons of the year.
/
On such days people seem to forget everything, all their ¿
trouB a tIr tOl
l
; they become like childre
!
' For t
h
e
­
youngsters it means freedom
,
the horror of school adjourned
for twenty-four hours. For the grown-ups it is an armistice
concluded with the malignant forces of the world, a respite
from universal struggle and strife.


E
ven a man of the upper classes, or one engaged in intellec­
tual pursuits, can with difculty escape the infuence of tis
popular j ubilee. They absorb unconsciously their share of this
carefree atmosphere. For my part, as a true Parisian, I never
fail to visit all the booths that faunt themselves on these
periodic occasions.
And how they vied with one another in fantastic competi­
tion! They bawled and they screeched and they bellowed. There
was a mixture of cries, crashing brass, and exploding freworks.
Punchinellos and pantaloons, burned by the sun and toughened
b�ind
-
;d
--
�;in
, -made grotesque faces and, with the self·
confdence of seasoned actors sure of their efect, shot out their
quips and jests and sallies, of a s
oli
d an. d heavy humor akin
to Moliere's. Strong-men, proud of their monstrous muscles,
without forehead or cranium like orangoutans, strutted majes­
tically in their tights that had been washed for the occasion the
day before. And dancers, as lovely as fairies or princesses,
leaped and pirouetted with the lantern light sparkling in
their skirts.
[ 25 ]
Therewasnothingbut!ight, dust,shouts,j oy,tumu!t, some
spent money, others took it in; and bom were equa!!y happy.
Litt!e tots tugged at their mothers` skirts begging Ior candy-
sticks, or cIimbed on their Iathers` shou!ders to have a better
view oI a conjuror as dazz!ing as a god. And dominating a!!
the other odors, the sme!! oI Irying Iat h!!ed the air !ike the
incense oI the Iair.
At the end, at the extreme end oI the row oI booths, as
thoughhehadexi!e

d

himse

!Iins

h

ame

I

roma!!these s

p

!e

ndors,
! saw a pitiIu! o!d c!own, bent, decrepit, the ruin oI a man,
�. !eaning againsto�e �I theposts oíhis cabin, a cabiri more

miserab!e than that oI the !owest savage, and in which two
�cand!e ends, guttering and smoking, !ighted on!y too weI! its
� penury.
Everywhere joy, money-making, debauchery, everywhere
the assurance oI tomorrow's dai!y-bread; everywhere Irenetic
outbursts oI vita!ity. Hereabso!ute misery, and a misery made
a!!themorehorrib!ebybeingtrickedoutin comicrags, whose
mot!ey contrast was due moreto necessitythan_o art. He was
not!aughing,thepoor¬retch!Hewasnotweeping, hewasnot
dancing, he was not gesticu!ating, he was not shouting, he
sang no song, sad or gay, he was so!iciting nothing. He was
mute andmotion!ess. He hadgiven up, hehad abdicated. His
Iate was sea!ed.
ßut with what a proIound and unIorgettab!e expression his
eyeswanderedoverthecrowds andthe!ights,themoving ßood
thatstoppedjustshortoIhisrepu!sivemiseryl lIe!ttheterrib!e
hand oI hysteria grip my throat, ! Ie!t rebe!!ious tears that
wou!dnotIa!!, b!urringmysIght.

Watwas!todo:Whyasktheunhappymanwhatcuriosity,
what wonder he had to show in those Iou! shadows behind his
tattered curtain: !n truth, ! did not dare, and, a!though you
may !augh at my reason, ! admit it was because ! Ieared to
humi!iate him. ! had hna!!y decided to !eave some money
on the p!atIorm as ! passed, hoping that he wou!d guess my
[2¤ ]
intention, when a sudden surge of the crowd, caused by l know
not what disturbance, swept me away from him.
Obsessed by the sight, l looked back, trying to analyze my
sudden depression, and l said to myself: "l have just seen
the prototype of the old writer who has been the brilliant enter­
tainer of the generation he has outlived, the old poet without
friends, without family, without children, degraded by poverty
and the ingratitude of the public, and to whose booth the fckle
world no longer cares to come!"
U
[
27 ]
xv
CAKE
I WAS traveling. The country around me was of an inexpressible
grandeur and sublimity. And I think a little of it must have
passed into my soul at that moment. My thoughts leaped with
the lightness of the air itself; the vulgar passions, such as
hate and profane love, seemed to me now as far away as the
clouds that foated in the gorges at my feet; my soul seemed
as immense and pure as the enveloping dome of the sky, and
earthly things echoed in my memory as faintly as the bells of
the invisible herds browsing far, far away on the slopes of
another mountain. Over the motionless little lake, jet black from
the immensity of its depth, the shadow of a cloud passed occa­
sionally, like the refection of an airy giant's cloak fying across
the sky. And I remember feeling with a joy, mingled with awe,
that rare and solemn sensation one has at seeing some great
movement evolving without a sound. In short, thanJs to the
comEelling beauty around me, I was at peace with myself Jnd
with t�"un-ivee;in my jerfect beatitude and my total forget­
fulne_f earthly evil, I was beginning to think the ne�spaj�

nifg1oCoe-s6-riiiculous, after all, in wanting to make us
belie
.
ve t�at m

n is �o;o�. Whel�-fnc�bI�gaIi­
makmg Its eXlgelcles felt, I began to thmk of repiurmg the
fatigue and satisfying the hunger caused by my long climb.
I took out of my pocket a tk piece of bread, a leathern cup,
and a small bottle of a certain elixir which chemists at that
time sold to tourists to be mixed, on occasion, with snow.
I was peacefully cutting my bread when a slight sound
made me look up. There in front of me stood a ragged little
urchin, dark and disheveled, with hollow eyes that devoured
mYread fercely and, as it seemed to me, pleadingly, and I
[
28 ]
>
heard him gasp in a Iow hoarse voice. "0akel "²«ouId not
heIp Iaughing at the appeIation with which he thought ht to
honormy near-white bread, and I cut o0 a generous sIice and
o0ered itto him. SIowIy he came toward me, never taking his
eyeso0the coveted object, thensnatching it out oI my hand,
he quickIy backe away as iI he Ieared that my o0er had not
beensincere, orthat ! had aIready repented it.
8ut at thatmomenthe wasknocked down by anotherIittIe
savage who had sprung Irom heaven knows where, and so
exacµ Iike the hrst that I took them to be twins. The two oI
them roIIed on the ground struggIing Ior possession oI me
precious booty, neither wiIIing to share it with the other.
Furious, the hrst cIutched the second by the hair , and the
second seized¸uIus�
rs ears between histeeth ¸then,
with a s_IocaI oath, s�� i|�_m��¸e|Th I¸iti-
mowner oI the cake tried to ho�k_h IittIe cIaws in�µ¸(he
usurper`s eyes, the Iatter in tur.i did his best to �e hIs
tary with one hand whiIe trying to sIip the prize oI war
intohispocketwiththeother.8ut strengthened by despair, the
IoserstruggIedto hisIeet and,butting his head intothe other`s
stomach, sent the victor sprawIing on the ground. 8ut why
describethehideoushghtwhichIastedIongerthantheirchiIdish
strength had seemedto warrantì The cake traveI rmhand
to hand and changed pockets at every instant, changing, aIas l
in size as weII, and when hnaIIy, exhausted a _
covered with bIood, they stopped Irom the sheer impossibiIity
oI going on, no eause Ior Ieud remained, the piece oI bread
had disappeared, and the crumbs, scattered aII around, were
indistinguishabIe Irom the grains oI sand with which the
were min e
hisperIormancehaddarkenedtheIandscape, ndthecaIm
joy Ï appearance oI the two IittIe
wretches had compIeteIy vanished. Saddened, I sat there Ior
a Iong time saying over and over to myseII: "So there is a
superb country where bread is caIIe
deIicacy that it is enough to start a
'?
ª
}
XV!
THE CLOCK
THE CHINESE can teII the time in the eyes oI a cat.
Une day a missionary
, waIking inthe suburbs oI Nanking,
noticedthathe had Iorgotten his watch and asked a IittIe boy
the time.
The urchin oI the CeIestiaI Empire hesitated at hrst, then
onsecond thought, repIied. "!`IIteII you,"and disappeared. An
instant Iater he returned with an enormous cat in his arms.
HeIooked itinthe eye, as peopIe say, andwithouta moment's
hesitation decIared. "!t is not quite noon." Which was true.
AsIor me, when ! Iean Iorward to gaze atIoveIy FêIine ~
so appropriateIy named-who is at once the honor oI her
sex, the pride oI my heart and the perIume oI my mind,
whether it be by night orbyday, in dazzIing Iight or in deep-
est shade, aIways at the back oI her adorabIe eyes ! can dis·
tinctIy see the time, aIways the same-vast, soIemn, wide
as space, without minutes and without seconds-a motionIess
hour notmarked on any cIock, and yet as airy as a breath, as
quickasagIance.
And iI some tiresome intruder shouId come to disturb me
whiIemy eyesrest on thisdeIicious diaI, iI some unmannerIy
and intoIerant Cenie, some Demon out oI time, shouId come
askingme . "Whatare you Iooking at so attentiveIyì What are
you Iooking Ior in that creature's eyes ì Can youteII the time
oI day in them, idIe and prodigaI mortaI ì" ! shouId repIy
without hesitating. "Yes, ! can teII the time, it is Eternityl "
Andi s this not a reaIIy meritorious madrigaI, Madam, and
just as ßamboyant as yourseIIì !ndeed, embroidering this bit
oIgarrishgaIIantry has given me somuchpIeasurethat! shaII
askIornothinginreturn.
[30 ]
XVII
A HE MIS PHERE IN
YOUR HAIR
LONG, long let me breathe the fragrance of your hair. Let me
plunge my face into it like a thirsty man into the water of a
spring, and let me wave it like a scented handkerchief to stir
memories in the air.
If you only knew all that I see! all that I feel ! all that I
hear in your hair ! My soul voyages on its perfume as other
men's souls on music.
Your hair holds a whole dream of masts and sails ; it holds
seas whose monsoons waft me toward lovely climes where
space is bluer and more profound, where fruits and leaves and
human skin perfume the air.
In the ocean of your hair I see a harbor teeming with melan­
cholic songs, with lusty men of every nation, and ships of
every shape, whose elegant and intricate structures stand out
against the enormous sky, home of eternal heat.
In the caresses of your hair I know again the languors of
long hours lying on a couch in a fair ship's cabin, cradled by
the harbor's imperceptible swell, between pots of fowers and
cooling water jars.
On the burning hearth of your hair I breathe in the fra·
grance of tobacco tinged with opium and sugar ; in the night
of your hair I see the sheen of the tropic's blue infnity; on
the shores of your hair I get drunk with the smell of musk and
tar and the oil of cocoanuts.
Long, long, let me bite your black and heavy tresses. When
I gnaw your elastic and rebellious hair l seem to be eating
memories.
[ 31 ]
XVIII
L' IN VITATION AU VOYAG E
Turkr is a wonderIuI country, a country oI Cocaigne, they
say,thatl dreamoIvisitingwithanoIdIove.Astrange country
Iost inthemists oItheNorth andthatmight be caIIedthe East
oI the West, the China oI Europe, so IreeIy has a warm and
capricious Iancy been aIIowed to run riot there, iIIustrating it
patientIyandpersistantIywithan artIuI and deIicate vegetation.
A reaI country oI Cocaigne where everything is beautiIuI,
rich, honest and caIm, where order is Iuxury`s mirror, where
IiIe is unctuous and sweet to breathe, where disorder, tumuIt,
and the unex_ected are shut out; whena_mess Js weded
_iIence, whereeventhecookingispoetic,rich
,
andyetsti_·
Iating as weII; where everymg, dear Îove, resembIes you.
¯ YouknowthatIeverishsicknessw!ichcomes over us in our
coId despairs,thatnostaIgiaIorcountries wehaveneverknown,
that anguish oI curiosity: There is a country that resembIes
you, whereeverythingisbeautiIuI,rich,honestandcaIm,where
Iancy has buiIt and decorated an UccidentaI ChIna, where IiIe
is sweet to breathe, where happiness is wedded to siIence. lt is
there wemust Iive, itis there wemust die.
Yes, it is there we must go to breathe, to dream, and to
proIong the hours in an inhnity oI sensations. A musician has
written l'/nvitation I l valse; who wiII write l'Invitation au
voyage thatmaybeo6eredtothebeIoved,tothechosensister:
Yes,insuchanatmosphereitwouIdbegoodtoIive-where
there are more thoughts in sIower hours, where cIocks strIke
happiness with a deeper, a more signihcant soIemnity.
Un shining paneIs or on darkIy rich and giIded Ieathers,
discreet paintingsrepose, as deep, caIm and devout asthe souIs
'°?}
o!thepainterswho depictedthem. bunsetsthrowtheir gIowing
coIors on the waIIs o! dining-room and drawing-room, si!ting
so!tIythrough IoveIy hangings or intricate high windows with
muIIionedpanes.AIIthe!urnitureisimmense,!antastic,strange,
armed with Iocks and secrets Iike aII civiIized souIs. Mirrors,
metaIs, !abrics, pottery, and works o!the goIdsmith's art pIay
a mute mysterious symphony !or the eye, and every corner,
every crack, every drawer and curtain`s !oId breathes !orth a
curious per!ume, a per!ume o! bumatra whispering come back,
which isthe souI o!the abode.
Atrue country o! Cocaigne, ! assure you, where everything
isrich, shining andcIeanIikeagoodconscience orweII-scoured
kitchen pots, Iike chiseIed goId or variegated gems l AII the
treasures o! the worId abound there, as in the house o! a
Iaborious man who has put the whoIe worId in his debt. A
singuIar country and superior to aII others, as art is superior
to Nature who is there trans!ormed by dream, corrected,
remodeIed and adorned.
!etthemseek and seekagain,IetthemendIessIy push back
the Iimits o! their happiness, those horticuIturaI AIchemists l
!etthem o0er prizes o! sixty, a hundred thousand ßorins !or
the soIution o! their ambitious probIems l As !or me, ! have
!oundmyblack tulip, !have!oundmyblue dahlia!
!ncomparabIe ßower, rediscovered tuIip, aIIegoricaI dahIia,
it isthere, is it not, in that beauti!uI country, so caIm, so !uII
o! dream, that you must Iive, that you must bIoom: WouId
you not there be framed within your own analogy, would you
not see yourseI! reßected there in your own correspondence,
asthemysticssayì
Dreamsl AIways dreams l And :he more ambitious and
deIicate the souI, aII the more inpossibIe the dreams. Every
manpossesseshisowndoseo!naturaIopium,ceaseIesIysecreted
and renewed, and !rom birth to death how many hours can
wereckono!positivepIeasure, o!success!uIanddecidedactionì
bhaII we ever Iive in, be part o!, that picture my imagination

has painted, and that resembIes you: _�
J
_��
[
°°}
These treasures, these !urnishings, this Iuxury, this order,
these per!umes, and these miracuIous ßowers, they are youl
And you are the great rivers too, and the caIm canaIs. And
those great ships that they bear aIong Iaden with riches and
!rom which rise the saiIors' rhythmic chants, they are my
thoughts that sIeep or that rise on the sweIIs o! your breast.
You Iead them gentIytoward the sea which is the !nhnite, as
you mirror the sky's depth in the crystaIIine purity o! your
souI ,-and when, weary with roIIing waters and sur!eited
with the spoiIs o!the U:ient, they return to their port o! caII,
stiII they are my thoughts coming back, enriched, !rom the
lnhnite to yo

[
34 ]
XIX
THE POOR CHILD' S TOY
I SHOULD LIKE to o0er a suggestion Ior an innocent diversion.
There are so Iew amusements that are not cuIpabIel
When you go out in the morning with the settIed idea oI
rambIing over the highways, hII your pockets with IittIe penny
devices such as those ßat puppets manipuIated by a singIe
string, a bIacksmith hammering on an anviI, a knight on a
horsewhosetaiI is awhistIe,andoutsidethetavernsandunder
the trees oßer them as iIts to aII the unknown poor chiIdren
you may meet. You wiII see their e es Ü en unbeIievabIy wi e.
At rst they wont dare to take them; they won`t beIieve in
_heir _ood Iortune. 1hen their hands wiII cIutch the present
eagerIy, and they wiII run away Iike cats who go Iar o0 to
eatanymorseIyougivethem,havingIearnedtobewaryoImen.
8ehind the iron gate oI an immense garden, at the back
oI which couId be seen a charming chateau gIeaming whiteIy
in the sun, stood a beautiIuI, bIooming IittIe boy smartIy
dressed in country togs that are aIways so enchanting.
!uxury, careIree days, andthe habituaI spectacIe oI abund-
ance make such chiIdren so IoveIy that they seem to be made
oI a dißerent cIay Irom the chiIdren oI the moderateIy, and
theverygoor.
8esidehim onthe grassIay a magnihcenttoy, as bIooming
asitsmaster,giIdedandshining,dressedinpurpIe,andcovered
with pIumes and gIittering beads. 8u: the chiId was paying no
attentiontohisIavoritetoy, andthis iswhathewasIookingat .
Un the other side oI the gate on the highway, standing in
the midst oI nettIes and thistIes, was another chiId, yitiIuII_
bIak and grimy, one oI those urchin-pariahs whose beauty
[ 35 ]
an impartia!eye wou!d discover if, asthe eye ofa connoisseur
detects an authentic master under thecoachmaker`s varnish, it
pee!ed oüthe disgusting patina of ov
� e symboIicbarsseparatingtwo�highroad
a�nn, f poor cd was showing the rich chiId his
own toy, which the !atter was scrutinizing breathIessIy, as
thoughithadbeensomerare andunheardof object. WeII, this
toythatthegrimy!ittIebratwasshaking,teeteringandturning
in a boxcovered with wire, was a Iivin�e parents out
of economy, l suppose, had taken the �m nature itseIf.
Andthe two chiIdren were !aughingtogetherIike brothers,
withteeüoIzdentkal whitenes





-
[ 36 ]
xx
THE FAI R I ES ' G I F TS
GRAND ASSEMBLY oI the Fairies, gathered together to e6ect
the distribution oI giIts among the new-born inIants who had
comeintotheworIdintheIast twenty-Iour hours.
AII these ancient and capricious Sisters oI Destiny, these
strange mothers oI j oy and sorrow, were very di6erent Irom
one another , some were sadand surIy, othershad a mad, mis·
chievous gaiety, somewereyoungandhadaIwaysbeenyoung,
otherswere oId and had aIwaysbeen oId.
AII the Iathers who beIieved in \airies

µd come to the
assembIy withtheirinIantsin their arms.
TaIents, FacuIties, good Fortunes, invincibIe Conjunctures
were piIed up beside the tribunaI, Ior aII the worId Iike com-
mencement-day prizes. 8ut the di6erence was that these CiIts
were not the recompense Ior any e6ort but, onthe contrary, a
IavoraccordedtoapersonwhohasnotyetIived,aIavorcapabIe
oI d�ciding his destiny and oI becoming either the cause oI
his misIortune or the source oI aII his happiness.
The poor lairies were in a pother , Ior there was a very
large crowd of petitioners, and the intermediary world, situated
between man and Cod, is subject, just as ours is, to the Iaw
oI Time and aII his inhniteprogeny,the Days, the Hours, the
Minutes,the Seconds.
ln truth, they were as ßurried as one oI the ministers oI
state on his audience day, or the empIoyees oI a pawn-shop
when a nationaI hoIiday authorizes the redemption oI pIedges
gratis. l even think they gIanced at the cIock wi]b¸ as much
impatienceashumanjudgeswhohavebeensittingonthebench
aIIdç and cannot heIp Ionging Ior their dinners, meir wives
| ³7 ]
¸ ª:_
. r
I Ì
v
and their beIoved bed-room sIippers. l! in su_ernaturaI justice
there is some precipitancy and con!usio¡, we ought not toíe
too surprised tohnd·em��t!i��
_
human justice as weII.
Utherwise we ourseIves wouId be unjust ju� _
~
And soit happened on that day, a ! Iunders re com-
mitted which might beIookedupon as od Ï prudence, rather
thanap¡ were the distinctive and eternaI characteristic
o! the

e

- .
" -Tuste-ma_neticpower o! attracting weaIth was awarded
totheheiro!animmenseI rich!amiIy, andashehadnotbeen
endowed with a sense o! charity or the Ieast covetousness or
m e good thin_s o! this woÃ, !e was sure to hnd himseI! ter-
�ibIy embarrassed b_his miIIionsIatet L,
Ãus aIso, the Iove o! 8eauty, and poetic !ower, were
awarded Io the son oÎ a _iti!uI pauper, a stone quarrier by
trade, who c
_
no way either advanc

the taIents, o gIe·
viate the needs o!!is de_IorabIe o6s_ring.
lhave !orgotten to say thatthe distribution¸o:: th�ç � soIemn
occasions is without appeaI, an� thomay be reIt:sed.,
Thinking their task accompIished, aII the1airies hau riscn,
!or not a singIe gi!t was Ie!t, no bounty remained to throw to
this human horde, when a worthy man, a poor IittIe shop-
keeper, l!ancy,sprang!orward, andcatchinghoIdo!themuIti·
coIored vapor gown o! the nearest Fairy, cried.
"8ut, Madaml You have !orgotten us l What about my
baby: l hate tothink l've made the trip !or nothing."
The Fairy mightweIIhavebeen discountenanced, !orthere
was nothing Ieft. HappiIy, she remembered in time a weII·
known, though rareIy appIied, Iaw o! the supernaturaI worId
-theworIdinhabitedby impaIpabIe deities who,beingIriends
o! man, must o!ten adapt themseIves to his human passions,
such as the lairies, Cnomes, SaIamanders, SyIphids, SyIph¿,
Nixies, and Undines (maIe and !emaIe} -I re!er to the Iaw
that, in such a case as the present when gi!ts run short, gives
a Fairy the power to accord one more giIt, provided she has
imagination enoughto create one on the spot.
[ 38 ]
Sothe good Fairy repIied with a seI!-possession worthy o!
her rank. " ¸ ow`� on your son. + .I bestow upon him
eGift of pleasin ."
easing: 8ut pIeasing how: !Ieasing why:" asked the
obstinate IittIe shop-keeper who was doubtIessIy Qe o! those
reasoners, onIytoocommon,who is incapabIe o! risingto the
Iogic oI the Absurd.
"8ecause l 1ust because l "repIied the incensed Fairy, turn·
ingherback on him.
Kejoining the cohort o! Fairies, she said. "What do you
think oI that vain IittIe Frenchman: He insists upon under·
standing everything, and even a!ter he has obtained the best
giIt oI the Iot Ior his son, he stiII dares to question, and to
dispute the IndisputabIe."
' "ª ]
XX!
THE TE MP TATIONS
OR
EROS , P L U TOS AND FAME
LAST NIGHT two superb Satans, and a not less extra�fii�
a�J
Sataness, clim
be
d the mysterious

stairs up whih H launches
ns-a-ss
au
lts on the weakness of

l�eping �nd communicates
with him in secret. Gloriously they stood before me, like actors
on a stage. A sulphurous splendor emanated from the three
personnages thus standing out in relief against the dense back­
ground of the night. They looked so proud, with so imperious
an air, that atJ!s! LmistQQk them jor real gods.
The countenance of the frst Satan was of an �Ilbiguous
�, and in the lines of his body too, there was the sam

¿
ness that the ancients were wont to give to Bacchus. His beauti­
ful languid �yes, shadowy and vague in color, resembled violets
that are still heavy with the tears of storm, while his half open
lips were like warm censers exhaling the agreeable odor of
p
erfumeries, and whenever he sighed, musky insects fitting
about were illuminated in the fery glow of his breath.
Around his purple tunic, like a girdle twined an iridescent
serpent that lifted its head and turned toward him with lan­
guorous live-ember eyes. Ald suspended from this living g}�le,
alternating with vials of sinister cordials, hung sliIing kni
y
es
and surgI
c
al in
�t
rUlnents.
' Tn
lr
;
r
i,
ht
hand he held another vial whose content was
of a luminous red, and which bore these curious words upon
its label : "Drink I blood, a perfect cordial" ; in his left, a
violin which ed, no doubt, to sing his pleasures and his
[
4 ]
pains, and to spread the contagion of his madness on witches'·
sabbath nights.
A few links of a broken golden chain dragged at his deli·
cate ankles and, when they hampered him and forced him to
look down, vain as he was, he never failed to admire his brilliant
toe nails as highly polished as precious gems.
He looked at me with his inconsolably sad eyes, flled with
an insidious intoxication, and said in a melodious voice : "If
you wish, if you wish, I will make you the master of living
matter, as the sculptor is of clay, but an incomparably greater
master ; and you shall know the pleasure, constantly renewed,
of escaping from yourself to forget yourself in another being,
and of attracting to yourself other souls to lose themselves
.
"
In yours.
And I answered him: "Thank you, no ! I want none of your
human wares that are probably no better than my own poor
self. And although remembering makes me more or less
ashamed, I still have no desire to forget a thing; and even if
I did not recognj7e you, you old monster, your mysterious cut·
l
lery, your dubious vials, and the chains shackling your feet :
are symbols that demonstrate clearly enough the disadvantages
of friendship with you. You may keep your gifts.
"
,
The second Satan had nothing of that tragic and, at the
same time, smiling air, nor those insinuating manners, nor that
exquisite perfumed beauty. He was Ü man of vast proportions,
with an eyeless countenance. His heavy paunch hung down over
his thighs, and his skin was gilded ar-iIustrated, as though
tatooed all over, with masses of little hurrying fgures, repre·
senting numerous forms of universal misery. There were lean
little men who had hung themselves from nails, there were
deformed skinny little gnomes whose supplicating eyes begged
more eloquently for alms than their trembling hands: and there
were old mothers with premature infants clinging to their wasted
breasts, and there were plenty of others too.
The gigantic Satan tapped his immense belly with his fst,
and there came from it a prolonged metallic ¿ngling that
[4
1
]
ended in a vague groaning, as oI many human voices. And he
Iaughed, indecentIy dispIayinghisdecayedteeth, a greatimbe-
ciIicIaugh Iikethat oI certain men in every country aIterthey
havedinedtoo weII.
Andthisonesaidtome . "I cangiveyouthethingthatwiII
procure you everything eIse,thatisworth everythìngeIse, that
takes the pIace oI everything eIse| "And he tapped his mon·
strous beIIy whose sonorous echo was a ht commentary on
his vuIgar o0er.
1 turned away indisgustas 1 repIied. "I do notneed other
peopIes' misery Ior my enj oyment
,
and 1 want none oI your
weaIth, ghastIy with aII the misIortunes that your skin, Iike a
waII paper, dispIays."
As Ior the Sataness, 1 shouId be Iying iI I IaiIed to admit
thatat hrst gIanceshe seemedto me to have a singuIar charm.
And 1 can hnd no better way oI dehning this charm than by
comparing it to that oI ceµyomen _ast th�ir yrim� but
who wiIInevergrow oId, andwhosebeautyseemsto hoId some
of tI:e ppant m

a¡i�

oI oId ruins. She had an imperious
and yet unbridIed air, and her eyes, aIthough marked by the
years, stiII heId aIItheir power oI Iascination. Whatstruckme
particuIarIy wasthem�terious quaIit¿ oI her voice r�qInd)n

¿
me oI aII the IoveIiest contralti 1 had ever heard, and aIso oI
th�!�skinessoIth�ats¡���u��=��i�1=¦·i�,�vitae.
"WouId you Iike a prooI oI my power:" said the IaIse
goddess in her paradoxicaIIy seductive voice. "Listen."
Andshesoundedanenormoustrumpet
,
havingIongstream-
ers Iike one oI those rustic pipes, that bore the names oI aII
the newspapers oIthe wor!d, and onthistret she criedmy
name, which went roIIing throa���ith the noise oI a
!!õtisand thunderboIts. And its echo came back to me, rever-
beratedIromtheIarthestpIanet.

'¯he Dev:J!" I said, haII won over. "Now that is some-
thing.° s�: �� ����i�, u s�d��tive Iu�,¬�cIos�i,, I
seeto remember having sen her beIore somewhere drink-
ing with some oI my acquaintances, and the hoarv sound oI
[ 4 ]
the brass brought back to my ears a vague recoIIection oI
another prostituted trumpet l had heard.
Sowith aIImy scorn l repIied. "Awaywithyoul l am not
one to marry the mistress oI a certain person l do not care
toname."
UI such courageous seII-deniaI l sureIy had the right to
beproud.8utunhappiIywhen lawokeaIImyIortitudeIorsook
me. "ln truth," l said to myseII, "l must have been sound
asIeep indeedtohavedispIayedsuch scrupIes.Ahl iI onIythe¸
«d come again wIlIe I am

awake¸¯wouJd certainIy mt be

....

¸.
h

¸ .
. ` `¯
s���amis .
And1

eaIIed on them aIoud, begging them to Iorgive me,
promising to degrade myseII as oIten as shouId be necessary
to win their Iavor. 8ut l must sureIy have mortaIIy o6ended
them,Iorthey havenever returned.
[
4 ]
XXII
E VENIN G TWILIGHT
DAYLIGHT fades. A great peace descends into poor minds that
the day's work has wearied; and thoughts take on the tender
and shadowy tints of twilight.
Yet, through the transparent clouds of evening, a great
clamor from the top of the mountain reaches me on my bal­
cony, a
\
confusion of discordant cries transformed by distance
into a desolate harmony, like that of the rising tide or impend­
ing storm.
Who are these hapless ones to whom evening brings no
solace, to whom, like the owls
,
the approach of night is the
signal for a witches'-sabbath? This sinister ululation comes to
me from the black mad-house perched on the mountain; as I
smoke my evening pipe, contemplating the peace of the immense
valley bristling with houses, whose windows say: "Here is
peace; here is a happy family!
"
I can, when the wind blows
from up there, cradle my wondering fancy on this imitation of
the harmonies of hell.
Twilight excites madmen. I remember two of my friends
who always became ill at dusk. One of them would lose all
sense of the obligations of friendship and of ordinary courtesy,
and would fy at the frst comer like a savage. I have seen him
throw an excellent chicken at a head-waiter because he imagined
he saw in it some hieroglyphic insult. For him evening, that
herald of all voluptuous pleasures, spoiled all things, even
the most succulent.
The other
,
a prey to disappointed ambition, as daylight
waned, began to grow bitter, gloomy and quarrelsome. Still
indulgent and sociable by day, he was pitiless at night; and
' V ]
would vent furiously, not only on others but on himself as well,
all his crepuscular spleen.
The former died insane, unable to recognize his wife and
child; the latter is still tortured by a perpetual disquietude and
even if all the honors that republics and princes can confer
were now heaped upon his head, I believe that twilight would
still quicken in him a feverish craving for imaginary distinc·
tions. Night, which flled their minds with its own darkness,

brings light to mine; and although it is not rare to observe the

same cause bringing about contrary results, it never fails to
,erplex and to alarm me.
o night ! 0 refreshing darkness ! to me you are the signal
for an inner feast, my deliverer from anguish! In the solitude
of the lain, in the ston lab rinth
.
il­
atlOn of stars, bright nursts of city lights, you are the fre-
·orks of my goddess Liberty!
-
Twilight, how sweet you are, how tender ! The rosy glow
lingering on the horizon like the last agony of day conquered
by victorious night ; the fames of the candelabra making dull
red splashes against the sunset's dying glory; the heavy
draperies that some unseen hand draws out of the depth of
the East -it all seems to imitate those complex sentiments that
at life's most solemn moments war wi
t
h each other in man's
heart.
Or it may remind one of those curious costumes dancers
wear, that reveal under dark transparent gauze the muted
splendors of a dazzling skirt, j ust as the delicious pas shine!
through the somber present; and the gold and silver stars
-
sprinkled over it, represent the fres of fancy that shine brightly
only in the deep mourning of the night.
| ¹¤]
XXIII
SOLITUDE
A PHILTHROPIC j ournaIist says that soIitude is badIorman-
kind, andhesupportshisproposition,IikeaIIunbeIievers,with
citations Irom the Church Fathers.
I know that the wiIderness is a Iavorite haunt oI the DeviI
and that the Spirit oI Iubricity iskindIed in IoneIy pIaces. 8ut
it is possibIe that this soIitude is dangerous onIy Ior those
idIe and vagrant souIs who peopIe it with their own passions
and chimeras.
CertainIy a garruIous man, whose chieI pIeasure in IiIe is
todecIaimIrompuIpitorrostrum,wouIdruntheriskoIbecom-
ing a raving maniac on Kobinson Crusoe's isIand. I do not
insist on my j ournaIist havingaIIthe virtues and the courage
oI Crusoe. 8ut l do object to his dir�cting his imputation
against the Iovers oI soIitude and mystery.
Chattering humanity is IuII oI individuaIs who wouId Iace
the death penaIty with Iess horror iI
,
Irom the top oI the
sca0oId, they were permitted to make a mighty harangue with
noIearoIanuntimeIyinterruptionIromthe drumsoISanterre.
I donotpitythem,sinceI IeeIthattheiroratoricaIe0usions
procure them pIeasures quite equaI to those which others
derive Irom siIence and seII-communion, but I despise them.
AII I ask oI my cursed j ournaIist istobe aIIowedto amuse
myseII in my own way. "And so," he says with his most evan-
geIicaI andnasaI inßection, "youneverIeeIthe need oIsharing
your pIeasuresì"Ah, the subtIe envyl He knows that I scorn
his pIeasures and he tries to insinuate himseII into mine, the
odiouskiII-joyl
''That great misIortune oI not being abIe to be aIonel . . .
[
4 ]
says La 8ruyère somewhere, as though to shame those who
have to go into crowds to !orgetthemseIves, doubtIess !earing
thatthey couId not endurethemseIves aIone.
"AImost aII our iIIs come !rom not staying in our own
room,"says anotherwise man, I beIieve it was !ascaI, recaIIing
!rom his ceII o! seI!-communion aII those madmen who seek
happiness in activity and in what I might caII, to usethewon-
der!uI Ianguage o!theday,the brotherhood o! prostitution.
|¹7 !
XXIV
PROJE CTS
Hr SAID to himseII as he waIked through a greatIoneIy park.
"How beautiIuI she wouId be in one oI tI:ose gorgeous and
eIaborate court costumes, as, in the soIt evening air, she
descendedthe marbIe stairs oI a paIace Iacing broad Iawns and
Iakesl Forby nature she has the air oI a_; ;µ_c�s;,
!ater, passing through a IittIe¸µreet he stopped in Iront
oI a print shop, and Iooking through a portIoIio and hnding
a picture oI a tj�pi� scene
,
he thought . "No l it is not in
a paIace that ! shouIdIiketo cherish her dearIiIe. We shouId
neve: IeeIat home in one. 8esidesthere wouId be no pIace on
those goId encrusted waIIs to hang her portrait , and in those
IormaI haIIs there is never an intimate corner. DecidedIy'!'er�
I have IoundthepIace in whichtoIive and cuItivate the dream
oI my IiIe."
'
And whiIe his eyes continued to examine every detaiI oI
theprint, hewenton musing. "A IoveIy woodencabinby the
sea and aII around those curious gIossy trees whose names I
have Iorgotten. . . in the air an indehnabIe, an intoxicating
Iragrance. . . in the cabin the heavy scent oI musk and roses
. . . and Iarther, behind our IittIe domain, the tops oI masts
rocking on the waves. . . aII around us, beyond our bedroom
withitsshutterssoIteningthegIaretoarosygIow,anddecorated
withcooImatsandheadyßowers and!ortuguese rococo chairs
oI heavy somber wood (where she wiII sit so caImIy and weII
Ianned, smoking her sIightIy opiumed tobacco) , and beyond
the veranda, the twittering oI birds drunk with the sun and
the chattering oI IittIe negro girIs. . . whiIe at night
,
as an
accompanimentto mydreams,thepIaintive song oIthemusic-
[ 48
]
trees, the meIanchoIy ]/a Üð! Yes, truIy this is the setting 1
havebeenIookingIor.Whatdo1 want oIapaIace:"
AndaIittIeIarther on, ashewaswaIkingaIonga wide ave·
nue, he noticed a CQZ IittIe i�n, and in the window, gay with
curtains oI striped caIico, two Iaughing Iaces. And instantIy.
"KeaIIy," he cried, "what a vagabond my mind must be to go
Iqokirrgso Iar aheId Ior pIeasure that is so near at hand.
!Ieasure and happiness are to be Iound in the hrst inn you
come to
,
any chance inn teeming with deIights. A great wood
hre, gaudy crockery, a passabIe supper, a vigorous wine, and
a very wide bed with sheets
,
a IittIe coarse, but cooI , what
couId be better:"
And going home at that hour oI the day when Wisdom's
counseIs are not siIenced by the roat oI the outside worId, he
saidto himseII . "I have possessed three homes today, and was
equaIIy happy in aII oI them. Why shouId 1 drive my body
IrompIaceto pIace, whenmy souItraveIsso IightIy: And�y
carr¿ out one`s_rojects¸ since the pro]ect is suHcient _Ieasure
in itseII:"
&
[ 49
]
xxv
THE BEAUTIFUL DOROTHEA
THE SUN overwheIms the city with its perpendicuIar and IuI-
minating rays , the sand is bIinding and the sea gIitters. The
stupihed worId weakIy succumbs and takes its siesta, a siesta
that is a sort oI deIicious death in which the sIeeper, between
sIeeping and waking, tastes aII the voIuptuous deIight oI anni·
hiIation.
MeanwhiIe Dorothea, strong and proud as the sun, waIks
aIong the deserted street, the onIy Iiving thing at this hour
underthebIue, a shiningbIack spot in the sunIight.
She waIks, swaying gentIy Irom such a sIender waist set
on such generous hips l Her paIe pink dress oI cIinging siIk
makes a IoveIy contrast with the darkness oI her skin, and
moIds accurateIy her !ong bust, the curve oI her back and her
pointed breasts.
A redparasoI, shading her Irom the sun, rouges her dusky
Iacewith its bIood-red gIow.
The weight oIthe enormous piIe oIhair thatis aImost bIue,
puIIsbackher deIicate head and gives her anindoIentIytrium-
phant air. And the heavy ear-rings keep chattering secrets in
her pretty ears.
From time to time the sea breeze IiIts a corner oI her
ßowing skirt, reveaIing a zuperb and gIistening Ieg, and her
Ioot, Iike the Ieet oI the marbIe goddesses that Europe keeps
careIuIIyshut up in museums, imprints its image IaithIuIIy on
the hne sand. For Dorothea is such a prodigious coquette that
thepIeasure oIbeing admired prevaiIs with her over the pride
oI no Ionger being a sIave
,
and aIthoughIreed, she stiII goes
bareIoot.
| 60!
Thus she harmoniously takes her way, happy to be alive,
and smiling her white smile as though she saw in the distance
ahead of her a mirror refecting her beauty and proud carriage.
At an hour when even the dogs groan with pain under the
gnawing teeth of the sun, what invincible motive brings lazy
Dorothea abroad, as beautiful and cool as bronze?
Why has she left her little cabin so coquettishly arranged,
whose mats and fowers make such a perfect boudoir at so
small a cost; where she loves to sit and comb her hair, to
smoke and to be fanned by those great feather fans, or to gaze
into her mirror, while the sea, pounding the shore not a hun·
dred feet away, serves as a powerful and rhythmic accompani­
ment to her vague day-dreams, and exciting, aromatic odors
come to her from the back of the court-yard where a ragout of
safroned rice and crabs is cooking in an iron pot?
Perhaps she has a rendezvous with some young ofcer who,
on distant shores, has heard his comrades talking of the
famous Dorothea. She would ask him, of course, to describe
the Opera Ball, and also, the simple creature, if one could
go to it barefoot as to Sunday dances here, when even the old
Kafr women get drunk and delirious with pleasure; and if all
the beautiful Paris ladies are more beautiful than she?
Dorothea is admired and pampered, and she would be
perfectly happy if only she were not obliged to save up, pistre
by pistre
,
enough to free her little sister who is all of eleven
years old, and mature already, and so beautiful ! She will doubt­
less succeed, the kindly Dorothea : but the child's master is toe
miserly to understand any beauty other than the beauty of
his ecus.
[ 51 ]
XXV!
THE E YES OF THE POOR
AH! So YOU wouIdIiketoknow why ! hate you today: !t wiII
certainIy be harder Ior you to understand than Ior me to
expIain, Ior you are, l beIieve, the most perIect exampIe oI
Ieminine impermeabiIity that exists.
We had spenta Iong day together which to me had seemed
short. We had duIy promised each other that aII our thoughts
shouIdbesharedin common, andthat ourtwo souIs henceIorth
be but one-a dream which, aIter aII, has nothing originaI
aboutitexcept that, aIthoughdreamedbyeveryman on earth,
it has been reaIized by none.
Thatevening,a IittIe tired, youwantedto sit down in Iront
oI a new caIê Iorming the corner oI a new bouIevard stiII
Iittered with rubbish but th縸µ|ready·
.
Iayed proudIy its
unhnished spIendo . he caIê was

dazrIin Even the gas
burned with aII the ighted with aII its
might the bIinding whiteness oIthe waIIs, the expanse oI mir·
rors,thegoIdcornicesandmoIdings,Iat-cheekeµ¸_ages drag,�d
aÍongbyhounds onIeash,IaughingIad1es wIaIconsontheir
wrists
,
nymphs and godµeszes bearing on their heads piIes oI
Iruits, pates and ga�, Hebes and Canymedes hoIding out
IittIe amphoras oI syrups or parti-coIored ices , _ I histo
@
and
aII h�I

gy pandexjµ_q �Iuttony.

n�� in I¬oIus,a worthy man oI about
Iorty, withtired Iace and greying beard, w�tanding hoIding
a smaIIboybythehand andcarrying onhisarm anotherIittIe
thing, stiIItoo weaktowaIk.HewaspIayingnurse·maid,taking
thechiIdrenIoraneveningstroII. They were in �. Thethree
faces were extraordinariIy serious, and those six eyes stared
[ 5
2
]
hxedIy at the new caIê with admiration, equaI in degree but
di6ering in kind according to their ages.
TheeyesoItheIathersaid: "HowbeautiIuIitis l Howbeau·
tiIuIit isl AII the goId oI the poor worId must have Iound its
way onto those waIIs." The eyes oI the IittIe boy. "How beau·
tiIuI it is ! How beautiIuI it is l 8ut it is a house where onIy
peopIe who are not Iike us can go." As Ior the baby¸ he was
much too Iascinated to express anything but j oy-utterIy
stupid andproIound.
SongwriterssaythatpIeasureennobIesthesouIandsoItens
the heart. The song was right that evening as Iar as ! was
concerned. Not onIy was ! touched by this IamiIy oI eyes, but
! was even a IittIe ashamed oI our g!asses and decanters, too
big Ior our thirst. ! turned my eyes to Iook into yours, dear
Iove, to read my thought in them, and as I pIunged my eyes
into your eyes, so beautiIuI and so curiousIy soIt, into those
green eyes, home oI Caprice and governed by the Moon, you
said. "Those peopIe are insu6erabIe with their great saucer
eyes. Can't you teII the proprietor to send them away:"
So you see how diHcuIt it is to understand one another,
my dear angeI, how incommunicabIe thought is
,
even between
two peopIe in Iove.
'¤°]
XXVll
A HEROIC DEATH
Fancic0ttr was an admirabIe bu6oon and aImost Iike one oI
the !rince's Iriends. 8ut Ior men whose proIession it is to be
Iunny, serious things have a IataI attraction, and one day,
aIthough it may seem strange that ideas oI patriotism and
Iiberty shouId take despotic possession oI a mummer's brain,
FanciouIIejoined a conspiracy Iormed by certain discontented
nobIes oIthecourt.
` ¬: ·-�----�
~~ ~· +~·... --- ·
· · · ·+.
¯here cxist everywhere worthy men aIways ready to de·
nounce their more atrabiIiar brothers who Iong to dethrone
princes and, without bothering to consuIt it, to reconstitute
society. The nobIes in question were arrested as weII as Fan·
ciouIIe, and aII oIthemIaced certain death.
l couId readiIy beIieve that the !rincewas quite put out to
hnd his Iavorite pIayer among the rebeIs. The !rince was
neither better norworsethan other men, buthaving an exces·
sivesensibiIityhewasingeneraIIarmorecrueIthanhisIeIIows.
A passionate Iover oIthe hne arts, asweII as an exceIIent con·
noisseur,hewasanaItogetherinsatiabIevoIuptuary. lndi6erent
enough in regard to men and moraIs¸ himseII a reaI artist, he
dreaded oneenemy onIy, 8oredom, andthe extravagante6orts
he made to vanquish or to outwit this tyræ
oIthe worId,
wouIdmost certainIy have won him the epithet of "nonster"
Iro a e�vere historian, iI in the !rince`s dominions any one
had been permitted to write anything whatever whichdid not
make

excIusiveIy Ior pIeasure or Ior astonishment, one oI
pI�asure's most deIicate Iorms. The misIortune oI the !rince
wasmnothaving astagevastenoughIorhis genius.Thereare
young Neros, stißed in too narrow bounds, whose names and
[ 54 ]
good intentions wiII Iorever remain unknown to Iuture genera-
tions. A heedIess !rovidence had given this !rince IacuIties
greater than his domains.
SuddenIy a rumor spread that the sovereign had decided
to pardon aII the conspirators , and the origin oI this rumor
was an announcement that a magnihcent pantomime was to
begiveninwhichFanciouIIewouIdpIayoneoIhismostIamous,
one oI his most sucessIuI roIes, and at which even the con-
demned nobIes, it was said, were to be present , an evident
prooI
,
added superhciaI minds, oI the generous procIivities oI
the o6ended !rince.
UnthepartoIamansonaturaIIyanddeIiberateIyeccentric,
anything was possibIe, even virtue, even cIemency, especiaIIy
iI in it he couId hope to hnd some unexpected pIeasures. 8ut
Ior those who,Iike myseII,had probed deeper into that curious
sicksouI, itwasinhniteIymoreprobabIethatthe!rincewanted
to test the vaIue oI the histrionic taIent oI a man condemned
fo re.-Ue wantedto proht bythis occasion to make a physio-
IogicaI experiment of a capital interest, to hnd out to what
extent an artist`s IacuIties might be changed or modihed in a
situation as extraordinaryasthis , beyondthat, wasthere in his
mind, perhaps, amore orIess dehnite idea oImercy: This is a
point that has never been cIarihed.
At Iast, the great day having arrived¸ this IittIe court dis-
pIayedaIIitspomps, anditwouIdbedimcuIttoconceive,unIess
one had seen it, what incredibIe spIendor the priviIeged cIass
oI a tiny state with Iimited resources, was abIe to muster Ior
a notabIe occasion. This one was doubIy so by the wonder oI
theIuxurydispIayed asweIIasbythemysteriousmoraIinterest
attaching to it.
Sieur FancioulIe exceIIed especiaIIy in siIent parts or ones
with Iew words, which are often the principIe roIes in those
Iairy pantomimes whose object is to represent symIoIicaIIy
the mystery oIIiIe. He came out IightIy onto the stage, with a
perIect ease that conhrmed the nobIe audience in its notion
oIcIemency and pardon.
'¤¤ ]

¯
'
!� '
When peopIe say oI an actor . ¨What a good actor,¨ they
are using an expression which impIies that beneaththe charac·
tertheycan stiII distinguishthe actor,that is tosay¸art,e6or|,
voIition. 8utiIan actor shouId succeed in being, in reIation to
theparthepIayed, whatthebeststatues oIantiquity, iImiracu-
IousIyanimatedtheyIived,waIkedandsaw,wouIdbeinreIation
tothe generaI, the conIused idea oI beauty, that wouId indeed
be a singuIar case and aItogether unheard oI. £anciouIIe was
that night just such a perIect ideaIization, so that one couId
not heIp beIieving in the impersonation as aIive, possibIe and
real. The bu6oon came and went
,
Iaughed and wept, and
Iashed into Iury, with aIways abou� �¡� headan iiuperishabIe
aureoIe, invisibIe to aII, but visibIe to me, that bIended in a
strange amaIgamthebeams oIArtandthegIoryoIMartyrdo�.
IanciouIIe, by what speciaI grace I cannot say, introduced
something oIdivineandsupernaturaIintohismostextravagant
bu6ooneries. My pen txembIes and tears oI an emotion that
has never IeIt me, hII my eyes, whiIe I Iook Ior words to
deseribe Ior you that unIorgettabIe evening. £anciouIIe proved
|o me in the most peremptory, the most irreIutabIe way
,
that
the intoxication oI Art iz mona than al g t ,e de
te�rs oI the eternaI abyss , and that genius can pIay a part,
e� e8ge oIthe grave, with such joy that it does not
see the grave, Iost, as it is, in a paradise that shuts out aII
thought oI death and destruction.
The whoIe audience, bIasê and IrivoIousthough they were,
sqn(�nderthe uI-pow�]uI�� oI the artist. No thought
remained oI death, oImourning, or oIpunishment. Every one
gavehimseII up without a quaIm to the voIuptuous and muIti-
tudinous pIeasures the sight oI a masterpiece oI Iiving art
a6ords. ExpIosions oI deIight and admiration again and again
reverberated to the vauIts oI the edihce with the noise oI a
continuous thunder. The !rince himseII, in a Irenzy oI intoxi·
cation, j oined in the appIause oI his court.
However, Ior a discerning eye, this intoxication was not
withoutaIIoy.DidheIeeI himseIIcheatedinhisdespoticpower,
[ 56
]
humiIiatedinhis art oIstrikingterror into hear|s andchiII into
souIs, Irustrated in his hopes, ßouted in his Iorecasts: Such
suppositions, not aItogether justihed yet not unj ustihabIe, ran
through my mind whiIe ! watched the !rince's Iace, as over
his habituaI paIor, a new paIoi spread Iike snow IaIIing upon
snow. His Iips were more and more tightIy compressed and
his eyes bIazed with an inner hre resembIing that oI j eaIousy
or spite, even whiIe he ostensibIy appIauded his Iortne� Iriend,
thestrangebu6oonwhonowpIayeddeath'sbu6oonsosuperbIy.
At a certain moment ! saw his Highness turn toward a IittIe
page standing behind him, and whisper in his ear. A roguish
smiIe ßashed across the chiId`s charming Iace, and he IeIt the
royaI box as iI to carry out some urgent commission.
A Iewminutes Iater a shriII proIonged hiss broke in upon
FanciouIIe in one oI his greatest moments, rending aII ears
and hearts. And Irom that part oI the haII whence this unex-
pectedrebu6hadcome, a chiIddarted out into a corridor with
stißed Iaughter.
FanciouIIe, awakened Irom his dream, cIosed his eyes, and
when aImost at once he opened them again, they seemed to
have grown inordinateIy Iarge
,
then he opened his mouth as
though struggIing¸or breath, staggered Iorward a step, then
backward, andæl dead(ponthestage.
Had the hiss, swiII as a sword, reaIIy Irustrated the hang·
man: Hadthe !rince Ioreseen the homicidaI eventuaIity oI his
ruse: :|�¬.,-�a�aIo� doubt.Uid he regret his cherished,
hIsinImnabIe FanciouIIeº It issweetandlegitimateto hope so.
The guiIt¿ nobIes had enjoyed the deIights oI the theatre
Ior the�1i�e. The same night they were e6aced Irom IiIe.
Since then severaI othe�mi�es, justIy �ppreciated in many
countries, have come to the court oI but none has ever
been abIe to approach the miracuIous taIent oI FanciouIIe, nor
to risetothesame favor.
[5
7 ]
XXVlll
COUN TERFEIT
As WE WERE Ieavingthetobacconist's ! sawmy Iriend careIuIIy
separating his money, in the IeIt pocket oI his waistcoat he
sIipped aII the goId pieces, in theright, the siIver, in his IeIt
trouser pocket he put a handIuI oI pennies
,
and hnaIIy in the
right, aIter the most careIuI scrutiny, a twc-Iranc piece.
"What a singuIar�` e distribution," ! said to myseII.
Soon we passed beggarwho heId out his cap to us with
a trembIing hand. £or e man oI IeeIing who is abIe to read
them, !knownothingmored:sEessmgt5an t!e mute eIo uence
o a paupers pea mg eyes, so u Ü umiIity and reproach.
There isinthemsomethingoIthe proIoundandcompIexemo·
tion to beseen inthetear·hIIed eyes oI a_o_bein_�ten.
MyIriend'so6eringwasconsiderabIyIargerthanmine, and
l saidto him. "Youare right, next to IeeIing surprise oneseII,
there is no greater pIeasure than giving someone eIse a sur-
prise." "!t was counterIeit," he repIied tranquiIIy as though
to]ustiIy his p:a!Ity.
8ut i my miserabIe brain, which is Iorever üying o6 at
a tangent (what an exhausting IacuItynature has given mel ) ,
theideasuddenIyoccurredtomethatsuchconductinmyIriend
was onIy excusabIe iI it came Ir�µ¸¡¸ ge uI bringing some
excitement into the poor deviI`s IiI�
,
perhaps even of!eerning
aU 'ti dm ermt o�e��es, d�strous or otherwise, that a
counterIeit coin in the hands oI a beggar, might engender.
MightitnotmuIti_I_ into man¿_ieces oIgoodmonq" Mq
it not aIso Iead to prison: A baker, a tavern keeper, Ior in·
stance,migÏt havehimarrested asacounterIeiter or a dissemi·
nator oI bad money. 8ut on the other hand, the counterIeit
[ 5
8
]
coin Ior a poor IittIe specuIator, might weII be the germ oI
severaI days' weaIth. And so my Iancy ran riot, Iending wings
tomyIriend's imagination anddrawing aII possibIe deductions
Irom aII possibIe hypotheses.
8ut he rudeIy shattered my reverie by repeating my own
words . "Yes, you are right
,
there is no sweeter pIeasure than
tosurprise aman bygivinghim morethan heexpects."
I IookedhimsquareIy in the eye, and I was appaIIedto see
that his eyes shone with unquestionabIe candor. I understood
perIectIythenthathis objecthadbeen to perIorm a charitabIe
d��¸ whiIe making a good specuIation, to gain Iorty sols and
Cod'sheartatthesameume,andtowinparadise economicaIIy,
i��hort, to c��ry o6 gratIs a

le Ieofc1arty. ItTuId
a�have I��give

hm

hls d��ire Ior th� �ep�ehensibIe
enj oyment I had just been supposing him capabIe oI, I shouId
have Iound something ç_ ious, arresting in his desire to com·
promise paupers, but I wiII never pardon him the ineptitude
oIhis caIcuIation. To be mean isnever excusabIe, but there is
some virtue in knowing that one iz , the µnIorgivabJeice is
tod����¯s:upIdIty.

[ 59 !
/
XXlX
THE GE N EROUS GAMB L ER
YESTERAY on the crowded bouIevard, ! IeIt myseII j ostIed by
a mysterious 8eing whom ! have aIways Iongedto know, and
aIth¤ughlhadneverseenhimbeIore,lrecognizedhim atonce.
He musthave IeIt a simiIar desire in �egard to me, Ior ashe
passedhe gaveme aknowingyinkwhichl was quickto obey.
l IoIIowed him cIoseIy and soon, stiII at his heeIs¸ descended
into a magnihcentsubterranean dweIIing oI a IabuIous Iuxury
beyond anything the upper habitations oI !aris couId boast.
Anditseemedtomeoddthat!shouIdhavepassedthisenchant·
inghauntsooItenwithoutsuspectingthatherewastheentrance.
The exquisite,thoughheady,atmosphereoIthepIacemade one
instantaneousIyIorgetaII the tedious horrors oI IiIe, here one
breathed a somber beatitude simiIar to that which the Iotus-
eatersmusthaveIeItwhen,IandingontheenchantedisIebathed
in the Iight oI an eternaI aIternoon, and hearing the soothing
sound oI meIodious cascades, they suddenIy Ionged never to
see their penates again, their wives and chiIdren, never again
to venture Iorth over the towering waves oI the sea.
HerewerestrangeIacesoImenandwomenwhoweremarked
withthesign oIgtaIbeauty, andl seemedto remember having
seen them beIore, but at what period or in what countries it
was impossibIeto recaII , they inspired in me a IraternaI sym·
pathy ratherthan that apprehension commonIy aroused by the
sight oIanything aIien. lI l were to attemptto give some idea
3 oI the singuIar expression oI their eyes l shouId say that l
have never seen eyes that shone so 6erceIy with the horror o!
boredomand with the immortaIIongingto!eeIthemseIvesIive.
8ythetimemyhostandlwereseated,wewereaIreadyhrm
[ 6
0
]
!riends. We ate, we drank immoderateIy o!aII sorts o!extraor·
dinary wines, and noIess extraordinary was the !act that even
a!ter severaI hours it seemed to me that ! was no more drunk
thanhe.8utgaming,thatsuperhumanpIeasure,hadinterrupted,
at divers intervaIs, our !requent Iibations, and l shouId aIso
say that, with per!ect

n�ce and heroic heedIessness, !
had ������binding pact. The souI is a
thin_ so impaIpabIe¸q!teµ so useIess, and some imes so in the
w�that!!eIt somewhatIess emotion over it� oss t an i had
droppedmyvisitin_ eard outwaI!ing. ¸
SIowIy we smoked :everaI cigars whose incomparabIe taste
and aroma madethe souI homesick !or countries and pIeasures
it had never known, and drunk with aII these deIights, in an
access o! !amiIiarity that did not seem to dispIease him, ! had
the temerity to excIaim as l Ii!ted my brimming gIas: . "To
your immortaI heaIth, UId Harryl "
We taIked o! the universe, o! its creation and o! its hnaI
destr�ct¡on, o! the 5vg vdea oI t5e century, Wat is, t!e ¯ea
o
¿
progress and per!ectabiIity, and in generaI oI a! Iorms oI
!uman in!atuation. Õn this subject His Üig!ness was never at
a Ioss !or gay and irre!utabIe ironies
,
and he expressed himseI!
with a subtIeaddress and impassibIe humor such as ! have not
met with even in the most !amous taIkers o! humanity. He
expIained the absurdity o! the di0erent phiIosophies which
haveuptothepresenttime had possession o!the humanbrain,
and heeven deigned to divuIge certain !undamentaI principIes
whose possession and beneñts I do not ñnd it expedient to
share with a singIe sou! He didnotcompIain o!thebadrepu·
tation he enjoys in every corner o!the worId, and assured me
that no one was more interested inthe suppression o! supersti­
tion than himseI!, and admittedthatthe onIy time he hadever
trembIed !or his power was the day when a preacher had
excIaimed!rom his puIpit . "My beIovedbrothers, never !orget
when you hear peopIe boast o! our progress in enIightenment,
that one o! the deviI`s best ruses is to persuade you that he
doesnotexistl "
[ 61
]
Í
º, - r>t)')
The recoIIection o! this noted orator Iead us naturaIIy to
the subject o! institutions o! Iearning, and my strange tabIe-
companion toId me that in many cases he did not think it
beneath him to inspire the pen, the speech, and the conscience
o! pedagog, and that he aImost invariabIy attended in per-
son, aIthoughinvisibIe
,
aII academicassembIies.
Encouraged by so much kindness, I asked him !or news o!
Cod, and whether he had seen him recentIy. He repIied with
an indi0erence tinged with sadness . "We bow to each other
when we meet Iike two weII-bred oId gentIemen, whose innate
courtesy is, nevertheIess, not suHcient to wipe out the memory
o! oId grudges."
I doubt i! His Highness has ever be!ore accorded such a
Iong interview to a simpIe mortaI, and I !eared l must be
presuming. At Iast, as shivering dawn whitened the window
panes, this !amous character, sung by so many poets and
served by so manyphiIosoghers who work !or his gIory with-
out knowing it, said to me . "As l want you to take away an
agreeabIe remembrance o! me, I -I, Satan him-eI!-am
goingtoproveto you, in spiteo!aIItheiIIthat is said o! me,
that l can sometimesbea good devil, to use one o!your popu·
Iar expressions. To compensate you !or the irremediabIe Ioss
o! your souI, l shaII give you the same stake you wouId have
won i! chance had been with you, that is the possibiIity o!
aIIeviating and overcoming !or your entire Ii!e that strange
disease o! 8oredom which is the source o! aII your iIIs and
aII your miserabIe progress. Never shaI! you !ormuIate a wish
that I wiII not heIp you to reaIize, you shaII dominate your
vuIgar IeIIowmen, ßattery shaII be yours, and even adoration,
siIver,goId, diamonds, and!airypaIacesshaIIcomeseekingyou
out, begging to be accepted without your having to Ii!t a
hngerto obtainthem, youshaIIchangenationaIityand country
as o!ten asyour!ancy dictates , you shaIIknow aII the intoxica-
tion o! pIeasure, without satiety, in IoveIy Iands where it is
aIwayswarmandwherethewomensmeIIassweetastheßowers
[
62 J
-et cetera, et cetera. . . ," he added as he rose and dismissed
mewithakindIysmiIe.
lI l had not been aIraid oI embarrassing him beIore that
vastassembIy, l wouId wiIIingIy have IaIIen on my kneesatthe
IeetoIthis generous gambIer, to thank him Ior his unheard-oI
munihcence. 8ut aIter l had IeIt him, IittIe by IittIe, doubt
creptbackintomy breast , l noIonger daredtobeIieve in such
prodigious good Iortune
,
and when l went to bed that night,
idioticaIIy saying my prayers out oI habit and haII asIeep,
l murmured: "Uh, Codl !ord, my Codl Make the deviI keep
hispromisel "
[ 63 ]
xxx
THE ROPE
To EDOUARD MANET
"ILLUSIONS," said my Iriend, "are as innumerabIe, perhaps, as
thereIations oImento each other and oImen andthings. And
when the iIIusion disappears, when, that is, we see persons
orthings as theyreaIIy are, detached Irom ourseIves, we have
astrange,compIexIeIing,haIIregretIorthevanishedphantom,
haI! agreeabIe surprise attheappearance oIthis noveI, oIthis
reaI thing. lI there is one obvious, ordinary, never·changing
phenomenon oIa nature to make misapprehension impossibIe,
it is sure!y mother-Iove. It is as diõcuIt to imagine a mother
withoutmother-Iove ?Iight without heat, is it not then per-
IectIy Iegitimate to attribute aII a mother's acts and words, in
regard to her chiId, to mother-Iove: And yet, Iet me teII you
this IittIe story in which you wiII see how I was singu!arIy
deceived by this most natura! iIIusion.
"8y myproIession as a painter l am impeIIed to scrutinize
attentiveIy every Iace, every physiognomythat comes my way,
and you know what deIight we painters take in that !acuIty
which gives more zest and signihcance to IiIe Ior us than !or
other men. ln the out o! the way neighborhood where I Iive,
and where great grassy spacesstIII separatethehouses, l used
to watch a certain IittIe boy whose eager, mischievous Iace
appeaIedto me morethan any oItheothers.He posed !or me
severaI times, and l wouId disguise him, sometimes as a IittIe
gypsy
,
sometimes as an ange!, sometimes as the mythoIogicaI
Cupid. I painted him with the vagrant musician's vioIin, wIth
the Crown o!Thons and the NaIIs oIthe Cross, and with the
[
6 ]
torch of Eros. Finally 1 came to take such delight in the young­
ster's drollery that one day 1 asked his parents, who were very
poor, to let me keep him, promising to dress him well, to give
him a little money, and not to impose on him any tasks more
onerous than cleaning my brushes and running my errands.
After he had been well scrubbed, the boy was really charming,
and the life he lead with me seemed to him paradise compared
to that in his parent's wretched hole. Only 1 must say the
little fellow often astonished me by strange fts of precocious
melancholy, as well as by an immoderate craving, soon mani­
festing itself, for sugar and spirits; it had come to such a
pass that one day when l had noticed that, in spite of my
many warnings
,
he had been pilfering again, l threatened to
send him back to his parents. l then went out and my afairs
kept me away for a considerable time.
"What was my horror and stupefaction when, opening my
door, the frst object that met my eyes was my little man, the
mischievous little companion of my life
,
hanging from that
wardrobe over there! His feet almost touched the ground; a
chair, which he had evidently kicked out of the way, was over­
turned beside him; his head was convulsively twisted to one
side; his face swollen, and his eyes, wide open, stared with
a terrifying fxity that gave the illusion of life. To take him
down was not as easy a task as you might think. He was already
stif, and l felt an inexplicable revulsion to letting him drop
to the foor. l was obliged to sustain his whole weight with
one arm while, with my free hand, I cut the rope. But that was
not all; the little wretch had used such a thin rope that it had
sunk deep into the fesh, and to free his neck l had to dig for
the rope between the swellings with a pair of fne scissors.
"l neglected to tell you that 1 had, in the frst place
,
called
lustily for help; but my neighbors had refused to come to my
assistance, true in this to the prejudice of civilized man who,
l do not know why, will have no part in the afairs of the
hanged. Finally a doctor arrived who declared that the child
had been dead for several hours already. When later we had
[ 65 ]
to undress hIm Ior burIaI, the body was so rIgId that, unabIe
to bend hIs IImbs, we were Iorced tocut hIs cIomes to remove
them.
"The poIIce sergeant, towhom naturaIIy l hadtoreportthe
suIcIde, eyedmenarrowIy, sayIng. 'SomethIngsuspIcIousIook·
IngaboutmIs,' prompted, no doubt,bothby personaI bìas and
the proIessIonaI habIt oI tryIng to strIke terror Into Innocent
andguIItyaIIke.
"The supreme task was stIII to be accompIIshed, the very
thoughtoIwhIchcausedmeanunbearabIeanguIsh. hIsparents
had to be toId. My Ieet sImpIy reIused to take me. At Iast l
summoned up aII my courage. 8ut to my great astonIshment
the mother remaIned unmoved, not a tear trIckIed Irom her
eyes. ! attrIbuted tÏIs´to the extreme horrorshemustIeeI, and
l recaIIed the weII·known sayIng. 'The deepest sorrows are
sIIent.' As Ior the Iather, haII churIìsh, haII pensìve, aII he
Ioundtosay was . 'WIÏIt's aII Iorthebest, l guess. He wouId
have come to a bad ¬anywa,''

"MeanwhIIe the body was IaId out on my soIa, and ! was
takIng care oI the 6naI detaIIs assIsted by a servant, when the
mother entered my studIo. She wanted to see the body oI her
son
,
shesaId.!couIdhardIypreventherreveIIIng Inher sorrow
or reIuse her thIs supreme and somber consoIatIon. Then she
asked me to show her the pIace where her boy had hanged
hImseII. 'Uh! No, Madam, ' ! replIed, 'that wIII be too paIn·
IuIIor you.' And, as InvoIuntarIIy my eyes turned towardthe
IataI wardrobe, l saw wIth repugnance, mIxed wIth horror,
that the naII had been IeIt In the paneI wìth a Iong pIece oI
rope stIII dangIIng Irom It. ! rushed over to remove these Iast
vestiges oIthe tragedy, and was aIout to ßng them out oIthe
open wIndow, when the poor woman seIted my arm and In an
IrresIstIbIe voIce saId. 'Uhl MonsIeur,Ietme havethem! l beg,
l ImpIore youl ' Her despaIr l decIded must have so crated her
that she had been seIted wIth a passIonate IongIng Ior the In·
strumentoIher son'sdeath,anddesIredto keep It as ahorrIbIe
andcherIshedreIIc.ShetookpossessIonoItheropeandthenaII.
[ 66 ]
"At last l At last ! It was over. There was nothing more Ior
meto dobuttogo backto work, andmoreIuriously than ever,
tryingto drive outthelittle corpsethathlledevery convolution
oI my brain, and whose ghost haunted me with his great star·
ing eyes. 8ut the Iollowing day I received a pile oI letters .
some Iromtenantsinmy ownbuilding, someIromneighboring
houses , one Irom the hrst Hoor, another Irom the second,
anotherIromthe third and so Iorth and so on, some in a haII
playIul style, some jokingly trying to hide the eagerness in
their request , the others grossly brazen and misspelled, but
all with the same object in view. to persuade me to let them
haveapieceoItheIatalandbeatihcrope.Amongthesignatures,
I mustsay, there werc morewomen's than men`s , but
,
I assure
you,theydidnotallcomeIromthelowerclassesby anymeans.
Ihavekeptthoseletters.
"It was then, suddenly, that it dawned upon me why the
motherhad been so anxious to getpossession oI the rope, and
the sort oI trade she was contemplating Ior consoIation."
[ 67 ]
XX I
VOC ATIONS
IN A LOVELY garden where the autumnaI sun seemed to Iinger
with pIeasure, under a sky, aIready noticeabIy tinged with
green, in which the goIden cIouds saiIed Iike cruising conti·
nents, Iour beautiIuI chiIdren, Iour boys
,
tired probabIy oI
their games, were taIking.
Une oI them said. "Yesterday I was taken to the theatre.
There are great sadpaIaces, and behind them you can see the
sky and the sea, there are men and women, very serious and
sadtoo, andmuchmore beautiIuIandbeautiIuIIy dressedthan
any you have ever seen, who speak to each other in sing-song
voices. They threaten each other,they impIore,they are in de·
spair,andtheyareaIwaysputtingtheirhandsto daggersthrust
into their beIts. Uhl but it is beautiIuI l The women are much
more beautiIuI and much taIIer than any that come to our
house
,
and aIthoughthey are terriIying with their greathoIIow
eyes and their ßaming red cheeks, you can't heIp IaIIing in
Iove with them. You're Irightened and you want t' cry, but
somehow you are happy too. . . . Andthen, what's Iunnier stIII,
it makes you want to be dressed Iike that too, to say and do
the same things, and to speak in the same kind oI voice. . .
Une oI the Iour chiIdren, who Ior some time had not been
Iistening to his comrade's discourse, and had been IookIng
with extraordinary hxity at some distant point in the sky,
suddenIy excIaimed. "!ook, Iook up therel Do you see him?
He issittingonthatIittIecIoud aII by itseIIthat isthe coIor oI
hre andmovessosIowIy. !thinkHe isIookingat ustoo."
"ßut whoareyoutaIking about:"askedtheothers.
"Codl " he repIied in a tone oI compIete conviction. "Ahl
[ 6 ]
HeisIar away aIready, soon weshan'tbeabIe to see him any
more. l suppose he is going to visit other countries. See
,
he is
aboutto disappear behind thatrow oItrees onthe horizon. . .
and now he is going down behind the church tower. . . Ahl
you can't see him any morel "And Ior a Iong whiIe the chiId
remainedstaringin thesamedirectionattheIinethatseparates
heaven andearth, hiseyes bright with an indescribabIe expres-
sion oIecstasy and regret.
"How siIIy he is with his oId Cod that nobody sees but
himl "saida third, a boy whosewhoIe IittIe being wasbursting
withanimation and an extraordinary vitaIity. "Now, ! canteII
yousomethingthathappenedtome abit moreinterestingthan
yourtheatresandyourcIouds.A Iewdays agomy parentstook
me withthemon a trip, and astheinn where we stoppedwas
crowdedandtherewerenomorebeds,theydecidedthatlshouId
sIeep in the same bed as my nurse." He drew his comrades
cIoser around him and Iowered his voice. "lt certainIy gives
you a Iunny IeeIing not to be sIeeping aIone, and to be in bed
with your nurse, and in the dark. l couIdn't sIeep so, whiIe
she was sIeeping, l amused myseII stroking her arms and her
neck and her shouIders. Her arms and neck are much bigger
than aII otherwomen's, andher skin is so soIt
,
soawIulIysoIt,
itIeeIsIikewritingpaper ortissuepaper. l enjoyed it somuch
l wouId have gone on Iorever, onIy l was aIraid, aIraid 5rst
oI aII oI waking her, and aIraid too oI l don't know what.
So then l buried my head in her hair, as thick as a horse's
mane coverig her hack, and I telI you it smeIt as good as
theßowersinthisgarden smeII now. lIyouevergetthechance
tryto dothe same-you'IIseel "
WhiIe taIking, the eyes oIme young author oI this reveIa-
tion had widened with a sort oI stupeIaction at what he was
stiII IeeIing, and the Iight oI the setting sun pIaying in his
untidyredcurIsseemed to beIightingupa suIphurous aureoIe
oIpassion. lt was easy enough to Ioresee that this boy wouId
1\
notwaste his IiIe Iooking Ior Cod in thecIouds, andthat he �
wou!d Irequent!y hnd him somewhere eIse.
[ 69 ]
£inaIIy
,
theIourthboysaid. "Youknowthatitisn'tawIuIIy
amusing Ior me at home. ! am never taken to the theatre ~
my guardian ismuehtoostingy, Codneverpays any attention
to me and my boredom, and ! haven't any beautiIuI nurse to
euddIe. ! have oIten thought that what !'d Iike most to do
wouIdbetowaIkstraight ahead oIme without knowing where
! was going and without any one bothering about me, and
aIways seeing new eountries. ! am never eontent anywhere,
and wherever ! am, ! aIways think it wouId be better some·
whereeIse.WeII, at the Iast Iair we wentto in the next viIIage,
! saw three men who Iive the way !'d IIketoIive. You IeIIows
didn't notiee them. They were taII, they were aImost bIaek, and
haughty, aIthough dressed in rags, with an air oI asking Iavors
oInobody.Their enormous bIaek eyes shoneterribIywhenthey
were pIaying their musie, sueh astonishing musie, hrst it
made you want to danee¸then it made you wanttoery, orboth
at onee, and it wouId drive you mad iI you Iistened to it too
Iong. Une oIthem, ashe drewhisbow aerossthe strings oIhis
vioIin, seemed to be teIIing oI some sorrow, the other, making
his IittIehammersj ump about on the stringsoI thetiny piano
hung Irom a strap around his neek, seemed to be making Iun
of his partners' Iamentations, whiIe the third, every now and
then, wouId bring his eymbaIs together with a vioIent erash.
They were enjoying themseIves so mueh that they went on
pIaying their wiId musie even aIter the erowd had dispersed.
£inaIIy they pieked up their pennies, put their baggage on
their baeks and went away. 8ut ! wanted to hnd out where
they Iived so ! IoIIowedthem at a distanee to where the Iorest
begins
,
and then ! understood-they don't Iive any where.
" '5haII we put up the tent' º one oIthem asked.
"'What's the use on a beautiIuI night Iike this l ' another
repIied.
"The third who was eounting their earnings, said: 'These
peopIe have no IeeIing Ior musie and their wives danee Iike
bears. !uekiIywe'II be in Austria in a monthwhere peopIe are
more agreeabIe.'
[
7
0]
"'We'ddobettertogotoward Spain,' said oneoIthe others,
'theseason'sprettyweIIaIong.!'maIIIor avoidingtherainsand
wettingnothing but our whistIes.'
"You see, !'ve remembered everything. AIter that each oI
them drank a cup oI brandy and went to sIeep, their Iaces
turned toward the stars. At hrst ! wanted to beg them to take
me with them, and to teach me to pIay their instruments, but
! didn't dare, probabIy because it is aIways so hard to decide
anything at aII, and aIso because ! was aIraid oI being caught
beIore ! couId get out oI France."
From the indi6erent air oI histhree companions ! decided
that this youngster was aIready one oI the un-understood. !
Iooked at him curiousIy , there was in his eye and in his Iore-
head that something so prematureIy IataI which invariabIy
aIienates sympathy, but which Ior some reason excited mine,
andto such an extent that Ior an instant!hadthestrangeidea
that! might
,
unknown to me, have a brother.
Thesunhadgone down. NightinaIIits soIemnityhadtaken
itspIace. The boyssepatated, eachsetting out, aII unconsciousIy
and as Iuck and circumstances wouId decide, to cuItivate his
!ortune, to scandaIize his neighbors, and to gravitate toward
gIory or dishonor.
[ 71 ]
XXXll
THE THYRS US
To Franz Lizt.
WHAT IS a thyrsus: ln its reIigious and poetic sense it is the
sacerdotaI embIem oI priests and priestesses when ceIebrating
the deity whose interpreters they are. 8ut physicaIIy it is j ust
astick,asimpIestick,asta0tohoIduphops,apropIortraining
vines, straight
,
hard and dry. Around this stick in capricious
convcIutions, stems andüowerspIayandgamboI,some sinuous
andwayward, othershangingIikebeIIs, orIikegobIets up-side-
down. And an amazing respIendence surges Irom this com-
pIexity oIIines and oI deIicate or briIIiant coIors. Does it not
seemas thoughmecurviIinear andthespiraIIineswerecourt-
ing the straight Iine, and were dancing around it in mute
admirationì Does it not seem as though aII those deIicate
coroIIas, aIIthose caIyxes, in an expIosion oIscents and coIors,
wereexecutingamysteriousIandangoaroundthehieraticrodì
8ut what imprudent mortaI wouId dare to say whether the
üowers andthevines have been made Ior the stick, or whether
the stick is not a pretextIor dispIaying the beauty oIthe vines
andthe üowersì Thethyrsus is an image oI your astonishing
quaIity, great and venerated Master, dear 8acchante oI mys-
terious and passionate 8eauty. Never did a nymph, driven to
Irenzy by the invincibIe 8acchus, shake her thyrsus over the
heads oIher maddenedcompanionswith such energy andwan-
tonness as you your genius over the hearts oI your brothers.
TherodisyourwiII,steady, straight, and5rm, andtheüowers,
the wanderings oI your Iancy around your wiII, the Ieminine
eIement executing its bewitching pirouettes around the maIe.
[ 72 ]
Straight Iine and arabesque, intention and expression, inHexi·
biIityoIthewiII,sinuosityoItheword,unityoIthegoaI,variety
oI the means, aII-powerIuI and indivisibIe amaIgam oI genius,
whatanaIyst wouId have the detestabIe courage to divide and
separate youî
Dear !iszt, through the mists and beyond the rivers, in
distant citieswherepianossingyourgIory, andwhere printing
presses transIate your wisdom, wherever you may be, whether
surrounded by the spIendors oIthe eternaI city, or in the mists
oI those dreamy countries Cambrinus consoIes, improvising
songsoIjoyandoIine6abIesorrow, orconhdingtopaperyour
abstrusemeditations
,
singeroI!IeasureandoIeternaIAnguish,
phiIosopher, poet, artist, l saIute you in immortaIityl
| 74J
XXX!!!
GE T DRUNK
ONE SHOULD aIways be drunk. That`s the great thing, the onIy
question. Notto IeeI the horribIe burden oI Time weighing on
your shouIders and bowing you to the earth, you shouId be
drunk without respite.
Drunk with what: With wine, with poetry, or with virtue,
as you pIease. 8ut get drunk.
And iIsometimesyou shouId happen to awake, on the stairs
oIapaIace, onthegreengrass oI a ditch, inthe dreary soIitude
oI your own room
,
and hnd that your drunkenness is ebbing
or has vanished, ask the wind and the wave, ask star, bird, or
cIock, ask everything that Hies, everything that moans, every·
thingthat Hows, everything that sings, everything that speaks,
askthem the time, and the wind
,
the wave, the star, the bird
and the cIock wiII aII repIy. "!t is Time to get drunkl !I you
arenottobethemartyredsIavesoITime,beperpetuaIIydrunkl
With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you pIease."
| 7¹ ]
XXXIV
ALREADY
A HUNDRED TIMES already the sun had sprung, radiant or sad,
out of the immense vat of the sea, a hundred times had plunged
back, sparkling or surly, into the vast bath of evening. For a
number of days we had been able to contemplate the other side
of the frmament, and to decipher the celestial alphabet of the
antipodes. And the passengers grumbled and growled. The
approach of land seemed even to aggravate their torments. "Are
we never again to enjoy sleep without being tossed about by
the waves and kept awake by the wind that snores louder than
we do? Are we never again to eat meat that is not as salty as
the element beneath us? Or sit quietly in an immovable arm­
chair to digest it?"
Some thought of their fresides
,
were ho.esck fr their
unfaithful, ill-tempered wives and noisy _spring. All were so
obsessed by the image of the a
b
sent land that they would, I
really believe, have eaten grass as eagerly as herbiverous
animals.
At last we came in sight of the coast ; and as we drew nearer
we could see that it was a magnifcent and dazzling land. All
life's sweet sounds seemed to come from it Ï a sof murmur,
and the shores, rich in vegetation of every kind, exhaled for
miles around a delicious fragrance of fruits and fowers.
Immediately everybody was happy, everybody abdicated his
bad humor. All quarrels were forgotten, all wrongs reciprocally
pardoned; preconcerted duels were erased from the memory,
and rancors vanished like smoke.
I alone was sad, inconceivably sad. Like a priest whose God
ha

b

--
snatched fro
-
;h
, I could not without heartbreaking
[
7
5
}
K bitterness tear myseIf away from the sea, so monotonousIy se-
ductive, soin5niteIyvaried in her te�sim_Ii_ty and seem-
7 ingto contain andto representby aII herchangingmoods, the
angers, smiIes, humors, agonies and ecstasies ofaII the souIs

who haveIived, who Iive, or who wiII some day Iivel
ln saying fareweII to this incomparabIe beauty, l was sad
unto death, and that is why when aII my companions were
saying, "AtIast l "lcouId onIycry
,
"Already!"
NevertheIess, there it was, Iand with its noises, its passions,
¸aIIits waresanditsfestivities, it was a dazzIing,a magnihcent
IandfuII ofpromises, and from which a mysterious perfume o!
musk and roses came drifting out to us, and, Iike an amorous
whisper,themyriad music o!Iife.
| 76I
xx
WIN DOWS
LOOKINC· Irom outside into an open window one never sees as
much as when one Iooks through a cIosed window. There is
nothingmoreproíound
,
moremysterious,morepregnant,more
insidious, more dazzIing than a window Iighted by a singIe
candIe. Wh�t one can see out in the sunIi_ht is aIways Iess
interesting than what goes on behind a window panç, !n that
bÌack orIummous squareh Ïves, me dreams, IiIe su6ers.
Across tÏe ocean oI rooIs ! can see a middIe·aged woman,
herIaceaIready Iined, who is Iorever bending over something
and who never goes out. Uut oI her Iace, her dress and her
gestures, out oIpracticaIIy nothing at aII, ! have made up this
woman's story, or rather Iegend, and sometimes ! teII it to
myseII and weep.
lI it had been an oId man ! couId have made up his just
as weII.
And l go to bed proud to have Iived and to have su0ered
in some one besides myseII.
!erhaps you wiII say "Are you sure that your story is the
real oneº" But what does it matter what reaIity is outside
myseII,
soIongasithasheIpedmetoIive, toIeeIthat! am, and
what l am:
| 77I
XXXV!
THE DESIRE TO PAINT
UNHAPPY perhaps is man, but happy the artist torn by desire l
l am consumed by a desire to paint the woman who ap-
pearedto me sorareIy and who so quickIy6ed,Iike a beautiIuI
regrettedthingthe voyagerIeaves behind as he is carried away
into the night. How Iong it is now, since she disappearedl
She is beautiIuI andmore than beautiIuI , she is surprising.
Darkness in her abounds, andaIIthat she inspires is nocturnaI
and proIound. Her eyes are two cavernswheremystery dimIy
gIistens, and Iike a Iightning 6ash, hergIanceiIIuminates : it is
an ex_I_ion inthe dqrk.
l have compared herto a bIack sun, iI onecan imagine a
bIack star pouring out Iight and happiness. But she makes one
think rather oI the moon, which has sureIy marked her with
its portentous inl!uence, not the white moon oI idyIIs which
resembIes a Irigid bride, butthe sinister and intoxicatingmoon
that hangs deep in a stormy night
,
hurtIed by the driven
cIouds , notthediscreetandpeaceIuImoonthatvisitspuremen
whiIetheysIeep,butthemoontornIromthesky,theconquered
andindignantmoonthattheThessaIianWitchescrueIIy compeI
to dance on the Irightened grass l
That IittIe Iorehead is inhabited by a tenacious wiII and a
desire Ior µrey. Yet, in the Iower part oI this disturbing coun·
tenance, withsensitive nostriIs quivering Ior theunknown and
the impossibIe, bursts, with inexpressibIe IoveIiness, a wide
mouth, red and white and aIIuring, that makes one dream oI
the miracIe oI a superb 6ower bIooming on voIcanic soiI.
Therearewomenwhoinspireyouwiththedesiretoconquer
themand to take your pIeasure oIthem, but this one hIIs you
onIywiththe desire to die sIowIy beneathher gaze.
'7
8]
XXXVll
THE MOON' S F AVORS
TurMccn, who is caprice itseI!
,
Iooked in through your win·
dow as you Iay asIeep in your cradIe, and said: "This chiId
pIeases me."
And downiIy descending her stairway o! cIoud, she passed
throughthe window pane withouta sound. Then she stretched
herseI! over you with a mother's care!uI tenderness, and Ie!t
her coIors on your !ace. That is why your eyes are green and
your cheeks extraordinariIypaIe. And it was when you Iooked
at thIs visitor that your eyes grew so wondrousIy Iarge, and
she cIasped your throat so tenderIy that you have wanted to
weepever since.
At thesame time, in the !uIIness o! her joy, the Moon per-
vaded the whoIe room Iike a phosphoric atmosphere, Iike a
Iuminouspoison, andaIIthatIivingradiance thoughtandsaid.
"8y my kiss l make youeternaIIy mine. You shaII bebeauti!uI
aslambeauti!uI.YoushaIIIovewhatlIoveandwhatIovesme:
water, cIouds, siIence and the night, the green un!athomabIe
sea, water without !orm and muIti!orm, the pIace where you
HIC not, the Iover you wiII never know, monstrous ßowers,
deIirious per!ume, Ianguorous cats who Iie on pianos and
moanIikewomenwithsweetandhuskyvoices |
"And you shaII be Ioved by my Iovers, courted by my
courtiers. You shaII be the queen o! aII men with green eyes,
whose throats l have cIasped in my nocturna! caresses, o!
those who Iove the sea, the green, un!athomabIe, tumuItuous
sea, waterwithout!orm and muIti-!orm; the pIace where they
arenot
,
thewomantheywiIIneverknow, sinister ßowersIikethe
ccnscrs o! Õ strange rdigion, per!umes that troubIe the wiII,
[ 79 ]
savage and voIuptuous beasts that are the embIems o! theIr
madness."
Andthat Is why, dear, spoIIt, accursed chiId¸ l am Iying at
your!eet searchIng youaII over !or the reüectIon o! the dread
Coddess, the !ate!uI godmother and poIson-nurse o! aII moon­
mad men.
|
%
j
XXXVIII
WHICH IS THE REAL ON E ?
I ONCE KNEW a certaIn 8ênêdIcta who hIIed earth and aIrwIth
the IdeaI, and whose eyes scattered the seeds oI IongIng Ior
greatness, beauty and gIory, Ior everythIng that makes a man
beIIeve In ImmortaIIty.
8ut thIs mIracuIous gIrI was too beautIIuItoIIve Iong, and
so It was that, onIy a Iew days aIter I had come to know her,
she dIed, and I burIed her wIth my own hands one day when
SprIng was swayIng Its censer over the graveyards. I burIed
her wIth my own hands and shut her Into a coHn oI scented
andIncorruptIbIe wood IIke the coÐers oI lndIa.
AndwhIIemyeyesstIIIgazedonthespotwheremytreasure
Iay burIed
,
aII at once l saw a IIttIe creature who Iooked
sInguIarIyIIkethedeceased,stampIngupanddownontheIresh
earth In a strange hysterIcaI Irenzy, and who saId as she
shrIekedwIthIaughter . "!ook at me l I amthe reaI 8ênêdIctal
aperIecthussyl AndtopunIshyouIoryourbIIndness andyour
IoIIy, you shaIIIove me as I am."
8ut I wasIurIous and crIed. "No l nol no l "Andto empha-
sIzemy reIusaI I stamped so vIoIentIy on the earth that my Ieg
sank Into the new dug grave up to my knee, and now, IIke a
woII caught In Ü trap, l am heId Iast, perhaps Iorever, to the
grave oIthe IdeaI.
¸ 8I}
XXXIX
A THOROUGH. BRED
SHE IS veryugIy. She isnevertheIess deIectabIe.Time andLove
have marked her with their cIaws, and crueIIy taught her that
everyinstant,everykiss,steaIsomethingoIyouth andIreshness.
She is reaIIy ugIy. She is
,
iI you Iike, ant, spider, skeIeton
even, but she is aIso the draught that reIreshes, magic and
magisteryl !n short she is exquisite.
Time couId not spoiI the sparkIing harmony oI her waIk,
nor aIter the indestructibIe eIegance oI her panopIy. Love has
not tainted the sweetness oI her chiId's breath, nor has Time
torn out a hair oIher abounding mane, Iromwhose wiId per·
Iumes aII the mad vitaIity oI the French Midi is exhaIed
Nimes, Aix, ArIes, Avignon, Narbonne, TouIouse-amorous,
charmingcities,bIessedbythe sunl
VainIy have time and Iove sunk their teth into her , they
havenot in the Ieast diminished the iIIusive but eternaI charm
oI her boyish breast.
Worn,perhaps,butnotweary,andaIwaysgaIIant,shemakes
onethinkoIone oIthosethorough-bredsthattheeye oIa true
connoisseur wiII aIways recognize even when harnessed to
a hired hack or Iumbering coach.
And then she is so gentle and so fervent! She loves as one
Ioves in the IaII oI the year, the coming oI winter, it wouId
seem, has Iighted a Iresh hre in her heart, and there is never
anything tiresome about the serviIity oI her tenderness.
|B ]
XL
THE MIRROR
AN APPALLING-looking man enters and looks at himself in a
mIrror_
"Why do you look at yourself in the glass, since the sight
of your refection can only he painful to you?"
The appalling-looking man replies : "Sir, according to the
immortal principles of '8
9
, all men are equal hefore the law;
therefore ! have the right to look at myself in the glass ; with
pleasure or pain, that is an entirely personal matter."
In respect of common sense, ! was certainly right ; hut
from the point of view of the law, he was not wrong.
[
8 ]
XI
SEA. PORTS
A SEA-PORT is a pleasant place for a soul worn out with life's
struggles_ The wide expanse of sky, the mobile clouds
,
the ever
changing colors of the sea, the fashing beams of the light-houses
form a prism marvelously designed to gladden, without ever
tiring the eye. The ships with their long slim lines and com­
plicated rigging that so gracefully ride the swells, serve to keep
alive in the soul a taste for rhythm and beauty. And, above all,
for the man who has lost all curiosity, all ambition, there is a
sort of mysterious and aristocratic pleasure in watching, as
he reclines in the belvedere or leans on the mole
,
all the bustle
of people leaving, of people returning, people who still have
enough energy to have desires, who still desire to voyage, who
still desire to get rich_
| B I
XLII
POR TRAITS OF SOM E
MIS TR ESS ES
IN A MA'S boudoir, that is, in the smoking·room of an elegant
gambling.house, four men were smoking and drinking. They
were not precisely young, nor yet old
,
they were neither hand·
some nor ugly; but young or old, they all bore the unmistakable
signs of veterans of pleasure, that indescribable something, that
cold ironi

sadness w
h
ic
h s
ays plainly: "We have lived to the
full, a
nd
- -
we
-
;re
-
Iooking for something we can love and
respect."
One of them turned the conversation to the subject of
women. It would have been more philosophical not to talk ' �
about them at all ; but after drinking,intelligent men are not
above commonplace discourse. And one listens to what is said
as one listens to dance music.
"Every man,
"
he began, "was once Cherub in's age. That
is the time when, if there are no dryads about, one embraces
the trees. It is the frst degree of love. In the second degree one
begins to choose. To be able to discriminate is already a sign
of decadence. It is then that one decidedly looks for beauty.
As for me
,
gentlemen, I am proud to say that I have long ago
arrived at the climacteric period of the third degree when
beauty itself no longer sufces unless it be seasoned with per·
fues, jewe
I
s,
'
et ce
i
e
"�:
-
T aaI
i
tit that I sometimes long for the
fourth degree a
s f
r an unknown happiness, since it must, I am
sure, be distinguished by absolute calm. But throughout my
life, except at the age of Cherubin, I have always been more
afected than other men by the enervatin .-
ing mediocrit
y
of women. WatJ
"
li
ke about
"¬*¬�¬:¬¬¨`´¯´ ¯´¯¨` ¯¯ ¯ ··¬ -& ¬~¬. ,+
[ 8
5 ]
S
N
,,'
»
· ´· ^ |
'Q
simpIicity. Youmayjudgethen howmy Iastmistressmademe
sur. ¯¯��
.
. ~+- . « ·, · ·
¯"bhe was the iIIegitimate daughter o! a prince. 8eauti!uI,
that goes without saying, otherwise why shouId 1 have taken
her: ßut she spoiIedthat spIendidquaIity by being indecentIy,
monstrousIy ambitious. She was the sort o! woman who was
aIways wantipto µy the man. 'You are not a manl Ahl i!
1 were onIy a manl U! the two o! us¸ ! am reaIIy the manl '
Such were the insu6erabIe re!rains that came out o! a mouth
!romwhich1 wanted onIy songsto soar. !!1 Ietmy admiration
!ta bapoen:,anoper±scapeme,she wouId straightway
say. 'You think it very !orce!uI, don't you: 8ut are you any
judge o! !orce!uIness:' And she wouId begin to argue.
"Une hne day she took up chemistry, and a!ter that 1
aIways!oundagIassmaskbetweenherIipsandmine.Andthen,
what a prudel !!, on occasion, ! shocked her by a somewhat
too amorous gesture, she wouId recoiI Iike a sensitive pIant."
"8uthow did itend:"interruptedone o!themen. "!never
knew you had so much patience."
"Cod," he repIied, "invariabIy suppIies a remedy !or every
iII.Uneday!!oundmyMinerva,whohadsuchathirst!orideaI
!orce, tete-a-tete with my vaIet, and in a posture which, ! !eIt,
made it incumbent upon me to retire discreetIy so as not to
make them bIush. That evening 1 dismissed them both, a!ter
paying them their wages in arrears."
"WeII, as !ar as ! am concerned," went on the man who
hadinterrupted,"!have no onetobIamebutmyseI!.Happiness
entered my house and 1 !aiIed to recognizeher. Not so many
yearsago
,
Fategrantedmethepossession o!awoman who was
without doubtthe sweetest, the mostsubmissive, and the most
devoted creature in the worId, ano·h¬¸ aIwy- ~adyl
j And without enthusiasml�! course 1 want to, since i_gives
you pIeasure.' That was her invariabIe answer , and, 1 assure
yu, i!youweretogivethiswaII orthatso!aa good bastinado,
you wouId drawIzpmthem more sighs than the most !prious
7
throeso!Ioveever drew!rommymistress'sbreast. A!terIiving
[ 8 ]
togetherIora year she hnaIIy conIessed thatshe had neverIeI
7
heIeast
¿
IeasureinIove. TheunequaIdueIendedby disgusting
me, and so this incomparabIe girI got herseII married. Some
yearsIaterthe Iancy struckme to seeher again. AIter showing
mehersixbeautiIuIchiIdrenshesaid.
" 'WeII, dear Iriend, the wiIe is stiII as virginal as your
mistress was.' Nothing about her had changed. Sometimes l
havemy regrets. l shouId have married her."
The others Iaughed
,
and the third began in his turn :
"CentIemen, lhaveknownasortoI surewhichyouhave
probabIy negIected. l reIer Ö comedy in Iov and comedy
that inno way excIudesadmiration. admired myIastmistress,
l beIieve, more than you Ioved or hated yours. And every one,
Iike myseII, was in admiration beIore her. Whenever we went
to a restaurant, aIter a Iew moments, �ryone Iorgot their
own Ioodto watch her eat. Even the waiters andthe Iady�pre·
siding over the desk, caught by this contagious ecstasy, Iorgot
their duties. ln short
,
l Iived intimateIy Ior some time with a
Iiving phenomenon. She ate, chewed, munched,

¸�çyçured,
guIpedandswaIIo��¸q¸vrit�¸)�� _aye�t, mµst careI���air in th�
woHIept�e in ecstasy Ior a Iong time. She had such a
gentIe, dreamy, EngIish and romantic way oI saying, 'l am
hungry.' And day and night, dispIaying the prettiest teeth
imaginabIe, she wouId repeat these words which so to�u�d
and tickIed me atthe same time. l couId have made a Iortune
displaying her at street fairs as a polyphagous monster. I fed
herweIIbut, in spite oIthat, sheIeIt me. . .' -"For a whoIe·
saIe grocer, no doubt:"-"WeII, something oI the sort, a
kind oI commissary cIerk who, by some juggIer`s trick known
onIy to himseII, is abIe to keep the poor chiId su�|jµ_with
the rations oI severaI soIdiers. That, at Ieast, i� �ha l have
aIways supposed."
"As Ior me,"the Iourth one said, "lhave enduredthe most
atrocioussu6eringthroughthe exactopposite oIwhatisknown
and reproved as Ieminine seIhshness. l hnd it quite thankIess
[ 8
7 ]
I '
'-
oIyou, Iar too IortunatemortaIs, to compIain oIthe imperIec-
tions oI yourmistresses l "
This wassaidinaII seriousness by aman with a gentIe and
pIacid air, and an aImost cIericaI physiognomy, but Iighted,
unIortunateIy,byverypaIegreyeyes , the sortoIeyesthatsay.
"! wish it l "or, "You must ! "or eIse, "! never Iorgive l "
"Nervousaslknowyoutobe,Cø ø ø cowardIyandIrivoIous
asyou
,
K. and1.bothare. . . iIyouhadbeenyokedtoacertain
woman I haveknown, youwouIdeitherhave run away, oryou
wouId now be dead. !, as you see, survived. !ma¿inea ¿��son
incapabIe oI committing the Ieast IauIt, either oI j udgment or
s�nt; unag¡neadispositionoI ah_eIess sereni

; a devo-
1¡ounot simuIatedand withoutstress , gentIeness without weak-
n�ss, energy without vioIetee� Thehi�I��y�í tms Iove �ñair
o1m:esemb!s

a×oy¯age� vertiginousIy monotonous, over
a surIace as smooth and poIished as a mirror that reHected
aII my IeeIings
,
aII my gestures, with the ironic hdeIity oI my
own conscience, so that ! couId never make a thoughtIess ges·
ture, never induIge i�sh emotion without immediateIy
perceiving the siIent�o� oI my inseparabIe spectre. !ove
seemed more I�,m�r

�nship. ! don't know how ¯ny
m:sgu:ded acts sÏe saved me Trom and t5a! I 5iüeR_ Igret
n
_
t having committed_How many debts she made me pay in
spite oI myseIIÎ She deprived me oI aII the benehts oI my
personaI Io_. Wiua co!¡mpass¯e ruIer s Larïedã my
wms. And, asthehnaI horror, she never asked Ior gratitude,
oncethedangerwaspast. HowmanytimesI hadtokeep myseII
Irom taking her bythe throat and crying: 'Can`t you ever be
imperIect, miserabIe woman, so that ! can Iove you without
mortihcation andwithoutanger ! ' £orseveraIyears I continued
to admire her with hate in my heart. !n the end it was not !
who died oIit| "
"Ah! "saidthe others, "so shei sdead:"
"Yes l lt couId not go on Iike that. !ove had become a
crushing nightmare to me. Do or die, as they say in poIitIcs,
thatwasthe aIternative Iate heId out Ior me l Une evening, in
¸ 88}
a woods . . . beside the sea . . . we had taken a melancholy walk
during which her eyes refected all the sweetness of heaven,
while my heart was as hideous as hell . . .
"What! "
"What do you mean?"
"You mean . . . ?"
"It was inevitable. I have too great a sense of fairness to
beat, or to ill·treat, or to dismiss an irreproachable servitor.
But I had to fnd a way of reconciling this sentiment with the
horror that the woman inspired in me; that is, I had to get rid
of the creature without, however, showing her any disrespect.
What would you have had me do with her, since she ws
perfect?"
The three other men looked at him with an uncertain and
slightly stupefed expression, half feigning to understand
,
half
implicitly admitting that they felt, as for themselves, incapable
of such an inexorable solution, although it had, indeed, been
admirably explained.
Then, to kill Time which has such a hardy life, as well as to
accelerate Life which fows so slowly, they ordered a few more
bottles of wine.
|¤º I
XLIII
THE GALLAN T MARKS MAN
As THE CARRIAGE was going through the woods, he had it stop
near a shooting gallery, saying that it would be pleasant to
take a shot or two to kill Time. And is not killing that monster
the most ordinary and legitimate occupation of all of us?
Gallantly, then, he held out his hand to his dear, delectable,
and execrable wife, to the mysterious woman to whom he owed
so many pleasures and so many pains, and perhaps a large
part of his genius as well.
Several shots went wide of the mark; one even buried
itself in the ceiling; and as the charming creature began to
laugh hilariously, twitting her husband on his want of dexterity
,
he turned toward her brusquely and said: "You see that doll
over there to the right, with its nose in the air and its haughty
mien? Well now, my dear angel, I am going to imagine it i
you." And he closed his eyes and fred. The doll was neatly
decapitated.
Then bowing to his dear, delectable and execrable wife,
his inevitable and pitiless Muse, and respectfully kissing her
hand, he added: "Ah, dear angel, thank you so much for my
dexterity! "
[ 9 I
XlV
THE SOU P AND THE CLOUDS
My DEAR little mad beloved was serving my dinner
,
and l was
looking out of the open dining-room window contemplating
those moving architectural marvels that God constructs out of
mist, edifces of the impalpable. And as l looked l was saying
to myself: "All those phantasmagoria are almost as beautiful
as my beloved's beautiful eyes, as the green eyes of my mad
monstrous little beloved."
All of a sudden I felt a terrible blow of a fst on my back,
and heard a husky and charming voice, an hysterical voice, a
hoarse brandy voice, the voice of my dear little beloved, saying:
"Aren't you ever going to eat your soup, you damned bastard
of a cloud-monger?"
j 9!|
XV
THE S HOOTIN G G ALLE R Y
AND THE CE ME T ER Y
CEMETERY VIEW TAVERN -"Singular sign," remarked our
foot-traveler, "but well calculated to make any one thirsty!
Certainly the host of this tavern must appreciate Horace and
the poet-pupils of Epicurus. He may even know the supreme
refnement of the Egyptians for whom no feast was complete
without a skeleton
,
or without some emblem of life's brevity."
And he entered, drank a glass of beer facing the graves,
and slowly smoked a cigar. Then he took a notion to go down
to the cemetery where the grass was so tall and so inviting,
and where such a generous sun held sway.
And certainly heat and sun were rampant there, indeed it
looked as though the drunken sun was sprawled full length on
the carpet of magnifcent fowers, manured by dissolution.
The air was full of buzzing life -the life of the infnitely small
-interrupted at regular intervals by shots from a nearby
shooting gallery that burst like the explosion of champagne
corks in the midst of the murmurs of a muted symphony.
Then, his brain heated by the sun, with the hot perfumes of
Death all around him, he heard a voice whispering within the
grave on which he was seated. And the voice said: "A curse
on your targets and on your rifes, turbulent live men who have
so little regard for the dead and their sacred repose. A curse
on your ambitions, a curse on your schemes
,
impatient mortals
who come to study the art of killing next to Death's sanctuary!
If you only knew how easy it is to win the prize, how easy it
is to hit the mark, and how everything is nothing, except Death,
you would not tire yourselves so, laborious men, and you would
[ 92 ]
not come here so often to trouble the slumbers of those who
have hit the Mark long ago, the only mark worth hitting, life,
detestable life ! "
, º
² ]
LOSS OF A HALO
AT! You here, old man? You in such a place ! You the
ambros· the drinker
.
essences ! This is really
a surprise."
"My friend, you know my terror of horses and vehicles.
Well, just now as I was crossing the boulevard in a great
hurry, splashing through the mud in the midst of a seething
chaos, and with death galloping at me from every side, I gave
a sudden start and my halo slipped of my head and fell into
the mire of the macadam. I was far too frightened to pick it
up. I decided it was less unpleasant to lose my insignia than
to get my bones broken. Then too, I refected, every cloud has
a silver lining. I can now go about incognito, be as low as I
please and indulge in debauch like ordinary mortals. So here
I am as you see, exactly like yourself.
"
"But aren't you going to advertise for your halo
,
at least?
Or notify the police?"
"No, I think not. I like it here. You are the only person
who has recognized me. Besides I am bored with dignity, and
what's more, it is perfectly delightful to think of some bad poet
picking it up and brazenly putting it on. To make some one
happy, ah, what a pleasure! Especially some one you can
laugh at. Think of X! Think of Z! Don't you see how amusing
it will be?"
| º¹]
XVII
MISS BIS TOUR Y
As I WAS nearing the end of the suburb, walking along under
the gas lamps, I felt an arm being slipped into mine, and I
heard a voice in my ear, saying: "Aren't you a doctor?"
I looked; it was a tall, robust young woman with very wide­
open eyes
,
hardly any make-up, and long hair fying in the
breeze with the strings of her bonnet.
"No, I am not a doctor," I said, "so, kindly let me go."
"Oh! Yes ! you are a doctor. I can see that. Come home with
me. You'll not be sorry, I promise you! " "Yes, yes, I'll come,
but later, after the doctor, what the devil ! " "Ah! Ah! " she
said still clinging to my arm and bursting out laughing. "You're
a doctor who likes to have his little joke. I've known many like
that. Come."
I am passionately fond of mystery because I always hope
to discover the solution. So I let myself be piloted by this
chance companion, or rather by this unhoped-for enigma.
I omit the description of her wretched lodgings ; it can be
found in several of the well-known classic French poets. One
detail
,
however, Regnier overlooked: two or three pictures of
famous doctors were hanging on the walls.
How I was pampered. A big fre, spiced wine, cigars; and as
she ofered me these good things, and herself lighted my cigar,
this fantastic creature said: "Now make yourself comfortable,
my dear, make yourself at home. It will bring back those good
days of your youth at the hospital. But what's this? Where ever
did you get these gray hairs? You weren't like that not so
long ago when you were L . o . 's intern. I remember you were
always his assistant for serious operations. That was a man
[ 95 ]
who liked to cut and hack and carve, I tell you! It was always
you who handed him the instruments, the thread and the
sponges. And how proudly he used to say, looking at his watch
after the operation: 'Five minutes, gentlemen! ' Oh! I go every­
where. I certainly know doctors."
A few minutes later she went on with the same tune, saying:
"You are a doctor, aren't you, my lamb?"
This unintelligible refrain made me leap to my feet. "No ! "
I cried furiously.
"Surgeon then?"
"No! No ! unless it would be to cut of your head. Blessed­
holy-ciborium-of-a-holy-mackerel ! "
"Wait," she went on, "let me show you."
And from her wardrobe she took out a bundle of papers that
contained nothing more nor less than pictures of famous doctors
of the day, lithographs by Maurin which for years might have
been seen on the Quai Voltaire.
"Look, do you know this one?"
"Yes, it's X. Besides his name ÏË at the bottom. But I
happen to know him personally."
"Why, of course you do, I knew that. Look, that is Z., the
one who used to say when speaking of X. : 'That monster who
wears the blackness of his soul on his face! ' And simply because
they weren't in agreement on a certain matter. How we used
to laugh about it in Medical. Do you remember? -See
,
that's
K., the one who informed against the insurgents who were his
patients in the hospital. It was at the time of the uprisings. How
could such a handsome man have such a hard heart? -Now
that is W., the famous English doctor; I caught him when he
came to Paris. He looks like a young lady, doesn't he?"
And as I was fngering another bundle tied with string
also lying on the table : "Wait," she said, "those are the interns,
and this bundle is the externs."
And she spread fan-like a mass of photographs of very much
younger faces.
j 96I
"When we meet next time you'll give me your photograph
too, won't you darling?"
"But," 1 said, also pursuing my idee fxe, "why do you
think 1 am a doctor?"
"It's because you're so sweet and so good to women."
"Singular logic," 1 thought.
"Oh! 1 never make a mistake; 1 have known so many.
1 love them so, all these gentlemen, that although 1 am not
sick 1 go to see them sometimes for nothing, j ust to see them.
There are some who say to me coldly: 'You are not sick at all ! '
But there are others who understand me because 1 am nice to
them."
"And when they don't understand you . . . ?"
"Well ! as 1 have bothered them for nothing, 1 leave ten
francs on the mantlepiece. They are so good, so gentle, doctors !
1 have discovered at the Pitie a young intern who is as pretty
as an angel, and who is so polite ! And who has to work, poor
boy! His comrades told me he didn't have a penny because
his parents are so poor they can't send him anything. That
gave me courage. After all, 1 am not bad looking although not
too young. 1 said to him: 'Come to see me, come to see me often.
With me you don't have to worry; 1 don't need money.' But,
of course, 1 made him understand in all sorts of ways, 1 didn't
j ust tell him brutally like that ; 1 was so afraid of humiliating
him, the dear boy! Well, you know, I've got a funny notion,
and 1 don't dare tell him. I'd like him to come to see me
with his instrument case and his apron, and even with a little
blood on it."
She said this with perfect simplicity
,
as a man might say
to an actress he was in love with: "I should like you to be
dressed in the costume you wear in the famous role you
created."
And 1 still obstinately persisted: "Can you remember the
time and the occasion when you frst felt this particular
passion ?"
1 had some difculty in making her understand. Finally
' ª7J
1 succeeded. But then she replied with such a sad air, and, as
1 remember, with downcast eyes : "I don't know ¤ ¤ ¤ 1 don't
remember."
What oddities one fnds in big cities when one knows how
to roam and how to look! Life swarms with innocent monsters.
Lord, my God, You the Creator, you the Master; you who have
made both Law and Liberty; you the sovereign who permits,
you the j udge who pardons; you who contain all motives and
all causes and who, perhaps, have put a taste for the horrible
in my mind i order to convert my heart
,
like the cure at the
point of the knife; Lord have pity on, have pity on mad men
and mad women! 0 Creator ! can monsters exist in the eyes
of the One who alone knows why they exist, who alone knows
how
t
ey have been made and how they could not have been
made.
[ 98 ]
XLVIII
AN YWHERE OU T OF THE
WORLD
LIFE is a hospital where every patient is obsessed by the desire
of changing beds. One would like to sufer opposite the stove,
another is sure he would get well beside the window.

It always seems to me that I should be happy anywhere
but where I am .. and this question of moving is one that I am
eternally discussing with my soul.
"Tell me, my soul, poor chilly soul, how would you like
to live in Lisbon? It must be warm there, and you would be
as blissful as a lizard in the sun. It is a city by the sea; they
say that it is built of marble, and that its inhabitants have
such a horror of the vegetable kingdom that they tear up all
the trees. You see it is a country after my own heart; a
country entirely made of mineral and light, and with liquid
to refect them."
My soul does not reply.
"Since you are so fond of being motionless and watching
the pageantry of movement
,
would you like to live in the
beatifc land of Holland? Perhaps you could enjoy yourself in
that country which you have so long admired in paintings on
museum walls. What do you say to Rotterdam, you who love
forests of masts, and ships that are moored on the doorsteps
of houses?"
My soul remains silent.
I
"Perhaps you would like Batavia better? There, moreover,
we should fnd the wit of Europe wedded to the beauty of the
tropics."
[ 9 ]
Not a word. Can my soul be dead?
"Have you sunk into so deep a stupor that you are happy
only in your unhappiness ? If that is the case, let us fy to
countries that are the counterfeits of Death. I know j ust the
place for us, poor soul. We will pack up our trunks for Tomeo.
We will go still farther, to the farthest end of the Baltic Sea;
still farther from life if possible; we will settle at the Pole.
There the sun only obliquely grazes the earth, and the slow
alternations of daylight and night abolish variety and increase
that other half of nothingness, monotony. There we can take
deep baths of darkness, while sometimes for our entertainment,
the Aurora Borealis will shoot up its rose-red sheafs like the
refections of the freworks of hell ! "
At last my soul explodes ! "Anywhere! Just so it is out of
the world! "
L 100 ]
XLIX
B EAT U P THE POOR
FOR FIFTEEN days I had shut myself up i n my room and had
surrounded myself with the most popular books of the day
(that was sixteen or seventeen years ago) ; I am speaking of
books that treat of the art of making people hap , wise, and
rich in twenty-four hours. I had digested -or rather swallowed
-all the lucubrations of all the purveyors of public hapi­
ness -of those who advise the poor to become slaves, and
of those who encourage them to believe that they are all
dethroned kings. It will be readily understood that I was in
a dazed state of mind bordering on idiocy.
Nevertheless I seemed to be conscious of an obscure germ of
an idea buried deep in my mind, far superior to the whole cata­
logue of old wives' remedies I had so recently scanned. But it
was still only the idea of an idea somethin infnitel va ue.
n I left my room with a terrible thirst. The passion for 1
bad literature engenders a proportionate need for fresh air
and cooling drinks.
As I was about to enter a bar, a beggar held out his hat to �
me and looked at me with one of those unforgettable expressions
which, if spirit moved matter or if a magnetizer's eye ripened
grapes, would overturn thrones.
At the same time I heard a voice whispering in my ear
,
a
voice I recognized perfectly; it was te voice of my good Angel,
or good Demon
,
who accompanies me everywhere. Since Soc­
rates had his good Demon, why should not I have my good
Angel, why should not I, like Socrates, have te honor of
receiving a certifcate of madness signed by the subtle Lelut
and the knowing Baillarger?
[
I0I]
..
l
/ J
'
There is, however, this diference between Socrates' Demon
and mine, that his Demon appeared to him only to forbid, to
war or to prevent
,
whereas mine deigns to advise, suggest,
persuade. Poor Socrates had onl) a censor; mine is a great
afrmer, mine is a Demon oI��ti��, a D�mori � com:h�t.
.
-" Well, this is wd v�i�� �hisj�red to me : "X-;an is
the equal of another only if he can prove it, and to be worthy
of liberty a man must fght for it."
Immediately I leaped upon the beggar. With a blow of my
fst I closed one of his eyes which in an instant grew as big
as a ball. I broke one of my fnger nails breaking two of his
teeth and since, having been bor delicate and never having
learned to box, I knew I could not knock out the old man
quickly, I seized him by the collar with one hand and with
the other took him by the throat and began pounding his head
against the wall. I �tha�I hl< f?st ta!en the pre­
caution of looking around me and I felt sure that in this deserted
s.�b;"""��-����¸ w9uld �isturb" me for some time

Then, "having hy a vigorous kick in the hack, strong enough
to hreak his shoulder hlades, felled the sexegenarian
,
I picked
up a large branch that happened to he lying on the ground,
and beat him with the obstinate energy of a cook tenderizing
a beefsteak.
Suddenly -0 mirace! 0 bliss of the philosopher when he
sees the truth of his theory verifed! -I saw that antique carcass
turn over, jump up with a force I should never have expected
in a machine so singularly out of order; aI with a look of
hate tat seemed to me a very good omen, the decrepit vaga­
ho�hurled himself at me and proceeded to give me two hlack
eyes, to knock out four of my teeth and, with the same branch
I had used, to beat me to a pulp. Thus it was that my energetic
treatment had restored his pride and given him new life.
I then, hy many signs, fnally made , him understand that
I considered the argument settled, and getting up I said to him
with all the satisfaction of one of the Porch sophists : "Sir,
you are my equal! I heg you to do me the honor of sharing
[
102 ]
my purse.Andremember, iIyouarerea¡�� n
a¸��ypur coµ���s µ_¡ YOI fr as you mt:æ a_ Ihe
theory whiH: I have ¸yþd
.
�þç_¿_çiqµ/ crt!r¤ce o png
o¬1�n you."
¯ swore that he had understood my theory, and that he
wouId !oIIow my advice.
|
J01 I
L
THE FAITHF UL DOG
To M. Joseph Stevens.
My ADMIRATION for Bufon has never made me blush even
before the young writers of my generation. But it is not that
painter of majestic nature ! would call to my aid today. No.
Today I should prefer to appeal to Stern, to whom I would say:
"Descend from the skies or rise from the Elysian Fields, senti­
mental jester, incomparable jester, and inspire me with a song
worthy of you on behalf of the poor dog, the faithful dog!
Return astride that famous ass of yours, which always accom­
panies you in the memory of posterity; and above all let him
not forget to bring along, daintily held between his lips
,
your
immortal macaroon! "
Away, academic muse ! I'll have nothing t o do with that
pedantic old prude. No, ! invoke the friendly, lively muse of
cities to help me sing the song of the faithful dog, the mangy
dog, the pitiful dog, the dog everybody kicks around because
he is dirty and covered with feas, except the poor man whose
companion he is, and the poet who looks upon him with a
brotherly eye.
But the devil take your pedigreed fop! The vain impertinent
quadruped, King-Charles, Dane, pup or lap.dog, always so
pleased with himself that he darts around visitors' legs or
bounds indiscreetly into their laps. He is as turbulent as a
child, as stupid as a prostitute, and often as surly and insolent
as a servant ! Above all, the devil take those four-legged snakes
called greyhounds, that do nothing but shake and haven't
enough fair to pick up their own master's scent, not enough
sense in those fattened heads to play dominoes.
[ 104 ]
To their baskets with them! All those tiresome parasites !
Back to their silken and tufted baskets ! For I sing the mangy
dog, the pitiful, the homeless dog, the roving dog, the circus
dog
,
the dog whose instinct, like that of the gypsy and the
strolling player, has been so wonderfully sharpened by neces­
sity, marvelous mother and true patroness of native wit.
I sing the luckless dog who wanders alone through the
winding ravines of huge cities, or the one who blinks up at
some poor outcast of society with his spiritual eyes, as much
as to say: "Take me with you, and out of our j oint misery we
will make a kind of happiness."
"Where do dogs go?" Nestor Roqueplan once asked in an
immortal article which he has doubtlessly forgotten, and which
I alone, and perhaps Sainte-Beuve, still remember today.
Where do dogs go, you ask, unobservant man? They go
about their business.
Business appointments
,
love afairs. Through fog, through
snow, through mire, under the canicular sun, in pelting rain,
they go, they core, they trot, and skulk in and out of carriage
wheels, driven by their feas, their passions, their needs, or their
obligations. Like the rest of us, they rise betimes and go seek·
ing their daily bread, or running after pleasure.
Some of them sleep in tumble-down shacks on the outskirts
of the city, but regularly every day they core to town at the
same hour to beg for alms at the door of some kitchen of the
Palais Royale; others, in bands, trot fve miles or more to share
the meals that certain old maids prepare for them, poor virgins
who ofer their unemployed hearts to dumb beasts since stupid
men have no use for them.
Others who, like run-away negroes, mad with love, leave
their countryside to core frisking around a lovely city bitch
who is, I'm afraid, a little negligent as to her appearance, but
proud, nevertheless, and grateful.
And they are very punctual without memoranda, note-books
or card-cases.
Do you know lazy Belgium? And have you admired
,
as I
[ 105 ]
have, those sturdy dogs harnessed to the butcher's cart, the
miIkman's or the baker's, and who make it pIain by their
triumphant barking, how happy and proud they are to be the
horse's rivæî
AndherearetwodogsthatbeIongto anevenmoreciviIized
order. AIIowme to take you to the room o!anitinerantcIown
who ishimseI!absent !or the moment. A painted wooden bed
without curtains and with rumpIed and bug-stained bIankets,
two cane chairs, an iron stove, a !ew diIapidated musicaI in·
struments. Uhl the dreary !urniturel 8ut Iook, i! you pIease,
at those two inteIIigent personages, dressed up in such sump·
tuousandsuchshabbysuits¸withtroubadours'orsoIdiers'caps
ontheirheads,whoarewatchingwith aII asorcerer`svigiIance,
a nameIess concoction simmering on the Iighted stove, a Iong-
handIed spoon stuck into it Iike one o!thosepoIes atop a new
buiIding, announcing that the masonry work is 5nished.
ltseems onIy!air, don'tyouthink,thatsuchzeaIous actors
shouId not start out on the road without hrst !orti!ying their
stomachswitha good,soIid soupìAnd can't you Iorgivethem
their evident greediness, the poor deviIs, who every day have
to !ace the indi0erence o!the pubIic and the injustice o! an
impressario who aIways takes the Iion's share !or himseI! and
who eats more soup aII aIone than the !our IittIe actors put
togetherî
Howo!ten l have stood watching them, smiIing and moved
by these !our-!ooted phiIosophers¸ wiIIing sIaves, submissive
and devoted, that the repubIic's dictionary might very weII
designatepab/iebeae]aetors, i!the repubIic were not too busy
makingmenhppy towastetimegivingdogstheirdue.
And how many times have I thought that there must be
somewhere (a!ter aI! why notì} , as recompense !or so much
courage, patience and !abor, a speciaI paradise !or good dogs,
poor dogs,mangydogsanddisconsoIate dogs. Doesn'tSweden-
borgaBrmthatthereisone!ortheTurksand!ortheDutchì
The shepherds o! VirgiI and Theocritus were wont to re·
ceive !or their various songs, a good cheese, or a new ßute o!
[ 106 ]
better make, or a goat with swollen udders. The poet, who
has sung the song of the poor dog, received as his recompense
a waistcoat of a hue that is both rich and faded, making you
think of autumnal suns, the beauty of women past their prime,
and Indian summer.
No one present at the tavern of the rue Villa Hermosa will
ever forget with what eagerness the painter stripped of his
waistcoat and handed it to the poet, for he understood how right
and ftting it was to honor the faithful dog in song.
Just so, in former times, one of the magnifcent Italian
tyrants would have ofered the divine Aretino, a gem·studded
dagger or a court mantle
,
in return for a precious sonnet or a
curious satiric poem.
And every time the poet dons the painter's waistcoat he is
forced to think of faithful dogs, philosophic dogs, and of Indian
summers and the beauty of women past their prime.
j!07 |
E PILOG UE
Happy of heart I climbed the hill
To contemplate the town in its enormity,
Brothel and hospital, prison, purgatory, hell,
Monstrosities fowering like a fower.
But you, 0 Satan, patron of my pain
,
Know I went not to weep for them in vain.
But like old lecher to- mIstress goe ,
Seeking but rapture, I sought out this trull
Immense, whose hell
iS
h c arm resuscItates.
Whether in morning sheets you lie asleep,
Hidden and heavy with a cold, or faunt
Through night in golden spangled veils,
Infamous City, I adore you! Courtesans
And bandits, you ofer me such j oys,
The common herd can never understand.
[ 103 ]
POEMS FROM "FLOWERS OF EVIL"
The themes of some of the prose poems of Paris Spleen are
similar to those of verse poems in the Fleurs du Mal which
Baudelaire had written earlier. Five of these poems, in which
the "correspondence" is most apparent, have been chosen for
comparison.
[ 109 ]
HER HAIR
o feece that down her nape rolls, plume on plume !
o curls ! 0 scent of nonchalance and ease !
What ecstasy ! To populate this room
With memories it harbours in its gloom,
I'd shake it like a banner on the breeze.
Hot Africa and languid Asia play
(An absent world, defunct, and far away)
Within that scented forest, dark and dim.
As other souls on waves of music swim,
Mine on its perfume sails, as on the spray.
I'll j ourney there, where man and sap· flled tree
Swoon in hot light for hours. Be you my sea,
Strong tresses ! Be the breakers and gales
That waft me. Your black river holds, for me,
A dream of masts and rowers, fames and sails.
A port, resounding there, my soul delivers
With long deep draughts of perfumes, scent, and clamour,
Where ships, that glide through gold and purple rivers,
Fling wide their vast arms to embrace the glamour
Of skies wherein the heat forever quivers.
I'll plunge my head in it, half-drunk with pleasure -
In this black ocean that engulfs her form.
My soul, caressed with wavelets there may measure
Infnite rockings in embalmed leisure,
Creative idleness that fears no storm!
[ llO ]
Blue tresses, like a shadow-stretching tent,
You shed the blue of heavens round and far.
Along its downy fringes as I went
I reeled half-drunken to confuse the scent
Of oil of coconuts, with musk and tar.
My hand forever in your mane so dense,
Rubies and pearls and sapphires there will sow,
That you to my desire be never slow-
Oasis of my dreams, and gourd from whence
Deep-draughted wines of memory will fow.
Translated by Roy Campbell
Cf: "A Hemisphere In Your Hair," page 31 .
[
HI ]
QUESTIONING AT MIDNIGHT
The clock, striking the midnight hour,
ironically summons us
to call to mind how we made use
of this today that's here no more:
-we have, today, prophetic day,
Friday the thirteenth! -in despite
of all we know that's good and right­
of heresy made great display;
yes, we've blasphemed the name of Jesus,
unquestionable God and Lord,
and, like a sycophant at the board
of some repulsive bloated Croesus,
to give the brute his flthy sport
we, Satan's loyal subj ect, have
afronted everything we love
and fattered what disgusts our heart ;
and, cringing torturer, we've hurt
the weak, whom we scorned wrongfully,
but bowed low to Stupidity,
great bull-browed beast, throned and inert ;
for it's brute Matter, dull as clay,
that these our pious lips have kissed,
and the pale radiance we've blessed
is but the corpse-light of decay;
[ 112 ]
and last, to drown our vertigo
in the full madness of despair,
we, haughty high-priest of the Lyre,
whose ftting glory is to show
the raptures of the works of death,
thirstless have drunk, and hunger less eaten!
Quick, quick! Blow out the lamp! Stay hidden
here in "this gloom till our last breath.
Translated by Frederick Morgan
Cf: "One O'Clock In The Morning," page 15.
[ 113 ]
INVITATION TO THE VOYAGE
My child, my sister, dream
How sweet all things would seem
Were we in that kind 'land to live together,
And there love slow and long,
There love and die among
Those scenes that image you, that sumptuous weather.
Drowned suns that glimmer there
Through cloud-dishevelled air
Move me with such a mystery as appears
Within those other skies
Of your treacherous eyes
When I behold them shining through their tears.
There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.
Furniture that wears
The lustre of the years
Softly would glow within our glowing chamber,
Flowers of rarest bloom
Profering their perfume
Mixed with the vague fragrances of amber ;
Gold ceilings would there be,
Mirrors deep as the sea,
The walls all in an Eastern splendor hung­
Nothing but should address
The soul's loneliness,
Speaking her sweet and secret native tongue.
[ 114 ]
There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.
See, sheltered from the swells
There in the still canals
Those drowsy ships that dream of sailing forth;
It is to satisfy
Your least desire, they ply
Hither through all the waters of the earth.
The sun at close of day
Clothes the felds of hay,
Then the canals, at last the town entire
In hyacinth and gold:
Slowly the land is rolled
Sleepward under a sea of gentle fre.
There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.
Translated by Richard Wilbur
Cf: "L'/nvitation Au Voyage," page 32.
[ 115
]
COMES THE CHARMING EVENING
Comes the charming evening, the criminal's friend,
Comes conspirator-like on soft wolf tread.
Like a large alcove the sky slowly closes,
And man approaches his bestial metamorphosis.
To arms that have laboured, evening is kind enough,
Easing the strain of sinews that have borne their rough
Share of the burden ; it is evening that relents
To those whom an angry obsession daily haunts.
The solitary student now raises a burdened head
And the back that bent daylong sinks into its bed.
Meanwhile darkness dawns, flled with demon familiars
Who rouse, reluctant as business-men, to their afairs,
Their ponderous flight rattling the shutters and blinds.
Against the lamplight, whose shivering is the wind's,
Prostitution spreads its light and life in the streets :
Like an anthill opening its issues it penetrates
Mysteriously everywhere by its own occult route;
Like an enemy mining the foundations of a fort,
Or a worm in an apple, eating what all should eat,
It circulates securely in the city's clogged heart.
The heat and hiss of kitchens can be felt here and there,
The panting of heavy bands, the theatres' clamour.
Cheap hotels, the haunts of dubious solaces,
Are filling with tarts, and crooks, their sleek accomplices,
And thieves, who have never heard of restraint or remorse,
Return now to their work as a matter of course,
Forcing safes behind carefully re-Iocked doors,
To get a few days' living and put clothes on their whores_
[ 116 ]
Collect yourself, my soul, this is a serious moment,
Pay no further attention to the noise and movement.
This is the hour when the pains of the sick sharpen,
Night touches them like a torturer, pushes them to the open
Trapdoor over the gulf that is all too common.
Their groans overfow the hospital. More than one
Will not come back to taste the soup's familiar favour
In the evening, with some friendly soul, by his own fre.
Indeed, many a one has never even known
The hearth's warm charm. Pity such a one.
Translated by David Paul
Cf: "Evening Twilight," page 44.
[ 117 ]
BEAUTY
I am as lovely as a dream i n stone;
My breast on which each fnds his death in turn
Inspires the poet with a love as lone
As everlasting clay, and as taciturn.
Swan-white of heart, a sphinx no mortal knows,
My throne is in the heaven's azure deep;
I hate all movement that disturbs my pose;
I smile not ever, neither do I weep.
Before my monumental attitudes,
Taken from the proudest plastic arts,
My poets pray in austere studious moods,
For I, to fold enchantment round their hearts,
Have pools of light where beauty fames and dies,
The placid mirrors of my luminous eyes.
Translated by F. P. Sturm
Cf: "Venus And The Motley Fools," pge 10.
[ U8
]

LITERATURE

NINETEENTH PRINTING

CJEIAJRJLJE§ JBAUDJEJLAJIRJE

PARIS SPLEEN
Translated by Louise Varese
Baudelaire composed the series of prose poems known between 1855 and his death in 1867. He at­ as

Paris Spleen

tached great importance to his work in this then unusual form, asking, "Which one of us, in his moments of ambition, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical, without rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience?" In his biography of Baudelaire, Lewis Piaget Shanks calls

Paris Spleen

"the final expression of the poet's vision of

the world, of his melancholia, his idealism, his desperate desire to flee from the prison of his subjectivity, his furious longing to find some escape from the ugliness of modern life. They are the center of his work: absolutely devoid of pose, they explain all the rest of it." Where Baudelaire treated the same theme both in and in

Spleen

Flowers of Evil,

Paris

Enid Starkie finds the prose

poems "more mature in conception, containing more har­ mony in the contrast between the flesh and the spirit.?' Several of these "corresponding" poems are given in an appendix to this edition.
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II

CHARLES

BAUDELAIRE

SPLEEN
1869
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY LOUISE VARESE

PARIS

A NE W

D I R E C T ION S

B OO K

Inc. and Poems of Baudelaire. magazine. editor and publisher of [magi for the translation "Invitation To The Voyage" by Richard Wilbur and the Harvill Press. 1931. radio. Ltd. Except for brief passages quoted in a newspaper. 1955. 80 Eighth Avenue. or television review.Copyright © 1947.. 1962. electronic or mechanical. or by any information storage and retrieval system. for translations by Roy Campbell from Copyright 1952 by Pantheon Books. including photocopying and recording. NINETEENTH PRINTING . Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 48·5012 ISBN: 0·8112·0007·8 All rights reserved. and to Frederick Morgan and David Paul whose translations first The Flowers of Evil. without permission in writing from the Publisher. English translation made from the French text of Baudelaire. Oeuvres de La Pleiade.. appeared in Pantheon Books. Manufactured in the United States of America New Directions books are printed on acid-free paper First published as New Directions Paperbook 294 in 1970 Published simultaneously in Canada by Penguin Books Canada Limited. 1962. no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means. New Directions Books are published for James Laughlin by New Directions Publishing Corporation. New Directions. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS For permission to reprint the copyrighted translations in the "correspondence" section of this volume the Publisher is indebted to the following translators and publishers: Thomas Cole.. Inc. New York lOOll. 1970 by New Directions Publishing Corporation.

. . . I. . X. Cake . . . --V I.. . . IX. ... . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .. . .. . . . .. . v 50 . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . " . . . . .. . . . .. . . . .. . ... .. XX. . .. . . . . . . . . The Beautiful Dorothea . . . . . . . . . . V III. .. . . " . . . .. .... ... . The Temptations or Eros.. . . . . Projects ... . . . . . . . .. . . . The Stranger . Artist's Confiteor . .. . . ... . . . .. . . ... . . XXII. . . . . .. . . . . Evening Twilight . . . . . .. . . . . . .. . . . . . . .XXIV .. " . . . . XV II. . The Dog And The Scent-Bottle.. .... . .. .. Plutus And Fame . . II. . . XV I. . " . . . . V II . .. .. . . . .. . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. . . . . ix 1 2 The Old Woman's Despair . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 20 22 25 28 Crowds Widows The Old Clown . . . The Bad Glazier . 3 4 5 8 A Wag . ... . . . . . . .. . . . . .. . . . . . . . . One O'Clock In The Morning . . . . . . The Poor Child's Toy . . . .XIV .. XIX. III.. . .. . . . . .... XII. . . . .. . . . . . .. .. .. . . . . . .. . . .. . . L'/nvitation Au Voyage . . . .. V. XIII. . . .. .. . ... . . . XV . . . ... .. . . . .. . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . XXI. . ... . . . .. XXIII... To Every Man His Chimera . The Clock . . . . .. . . . .. . .. . . . . . . . . The Double Room . . . . '" . . . . .. . . . . . .. . The Fairies' Gifts .. XI. . . . . . . XV III. .. .. . V enus And The Motley Fool . . .. . ... . . . . .CON TE N T S To Arstme Houesaye . 10 11 12 15 The Wild Woman And The Fashionable Coquette .. . . . . 44 46 48 Solitude . . . .. 30 31 32 35 37 40 A Hemisphere In Your Hair .. . . XXV . . ... . . . . . ..IV . ..... .. . .. . . . . .

. . . . . The Generous Gambler . . . . . . . . J. . .. . . . . . . . . XLIV. . . ... . . . . XXXII. . . . . XLIX. . . . . . . .. . .. . . . .. .. . XXVII. . . . . Beat Up The Poor . . . Vocations .. . L. . The Eyes of The Poor . . 52 54 58 60 64 68 72 74 75 77 78 79 81 82 83 - [XXVIII. .. Counterfeit . . . . . . XLV. . .. . . . . . .. . .. . . The Desire To Paint . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . XXIX. . . . . .. . . . . .. .. . . . . . ... 84 85 90 Portraits of Mistresses . . . XLVII. . . . The Thyrsus . Any Where Out Of The World . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .. . .. . . . .. . . . . . . The Rope .. . . . . . . . . . .. . .. .. XL. . . . . . . Get Drunk . . . .. A Thoroughbred . . . . � - Already ! . . . . .. .. . XXXIV.. . . .. . . . .. ..... . . . XLVIII.. . . . . . .. . . .. . .. . . . Loss Of A Halo . . .. . . . XXXVI. . . . .. . . . . .. . . . .. .. . . XLII. . 101 The Faithful Dog . . The Mirror ... . . . . . . . . . .. . . . XXXVII. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . XLIII. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .. . . . .. 104 .. . . . . . . . . .. . . .. . • The Moon's Favors . . . .. . .. . . . XXXIX. . - XXXIII. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . Which Is The Real One? . . . .. . . . . . .. . . XLVI. . . . . . . . . XXXVIII. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . EPILOGUE .. . . . .. . ... . . . . The Gallant Marksman The Soup And The Clouds . . . . . 91 92 94 95 99 The Shooting Gallery And The Cemetery .. . ..XXVI. 108 vi . Sea·Ports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . XXXI. . . . Windows . . XXX. . . .. . Miss Bistoury . . . .. . XXXV.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . ... . . .. . .. . . . . . . . . . . A Heroic Death . . .. . . .. . . . . XLI.

that it has neither head nor tail. In the hope that there is enough life in some of these segments to please and to amuse you. the pages of the famous Gaspard de la Nuit of Aloysius Bertrand (has not a book known to you. I take the liberty of dedicating the whole serpent to you. I have a little confession to make. musical. you your manuscript. to me. Chop it into numerous pieces and you will see that each one can get along alone. since. in his moments of ambition. I beg you to consider how admirably convenient this combination is for all of us.T O ARS E N E HO U S S A Y E My DEAR FRIEND. so strangely picturesque. Which one of us. It was while running through. for the twentieth time at least. and of applying to the description of our more abstract modern life the same method he used in depicting the old days. without doing it an injustice. everything in it is both head and tail. for I do not keep the reader's restive mind hanging in suspense on the threads of an interminable and superfluous plot. has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose. Take away one vertebra and the two ends of this tortuous fantasy come together again without pain. alternately and reciprocally. without rhythm and without rhyme. for you. for me. on the contrary. supple enough and rugged enough ix . and to a few of our friends the right to be called famous ? ) that the idea came to me of attempting something in the same vein. I my dreaming. the reader his reading . and for the reader. I send you a little work of which n o one can say. We can cut wherever we please.

no doubt. indeed. but which can only deeply humiliate a mind convinced that the greatest honor for a poet is to succeed in doing exactly what he set out to do. have you not tried to translate in a song the Glazier's strident cry. above all. and to express in lyric prose all the dismal suggestions this cry sends up through the fog of the street to the highest garrets? To tell the truth. out of my exploration of huge cities. Yours most affectionately. out of the medley of their innumerable interrelations. I am afraid that my envy has not been propitious. the j ibes of conscience? It was. x . an accident which any one else would glory in. You yourself. dear friend. From the very beginning I perceived that I was not only far from my mysterious and brilliant model. C. B.to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul. doing something (if it can be called something) singu­ larly different. however. but was. the undulations of reverie. that this haunting ideal was born.

. or your brother ? I have neither father. J [1] . Gold? I hate it as you hate God. . up there .� u . enigmatical man. . extraordinary stranger ? I love the clouds . what do you love.? �. your fathe f your mother. Your friends ? Now you use a word whose meaning I have never known. . up there . nor sister. Goddess and Immortal. nor brother. . Then.3 . the clouds that pass . . Your country ? I do not know in what latitude it lies.I THE S TR A N G E R TELL ME. your sister. nor mother. whom do you love best. . . the wonderful clouds ! . Beauty ? I could indeed love her. '.

Then the old woman went back into her eternal solitude and wept alone. saying : "Ah.II THE OLD WO M AN ' S DE S PAI R A WIZENED little old woman felt gladdened and gay at the sight of the pretty baby that every one was making such a fuss over. and that every one wanted to please ." [2 ] . terrified. as frail as the old woman herself. of pleasin ure us and we are scarecrows to little children whom we long to love. and toothless and hairless like her. She went up to him all nods and smiles. filling the house with his howls. such a pretty little creature. for us miserable old females the age . struggled to get away from her caresses. But the infant.

at all events. My nerves are strung � such a pitch that they can no longer give out anything but shrill and painful vibrations. . all these things think through me or I through them (for in the grandeur of reverie the ego is quickly lost ! ) . whether they come from me or spring from things. incomparable chastity of the blue ! a tiny sail shivering on the horizon. soon. . silence. Energy in voluptu. What bliss to plunge the eyes into the immensity of sky and sea ! Solitude. but musically and picturesquely. Ah ! must one eternally suffer. monotonous melody of the waves. its purity irritates me. grow too intense. And now the profound depth of the sky dismays me . ousness creates uneasiness and actual pain. These thoughts. pitiless sorceress. without syllogisms.III AR TIS T ' S CON F ITE OR How POIGNANT the late afternoons of autumn ! Ah ! poignant to the verge of pain. and there is no sharper point than that of Infinity . imitating by its littleness and loneliness my irremediable existence. or else eternally flee beauty? Nature. without deductions. The insensibility of the sea. the immutability of the whole spectacle revolt me . I say they think. do let me be ! Stop tempting my desires and my pride ! The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist shrieks with terror before being overcome. ever victorious rival. without quibblings. • [3 ] . for there are certain delicious sensations which are no less intense for being vague .

all groomed. and continued to trot zealously along where duty called. official frenzy of a big city designed to trouble the mind of the most impervi­ ous solitary. In the midst of this deafening hubbub. I was suddenly seized by an incomprehensible rage against this bedizened imbecile. As for me. belabored by a low fellow armed with a whip. swarming with cupidity and despair. cruelly cravated and imprisoned in brand new clothes. made a ceremonious bow to the humble beast. PANDEMONIUM [4 ] .IV A W AG � of New Year's Eve : chaos of snow and mud churned up by a thousand carriages glittering with toys and bonbons. as though to beg them to make his satisfaction complete by their applause. for it seemed to me that in him was concentrated all the wit of France. Just as the donkey was about to turn a corner. saying as he took off his hat: "A very happy and pros­ perous New Year to you ! " Then he turned with a fatuous air toward some vague companions. a donkey was trotting briskly along. The donkey paid no attention to this elegant wag. gloved. a resplendent gentleman.

a voluptuous dream in an eclipse. those subtle and terrible eyes that I recognize by their dread mockery ! They attract.� N" Every piece of furniture is of an elongated form. bluish shot with rose . I recognize her. the sovereign queen of my dreams. There is about it some­ thing crepuscular. positive art is blasphemy compared to dream and the unanalyzed impression. An infinitesimal scent of the most exquisite choosing. spreads in snowy cataracts. skies and setting suns. they subjugate. [5 ] atm osphere wh ere h ot-house sensations cradle the drowsy spirit. one would say./ � �'74. those are her eyes whose flame pierces the gloaming . they devour the impru. '--> 7Y�. with a somnambular existence like minerals and vegetables. mingled with the merest breath of humidity. and seems to be dreaming.v THE DO U B LE R OO M A ROOM that is like a dream. She is here. Definite. Yes. Here all is bathed in harmony's own adequate and delicious obscurity. And on this bed lies the Idol. No artistic abominations on the walls.'Here the soul takes a bath of indoleiice�'scenfea: with all the aromatic perfumes of desire and regret. languid � and prostrate. a truly spiT�tygl rgom. where the stagnant atmosphere is nebulously d pink and bi:Ue. floats through this � Muslin in diaphanous masses rains over the window and over the bed. The hangings speak a silent language like flowers. endowed. . But why is she here? Who has brought her? What magic power has installed her on this throne of revery and of pleasure? No matter.

disgusting with spittle . it is Eternity that reigns. the Sylphid. it is an infamous concubine come with her complaints to add the trivialities of her life to the sorrows of mine . an eternity of bliss ! But a knock falls on the door. The rancid smell of desolation. this abode of eternal boredom is truly mine. The paradisiac room and the idol.dent gaze. a pitchfork being stuck into my stomach. manuscripts covered with erasures or unfinished. as the great Rene used to say. To what good demon am I indebted for this encompassing atmosphere of mystery. It is a bailiff come to torture me in the name of the law. dilapidated furniture. has nothing in common with this supreme life which I am now experiencing. an awful. the calendar where a pencil has marked all the direst dates! And that perfume out of another world which in my state of exquisite sensibility was so intoxicating? Alas. the whole enchant­ ment has vanished at the Spectre's brutal knock. I remember! this filthy hole. the sovereign of dreams.black stars compelling curiosity and wonder. but with plenty of room for disgust. there is one object alone that delights me: the vial of opium :· [6] . there are no more seconds ! Time has disappeared . In this narrow world. even in its happiest moments of expansion. and I feel. as in my dreams of hell. of stale tobacco mixed with nauseating mustiness. perfume and peace ? 0 bliss ! What we are wont to call life. dusty. No ! there are no more minutes. second by second. Look at the stupid. Horrors ! I remember ! Yes. the hearth without fire. silence. Often I have studied them . without embers. a resounding knock. another odor has taken its place. it is a messenger boy from a newspaper editor clamoring for the last installment of a manuscript. Then a Spectre enters. and which I relish minute by minute. the sad windows where rain has traced furrows through the dust.

1 can assure you that the seconds are now strongly accented. donkey ! Sweat. Regrets. Time reigns . Oh ! yes ! Time has reappeared . and Rages have returned. "Then hoi. he has resumed his brutal tyranny. Time is sovereign ruler now. and like all mistresses. And he pokes me with his double goad as if I were an ox. Agonies. alas ! prolific in caresses and betrayals. slave ! Man. Spasms. the good news that causes every one such inexplicable terror. and rush out of the clock crying : "I am Life. unbearable and implacable Life ! " There is only one Second in human life whose mission it is to bring good news. and with that hideous old man the entire retinue of Memo· ries.an old and dreadful love . Nerves. Yes. be damned and live ! " ] [7] . Nightmares. Fears.

[8] . on a vast and dusty plain without paths.VI TO E V E R Y M AN HIS C HI M E R A UNDER a vast gray sky. with their feet deep in the dust of the earth as desolate as the sky. without a nettle or a thistle. under the depressing dome of the sky. Each one carried on his back an enormous Chimera as heavy as a sack of flour. but that obviously they must be going somewhere since they were impelled by an irresistible urge to go on. without grass. But the monstrous beast was no inanimate weight. on the contrary. He replied that he did not know and that none of them knew. All those worn and serious faces showed not the least sign of despair. I questioned one of these men· and asked him where they were going like that. And the procession passed by me and disappeared in the haze of the horizon just where the rounded surface of the planet_ prevents man's gaze from following. and its fabulous head overhung the man's forehead like those horrible helmets with which ancient warriors tried to strike terror into their enemies. as a sack of coal. it clutched at the breast of its mount with enormous claws. they went along with the resigned look of men who are condemned to h�e foreve!:. apparently they considered it a part of themselves. A curious thing to note: not one of these travelers--seemed � t�resent the ferocious beast hanging around hIS neCkilnd glued to his back. as the accoutrement of a Roman foot·soldier. 1 came upon several men bent double as they walked. it hugged and bore down heavily on the man with its elastic and powerful muscles .

And for a few moments I persisted in trying to understand this mystery. and I was more cruelly oppressed by its weight than those men had been by their crushing Chimeras. but soon irresistible Indifference descended upon me. � .

deprived of love and friendship. Yet I. in the midst of all this universal joy I caught sight of a grief·stricken soul. as though the frenzied flowers were trying to rival the azure of the sky by the intensity of their colors. [ 10 ] . all of a heap against the pedestal. raises his tear·filled eyes toward the immortal Goddess. are called upon to make kings laugh when they are beset by Boredom or Remorse. were drawing them up to the sun like smoke. Yet. like youth under Love's dominion. am made to understand and to feel immortal Beauty ! Ah ! Goddess ! take pity on my fever and my pain ! " But the implacable Goddess with her marble eyes continues to gaze into the distance. At the feet of a colossal Venus. as though the heat. Not a sound gives voice to the universal ecstacy of things . mak· ing the perfumes visible. at 1 know not what. even the waters seem to be asleep. too. with cap and bells and tricked out in a ridiculous and gaudy costume. those voluntary buffoons who. wherein I am inferior even to the lowest animals. It is as though an ever more luminous light kept making each object glitter with an ever more dazzling splendor . Quite unlike human holidays.VII VEN US THE AN D F OOL M O TLE Y WHAT a wonderful day ! The vast park lies swooning under the sun's burning eye. one of those so·called fools. And his eyes say : "I am the least and the loneliest of men. this is an orgy of silence.

HE DO G AN D THE S CE N T. which. my [ 11 ] . Then. I believe. came up and put his curious nose on the uncorked bottle.'e's way of laughing and smiling. is that poor creatu:. if I had offered you a package of excre­ ment you would have sniffed at it with delight and perhaps gobbled it up. In this you resemble the public." COME HERE. wagging his tail. and smell this excellent perfume which comes from the best perfumer of Paris. B O TTLE u doggie. but only carefully selected garbage. And the dog. "Ah miserable dog. which should never be offered delicate perfumes that infuriate them. suddenly. he backed away in terror. barking at me reproachfully.

s. Another will light a cigar standing beside a keg of gun­ powder. he explained. purely contemplative and totally unfit for action. if it were really as easy to start a fire as people said. then. cravenly prowls around his con· cierge's door without daring to go in.e ee t emselves hurled into action by an irresistible force like an arrow out of a bow. are unable to explain how these voluptuous. act at times with a rapidity of which they would never have dreamed themselves capable. or the one who keeps a letter for two weeks without opening it. they yet discover in themselves at a given moment a lavish courage for performing the most absurd and the most dangerous acts.sQLfear. through caprice. or the man who only makes up his mind at the end of six months to do something en. Ten times in succes­ sion the experiment failed. although incapable of doing the simplest and most necessary things. to find out.ZIE R 1 THERE are certain natures. who pretend to know everything. just to see. or how it is that. or for no reason at all. once set fire to a forest to see. but the eleventh time it succeeded only too well. the most inoffensive dreamer that ever lived. to te��hi�Jl!�k.e.IX THE BAD GLA. moved by some mysterious and unaccountable impulse. to prove!Qhim. e mora 1st and the doctor. indolent souls suddenly acquire such a mad energy. t rgently needed doing for a year.. dreading some painful news.IL��h�s enou�h_en���y t()play the gambler. all-sf. [ 12 ] . Like the man who. to taste the pleasure. . One of my friends. instead of going for his mail as usual. which nevertheless. through idleness.

if only because of the compelling force of the impulse. One morning I got up feeling out of sorts. who is so shy that ile lowers his eyes even when men look at him. in general. Iacchus and Radamanthus. And I opened the window . and those who display it so unexpectedly are. have more than once been the victim of these out­ bursts �gy which justify our concluding that some mali­ cious�gets into us. but a fortuitous inspiration akin. will sud­ denly throw his arms around an old man in the street and kiss him impetuously before the astonished eyes of the passers-by. to that humor called hysterical by doctors. And another man I how. so shy that it takes all the poor courage he can muster to enter a cafe or. and that [13 ] . . filthy Paris air. to perform some brilliant deed.-to carry out h�s_�ost_�Dsurd·w�i��. forcin���lj!l�_oiDurselVes. too. Why? Because.alas ! (I should like to point out that with certain persons playing practical jokes is not the result of planning or scheming. as I have said. . satanic by those with more insight than doctors. but it would probably be nearer the truth to suppose that he himself has no idea why. because suddenly that particular physiog­ nomy seemed irresistibly appealing? Perhaps.) The first person I noticed in the street was a:. � whose piercing and discordant cry floated up to me through the heavy. sad.It is the kind of energy that springs from boredom and day­ dreaming. I. the most indolent and dreamiest of mortals. "Hey ! Hey ! " I shouted: motioning him to come up:i\Dd the thought that my room was up six flights of stairs. at the theatre. It would be impossible for me to say why I was suddenly seized by an arbitrary loathing for this poor man. and worn out with idleness. to approach the ticket controlleurs who seem to him invested with all the majesty of Minos. and with what seemed to me a compelling urge to do something extraordinary. that drives us toward a multitude of dangerous or improper actions.

1 ::.-e . ll4 ] . Going out on my balcony I picked up a little flower pot. no blue ! No magic panes. 1 or I . f. .1('. After looking curiously over his panes of glass one by one. And drunk with my madness. no pink. falling on his back.. I shouted down at him furi­ ously : "Make life beautiful ! Make life beautiful !" Such erratic pranks are not without danger and one often has to pay dearly for them.J:c I) c. stumbling and grumbling. no panes of Paradise? Scoundrel.. Finally he appeared. The shock knocked him over and.!. toward the stairs. '. no red. added not a little to my hilarity. and when the glazier appeared at the entrance below. But what is an eternity of damna· tion compared to an infinity of pleasure in a single second ? o. what do you mean by going into poor neighborhoods without a single glass to make life beautiful ! " And I pushed him.) (v' h.J the man must be having a terrible time getting up them with his fragile wares. I exclaimed : "What ! You have no colored glass./ il' '" (. he succeeded in breaking the rest of his poor ambulatory stock with a shatter­ ing noise as of lightning striking a crystal palace.f) '::: 1'"1. I let my engine of war fall down perpendicularly on the edge of his pack..

and now there will be no one but myself to make me suffer. separate me from the world. disagreed liberally with the editor of a review who to all my objections kept saying : "Here we are on the side of respectability. and cravenly denied some other misdeeds that I had accomplished with the greatest delight . For a few hours at least silence will be ours. . crime against human dignity . one of them asking me if you could go to Russia by land (he thought Russia was an island. Horrible life ! Horrible city ! Let us glance back over the events of the day: saw several writers. Consult him and then we'll see". .x O NE O'C OC L K I N T E H M RNI O NG AT LAST ! I am alone ! Nothing can be heard but the rumbling of a few belated and weary cabs. refused a slight favor to a friend and gave a written . for the moment. At last ! the tyranny of the human face has disappeared. bowed to twenty or more persons of whom fifteen were unknown to me . stupidest and most celebrated of our authors . if not sleep. dropped in on a dancer who asked me to design her a costume for Venustre. to kill time during a shower. increase my solitude and strengthen the barri­ cades that. distributed hand shakes in about the same proportion without having first taken the precaution of buying gloves. I suppose) . it seems to me. with him you might get somewhere. boasted (why ? ) of several ugly things I never did. At last ! I am allowed to relax in a bath of darkness ! First a double turn of the key in the lock. This turn of the key will. offense of fanfaronnade." implying that all the other periodicals were run by rascals . he is the dullest. ! I I I! [ 15 ] . . went to pay court to a theatrical director who in dismissing me said : "Perhaps you would do well to see Z .

dear God ! grant me grace to produce a few beautiful verses to prove to myself that I am not the lowest of men. Lord! let's hope that's all ! Dissatisfied with everything. Souls of those whom I have loved. souls of those whom I have sung. dissatisfied with myself. and You. l 16] . keep me from the vanities of the world and its contaminating fumes. strengthen me. I long to redeem myself and to restore my pride in the silence and solitude of the night.recommendation to a perfect rogue. sustain me. that I am not inferior to those whom I despise.

"Now watch carefully ! See with what voracity (and not shammed either. a woman. this solid iron cage. "Now just observe. The other monster. or the old beggar women who pick up crusts at tavern doors. For two sous and without going very far. my dear. He has chained his legitimate spouse as though she were an animal. caress me there! ' But I have an idea which may cure you. "This monster is one of those animals generally called 'my angel ! '-that is. the one yelling his head off and brandishing a stick. and see that hairy monster howling like one of the damned. And you never cease your useless babble : 'You must love me ! I need so to be loved ! Comfort me here. is a husband. "1£ at least your sighs indicated remorse they would be some credit to you. shaking the bars like an orang·utan maddened by exile. and displays her at all the street fairs with. perhaps) she tears apart those living rabbits [ 17 ] . the per­ mission of the authorities. imitating to perfection both the circular spring of the tiger. you weary me beyond endurance and I have no pity for you. of course.� XI - THE WILD AN D WO M AN COQ U E T TE THE F AS HI ON A B LE "REALLY. but they mean nothing more than the satiety of gratification and the despondency of too much leisure. and kindly notice that it has a form very vaguely resembling yours. and the stupid posturing of a white bear. if you please. there may be a way right in the midst of the fair. to hear you sighing one would think you were as miserable as those aged women who toil in the fields.

who eat only cooked meat carefully cut for you by a skilled servant? "And what can they matter to me. my dainty beauty. my precious? Seeing the hells with which the world abounds. 'Come..and squalling chickens that her keeper has thrown to her. your feet in the mire and your eyes turned swooningly toward the sky as though waiting for a king. I mean. in spite of her artificial coat of hair? Moreo er her eyes are starting from her head. There are other irremediable misfortunes without such compen­ sations. "That's it ! A good blow of your stick to calm her ! For she is darting the most terrific and greedy glances at the pilfered food. or that indefatigable melancholy which inspires anything but pity in a spectator. my hail and hearty coquette? And all those affectations you have learned from books. Good God ! that stick is no stage prop ! Did you hear how that whack resounded. and she yells more naturally n . If you despise 'King Log' (that's what I am now. In truth. 'one must always keep something for a rainy day !' and with these words of wisdom he cruelly snatches away her prey. and kill you at his pleasure! [ 18] . you who lie on stuffs as soft as your 0\VIl skin. The sparks fairly fly from her as from iron "Such are the conjugal customs of these descendants of Adam and Eve. it has never occtired to her that women deserve a better fate. although after all. "Seeing you like this. the entrails still clinging to the teeth of the ferocious beast-woman. as you very well know) . "N ow what of us. sometimes I am seized with a desire to teach you what real misfortune is. I cannot help thinking of a frog invoking the Ideal. But in the world int2. all those little sighs swell­ ing your perfumed breast. these works of thy hands. what do you expect me to think of your pretty little hell. 0 my God ! This woman has certainly the right to complain.. come ! ' he says. beware of the crane who will crunch you up. and gobble you up. which she has been thrown. the tittilating delights of fame are perhaps not unknown to her.

" > [ 19] . I am going to treat you like the wild woman. and if you weary me too often with your precious whinings. or else throw you out of the window like an empty bottle."Although I may be a poet. I am not such a dupe as you would like to believe.

the hate of home. and the slothful man like a mollusk in his shell. restricted. It is a good thing sometimes to teach the fortunate of this world. all its poetry and all its charity. feeble thing compared with this ineffable orgy. a fairy has bestowed the love of masks and masquerad­ ing. in his cradle. as he chooses. The man who loves to lose himself in a crowd enjoys feverish delights that the egoist locked up in himself as in a box.. on whom. it is only because in his eyes they are not worth visiting. Like those wan­ dering souls who go looking for a body. will be eternally deprived of.XII CROWDS � '1' � IT IS NOT given to every man to take a bath of multitude. enjoy) ing a crowd is an art. What men call love is a very small. The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself or some one else. The solitary and thoughtful stroller finds a singular intoxi­ cation in this universal communion. this divine prostitution of the soul giving itself entire. He adopts as his own all the occupations. and the passion for roaming. Multitude sQ� identical terms. finer and more uncircum- [ 20 ] . he enters as he likes into each man's personality. to the unexpected as it comes along. all the joys and all the sorrows that chance offers. if only to humble for an instant their foolish pride. that there are higher joys than theirs. -.Tor him alone everything is vac1!�ti� and if certain places seem cTOsed to him. and only he can relish a debauch of vitality at the expense of the human species. The man who is unable to people �s solitude is equally unable to be alone III a bustling cro�. and interchangeable by the active and fertile poet. to the stranger as he passes.

The founders of colonies. and in the midst of the vast family created by t:heir g�nius: they must often laugh aftnose who pity them because of their troubled fortunes and chaste lives. shepherds of peoples. doubtlessly know something of this mysterious drunkenness . mis­ sionary priests exiled to the ends of the earth.scribed. [21 1 .

destitute. of hunger and cold silently endured. 'fIiere they are sure t.-The poor a. they £��l th�mselv"es irresistably drawn toward everything that is feeble. as I have said before. of effort nrecompensed. an absence of consistency that makes it so heartbreaking. poverty-stricken widows. Olithe-confrary. and more saddening. in the mourn­ ing of the poor there is invariably sOInethiIlK_�_anting. they scornfully avoid. frus­ trated inventors. that trepidation in a void has nothing to attract them. Moreover. above all other places. abortive glories. Have you ever noticed widows. and forlorn. in that slow or dislocated gait. These shady retreats are the meeting places of all those whom life has maimed. and broken hearts..XIII WIDOWS '. by all those tumultuous and secret souls still agitated by the last rum­ blings of the storm. The rich flaunt tb!!i. . And toward these places poets and phIlosophers love to direct their avid speculations. ��dder. in those deep and numerous wrinkles. For. in those eyes. who withdraw as far as possible from the insolent eyes of the gay and the idle. all itscoI1!?ummate perfection: Whi�hi. of devotion unrecognized.!:s. find rich pasture. the widow holding [22] . the ones where the ri<ili_�Il(ljoyous congregate. in. An experienced eye is never mistaken. the innumer­ able stories of love deceived. orp1laned. " { VAUVENARGUES says that certain avenues in the public parks are haunted almost exclusively by disappointed ambitions. sitting on lonely benches? Whether they are wearing mourning or not they are not difficult to recognize.e ·£o���dt(1)eniggardly with their sorrow. It can at once decipher in those set or dejected faces. dull and hollow or still shining with the last sparks of struggle.

without a soul to confide in. one of those skies out of which such a multitude of memories and regrets rain down. [ 23 ] .by the hand a little child with whom she cannot share her thought. nothing--:except that rabble over there leaning on the outside enclosure. She was seemingly condemned by her absolute solitude to lead the life of an old bachelor. nothing that does not breathe forth and inspire indolence and the pleasure of heedlessly living . the well-earned consolation for one of those dull days without a friend. has allowed to descend upon her three hundred and sixty-five times a year. This is probably the little debauch of the innocent old lady (or purified old lady) . I know not in what miserable eating-place she had lunched. . . perhaps for many years now. she held herself stiff and straight in her little threadbare shawl.eyes once scalded by bitter tears . I once followed for many hours one of those solitary widows . or the one who is completely alone? I do not know. she sat on a bench some distance from the crowd. without j oy. without conversation. to listen to one of those concerts offered the Parisian public by military bands. attitudinize and pretend to be indolently relishing the music. under a lovely autumn sky. glittering gowns trail on the ground . at the mob of pariahs that crowd around the enclosure of an outdoor concert. or voluptuous airs into the night . catching _ . . Here nothing that is not rich and happy . the idle.searching for some­ thing of a passionate and a personal interest. in the afternoon. and this masculine character of her habits added a mysterious piquancy to their austerity. Finally. martial. And another: I can never help casting a glance. which if not universally sympathetic is at least curious. which God. nor how. a stoic pride apparent in her whole bearing. glances cross . The orches· tra pours its festive. tired of having nothing to do. I followed her into a reading-room and watched her for a long time as she looked through the newspapers with eager eyes .

The odor of proud virtue emanated from her entire person. for a child is turbulent and selfish. like herself. no matter how modest.which is incapable of sordid economy . not even in the collections of the aristocratic beauties of the past. was dressed in mourning : the price of admission. serve as the confidant of lonely sorrows. The reflection of the j oys of the rich in the eyes of the poor is always a curious sight. She. my attention was caught by a figure of such nobility that it stood out in shocking contrast to the environing vulgarity. The tall widow was holding a little boy by the hand who. would perhaps be sufficient to pay for one of the child's needs. always alone. This was a tall majestic woman whose whole bearing expressed a nobility such as I cannot remember ever having seen before. of whom she took no notice. gently nodding her head as she listened to the music.if poverty it be . Strange sight ! "Surely. and cannot. And now she will return home on foot ." I said to myself. [ 24] . too.a toy. But on this particular day. I seemed to understand the reason. alone. meditating and dreaming. gazed at that other glittering world with a thoughtful eye. a dog or a cat. her noble countenance is proof of that. like the plebeians around her. or preferably for some superfluity . without gentleness or patience. "that is a poverty . even less than a simple animal. Why then does she choose to stay in a milieu where she offers so conspicuous a contrast? But drawing nearer to her out of curiosity. Her sad. in that crowd of work blouses and calico dresses. and gazing at the sparkling splendor within. emaciated face was in harmony with the heavy mourning she was wearing.a snatch of music gratis at the wind's pleasure.

and ambulant hucksters count on. animal trainers. [ 25 ] . Punchinellos and pantaloons. There was a mixture of cries.XIV �' ke r� �� HOLIDAY crowds swarmed.-b�ind . with the self· confidence of seasoned actors sure of their effect. and frolicked everywllere� � / A • THE OLD CLOWN cJ»J It was one of those gala days that all the clowns. They absorb unconsciously their share of this carefree atmosphere. burned by the sun and toughened .:in . the horror of school adjourned for twenty-four hours. long in advance. Strong-men. / to make up for the lean seasons of the year. as lovely as fairies or princesses. � � ) .md �. shot out their quips and jests and sallies. as a true Parisian. crashing brass. leaped and pirouetted with the lantern light sparkling in their skirts. a respite from universal struggle and strife. And how they vied with one another in fantastic competi­ tion ! They bawled and they screeched and they bellowed. and exploding fireworks. without forehead or cranium like orangoutans. On such days people seem to forget everything. sprawled. -made grotesque faces and. can with difficulty escape the influence of this popular j ubilee. they become like childre!l' For the youngsters it means freedom. I never fail to visit all the booths that flaunt themselves on these periodic occasions. For the grown-ups it is an armistice concluded with the malignant forces of the world. strutted majes­ tically in their tights that had been washed for the occasion the day before. j ugglers. Even a man of the upper classes.d heavy humor akin to Moliere's. all their ?f ­ trouBles and theIr tOll . For my part. of a solid an. proud of their monstrous muscles. And dancers. or one engaged in intellec­ tual pursuits.

whose motley contrast was due more to necessity than. the ruin of a man. . But with what a profound and unforgettable expression his eyes wandered over the crowds and the lights. I admit it was because I feared to humiliate him. money. guttering and smoking. Little tots tugged at their mothers' skirts begging for candy· sticks. I did not dare . others took it in.. . v There was nothing but light. and in which two candle ends. ofIiis cabin . debauchery . and a misery made all the more horrible by being tricked out in comic rags. His fate was sealed. he was not dancing. j oy. everywhere the assurance of tomorrow's daily-bread. what wonder he had to show in those foul shadows behind his tattered curtain? In truth. at the extreme end of the row of booths. dust. He had given up. I had finally decided to leave some money on the platform as I passed. or climbed on their fathers' shoulders to have a better view of a conjuror as dazzling as a god. blurring my sight: - What was I to do? Why ask the unhappy man what curiosity. the poor-wretchf He was n()t weeping .. the smell of frying fat filled the air like the incense of the fair. he was soliciting nothing. sad or gay. as \ though he had eXiled himself in Sharne from all these splendors. . leaning against o�e �f the -posts. At the end. the moving flood that stopped just short of his repulsive misery ! I felt the terrible hand of hysteria grip my throat. �. he was not shouting. . He was mute and motionless. although you may laugh at my reason. .making. decrepit. lighted only too well its penury. . a cabiri. and both were equally happy.r \ \Ai. he was not gesticulating. tumult. shouts. he sang no song. . bent. would not "fall. Everywhere joy. I felt rebellious tears that . Here absolute misery. hoping that he would guess my [26] . he had abdicated. He was not laughing. some spent money. �/ / I saw a pitiful old clown.Jo art. everywhere frenetic outbursts of vitality. . And dominating all the other odors. and.II �. more miserable than that of the lowest savage.

I looked back. without children. without family. Obsessed by the sight.intention. trying to analyze my sudden depression. and to whose booth the fickle world no longer cares to come!" U [27 ] . degraded by poverty and the ingratitude of the public. and I said to myself: "I have just seen the prototype of the old writer who has been the brilliant enter­ tainer of the generation he has outlived. when a sudden surge of the crowd. caused by I know not what disturbance. the old poet without friends. swept me away from him.

I was peacefully cutting my bread when a slight sound made me look up.elling beauty around me. I was at peace with myself Jl.xv CAKE I WAS traveling. a leathern cup. In short. I began to thmk of repiurmg the fatigue and satisfying the hunger caused by my long climb. such as hate and profane love. There in front of me stood a ragged little urchin. I took out of my pocket a thIck piece of bread. with hollow eyes that devoured mY1iread fiercely and. My thoughts leaped with the lightness of the air itself. seemed to me now as far away as the clouds that floated in the gorges at my feet. with snow. The country around me was of an inexpressible grandeur and sublimity. pleadingly. makmg Its eXlgel!cles felt. like the reflection of an airy giant's cloak flying across the sky. I was beginning to think the ne�spajl�� nifg1iti1oCoe-s6-riiliculous. on occasion. far away on the slopes of another mountain. and a small bottle of a certain elixir which chemists at that time sold to tourists to be mixed. mingled with awe. that rare and solemn sensation one has at seeing some great movement evolving without a sound. my soul seemed as immense and pure as the enveloping dome of the sky. and I si.in my p erfect beatitude and my total forget­ fulne f earthly evil. the vulgar passions. thanJ{s to the comE. as it seemed to me. the shadow of a cloud passed occa­ sionally. Over the motionless little lake. dark and disheveled.h�"un-iverse. after all. And I remember feeling with a joy. in wanting to make us believe t at m�n is �orngoo . And I think a little of it must have passed into my soul at that moment. Whel. jet black from the immensity of its depth.l�-fnc gaIil­ bI .nd with t. and earthly things echoed in my memory as faintly as the bells of the invisible herds browsing far.9 � � � (§� [28 ] .

!a!!n. the loser struggled to his feet and.!tiw. never taking his eyes off the coveted object. Slowly he came toward me. no cause for feud remained . But at that moment he was knocked down by another little savage who had sprung from heaven knows where. and when finally.e. Furious. were indistinguishable from the grains of sand with which the were min e his performance had darkened the landscape.ake ! ". nd the calm n joy appearance of the two little wretches had completely vanished.}!!.-enu covered with blood. . neither willing to share it with the other. exhausted a .!:.heard him gasp in a low hoarse voice : "<:. he g nlate" owner of the cake tried to ho�k_his little claws in�<l_!he usurper's eyes. and I cut off a generous slice and offered it to him. But why describe the hideous fight which lasted longer than their childili\h strength had seemed to warrant? The cake travel r6nYhand to hand and changed pockets at every instant. But strengthened by despair. s� t a b[��di m�� eCT k iti­ � . they stopped from the sheer impossibility of going on. The two of them rolled on the ground struggling for possession of the precious booty. butting his head into the other's stomach. then snatching it out of my hand.lcould not help laughing at the appelation with which he thought fit to honor my near-white bread.did his best to �ke his 1filVefSary with one hand while trying to slip the prize of war into his pocket with the other. and so exactly like the first that I took them to be twins. with a siIperb local oath. the first clutched the second by the hair . Saddened. or that I had already repented it. he quickly backed away as if he feared that my offer had not been sincere. changing. and the crumbs. I sat there for a long time saying over and over to myself: "So there is a superb country where bread is calle delicacy that it is enough to start a > [ 29] . the latter in turn:. alas ! in size as well. the piece of bread had disappeared. and the second seized_ QPe_ofJUsJlrQth�r's ears between his teethl then. scattered all around. sent the victor sprawling on the ground.

replied : "I'll tell you. idle and prodigal mortal?" I should reply without hesitating : "Yes. as people say. when I lean forward to gaze at lovely Feline ­ so appropriately named . And if some tiresome intruder should come to disturb me while my eyes rest on this delicious dial." and disappeared. as quick as a glance. He looked it in the eye. One day a missionary. [30] . some Demon out of time." Which was true. The urchin of the Celestial Empire hesitated at first. the pride of my heart and the perfume of my mind. always the same . embroidering this bit of garrish gallantry has given me so much pleasure that I shall ask for nothing in return. always at the back of her adorable eyes I can dis­ tinctly see the time. and yet as airy as a breath.vast. then on second thought. walking in the suburbs of Nanking. it is Eternity ! " And i s this not a really meritorious madrigal. wide as space. solemn. should come asking me : "What are you looking at so attentively ? What are you looking for in that creature's eyes ? Can you tell the time of day in them. noticed that he had forgotten his watch and asked a little boy the time. Madam.who is at once the honor of her sex. if some unmannerly and intolerant Genie. without minutes and without seconds . whether it be by night or by day. in dazzling light or in deep­ est shade. As for me. An instant later he returned with an enormous cat in his arms. and just as flamboyant as yourself? Indeed.XVI THE THE CHINESE CLO CK can tell the time in the eyes of a cat. I can tell the time. and without a moment's hesitation declared : "It is not quite noon.a motionless hour not marked on any clock.

If you only knew all that I see ! all that I feel ! all that I hear in your hair ! My soul voyages on its perfume as other men's souls on music. cradled by the harbor's imperceptible swell. Long. home of eternal heat. whose elegant and intricate structures stand out against the enormous sky. long. long let me breathe the fragrance of your hair. In the ocean of your hair I see a harbor teeming with melan­ cholic songs. Your hair holds a whole dream of masts and sails . Let me plunge my face into it like a thirsty man into the water of a spring. and let me wave it like a scented handkerchief to stir memories in the air. When I gnaw your elastic and rebellious hair I seem to be eating memories. and ships of every shape.XVII A HE MI P HER E I S N YOUR HAI R LONG. it holds seas whose monsoons waft me toward lovely climes where space is bluer and more profound. let me bite your black and heavy tresses. where fruits and leaves and human skin perfume the air. In the caresses of your hair I know again the languors of long hours lying on a couch in a fair ship's cabin. with lusty men of every nation. in the night of your hair I see the sheen of the tropic's blue infinity . [ 31 ] . On the burning hearth of your hair I breathe in the fra· grance of tobacco tinged with opium and sugar . between pots of flowers and cooling water jars. on the shores of your hair I get drunk with the smell of musk and tar and the oil of cocoanuts.

rich. a country of Cocaigne. rich. Yes.XVIII L ' IN V IT A TION AU VO Y A G E y t1' THERE is a wonderful country. where everything. so freely has a warm and capricious fancy been allowed to run riot there. and to prolong the hours in an infinity of sensations. wher�happmess is wedded 12. they say. to dream. that nostalgia for countries we have never known. calm and devout as the souls [ 32 ] . resembles you.where there 'are more thoughts in slower hours. A strange country lost in the mists of the North and that might be called the East of the West. the China of Europe. rich. A musician has written l'/nvitation Ii la valse. where life is unctuous and sweet to breathe . A real country of Cocaigne where everything is beautiful. in such an atmosphere it would be good to live . where everything is beautiful. that I dream of visiting with an old love. . as deep. discreet paintings repose. honest and calm. where happiness is wedded to silence. It is there we must live. that anguish of curiosity ? There is a country that resembles you. it is there we must go to breathe.You know that feverish sickness which comes over us in our cold despairs. it is there we must die. a more significant solemnity. where even the cooking is poetic. to the chosen sister? Yes.. where fancy has built and decorated an Occidental China. where order is luxury's mirror. dear love. illustrating it patiently and persistantly with an artful and delicate vegetation. and yet stil!!Y­ lating as well. honest and calm. tumult. and the unexpected are shut out. On shining panels or on darkly rich and gilded leathers.silence. where life is sweet to breathe. who will write l'Invitation au voyage that may be offered to the beloved.. where disorder. where clocks strike happiness with a deeper.

remodeled and adorned. every drawer and curtain's fold breathes forth a curious perfume. corrected. Mirrors. of successful and decided action? Shall we ever live in. Every man possesses his own dose of natural opium. let them endlessly push back the limits of their happiness. I have found my blue dahlia! Incomparable flower. as art is superior to Nature who is there transformed by dream. and works of the goldsmith's art play a mute mysterious symphony for the eye. rediscovered tulip. so calm. where everything is rich. all the more impossible the dreams. A singular country and superior to all others. and from birth to death how many hours can we reckon of positive pleasure. that you must live. would y ou [ 33 ] /J r �' � . that picture my imagination has painted. as in the house of a laborious man who has put the whole world in his debt. fantastic. shining and clean like a good conscience or well-scoured kitchen pots. strange. All the furniture is immense. fabrics. be part of. and that resembles you? fl�' J I you not there be framed within your own analogy. as the mystics say? Dreams! Always dreams ! And the more ambitious and delicate the soul. armed with locks and secrets like all civilized souls. is it not. so full of dream. ceaselesly secreted and renewed. a perfume of Sumatra whispering come back. those horticultural Alchemists ! Let them offer prizes of sixty. like chiseled gold or variegated gems ! All the treasures of the world abound there.room and drawing-room. a hundred thousand florins for the solution of their ambitious problems ! As for me. I assure you. which is the soul of the abode. Sunsets throw their glowing colors on the walls of dining. every crack. sifting softly through lovely hangings or intricate high windows with mullioned panes.of the painters who depicted them. I have found my black tulip. and every corner. it is there. Let them seek and seek again. A true country of Cocaigne. in that beautiful country. metals. allegorical dahlia. that you must bloom? Would not see yourself reflected there in your own correspondence. pottery.

enriched. this luxury. they are my thoughts that sleep or that rise on the swells of your breast. and these miraculous flowers. as you mirror the sky's depth in the crystalline purity of your soul . these furnishings. And those great ships that they bear along laden with riches and from which rise the sailors' rhythmic chants. this order. .These treasures. weary with rolling waters and surfeited with the spoils of the Orient. still they are my thoughts coming back. and the calm canals. they are you ! And you are the great rivers too. these perfumes. they return to their port of call. from the Infinite to yo � [ 34 ] .and when. You lead them gently toward the sea which is the Infinite.

carefree days. blooming little boy smartly dressed in country togs that are always so enchanting. and outside the taverns and under the trees offer them as ifts to all the unknown poor children you may meet. and this is what he was looking at : On the other side of the gate on the highway. standing in the midst of nettles and thistles. and they will run away like cats who go far off to eat any morsel you give them. dressed in purple. they won't believe in t heir good fortune. gilded and shining. stood a beautiful. Behind the iron gate of an immense garden.XIX THE P OOR C HIL D ' S TO Y I SHOULD LIKE to offer a suggestion for an innocent diversion. There are so few amusements that are not culpable ! When you go out in the morning with the settled idea of rambling over the highways. Then their hands will clutch the present eagerly. Luxury. and the habitual spectacle of abund­ ance make such children so lovely that they seem to be made of a different clay from the children of the moderately. a knight on a horse whose tail is a whistle. was another child. at the back of which could be seen a charming chateau gleaming whitely in the sun. At rst they won t dare to take them. one of those urchin-pariahs whose beauty [ 35 ] . and the very poor. a blacksmith hammering on an anvil. You will see their e es 0 en unbelievably wi e. Beside him on the grass lay a magnificent toy. as blooming as its master. fill your pockets with little penny devices such as those flat puppets manipulated by a single string. pitifully black and grimy. But the child was paying no attention to his favorite toy. having learned to be wary of men. and covered with plumes and glittering beads.

it peeled oft' the disgusting patina of ov � e symbolic bars separating two highroad a�sTon. I suppose. had taken the And the two children were laughing together like brothers.n �- � - [ 36] . was a livint�e parents out m nature itself. as the eye of a connoisseur detects an authentic master under the coachmaker's varnish. as though it had been some rare and unheard of object. teetering and turning in a box covered with wire. of economy. fhe poor child was showing the rich child his n own toy. with teeth of zdentkal whitenes� � � -h. Well. this toy that the grimy little brat was shaking. which the latter was scrutinizing breathlessly. Jy)u· � � p�p� Il-A'7 .an impartial eye would discover if.

for there was a very GRAND ASSEMBLY : '"r . some were young and had always been young. others had a mad. gathered together to effect the distribution of gifts among the new-born infants who had come into the world in the last twenty-four hours. invincible Conjunctures were piled up beside the tribunal. the Hours. and the intermediary world. But the difference was that these Gifts were not the recompense for any effort but. were very different from one another .xx TH E FA I R I E S ' G I F TS of the Fairies. Talents. good Fortunes. others were old and had always been old. they were as flurried as one of the ministers of state on his audience day. All the fathers who beli«eyed in fairies Itad come to the assembly with their infants in their arms. the Minutes. the Seconds. these strange mothers of j oy and sorrow. on the contrary. All these ancient and capricious Sisters of Destiny. just as ours is. a favor capable of d�ciding his destiny and of becoming either the cause of his misfortune or the source of all his happiness. Faculties. I between man and God. for all the world like com­ mencement-day prizes. or the employees of a pawn-shop when a national holiday authorizes the redemption of pledges gratis. mis­ chievous gaiety. I even think they glanced at the clock witlt_ as much impatience as human judges who have been sitting on the bench all day and cannot help longing for their dinners. a favor accorded to a person who has not yet lived. The poor Fairies were in a pother . the Days. situated [ 37] . to the law of Time and all his infinite progeny. In truth. their wives large crowd of petitioners. some were sad and surly. is subject.

being friends of man. Gnomes. or alle­ viate the needs of his deplorable offspring. were awarded to the son of a pitiful pauper. we ought not to be to'O surprised to fin(rihem"��t-ti��in human justice as well. Otherwise we ourselves would be unjust ju� _ -. And so it happened on that day.the world inhabited by impalpable deities . must often adapt themselves to his human passions. who cOufcfTn no way either advanc� the talents.:. for there was nothing left.who. Sylphids. I fancy. provided she has imagination enough to create one on the spot. she remembered in time a well­ known.� solemn occasions is without appeal." The Fairy might well have been discountenanced . ndines (male and female) . all the Fairies had risen.. Thus also.v' II and their beloved bed-room slippers. though rarely applied. I have forgotten to say that the distribution _op. cried : "But. gives a Fairy the power to accord one more gift.. a poor little shop­ keeper. th�. and as he had not been endowed with a sense of charity or the least covetousness or ille good things of this world. " [ 38] . Sylph.I refer to the law Nixies. . sprang forward. the love of Beauty.. and poetic Power. a stone quarrier by trade. no bounty remained to throw to this human horde. If in supernatural justice there is some precipitancy and confusioJI. a f lunders re committed which might be looked upon as od 1 prudence. Happily. Madam ! You have forgotten us ! What about my baby? I hate to think I've made the trip for nothing. rather than (caPr i.? were the distinctive and eternal characteristic of the r'airie� . " -Thusthe-magnetic power of attracting wealth was awarded to the heir of an immensel rich family. and U that. when a worthy man.s.:. in such a case as the present when -gifts run short. Salamanders. an�tha� may be reftised:) Thinking their task accomplished. and catching hold of the multi­ colored vapor gown of the nearest Fairy. he was sure to find himself ter­ �ibly embarrassed by his millions later an. such as the Fairies. for not a single gift was left. law of the supernatural world ..

turn­ ing her back on him. Rejoining the cohort of Fairies. "Because ! Just because ! " replied the incensed Fairy. he still dares to question." _ . [ 39] . . she said : "What do you think of that vain little Frenchman ? He insists upon under­ standing everything.So the good Fairy replied with a self-possession worthy of her rank : " ow -� on your son . who is incapable of rising to the logic of the Absurd. I bestow upon him e Gift of pleasin ." easing? But pleasing how? Pleasing why?" asked the obstinate little shop-keeper who was doubtlessly QUe of those reasoners. only too common. and even after he has obtained the best gift of the lot for his son. and to dispute the Indisputable.

and whenever he sighed. They looked so proud. TE M P T A TI N S O OR A ND FA M E P LU T OS LAST NIGHT two superb Satans. like a girdle twined an iridescent serpent that lifted its head and turned toward him with lan­ guorous live-ember eyes. and a not less extra�fili�a�J: � e Sataness. to sing his pleasures and his le7s [ 40] . while his half open lips were like warm censers exhaling the agreeable odor of perfumeries. . musky insects flitting about were illuminated in the fiery glow of his breath. a perfect cordial" . ' Tn lir right hand he held another vial whose content was of a luminous red. hung sl:!iI}ing kniyes and surgIcal in�trUlnents.ld suspended from this living g}E�le. there was the sam� iQfi­ ness that the ancients were wont to give to Bacchus. alternating with vials of sinister cordials. and which bore these curious words upon its label : "Drink Il!Y blood. with so imperious an air. a violin whic'llled. and in the lines of his body too. like actors on a stage. The countenance of the first Satan was of an �I!lbiguous �. A sulphurous splendor emanated from the three personnages thus standing out in relief against the dense back­ ground of the night.XXI THE E ROS . no doubt. resembled violets that are still heavy with the tears of storm. that atJ�!s! LmistQQk them jor realgods. Gloriously they stood before me. climb d the mysterious stairs up which Helllaunches its-a-ssaults on the weakness of�l�eping �nd communicates with him in secret. His beauti­ ful languid �yes. in his left. Around his purple tunic. Al. shadowy and vague in color.

filled with an insidious intoxication. if you wish. you old monster. your dubious vials." The second Satan had nothing of that tragic and. nor those insinuating manners. In yours. The gigantic Satan tapped his immense belly with his fist.pains. and even if I did not recognj7. when they hampered him and forced him to look down. as the sculptor is of clay. of escaping from yourself to forget yourself in another being. And although remembering makes me more or less ashamed. repre· senting numerous forms of universal misery. constantly renewed. and the chains shackling your feet : are symbols that demonstrate clearly enough the disadvantages ./ of friendship with you. but an incomparably greater master . His heavy paunch hung down over his thighs. You may keep your gifts. and of attracting to yourself other souls to lose themselves . and his skin was gilded arnr-iIIustrated. and to spread the contagion of his madness on witches'· sabbath nights. He was a man of vast proportions. I still have no desire to forget a thing. as though tattooed all over. I will make you the master of living matter. vain as he was. smiling air. and there came from it a prolonged metallic jingling that [41] . There were lean little men who had hung themselves from nails.e you. nor that exquisite perfumed beauty. " And I answered him : "Thank you. there were deformed skinny little gnomes whose supplicating eyes begged more eloquently for alms than their trembling hands : and there were old mothers with premature infants clinging to their wasted breasts. at the same time. and you shall know the pleasure. and said in a melodious voice : "If you wish. with an eyeless countenance. He looked at me with his inconsolably sad eyes. he never failed to admire his brilliant toe nails as highly polished as precious gems. with masses of little hurrying figures. no ! I want none of your human wares that are probably no better than my own poor self. your mysterious cut· I lery. and there were plenty of others too. A few links of a broken golden chain dragged at his deli· cate ankles and.

ndinz me of all the loveliest contralti 1 had ever heard. although marked by the years. What struck me particularly was the m� terious quality of her voice r�_m. which went rolling throughsJla�� -�ith the noise of a tnoilsand thunderbolts. And this one said to me : "I can give you the thing that will procure you everything else. "Now that is somei thing r" B�t �� ����i�i�g thi� . "Listen. Al!d its echo came back to me. ghastly with all the misfortunes that your skin.��h�d -.ith �q� vitae. and on this trll!!lpet she cried my name. that is worth everything else . I seeme<r to remember having seen her before somewhere drink· ing with some of my acquaintances. 1 turned away in disgust as 1 replied : "I do not need other peoples' misery for my enjoyment. indecently displaying his decayed teeth. rever· -berated from the farthe!!tplanet. that takes the place of everything else! " And he tapped his mon­ strous belly whose sonorous echo was a fit commentary on his vulgar offer. and whose beauty seems to hold some of tile pOigliant m. and also of th�-h�skiness of th�ats t��--�ft��. fu�y . half won over. And 1 can find no better way of defining this charm than by comparing it to that of certaiILwomen past th�ir prim but � who will never grow old. a great imbe· cilic laugh like that of certain men in every country after they have dined too well. like a wall paper.i. And he laughed.'gi�. and the hoarse sound of - [ 42] . that bore the names of all the newspapers of the world. "Would you like a proof of my power?" said the false goddess in her paradoxically seductive voice. and 1 want none of your wealth. and her eyes. displays. 1 should be lying if I failed to admit that at first glance she seemed to me to have a singular charm.�� clos�ly." As for the Sataness.ended in a vague groaning. as of many human voices. having long stream­ ers like one of those rustic pipes.'of old ruins. still held all their power of fascination." And she sounded an enormous trumpet.�d��tiv. She had an imperious and yet unbridled air. ''The Dev lT" I said.

am -awake. for they have neTer returned. begging them to forgive me.-. "In truth. So with all my scorn I replied : "Away with you ! I am not one to marry the mistress of a certain person I do not care to name.-----s���amlsh. lwou certainly . And T -.a:Iied on them aloud. Ah ! if only they .again . "I must have been sound asleep indeed to have displayed such scruples.the brass brought back to my ears a vague recollection of another prostituted trumpet I had heard." I said to myself. promising to degrade myself as often as should be necessary to win their favor. But unhappily when I awoke all my fortitude forsook me. .:..utd come ---" -.�t be ld ------.while I.-- [ 43] ." Of such courageous self·denial I surely had the right to be proud. But I must surely have mortally offended them..

like that of the rising tide or impend­ ing storm. Twilight excites madmen. gloomy and quarrelsome. he was pitiless at night. to whom. when the wind blows from up there. a prey to disappointed ambition. the approach of night is the signal for a witches'-sabbath ? This sinister ululation comes to me from the black mad-house perched on the mountain . I have seen him throw an excellent chicken at a head-waiter because he imagined he saw in it some hieroglyphic insult. here is a happy family ! " I can. through the transparent clouds of evening. even the most succulent. I remember two of my friends who always became ill at dusk. a great clamor from the top of the mountain reaches me on my bal­ cony. Still indulgent and sociable by day. spoiled all things. Who are these hapless ones to whom evening brings no solace. as daylight waned. began to grow bitter.XXII E V E N IN G TWI L IG H T A great peace descends into poor minds that the day's work has wearied . that herald of all voluptuous pleasures. [ 44] . For him evening. a confusion of discordant cries transformed by distance \ into a desolate harmony. like the owls. and would fly at the first comer like a savage. Yet. whose windows say : "Here is peace . One of them would lose all sense of the obligations of friendship and of ordinary courtesy. cradle my wondering fancy on this imitation of the harmonies of hell. The other. and DAYLIGHT fades. contemplating the peace of the immense valley bristling with houses. as I smoke my evening pipe. and thoughts take on the tender and shadowy tints of twilight.

) through the somber present. bright nursts of city lights. represent the fires of fancy that shine brightly only in the deep mourning of the night. the latter is still tortured by a perpetual disquietude and even if all the honors that republics and princes can confer were now heaped upon his head. Or it may remind one of those curious costumes dancers wear. . how tender ! The rosy glow lingering on the horizon like the last agony of day conquered by victorious night . I believe that twilight would still quicken in him a feverish craving for imaginary distinc· tions. j ust as the delicious past shine!. in the ston lab rinth atlOn of stars. Night. it never fails to perplex and to alarm me.. o night ! 0 refreshing darkness ! to me you are the signal for an inner feast. that reveal under dark transparent gauze the muted splendors of a dazzling skirt. how sweet you are. The former died insane.'orks of my goddess Liberty ! Twilight. and although it is not rare to observe the . the heavy draperies that some unseen hand draws out of the depth of the East . my deliverer from anguish ! In the solitude . il­ of the lain. and the gold and silver stars sprinkled over it.it all seems to imitate those complex sentiments that at life's most solemn moments war with each other in man's heart.r same cause bringing about contrary results. unable to recognize his wife and child. which filled their minds with its own darkness. all his crepuscular spleen. you are the fire-.would vent furiously. not only on others but on himself as well.L brings light to mine . [ 45] . the flames of the candelabra making dull red splashes against the sunset's dying glory .

they were permitted to make a mighty harangue with no fear of an untimely interruption from the drums of Santerre. But I do object to his dir�cting his imputation against the lovers of solitude and mystery. the subtle envy ! He knows that I scorn his pleasures and he tries to insinuate himself into mine. "you never feel the need of sharing your pleasures? " Ah.XXIII S OL I T U D E A PHILANTHROPIC j ournalist says that solitude is bad for man­ kind. like all unbelievers. I know that the wilderness is a favorite haunt of the Devil and that the Spirit of lubricity is kindled in lonely places. would run the risk of becom­ ing a raving maniac on Robinson Crusoe's island. . since I feel that their oratorical effusions procure them pleasures quite equal to those which others derive from silence and self-communion ." [46] . the odious kill-joy ! ''That great misfortune of not being able to be alone ! . . whose chief pleasure in life is to declaim from pulpit or rostrum." he says with his most evan­ gelical and nasal inflection. I do not pity them. from the top of the scaffold. Chattering humanity is full of individuals who would face the death penalty with less horror if. and he supports his proposition. All I ask of my cursed journalist is to be allowed to amuse myself in my own way. But it is possible that this solitude is dangerous only for those idle and vagrant souls who people it with their own passions and chimeras. I do not insist on my journalist having all the virtues and the courage of Crusoe. but I despise them. Certainly a garrulous man. with citations from the Church Fathers. "And so.

" says another wise man. to use the won­ derful language of the day. as though to shame those who have to go into crowds to forget themselves. I believe it was Pascal.says La Bruyere somewhere. recalling from his cell of self-communion alI those madmen who seek happiness in activity and in what I might call. "Almost alI our ills come from not staying in our own room. doubtless fearing that they could not endure themselves alone. the brotherhood of prostitution. [ 47 ] .

. as. Decidedly '!'er� I have found the place in which to live and cultivate the dream of my life. We should never feel at home in one. he thought : "No ! it is not in a palace that I should like to cherish her dear life.�s. . as an accompaniment to my dreams. behind our little domain. and beyond the veranda. he went on musing : "A lovely wooden cabin by the sea and all around those curious glossy trees whose names I have forgotten . she descended the marble stairs of a palace facing broad lawns and lakes! For by nature she has the air of aY-I:!!t_(. Besides there would be no place on those gold encrusted walls to hang her portrait . the twittering of birds drunk with the sun and the chattering of little negro girls . in the cabin the heavy scent of musk and roses . while at night. . the plaintive song of the music[ 48] .. all around us. ..XXIV P R O J E C TS HE SAID to himself as he walked through a great lonely park : "How beautiful she would be in one of iliose gorgeous and elaborate court costumes. . . in the soft evening air. . the tops of masts rocking on the waves . and decorated with cool mats and heady flowers and Portuguese rococo chairs of heavy somber wood (where she will sit so calmly and well fanned. . an intoxicating fragrance . . ." r And while his eyes continued to examine every detail of the print. smoking her slightly opiumed tobacco) . and farther. in the air an indefinable. and in those formal halls there is never an intimate corner. : Later. and looking through a portfolio and finding a picture of a tE�J)"i(�Il:� scene. passing through a little_S!reet he stopped in front of a print shop. beyond our bedroom with its shutters softening the glare to a rosy glow.

truly this is the setting 1 have been looking for. a passable supper. and was equally happy in all of them. gaudy crockery. when my soul travels so lightly ? And �y carry out one's projects. but cool . A great wood fire.okiI!ft so far afield for pleasure that is so near at hanp-o Pleasure and happiness are to be found in the first inn you come to. And instantly : "Really. he said to himself : "I have possessed three homes today. since the project is sufficient pleasure in itself?" - [ 49] . two laughing faces.trees.Z}' little i�n. and in the window. "what a vagabond my mind must be to go IQ. gay with curtains of striped calico. Why should 1 drive my body from place to place." he cried. he noticed a CQ. what could be better?" And going home at that hour of the day when Wisdom's counsels are not silenced by the roar of the outside world. and a very wide bed with sheets. any chance inn teeming with delights. a vigorous wine. the melancholy filaos ! Yes. What do 1 want of a palace?" And a little farther on. as he was walking along a wide ave· nue. a little coarse.

For Dorothea is such a prodigious coquette that the pleasure of being admired prevails with her over the pride of no longer being a slave. like the feet of the marble goddesses that Europe keeps carefully shut up in museums. the curve of her back and her pointed breasts. She walks. the sand is blinding and the sea glitters. a shining black spot in the sunlight. between sleeping and waking. and molds accurately her long bust. pulls back her delicate head and gives her an indolently trium­ phant air. shading her from the sun. tastes all the voluptuous delight of anni­ hilation. a siesta that is a sort of delicious death in which the sleeper. the only living thing at this hour under the blue. revealing a superb and glistening leg. The weight of the enormous pile of hair that is almost blue. THE SUN [ 50 ] . imprints its image faithfully on the fine sand. and her foot. A red parasol. rouges her dusky face with its blood-red glow.xxv THE B EA U T IF U L DOROTHEA overwhelms the city with its perpendicular and ful­ minating rays . And the heavy ear-rings keep chattering secrets in her pretty ears. and although freed. swaying gently from such a slender waist set on such generous hips ! Her pale pink dress of clinging silk makes a lovely contrast with the darkness of her skin. she still goes barefoot. From time to time the sea breeze lifts a corner of her flowing skirt. The stupified world weakly succumbs and takes its siesta. Meanwhile Dorothea. walks along the deserted street. strong and proud as the sun.

on distant shores. the kindly Dorothea : but the child's master is toe miserly to understand any beauty other than the beauty of his ecus. happy to be alive. and she would be perfectly happy if only she were not obliged to save up. and exciting. and if all the beautiful Paris ladies are more beautiful than she ? Dorothea is admired and pampered. where she loves to sit and comb her hair. whose mats and flowers make such a perfect boudoir at so small a cost. or to gaze into her mirror. serves as a powerful and rhythmic accompani­ ment to her vague day-dreams . what invincible motive brings lazy Dorothea abroad. when even the old Kafir women get drunk and delirious with pleasure. and also. of course. to smoke and to be fanned by those great feather fans. while the sea. to describe the Opera Ball. has heard his comrades talking of the famous Dorothea. pounding the shore not a hun· dred feet away. as beautiful and cool as bronze? Why has she left her little cabin so coquettishly arranged. piastre by piastre. aromatic odors come to her from the back of the court-yard where a ragout of saffroned rice and crabs is cooking in an iron pot? Perhaps she has a rendezvous with some young officer who. enough to free her little sister who is all of eleven years old. At an hour when even the dogs groan with pain under the gnawing teeth of the sun. and so beautiful ! She will doubt­ less succeed. She would ask him. and smiling her white smile as though she saw in the distance ahead of her a mirror reflecting her beauty and proud carriage. and mature already. the simple creature. if one could go to it barefoot as to Sunday dances here. [ 51] .Thus she harmoniously takes her way.

has nothing original about it except that.a dream which. He was playing nurse-maid.'�tanding holding a small boy by the hand and carrying on his arm another little thing.. I believe.-E. it has been realized by none. a little tired. 'all h l�gy pande! n t-. with tired face and greying beard. m-.. the expanse of mir­ rors. We had duly promised each other that all our thoughts should be shared in common. dazzlin Even the gas Ighted with all its burned with all the might the blinding whiteness of the walls. taking the children for an evening stroll. the most perfect example of feminine impermeability that exists.rt' of us.llges dragg�d alOng by hounds on leash.�e �difectry in f. littered with rubbish but thl!ti1!!"eadylayed proudly its unfinished splendo . the gold cornices and -moldings. and those six eyes stared ar � [ 52] . he cafe was . although dreamed by every man on earth. We had spent a long day together which to me had seemed short.XXVI THE E YES OF THE P OOR AH ! So YOU would like to know why I hate you today? It will certainly be harder for you to understand than for me to explain.ith falcons on their wrists. laughing laales . fat-cheekeQ. pates and ga�. still too weak to walk. a worthy man of about forty. I!!l histoz and jnJ0Q �luttony.desses bearing on their heads piles of fruits. and that our two souls henceforth be but one . They were in �. The three faces were extraordinarily serious. after all. nymphs and god.. Hebes and Ganymedes holding out little amphoras of syrups or parti-colored ices . for you are. you wanted to sit down in front of a new cafe forming the corner of a new boulevard still . That evening.

my dear angel. Song writers say that pleasure ennobles the soul and softens the heart. so beautiful and so curiously soft. The eyes of the father said : "How beautiful it is ! How beau­ tiful it is! All the gold of the poor world must have found its way onto those walls. into those green eyes. and as I plunged my eyes into your eyes.utterly stupid and profound." As for the baby. he was much too fascinated to express anything but j oy . Not only was I touched by this family of eyes.fixedly at the new cafe with admiration. too big for our thirst. dear love. equal in degree but differing in kind according to their ages. The song was right that evening as far as I was concerned. Can't you tell the proprietor to send them away?" So you see how difficult it is to understand one another. home of Caprice and governed by the Moon." The eyes of the little boy : "How beau­ tiful it is ! How beautiful it is ! But it is a house where only people who are not like us can go. to read my thought in them . I turned my eyes to look into yours. how incommunicable thought is. [ 53 ] . but I was even a little ashamed of our glasses and decanters. you said : "Those people are insufferable with their great saucer eyes. even between two people in love.

whose names and . . The Prince was neither better nor worse than other men . one of pl�asure's most delicate forms. would "most certainly have won him the epithet of "monster" Iroin a. --". [ 54] . if in the Prince's dominions any one had been permitted to write anything whatever which aid not maIre . I could readily believe that the Prince was quite put out to find his favorite player among the rebels.s�vere historian. and the extravagant efforts he made to vanquish or to outwit this tyrant-of the world. . he dreaded one enemy only. The nobles in question were arrested as well as Fan­ cioulle. . without bothering to consult it.' '-._.-.�-. Boredom .exclusively for pleasure or for astonishment.. he was an altogether insatiable voluptuary. A passionate lover of the fine arts. < --rIiere" exlst everywhere worthy men always ready to de­ nounce their more atrabiliar brothers who long to dethrone princes and.. .� _ . although it may seem strange that ideas of patriotism and liberty should take despotic possession of a mummer's brain. The misfortune of the Prince was in not having a stage vast enough for his genius. stifled in too narrow bounds._-. Indifferent enough in regard to men and morals.XXVII A H E R OI C D E A TH FANCIOULLE was an admirable buffoon and almost like one of the Prince's friends. but having an exces­ sive sensibility he was in general far more cruel than his fellows. -.'_. serious things have a fatal attraction. . But for men whose profession it is to be funny. Fancioulle joined a conspiracy formed by certain discontented nobles of the court. himself a real artist. There are young Neros. and all of them faced certain death. to reconstitute society. and one day. as well as an excellent con­ noisseur.

This one was doubly so by the wonder of the luxury displayed as well as by the mysterious moral interest attaching to it. of the generous proclivities of the offended Prince. even virtue. A heedless Providence had given this Prince faculties greater than his domains. and it would be difficult to conceive.-Ue wanted to profit by this occasion to make a physio. to find out to what extent an artist's faculties might be changed or modified in a situation as extraordinary as this . beyond that. and at which even the con· demned nobles. the great day having arrived. and the origin of this rumor was an announcement that a magnificent pantomime was to be given in which Fancioulle would play one of his most famous. He came out lightly onto the stage. was able to muster for a notable occasion. what incredible splendor the privileged class of a tiny state with limited resources. it was said. unless one had seen it. an evident proof. But for those who. [ 55] . At last. anything was possible. was there in his mind. added superficial minds. a more or less definite idea of mercy? This is a point that has never been clarified. especially if in it he could hope to find some unexpected pleasures. like myself. Suddenly a rumor spread that the sovereign had decided to pardon all the conspirators . logical experiment of a capital interest. which are otten the principle roles in those fairy pantomimes whose object is to represent symbolically the mystery of life. one of his most successful roles. On the part of a man so naturally and deliberately eccentric. even clemency. had probed deeper into that curious sick soul. with a perfect ease that confirmed the noble audience in its notion of clemency and pardon. this little court dis· played all its pomps. were to be present .good intentions will forever remain unknown to future genera· tions. it was infinitely more probable that the Prince wanted to test the value of the histrionic talent of a man condemned to rue. Sieur Fancioulle excelled especially in silent parts or ones with few words. perhaps.

art. that would indeed be a singular case and altogether unheard of. by what special grace I cannot say. walked and saw. the confused idea of beauty. laughed and wept. No thought remained of death. with such joy that it does not see the grave. this intoxication was not without alloy. for a discerning eye. the most irrefutable way. and lashed into fury." they are using an expression which implies that beneath the charac­ ter they can still distinguish the actor. as it is.l�nder -tne aU-pow�ful�� of the artist. Fancioulle was that night just such a perfect idealization. even-on. Fancioulle proved to me in the most peremptory.fln. The whole audience. an illlperishable aureole. volition. blase and frivolous though they were. so that one could not help believing in the impersonation as alive. sQ. lost. and that genius can play a part. Did he feel himself cheated in his despotic power. what the best statues of antiquity. while I look for words to describe for you that unforgettable evening. effort. in relation to the part he played. j oined in the applause of his court.� � (Cf I e� L When people say of an actor : "What a good actor. that blended in a stra. that the intoxication of Art is more apt than allY gtaef to . or of punishment. in a paradise that shuts out all thought of death and destruction. introduced something of divine and supernatural into his most extravagant buffooneries. of mourning. The Prince himself. invisible to all. FanCioulle. would be in relation to the general. My pen trembles and tears of an emotion that has never left me. The buffoon came and went. Every one gave himself up without a qualm to the voluptuous and multi­ tudinous pleasures the sight of a masterpiece of living art affords. [ 56] . fill my eyes. that is to say. But if an actor should succeed in being.en the te�rs of the eternal abyss . Explosions of delight and admiration again and again reverberated to the vaults of the edifice with the noise of a continuous thunder.-. if miracu­ lously animated they lived. with always abou� �i� head . possible and real.ge amalgam the beams of Art and the glory of Martyrdo�.�he edge of the grave. in a frenzy of intoxi­ cation. but visible to me. However.

nor to rise to the same favor. His lips were more and more tightly compressed and his eyes blazed with an inner fire resembling that of jealousy or spite. closed his eyes. awakened from his dream. even while he ostensibly applauded his forine� friend. The guilty nobles had enjoyed the delights of the theatre for the �ti�e.humiliated in his art of striking terror into hearts and chill into souls. [57] . not altogether justified yet not unjustifiable. as over his habitual palor. and £ifl dead)lpon the stage. -bid he regret his cherished. staggered forward a step. swift as a sword. a child darted out into a corridor with stifled laughter.�d fo� doubt. and when almost at once he opened them again. they seemed to have grown inordinately large. justly �ppreciated in many countries. frustrated in his hopes. The same night they were effaced from life. Fancioulle. and he left the royal box as if to carry out some urgent commission. Had the hiss. ran through my mind while I watched the Prince's face. rending all ears and hearts. and whisper in his ear. then he opened his mouth as though strugglingjor breath. A few minutes later a shrill prolonged hiss broke in upon Fancioulle in one of his greatest moments.�. And from that part of the hall whence this unex­ pected rebuff had come. a new paloI' spread like snow falling upon snow. Since then several othe�-mi�es. At a certain moment I saw his Highness turn toward a little page standing behind him. -' the strange buffoon who now played death's buffoon so superbly. really frustrated the hang­ man? Had the Prince foreseen the homicidal eventuality of his ruse? Th�. have come to the court of * * * but none has ever been able to approach the miraculous talent of Fancioulle.e isg. his inimitable Fancioulle? It is sweet and legitimate to hope so . flouted in his forecasts? Such suppositions. A roguish smile flashed across the child's charming face . then backward.

dog being �ten.w:e. the silver. My friend's offering was considerably larger than mine. But in my miserable brain. and finally in the right. Soon we passed beggar' who held out his cap to us with a trembling hand." "It was counterfeit. I know nothing more dlstressmg than the mute elo uence o a pauper s p ea mg eyes. There is in them something of the profound and complex emo­ tion to be seen in the tear-filled eyes of a . For 'e man of feeling who is able to read them. di.�strous or otherwise. in his left trouser pocket he put a handful of pennies. after the most careful scrutiny.XXVIII CO U N TE R F E IT separating his money. in the left pocket of his waistcoat he slipped all the gold pieces." I said to myself. so u 0 umility and reproach. there is no greater pleasure than giving someone else a sur­ prise." he replied tranquilly as though to justify his prOdigality. that a e counterfeit coin in the hands of a beggar. the counterfeit As WE WERE leaving the tobacconist's I saw my friend carefully � [ 58 ] . next to feeling surprise oneself. a tavern keeper. and I said to him : "You are right. perhaps even o(leiii'ning aU 'tile 'dIfferent coiiseq���es. which is forever fiying off at a tangent (what an exhausting faculty nature has given me! ) . might engender_ Might it not multiply into many pieces of good money? Might it not also lead to prison? A baker. for in­ stance. in the right. might have him arrested as a counterfeiter or a dissemi­ nator of bad money_ But on the other hand. of bringing some excitement into the poor devil's lif�. a two-franc piece_ "What a SingUlar ' e distribution. the idea suddenly occurred to me that such conduct in my friend was only excusable if it came fr�Il!_ll_ ci�.

" I looked him squarely in the eye.coin for a poor little speculator.p�ehensible enjoyment I had just been supposing him capable of. and I was appalled to see that his eyes shone with unquestionable candor. I understood perfectly then that his object had been to perform a charitable d�_�_ while making a good speculation . i�--�hort.c��ry . to". Tc oiild a�-hav-e -f��giv.cerTIllcate-orchaTIty..off gratis a . And so my fancy ran riot. lending wings to my friend's imagination and drawing all possible deductions from all possible hypotheses. [ 59 ] . arresting in his desire to com­ promise paupers. I should have found something c:!!!ious. and to win paradise economically . but I will never pardon him the ineptitude of his calculation. To be mean is never excusable. there is no sweeter pleasure than to surprise a man by giving him more than he expects. you are right. But he rudely shattered my reverie by repeating my own words : "Yes. _the upforgivab kVice is todo�-�� -stupfdity: -� --_. might well be the germ of several days' wealth.� --hi�-" hls d��ire for th� �. to gain forty sols and God's heart -at the same time. but there is some virtue in knowing that one is..

their wives and children. I felt myself jostled by a mysterious Being whom I have always longed to know. and I seemed to remember having seen them before. landing on the enchanted isle bathed in the light of an eternal afternoon. atmosphere of the place made one instantaneously forget all the tedious horrors of life . never again to venture forth over the towering waves of the sea. I followed him closely and soon.XXIX TH E G E N E RO U S GA M B L E R / 3 on the crowded boulevard. though heady. we were already firm YESTERDAY [ 60 ] . He must have felt a similar desire in �egard to me. And it seemed to me odd that I should have passed this enchant­ ing haunt so often without suspecting that here was the entrance. I recognized him at once. If I were to attempt to give some idea of the singular expression of their eyes I should say that I have never seen eyes that shone so fiercely with the horror of boredom and with the immortal longing to feel themselves live. he passed he gave me a knowing wink which I was quick to obey. for a. descended into a magnificent subterranean dwelling of a fabulous luxury beyond anything the upper habitations of Paris could boast. they inspired in me a fraternal sym­ pathy rather than that apprehension commonly aroused by the sight of anything alien. and hearing the soothing sound of melodious cascades. By the time my host and I were seated. they suddenly longed never to see their penates again. here one breathed a somber beatitude similar to that which the lotuseaters must have felt when. The exquisite. and alth'ough I had never seen him before. Here were strange faces of men and women who were marked with the sign of f!tal beauty. but at what period or in what countries it was impossible to recall . still at his heels.

and drunk with all these delights. I had the temerity to exclaim as I lifted my brimming glass : "To your immortal health. our frequent libations. that one of the devil's best ruses is to persuade you that he does not exist!" [ 61 ] . I ce had p�y_��_��. On this subject His Highness was never at a loss for gay and irrefutable ironies. of the bIg Idea of the century. the idea f o progress and perfectability. and he even deigned to divulge certain fundamental principles whose possession and benefits I do not find it expedient to share with a single souL He did not complain of the bad repu­ tation he enjoys in every corner of the world. we drank immoderately of all sorts of extraor­ dinary wines. and I should also say that. We ate. and assured me that no one was more interested in the suppression of supersti­ tion than himself. so useless. But gaming.. The soul is a . at divers intervals. with perfect n� and heroic heedlessness. never forget when you hear people boast of our progress in enlightenment.Qfte!J. / Slowly we smoked several cigars whose incomparable taste and aroma made the soul homesick for countries and pleasures it had never known. and admitted that the only time he had ever trembled for his power was the day when a preacher had exclaimed from his pulpit : "My beloved brothers. that IS. . had interrupted. thing so impalpable.<LlQ§Lm� binding pact. Old Harry ! " We talked of the universe.friends. in an access of familiarity that did not seem to displease him.. He explained the absurdity of the different philosophies which have up to the present time had possession of the human brain. and he expressed himself with a subtle address and impassible humor such as I have not met with even in the most famous talkers of humanity. that superhuman pleasure. and some imes so in the w�that I felt somewhat less emotion over it� oss t an I had dropped my visiting card out walking. of its creation and of its final destr�ction . and no less extraordinary was the fact that even after several hours it seemed to me that I was no more drunk than he.. and in general of all forms of human infatuation.

Never shall you formulate a wish that I will not help you to realize . and my strange table­ companion told me that in many cases he did not think it beneath him to inspire the pen." I doubt if His Highness has ever before accorded such a long interview to a simple mortal. I r>t)') [ 62 J . Satan himself -am going to prove to you. without satiety. that I can sometimes be a good devil. nevertheless. and fairy palaces shall come seeking you out. and even adoration. I . and whether he had seen him recently. you shall change nationality and country as often as your fancy dictates . and I feared I must be presuming. in spite of all the ill that is said of me. I shall give you the same stake you would have won if chance had been with you.I. and the conscience of pedagogut:Sl. gold. although invisible. silver. that is the possibility of alleviating and overcoming for your entire life that strange disease of Boredom which is the source of all your ills and all your miserable progress. this famous character. as shivering dawn whitened the window panes. the speech. said to me : "As I want you to take away an agreeable remembrance of me. in lovely lands where it is always warm and where the women smell as sweet as the flowers PC' ''. you shall know all the intoxica­ tion of pleasure.The recollection of this noted orator lead us naturally to the subject of institutions of learning. To compensate you for the irremediable loss of your soul. and that he almost invariably attended in per­ son. to use one of your popu­ lar expressions. begging to be accepted without your having to lift a finger to obtain them . He replied with an indifference tinged with sadness : "We bow to each other when we meet like two well-bred old gentlemen. whose innate courtesy is. diamonds. you shall dominate your vulgar fellowmen . all academic assemblies_ Encouraged by so much kindness. I asked him for news of God. not sufficient to wipe out the memory of old grudges. At last. sung by so many poets and served by so many philosophers who work for his glory with­ out knowing it. flattery shall be yours.

little by little. I would willingly have fallen on my knees at the feet of this generous gambler. I no longer dared to believe in such prodigious good fortune. God ! Lord. If I had not been afraid of embarrassing him before that vast assembly.et cetera. I murmured : "Oh. . idiotically saying my prayers out of habit and half asleep.." he added as he rose and dismissed me with a kindly smile. . to thank him for his unheard-of munificence. and when I went to bed that night. But after I had left him. doubt crept back into my breast . . my God ! Make the devil keep his promise!" [63 ] . et cetera .

never. half regret for the vanished phantom. "By my profession as a painter I am impelled to scrutinize attentively every face. perhaps. sometimes as an angel. He posed for me several times." said my friend. detached from ourselves. "are as innumerable. In the out of the way neighborhood where I live. every physiognomy that comes my way. let me tell you this little story in which you will see how I was singularly deceived by this most natural illusion. It is as difficult to imagine a mother without mother·love . and where great grassy spaces still separate the houses. I painted him with the vagrant musician's violin. sometimes as the mythological Cupid.xxx THE RO P E To EDOUARD MANET "ILLUSIONS. as the relations of men to each other and of men and things. and with the [64] . If there is one obvious. sometimes as a little gypsy. to mother·love? And yet.changing phenomenon of a nature to make misapprehension impossible. it is surely mother·love. we see persons or things as they really are.-s light without heat. complex feeling. ordinary. in regard to her child. is it not then per· fectly legitimate to attribute all a mother's acts and words. when. we have a strange. of this real thing. and I would disguise him. with the Crown of Thorns and the Nails of the Cross. I used to watch a certain little boy whose eager. and you know what delight we painters take in that faculty which gives more zest and significance to life for us than for other men. that is. half agreeable surprise at the appearance of this novel. mischievous face appealed to me more than any of the others. And when the illusion disappears.

he had been pilfering again. and his eyes. I then went out and my affairs kept me away for a considerable time. promising to dress him well. I was obliged to sustain his whole weight with one arm while. to give him a little money. and the life he lead with me seemed to him paradise compared to that in his parent's wretched hole. his head was convulsively twisted to one side . who were very poor. it had come to such a pass that one day when I had noticed that. but my neighbors had refused to come to my assistance. true in this to the prejudice of civilized man who. But that was not all. and to free his neck I had to dig for the rope between the swellings with a pair of fine scissors. the mischievous little companion of my life. a chair. He was already stiff. will have no part in the affairs of the hanged. hanging from that wardrobe over there! His feet almost touched the ground . Finally a doctor arrived who declared that the child had been dead for several hours already. as well as by an immoderate craving. soon mani­ festing itself. wide open. "I neglected to tell you that 1 had. in spite of my many warnings . the little wretch had used such a thin rope that it had sunk deep into the flesh. After he had been well scrubbed. and not to impose on him any tasks more onerous than cleaning my brushes and running my errands. To take him down was not as easy a task as you might think. which he had evidently kicked out of the way. "What was my horror and stupefaction when. was over­ turned beside him. with my free hand. stared with a terrifying fixity that gave the illusion of life. for sugar and spirits.torch of Eros. I do not know why. When later we had [ 65 ] . opening my door. the boy was really charming. I cut the rope. called lustily for help . Only 1 must say the little fellow often astonished me by strange fits of precocious melancholy. his face swollen. in the first place. Finally 1 came to take such delight in the young­ ster's drollery that one day 1 asked his parents. I threatened to send him back to his parents. the first object that met my eyes was my little man. and I felt an inexplicable revulsion to letting him drop to the floor. to let me keep him.

and was about to fling them out of the open window. She wanted to see the body of her son . She took possession of the rope and the nail. unable to bend his limbs. I attributed this "to the extreme horror she must feel.�ranyway!. that the nail had been left in the panel with a long piece of rope still dangling from it. "The supreme task was still to be accomplished. 'Oh ! No. when the poor woman seized my arm and in an irresistible voice said : 'Oh ! Monsieur. to whom naturally I had to report the suicide. half pensive. both by personal bias and the professional habit of trying to strike terror into innocent and guilty alike. she said.' And. and I was taking care of the final details assisted by a servant. I implore you ! ' Her despair I decided must have so crazed her that she had been seized with a passionate longing for the in­ strument of her son's death. He would have come to a bad . But to my great astonishment the mother remained unmoved. . let me have them ! I beg. mixed with horror.' I replied. the body was so rigid that. and desired to keep it as a horrible and cherished relic. 'that will be too pain­ ful for you. saying: 'Something suspicious look­ ing about this. we were forced to cut his clothes to remove them. Then she asked me to show her the place where her boy had hanged himself. all he found to say was : 'weir it's all for the best. not a tear trickled from her eyes. [ 66 ] . eyed me narrowly. no doubt. the very thought of which caused me an unbearable anguish : his parents had to be told. and I recalled the well-known saying: 'The deepest sorrows are silent. I saw with repugnance. My feet simply refused to take me.---"Meanwhile the body was laid out on my sofa.' As for the father. I rushed over to remove these last vestiges of the tragedy. "The police sergeant.' prompted. I guess. when the mother entered my studio.to undress him for burial. as involuntarily my eyes turned toward the fatal wardrobe. At last I summoned up all my courage. Madam. half churlish. I could hardly prevent her revelling in her sorrow or refuse her this supreme and somber consolation..

there werc more women's than men's . but all with the same object in view : to persuade me to let them have a piece of the fatal and beatific rope. "It was then. and more furiously than ever. There was nothing more for me to do but to go back to work. they did not all come from the lower classes by any means. another from the second. another from the third and so forth and so on . some in a half playful style. one from the first floor." [ 67] . some from neighboring houses . and whose ghost haunted me with his great star­ ing eyes. I have kept those letters. suddenly. but. But the following day I received a pile of letters : some from tenants in my own building. the others grossly brazen and misspelled. I must say. and the sort of trade she was contemplating for consolation. that it dawned upon me why the mother had been so anxious to get possession of the rope. I assure you."At last ! At last ! It was over. Among the signatures. trying to drive out the little corpse that filled every convolution of my brain. some jokingly trying to hide the eagerness in their request .

there are men and women. They threaten each other. they implore. suddenly exclaimed: "Look. who speak to each other in sing-song voices. were talking_ One of them said : "Yesterday I was taken to the theatre. and to speak in the same kind of voice . look up there ! Do you see him? He is sitting on that little cloud all by itself that is the color of fire and moves so slowly. And then. and much more beautiful and beautifully dressed than any you have ever seen.XXXI V O C A TIO N S IN A LOVELY garden where the autumnal sun seemed to linger with pleasure. You're frightened and you want t'l cry. they are in de­ spair." "But who are you talking about?" asked the others. . who for some time had not been listening to his comrade's discourse. already noticeably tinged with green. in which the golden clouds sailed like cruising conti­ nents. you can't help falling in love with them. . "Ah ! [ 68] . and they are always putting their hands to daggers thrust into their belts." One of the four children. and had been looking with extraordinary fixity at some distant point in the sky. four beautiful children. Oh ! but it is beautiful ! The women are much more beautiful and much taller than any that come to our house. what's funnier still. "God !" he replied in a tone of complete conviction. There are great sad palaces. very serious and sad too. I think He is looking at us too. tired probably of their games. four boys. to say and do the same things. it makes you want to be dressed like that too. and behind them you can see the sky and the sea . under a sky. and although they are terrifying with their great hollow eyes and their flaming red cheeks. . . . but somehow you are happy too.

and the light of the setting sun playing in his untidy red curls seemed to be lighting up a sulphurous aureole of passion. and her skin is so soft. . soon we shan't be able to see him any more. "Now. I can tell you something that happened to me a bit more interesting than your theatres and your clouds. afraid first of all of waking her. . the eyes o f the young author of this revela­ tion had widened with a sort of stupefaction at what he was still feeling. . and in the dark. so awfully soft. . and now he is going down behind the church tower ." He drew his comrades closer around him and lowered his voice. a boy whose whole little being was bursting with animation and an extraordinary vitality. It was easy enough to foresee that this boy would not waste his life looking for God in the clouds. only I was afraid. and afraid too of I don't know what. [ 69 ] � 1\ . while she was sleeping. as thick as a horse's mane covering her hack. Ah ! you can't see him any more ! " And for a long while the child remained staring in the same direction at the line that separates heaven and earth.He is far away already . I suppose he is going to visit other countries. I amused myself stroking her arms and her neck and her shoulders. A few days ago my parents took me with them on a trip. I couldn't sleep so. So then I buried my head in her hair.you'll see ! " While talking. they decided that I should sleep in the same bed as my nurse. his eyes bright with an indescribable expres· sion of ecstasy and regret. and that he would frequently find him somewhere else. he is about to disappear behind that row of trees on the horizon . "How silly he is with his old God that nobody sees but him !" said a third. Her arms and neck are much bigger than all other women's. See. it feels like writing paper or tissue paper. and I tell you it smelt as good as the flowers in this garden smell now. "It certainly gives you a funny feeling not to be sleeping alone. and to be in bed with your nurse. I enjoyed it so much I would have gone on forever. and as the inn where we stopped was crowded and there were no more beds. If you ever get the chance try to do the same .

Finally, the fourth boy said : "You know that it isn't awfully amusing for me at home. I am never taken to the theatre ­ my guardian is much too stingy ; God never pays any attention to me and my boredom, and I haven't any beautiful nurse to cuddle. I have often thought that what I'd like most to do would be to walk straight ahead of me without knowing where I was going and without any one bothering about me, and always seeing new countries. I am never content anywhere, and wherever I am, I always think it would be better some­ where else. Well, at the last fair we went to in the next village, I saw three men who live the way I'd like to live. You fellows didn't notice them. They were tall, they were almost black, and haughty, although dressed in rags, with an air of asking favors of nobody. Their enormous black eyes shone terribly when they were playing their music ; such astonishing music ; first it made you want to dance, then it made you want to cry, or both at once, and it would drive you mad if you listened to it too long. One of them, as he drew his bow across the strings of his violin, seemed to be telling of some sorrow, the other, making his little hammers jump about on the strings of the tiny piano hung from a strap around his neck, seemed to be making fun of his partners' lamentations, while the third, every now and then, would bring his cymbals together with a violent crash. They were enjoying themselves so much that they went on playing their wild music even after the crowd had dispersed. Finally they picked up their pennies, put their baggage on their backs and went away. But I wanted to find out where they lived so I followed them at a distance to where the forest begins, and then I understood - they don't live any where. " ·Shall we put up the ten!'? one of them asked. " ·What's the use on a beautiful night like this ! ' another replied. "The third who was counting their earnings, said: ·These people have no feeling for music and their wives dance like bears. Luckily we'll be in Austria in a month where people are more agreeable.'
[ 70]

" 'We'd do better to go toward Spain,' said one of the others, 'the season's pretty well along. I'm all for avoiding the rains and wetting nothing but our whistles.' "You see, I've remembered everything. After that each of them drank a cup of brandy and went to sleep, their faces turned toward the stars. At first I wanted to beg them to take me with them, and to teach me to play their instruments; but I didn't dare, probably because it is always so hard to decide anything at all, and also because I was afraid of being caught before I could get out of France." From the indifferent air of his three companions I decided that this youngster was already one of the un-understood. I looked at him curiously ; there was in his eye and in his fore­ head that something so prematurely fatal which invariably alienates sympathy, but which for some reason excited mine, and to such an extent that for an instant I had the strange idea that I might, unknown to me, have a brother. The sun had gone down. Night in all its solemnity had taken its place. The boys separated, each setting out, all unconsciously and as luck and circumstances would decide, to cultivate his fortune, to scandalize his neighbors, and to gravitate toward glory or dishonor.

[ 71 ]

XXXII

T E H

TH Y R S U S

To Franz Liszt.

WHAT IS a thyrsus? In its religious and poetic sense it is the sacerdotal emblem of priests and priestesses when celebrating the deity whose interpreters they are. But physically it is j ust a stick, a simple stick, a staff to hold up hops, a prop for training vines, straight, hard and dry. Around this stick in capricious convolutions, stems and flowers play and gambol, some sinuous and wayward, others hanging like bells, or like goblets up·side­ down. And an amazing resplendence surges from this com­ plexity of lines and of delicate or brilliant colors. Does it not seem as though the curvilinear and the spiral lines were court­ ing the straight line, and were dancing around it in mute admiration? Does it not seem as though all those delicate corollas, all those calyxes, in an explosion of scents and colors, were executing a mysterious fandango around the hieratic rod? But what imprudent mortal would dare to say whether the flowers and the vines have been made for the stick, or whether the stick is not a pretext for displaying the beauty of the vines and the flowers? The thyrsus is an image of your astonishing quality, great and venerated Master, dear Bacchante of mys­ terious and passionate Beauty. Never did a nymph, driven to frenzy by the invincible Bacchus, shake her thyrsus over the heads of her maddened companions with such energy and wan­ tonness as you your genius over the hearts of your brothers. The rod is your will, steady, straight, and firm, and the flowers, the wanderings of your fancy around your will, the feminine element executing its bewitching pirouettes around the male.
[ 72 ]

through the mists and beyond the rivers. inflexi­ bility of the will. in distant cities where pianos sing your glory. artist. wherever you may be.Straight line and arabesque. intention and expression. improvising songs of joy and of ineffable sorrow. what analyst would have the detestable courage to divide and separate you? Dear Liszt. or confiding to paper your abstruse meditations. sinuosity of the word. poet. all-powerful and indivisible amalgam of genius. philosopher. or in the mists of those dreamy countries Gambrinus consoles. unity of the goal. I salute you in immortality ! [ 73 J . variety of the means. and where printing presses translate your wisdom. whether surrounded by the splendors of the eternal city. singer of Pleasure and of eternal Anguish.

the wave. or clock. or with virtue. everything that speaks. on the green grass of a ditch. every­ thing that flows. everything that moans. with poetry. or with virtue.XXXIII G E T DR U N K question. ask star. ask everything that flies. with poetry. and find that your drunkenness is ebbing or has vanished. Not to feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and bowing you to the earth." ONE SHOULD always be drunk. and the wind. the bird and the clock will all reply : "It is Time to get drunk ! If you are not to be the martyred slaves of Time. bird. be perpetually drunk ! With wine. in the dreary solitude of your own room. on the stairs of a palace. Drunk with what? With wine. everything that sings. But get drunk. as you please. ask the wind and the wave. as you please. ask them the time . you should be drunk without respite. the star. And if sometimes you should happen to awake. That's the great thing . the only [ 74] .

I really believe. all wrongs reciprocally pardoned . exhaled for miles around a delicious fragrance of fruits and flowers. radiant or sad. out of the immense vat of the sea. and as we drew nearer we could see that it was a magnificent and dazzling land. For a number of days we had been able to contemplate the other side of the firmament. sparkling or surly. were ho . All were so obsessed by the image of the absent land that they would. and the shores. and rancors vanished like smoke. The approach of land seemed even to aggravate their torments. everybody abdicated his bad humor. a hundred times had plunged back. have eaten grass as eagerly as herbiverous animals. Immediately everybody was happy. And the passengers grumbled and growled. into the vast bath of evening. inconceivably sad.hi. I alone was sad.. "Are we never again to enjoy sleep without being tossed about by the waves and kept awake by the wind that snores louder than we do ? Are we never again to eat meat that is not as salty as the element beneath us? Or sit quietly in an immovable arm­ chair to digest it ?" Some thought of their firesides. At last we came in sight of the coast .XXXIV A LR E A D Y A HUNDRED TIMES already the sun had sprung. All life's sweet sounds seemed to come from it III a soft murmur. rich in vegetation of every kind. I could not without heartbreaking ha� b [ 75 ] . Like a priest whose God �--snatched fro. and to decipher the celestial alphabet of the antipodes. All quarrels were forgotten. preconcerted duels were erased from the memory. ill-tempered wives and noisy '£!!spring.mesick for their unfaithful.

so infinitely varied in her te�ible simpli£!ty and seem· 'I>d I\j I K bitterness tear myself away from the sea.\l} '!0 ductive. "Already!" Nevertheless. a magnificent land full of promises. vall its wares and its festivities . I was sad unto death . agonies and ecstasies of all the souls who have lived. or who will some day live ! In saying farewell to this incomparable beauty. and from which a mysterious perfume of musk and roses came drifting out to us. so monotonously se· 7 ing to contain and to represent by all her changing moods. [ 76 ] . the angers. there it was. like an amorous whisper. who live. land with its noises. and. its passions. smiles. and that is why when all my companions were saying. "At last ! " I could only cry. humors. it was a dazzling. the myriad music of life.

out of practically nothing at all. I have made up this woman's story. There is nothing more profound. more insidious. or rather legend. Wh one can see out in the sunlight is always less �t interesting than what goes on behind a window pane. In that bf ack or lummous square hfe lives. Across the ocean of roofs I can see a middle-aged woman.xx/ WIN D O WS from outside into an open window one never sees as much as when one looks through a closed window. more dazzling than a window lighted by a single candle. her dress and her gestures. and sometimes I tell it to myself and weep. who is forever bending over something and who never goes out. more mysterious. Out of her face. more pregnant. If it had been an old man I could have made up his just as well. so long as it has helped me to live. to feel that I am. her face already lined. life dreams. and what I am? LOOKINC· [ 77 ] . Perhaps you will say "Are you sure that your story is the real one?" But what does it matter what reality is outside myself. life suffers. And I go to bed proud to have lived and to have suffered in some one besides myself.

not the white moon of idylls which resembles a frigid bride. with sensitive nostrils quivering for the unknown and the impossible. Her eyes are two caverns where mystery dimly glistens. but this one fills you only with the desire to die slowly beneath her gaze. which has surely marked her with its portentous influence . like a beautiful regretted thing the voyager leaves behind as he is carried away into the night. There are women who inspire you with the desire to conquer them and to take your pleasure of them . her glance illuminates : it is an explosion in the dark. if one can imagine a black star pouring out light and happiness. since she disappeared ! She is beautiful and more than beautiful . but happy the artist torn by desire ! I am consumed by a desire to paint the woman who ap­ peared to me so rarely and who so quickly fled. but the sinister and intoxicating moon that hangs deep in a stormy night. but the moon torn from the sky. she is surprising. in the lower part of this disturbing coun­ tenance.XXXVI THE DE SI E R T O P AIN T perhaps is man. I have compared her to a black sun. But she makes one think rather of the moon. with inexpressible loveliness. and like a lightning flash. that makes one dream of the miracle of a superb flower blooming on volcanic soil. not the discreet and peaceful moon that visits pure men while they sleep. a wide mouth. UNHAPPY [ 78 J . and all that she inspires is nocturnal and profound. red and white and alluring. Yet. hurtled by the driven clouds . How long it is now. Darkness in her abounds. bursts. the conquered and indignant moon that the Thessalian Witches cruelly compel to dance on the frightened grass ! That little forehead is inhabited by a tenacious will and a desire for prey.

Then she stretched herself over you with a mother's careful tenderness. You shall love what I love and what loves me : water. sinister flowers like the censers of a strange religion. the woman they will never know. the place where you are not. courted by my courtiers. [ 79 ] . and she clasped your throat so tenderly that you have wanted to weep ever since." And downily descending her stairway of cloud. and all that living radiance thought and said : "By my kiss I make you eternally mine. who is caprice itself. clouds. whose throats I have clasped in my nocturnal caresses.XXXVII THE M OON ' S F A VOR S THE MOON. water without form and multiform . water without form and multi-form. delirious perfume . That is why your eyes are green and your cheeks extraordinarily pale. monstrous flowers. unfathomable. of those who love the sea. the Moon per­ vaded the whole room like a phosphoric atmosphere. At the same time. the place where they are not. tumultuous sea. You shall be the queen of all men with green eyes. she passed through the window pane without a sound. perfumes that trouble the will. You shall be beautiful as I am beautiful. languorous cats who lie on pianos and moan like women with sweet and husky voices ! "And you shall be loved by my lovers. the lover you will never know. like a luminous poison . the green. And it was when you looked at this visitor that your eyes grew so wondrously large . and left her colors on your face. in the fullness of her joy. the green unfathomable sea . and said : "This child pleases me. silence and the night. looked in through your win­ dow as you lay asleep in your cradle.

savage and voluptuous beasts that are the emblems of their madness. accursed child. I am lying at your feet searching you all over for the reflection of the dread Goddess. r OO ] . the fateful godmother and poison-nurse of all moon­ mad men. spoilt." And that is why. dear.

and who said as she shrieked with laughter : "Look at me ! I am the real Benedicta ! a perfect hussy ! And to punish you for your blindness and your folly. I am held fast. like a wolf caught in a trap. she died. I ONCE KNEW a certain Benedicta who filled earth and air with [ 81 ] . you shall love me as I am. only a few days after I had come to know her. and so it was that. and whose eyes scattered the seeds of longing for greatness. all at once I saw a little creature who looked singularly like the deceased.XXXVIII WHICH IS TH E R EA L ON E ? the ideal. I buried her with my own hands and shut her into a coffin of scented and incorruptible wood like the coffers of India. stamping up and down on the fresh earth in a strange hysterical frenzy. and I buried her with my own hands one day when Spring was swaying its censer over the graveyards. and now. perhaps forever. to the grave of the ideal. But this miraculous girl was too beautiful to live long. beauty and glory." But I was furious and cried : "No ! no ! no ! " And to empha­ size my refusal I stamped so violently on the earth that my leg sank into the new dug grave up to my knee . And while my eyes still gazed on the spot where my treasure lay buried. for everything that makes a man believe in immortality.

ArIes. charming cities. She is really ugly. Aix. but she is also the draught that refreshes. Love has not tainted the sweetness of her child's breath. perhaps. she makes one think of one of those thorough·breds that the eye of a true connoisseur will always recognize even when harnessed to a hired hack or lumbering coach. and there is never anything tiresome about the servility of her tenderness. and cruelly taught her that every instant. has lighted a fresh fire in her heart. . steal something of youth and freshness. and always gallant. She is.XXXIX A THORO U G H . the coming of winter. magic and magistery ! In short she is exquisite. And then she is so gentle and so fervent! She loves as one SHE IS very ugly. skeleton even . it would seem. She is nevertheless delectable. nor has Time torn out a hair of her abounding mane. Time and Love [ 82 ] . loves in the fall of the year. spider. Worn. from whose wild per­ fumes all the mad vitality of the French Midi is exhaled Nimes. B R E D have marked her with their claws. Narbonne. ant. if you like. Toulouse . but not weary. Time could not spoil the sparkling harmony of her walk.amorous. every kiss. Avignon. blessed by the sun ! Vainly have time and love sunk their teeth into her . nor alter the indestructible elegance of her panoply. they have not in the least diminished the illusive but eternal charm of her boyish breast.

I was certainly right . according to the immortal principles of '89. [ 83] . therefore I have the right to look at myself in the glass . with pleasure or pain. all men are equal hefore the law. hut from the point of view of the law. since the sight of your reflection can only he painful to you ? " The appalling-looking man replies : "Sir.XL THE M I ROR R AN APPALLING-looking man enters and looks at himself in a mIrror_ "Why do you look at yourself in the glass." In respect of common sense. he was not wrong. that is an entirely personal matter.

who still desire to voyage. the mobile clouds. all ambition.XLI S E A . the ever changing colors of the sea. the flashing beams of the light-houses form a prism marvelously designed to gladden. people who still have enough energy to have desires. as he reclines in the belvedere or leans on the mole. P O R TS A SEA-PORT is a pleasant place for a soul worn out with life's struggles_ The wide expanse of sky. above all. who still desire to get rich_ [ 84 ] . for the man who has lost all curiosity. of people returning. there is a sort of mysterious and aristocratic pleasure in watching. all the bustle of people leaving. without ever tiring the eye. The ships with their long slim lines and com­ plicated rigging that so gracefully ride the swells. serve to keep alive in the soul a taste for rhythm and beauty. And.

It is then that one decidedly looks for beauty. in the smoking·room of an elegant gambling. I have always been more affected than other men by the enervatin " ing mediocrity of women.J) ( Si N" . " he began.. et ceie"i-�: T aaIitit that I sometimes long for the fourth degree as f()r an unknown happiness. nor yet old.re Iooking for something we can love and respect. four men were smoking and drinking. that cold ironi� sadness which says plainly : "We have lived to the -. In the second degree one begins to choose. they all bore the unmistakable signs of veterans of pleasure. but young or old.. They were not precisely young. To be able to discriminate is already a sign of decadence. "Every man. that indescribable something.house. but after drinking: intelligent men are not above commonplace discourse.. "was once Cherubin's age. That is the time when. Wh.full. that is. be distinguished by absolute c:alm. and we . It would have been more philosophical not to talk about them at all . But throughout my life.. .' » _.XLII P O R T R A I TS OF SO M E M IS T R E S S E S IN A MAN'S boudoir. As for me... I am proud to say that I have long ago arrived at the climacteric period of the third degree when beauty itself no longer suffices unless it be seasoned with per· ' fumes. except at the age of Cherubin. they were neither hand· some nor ugly . one embraces the trees.i-T like about ---'-�-'---'--' -'--" '" . gentlemen. if there are no dryads about. _--_M__ c � O v V." One of them turned the conversation to the subject of women. And one listens to what is said as one listens to dance music. [ 8 5] . jeweIs. It is the first degree of love. . since it must. I am sure.

[ 86 ] . I am really the man ! ' Such were the insufferable refrains that came out of a mouth from which 1 wanted only songs to soar. Not so many years ago.'Q j I simplicity. and after that 1 always found a glass mask between her lips and mine. what a prude! If. devoted creature in the world. and the most -w . "invariably supplies a remedy for every ill. "One fine day she took up chemistry. If 1 let my admiration f-or a IJO()l(. since iLgives you pleasure. as far as I am concerned. you would draw from them more sighs than the most fll-rious throes of love ever drew from my mistress's breast. You may judge then how my last mistress made me suff --------��c-c-c < er . and-. don't you? But are you any judge of forcefulness?' And she would begin to argue." "Well. I felt. the most submissive. after paying them their wages in arrears. One day I found my Minerva. She was the sort of woman who was always wantir�i to i.-an opera'escape me.c . and. she would straightway e say : 'You think it very forceful._ . that goes without saying .}W as always ready ! And without enthusiasm ! �f course 1 want to. 'You are not a man ! Ah ! if 1 were only a man ! Of the two of us. made it incumbent upon me to retire discreetly so as not to make them blush. "I never knew you had so much patience. monstrously ambitious. Fate granted me the possession of a woman who was without doubt the sweetest. tete-a-tete with my valet. I shocked her by a somewhat too amorous gesture. '<C' .apo rri. "I have no one to blame but myself. on occasion. Beautiful. And then.Iay the man. ---'"She was the illegitimate daughter of a prince. she would recoil like a sensitive plant. That evening 1 dismissed them both. 1 assure You. who had such a thirst for ideal force." went on the man who had interrupted. and in a posture which. . After living . Happiness entered my house and 1 failed to recognize her." he replied." "But how did it end?" interrupted one of the men.' That was her invariable answer ." "God. . if you were to give this wall or that sofa a good bastinado. otherwise why should 1 have taken her? Hut she spoiled that splendid quality by being indecently.

sllye�t. I refer 0 comedy in lov and comedy that in no way excludes admiration.�. She had such a gentle.t c::." the fourth one said. In short. and so this incomparable girl got herself married.lVit�. gulped and swallo��_c!. m()s. she would repeat these words which so to�d��d and tickled me at the same time. forgot their duties. �ryone forgot their y�pre­ own food to watch her eat. . by some juggler's trick known only to himself. 'I am hungry. dear friend. Even the waiters and the la(f siding over the desk.' And day and night. _�. dreamy. admired my last mistress. she left me . English and romantic way of saying.� . She ate. I could have made a fortune displaying her at street fairs as a polyphagous monster.'::VQured. after a few moments."For a whole­ sale grocer."Well. at least.' Nothing about her had changed. like myself. I fed her well but. a kind of commissary clerk who. is able to keep the poor child supl�Iit!!t w. chewed. no doubt?" ." "As for me. That. I should have married her. displaying the prettiest teeth imaginable.ith the rations of several soldiers. in spite of that. The unequal duel ended by disgusting me. After showing me her six beautiful children she said : " 'Well. Some years later the fancy struck me to see her again. munched. i�. . "I have endured the most atrocious suffering through the exact opposite of what is known and reproved as feminine selfishness. I lived intimately for some time with a living phenomenon. !. and the third began in his turn : "Gentlemen. caught by this contagious ecstasy. Whenever we went to a restaurant. the wife is still as virginal as your mistress was.' �hat I have always supposed.air in th� wof1cl-shekept -�e in ecstasy for a long time. I believe. was in admiration before her. I have known a sort of sure which you have probably neglected." ." The others laughed. I find it quite thankless [ 87 ] V . .together for a year she finally confessed that she had never felt the least £leasure in love.re£���. Sometimes I have my regrets. And every one. something of the sort. more than you loved or hated yours.

. I. she never asked for gratitude. either of j udgment or s�i1iunent. as the final horror. once the danger was past. with the ironic fidelity of my own conscience. unfortunately. so that I could never make a thoughtless ges­ ture. if you had been yoked to a certain woman I have known. I don't know how many �r mIsgUIded acts she saved me from and that I bItterly regret n2t having committedl How many debts she made me pay in spite of myself! She deprived me of all the benefits of my eaall my personal folli. . Imagine_ a Jl��son incapable of committing the least fault. "I never forgive ! " "Nervous as I know you to be. Love had become a crushing nightmare to me. K. as they say in politics. How many times I had to keep myself from taking her by the throat and crying: 'Can't you ever be imperfect. love �ffair n ce� oTnune -resemIires --a-voyage� vertiginously monotonous. And. G cowardly and frivolous as you . -unaglne-a dIsposition of a -hl. and an almost clerical physiognomy. Do or die. "so she is dead?" "Yes ! It could not go on like that.. and J.The-hi�t��y �{ thi. . both are . in . but lighted. Love (!IY seemed more l �-. a devo­ tlon simulated and without stress . _. miserable woman. -di�nship. In the end it was not I who died of it!" "Ah ! " said the others.lPeless sereni� . far too fortunate mortals. - [ 88 ] . or you would now be dead.I' '--- of you. to complain of the imperfec­ tions of your mistresses !" This was said in all seriousness by a man with a gentle and placid air. all my gestures. "You must ! " or else. over a surface as smooth and polished as a mirror that reflected all my feelings. that was the alternative fate held out for me ! One evening. so that I can love you without mortification and without anger ! ' For several years I continued to admire her with hate in my heart. as you see. gentleness without weak­ not n�ss. never indulge i�sh emotion without immediately perceiving the silent�o� of my inseparable spectre. the sort of eyes that say : "I wish it ! " or. With a cold impassible ruler slie barr whims. you would either have run away. survived. by very pale grey eyes . energy without viole .

. although it had. Then. What would you have had me do with her. I had to get rid of the creature without. since she was perfect?" The three other men looked at him with an uncertain and slightly stupefied expression. or to ill·treat. been admirably explained. however." "What ! " "What do you mean ? " "You mean . they ordered a few more bottles of wine.a woods . ? " "It was inevitable. But I had to find a way of reconciling this sentiment with the horror that the woman inspired in me . incapable of such an inexorable solution. [ 89 1 . or to dismiss an irreproachable servitor. showing her any disrespect. to kill Time which has such a hardy life. . we had taken a melancholy walk during which her eyes reflected all the sweetness of heaven. . . that is. as for themselves. . . I have too great a sense o f fairness to beat. half feigning to understand. while my heart was as hideous as hell . half implicitly admitting that they felt. as well as to accelerate Life which flows so slowly. . beside the sea . indeed. .

and execrable wife. dear angel. he added : "Ah. twitting her husband on his want of dexterity. Then bowing to his dear. and respectfully kissing her hand. delectable. And is not killing that monster the most ordinary and legitimate occupation of all of us? Gallantly. with its nose in the air and its haughty mien ? Well now. delectable and execrable wife. saying that it would be pleasant to take a shot or two to kill Time.XLIII THE G A L LAN T M AR KS M A N As THE CARRIAGE was going through the woods. thank you so much for my dexterity ! " [ 90 ] . and perhaps a large part of his genius as well. his inevitable and pitiless Muse. The doll was neatly decapitated. one even buried itself in the ceiling. then. my dear angel. he turned toward her brusquely and said : "You see that doll over there to the right. Several shots went wide of the mark ." And he closed his eyes and fired. he had it stop near a shooting gallery. I am going to imagine it is you. and as the charming creature began to laugh hilariously. he held out his hand to his dear. to the mysterious woman to whom he owed so many pleasures and so many pains.

" All of a sudden I felt a terrible blow of a fist on my back. saying : "Aren't you ever going to eat your soup. and heard a husky and charming voice. an hysterical voice. a hoarse brandy voice. and I was looking out of the open dining-room window contemplating those moving architectural marvels that God constructs out of mist. as the green eyes of my mad monstrous little beloved. edifices of the impalpable.XLIV T HE S O U P AN D THE CLO U DS My DEAR little mad beloved was serving my dinner . And as I looked I was saying to myself : "All those phantasmagoria are almost as beautiful as my beloved's beautiful eyes. the voice of my dear little beloved. you damned bastard of a cloud-monger ?" [ 91 ] .

"but well calculated to make any one thirsty ! Certainly the host of this tavern must appreciate Horace and the poet-pupils of Epicurus. And certainly heat and sun were rampant there. laborious men.interrupted at regular intervals by shots from a nearby shooting gallery that burst like the explosion of champagne corks in the midst of the murmurs of a muted symphony.the life of the infinitely small . impatient mortals who come to study the art of killing next to Death's sanctuary ! If you only knew how easy it is to win the prize." And he entered." remarked our foot-traveler. drank a glass of beer facing the graves. or without some emblem of life's brevity. The air was full of buzzing life . his brain heated by the sun. and where such a generous sun held sway. he heard a voice whispering within the grave on which he was seated. how easy it is to hit the mark. with the hot perfumes of Death all around him. A curse on your ambitions. indeed it looked as though the drunken sun was sprawled full length on the carpet of magnificent flowers. a curse on your schemes. except Death. and how everything is nothing. turbulent live men who have so little regard for the dead and their sacred repose. He may even know the supreme refinement of the Egyptians for whom no feast was complete without a skeleton."Singular sign. Then. Then he took a notion to go down to the cemetery where the grass was so tall and so inviting.XLV THE S HOO TIN G THE G A LLE R Y AN D CE M E T E R Y CEMETERY VIEW TAV ERN . you would not tire yourselves so. and you would [ 92 ] . and slowly smoked a cigar. manured by dissolution. And the voice said : "A curse on your targets and on your rifles.

the only mark worth hitting.not come here so often to trouble the slumbers of those who have hit the Mark long ago. life. detestable life ! " l 93 ] .

To make some one happy. Besides I am bored with dignity. I think not. splashing through the mud in the midst of a seething chaos." "My friend. Think of X! Think of Z! Don't you see how amusing it will be?" [ 94 ] . I decided it was less unpleasant to lose my insignia than to get my bones broken. at least ? Or notify the police?" "No. ah. I like it here. ambros· essences ! This is really the drinker a surprise. I was far too frightened to pick it up. be as low as I please and indulge in debauch like ordinary mortals. You are the only person who has recognized me. and what's more. it is perfectly delightful to think of some bad poet picking it up and brazenly putting it on. you know my terror of horses and vehicles. just now as I was crossing the boulevard in a great hurry. " "But aren't you going to advertise for your halo. and with death galloping at me from every side. So here I am as you see. Well. every cloud has a silver lining. old man ? You in such a place ! You the . Then too. exactly like yourself. I gave a sudden start and my halo slipped off my head and fell into the mire of the macadam. I reflected. what a pleasure ! Especially some one you can laugh at.LOS S OF A HALO AT ! You here. I can now go about incognito.

and long hair flying in the breeze with the strings of her bonnet. it was a tall. 's intern. Regnier overlooked : two or three pictures of famous doctors were hanging on the walls. what the devil !" "Ah ! Ah ! " she said still clinging to my arm and bursting out laughing. however. One detail. it can be found in several of the well-known classic French poets. But what's this? Where ever did you get these gray hairs? You weren't like that not so long ago when you were L . Come. You'll not be sorry. and as she offered me these good things. I remember you were always his assistant for serious operations. walking along under the gas lamps. and I heard a voice in my ear. this fantastic creature said : "Now make yourself comfortable. and herself lighted my cigar. hardly any make-up. [ 95 ] . yes. I am not a doctor. It will bring back those good days of your youth at the hospital. I'll come. A big fire. I promise you !" "Yes. I felt an arm being slipped into mine. "You're a doctor who likes to have his little joke. I can see that. I omit the description of her wretched lodgings . "so." I am passionately fond of mystery because I always hope to discover the solution. "No. Come home with me. How I was pampered." "Oh ! Yes ! you are a doctor. spiced wine. I've known many like that. saying : "Aren't you a doctor?" I looked . That was a man . cigars . make yourself at home. . or rather by this unhoped-for enigma." I said. So I let myself be piloted by this chance companion. robust young woman with very wide­ open eyes.XLVII M IS S B IS TO U R Y As I WAS nearing the end of the suburb. after the doctor. kindly let me go. my dear. but later.

." And from her wardrobe she took out a bundle of papers that contained nothing more nor less than pictures of famous doctors of the day. that's K. the famous English doctor ." she went on. Besides his name IS at the bottom. "those are the interns. the one who used to say when speaking of X.who liked to cut and hack and carve. saying : "You are a doctor. gentlemen ! ' Oh ! I go every­ where. But I happen to know him personally. "let me show you. the thread and the sponges. "Surgeon then ?" "No ! No ! unless it would be to cut off your head. looking at his watch after the operation : 'Five minutes. It was at the time of the uprisings.Now that is W. it's X. Blessed­ holy-ciborium-of-a-holy-mackerel ! " "Wait." "Why. How could such a handsome man have such a hard heart? . Look. How we used to laugh about it in Medical." A few minutes later she went on with the same tune. I certainly know doctors. He looks like a young lady.See." And she spread fan-like a mass of photographs of very much younger faces. I knew that." she said. Do you remember? . I caught him when he came to Paris. do you know this one?" "Yes. the one who informed against the insurgents who were his patients in the hospital. and this bundle is the externs.. my lamb ?" This unintelligible refrain made me leap to my feet. "Look.. [ 96 ] . "No ! " I cried furiously. aren't you. I tell you ! It was always you who handed him the instruments. lithographs by Maurin which for years might have been seen on the Quai Voltaire. doesn't he?" And as I was fingering another bundle tied with string also lying on the table : "Wait. : 'That monster who wears the blackness of his soul on his face ! ' And simply because they weren't in agreement on a certain matter. that is Z. of course you do. And how proudly he used to say.

" 1 thought. 1 have known so many. you know. and 1 don't dare tell him. come to see me often." She said this with perfect simplicity . They are so good. that although 1 am not sick 1 go to see them sometimes for nothing. 1 didn't j ust tell him brutally like that . "why do you think 1 am a doctor ? " "It's because you're s o sweet and s o good t o women. With me you don't have to worry ." And 1 still obstinately persisted : "Can you remember the time and the occasion when you first felt this particular passion ?" 1 had some difficulty in making her understand. There are some who say to me coldly : 'You are not sick at all ! ' But there are others who understand me because 1 am nice to them. just to see them. and even with a little blood on it. 1 am not bad looking although not too young. as a man might say to an actress he was in love with : "I should like you to be dressed in the costume you wear in the famous role you created." 1 said. 1 made him understand in all sorts of ways. so gentle. poor boy ! His comrades told me he didn't have a penny because his parents are so poor they can't send him anything. I've got a funny notion. 1 said to him : 'Come to see me.' But." "Singular logic." "And when they don't understand you . doctors ! 1 have discovered at the Pitie a young intern who is as pretty as an angel. and who is so polite ! And who has to work. That gave me courage. won't you darling?" "But. . ? " "Well ! a s 1 have bothered them for nothing. ."When we meet next time you'll give me your photograph too. of course. also pursuing my idee fixe. 1 leave ten francs on the mantlepiece. all these gentlemen. I'd like him to come to see me with his instrument case and his apron. 1 love them so. "Oh ! 1 never make a mistake . Finally [ 97 ] . 1 don't need money. 1 was so afraid of humiliating him. the dear boy ! Well. After all.

1 succeeded. But then she replied with such a sad air, and, as 1 remember, with downcast eyes : "I don't know 1 don't remember." What oddities one finds in big cities when one knows how to roam and how to look ! Life swarms with innocent monsters. Lord, my God, You the Creator, you the Master ; you who have made both Law and Liberty ; you the sovereign who permits, you the j udge who pardons; you who contain all motives and all causes, and who, perhaps, have put a taste for the horrible in my mind i,n order to convert my heart, like the cure at the point of the knife ; Lord have pity on, have pity on mad men and mad women ! 0 Creator ! can monsters exist in the eyes of the One who alone knows why they exist, who alone knows how they have been made and how they could not have been
. . .

made.

[ 98 ]

XLVIII

AN Y WHE R E

OU T

OF

THE

WOR L D

LIFE is a hospital where every patient is obsessed by the desire of changing beds. One would like to suffer opposite the stove, another is sure he would get well beside the window. It always seems to me that I should be happy anywhere but where I am.. and this question of moving is one that I am eternally discussing with my soul.

"Tell me, my soul, poor chilly soul, how would you like to live in Lisbon ? It must be warm there, and you would be as blissful as a lizard in the sun. It is a city by the sea ; they say that it is built of marble, and that its inhabitants have such a horror of the vegetable kingdom that they tear up all the trees. You see it is a country after my own heart ; a country entirely made of mineral and light, and with liquid to reflect them." My soul does not reply. "Since you are so fond of being motionless and watching the pageantry of movement, would you like to live in the beatific land of Holland? Perhaps you could enjoy yourself in that country which you have so long admired in paintings on museum walls. What do you say to Rotterdam, you who love forests of masts, and ships that are moored on the doorsteps of houses?" My soul remains silent. "Perhaps you would like Batavia better ? There, moreover, we should find the wit of Europe wedded to the beauty of the tropics."

;

[ 99 ]

Not a word. Can my soul be dead? "Have you sunk into so deep a stupor that you are happy only in your unhappiness ? If that is the case, let us fly to countries that are the counterfeits of Death. I know j ust the place for us, poor soul. We will pack up our trunks for Tomeo. We will go still farther, to the farthest end of the Baltic Sea ; still farther from life if possible ; we will settle at the Pole. There the sun only obliquely grazes the earth, and the slow alternations of daylight and night abolish variety and increase that other half of nothingness, monotony. There we can take deep baths of darkness, while sometimes for our entertainment, the Aurora Borealis will shoot up its rose-red sheafs like the reflections of the fireworks of hell ! " At last my soul explodes ! "Anywhere ! Just so it is out of the world ! "

L 100 ]

Nevertheless I seemed to be conscious of an obscure germ of an idea buried deep in my mind. like Socrates. if spirit moved matter or if a magnetizer's eye ripened grapes. It will be readily understood that I was in a dazed state of mind bordering on idiocy. As I was about to enter a bar. The passion for bad literature engenders a proportionate need for fresh air and cooling drinks. At the same time I heard a voice whispering in my ear. n I left my room with a terrible thirst. why should not I.XLIX B EAT U P THE P OO R FOR FIFTEEN days I had shut myself up i n my room and had surrounded myself with the most popular books of the day (that was sixteen or seventeen years ago ) . I had digested . Since Soc­ rates had his good Demon. far superior to the whole cata­ logue of old wives' remedies I had so recently scanned.or rather swallowed . have the honor of receiving a certificate of madness signed by the subtle Lelut and the knowing Baillarger ? 1 � [ 101 ] . would overturn thrones. or good Demon . who accompanies me everywhere. why should not I have my good Angel. it was the voice of my good Angel.all the lucubrations of all the purveyors of public happi­ ness . a voice I recognized perfectly. and of those who encourage them to believe that they are all dethroned kings.of those who advise the poor to become slaves. But it was still only the idea of an idea somethin infinitel va ue. a beggar held out his hat to me and looked at me with one of those unforgettable expressions which. and rich in twenty-four hours. I am speaking of books that treat of the art of making people happy. wise.

having been born delicate and never having learned to box. to warn or to prevent. however.n�q w9uld �isturb " me for some time. to beat me to a pulp. With a blow of my fist I closed one of his eyes which in an instant grew as big as a ball. I ��i! tha�I hl!<! fi?:. the decrepit vaga­ ho hurled himself at me and proceeded to give me two hlack � eyes. mine is a Demon of ��ti��. Thus it was that my energetic treatment had restored his pride and given him new life. """��Then. I knew I could not knock out the old man quickly. I then. -" Well. felled the sexegenarian. whereas mine deigns to advise. and to be worthy of liberty a man must fight for it. affirmer. I broke one of my finger nails breaking two of his teeth and since. strong enough to hreak his shoulder hlades.an is the equal of another only if he can prove it.�bi:i. him understand that I considered the argument settled.0 miracle ! 0 bliss of the philosopher when he sees the truth of his theory verified! . jump up with a force I should never have expected in a machine so singularly out of order. hy many signs. to knock out four of my teeth and. this difference between Socrates' Demon and mine.I saw that antique carcass turn over. this is WIiafllie' v�i�� �hisp�red to me : "X-. I seized him by the collar with one hand and with the other took him by the throat and began pounding his head against the wall. aI@ with a look of hate that seemed to me a very good omen. "having hy a vigorous kick in the hack.st ta!<:en the pre­ caution of looking around me and I felt sure that in this deserted �. finally made ."" I 1/ '-- There is. that his Demon appeared to him only to forbid. I picked up a large branch that happened to he lying on the ground. you are my equal! I heg you to do me the honor of sharing � p�E� • " [ 102 ] . mine is a great .b. Suddenly . a D�mori of com:h�t.: s. Poor Socrates had onl): a censor. suggest." Immediately I leaped upon the beggar. and beat him with the obstinate energy of a cook tenderizing a beefsteak. with the same branch I had used. persuade. and getting up I said to him with all the satisfaction of one of the Porch sophists : "Sir.

i!§ks YOII for alms you mllst apply the theory whicll I have jll_s. n���ili��p9he [ 103 ] .my purse.thl!(L�h!LP J!intul experience of tqdng o-Ut �-n you. if you are rea n a_��tygllr co!t����. And remember." ----neswore that he had understood my theory.s. and that he would follow my advice.

your immortal macaroon ! " Away. academic muse ! I'll have nothing t o do with that pedantic old prude. Today I should prefer to appeal to Stern. But it is not that painter of majestic nature I would call to my aid today. No.L THE FAITH F U L DO G To M. the faithful dog ! Return astride that famous ass of yours. Joseph Stevens. always so pleased with himself that he darts around visitors' legs or bounds indiscreetly into their laps. King-Charles. pup or lap. except the poor man whose companion he is. senti­ mental jester. the devil take those four-legged snakes called greyhounds. lively muse of cities to help me sing the song of the faithful dog. the dog everybody kicks around because he is dirty and covered with fleas. which always accom­ panies you in the memory of posterity . and the poet who looks upon him with a brotherly eye. and often as surly and insolent as a servant ! Above all. I invoke the friendly. My ADMIRATION for Buffon has never made me blush even before the young writers of my generation. But the devil take your pedigreed fop ! The vain impertinent quadruped. that do nothing but shake and haven't enough flair to pick up their own master's scent. He is as turbulent as a child. daintily held between his lips. incomparable jester. Dane. and inspire me with a song worthy of you on behalf of the poor dog. the pitiful dog. not enough sense in those flattened heads to play dominoes. to whom I would say : "Descend from the skies or rise from the Elysian Fields. as stupid as a prostitute. and above all let him not forget to bring along. [ 104 ] .dog. the mangy dog. No.

Others who. And they are very punctual without memoranda. leave their countryside to corne frisking around a lovely city bitch who is. they corne. as much as to say : "Take me with you. in pelting rain. through snow. mad with love. Through fog. they trot. has been so wonderfully sharpened by neces­ sity. a little negligent as to her appearance. they rise betimes and go seek· ing their daily bread.To their baskets with them ! All those tiresome parasites ! Back to their silken and tufted baskets ! For I sing the mangy dog. the homeless dog. through mire. unobservant man ? They go about their business. you ask. I sing the luckless dog who wanders alone through the winding ravines of huge cities. like that of the gypsy and the strolling player. Like the rest of us. their needs. their passions. as I [ 105 ] . or the one who blinks up at some poor outcast of society with his spiritual eyes. in bands. poor virgins who offer their unemployed hearts to dumb beasts since stupid men have no use for them." "Where do dogs go?" Nestor Roqueplan once asked in an immortal article which he has doubtlessly forgotten. driven by their fleas. Where do dogs go. Business appointments. others. nevertheless. Some of them sleep in tumble-down shacks on the outskirts of the city. or running after pleasure. but regularly every day they corne to town at the same hour to beg for alms at the door of some kitchen of the Palais Royale . and out of our j oint misery we will make a kind of happiness. marvelous mother and true patroness of native wit. note-books or card-cases. love affairs. or their obligations. and skulk in and out of carriage wheels. the pitiful. under the canicular sun. and grateful. but proud. like run-away negroes. the circus dog. Do you know lazy Belgium ? And have you admired. and which I alone. I'm afraid. they go. the roving dog. and perhaps Sainte-Beuve. still remember today. the dog whose instinct. trot five miles or more to share the meals that certain old maids prepare for them.

mangy dogs and disconsolate dogs. submissive and devoted. with troubadours' or soldiers' caps on their heads. dressed up in such sump­ tuous and such shabby suits. that the republic's dictionary might very well designate public benefactors. or a new flute of [ 106 ] . how happy and proud they are to be the horse's rival? And here are two dogs that belong to an even more civilized order. an iron stove. who are watching with all a sorcerer's vigilance. and who make it plain by their triumphant barking. at those two intelligent personages. And how many times have I thought that there must he somewhere (after all why not?) . the milkman's or the baker's. if you please. poor dogs. as recompense for so much courage. a nameless concoction simmering on the lighted stove. don't you think.have. that such zealous actors should not start out on the road without first fortifying their stomachs with a good. A painted wooden bed without curtains and with rumpled and bug-stained blankets. a few dilapidated musical in­ struments. Allow me to take you to the room of an itinerant clown who is himself absent for the moment. willing slaves. smiling and moved by these four-footed philosophers. a special paradise for good dogs. solid soup? And can't you forgive them their evident greediness. Oh ! the dreary furniture ! But look. if the republic were not too busy making men happy to waste time giving dogs their due. those sturdy dogs harnessed to the butcher's cart. who every day have to face the indifference of the public and the injustice of an impressario who always takes the lion's share for himself and who eats more soup all alone than the four little actors put together? How often I have stood watching them. a long­ handled spoon stuck into it like one of those poles atop a new building. two cane chairs. announcing that the masonry work is finished. patience and labor. the poor devils. a good cheese. It seems only fair. Doesn't Sweden­ borg affirm that there is one for the Turks and for the Dutch? The shepherds of Virgil and Theocritus were wont to re­ ceive for their various songs.

better make, or a goat with swollen udders. The poet, who has sung the song of the poor dog, received as his recompense a waistcoat of a hue that is both rich and faded, making you think of autumnal suns, the beauty of women past their prime, and Indian summer. No one present at the tavern of the rue Villa Hermosa will ever forget with what eagerness the painter stripped off his waistcoat and handed it to the poet, for he understood how right and fitting it was to honor the faithful dog in song. Just so, in former times, one of the magnificent Italian tyrants would have offered the divine Aretino, a gem·studded dagger or a court mantle, in return for a precious sonnet or a curious satiric poem. And every time the poet dons the painter's waistcoat he is forced to think of faithful dogs, philosophic dogs, and of Indian summers and the beauty of women past their prime.

[ 107 ]

E P ILO G U E

Happy of heart I climbed the hill To contemplate the town in its enormity, Brothel and hospital, prison, purgatory, hell, Monstrosities flowering like a flower. But you, 0 Satan, patron of my pain, Know I went not to weep for them in vain. But like old lecher tomIstress goe ,

Seeking but rapture, I sought out this trull Immense, whose helliSh c arm resuscItates. Whether in morning sheets you lie asleep, Hidden and heavy with a cold, or flaunt Through night in golden spangled veils, Infamous City, I adore you ! Courtesans And bandits, you offer me such j oys, The common herd can never understand.

[ 103 ]

POEMS FROM "FLOWERS O F EVIL"

The themes o f some o f the prose poems o f Paris Spleen are similar to those of verse poems in the Fleurs du Mal which Baudelaire had written earlier. Five of these poems, in which the "correspondence" is most apparent, have been chosen for comparison.

[ 109 ]

scent. that glide through gold and purple rivers. Fling wide their vast arms to embrace the glamour Of skies wherein the heat forever quivers. defunct. I'd shake it like a banner on the breeze. Be you my sea. resounding there. My soul. for me. Where ships. Your black river holds. where man and sap·filled tree Swoon in hot light for hours.HER HAIR o fleece that down her nape rolls. Hot Africa and languid Asia play (An absent world. as on the spray. I'll j ourney there. A dream of masts and rowers. As other souls on waves of music swim. Mine on its perfume sails. my soul delivers With long deep draughts of perfumes. and far away) Within that scented forest. I'll plunge my head in it. and clamour. caressed with wavelets there may measure Infinite rockings in embalmed leisure. A port. flames and sails. Strong tresses ! Be the breakers and gales That waft me. plume o n plume ! o curls ! 0 scent of nonchalance and ease ! What ecstasy ! To populate this room With memories it harbours in its gloom. Creative idleness that fears no storm ! [ llO ] . dark and dim. half-drunk with pleasure In this black ocean that engulfs her form.

Translated by Roy Campbell Cf: "A Hemisphere In Your Hair. like a shadow-stretching tent. and gourd from whence Deep-draughted wines of memory will flow. Rubies and pearls and sapphires there will sow. Along its downy fringes as I went I reeled half-drunken to confuse the scent Of oil of coconuts. with musk and tar." page 31 . That you to my desire be never slowOasis of my dreams. My hand forever in your mane so dense.Blue tresses. [ HI ] . You shed the blue of heavens round and far.

we've hurt the weak. have affronted everything we love and flattered what disgusts our heart . striking the midnight hour. prophetic day. today. that these our pious lips have kissed. and. Satan's loyal subj ect. like a sycophant at the board of some repulsive bloated Croesus. we've blasphemed the name of Jesus. Friday the thirteenth !-in despite of all we know that's good and right­ of heresy made great display . and the pale radiance we've blessed is but the corpse-light of decay .Q U E S T I O N I N G AT M I D N I G H T The clock. great bull-browed beast. throned and inert . yes. [ 1 12 ] . dull as clay. to give the brute his filthy sport we. for it's brute Matter. unquestionable God and Lord. ironically summons us to call to mind how we made use of this today that's here no more: -we have. whom we scorned wrongfully. but bowed low to Stupidity. cringing torturer. and.

thirstless have drunk. [ 113 ] . quick ! Blow out the lamp ! Stay hidden here in "this gloom till our last breath." page 15.and last. whose fitting glory is to show the raptures of the works of death. Translated by Frederick Morgan Cf: "One O'Clock In The Morning. we. and hungerless eaten ! Quick. to drown our vertigo in the full madness of despair. haughty high-priest of the Lyre.

There love and die among Those scenes that image you. And there love slow and long. Furniture that wears The lustre of the years Softly would glow within our glowing chamber. quietness.I N V I TAT I O N T O T H E V O YA G E M y child. Mirrors deep as the sea. there is nothing else but grace and measure. that sumptuous weather. Flowers of rarest bloom Proffering their perfume Mixed with the vague fragrances of amber . [ 1 14 ] . The walls all in an Eastern splendor hung­ Nothing but should address The soul's loneliness. Speaking her sweet and secret native tongue. There. Gold ceilings would there be. Drowned suns that glimmer there Through cloud-dishevelled air Move me with such a mystery as appears Within those other skies Of your treacherous eyes When I behold them shining through their tears. and pleasure. dream How sweet all things would seem Were we in that kind 'land to live together. my sister. Richness.

sheltered from the swells There in the still canals Those drowsy ships that dream of sailing forth . There. Then the canals. and pleasure. and pleasure. quietness. they ply Hither through all the waters of the earth." page 32. Richness. there is nothing else but grace and measure. [ 115 ] .There. Richness. quietness. It is to satisfy Your least desire. See. there is nothing else but grace and measure. The sun at close of day Clothes the fields of hay. at last the town entire In hyacinth and gold : Slowly the land is rolled Sleepward under a sea of gentle fire. Translated by Richard Wilbur Cf: "L'/nvitation A u Voyage.

Forcing safes behind carefully re-Iocked doors.C O ME S THE CHARMING EVENING Comes the charming evening. And thieves. It circulates securely in the city's clogged heart. reluctant as business-men. Easing the strain of sinews that have borne their rough Share of the burden . The panting of heavy bands. their sleek accomplices. evening is kind enough. Like a large alcove the sky slowly closes. whose shivering is the wind's. The solitary student now raises a burdened head And the back that bent daylong sinks into its bed. to their affairs. who have never heard of restraint or remorse. Cheap hotels. Like an enemy mining the foundations of a fort. Are filling with tarts. Or a worm in an apple. Prostitution spreads its light and life in the streets : Like an anthill opening its issues it penetrates Mysteriously everywhere by its own occult route . Return now to their work as a matter of course. and crooks. the theatres' clamour. the criminal's friend. eating what all should eat. The heat and hiss of kitchens can be felt here and there. Against the lamplight. And man approaches his bestial metamorphosis. Comes conspirator-like on soft wolf tread. Meanwhile darkness dawns. the haunts of dubious solaces. Their ponderous flight rattling the shutters and blinds. filled with demon familiars Who rouse. To get a few days' living and put clothes on their whores_ [ 116 ] . To arms that have laboured. it is evening that relents To those whom an angry obsession daily haunts.

[ 117 ] . many a one has never even known The hearth's warm charm. Translated by David Paul Cf: "Evening Twilight. this is a serious moment. Their groans overflow the hospital. my soul." page 44. with some friendly soul. More than one Will not come back to taste the soup's familiar flavour In the evening.Collect yourself. by his own fire. Night touches them like a torturer. Pity such a one. Pay no further attention to the noise and movement. pushes them to the open Trapdoor over the gulf that is all too common. Indeed. This is the hour when the pains of the sick sharpen.

Swan-white of heart. Translated by F. I hate all movement that disturbs my pose . The placid mirrors of my luminous eyes.B E A UT Y I am a s lovely a s a dream i n stone . neither do I weep. P. Have pools of light where beauty flames and dies. a sphinx no mortal knows. and as taciturn." page 10. My poets pray in austere studious moods. Before my monumental attitudes. Taken from the proudest plastic arts. [ U8 ] . to fold enchantment round their hearts. My throne is in the heaven's azure deep . I smile not ever. For I. My breast on which each finds his death in turn Inspires the poet with a love as lone As everlasting clay. Sturm Cf: "Venus And The Motley Fools.

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