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of the


Maurice Maeterlinck


Mrs. Andrew




924 052 989 138

Cornell University Library


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The Measure

of the

Translated by

Alexander Teixeira de Mattos



JAN us 1990

p.W HrJ CorYMGHT. By Dodd. 1906. 1907. 1905. Putnam's Sons Copyright. igarj . By Harper and Brothers Copyright. copykight. 1905. 1904. 1907. DurniLD and Company By G. Mead and Company Published^ April. By Maurice Maeterlinck Copyright. By Fox. 1905. 1907.

some two or three are now published. for the first in English. including the Fortnightly Review. the the Critic. the author The thanks of and translator are due to the proprietors and editors of these periodicals for their leave to republish in the present volume. Quarterly. newspapers and magazines. at different times. The remainder have in appeared. and others. time. Harper's Magazine. the Atlantic Monthly. the International Daily Mail. .Note Of the essays forming this volume.


Contents .




in the moun- When. Let us have for these privi- leged hours a nobler measure than that into which we pour the ordinary hours. among by the sea. continuously. the fair hours of the year. the last hours which at gates of leisure. the hours for which we have waited open to us the golden let and hoped since the depths of winter. return for our delight. glorious. gather their dazzling minutes Let us in unaccus- tomed urns. voluptuously. us learn to enjoy them fully.THE MEASURE OF THE HOURS SUMMER tains or is the season of happiness. transparent and made of the very light which they are to contain. the trees. .

The Measure of common the Hours in the even as we serve a costly wine not glass of the daily table. II structed that The measuring we of time I We its are so con- cannot be made conscious of time and impressed with joys or sorit. having no existence in it itself. its like an It takes shape. of the instrument that rules reason. it contrived in order to render and. acquires its substance and value only in compli- cated forms of apparatus which we have apparent. It 12 behoves us. rows unless we count and weigh invisible currency. the perfume and the shape it. the minutes ticked off For this little by our watches wear a different aspect from those prolonged by the great hand of the belfry or cathedral-clock. but in the purest cup of crystal and silver locked in the sideboard of the banqueting-room. there- . bor- rows the taste.

sky or At most. hurry and restlessness. methodi- cally. inertness or their joy? stance. sect is no more than a stubborn gnawing mechanically rest. shade and brilliancy vary according as they are called to carry to our lips light claret or rich burgundy. business. their It is fitting. days of bustle.The Measure fore. harshly divided and registered by the metal wheels and hands and the enamelled faces of our chimney-clocks. at a life devoid of horizon. should be strictly. the immense human form in- of eternity. at the stroke. majestic time. warning moment that precedes the 13 . or the gladness of champagne. our electric or pneumatic dial-plates or our small pocketwatches. Here. why should not our minutes be numbered in ways appropriate to their melancholy. the master of gods and men. cool hock or heavy port. Even we have upon glasses whose shape. not to of the Hours be indifferent to the birth of the as hours. that for in- our working months and our winter days.

The Measure during the of the Hours evening snatched. of sickness and let pain. Ill On the other hand. no longer continues as an instrument of time. from the cares of hunger or vanity. us regret the time-honoured. over the fastidious It cooking of our boiled eggs. some country kitchen. dejected and silent hour-glass of our ancestors. but really sombre. will the great copper pendulum of the Dutch or to Norman clock be allowed make slower and more impressive the seconds that go before the steps of grave night advancing. for our hours no longer indifferent. for our hours of discouragement. except where. it in piti- may still be found presiding. for the dead minutes of our life. too-short under the lamp. of self-denial. though 14 . It is to-day no more than an inactive symbol on our tombstones or the funeral hangings of our churches. fully fallen.

of terror and weariness. for the hours stripped of their joys. naming no hour.The Measure it still of the Hours scythe. its And yet had In merits and reasons for existence. It did not state time with pre- it stifled it in powdery particles. cision .. a measure filled as whose place no other could have gracefully. The minutes sped by in dust. their doors in the convents that and windows only to the wavering glimmers of another world. their happy surprises and their ornaments. in company with the on its its antiquated blazon. in the around the abode of the dead. isolated from the circumambient phial even as the cell. the in their glass in his garden and space. the dull. sad days of cloisters built human opened thought. their smiles. burying all in them the funeral sand. the sand-glass was. life of the sky. secluded monk was secluded marking. more awful than our own. It was made for counting one by one the sands of prayer and waiting. while the un15 . it figures.

in the garden. more and lingering days. I trust only in the great divisions of light which the sun names to me with the warm shadow which reflects of its rays on the marble dial there. believe more open. as though it were doing an insignificant thing. it seems best to enjoy the glowing succession of the hours in the order in which marked by the orb itself that showers them upon our leisure. our poor 16 human . IV Between the glorious banks of flaming summer. this By immediate. beside the lake.The Measure of dumb and the Hours occupied thoughts that watched over their incessant fall passed away with them to be added to the ashes of the dead. directs the stars. In these they are wider. this only authentic tranof the scription wishes of time which hour. the course of our worlds through planetary space. and records in silence.

some old ancient palace. infinity a direct and urgent fragrance of that render vaster and the dazzling. which alone knew how is to follow with dignity the grave spotless hours. the sun-dial.The Measure which rules our of the Hours all meals and the little actions of our little lives. found save in the main on the stone terraces. some face where its gilt figures. Unfortunately. on the sunny gable 17 . of some old town. hardly anywhere to be court. Nevertheless. more health-giving dewy mornings and almost of the fair motionless afternoons and immaculate summer. and luminous march of the becoming rare and It is is disappearing from our gardens. among the quincunxes castle. Here we often see displayed. in the mall. acquires a nobility. Provence and some of the mained Italian market-towns have re- faithful to the celestial clock. its and style are wearing away under the hand of the very god whose worship they should perpetuate.

" says an old marble . I tell dial in y* hours. strive human with incomprehensible la justice phenomena. because of the fill place which they and the part which they to blend the play in a vast soul life.The Measure of the Hours of the brightest of old. And mottoes. near to where I live." "Amydst i8 y^ flowres. "L'heure de ne sonne pas aux cadrans de ce monde: the hour of justice does not strike on the dials of this world. resembles a miniature Toledo re- duced to a skeleton by the sun. that almost African little village. less. dilapidated countryhouses. profound or art- but always significant. the frescoed circle over which the fairy sunbeams carefully measure their progress. which. that extraordinary." says the inscription on the sun-dial of the church at Tourette-sur-Loup. amid the crumbling rocks and clambering aloes and fig-trees. Another radiant clock-face proudly proclaims "A lumine motus" as its motto: "I am moved an old by the light.

to watch only for the smiles and neglect the frowns of fate. to compose our lives of bright and gentle moments. But one of the that which Hazlitt discovered one : day near Venice Serenas. is of the Hours prettiest legends.' " he adds. unless as is marked by what is joyous and all not happy descends into oblivion.The Measure garden." "Horas non numero nisi " 'I count only the hours that are serene. feeling! "What a bland and care-dispelling How the shadows seem to fade on the dial-plate as the sky lours its and time progress that is presents only a blank. unheeded or forgotten 19 . turning always to the sunny side of things and letting the rest slip from I" our imaginations. surely. fine lesson is What a conveyed to the mind to take its no note of time but by benefits.

The Measure of the Hours The clock. without face or form. He who will see has learnt to descry them space them turn by turn touching earth altar to and leaning over the mysterious offer a sacrifice to the god ours. Around the marble disk which adorns the terrace or the crossing of two wide ave- nues and which harmonises so well with the majestic staircases and spreading balus- trades or with the green walls of the thick quickset hedges. but cannot know. throbbing shadow of in the the wing of the great god that hovers sky. whom man honHe will see them advancing in diverse 20 and changing gar- . They are the instruments of the anaemic time of our indoor rooms. of time enslaved and captive. but the sun-dial reveals to us the real. the hour-glass. the vanished clepsydra give abstract hours. we enjoy the fleeting but undeniable presence of the beamy in hours.

it speaks no word. next. passes in silence over the spheres of space. . flowers or dew visi- the as yet diaphanous and hardly ble hours of the dawn cruel. finally. as it Time marches over it in silence. the last hours of in slow and sumptuous. of the Hours fruit. and. crowned with first. The sun-dial gives a . twilight. : The Measure ments. their sisters of noon. sun-dial alone is worthy to measure the splendour of the months of green and Like profound happiness. but the church of the neighbouring village lends it at moments its bronze voice and nothing is so harmonious as the sound of the bell that strikes a chord with the dumb gesture of its shadow marking noon amid the sea of blue. VI The gold. ardent.. resplendent. almost implacable. delayed their progress towards approaching night by the purpling shadow of the trees.

the drowsiness of the pond covered with drops of sweat formed by the duck-weed. plains and hills abandoned without defence to the devouring magnificence of the sunlight. all the confused thoughts of the tall trees that guard like a sacred treasure the coolness which night has entrusted to their care. windows of greedy to draw in the horizon. meet . all the its indolence of the brook flowing between gentle banks.The Measure of centre the Hours and successive names to scattered and All the poetry. to- gether with thousands of things and thou- sands of lives that escape our sight. the birds singing in the order of the hours to weave garlands of gladness for them in the sky : all these. all the blissful intensity of the corn-fields. the scent the flowers hastening to finish a day of scorching beauty. in its white front. all nameless joys. all the mysteries of the firmament. the satisfaction of the house that opens. the delights of the country-side.

performs on the road of the stars. 23 . marks with a kindly ray the daily journey which the earth. with all that it carries. which but one of the wheels of the huge ma- chine that vainly subdivides eternity.The Measure and take stock of this is of the Hours around their continuance mirror of time on which the sun.




Is Do all things end at death? after-life ? there an imaginable Whither do we go and what be- comes of us? side of the What frail awaits us on the other illusion which we call existence ? At the moment when our heart stops beating.IMMORTALITY the new era whereupon we are enterIN ing. does eternal darkness ? light begin. and wherein the religions no longer reply to the great questions of mankind. or endless Like all that exists. does matter triumph. one of the problems on which we cross- examine ourselves most anxiously the life is that of beyond the tomb. we are imperishable. or mind. We cannot conceive that anything should 27 .

all is. hardly probable. That which appears to disappear to perish or. since after perhaps but a sort of reflection of the universe. at least. we do not know with what realities these appearances correspond. By the side of in- finity. itself is and follow upon the form and fashion under which we see imperishable matter but . blinds them. They is are the texture of the bandage which laid upon our eyes and which gives them. All that is is will be eternally. that the images of our Remove . the universe which strives We is should even have to say the it that it works in the reverse direction to universe. is. Otherwise. the under all pressure that life. we should be it to believe that our brain has nothing in common with to conceive.The Measure of be lost in the Hours the universe. which all. that is and there nothing driven not. it is impossible to imagine a state of nothingness into which an atom of matter can fall and be annihilated.

fate of that small part of our life the which used to existence. as we conceive when its we reflect upon the consequences of ego is de- struction. This ego. The only point that is touches us. that. all subsists in : and nothing perishes these are things that hardly interest us. since we recognise that both are waves that flow away and are renewed inIs it an immovable point which cessantly. for these are always in evolution. in this eternal persistence. this neither our mind nor our body.Immortality bandage what remains ? : Do we enter into the reality that undoubtedly exists beyond ? Or do the appearances themselves cease to exist for us? II That self the state of nothingness is impossiit- ble. which is . could not be form or substance. after our death. nor 29 life. perceive phenomena during our We call it our consciousness or it our ego.

The Measure of the cause or effect of- the Hours form and substance ? where dwells. to be a somewhat external. hend or define to tell it When we we try to go back to its last find hardly more than a succession of memories. source. it is impossible for us to appreit. a series of ideas. on the other hand. one of those which disappear the most promptly at the least disturbance of our health. and unsettled. confused. attached to the one instinct of living : a series of habits of our sensibility and of conscious or unconscious reactions against the surrounding the most is phenomena. In truth. 30 . steadfast When of all is said. which seems. one of the frailest faculties of our brain. a somewhat accessory faculty and. in any case. point that nebula our memory. for that matter.

fleeting and precarious ego so much the centre of our being. will give us no pleasure. the worlds. the . indisis cernible. understands and governs Our instinct is persuaded that all this will not affect us. it is wise indifferent to us that our intellect life should expand until it mixes with the of it.Immortality III It matters not. lightful become flower. know every joy and every undergo the most splendid and detransformations. will not happen to ourselves. unless that memory of a few almost always insignificant facts accompany us and witness those unimaginable joys. beauty. It is a matter of utter indifference to us its that sub- throughout eternity our body or stance should glory. interests us so exclusively that every reality of our life disappears before this phantom. I care not 31 if the loftiest. star. that uncertain. light. air. like- perfume.

now set loose. the fairest portions my mind be and radiant in the supreme gladnesses: they are no longer mine. which like a mirror about this world whose phethey are nomena take shape only reflected in it.The Measure of eternally living the Hours of freest. while expressing since it is on one of the accessory and most transient 33 . I do not know them. Death I has cut the network of nerves or memories that connected them with know not what They are centre wherein lies the sensitive point which I feel to be all myself. floating in is space and time. in so far as IV Thus our longing itself for immortality destroys itself. and their fate to as unknown Anywithin me as that of the farthest stars. thing that occurs exists for me is only upon it condition that I be able to recall that mysterious being which I know not I turn where and precisely nowhere.

identity is for us as though it Most of the religions have understood this and have taken account of 33 . the strange consciousness formed during a few years of movement. all that may ensue no longer concern us. Immortality parts of our whole life that interest of that. seems to us our existence be not continued with its the greater part of pettinesses it. of the and blemishes that characterise it nothing will distinguish it from that of other beings. but profound instinct. Any immortality that does not drag with it through eternity. thenceforth. if we It base all the our after-life. that will become a drop of ignorance in the ocean of the unknown and will that.. "What immortality can one promise to men who almost necessarily conceive it in this guise? How can we help it?" asks a puerile. mark of our were not. any immortality that does not bear that indelible . drawbacks. like the fetters of the convict that we were.

The Measure of time destroys the the Hours that instinct which desires and at the after-life. us into the of time in order that are stand and enjoy we may underwe not wishing to Are perceive an object with the aid of an organ that is not intended to perceive it? we in not asking that our hand should dis- cover the light or that our eye should take perfumes? Are we not. same It is thus that the Catholic Church. should think 34 necessary to . it order to recognise himself. to be quite sure that he is himself. but even the resurrection of our own flesh. promises us not only the integral preservation of our earthly ego. When almost we demand that this small consciousness. on the other in hand. going back to the most primitive hopes. that this sense of a special ego childish and. extraordinarily limited : probably an infirmity of our actual intelligence infinity —should accompany it. acting like a sick man who. There lies the crux of the riddle. in — any case.

all our ideal hopes and dreams of paradise will be reduced for him to the confused sense of well-being that follows the allaying of a pain. rate than is is more the habit of comparisons. heat and cold. having never been invoked from without. The 35 intellect. He has been in this condition from his birth and has just attained his thirtieth year. a gathered in memory. for that matter. probable that all human joys. of weariness and more or less keen physical sufferings.Immortality continue his sickness in his health and in the boundless sequence of his days? The accuPic- comparison. for lack of other of few wretched sensations of rest. of It is hunger and thirst. What can the hours have embroi- dered on the imageless web of this poor life ? The unhappy man must have the depths of his recollections. will sleep . then. is the only possible equipment of that consciousness and that ego. ture a blind man who is also paralysed and deaf. This.

the head of dawn rising over the in the trees. the song of the birds murmuring of the wind of the water against its in the leaves and banks. the life to of the Hours itself. knowing nothing of Neverlittle poor wretch will have his which he will cling by bonds as naras row and eager piest of though he were the hapwill men. the ringing 36 . the plain.The Measure soundly. light and love for the icy darkness of the tomb. He dread death. through the open window at the his bed. and the idea of entering into eternity without carrying with ries him the emotions and memo- of his dark and silent sick-bed will plunge him into the same despair into which we are plunged by the thought of abandon- ing a life of glory. Let us now suppose that a miracle suddenly quicken his eyes and ears and reveal to him. theless.

What will be the state of that ego. by a freak which is readily admissible in this sort of cure. wipes out in him all memory of days past. its work. if point. and. of that central focus. the "egotic" point of our I may venture to coin a word? re- Memory being abolished.Immortality of human voices among the morning hills. completing limbs. upon whereof no dream could have given him a foretaste. introducing him to this inconceivable and unintelligible existence. restore the use of stretches his his He rises. the spot in which converges right to our life. staggers out amidst the effulgence all and his dissolves in these marvels. health. the receptacle of all our sensations. arms to that prodigy which as yet for neither reahty nor him possesses name: the whole body light! He opens the door. all that belongs in its own the supreme being. Let us suppose also that the same miracle. will that ego 37 . He a sky enters upon an in- effable life.

awaking and suddenly displaying an unprecedented activity. that neighbour's. irrecognisable. was? A new the intellect. that has issued from the long silence and the darkness to prolight? Itself in harmony and Can we reflux of picture the disarray. that will make him recognise that it is indeed in him that the liberating it is miracle life has been his wrought. but substantially the same. the I intellect and know not what other faculties. dull germ whence has sprung? At what corner of his past will the man clutch to continue his identity? And yet will there not survive within him some sense or instinct. idea in Have we yester- what manner the ego of 38 day will unite with the ego of to-day and . the flux and that bewildered consciousness? any.The Measure of cover within that itself the Hours man a few traces of the force. inde- pendent of the memory. indeed his and not transformed. what relation will that intellect keep up with the it inert.

at any moment in life with- out feeling the least anxiety. how can we hope his to solve the other problem at the that presents Itself before every man moment of death? VI This sensitive point. we attach so high a value. will bear self in that delirium we it- and that upheaval ? suffi- Let us cient first endeavour to reply with to this preciseness question which comes within the scope of our actual and visible life . immortality certain . in the presence of death. we lose. this mys- terious point. 39 Not only is . except in so far as is concerned. strange to say. in which the whole it problem one is summed up. for is the only it is in question and. to which. if we are unable to do this. the only point which are anxious to preserve intact.Immortality how the "egotic" point. and. the sensitive point of the personality.

effort. without it yielding up to us the pleasure which tains. except in pain. con- One would it say that the functions of the organ by which bring we taste life and home to ourselves are intermittent. a little opium. in We often need an turning back upon ourit. At the least distraction. a A little wound. a happiness passes beside us without touching us. selves to recapture to become aware that is such or such an event occurring to us.The Measure of it the Hours destroyed nightly in our sleep. smoke are enough to obit. a literate it is it. Even when nothing impairs not constantly perceptible. the shock or the 40 . an few glasses of alcohol. What reassures us it is that we believe ourselves sure to find intact on awaking. often interrupted or suspended and that the presence of our ego. position. but even in waking it is at the mercy of a host of indis- accidents. is but a rapid and perpetual sequence of departures and returns. a shock. after the wound.

these questions of life that in and death. claims privileges which. so feel it fragile do we to be. if obtained. here it still it loiters over the games of the itself earliest ages. our imagAlmost precedes reason. because they are too small. were more to be dreaded than the most enormous disasters with which nihility threatens us.Immortality distraction. pending others which is the future will no doubt reveal. It surrounds with the dreams and the barbarous longings wherewith it lulled the hopes and fears of cave- dwelling man. every elsewhere. but ination has remained very childish. that it is bound to disappear for ever in the terrible concus- sion that separates life from death. whereas we are persuaded. Can we think without shuddering of an 41 . It asks for things that are It impossible. VII One foremost truth.

we obey the illogical whims of what used to be called la folle du logis! Which of us. ^would those of us would not welcome that the secular sleep with same confidence as the gentle slumbers of his every night? Far from dreading it.The Measure of the Hours eternity contained wholly within our infini- tesimal actual consciousness? And behold how. in all this. how on much would remain and how much of themselves would they 42 find again . would not many hasten to make the trial with eager curiosity ? Should we not see numbers of men assail the dispenser of the fairy sleep with their prayers and implore as a favour what they would deem life? a miraculous prolongation of their And yet. if he went to sleep to-night of awaking in a in the scientific certainty hundred years intact. during that sleep. with his body all even on condition that he lost his previous life memory of memories not be useless? — —which brief. as he is to-day.

to the question us. an awakening here as alien to him as the birth child. between real death and this sleep only the difference of that awak- ening deferred for a century. what answer do we when it has to do not but with the things that breathe with us on earth? Are we concerned. affectionate and intelli- gent dog. becomes.but a repul43 . about the after-life of the animals ? The most faithful. their consent new world? all and their hopes at the beginning of that long night would depend upon that There is. in fact. would connect them with the being that was to awake without memories. non-existing link. once dead. unknown. in a Nevertheless.Immortality awaking? What link. at the moment when they closed their eyes. for instance. who had gone to sleep would be of a posthumous VIII On make with the other hand.

the vegetable This right to believe ourselves so 44 . but very unsophisti- cated habits and of the longing to eat and drink.The Measure sive carcass. for all eternity. to sleep in the warm and to greet manner which we know. It does not of the Hours of. would appear rather and space should ridiculous to us that time preserve preciously. among of the stars and the boundless mansions of the sky. or It there be another world for dogs. the soul of a five poor beast. so not exist even between the mineral and the vegetable. which we hasten to get rid even seem possible to us to ask ourselves life if any part of the already spiritual in which we loved in him if subsist else- where our memory.- what could remain of that entirely of the composed few needs of a rudimentary body. soul. when that body has ceased to exist? Yet by what right do we imagine between ourselves and the animal an abyss that does and the animal? far. made up or six touching. his kind Besides.

first of IX It would be impossible to set forth all the paralogisms of our point which imagination on the we are discussing. this pretension to place ourselves in a category and a kingdom to which the very gods whom we all have created would not always : have access these are what we must examine. is What we if It is to take with us our soul. we should its even be vexed' were to escort us with its inevitable drawbacks. Thus. Upon it reflection. Its blemIntend shall and its absurdities. anxious that infinity it We are not at all in the should accompany us of time. we are pretty easily resigned to the dissolution of our body in the grave. But what we answer to one who asks us be pos- sible to conceive that this soul anything more than the sum total of our intellectual 45 .Immortality different from all that lives upon earth. ishes faults.

Even when in a the former are completely destroyed being whom we love. our subconsciousness ? Now. we do not consider lost that his we have ego. tress ourselves. we see these same faculties become impaired in either ourselves or others. when. however. we do not dis- we do not despair any more than we distress ourselves or despair when of we behold strength. if you will make full measure — — to to all those which fall within the jurisdiction of our instinct. But. his him or that he has lost moral personality. We should not think that he mourn his loss. seems to us quite natural that the state of one set of faculties should depend upon the state of the others. nothing remains. at the approach of old age. death preserved those of annihilation. faculties in their state 46 . we should not if was no more. of the Hours added. our unconsciousness. the slow decline of our physical We keep intact our dim hope It an after-life. of which.The Measure and moral faculties.

a glass chimney. where it goes when I Then. It contains no mystery it is the oldest. The it. we cannot. at least for the mo- ment.Immortality if we do not attach a capital importance to the dissolution of our body in the tomb. when it I ask myself what I call whence comes when extinguish it. I see in all a wick. riddle begins only this light is. imagine an acceptable answer to the question of immortality. suddenly. my table. the best known and the most familiar object in it oil. ished ? Why on be aston- Here stands my lamp . take to pieces and which might 47 . and of this forms light. around this small object which I can lift. the house. what is it that we ask death to spare and of what unrealisable dream do we demand the realisation? X In truth. or to the dissolution of our intellectual faculties during life.

every tion will multiply the word of the definiunknown and. at thousands of milintelligence In lions of leagues from our time and space? 48 . how can we hope to penetrate the mystery of a life of which the simplest elements are situated at millions of years. the proximate causes and the effects are contained within a china bowl. the life of a gleam of familiar light of which all the elements were created by ourselves.: The Measure of have been fashioned by the Hours the riddle my hands. open unexpected doors into endless night. If we know sence. on nothing of the es- every side. should one of definitions them venture upon one of those known as scientific. of which the source. table all the Gather round my men that live tell this earth this little not one will be able to flame die at is what which I cause to take birth or to pleasure. upon us becomes unfathomable. my And. the destiny.

on my side. There is perhaps no relation possible or imaginable between the organ that puts the question and the reality that ought to reply to it. it has not advanced a single step on the road of the mystery which question which ject we we are contemplating. notably in England. soci- Learned and conscientious psychical eties. is the sphere in which our intelligence formed and moves. No ask ourselves on the sub- touches. No sincere mind now dreams of mentary and other evidence 49 denying the possibility of these facts supported by docu- as conclusive .Immortality XI Since humanity began to exist. have got together an imposing collection of irrefutable facts which prove that the life of the spiritual or nervous being can continue for a certain time after the death of the material being. The most active and searching en- quiries of late years have taught us nothing.

But all this merely removes by a few lines. even as every- thing is strange in a world of which first we do shows not understand the at word but . phenomenon to be an astonishing one but given the nature of that spiritual force. 50 we ought much . the . the breath.The Measure of as that the Hours our firm- which serves as a basis for est scientific convictions. a person whom I love. clearly recognisable and apparently so much alive that I speak to It. by a few hours the If the ghost of beginning of the mystery. is Certainly. it most that the soul. very strange. even as the flame of a lamp which we extinguish sometimes becomes detached in from the wick and hovers for a moment the darkness. enter my room to-night at the very minute when life is quitting the body at a thousand miles that Is. from the spot where I am. no doubt. the nervous and indiscernible force of the subtlest part of itself our matter can disengage it from that matter and survive for an instant. the spirit.

at our pleasure. of a supraterrestrial a life different from that whence it just abandoned by the body emanated. SI and disappear for agree that this . since it is matter.. at that moment rid of it when it ought to be pure. question. pursue mechanically the most insignificant of their accustomed preoccupations. in a sort of somnambulistic dulness. evaporate ever. its One looks for hat. Most of them. throws a to no light upon the Never has single one of those phantasms appeared have the least consciousness of a life. at die And all of the them. moment when I real after-life ought to begin. seems greatly inferior to what was when enveloped in matter. it In any case. a little later. Immortality more astonished the fulness of that it is not produced in more frequently and life. the spiritual life of all of them. which is it has left on a chair or table another troubled about a small debt or anxious to know the time. On the contrary. new life.

even as all our efforts would fail to give a man blind from birth the least notion of light or colour. afterwards. In any case. We last do not know first whether these brief apparitions be the of the glimmers of a new or the present existence.The Measure of the Hours proves nothing either for or against the possibihty of the after-life. the English call exactly have problem where it has been since the begin- ning of human consciousness. Perhaps the dead. it is certain that the investigations that and the labours of "Borderland" as left the new science of the it. despite all their efforts. Perhaps. thus use and turn to ac- count the last bond that links them and makes them around to still perceptible to our senses. because we have not the organ needed to perceive them. S2 . make themselves recognised or to give us an idea of their presence. they continue to live us. for want of a better. but fail.

our eternal amine the different Now. in which we are. and puerile whether for men or for plants and animals. sis. one sees scarcely a means of finding a reasonable place for infinite time. A first hypothe- to be put aside off-hand. narrow. of our con- sciousness or our actual ego. promises us the more or less integral preservation. A second hypothesis. which a little more so plausible than the first. it in boundless space and that. we ex- are compelled to admit that the most beautiful are not the least probable. then. through the infinity of time. so naive. as we have seen. but at bottom that. without discus- son. our imagination has the choice of destinies. We have also is studied this hypothesis. eagerly cherished by our blind instincts.Immortality XII In the invincible ignorance. in that of absolute annihilation. when we possibilities. of all Let us add S3 our .

There remains the double hypothesis of an after-life without consciousness. Although double hypothesis is at the first view. to be really it of the Hours would be the only one dreaded and that annihilation pure and simple would be a thousand times preferable. which prevents us rather from conceiving. we are tempted to do. of which that which we it possess to-day can give us no idea.The Measure possible destinies. that an after-life without consciousness is is equivalent to annihilation 54 to settle a priori . as To say. whereas it is certain that those probably prodigious lights would dazzle on every side. even as our imperfect eye prevents us from conceiving any other light than that which goes from infra-red to ultra-violet. or with an enlarged and transformed consciousness. for instance. the soon brought back to the simple question of consciousness. in the darkest night. a pupil shaped differently from ours.

and without
reflection that

problem of conchief



and most
have pro-

obscure of

the problems that interest us.

as all the metaphysicians

claimed, the most difficult that exists, considering that the object of our knowledge

the very thing that


striving to



then, can that mirror ever facing

itself do,

save reflect

itself indefinitely


no purpose?

Nevertheless, in that re-


incapable of emerging

from the

multiplication of itself sleeps the only ray



able to throw light



the rest.


to be done?


no other

means of escaping from
than to deny

one's consciousness

to look





organic disease of the
gence, a disease which
to cure



we must endeavour

by an


which must appear to us

an act of violent and wilful madness, but
which, on the other side of our seeming,

probably an act of sanity.

The Measure of
But escape
fatally to

the Hours

impossible; and



prowl around our consciousness

based upon our memory, the most precarious of




being evident,


say, that

nothing can perish,

we must

needs have lived before our present
But, as


are unable to connect our previlife, this cer-

ous existence with our actual

as indifferent to us, passes as far as all the certainties of our later life.

from us




have, before


as after

death, the appearance of the



concerning which
to ask ourselves if


behoves us once more


does during the
really important

few days of




enough thus to decide, by reference to
alone, the

problem of immortality.


the fact that


enjoy our ego under so



ephemeral a form does

follow that there


no other mode of


no other

means of enjoying


A nation



to return to the comparison

which becomes

sums up our situation

in the

midst of the

darkness of the worlds, a nation of
blind from their birth, to



a solitary

traveller should reveal the joys of the light,

would deny not only that the


was posfor our-

but even imaginable.
is it



not very nearly certain that


lack here below,


a thousand other


sense superior

that of


consciousness, in order to have a

and surer enjoyment of our ego?
not be said that

May it

we sometimes


obscure traces or feeble desires of that bud-

ding or atrophied sense, oppressed



and almost suppressed by the

rule of

our terrestrial


centralises all the

evolutions of our existence upon the same
sensitive point ?

Are there not

certain con-

The Measure of

the Hours
however ruth-

fused moments in which,



we may


for egoism pursued to

most remote and

secret sources, there remains in us

thing absolutely



pleasure in the happiness of others?

not also possible that the aimless joys of art,
the calm

and deep

satisfaction into



are plunged by the contemplation of a

beautiful statue, of a perfect building, which

does not belong to
see again,


which we

shall never

which arouses no sensual
service to us:

which can be of no

is it


possible that this satisfaction


be the

pale glimmer of a different consciousness






mnemonic consciousness?
able to
ness, that


are un-

imagine that different consciousis

no reason for denying



even believe that
that this

would be wiser

to assert

would be

a reason for admitting

All our

would be spent

the midst of

things which

we could never have
had been granted


our senses, instead of being given to
to us one

us all together,

by one and from year to year.

For that

matter, one of these senses, the sense of

which awakens only


approach of puberty, shows us that the

covery of an unexpected world, the displace-

ment of


the axes of our life depends

upon an accident of our organism.



did not suspect the existence

of a whole world of passions, of love's

and sorrows which



up people."

some garbled echo of those

sounds, by chance, happened to reach our

innocent and curious ears,


did not suc-

ceed in understanding what manner of fury

or madness was thus seizing hold of our

and we promised




time came, to be more sensible, until the

day when love unexpectedly appearing
turbed the centre of gravity of




The Measure of

the Hours

and of most of our



therefore, that to imagine or not to imagine

depends upon so



we have no

right to doubt

the possibility of that

we cannot



keeps and will long


keep us

from enjoying the treasures of the universe
the hereditary resignation with which

we tarry in the gloomy prison of our senses. Our imagination, as we lead it to-day, accommodates






the slave of those


which alone feed



does not
the intuiit

sufficiently cultivate



it is

and presentiments which



kept absurdly captive and that


seek outlets even beyond the most resplen-

dent and

infinite circles



pictures to


Important that our imagination

should say to

with ever-increasing

seriousness, that the real

world begins thouits

sands of millions of leagues beyond
ambitious and daring dreams.


Never was

entitled, nay,


to be

more madly

reckless than


All that

succeeds in

building and multiplying in the most enor-

mous space and time




capable of

as nothing

compared with



Already the smallest revelations

of science in our humble daily


it it


in this

modest environment,
reality, that
it is

unable to cope with


constantly overwhelmed, bewildered, daz-

zled by all the unexpected that
in a stone, a grain




salt, a

glass of water,

a plant,



already something

to be convinced of this, for that places us in

a state of
to break


that watches every occasion

through the magic

of our

blindness ;

persuades us also that



not hope to find decisive truths within this

The Measure of

the Hours

that they all





maintain his

sense of proportion, has a need

to tell himself at every


that, were;

he suddenly placed amid the
universe, he


of the

would be

exactly comparable

with an ant which, knowing only the nar-

row pathways, the
should suddenly find





and horizons of



on a

straw in the midst of the Atlantic.



when we




prison which prevents us from coming into

touch with the

beyond our imaginagreater chance of


stand a



upon a fragment of truth by imagby
dreams of that imaginaeternity,

ining the most unimaginable things than
striving to lead the

through the midst of


the dikes of logic

and of actual


Let us therefore
eyes the


whenever a new dream

to snatch

from before our

bandage of our earthly

Let us

say to ourselves that,



the possi-

which the universe


hides from


one of the

easiest to realise,

one of the

most probable, the

least ambitious

and the



the possi-

of enjoying an existence

much more
and secure

spacious, lofty, perfect, durable

than that which


offered to us by our actual




there are few as probable

the prob-

lem of our immortality



now becomes


question of

grasping or foreseeing

ways and, amid

the circumstances that interest us the most,

of knowing what part of our intellectual

and moral acquirements

will pass into


and universal




not the

work of to-day or to-morrow but it would need no incredible miracle to make it the work of some other







ever offers a magnificent theme

for the meditations of
incessantly renewed.

men and one


tain, alas, that

most of our



ventions are always converging towards

making of


a sort of diabolical mirror in

which the progress of our
flected upside



propose to-day to look at

from only

one point of view,

order once again to

establish the fact that the

more we triumph

over the unknown forces the more we yield
to them.


sooner have


perceived in

the obscurity or the apparent sleep of nature

new glimmer, a new source of energy than we often become its victims and nearly

The Measure

of the Hours



as though, thinking











long run, those enemies end by allowing
themselves to be led and render us services

wherewith we could no longer dispense.

But hardly has one of them made



mission before, in the very act of passing

under the yoke,


places us on the track of

more dangerous adversary and more and more

thus our fate becomes

ous and more and more uncertain.




adversaries are

that seem quite indomitable.

But perhaps

they remain refractory only because they


better than the others


to appeal

to those evil instincts of our heart


delay by


centuries the conquests of

our intelligence.


The Gods II of War This is notably the case with the majority of the inventions that relate to war. these forces hung back. range of the rifle The was not greater than that for- of our eye. held themselves aloof and acted only from afar. have emerged from the darkness of a long period of experiment and probation and come field. 69 our . first time since the beginning of entirely new forces. to take the place of men on the battlestill Until the late wars. and the destructive energy of the most murderous gun. we are whelmed. we have definitely abdicated. For the tory. of the most still midable explosive proportions. preserved human over- To-day. sert themselves. They were reluctant to asstill and there was some connection between their mysterious action and the work of our own hands. mature at last. We his- have seen this in recent monstrous conflicts.

narrow orbit Their of secrets revolved in the our own secrets. and behold many mon- grains of sand. still flected the form and psychology of man. although superhuman. Already ties days of Homer. which rendered them ble without tected. But these divinities had a limited Their interre- power and a limited mystery. wrapped silvery cloud. vention. The heaven from which they issued was the heaven of 70 . Ill It is true that the part played by man in battle was never preponderating or in the decisive. pro- dominated or struck terror into the warriors. at the mercy of the strous and enigmatic powers whose aid we have dared to invoke. hampering their action. the divini- of Olympus mingled with mortals in their invisi- on the plains of Troy and.The Measure reign is of the Hours us. as so ended.

as he organised his armies. although more scure. 71 Kutusoff . the gods that went with him became greater. distant. though more ob- With his increase of knowledge and and extended comprehension. the Con- admirable picture. fell Then. their thoughts were but loftier or purer than our own. so palpably true to life. the unknown flooded his domain and. so do we find the fortune of battle ignoring the captain and heeding only the group of undecipherable laws which we term chance. or destiny. a type of one of the great battles of the pire.The Gods of War sorlittle juster. or hazard. as his consciousness increased and the world stood more plainly revealed. as man developed. . for instance. as illusion from him. our conception. perfected his his weapops and. which Tolstoi draws of the battle of Borodino or the Moskowa. their rows. mightier. their passions. forces. Emand The two chiefs. with mastered natural growing science. sider.

the unwieldy. and. . on the other hand. aware of "the Sprawling outside on a bench over which a carpet has been spread. they know hardly aught of Kutusoff. are so far away from the scene that they perceive only the most insignifi- cant details. from onslaught. he believes that he 72 is issuing orders. is not even the wit- He has dictated the arrangements of the battle the very on the night before. But he clings none the less to the imaginary plan which reality has shattered. content to say "Yes" or "No" to the suggestions that reach him. Napoleon. owing to that same first "force of circumstance" to which Kutusoff pins his faith. is what is happening. good Sclavonic fatalist that he force of circumstance.The Measure of the Hours Napoleon. one-eyed Russian drowsily awaits the result. giving no orders. believes himself able to gov- ern events of which he ness. like the is. not one of these arrange- ments has been or could have been carried into effect." a hovel.

IV And yet Napoleon. traced for it. to-day. in our day. like the river that flows its way without heeding on its the cries of the men banks.— The Gods whereas. he is of War merely following and that too late — the mandates of chance that everywhere arrive in advance of his haggard. the children of mystery have emerged from childhood the . in truth. remains the only one preserved the semblance of tion. 73 . But. hysterical messengers. of all the generals of our later wars. who human direc- The still external forces that seconded and already dominated the efforts of his troops were in their cradle. And on the battle pursues the course that nature has. what could he do? Would he be able to influ- recapture one hundredth part of the ence which he was able to exercise on the fate of battles ? For.

sink fortresses. their intentions must be sought outside the circle of our own life. it is to these we entrust the . they from primitive chaos. far beyond the all their home laws. stars. on the other face of our intelligent sphere. And us. of their predecessors. which has nothing common with which obeys impulses and commands as incomprehensible as those which govern the most fabulously distant impenetrable.: The Measure of our lines the Hours gods are other that press on our ranks. in a world that is closely sealed. the world most our species hostile of all to the destinies of the raw. and their power. formless world of inert matter. it is to this blind and frightful unin known. our ships and wreck our These gods issue have no longer a human shape. it is to this irresistible energy that we is confide the exclusive attribute of what highest in the form of life which we are alone to represent in this world undefinable monsters that 74 . break and scatter our squadrons.

even as the blind. own our own and our own thoughts. passing beyond the appear- ances that imprison us.The Gods right just. we were to attain at last the essential realities 75 and that the . floating around able to distinguish all the population this ether of which our glances assure us to be transparent and empty. us reflects only our gestures that. Suppose such a man to pierce the quicksilver of this crystal sphere which we inhabit and which to face. What are the powers to which we have I thus abandoned our specific privileges? think at times of a man whose is eyes should be able to discern what us. of War from the un- almost divine mission of establishing the and separating the . did not other senses undeceive them. . Imagine one day. just . might hold the darkness to be empty that fastens upon thier brow.

Consider. space. tell frail playthings. some hollow of must inevitably be borne by the phenomena and laws of nature whereof we are the dream. our pause and our advance were suddenly to strip the covering from the immense. whereas then we should enter the eternal truth of the life without limit in which our own life is bathed. —Nor should this be looked on merely as a poet's it is now that we dream. the in awful. when we forget so readily ourselves that these laws have neither face nor form. confines us. the among many illusory triumphs of our blindness. 76 . the inconceivable images that.The Measure invisible which. their when we omnipotent and indefatigable pres. fells of the Hours side. it —The a spectacle would be appalling: would be all revelation that would it terrify human its energy and paralyse at the roots of nothingness. on every us and lifts us. ordains our retreat. ence we are now dreaming the puny dream of human illusion. for instance.

as imperceptible. in such solitudes. for the elements that compose 17 that the wildest . beyond such it stars. as a handful of ants in a virgin forest a few thousand men flatter themselves that they have enslaved and turned to their purpose. the most august of these laws. leave out of count the profoundest. A few thousand men. if you fear is your mind dwell on what impos- sible and unimaginable. among others that of gravitation. the most immeasurable and the most dangerous of its laws. a physiog- nomy to let proportionate and appropriate to its its power and functions ! And. as well as the sea that which the ships obey bears them and the earth that bears the sea and the planets that support the earth. as in their relation to the forces helpless. to serve an idea entirely foreign to the universe. Try to provide each of these laws with an aspect. brought into play. The Gods two fleets of War that prepare for battle. You would have in to seek so far.. such infinities.

Let us take only the laws which these ships imagine to be submissively confined flanks: the laws cially in their which we regard as espemonstrous form. there be any that have limits. take those laws alone if which are more limited. those which are nearer to us. panclastite. to take one instance alone. VI Let us.The Measure of dream would pause whole universe suffice to the Hours nor the in helplessness. just dethroned. gigantic What shadow shall we attribute. all the gods of the past ? With what ? family of terrors. cordite and roburite. what docile and the daughters of our achievement. those recent and supreme gods. if there be any that are near. 78 . in the temples which have of war. what unforeseen group of mysteries shall we connect them Melinite. lend a mask. to the power of explosives. therefore. dynamite.

the awful gladness of the palpitating void. are you the gleaming transfiguration of death. in total ignorance of your nature. even as the engineer or artilleryman who awakens you. O by whose side the old black pow- der that struck terror into our fathers and even the mighty thunderbolt. a little ready to strike. but almost : inoffensive. perhaps. and the chemist who comis poses your slumber.The Gods lyddite spectres. once held the most awful symbol of divine anger. become mere gossipy. almost less secrets maternal of your count- not even the most superficial has been laid bare. the springs of your incredible bound and the eternal laws which you so suddenly obey! Are you the result of things im- prisoned since the beginning of time. of War ye indescribable and ballistite. your origin. are you eruption of hatred or excess of joy? Are you a new form of 79 life and so ardent that you consume in a second the patience . your soul. good-natured old women.

gather up. all all that has been stored. your mother. the lever that splits a where do you whence does the impetus depart that exceeds the zone of the stars whereon the earth. that has been gathered and prepared in the secret of rocks and seas and mountains ? Are you soul or matter or a third state to life? still unknown Whence do you continent. exercises her will? To who all these questions the man of science creates you will reply gravely that your force "is due to the sudden production. in the twinkling of an eye. of a great volume of gas in a space too confined to contain it beneath the atmospheric pres80 . for that unequalled bound of yours towards a new destiny. derive rest your destructive passion.The Measure of of twenty centuries ? the Hours a flame Are you from the enigma of the worlds that has found a fissure in the walls of silence that enclose it ? Are you an audacious loan from the reserve of energy that supports our earth in space? Do you.

depths of truth exactly know how matters stand.. as in all things. The Gods sure. all clear. . 8i . We attain at once the very and here. . ." of War is All is now explained.




so nothing. who possess there is is only one which to strip themselves of what they have. For the rest. in the heroic history of the duties. as to bring themselves into the condition of the It is mass that possesses understood.: OUR SOCIAL DUTY LET us start fairly with the great truth for those certain duty. that no more imperative duty exists . at the same time. it is admitted that is this duty. even at the most ardent periods. impossible of accomplishment. this perhaps the only duty that has never been completely 8s . for lack of courage. in every clear- thinking conscience. but. even at the beginning of Christianity and in the majority of the religious orders that made a is special cult of poverty.

therefore. the Hours when It behoves us. therefore. not to speak of the great question. Let us. let us accept human nature as we find it. able to nourish our conscience. There are thus. considering our subsidiary duties. in the absence of this strength. seek on other roads than the one direct road — seeing that it we have is not the strength to travel by that which. to remem- ber that the essential one has been knowingly evaded. Let this truth govern us.— The Measure of fulfilled. Let us not forget that we are speaking its in shadow and that our boldest. two or three others which well-disposed 86 . our utmost steps will never lead us to the point at which we ought to have been from the first. II Since it appears that we have here to do with an absolute impossibility before which it were idle to make any further display of astonishment.

it upon every upright is not unprofitable to weigh the pro and the contra more simply than and rather in the after our usual fashion manner of the unbiased denizen of some neighbouring planet. systematically. in the presence of which to-day becomes incumbent intelligence. here or there. this choice its is activity or to lull its That why. or join the camp of those who are struggling to maintain its economy? Is it wiser not to bind one's choice. the where- withal to satisfy reproaches. a priori. 87 . with those who are disorganising it. to do in the actual state of our Must we side. to defend by turns that which seems reasonable and opportune either party? It is in certain that a sincere conscience can find.Our What are we society ? Social Duty hearts are constantly setting to themselves.

in order to hasten the triumph of justice. all the traditional but only those which can be seriously defended. We are next told that it is right. the old and so forth. animal this ob- Moreover. jection has long been classed among those whose principle is untenable and would lead to the massacre of the weak. the sick. We are first confronted with the oldest of them.. in accordance with its particular nature to its obey other laws than those of nature and the rest. which maintains that inequality is inevitable. This is true but the human race appears not improbably created to raise itself above certain of the laws of nature. The Measure of III the Hours Let us not resume objections. that the . imperilled if it Its very existence would be its abandoned intention to It is surmount a number of these laws. being in accord- ance with the laws of nature.

indis- pensable that the social evolution should not be too rapid. 89 . that it is it should ripen slowly. nevertheless. true . man's to avoid violence first duty being it is and bloodshed.Our best Social Duty among us should not prematurely strip effi- themselves of their arms. since we can reach the best only through the bad. and only the question of its opportuneness remains. it We agree. Here the necessity of the great sacrifice is fairly well recognised. that it important to temper while the mass is being enlightened and borne gradually and — ^without serious upheavals towards a liberty this and a fulness of possessions which. This again at moment. Another conservative argument worthy of attention declares that. provided that be well under- stood that this wealth and leisure serve solely to hasten the steps of justice. the most cacious of which are exactly wealth and leisure. would unchain only its worst is instincts. it would be interesting to calculate.

has for and perhaps the most disturbing argument: humanity. probably the climacteric years of go . whether. more than a century been passing through the most fruitful and victorious. the suffering of those who to- now wait for justice be not more serious class than that which the privileged of day would have to undergo for the space of some weeks or months. It were well to ask ourselves whether there be not an advantage in acting with all speed. cruel and active than those of the most terrible revolutions. IV We come at length to the last we are told. numerous. when all is told. radical and bloody revolution outweigh those which are perpetuated in the slower evolution. to forget that the We are too ready but infinitely more headsmen of misery are less noisy.The Measure of whether the evils the Hours of a sudden. less theatrical.

One would that It is it is think. to disturb this precious.Our its Social Duty consider its its destiny. precarious and supreme minute? is Admitting even that what longer be it is gained can no lost. nevertheless to be feared lest the vast disorganisation required by equity should 91 . It it. historically to be com- A trifle. if we past. perhaps. from has lately touched upon problems whose solution. from certain indications. unknown phenomenon of would probably render fices the useless all the sacriIs it which justice demands of men. that of the great universe. to be in the decisive phase of evolution. the intuitions scattered or held in suspense alone separates the great mysteries. at the cost is of the hereditary enemy. as in the earlier upheavals. a last effort. It seems. traversing a period of inspiration whereis with none other pared. its nigh upon attaining apogee. not dangerous to stop this flight. a flash of light shall connect or emphasise the dis- which coveries.

perhaps the most disquieting argument. not sure but that its reappearance might be long delayed. as unstable as those which preside over the inspiration of the genius of the individual. prodigious compensations would attend this brief interruption of the victory of humanity.The Measure and it is of the Hours put an abrupt end to this happy period. the laws which preside over the inspiration of the genius of the race being as capricious. This is. hardly one brain in ten thousand exists in conditions entirely favourable to 92 . Moreover. as I have said. it But there is no doubt that tance to a attaches too great an impor- somewhat uncertain danger. Can we foresee what will happen when the human race which as a whole will be taking part in the intellectual labour is the labour proper to our species? To-day.

humanity crease a will in- thousandfold its prospects of attaining the great mysterious aim. a monstrous waste of spiritual force. we have the best of the pro and the contra. Wherefore there can be no question of not destroying it. so when its surroundings 9i . the most reasonable reasons that can be invoked by those are in no hurry to end the matter. who In the midst of these reasons stands the huge monolith of to let it injustice. Idle- ness at the top depresses as many mental anni- energies as excess of hilates below. all when shall be given to men to apply them- selves to the task at present reserved for a few favourites of chance.Our its Social is. There moment. There is no need defend limits It oppresses con- sciences. a few years of patience. itself. all that is it is asked of those who would have been overthrow that. intelligences. Duty at this activity. Here. I think. it manual labour It is incontestable that.

This point must always be sought as soon as with questions that perience. that the choice would not be the same for all. Are we to grant these years? And which among these arguments in favour of haste or of waiting would be the object of the most straightforward choice? VI Do the pleas for a few years of respite sufficient? appear to you They it are pre- carious enough. its fall of the Hours entail may fewer disasters. would have very wisely apportioned 94 among men the . but. The race. even so. would not be fair to condemn them without considering the problem from a higher standpoint than that of pure reason. for instance.The Measure cleared. which probably its has an infinite consciousness of destinies which no individual can grasp. It we have to do go beyond human exeasily might be maintained.

our organic duty.Our parts that suit its Social Duty drama of them in the lofty evolution. for us. and very upright intelligences within this mass. The fact. For reasons which we do not it is always understand. so tP speak. addition. doubtless necessary that the race should progress slowly: that is why the enormous mass of it its body at- taches to the past and the present. even as may be comprised it is possible for it. to destroy all that sup95 . that to-day does not satisfy us enough to make it our duty. greatly inferior minds to escape from Whether there be satisfaction or unselfish discontent on the side of the darkness or of the light matters tion little. is therefore. whose reason already judges the weakness of the argu- ments of the past. its Let us admit. However this may be. it would be a fresh motive for impatience. it is often a ques- of predestination and the distribu- tion of characters rather than of enquiry. in very plausible force.

represent the like the inert oxygen: azote. any circumspection. requisite. It is not ours to preoccupy our minds with the often grievous consequences of our haste this is not written in our part. that notice of any patience. In the social atmosphere. and to take account of it would be to add to that part in discordant words which are not the authentic text dictated by nature. Even if we were to in order to perceive very clearly the dangers and draw- backs of too prompt an evolution. and the scale is of the crimes that remain to us. if we behave in we betray the mission which nature this.: The Measure ports it. It has given us instructions 96 . the gravest and most unpardonable of treasons. in has entrusted to us. Humanity has appointed us to gather that which stands on the horizon. of the Hours arrival make ready for the of to-morrow. in fulfil it is order that we should we should we it loyally the function assigned to us by the take no genius of the race.

let us therefore have no fear lest the fairest towers of former days be insufficiently defended.Our which it Social Duty It does not behove us to discuss. its distributes forces as it thinks right. it has placed. against each of ten thousand men to guard the past . to is shed tears over inevitable ruins: the greatest of our trespasses. 97 the object which . every cross-way on the road that leads to the future. because of the of the earth. At us. let which they take their them act all and hope beyond reason. Even if their reason were to approve none in of the extreme measures part. the others follow blindly the inmost impulse of the power that urges them on. The least that the most timid among us can do not to add to the immense —and But let already they are verynear committing treachery — is deadweight which nature drags along. for in call things. we must aim higher than we aspire to attain. We this are only too naturally inclined to tem- porise.

our hopes and our justice. Our future excesses are essential to the equilibrium of life. Their presence will fill on these intermediary tops living substance the with dangerous intervals be- tween the first heights and the last and will maintain the indispensable communications between the vanguard and the mass. There are men enough about whose most fires us whose exclusive it is duty. break or temper our ardour. too far. precise mission to extinguish the which we kindle. and let no reflection. 98 .The Measure of VII Let us not fear lest the Hours we be drawn however just. Let us our go always to the most extreme limits of thoughts. Let us not persuade ourselves that these efforts are incumbent only this is upon the best of us: not true and the humblest us that foresee the coming of a among dawn which it they do not understand must await at the very summit of themselves.

This would perhaps be so 99 .Our Social Duty in- Let us think sometimes of the great visible ship that carries our human destinies upon eternity. white sails in the depths of the hold. and her bal- The fear that she may pitch is or roll on in- leaving the roadstead no reason for creasing the weight of the ballast by stowing the fair. will serve for all the sand on the beach it. Like the vessels of our con- fined oceans. where they will collect the winds of space. Ballast exists everywhere: all the pebbles of the harbour. But sails are rare and is precious things: their place not in the murk of tall the well. in the decent average. VIII Let us not say to ourselves that the best truth always lies in moderation. side They were not woven to moulder by side with cobble-stones in the dark. but amid the light of the masts. she has her sails last.

The Measure of if the Hours men did not think. Has not mankind yet lived it is long enough to realise that always the extreme idea. that right? At the present moment. should burn none at It is the same to-day with the question of marriage. of love. the most reasonable opinion on the subject of our social question invites us to do all that we can gradually . of criminal justice and so on. that is the highest idea. The average. the majority of think and hope upon a higher plane than seems reasonable. At the time of the Spanish Inquisition. the decent moderation of to-day will be the leasthuman of things to-morrow. the opinion of good sense and of the just medium was certainly that people ought not to burn too large a number of heretics. of religion. did not hope upon a much lower plane than is needThat is why it behoves the others to ful. extreme and unreasonthat they able opinion obviously demanded all. the idea at the is summit of thought.

1 Our to Social Duty and dis- dimmish inevitable inequalities tribute happiness more of equitably. We will do not yet know it how is these demands be realised. denies Anything that in it confirms or circle. It is important. the suppression property. lies much less in reason. moves an insignificant The our truth. Extreme opinion demands instantly integral division. 10 . is always turned towards the than in our imagination. which past. that we should not limit ourselves to the experience of history. in these questions of the duration of a species and not of a people or an individual. but already quite certain that very simple circumstances will one day make them ap- pear as natural as the suppression of the right of primogeniture or of the privileges of the nobility. obligatory labour and the rest. which sees farther than the future. in this case.

men whom we have and to hope as encountered of all. experience. only a vaster reality than that which we behold. viduals The failings of indi- no more impair the general purity sur- and innocence than the waves on the face.. according to the aeronauts. The Measure of IX Let us reason. a certain height. then. though we This had ideal to is do with an ideal humanity. Let us continue. trouble the when seen from profound limpidity of the sea. to love in spite to act. as the years pass. the Hours strive to soar above This is easy for young people but it is salutary that ripe age and old age should learn to raise themselves to the luminous ignorance of youth. against the dangers which our confidence in the race must run because of the great number of malignant in it. We should guard beforehand. 102 .

always higher than that which throws or keeps us back. Let us reject all the counsels of the past that do is This what was admirably understood. We shall need not be anxious about what we place in the stead of the ruins. perhaps for the first time in history. of the French Revolution this revolution est is and that is men why this all the one that did the greatlasting things. it is above all important to destroy.Our Social Duty X Let us listen it only to the experience that is urges us on. It is life will undertake the but too eager to recon- and we should not be doing well 103 . not turn us towards the future. contrary to that occurs in the affairs of daily life. the great cult and the only work is the destruction of the past. The force of things and of rebuilding. In every diffi- social progress. struct. and the most Here experience teaches us that. by certain .

and it is probably necessary that humanity should have reached a certain determined point of its ascent at the moment cer- of a certain sidereal phenomenon. of a 104 . The evolution of our world continues during these periods of inertia . we should go too we seem to be rushing at a headlong and dangerous pace. not hesitate to structive employ our : de- powers even to excess nine-tenths is of the violence of our blows lost amid the inertness of the mass. therefore. at certain hours.The Measure of to aid it the Hours Let us. this is to counterbalance unjustifiable delost lays and to make up for time during centuries of inactivity. so to speak. in its precipitate task. imper- ceptible to a child that holds the stone in its hand. let us not fear lest If. even as the stroke of the heaviest large stone hammer is dispersed in a and becomes. XI And fast.

and. or even of the birth of a certain man. is it is not for us to interfere . it or above ourselves to correct lOS .Our Social Duty tain obscure crisis of the planet. this instinct or this destiny be wrong. it is its destiny that speaks. for there nothing its above error. instinct It is the of the race that decides these if matters.




of mankind —and A just large that portion which corresponds with the part that has hitherto created the events of which we know with some certainty — is it gradually forsaking the religion in which for nearly twenty centuries.OUR ANXIOUS MORALITY I VI7"E ~ ^ tion have arrived at a stage of human por- evolution that must be almost unin precedented history. men passed from a crumbling temple into one that was building. us assist at the death of paganism. has lived For thing. they 109 . and the annalists of the end of the Roman Empire make But. until now. a religion to It become extinct is no new must have happened more than once in the night of time.

wherein we live. such neither those promises nor called. whereas are abandoning ours to go nowhither. with the known consequences. whereas still we are living in the monuments erected by the morality born of that departing faith. the un- II It is not necessary to recall the fact that religions ity have always. is we That new phenomenon.The Measure left of the Hours one religion to enter another. for they are the to perish with the faith. exercised an enormous influence upon men's happiness. ises first any morality properly so will not speak of the We prom- of our own religion. in spite of the supports of habit. although we have seen as —and very important paganism — provided some ^which ones. through their moraltheir promises and extending beyond the tomb. But we feel that. these monuments are yawning no .

by continuing to practise a lofty and noble morality in an environment that obeys other laws. be- cause we feel it to be indispensable. in many its we are shelterless under an unfore- seen heaven that has ceased to give orders. may be inter- esting to try to seize the first reflexes of that The hour seems to be striking will ask themselves whether. places.Our Anxious Morality over bur heads and that already. of from ordinary good few laws half perceived by science and. made up of remnants gathered from the conclusions borrowed sense. they be not disarming themselves too artlessly and playing the ungrateful part of III . to old-time virtues is which good sense alone It not sufficient to sustain. of certain extreme intuitions of our bewildered intelligence. lastly. which returns. by a circuitous road through a new mystery. many at which elaboration. of a past. Thus we are assisting at the more or less unconscious and feverish elaboration of a morality that is premature.

crossed the fields of human morality. . and they seek somewhat vainly yet lend them. with waves that often mingled. between two contrary doctrines.The Measure of dupes. so rigidly in other dug out That which days was no instinctive more than altruism and egoism 112 and vague. within themselves for the supports which reason may Ill Placing on one side the in artificial heaven which those who remain faithful to the shelter. like hostile streams. but inverse doctrines all time. these two have through parallel. so clearly. seemingly. religious certainties take we find that the upper currents of civilised ity human- waver. But their bed as was never now. that still the Hours if They wish attach to know the motives them to the older virtues are not merely sentimental. For that matter. traditional and illusionary.

shifted. space. they mark little more than two illusive goals. whereof each of us himself. which envelop and go beyond every side. stand which are not renewed. it is only seemingly that two doctrines divide the world of The is real drama of Lost the modern conscience not enacted at either of these in too extreme points.Our Anxious Morality has of late become altruism and egoism absolute and systematic. as I have said. these ethics. Between these two it dreams. but : two men of genius Tolstoi and Nietzsche. passes the reality of which they In this reality. the other ripples cruelly towards a future is which there on nothing to foretell. At their sources. it carries the image within behoves us to study the forma- tion of the morality on which our latter-day 113 . which nobody dreams of attaining. But. have failed to take account. One of these doctrines flows violently back towards a past that never existed in the shape in which that doctrine pictures it.

but of the great laws that determine the inner man? IV Our morality is formed in our conscious or unconscious reason. regions." I do not when employmean to speak of the practices of daily existence. what might be at the top. of the feelings and of connects our conscious scious life that with the uncon- and with the unknown forces within 114 . which we little will call "common sense. which. point of view. already striving towards ideas of immaterial usefulness and enjoyment. admitting. the densest and the most general." A is higher. ing the term "morality. which spring from custom and fashion. from this may be divided into three lies Right at the bottom the heaviest." Lastly. but controlling as possible severely as claims of all the imagination. called "good the sense. the Hours Need I add that.The Measure of life rests.

alike. solid egoism. each It is the morality of man for himself. are but two real evils: sickness and poverty. and the worst of us and which springs up spontaneously on the ruins of the religious idea. of. to which we will give the name of "mystic reason. flow from these." of that good common in the best sense exists in all of us. In that life. to the bottom of things. happy or unrest happy.Our Anxious Morality and without." It is not necessary to set forth at length the morality of "common which sense. All other realities. of every material instinct and en- joyment. and but two genuine and irreducible boons: health and riches. that lies the indeterminate part of same total reason. The —joys and "S . practical. He who : starts from common going sense considers that he possesses but one certainty his own life.

n6 . so from trammelling the movements of our nessj must. upon the idea which we form of right to enjoyment is Our by the limited only similar right of those time as ourselves. straint. we admit no far and our conscience. ervation of these laws. the It is first state of all natural morality. because it depends Ft. approve of their triumphs. in- stinctive and logical duties of first There we have the stratum. after the complete death of the religious ideas. will never go. seeing that these triumphs are what is most in accordance with the life.The Measure sions of the Hours sorrows born of the feelings and the pas- — is imaginary. who live at the same and we have to respect With the rescon- certain laws established in the very interest of our peaceful enjoyment. selfish- on the contrary. a state beyond which many men.

utility.Our Anxious Morality VI As for "good a sense. it still makes starting-point. consequently. affections and antipathies. It observes that man no more able than the bee to remain solitary and that the life which he shares with his fellows. in order to expand freely and completely. It soon perceives that niggardly common is sense leads an obscure. In its relations toselfishness its is wards others. sees a farther. confined and wretched life in its shell. pitiless cannot be reduced to an unjust and struggle or to a mere exchange of services grudgingly rewarded. considers but already admits It spiritual or sentimental side. little animal." which less is a little less it material. objects rows. knows the joys and sorthe. but this selfishness It still its no longer purely material. looks at things from a slightly higher standpoint little and. . of which may exist 117 in imagination.

I mean It to the passions. these very concessions call attention to the unlawfulness of its claims to busy itself with morality once that the latter has gone beyond the ordinary practices of daily life.The Measure of the Hours rising to Thus understood and capable of material logic interest a certain height above the conclusions of — —without all losing sight of its it appears beyond the reach of It flatters itself that it is every objection. if not. in solid occupation of reason's summits. the gloomy caves in which it would shut itself would be no more But habitable than those in which dull com- mon sense leads its stupefied existence. It even makes a few concessions to that fall which does not perceptibly latter's within the domain. must needs make these concessions. ii8 . the feelings and all the unexplained things that surround them. for.

were well. all into it back once for 119 . Good when claims alone to pro- mulgate the laws that form the inner man. the region of Here it is very happily consulted on all that concerns the starting-point and certain great lines. in morality It it wishes to lord over therefore.Our Anxious Morality VII Indeed. to put all things. ought to meet with the same resistance and the same obstacles as those against which it strikes in one of the few regions which : it has not yet reduced to slavery aesthetics. But. what can there be in common two be- tween good sense and the duty. for instance? stoical idea of They it inhabit dif- ferent and almost uncommunicating sense. but most imperiously ordered to hold its peace so soon as the achievement and the supreme and mysterious beauty of the work come into question. regions. whereas in aesthetics easily it resigns itself enough to silence.

and with them the brightest part of the morality of which they are the. always rose up at a great distance from the tiny limits of good sense. ions. sense. VIII One of the features of our time is the ever-increasing and almost exclusive confi- dence which intelligence we place in those parts of our just described as It which we have common good had sense and good Formerly. notably in the imagination.The Measure its of the Hours lawful place in the generality of the faculties that makes up our human person. man based upon restricted life. The relig- for instance. chief sources. was not and rest always thus. but the queswhether the present contrary excess tion is is not as blind. sense only a somewhat the vulgarest portion of his its The foundations in other regions of our mind. The enormous strides made of our 120 in the practice life by certain me- . This was excessive.

Our Anxious Morality chanical and scientific laws make us allow to it good sense sense a preponderance to which this remains to be proved that is same good entitled. to take the tritest instance. effect no without a cause. It would even be surpris- ing this were so. life. in the little circle is of our material all-sufficing. yet perhaps illusory logic of certain believe ourselves phenomena with which we illogicality acquainted makes us forget the possible of millions of other phenomena which we do not yet know. Nothing assures us that the universe obeys the laws of human if logic. so soon as circle. The apparently incontest- able. we emerge from this infinitesimal the saying no longer answers to any- thing." says our good Yes. undeniable and But. seeing that the notions of cause and . for the laws of our good sense are the fruit of an experience which it is insignificant when we compare "There is with what we do not know. that sense.

in the life of certain parasites and the im- pregnation of flowers by insects) to attain the simplest ends? What madder 122 than those thousands of worlds which perish in . constantly issuing from the small material circle and. nature very rarely acts according to good sense. it Even in the visible world which serves in for a model reigns we do not observe that it undivided. it Now our from is moment when raises itself a little. for instance. and experimental from the domain of good our mind. What could be more senseless than her waste of existences? What more un- reasonable than those billions of germs blindly squandered to achieve the chance birth of a single being? ical What more illog- than the untold and useless compli- cation of her means (as. sense. in her most constant and most familiar manifestations.The Measure of effect the Hours in are all is alike unknowable a life. consequently. Around us. world where the unknown.

the it preponderant place to which is it aspires. Now the great cities. itself it Needs must which argue against shall not give and recognise that we our life.Our Anxious Morality space without accomplishing a single work? All this goes beyond our good sense and shows it that it is not in agreement with it is general life and that almost isolated it in the universe. it This not to say that is we will it abandon is where of use to us. within ourIt is selves another that exceeds in its place and performs a humble and blessed work at in its little village . is in not isolated. Even there exists without ourselves a world that goes beyond it. but well to know as that good sense cannot suffice for every- thingy being itself almost nothing. but it must not aim cities becoming the master of the great and the sovereign of the mountains and the seas. occupy little the seas and the mountains infinitely more space within us than the village of our prac- 123 . .so there exists it.

a bond rather than a support. We must remember that nearly all our progress has been in despite made of the sarcasms and curses with which good sense has received the unreasonable. IX Until the present time. this question of a morality limited by good sense possessed no 124 . but fertile hypotheses of the imagination. we should do nothing of that which ing of that which we ought to do. the Hours which is the necessary agreeinferior. as good sense though to the one rock of salvation.The Measure of tical existence. hold fast to our us not. ment upon a small number of sometimes truths doubtful. Amid the moving and let eternal waves of a boundless universe. immovable through every age and every civilisation. therefore. become noth^ we may perhaps become. Bound to that rock. but indispensable It is and nothing more.

which would like to become the general morality. without destroying very source. what guide remains to us? I2S . The religions completed the interrupted work. which are just those at which the great useless virtues begin. to find. To-day. After these points. reasons for being fill disinterested. It did not stay the de- velopment of certain aspirations.Our Anxious Morality great importance. seeks to extend itself as far as possible in the direction of justice and generosity. in order to up a portion of inde- the abyss that separates structible forces it from those and it is aspirations. But there are points which unable to exceed withitself out denying at its itself. its limita- the morality of good sense. feeling the danger of tions. in a superior interest. of certain forces that have always been considered the finest and noblest to be found in man.

storms. so to speak. Mankind. within to itself It carries is the light whose flame blown and fro. It proceeds a little more slowly. but almost as surely through the darkness which no one lights. even admitting that there not. so necesthat. It but incessantly revived by the is. at a pinch. independent of it. is it be possible to answer But.The Measure of the Hours X We shall see presently if this question. this is no reason why we should be anxious touching the moral future of humanity. can do without a guide. moral being all when he denies the existence of nial already morality. that very de- becomes the foundation of a new morality. it is interesting and easy to establish that these periodical ideas 126 have . sarily a Man is so essentially. the ideas which imagine that they lead Moreover. that there never can be a guide beyond the plains of the morality of good sense.

immediately after our death. scientifically proving. which ebbs and flows. and with absolute of certainty. good and which we change. but which seems slowly to overtake and conquer we know not what in space.Our Anxious Morality always had but little influence is on the mass in the of good and evil that done world. of inward nobility us. of virtues and vices amid live would undergo an appreciable a convincing ex- Would you have 127 ample? In the middle ages there were . that every act of goodness. self-sacrifice. of heroism. an indubitable and unimaginable reI doubt whether the proportion of evil. would bring ward. If a were revealed to us to-morrow. the idea is is is More important than it. the time that lapses around the development of a civilisation which only the level of the general intelli- gence at a given religion moment in history. is The has only thing that has a real influence the spiritual its wave which carries us.

in the punishments threatening men of that time. A few saints sacrificed from among the more themselves for their brothers. the vices was no lower than that of On the contrary. 128 . we do not see that the average of goodness was raised. carried certain virtues. the evil were. because the low-water mark of the general intelligence was less high. to commit murder. to steal. sponds exactly with our The rewards promised thoughts of the for well-doing. to guilty of envy. more cruel and more unjust.The Measure of moments when truded itself the Hours faith was absolute and ob- with a certainty that correscientific certainties. The mean of to-day. theless. selected contestable. to the pitch of heroism. but the bulk of men lie. so to speak. as tan- gible. to be other. continued to deceive one anto fornicate. as would be those of the Never- revelation of which I spoke above. life was incom- parably harsher.

above in I know not what it faculties that are capable of bringing into direct relations with the uncontested mys- tery of If it life. which we have called the morality of common sense and good sense. of love. will always be a little wanting in nobility. be probable. in disinterestedall. materialist or rational morality. It is certain that. certain that the it morality of good sense. which are necessary to our material and spiritual happiness. as we have hinted. of inward It is probity and dignity.Our Anxious Morality XI Let us return to our positivist. for instance. beside still the latter. there has always been. utilitarian. to the infinity sacrifice. of heroism. that 129 . there is another which embraces virtues of all that extends from the good sense. of self- of goodness. although pretty far in may go some directions. such as that of altruism. ness and.

which is preparing for the surprises of is the future. a whole region which answers to something different. so to speak. at least to admit them and to undergo their great These imagination and the mystic summit of our reason. if it isolate us some- what piteously in this world. the truths and the laws of nature. we are not yet a sort of purely logical animal. which the unknown. This part of our which I will call imagination or "mystic reason.The Measure of the Hours infini- our good sense answers only to an tesimal portion of the phenomena. we knew nothing of 130 the laws of . Do and say what we may. awaiting the events of intelligence." went before us in times when. a. not to under- stand them. we above have never been. we have within us other faculties which are marvellously adapted to the unknown parts of the universe and which seem to have been given to if us expressly to prepare us. There is in us. the reasoning portion of our reason.

at the present time.Our Anxious Morality nature. and made us morally. ceived us more than once but 131 their fruitful . in a we have unravelled more when our material fixed life thousand previous centuries. At the present time. on a level very much superior to that of those attainments. than in the hundred years that have chaos just elapsed. so as to restore the normal distances and Is it their traditional lead? lose confidence in right that Is it we should them? possible to say that they have hindered any form of human progress? Perhaps they have de. faculties this a reason why these two should cease to go ahead of us or why they should retrocede towards good sense ? there not. Are on the contrary. outran our imperfect attainments live. socially and sentimentally. very serious reasons for urging them forwards. seems on the point of becoming is and assured. when we have made the latter take a few steps forward in the darkness and when.

in physics. in medicine. in have revealed to the straying. imaginais tion and mystic reason (that to say that part of our reason which extends above good sense. and our mystic 132 . it would never have foreseen.The Measure errors. but which. our imagination. in biology. in chemistry. an hypothesis which the experiments of good as sense have confirmed. given to it is narrow methods. draws no conclusions and plays an enormous and lawful part in the hesitations and possibilities of the unknown) . more truths than our over-timid good sense would ever have lighted upon by marking time. in which if it seems as they ought to be first dethroned. The most welcome all discoveries. of the Hours by forcing us to march onwards. almost had their starting-point in an hypothesis supplied by imagination or mystic reason. us." XII In the exact sciences. I was saying.

of devo- . fruit all the height of our morality the of our imagination and belongs to mystic reason. does not even correspond in the slightest degree with the ideal tion. In they reign almost undivided. if they give up prolonging from a its work. the whole summit of our morality falls in abruptly. which an intermediary space between the exact sciences and aesthetics? There is no concealing the fact: if they cease to come to the assistance of good sense. of self-abnegation. The ideal man. aesthetics. in Why • should silence be laid upon them fills our morality. as formed ex- by the most enlightened and the most tensive good sense. man of our imagina- The latter is infinitely higher. more 133 disinterested. capable of love. more more generous. Starting is certain line which exceeded by the heroes. does not yet correspond. nobler. the great wise the majority of mere good is men and even by men.Our Anxious Morality reason again occupy a place of honour.

Or. there a single one that authorises us to take anything ideal set before us from the by Marcus Aurelius. a ques- tion of knowing which of the two question of is right or wrong. rather. instance? Does the the least indication. which has the right of surviving.The Measure of tlon the Hours It Is and of essential sacrifices. XIII Where shall all we find this new fact? Among the revelations which science is has lately given us. the least presentiment arouse a suspicion that the primitive ideas which hitherto have guided the just to change their direction man will have and that the road road ? of human good-will tells is a false it is What discovery us that 134 time to destroy . it is a knowing whether some new this fact permit us to make demand and to bring into question the high traditions of human morality. for least sign.

we shall be told. beyond those necessary to social appear to be weaknesses and yet turn the simple decent man into the real and found good man ? Those virtues. and a souls. those virtues in pro- host of others that have always formed the per- fume of great would world doubtless be in their places a wherein the struggle for so necessary as it life was no longer a planet is is now on on which the evolution of finished. which.Our Anxious Morality in our conscience all that goes beyond strict justice. 135 . that is to say those unnamed virtues life. but human and necessarily particular ideal to the general ideal of life. They oppose an and this excellent. species not yet Meanwhile. the development of those They trammel who ought to be the best to the advantage of the less good. more restricted ideal is vanquished beforehand. most of them disarm practise those who them as against those who do not practise them.

behoves us to admit that. years have passed. Next. not one of the day its on when men thought it that they it had with taken cognizance of by adorning an appellation which a ulary will change. whim it of the vocabbefore fifty perhaps. scrupulous is man will be deceived by him who unscrupulous. and not one of modified. over-indul136 . It at bottom but a discovery of words. if these virtues in the face sometimes dis- arm us of those who do not know the over- them. in which men seek the source of a is is new morality. they disarm us only in very contemptible combats. The its struggle for has existed since the existence of our consequences was riddles solved planet . Certainly. all. this so-called discovery of the struggle life. not enough to give an unin accustomed name to an immemorial law order to render lawful a radical deviation from the human life ideal. the too-loving.The Measure The for of the Hours First of objection is a specious one.

of half-truths that beguile the mind of modern man. and these are the properly forces that always human last end by having the word. will some material advantage by lose but he would vated much more by leaving unculti- all the region that extends beyond the morality of good sense. if a few general thoughts suc- ceed in emerging from the chaos of halfdiscoveries. XIV Moreover. but can this be called a victory of the second over the first? In what does this defeat strike at the inner life of the better lose man? He it. does not one of every species of living being all these thoughts assert that nature has given to the instincts its necessary for the accomplishment of 137 . riches his sensibility The man who his en- enriches intelli- gence. too-devoted man is will suffer at the hands of him who less so.Our Anxious Morality gent.

more loyal. despite the practical evil. which the perceptible ideal.The Measure of destinies? the Hours all times. at given us a moral ideal which. in a higher sphere. and general form of that becomes more and more powerful and certain of itself? 138 . And has she not. more Is true word than his the interest and experience of life wretched advise? it not thanks live in to this instinctive ideal that we an environment in which. infinitely the man. tional and perceptibly equal distance ahead of the conclusions of good sense ? Is not the savage. the idea of goodness and justice reigns in more and more supreme is and which the public conscience. in the most primitive civilised savage and the most refined preserves a propor- man alike. as a rule more to his generous. preponderance of excused by the harsh necessities of existence. just civilised as.

to an understanding. suspected or treated as illusions because they are not related to the sities is it two or three primitive life ? necesexist. We no longer allow the and to rights of any of our lower instincts to be contested. the duty of our 139 good sense. then.Our Anxious Morality XV It is fitting that we should come all. once for on the rights of our instincts. their . of animal Once that they not probable that they are as indispen- sable as the others to the accomplishment of a destiny concerning which we do not know what is useful or useless to it. as incontestable as those which crawl at the bottom of our rogatives ? senses. seeing that we do not know its objects? And is it not. We know how to justify ennoble them by attaching them to some great law of nature. enjoy the same pre- Must they be denied. certain Why should not quite more elevated instincts.

to help them. is. those which distinguish us the most from other all the us. but another has always gone before pendent of in it. has sought no matter where. has always appeared inde- it and. to of the Hours innate enemy. by preference. one of the most notorious intelligence as much our our moral aspirations. but especially in the religions the explanation of a mysterious instinct that 140 . above all. to strive to develop within ourselves the specific characteristics of the class of living being to which we belong and. phenomena of the these life around Among characteristics. finding no visible roots elsewhere. to encourage confess to itself that life certain parts of our are beyond its XVI It is our duty. it. One perhaps. not so portion of these aspirations emanates from our intelligence.The Measure them and. sphere ? finally.

Our Anxious Morality urged it to go farther. Besides. Our intelligence sacri- derives an immediate profit fices from the which it makes to our imagination when the latter caresses an ideal which the former does not think consonant with the realities of life. the fact none the less remains. and I do not think that we have the right a stroke of the pen a existence with to suppress with whole region of our inner the sole object of gratifying the reasoning organs of our judgment. To-day. in order to spread 141 . all our feelings. in the mystery of man's instincts. when the qualified to explain religions are no longer anything. all things hang together and help one another. even those which seem to contend with one another. is our unconsciousness. needs all our forces. all our passions. all all that with it and that is against it. faculties and aspirations. Our intelligence has for some years been too prone it is to believe that It able to suffice for all itself.

it is only for the needs of the spoken or written word that we are able. but which contains a light that has more than once it led it towards truths which the extreme points of sought in vain at its thoughts. when we senti- study them. dew of it the morning to the roses. the noble joys of our heart. the grave sufferings. which necessary to above any other is the great anxieties.The Measure and flourish is of the Hours But the nutriment it in life. to it These truly are is what the water from heaven the to the lilies. Every man 142 is more or . to separate the thoughts of our intelligence from the passions and ments of our heart. to stoop It is well that should know how and pass certain in silence before certain desires and it dreams of that heart which does not always understand. XVII We and are an indivisible spiritual whole.

intelli- 143 . that he will see into it more clearly when he is older. nevertheless. with I know not what hope. which. is it but It has nothing works in in the void. And it thus that. results of that division are the most we observe that. and he asks himself. in general. has much less experience and knows many fewer stifled things. how far that thought will go when his it reigns alone over senses. old age comes: the intelligence has no object remaining. left to do. obscure and his thought. even the dis- most generous of them. is lulled dreams and And clear. the is work of old age not equal to that of youth or of mature age. He says to himself. but which has not yet the mysterious forces foreign to our gence. the domains where the visible. He turb imagines that his passions. in his youth.Our Anxious Morality less the victim of this illusory division.

The Measure of the Hours XVIII If we be now asked which. are the precepts of that lofty morality it. when we thus speak of lofty and noble morality and perfect virtues. whereof we have spoken without defining we will reply that it presupposes a state of soul or of heart rather than a code of strictly-formulated precepts. cross-examines us as culprits and asks us bluntly. that which all is : One I will at the centre of all our anxieties and beside which the rest has no importance. tutes its What consti- essence is the sincere and strong wish to form within ourselves a powerful idea of justice and of love that always clearest rises above that formed by the and most generous portions of our intelligence. that which. could mention a thousand examples take one only. when all is said. "And when do you intend to put a stop to the injustice in which you live?" 144 .

is it wrong. essential all and in con- formity with reason is the laws of nature. that this injustice organic. we abuse a strength which Our reason deplores this it. it proves to is us. much more surely right our ideal of justice. but what Our much is more deeply. we all live Yes. because is not even real. which proclaims that our reason acting. in short. all of us in the midst of an injustice deeper than that arises which from the abuse of brute strength. injustice. is Even when 145 it is not well. if not for the present.Our Anxious Morality who possess more than the others. . that any too radical carry with it evils more cruel it desperate than those which cure. but explains excuses It it and de- clares it is it to be inevitable. we who are more or less rich as against those who are quite poor. is perhaps right. shows us that it impossible to apply to efficacious the swift and remedy which our equity remedy would and more pretended to seeks.

that this ideal should have a quick sense of iniquity. . we need so few precepts 1 . five which a child could give all. before understand them. sure than the ideal of the best re- but because it promises no other rewards than those of duty accomplished and because these rewards are just those which hitherto only a few heroes have understood and which the great presenti- ments that hover beyond our intelligence are seeking to make us understand. the If that we take it. us. were enough." as a rule. if it no longer involves renunciations or heroic sacrifices. this is not because it is less noble or less ligions. our intelligences and all our characters would be equal.The Measure of the Hours at least for the future. at the utmost or six. for 146 . We must. is hardly. and. XIX In reality. as beginning of the all life of an ideal. Perhaps three or four. and "to understand. .

to the very bottom of 147 his heart. If I prove. but very nearly act as certain that they will continue to though not so much as the extremity of just one of the truths which they have admitted had grazed their brain. they will even amplify said. covered with the same words. all apt to understand.Our Anxious Morality every is man of even a very mean intelligence stage. therefore. in another man. Whereas. agree. upsetting . to an egoist capable unreasonable and they will readily of comprehension hateful is how his egoism. to an intelligent vain man how childish is his vanity. these truths. what I have There is. through his thoughts. at this is first that ness. will one evening suddenly enter and penetrate. for instance. no doubt that it is they have understood. explained to him with sufficient clear- There are as many manners and as many stages in the manners of understand- ing a truth as there are minds that think that they understand it.

" that is we cannot flatter ourselves it we have understood a truth until impossible for us not to shape our lives in accordance with it.The Measure of the Hours every his existence. every object of his activity. right to con- more than ever all all that other forces bring to that goes its beyond the practical conclusions of 148 reasoning. displacing every axis. we are nowadays too much in inclined to shatter this equilibrium Certainly. every joy. every sorrow. other faculties and sentiments of our Contrary to our former wont. lever. but . trol favour of good sense. XX To of return to and resume the central idea us recognise that it is all this. He has understood the for sense of the word "to understand. good sense has the strictly it. let neces- sary to maintain the equilibrium between what we have called good sense and the life.

its deceiving respect of and it owes to itself.Our Anxious Morality it it cannot prevent them from acting until has acquired the certainty that they are it. from the life of the species. by eliminating. In any case. phenomena manifested though it within themselves be its duty to redress the accessory errors that proceed from this central error. asserting Now. to the own laws the duty of being in it more and more circumspect that certainty. at that rate. or us than the life of the unintelligible from any other it source. 149 we might ask . could never subsist. for ideal a host of it instance. could not treat them as illusions for. in- deny that these same phenomena whether they emanate from a superior stinct. though may have acquired the conviction that those forces have committed divine a mistake in ascribing to a and precise will and injunctions the majority of the . sterile from our moral and dangerous virtues. . infinitely more powerful within individual.

those of the inferior regions. after all. sense. Where- fore.The Measure of the Hours ourselves whether this supreme judge. the dreadful cave of prehistoric man. let us welcome those from above rather than those from below. we when we look back upon our starting- point. we owe them that is a certain gratitude. to say of good ISO have given proofs of their capacity hitherto only when . have are. brought us to the stage at which and. out- flanked and contradicted on every side by the genius of nature and the inconceivable laws of the universe. illusions: good sense that is to say the scientific spirit. taking one illusion with another. The former. be not illusive itself it more than the illusions which aspires to destroy. is obliged to admit as much. The latter illusions. we still have the choice of our itself. XXI For all that touches upon our moral life.

all dangerous cargo. It is senti- very possible that these virtues and ments. They leading us." we must keep a few sumptuary to replace virtues in reserve. let them not pretend that. adventurous energy of our conscience. shall have the accomplished the hardest stage of "struggle for life. to a regular. first taking their steps in the They are dark. But it. are the roots of that will blossom when man Also. exactly-weighed state of well-being. Leave us a few fancy virtues. which are not to the just all strictly indispensable man of to-day. that hitherto formed the heroic. They have are not yet walked alone. measured. assured. they say. it Be so : they have charge of this kind of hap- piness.Our Anxious Morality accompanied and supported by the former. Allow a little space for our fraternal sentiments. in order those which we abandon as 151 . to attain like a it is necessary to fling overboard. cloud-topped. indefatig- able. to the conquest of matter.

The Measure useless. but which least kept up the activity of our inner life. since we have cursed recognised that the work of the is flesh. All very lawful. martyrs. no longer go out in search of resigna. are no longer chaste. Our Ideal no longer asks to even create saints. natural and lawful. for twenty centuries. is beyond that simple justice that the morality begins of those IS2 who hope in the . of mortification. We We tion. of sacrifice we are no longer lowly in heart or poor in this is spirit. but. seeing that these virtues is depended on a religion which but it retiring. is not well that their places should remain empty. of the Hours for our conscience has need of exercise and nourishment. virgins. off a Already we constraints at have thrown number of which were assuredly hurtful. the spiritual road that animated the saints must remain intact and is still necessary to the man who It wishes to go further than simple justice. though it take another road.

hopes in ad- beyond the tomb. before reaching this stage. They are ready to renounce all the rights which all their they thought specific. if object. a mission. They are resigned vance to seeing their generations succeed one another without an an horizon. many of them have already abanall their doned. it is hesion. but not chimerical part of our conscience that we must delight.Our Anxious Morality future. IS3 right . such be the certain The energy and pride of our conscience will manifest themselves for the last time in this acceptation and in this adBut. without despairing. a future. It is in this perhaps fairy-like. acclimatise ourselves It is still and learn to reasonable to persuade ourselves that in so doing we have not been duped. before abdicating so gloomily. to all their abandon dreams and even as hopes of happiness. XXII The good-will of men is admirable. will of life.

are strangely mistaken. but the ideal that gave birth to the last religions. nothing in suspense. Now that these their have weakened or disappeared. to realise it to clasp more more it. ions that It was not the relig- formed the ideal. is decided. there to be changed in our old justice. to it. these seem to turn against those who bring them. have only to draw nearer closely. sources survive and seek another channel. nothing as yet ideal of Aryan courage. kindness and honour. We it . we should ask for proofs and. with the exception of parasitic virtues cer- tain factitious and which naturally abandon at the turn of the is majority of religions. IS4 . We Those who assure us that the old moral ideal must disappear. conscientiousness. before going beyond a long we have and noble road to travel beneath the stars. because the religions are disappearing. effectively still and. When we all is said.The Measure that of the Hours . hitherto. are still In any case.



the storehouse of that and surely in no other spot survive.ROME FOR does so twenty centuries. but the most magnificent moments of the earth clung to her so fondly their and displayed such energy during sojourn that on no other point of the globe many Treading her soil. tread the mutilated footprint of the goddess who reveals herself site. in the world much beauty She has created nothing. estab- Nature gave her the wonderful lished her fitly for the races that passed 157 . all Rome was has been beautiful. save perhaps a certain spirit of grandeur. we have they left so imperishable traces. no longer to men. a coordination of beautiful things.

None can forget them. pered its gravest and sweetest thought the massive evergreen oak. her trees — To the cypress. inhaling the purlifts its . which so willingly adopts an archway's graceful form — to these the tradition of ages has given a pride. into which the forest has whis. They are is8 . their brightness est of and gladness. they were the witnesses of incomparable things. They were the ornaments. obscure plants of the north mate with southern foliage. which head like an ardent and sombre prayer the stone-pine. who once has seen them and recognise understood. a conscious solemnity sess which they pos- no elsewhere in the world. receive those marvels she was already their equal. or fail to them from among kindred trees of a less sacred soil. the still gloomy. She was not unworthy to .The Measure of the Hours beside on the peaks of history to let fall their jewels into the noblest cup ever opened beneath the sky. Beneath her limpid azure.

A circle of mountains. that array the deserted Campagna. sonorous names augustly familiar. have two or three but mysterious lines to tell of the sorrow confessed by a plain that bears. of the They eternal have assumed the style marbles. the wreck of its glory. And. but does not isolate her from the sky. they also clear. in these desolate precincts. which they surround with respect and silence. the porticoes multiply IS9 . They are —and know they are their Roman.— Rome one with the scattered aqueducts. without flinching. in the midst of the lifeless places where the flagstones. create around the city that never can perish a precise and glorious horizon. the broken arches. the steps. Like these marbles. the dis- crowned mausoleums. one with the columns. their heads often charged with snow as dazzling as the memories which they evoke. which divides her from the world. heroic in their ruin.

though always a borrowed beauty. the among the basins. its garlands of its dew and trophies of crystal. where some wounded statue keeps guard emptiness. the monuments that had hoped to brave respected only the fragile hours of that which evaporates and flows away. water flows still nymphs and docile and luminous. we breathe. II Beauty. obedient to the orders received two thousand years ago. decking the immaculate solitude with its mobile fragrance. the air covers it. the capitals. among all it. has dwelt so long within these walls which go from the Janiculum to the Esquillne . It as though time. the tritons. it has taken root there so persistently that the very spot.The Measure silence of the Hours at all the cross-roads in and absence. the sky that it the curves that define i6o have ac- . azure plumes and is crowns of pearl.

puri- that the errors and caprices of men. marble of the heights.: Rome quired a prodigious power of appropriation and ennoblement. as were. it must first cast off its original ugliness. it crumbles beneath the influence of the watchful genius that has fixed the aesthetic principles of the city on the horizons. One might almost believe that. like a pyre. and yet they have left but few distinctive it traces. for any work to be carried out here or to live. So far. fies all Rome. must have been more city. Whatever does hills is not conform to the style of the seven slowly effaced and rejected. for instance. their ignorance and extravagance have forced upon her incessantly since her ruin. the art of the middle ages and the Primitives . appearing. it has been impossible to disfigure her. it must cease to be vulgar. hidden and ashamed i6i . the rocks and the Thus. since this active here than in any other was the heart of these even the Christian universe.

A mistake was impossible: they did not paint. is halls and arcades of the And so intimate. so indispensable the relation between their art and the 162 . in the proper sense of the word. clamouring to be to these the masters gave substance. of which this was the centre. a kind of instinctive satisfaction which they manifest in no other place. not to be left incomplete. but no more. but only to choose from among the unrevealed forms that thronged to them imperiously from born : every side. above Raphael and Michael Angelo —we find in work here a plenitude of power. their Carracci and. One feels that they had not to create. Romano. a conviction. But when we turn to those artists whose spirit was naturally in harmony with destinies that which presides over the of the the eternal city — Giulio all. but merely uncovered the veiled images which had haunted the palaces.The Measure of the Hours enough. for the history of the world.

with an arbitrary conception of life. overpowering effort and natural. churches of other they seem out of proportion. The on in which a people of giants hurtle together a grave and harmonious orgy of enthusiasm into an arch of the very and muscles. all the burning virtues the memories of which are still restless beneath the ruins of this 163 . unduly vigorous and unduly decorative. in- But to the the Vatican traveller till who does not enter he. too. It is for this reason that copies or photographs of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel appear disconcerting and almost comprehensible. turns sky and reflects all the scenes of energy.Rome environment that gives their it life that. when works are exiled to the museums or cities. has drunk in the mighty will-power that emanates from the thousand fragments of the temples and public places: to him Michael Angelo's becomes magnificent prodigious vault.

different as the impression may be which these two 164 great efforts . No. for instance.The Measure passionate soul. of the Hours So. as beneath the vault of the Sistine. that the flames which arise from the building in no wise disturb is them and to pose as that their one preoccupation good models and bring the visitor into value the curve of a hip or the anatomy of a thigh. too. as Taine does. he will not say to himself. is contemplating the tardy. as he stands be- fore the Conflagration of the Borgo. he will not feel as he would were he to behold the admirable fresco on the walls of the National Gallery or the Louvre. He will realise that. but logical normal and development of an art which might have been that of Rome. in these halls of the Vatican. who has submissively heeded the injunctions of all that surrounds him will require no he telling that here. that these superb nude bodies are but is vaguely concerned with the thing that happening.

realities responded only by a kind of a vague approximateness to the of her existence.Rome produce. he discovers the formula here which the too positive genius of the Quirites had lacked the good fortune or tunity to disengage. of her own initiative. Her its en- deavours to add to . I6S . notwithr standing all her endeavours. Her paintings and sculptures heresy. and her chief merit was that she understood the beauty of Greek art and eagerly amassed its it treasures. One might almost imagine that old Buonarotti and the superb colourist of after all the Urbino had but unearthed. resulted only in deexpres- formity she was unable to adapt sion to her personal life. It was to the spoils of Greece that she owed her beauty. the oppor- For Rome. give to the universe the essential image which she had promised. could not. as and such feeble originality her its architecture colossal pro- possessed was due solely to portions.

all the long silences seeming deaths of Rome. perhaps. Em- had been powerless are For these men more distinctively Roman. among i66 . precise and paintings. so almost in minutely proportioned. its That re- Rome had mained failed in image. more truly representative. She had artificially Hellenic. Greece could be only a sure and magnificent but her delicate. nicely. with the demanded by starting-point. unin- had unceasingly been in travail underground and which now emerged and pire at last to culminate in their work to declare to the world what the to say.The Measure of the Hours and the catastrophes. differing so widely from her. and Greece forms could not provide this infinitely vaster race. the terrupted tradition which latent. of the unconscious and secret desire of that Latin earth than was the Rome of the Cjesars. statues its ornamental consciousness. were out of place that Forum. surcharged as with the immense monstrous monuments.

what if they were the almost organic consequence of those imperial columns and marbles? too tives And may we the not ask ourselves the whether ceiling. better also than the best paintings of Pompeii culaneum. or under the basili- sumptuous arches of the superposed What if those frescoes of Michael to the call of the Angelo were the answer empty arches that had waited a thousand years . is merely illusion and due to the spell of the appropriative power which we have mentioned above. 167 . better by far than the sculptures or Her- of Phidias or Praxiteles. perhaps. or the poems of Horace ? Ill But all this. violent circuses.Rome Therms and cas. Virgil's /Eneid. the Metamorphoses of Ovid. penden- and lunettes of the Farnesina and the Conflagration of the Borgo do not illustrate.

Rome. museums. the Meleager and the Torso of Hercules. the Sleeping Ariadne. it. seem wholly opposed to the idea that reigns within these walls not only does not contradict this idea. Bernini as irreconcilable as it is possible to be with the primitive gravity and taciturnity of he. but serves to define and declare exuberant.— The Measure of That power the first is the Hours such that whatever might. by the genius of the city and serves to explain and illustrate certain somewhat redundant greatness. and declamatory Moreover. Even Bernini ubiquitous — rhe- torical. the countless marvels of museums as numerous almost as her palaces — think only of the treasures in a single one of these all. a sides of Roman city that possesses the Venus of the Capitol and of the Vatican. almost every house conceals some i68 . justified seems here to be adopted. at glance. even so detestable elsewhere. the newest of the Nazionale — a city whose every street.

did some new town contain grims flocking. would send pil- city that can offer the Pantheon of Agrippa. it be. in a word. so perfect that no tion can alter the rhythm of body or pose. a city. a it. those eternal gardens. so many treasures that baffled memory cannot keep . The immortal presence of an mutila-l assembly of gods. inactive though ble . the olive or the vine such a city opposes a resistance to vulgarity which.: Rome fragment of marble or bronze which. indeed. pace with untiring admiration its a city that has among wonders those cypress-girdled lawns of the Villa Borghese. protects her against the errors herself may commit and prevents the new generations of men from having more empire upon her 169 . those fountains. is yet invinci- and she can tolerate all things without defilement. that is the refuge of all that was best in the past of the only people who cultivated beauty as others cultivated corn. the certain columns in Forum.

The forest. all harvest. the plain. the same soft. the the stars dawn and and the sky. profound har- monies. The spots beauty of the earth. the evening. the villages. of the Hours than time and the barbarians had on those And these lead us back to the little cities of Hellas that discovered one day and fixed for ever the laws of human beauty. rivers the mountains. the and streams. The sea is infinite still. vary as these may and according to climate and latitude. and. . is still inviolate. besides. we have grown more sensitive and can to-day admire more 170 freely. the same fairy-like scenes of changing complexity which they showed to the Athenian citizens and the people of Rome.The Measure very gods. Nature remains more or less as she was. has altered but little since the days of Au- gustus and Pericles. except for some which our sordid industries have ravaged. offer us still the same spectacles of grandeur tenderness.

our houses and gardens. Our painters. or the want of a certain goal and an incontestable starting-point. our lack of concentration. our architects. the beauty that aim. his own immediate to our too we find that.Rome But. owing perhaps great wealth or excessive application. the objects we live with. In in all that regards purely human aesthetics. to the^ scattering of our efforts. an accepted rule or conviction. we appear to have lost almost all that the ancients had been able to establish and make their own. we dis- play such confusion and inexperience that one might truly believe our occupation of this planet to date but from yesterday and ourselves to be still at the very beginning of the period of adaptation. what concerns our body. our clothes. For the work of exists a our hands there no longer common measure. we are groping so timidly. when we turn to the beauty special to is man. even our landscapes. our gestures. 171 our sculp- . our monuments.

decisive point had been attained. it would be regarded as the merest hazard. by any chance. of the Hours our men of letters homes. In the beauty instinctively of his own body. the anterior civilisations had sought vain 172 . a harmony of form or colour that should incontestably prove that the mysterious.The Measure tors. create. for a few happy years. cities — —and we in our seek in a thousand differ- contradictory directions for the sure. our ent. as an isolated and precious phenomenon else and neither the author nor any one would be able to repeat it. join together or discover a few lines. the Assyrians. man had is mastered the laws of the beauty that essentially and specifically human. And yet. and so it great was his certainty that compels our conviction even to this day. fixed the Greek found the standard which the EgypPersians and all the in tians.which the ancients possessed so fully. the undeniable beauty. Should one of us.

Rome among animals and flowers. the proportion ornament of the things which he used daily life were all derived from the beauty of this nude and perfect body. was almost a religious and civic obligation. intelligent races came nearer to true beauty in proportion as they came nearer to the habit of nudity. as the beauty of the stars or sea. and mountains. the of his houses. rocks . Every other ideal has misled and must always mislead the endeavours and efforts of man. departing from this. they departed also from beauty. as diverse in as mysterious perfection. the nudity. This people. monsters and chimeras architecture of his temples style and the and in his and palaces. The beauty proper to little Rome — in other words. the original beauty 173 which she . all In the arts. among which quence. has taught us that the is beauty of the its human body as spiritual. with its natural conse- irreproachable harmony of limbs and muscles.

they are judges of style. : the the same instincts lies in and pleasures the only difference the procity portion and the moment. same in this respect. We of can no longer understand this pagan life the body. worshippers of the nude. the gymnastic and rhetorical training has not altered they have . the same ways of habits. to wrestle and run or . is only an enlarged life obtain. "they also sembled together to swim. The has swollen till it numbers masters by the hun- dred thousand and slaves by the million. still it is the tastes of athin this direction letes and orators and that one must work to please them they are . but. of conversation and ornament. For Rome. Athens. as Taine tells us.The Measure of added the Hours to the spoils of Greece —was due to the last remains of this custom. to perspire. to watch the runners and wrestlers. from Xenophon to Marcus Aurelius. at least. For. in as- Rome. which was so curious and yet so 174 . to be rubbed.

clear lines which a multitude of nude and living statues imposed upon the columns and pediments of the temples. lose their their is by little. ure. the climate has remained as it was. The monuments form grow and. intermittent and incomplete Athens.Rome idle . but man changed when turned Christian." It he put on clothes and might more justly be said. shrouded and the artists The golden veil shall standard be lifted only by a few of the Renascence. is almost always concealed by the toga and the wearing of the toga blurs the pure. that Rome. but . some measartificial organic becomes here only exceptional. perhaps. larger little and larger. human harmony. was an at the period of which Taine speaks. which was the positive beauty shed its last moment beams. and They still cultivate it and admire the human body. in What was habitual there and. when 175 .




we much to-day. the we master even the forces of more do our chances of as accidents multiply. And so. 179 . in the tamer's dangers increase proportion to the num- ber of wild animals which he "puts through their tricks" in the cage. to it happens to us more often than our fathers to look pretty closely upon It is death. that many felt of those who read these notes will have the same emotions and have had occasion to make similar remarks. avoided the contact of these forces as as possible . Formerly. they have gained admit- tance to our household. probable. therefore.THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ACCIDENT THE more nature. notwith- standing our more prudent and peaceable manners.

inasmuch as our experience can bear only upon events which "inight have turned out worse. from the many assert. very morning we have a sort true. i8o . As for the others. which entail a more or less speedy death. as of intuition of the event that threatens the day? It is difficult to reply. and the question remains. acci- seems natural. their victims seldom possess the strength or lucidity required to satisfy our curiosity. that those dents which were to be free from conse- quences should not have stirred the deep waters of our instinct beforehand. at It least.The Measure of the Hours II One that of the first questions that arise Is it is that of presentiment. is all that our personal expei-ience able to gather on this subject is very uncertain. therefore. have had no serious results. and believe it I to be true that they do not even ripple their surface. In any case." or which.

Suddenly. here or there. wide highway. we start at early dawn. in a skiff : it is immaterial to the event preparing. a rock. unexpectedly barring all space. but. then. on the right or on the left. with a able. an obstacle of one sort or another. a wall. by motor-car. towering. by preference. assuming the deceptive and perfectly transparent appearance of a tree. seizing the brake. stands death. at the turn of the road.The Psychology III of Accident One fine day. let us take. i8i . for no reason. to make the picture more definite. face to face. which are wonderful instruments of affliction and which put the great fiercest questions to life fortune in the game of and death. motor-cycle. irrevocable. inevitable. in the very middle of the long. at the top of a descent. huge. the steering-handle. unforeseen. immediate. the wheel. a motor-car or motor-cycle. or steam-boat that is bicycle. indubitiand.

diverts itself. it of the Hours life. there . . shuts off the horizon of . Yet it displays neither madness nor terror. all finds leisure wherein to think of manner of other to things. with all its It It pictures the details realises and consewith conit quences. it Between the fall and the collision. tree and accurate observations: the which we see through death its is a plane-tree. by whatever please to call it. Forthwith. catastrophe. are three holes in patterned bark. . our reason. sets in between our intelligence and our instinct. The attitude of our intelligence. decides instantaneously. sanely and logically that all is irretrievably lost. make comparisons. it has time to it rest. our consciousness. an eager and interminable scene. it reflects. is name you It extremely interesting.The Measure click. . to call trifling up memories. 182 . and tentment that preserves its it is not afraid and that lucidity. exactly. which leaves without outlet. contained within half a second. .

that it we have nothing to it reproach with. is veined with mica and very white . if our lives had only the intervention of this indolent. of Accident one in the garden. rock on which our skull will be broken marble. Our intelligence feels that it not responsible. is . warned by the nerves. another figure bounds upon the muscular stage. brutal. a rugged. like which whirl. this too-logical and too-clearsighted dilettante to rely upon. not so fine as the The is .The Psychology It . enjoys an ambiguous sensation of pleasure and awaits the inevitable with a tempered resignation mingled with prodigious curiosity. . elbowing its way and seiz- ing with an irresistible gesture such rem183 . every accident would be fated to end in disaster. it is almost smiling. IV It is evident that. figure. terrified lose their heads and bawl children. . naked. Luckily.

no longer have recourse save in the desperate seconds of our Fortunately. the sole master of the 184 human dwell- .The Measure of come within not what its the Hours nants of authority and chances of safety as reach. it supreme anguish. Instinct knows. decent nature. in reality. a troublesome and often disagreeable witness of our original misfortune. besides. is has a utterly unselfish and bears all no grudge. it. : the unconscious. that those ornaments from the height of which we look down upon and despise it are ephemeral and frivolous and itself is that. We no longer think of to it. but. for some time since. has been relegated to the lower darkness as an ill-bred. Once was that body's uncontested king. We call it instinct. Where was It it ? Where does it come from? deep down was somewhere and thank- asleep or else busied with dingy less tasks in the primitive cavit erns of our body. ill-spoken poor rela- tion. ill-dressed. the subconscious it matters we call it.

the works miracles most precise sense of the word. . Above has one under pressure of necessity. Instinct never accepts disaster. all all it knows nothing it the obstacles which it the impossibilities which im- poses. to the rescue of the disconsolate in the strictest. in which unconquered at the throat of unconquerable death. not for a moment admits i8s the inevitable and. precision life flies and will. in a trice. affords a magnificent. of Accident is With a glance that surer and swifter peril. issues and possibilities and.The Psychology ing. then and there unravels all its details. of raises. an unforgettable spectacle of strength. courage. upstarting fairy-tales shaggy savage of the who comes princess. all. This champion of like the existence. : it incomparable prerogative of deliberation. it than the tremendous onrush of the takes in the situation.

discourageto the ment were notions absolutely foreign primitive forces that quicken a granite wall it It. and. 186 . slips between two columns which were mathematically too close together to trees. In the stone. a cranny of light creates it and. it Its root.The Measure of when on the Hours smashed all the point of being to atoms. The danger once past. like . does not abandon is the hope of stopping a mountain that rushing down upon upon a It. amid a cluster of vain discovers the one strong branch that overhangs the abyss. acts cheerfully against hope. . fear. . Among has chooses infallibly the only one that will yield because an invisible worm gnawed leaves. it is as though instinct had prepared In anticipation the Is bed of moss . reason. In a heap of sharp flints. as though doubt. and ferns that to receive the body. It thrusts aside a rock. by dint of seeing It it. darts wire. anxiety. Through sees nothing but safety. it admit Its passage. stupefied.

as of right. VI Perhaps it is not surprising that instinct should save us from the great habitual and immemorial dangers water. We it have only. a head to take a last look at the improbable. an ancestral experience to explain its skill. There is here. the use and the purpose of the most unexpected machine.: The Psychology concerted. col- lisions. falls. Then it resumes the lead. to show the mechanism. once and for all. however foreign and useless to our real and primitive needs 187 . returns in silence to its cave. a long custom. evidently. while the good savage. the most unusual inventions of our intelligence. turns its of Accident little dis- gasping for breath. animals. unbelieving. But what amazes me wherewith it is the ease. the quickness itself acquaints with the most complicated. that no one dreams of thanking. : fire.

in the power of we can. which possesses resources as exhaustible as those of the universe or of nature. Between the jaws of the vice contained the mountain or the sea. in an exigency. let the instrument he as new. if the all whole truth be i88 told. in principle. upon whose stores it draws at will. will its know the machine's last secrets and management which con- better than does the intelligence structed it. and. we no have the same right to rely upon . VII And longer yet. from that moit ment. it as recent or as formidable as will. consciousness is Our always alive and equal to every imaginable situation. is we can no such un- safely say that.The Measure instinct of the Hours understands. there thing as an inevitable catastrophe. That is why. we must in- look for a decisive movement on the part of our Instinct.

appear in every accident. never mistaken. These connected inequalities of instinct. dungeon wherein they have chained when. its it too late. a twist. pinion it so closely that. They have not it the material time it which to warn or to release from the it . but many men mit banish it to such depths.The Psychology its of Accident It sovereign intercession. which are with the rather. armed with tools. they forget where for in it. a leap. so rarely per- to catch a glimpse of sunlight. in the madness of to look their dire need. at its and. I suppose. parallel. death has completed work. Place two motorists In two Ineludable and exactly Identical cases of danger: an Inexplicable touch of the wheel. humiliate it so cruelly. lose it sight of so entirely. hurries up to the is rescue. full it of goodwill. last. never sulks. the mischief is done. a sheer i8g . is it never dies. promptness of the appeal rather than with the quality of the assistance. a turn.

perched on a precipitous rock. a spell of of the Hours some kind will save the one. while the three others will act with too tion. don. whereas the other will go his nor- mal and wretched way and be smashed to pieces against the obstacle. all strictly involved in the the only possible. same fate. injured. at least I gathered the throb- bing impressions on the spot. which runs down . or nearly witnessed it. It among well the was on the descent from Gourlittle village. inacessible on every save a be- no thoroughfare leads 190 to it. for. three will make illogical. unforeseen and necessary move- ment. the rugged to known excursionists from Cannes and Nice. in height. It is to escape the Barbary side. Of the six per- sons in a car. terrible zigzag way. over two thousand feet pirates. although I arrived after the accident.The Measure quiescence. much I intelligence in the wrong direc- once witnessed one of those sur- prising manifestations of instinct.

escaped with whereas the poor with its nificant scratches. caught up in brushwood.The Psychology of Accident tween two ravines. insiglittle the seven victims. overa persons. skull broken in- by a stone on the road. stincts Two a contrary had here struggled for the mastery. when felt the horse took fright. ran away and passengers . The themselves rushing to their deaths and the woman. supreme moment. fell on while all the others disap- peared in the precipice bristling with mur- derous rocks. glimmer of re- and that one with which 191 . darted towards the abyss. flung it. in all manner of boughs. carrying her child not two months this was descending dangerous road. including woman old. by a miracle which is human lives are at stake. anxious at the to save the child and obeying an admirable impulse of maternal love. loaded with eight A tilted cart. where the roadway. from it the other side of the cart. not unusual where Now. child died where it fell.

It is. which I persist in believing perfect. to unloose its bonds. discouragement and impotence. This a special study. that. if not to perfect our instinct. These mysterious words are permissible. VIII We immediately ask ourselves whether we are able. preferable. the You speak of good and bad luck. appears fairly probable by drawing habitually and systemat192 . provided it be understood that they are applied to the mysterious movements of our unconsciousness. to throw back the source of a mystery within ourselves: we thus limit to that extent the in- auspicious field of error. to restore question original freedom. whenever the thing is possible.The Measure flection of the Hours had probably been mingled had more awkward movement of the will made two. in fact. would demand it In the meantime. at least to its recall it closer to our will.

in a things. as yet inappreciable in savages and in simple and humble men. if overtaken by same disaster as his squire or employer. In any vicis no accident of which the wrong. we can much daily the distance have to cover This in instinct will order come to our aid. in the It meet that he should say is to himself. that any other. increases with every step taken civilisation. what' in his place. by our education and persuaded that it I am less could be proved that a if peasant or workman. 193 His un- . enormous which to diminish by so word that expresses we call nature. a priori. has two or three chances more than the latter of escaping safe case. consequently. literally true. there is and sound. even he be the young and the the less active.The Psychology all of Accident and facts. distance. to ically closer to material forces that which. the majority of the risks which those around him take remain forbidden to himself. would have escaped. tim is not.

in a flood. future. the ox or the dog. as they used to say in a minus law. an earthquake. that surrounds inordinate power of all and the numourselves. in a street or road accident. In the midst of our machines. Roman IX For all this. our poisons. but which are always ready to rise in revolt. compared with that of other living beings. for instance. must needs appear prodigious. our all our various our waters. the forces which we have more our lives mastered. Now. or less fires. we risk twenty or thirty times oftener than the horse. apparatus." Henceforth he the point of is must distrust his luck. when we consider the lack of the it consistency of our body. From view of the great dangers.The Measure consciousness. ber of perils to which we expose our luck. 194 . he habens. is of the Hours his which here blends with not "in form.

It is ob- vious that the latter's reason. we oblige her to she does us the least harm possible. in the fall of a tree or a house. his experience and his more prudent instinct preserve him to a great extent. one would say that there must be something more. Granting equal risks and hazards and allow- ing for intelligence and a certain instinct. Nevertheless. through our hurt own us. when. a fire. She re- ligiously avoids touching that frail body. surrounds it with a sort of manifest and unaccountable respect and. the fact more still skilful and remains that nature seems to be afraid of man.The Psychology of Accident a storm. arrogant fault. the animal will almost always be struck by preference to the man. IPS .




IN PRAISE OF THE FIST IT is well. once more re- stored to nature. that lately. — Publishers' Note. and its as the body of a fine animal. with the exercises its that agility most increase qualities its strength. 199 . I when self writing of the sword. igencies. and. in particukr. I ready to ex- remember. the essay entitled In Praise of the Sii/ord in The Double Garden. face all healthy. in this connection. in the holiday season of summer. to occupy ourselves with the aptitudes of our body.^ to allowed my- be carried away by my subject and was guilty of a certain injustice towards the only specific ' weapon with which nature Cf. life's formidable.

can keep house together on excellent terms. the most and flaccid beings in creation. without among the most unprotected. We should not have recourse to it save with solemn precautions and a ceremonial equivalent to that wherewith trials we surround is those criminal which may end fist. the human weapon. fact is that. . the offensive and de- fensive structure of our body. But the sword is.The Measure has endowed us justice I : of the Hours the fist. the if The sword and complement and. organically adapted to the sensi- the resistance. I mean fist This in- am anxious to repair. form each other's the expression be not too ungracious. if we well examine our- vanity. a sort of ultima et sacra ratio. preeminently the only the every-day. The selves. only an exceptional weapon. The on the contrary. weapon bility. the fragile. 200 Compare us. we must rank ourselves. in a sentence of death. or should be. the mostbrittle most naked.

veniencing Consider the cockchafer. the least robust of the beetles. it the casings of its fore- wings As is. whose vertebras hold 201 . which one would think constructed by a child I Look at our spine. and weigh what its it is able to carry before the rings of abdomen crack or yield. alone. among upon which you may heap Contemplate. so formidably equipped for attack and so fantastically armour-cased I others. unlimited. Our skeleton which is as it were the rough sketch of our definitive form. By comparison. apparently incon- ten or twenty thousand times the weight of its body without it.In Praise of the Fist for instance. offers a certain consistency. stag-beetle. for the resistance of the so to speak. the ant. with the insect. the basis of our ill-set whole system. the gelatinous state and quite close to the primitive protoplasm. But how wretched is this skeleton. therefore. we and the ma- jority of still in mammals are unsolidified beings.

selves. must be agreed.The Measure of cage. against this pitiful organism. if other we are permitted to use extraordinary weapons against our enemies of a different order. a very curious and a very disconcerting aberration. and our thoracic which presents only a series of diagonals which the finger-tips. an initial folly. from which life tends to escape contrived if on every side. we to ought. that goes on increasing daily. peculiar to the human by race. among our- among men. employ only the means of attack and defence provided by . we hardly dare touch with Now it is against this slack and incoherent machine. the Hours together only by a miracle. that we have weapons capable of annihilating us even we ity possessed the fabulous armour-case. the prodigious strength and the incredible vital- of the most indestructible it insects. which resembles an abortive effort of nature. In order to return all to the natural logic followed living beings. We have here.

the bull and claws and teeth to the suffice for all the fist should our needs of protection. Were mankind to conform strictly to fist. we should thus succeed spreading and putting into force a sort of panic-stricken respect of human life. the evident will of nature. And how prompt and how exactly in accordance with nature's wishes would be the selection brought about by the intensive practice of pugilism. in which all the hopes of military glory would be centred. A wiser race would forbid any other mode of comes- bat as an irremissible crime against the sential laws of the species. the greatest and the most eternal of our duties towards the race. selection is. 203 . At the end of a in few generations. the is which to its man what its horns are to lion. justice and revenge. the only really important thing it is that claims our preoccupation the first.In Praise of the Fist our own bodies. Now . after all.

do not to strike a know how blow with our 204 fist 1 We do not . light upon the some of our most valuable soon perceive that. resistance to pain to the lowest rank of the —we have sunk mammals we or the batrachians. From this point of view. We in all that concerns the use of our limbs terity. — agility. by the most learned lessons. dex- muscular strength. the "Hominidas." the proudest of the primates. the butt of the bull. But we. their stinctive manner of using their natural weapons. should be entitled to a modest place be- tween the frog and the sheep.The Measure of the Hours II Meanwhile. the study of boxing gives us excellent lessons in humility and throws a forin- somewhat alarming feiture of stincts. in a well-conceived hierarchy. It and anatomically would be impossible to imin- prove. are mechanically perfect. The kick of the horse. the bite of the dog.

two peasants who come to blows nothing could even : be more pitiable. the evoked by the shame of the incongruous sight. stunted and sputtering little blows if and the combat would never end treacherous knife. In Praise of the Fist know which exactly is the weapon of our kind! Look at two draymen. one of them succeed in releasing an arm. he strikes out blindly and most often into space a series of hurried. make play with at their feet. After a copious and dila- tory broadside of insults and threats. get entangled in their motionless if rage. did not suddenly. scratch each other.. no gropings. On no the other hand. the calmness of two certainties that know what lies before them. bite each other. almost spontaneously leap from the pocket of one of the two. 20S The athletic attitude . dare not leave go and. they seize each other by the throat and hair. watch two pugilists: useless words. no anger. with their knees. random.

its Every one of them has the full with energy. who triumphs no wish so incontestably that he has to abuse his victory. one of the of which body is capable. particle of From head to foot. plicity pole in one or fists other of the two massive charged to And the noble sim- of the attack! the fruits Three blows. needed for after. and with no dangerous hurt to the conquered. to the complete satisfaction of the conqueror. the ill- Soon 206 beaten . no secular more. irresistible. mathematically exhaust the thousand useless possibilities hazarded by the uninitiated. the fight ended. As soon as one of them frankly is touches the adversary. not a strength can now go astray. unimprovable Three blows. of experience.The Measure the male all of the Hours finest of the guard. synthetic. logically exhibits the muscles of the organism to the best advantage. who all is simply reduced to impotence and unconsciousness during the time will to evaporate.

but the fact is easily established that the science of boxing. from the sense of our inferiority. unjust and malevolent. because the his resistance of his bones organs to is strictly and naturally pro- portioned the power of the human him and brought weapon him that has struck to the ground. that sort of perpetual state of alarm In which our jealous vanity moves. the men. all these at bottom. weakness and of our physical which toil as best they may to overawe. often churlish.In Praise of the Fist man and will rise to his feet with no lasting damage. that 207 . Ill It may seem those paradoxical. Our aggressive our watchful susceptibility. In countries where It Is generally practised and cultivated. with a proud and Irritable mask. nervousness. becomes a pledge of peace and gentleness. arise.

it forth from retreat like one grown old take ? in captivity and suddenly dazzled by the light of day. when name its is called. instinct that we hour of Upon our instinct devolve the anxiety of the attack. instinct What will the crisis this poor prudent It is do if goes badly? rely in the upon our danger. the 208 stomach. the more in- tractable in proportion as our anxiously-terrified instinct. . is cowering within the body that to receive the blows. asks itself how the bout will end. the care of the defence. What resolution will : it Where is it to strike at the eyes.The Measure of surround us selves the Hours that The more we feel our- disarmed are in the face of attack. But we have so often it in daily life affairs dismissed from the control of comes and its from the supreme council that. the more we tortured by the longing to prove to others and to persuade ourselves Courthat no one attacks with impunity. the nose. age becomes the more touchy.

ataxic thumps. self-persuasion.In Praise of the Fist the temples. the throat ? is it And what weapon It to choose : the feet. cour- age. all the great and splendid. first Peaceably he awaits the 209 act of violence . the teeth. blind. which at after numberless and grotesque eva- sions. the hand. Once and for emanates ideal. ends in an unskilful exchange of clamorous. it wanders about poor dwelling. He. spirit. he knows. Longanimity like a peaceful flower from his but certain victory. who knows for the source of justice which he holds in his two closed fists no need all. is about to be defaced. quarrel. it dotingly. while. piteous and puerile and indefi- nitely impotent. self-esteem. the elbow. but irresponsible lords envenom the stubborn last. on the has contrary. The grossest insult cannot impair his indulgent smile. and. pulls them by the sleeve. hybrid and plaintive. or the nails? its no longer knows which . vanity. pride.

310 ." A magic movement stops the insolence. ceases even so certain is its efficacy. he at length resolves to raise against the most powerful brute the its sovereign hand that regrets beforehand too-easy victory. single "Thus far shall you go.The Measure and is of the Hours and any that able to say to all offend him. that. Why make this movement ? He to think of it it. as of one defenceless child. striking a last the extremity. And in is with a sense of shame.



in the it one of the this most beautiful language: does word it? still." forgot- how much truth is there at the bottom 213 .THE FORGIVENESS OF INJURIES IT is not unprofitable to examine from time to time the meaning of certain words which clothe thoughts in an unchangeable garment that have themselves become transmuted. To take for Instance the word "forgive. at first sight. did ever possess the sense of almost divine amnesty which Is it we assign to not one of the terms that best set it forth the good-will of men. "I forgive you and ten. inasmuch as contains an ideal that has never been real- ised? When we say to one who all is has in- jured us." which appears.

us as he For us he is only an image in which he himself outlines It is our memory. little more than an a ideal We are in world wherein. that of self-preservation. has a direct interest in re- membering it. It is impossible for us to forget wrong that has been done us. conveys host of promises. because the profoundest of our instincts. But this great sign has value. his The man who. finds way into our lives is never known to is. which are probably deeper and more sincere than the words or actions that will erelong belie them." The remainder. which is the only engagement into which "I shall not try to we can in enter: harm you my turn.The Measure of this speech? of the Hours this. At most. at a given moment. 214 . does not depend upon our own the will. which we believe ourselves to be promising. quite true that the life that animates indefinable. but It him has an revealing powerful a self- face.

it A plain. very few beings which long live in accordance with the truth their presence there foretells. he have offended we forgive him that tantamount to telling him we do not recognise him. that we per- ceive the man who if is approaches us. and to us.The as Forgiveness of Injuries either through force of circumstances or the result of an initial error. that say to him. it Kindnesses with attractive and delicate it whereas offences channel In reality. illumine colours. modelled according to the lection of pleasures or cares. hard mask covers all and bears the impress of the acts and deeds that have affected us. last. 215 . it is with deep grooves. this only under recol- mask. At our fretful experience teaches us to take no further account of this too mysterious face.

does not exhaust the limits of Christian forgiveness. Suppose that Nero be not dead. as in so man who has injured many other respects. In this.The Measure of II It is the Hours a question of knowing what influence this inevitable recognition will have upon our relations with the us. it Nevertheless. is woman burying. There this no is denying that the action of woman greater and goes farther beyond human rea- son than the action of Antigone. is as soon as our good-will roused. as yet unconscious steps bring back to the old road of the religious ideal. it its first. the legendary group of the Christian life. we might set up. but staggering on the last confines of life and that an heroic rescue alone can save him. at the risk of her the execrated remains of Nero. At the sum- mit of this ideal. as a sym- bol. The Christian will 216 owe him this . which dominates pagan antiquity.

The Forgiveness of Injuries though she know for certain is rescue. bring back the perserise cution. which is sublime even where it is Infinite reward for taken into ac- what are we to think in a world that looks for nothing in another world? At which of the three superhuman moments shall we call him mad who flings himself into one of those three abysses of forgive- ness? We shall even to this day find a first. at the restoring to him same time. Ill Of this an count. few traces of footsteps around the but no one will now stray around the two 217 . even that the life which she will. She can higher still: imagine that she have to choose in the same moment of anguish between her brother and the enemy who will doom her to destruction. She will reach the topmost summit only by preferring the enemy. ideal.

even in the un- reason of that ideal. and upon the which we would make on the mountain depends exactly that which we will make in the valley. 218 . but no less difficult. but. constantly brings before us equivalents that are less tragic. we imagine on choice a large scale will end by being realised on a small. taken from the farthest ends of Existence imagination. and the solution of the humblest cases of conscience depends upon the spirit which preAll that sides over that of the loftiest. there nevertheless remains. the Hours Let us admit that we have away here is a sort of heroic march of faith which no longer possible .The Measure of others. taking faith. something is human that as it were a presentiment of what man would like to let do if life were not so cruel. are idle or absurd. And us not think that instances of this kind.

are Both. it it most were drew thither made no 219 vain endeavour to . not in very different from our own. we can learn to forgive as completely as the Christian. closely This divine imis mensity. raised every soul mechanically. just like ourselves. We need escape only an effort similar to but directed towards other gates. so to speak. to the heights which we ought to reach as by means of our own strength. he did not first attempt the impossible but he pro- ceeded to drown any desire for revenge in the divine immensity. but the feeling of the nameless Religion immensity wherein we struggle. We are no more prisoners than he of this world which we see with the eyes in our head. in order to from it. more considered. reality. . The Christian. of th^ souls which as yet blind.The Forgiveness of Injuries IV Moreover. did not forget the injury. But. his.

like the go so far to urge us to prefer our enemy because he it is our enemy. produced nearly the same effects as the real vision that strikes us at present. itself It with describing to them pictures ap- propriate and familiar to their blindness. And.The Measure of perceive the Hours give them an idea of the truths which from those heights. but that are addresses hearts which more distinterested 220 and minds which . comas is mand does not. "We must it forgive offences because God wishes and has Himself set the most complete example of forgiveness that ine. is low without opening our exactly the same as that given to us by the needs and the profound innocence of all life at the moment when we contemplate them from a sufficient height. pictures which. if this latter first. this is not to say that it less sublime." it is possible to imagfol- This command. which we can eyes. for very different reasons. we They would contented not have understood them.

because they rise not in the in the human atmosphere. it is . a whole series of spiritual victories which are more and more painful.The Forgiveness of Injuries have learnt no longer to appraise an ideal solely according as to less difficult whether In it be more or for of attainment. instance. of the man who himself into the water or the flames to save a child. in penance. in this way. In any case —'and perhaps more efficaciously than the other speaking — the command of which it we were dispels all hatred. but often in a very hurtful fashion. but void above. in mortification. The man who difficult juggles with balls of is fire on the point of a steeple thing. yet his useless also doing a very no one dreams of comparing courage with the devotion. where they shine not only without necessity. there are. for no longer springs born within our- from a foreign will. sacrifice. but which are not really higher. nearly always less dangerous though flings it be.

There injustice is no more ill- ingratitude. together many others which are grander and no less exact and which should always let be present to our eyes. of vaster and harsher There are very few among us that have need to strengthen their means of defence. there not even any more selfishness. believing that he a duty or exercising a right. to whet their prudence. in the magnificent and boundless night wherein poor beings move. Let us not fear with so lest this vision. will. their 222 . guided by a darkness which each of them follows in is exceeding fulfilling good faith. it us not fear lest victims or should disarm us and in a life make dupes of us realities. is or perversity.The Measure of selves at the sight of in the Hours an immense spectacle which men's actions assume their real place and meaning.

and experience provide for lavishly. but too We are never in danger of losing All the efforts of a only with great our equilibrium on the side opposed to our petty daily interests. us keep to the humble lessons of experience. But it is no matter for indifference to others and especially to ourselves whether our movements of attack and defence are outlined against the dull background of hatred. contempt and disenchantment or against the trans- parent horizon of indulgence and of the silent forgiveness that explains and underlet stands. There it: it is no need to occupy ourselves with in buds and multiplies prodigiously the unfongciows. But there 223 is a purer and . watchful thought difficulty to suffice keep us erect. Above is all.The Forgiveness of Injuries Life's instinct this mistrust or their selfishness. as the years pass. There in these lessons a dull and heavy part that belongs by right to instinct and descends to the necessary clay-soil of life.

towards the end of our days. therefore. act allows of as as many are different in- terpretations in there diverse forces our intelligence. those requiring the least effort. nothing but the most miserable resi- due of wisdom.The Measure of more Every subtle part the Hours which we must learn to it catch and hold before evaporates in space. If we do little not struggle without respite against their cunning and familiar encroach- ment. 224 According as our . because they are the to come. Soon there would remain to us. the idlest. that the loftiest interpretation which we can give of the facts that hustle us at every moment should gross treasure rise in proportion as the of the practical sense of existence accumulates. first The lowest of them appear at the simplest. all the beliefs out of which our youth had formed the noblest and most fruitful regions of our mind. the most natural first and just. all by little they devour and poison the hopes. It is meet.

Moreover. so tranquil. full so in- genuous and so it knows well that us. the loftiest interpre- invariably the truest. upon the upshot and when is and everything tation is said. it Forgiveness of Injuries sense of life increases in the soil by the is indispensable that it should ascend in the light by the fruits and flowers. so easy-going. 225 . experience. air and quicken the dead-weight of the years. so practical. seemingly so positive. sincere. It Is necessary that an ever-vigilant thought lift should incessantly up. its hides some essential thing from it had we the strength secret retrenchments.The roots. to drive to most to a we should end it certainty by wringing from the supreme all avowal that. and.




soon to be itself alone. to say the only voice that can reveal to us the 229 . long-lived It will probably continue will and impregnable. descriptive and narrative ornathat is ments. there.CONCERNING "KING LEAR' easy to prove IT especially since is that. and all gain in purity and intensity that it has lost elsewhere in extent and abundance. but unin- habitable provinces of the epic poem —has in gradually shrunk in dimensions and become actually reduced to a few isolated towns the mountain. Little by little it will strip itself of its vain didactic. the realm of poetry —which had hardly been touched upon since the definite loss of the vast. of late years and of the the beginning great romantic period.

but for the tragic poet proper. And . that the romantic tragedy of the Germans and Victor all Hugo derive their poetry from sources that are definitely dried up. But what fate has the future or even the present in store. The it great drama of had been only the the crowds. Lyric poetry will always exist: mortal. which speech no longer utters and which music does not yet express. I will not say for the dramatist or playwright. inexhaustible source has hitherto yielded mediocre and indifferent 230 results. in which was believed that an unknown and discovered. because it it is im- is necessary.The Measure of human the Hours things which silence hides from us. that classical tragedy as conceived by Corneille and Racine. for the writer who strives to maintain a repre- certain lyrical quality in his work by senting in it things greater and finer than the things of real life? It is certain that the lyric tragedy of the Greeks.

greater and finer than II Let us. And yet there is no disguising the fact and the poetic instinct of humanity has always a felt its presentiment: it is drama is not really true until life. still after more than three remain green and living 231 in all . in the interval preceding the time when the poets shall know whither to turn their steps. one of those rare cen- dramas which. turies. examine one of the most famous examples of those dramas which enlarge the truth without violating it. which have taken the place of the others and in the direction of which Ibsen attempted certarn excavations. these mysteries have been for too short a time in direct contact with man to erect and visibly and efficaciously to govern the words and actions of the character of a play.Concerning "King Lear" new mysteries of our modern all life.

the most stirring. It is safe to declare. for in avoid exaggeration the and all exquisite attack of fever which Shakspeare's devoted admirers his masterpieces is whenever one of revived — it is safe to declare. that the tragedy of the old king constitutes the mightiest. the archetypal play of the hu- man stage.The Measure of their parts : the Hours King I allude to Shakspeare's Lear. after due deliberation. all the poets of our earth. the most intense dramatic poem that has ever been written. the play in which the ideal of is the loftiest scenic poetry ised. the vastest. as I once said —not it is without some impossible to light seizes little exaggeration. after surveying the literatures of every period and of every country. Were we to be asked from the height of another planet which is the synthetic and represen- tative play. it most fully real- seems to me certain that. the best judges in this exigency. 232 would with one .

rannus are wonderful but isolated whereas King Lear is a marvellous forest. of the word mous less let us grant that it has faults as enor: as its good qualities it this fact none the remains. the prodigious bulk of the 233 . or three masterpieces of the else — for virtually Shakspeare can be com- pared with none save himself of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. CEdipus Tytrees. the rarity. —of that other miracle of his genius. not so perfect in the rather conventional sense . not so visibly harmoni- ous. not so pure in outline. that surpasses all the others in the mass. less not so evident. is Let us admit that Shakspeare's poem clear. the density. the tragic story Ill Prometheus.Concerning "King Lear" voice for a name King Lear. the strange mobihty. the Orestes. They could only moment weigh the claims of two or Greek stage.

vital. it is variety and ampleness add certain . I know that the total beauty of a work is not to be estimated by weight or volume. that the dimensions of a statue do not necessarily bear a relation to theless. 234 . endowed with passionate it is and yet coordinate gestures. unaccustomed elements to beauty that easier to be successful with one statue of middling size and of a calm movement than with a group of twenty statues of superhu- man dimensions. by the side of King Lear. Never- cannot be denied that abundance. the longest Greek tragedies are little more than plays in one act. Well. that difficult to less write one tragic and mighty act in which three or four persons play their whole moving crowd and which maintain parts than to write five which are filled with a that same tragic and powerful note on an equal level during a period five times as long as the other. it its aesthetic value.The Measure tragic beauties of the Hours it which contains.

more inaccessible darknesses. By how much Certain more vigorous. but more majestically and more harmoniously su- perb. way of compensation. nearer to the life. however. certain rays of light on the plata form of Elsinore reach and. for illumine. the colouring more monotonous. less quivering. the intensity more constant and more illusive widespread. less acute. whole The subject is simpler. massive and irresistible does the spirit of the work appear I clusters. we shall probably find that its thought is less active. like moment. but here the lights column of smoke and flame up a in a permanent and uniform manner stretch of the night. more general and more normally human. if we try to compare with Hamlet. more overflowing and more and yet of more natural. the lyricism more continuous. be235 .Concerning "King Lear" On it the other hand. found. less proless prophetic. realities everyday more familiarly stirring. gleams from beyond the tomb.

Macbeth. is instance. Prometheus. it immediately affects the primitive and almost invariable soul of IV Hamlet. Othello. although as passionately. in the what. CEdipus belong to a class of poems which are more exalted than the others because they are unfolded on a sort of sacred mountain This is girt about by a certain mystery. hierarchy of the masincontestably terpieces. the Orestes. carries They owe them to this mountain which between and earth the . as profoundly doubtless. although exceptional. nevertheit universally possible.The Measure of cause it the Hours springs not from thought. places Hamlet for above Othello and. more heaven 236 normally human. passion. but from surrounds a situation is. because does not necessarily require a metaphysical hero like Hamlet and because man. because it which. less.

. transitory. ments which compose it are borrowed from a variable and arbitrary supernaturalism it is a "beyond" of a contestable character and appearance. we become aware that the if Now. The gods. as overladen with anxieties as spells. —and this it is that gives five it a place apart among the four or great dramatic there is poems of the world — in King Lear no supernaturalism proper. therefore. the inhabitants of the great imaginary worlds do not meddle with the action fatality . itself is here quite inward. all poetry and unwonted the traditional forces in though of heaven and hell had vied superstruct original its ardour to peaks. or local. which are But religious or superstitious. and yet the immense drama unravels its five acts on a summit as high. Concerning "King Lear" best part of their sombre and sublime power. The absurdity of the anecdote (all the great master- 237 . is no more than passion run mad. this ele- we examine the formation of mountain.

but overthrown. superimposed by an awful tempest. effort of needs an our good-will. That est is why King Lear remains the youngIt of the great tragic works. a forgetting of our condition and of our present certainties for us to be sincerely and wholly stirred by the spectacle of Hamlet. in the sublime magnificence of the height at it is Study more closely it is the structure of that summit: solely formed of of enormous human strata. the wrath. the only one which time has not withered. is one profoundly in suited to all that most human human nature. are founded on a more or less absurd anecdote) disappears which developed. of general and almost familiar sentiments. heaped up. gigantic blocks of passion.The Measure pieces. of reason. 238 On the other hand. of the Hours being intended to represent typical actions of a necessarily far-fetched exclusive and excessive character. the roars of . Macbeth or CEdipus.

the only one in the world in which the magnifi- . nothing to be withdrawn from them. Were Shakspeare to return among us upon earth. whereas he would not need to alter a situation nor a line in King Lear.Concerning "King Lear" pain. The youngest. . in respect of profound truths that form the spiritual and sentimental atmosphere of our planet. the prodigious curses of the old man. there is nothing essential to be added to them. the most unchangeable of is tragedies also the most organically lyrical dramatic poem that was ever 239 realised. of the outraged father seem to issue from our modern hearts and brains they . he could no longer write Hamlet or Macbeth. rise all up the under our own sky and. He would feel that the main august and gloomy ideas upon which those poems rest would no longer carry them.

The Measure of the Hours cence of the language does not once impair the probability. . There is no denying it: no scene in the mightiest tragedy or in the most hackneyed comedy. with the highest mysteries of nature. they must depart as sible little as pos- from the language employed life. But. the illusion of reality. is in order to give us that which the most necessary illusion on the stage. it is There is not a poet but knows that almost impossible on the stage to ally beautiful images with natural expression. who have met They have therefore to talk. they remain within ourselves 240 in a latent condition. as Alfred de Vigny said. in every- day life. the naturalness of the dialogue. If our habitual thoughts mingle with great and beautiful spectacles. in this rather elementary we hardly ever is express in words any- thing that brilliant or profound in our inner existence. and. is ever more than a conversation between two or to talk of their three people affairs.

a few scenes of Goethe excepted) or else he will be natural. betray themselves sometimes by a word. of almost the French and German romanticists. the drama follows being able to express hardly anything that would not be expressed unformulated there. The poet has therefore to choose: he will be lyrical or merely eloquent. for in- stance. of the plays of Victor all Hugo and . of ideas. to the 241 abundance . but dry. a phrase nobler or truer than those of our probable and usual conversation. and most of his historical plays. prosaic and dull. he pours forth into rhetoric and incessantly sacrifices to the splendour. In in Romeo and Juliet. Shakspeare did not escape the dangers of this choice.Concerning "King Lear" in a condition of dreams. Now. of mute at the very most. feelings which. in life. but unreal (and this is the mistake of our classical tragedies. it that all the higher part of existence remains lest it should shatter the indispensable illusion.

in his great master- pieces he makes no mistake. mad alone express Shakspeare systematireason unsettles the of his pro- tagonists and thus opens the dike that held Hence- captive the swollen lyrical flood.. forward. VI On the other hand. he speaks freely by their mouths 242 . essential and commonplace of every speech and cue. As it seems to be accepted that a hero its who expresses his inner life in all mag- nificence cannot remain probable and human on the stage except on condition that he be represented as mad in real life (for it is understood that here the that hidden cally life). but the very which he surmounts the difE- manner in culty reveals all the gravity of the problem. The Measure of precision the Hours of his metaphors the imperious. He achieves his end only with the aid of a sort of subterfuge to which he always resorts.

strained Thus it is intermittent and rein Macbeth and Othello. because Thane of Cawdor Venice are no it the hallucinations of the and the rages of the Moor of crises. more than passional the Prince of tative. in im- mense and miraculous images. the first 243 . because the madness of Denmark is torpid and mediit no otherwhere does overflow as in King Lear. great works less is the lyricism of his less high.Concerning "King Lear" and beauty invades the stage without ing lest it fear- be told that also. be- cause the magnificent insanity of the dispossessed and desperate old king extends from scene to the very last. but is slow and pensive in Hamlet. more or more or wide in proportion to the madness of his hero. the forests. torrential. uninterrupted and hurling together. the oceans. Henceforward. irresistible. the tempests and the stars. it is out of place.




All exert themselves to accomplish their 247 .THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE FLOWERS WISH merely to recall here a I few facts I known tribution to every botanist. that that Though there be plants and flowers are awkward or unlucky. in which the life of vegetable towards light and understanding concentrated. which the plants give These es- proofs are innumerable and continual. need hardly say that all I have no intention of reviewing intelligence the proofs of us. there is none is wholly devoid of wisdom and ingenuity. pecially effort among is the flowers. have made not a single discovery and is my modest con- confined to a few elementary I observations.

all the Hours have the magnificent ambition to overrun and conquer the surface of the globe by endlessly multiplying that form of existence which they represent. have often antici- pated the inventions and acquirements of man. traps combinations. And to there- fore the majority of them have recourse to machinery. the appeal of harmonious and dazzling 248 colours. aerial navigation and the observation of Insects. II It would be superfluous once more the play of stamens to trace the picture of the great systems of floral fertUisatlon : and pistil. because of the law that chains difficulties them to the soil. the . to a which. they have. to overcome much greater than those opposed to the increase of the animals. To attain this object. the seduction of perfumes.The Measure of work. In regard to such matters as mechanism. ballistics.

attaches it it indissolubly to the soil. the nutrient organ of the plant. silence. Therefore it knows our better efforts. is that to bring to the flower the kiss of the distant. This vegetable world. are the the against destiny most vehement and stubborn. so resigned. that revolt in which impatience. than we.The Intelligence of the Flowers is concoction of nectar. which to us appears so placid. in the case of : the plant there no doubt it is the law that its condemns to its it to immobility from birth death. fly. the messenger of love humble-bee. who disseminate 249 . root. which useless to the flower absolutely and is manufactured only to attract and retain from without. the liberator ^bee. in which all seems acquiescence. on the contrary. is. invisible. The essential orits gan. meditation. butterfly or — moth— . . obedience. motionless lover. If be difficult to discover among the great laws that oppress us that which weighs heaviest upon our is shoulders. .

to evade. mounting from the an incom- darkness of the roots to become organised and full-blown in the flower. to transgress the heavy and sombre law. trate into a moving and it Is the fact that attains object not as to succeed in different surprising as though we were living outside the time which a destiny assigns to us or in into a universe freed making our way from the weightiest shall see that the laws of matter? flower sets We man a prodigious example of insubmission. perseverance genuity. If and in- we had applied to the removal 250 . is parable spectacle. its .The Measure of against the Hours what its first to rise in revolt. to shatter the narrow sphere. . to peneactive world. to invent or it invoke wings. courage. to set itself free. to approach another kingdom. . And the energy of fixed idea. It exerts itself wholly with one sole aim: to escape above from the fatality below. to conquer the space in which destiny encloses it. to escape as far as can.

old age such as and death. one-half of the little energy displayed by any gardens. We are in a strange world. unable to move from place to place. Contrary to that animal kingdom which takes place in the and because of the terrible law of absolute immobility. the chief and worst enemy of the seed is the paternal stock. flower in our we may well believe that our lot would be very different from what it is. know stifle that their they are condemned to starve or offpring. discloses only a less complex experience and foresight. fruit. of various necessities that crush pain.The Intelligence of the Flowers us. or. Ill This need of movement. space. Every seed that is falls at the foot of the tree or plant either lost or doomed 2SI . manifested in both the flower and the easily explained in the fruit. is this craving for among It is the greater number of plants. in any case. where the parents.

. to believe the expenditure of imagination and genius 252 . little if one had not practised a botany. the erio- philous plants and a thousand other unex- pected and astounding pieces of mechanism for there is not. in fact. Hence the im- throw off the yoke and con- quer space. The Measure of mense effort to the Hours to sprout in wretchedness. to mention. the detonating springs flying-machine of the Thistle. but a few of the most the curious. of propulsion. the and the Salsa fy. Hence the marvellous systems of dissemination. the hooks of . the bract of the Lime-tree. It would. in passing. a single seed its but has invented for sole use a complete method of escaping from the maternal shade. the extraordinary squirt of the Momordica. of navigation of the air in the forest which we find : on every side and the plain among others. the Dandelion of the Spurge. so to speak. the aerial screw or samara of Maple. be impossible.

which. We know seeds. which we This good. If the capsule containing it were to split. the precious black dust would form but a useless heap Its at the foot of the maternal stalk. 253 . big head shelters a prudence and a foresight that deserve the highest praise. bends over on its peduncle. the the Geranium. in all the Consider. is But only outlet through apertures con- trived right at the top of the capsule. sways like a censer at the least breath of literally wind with sows the seeds in space. the very action employed by the sower. when and ripe. to five bursting capsules of Do any not forget. to fall or to open underneath. the five valves of the Balsam.The Intelligence of the Flowers verdure that gladdens our eyes. sion. that it holds thousands of tiny black is Its object to scatter this seed as dexterously and to as great a distance as possible. upon occa- examine the common Poppy-head. find at herbalist's. for instance. the charming seedpots of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

He flies away and. as in the case of the Mistletoe. to entice them. 254 . for fear of repeating the ingenious mistakes of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. soon after. is swallows the seed. to the flower. is The is sweet husk of no more use to the seed than the nectar. which indigestible. the Mountain-ash. but stripped of its case and ready to sprout far from the attendant dangers of its birthplace. lurk inside a sweet husk ? We see here displayed final causes such a powerful reasoning faculty.The Measure of the Hours Shall I speak of the seeds which provide for their dissemination by birds and which. the Juniper. ejects the seed in the same condition in which he has received it. at the same time. facts can And yet the be no otherwise explained. such a remarkable understanding of that we hardly dare dwell upon the subject. which attracts the bees. The bird eats the fruit be- cause it is sweet and.

are two poor creeping plants which you have met a thousand times on your walks.The Intelligence of the Flowers IV But let us return to simpler contrivances. for we find them in every spot. One little bears a reddish the other a yellow ball the size of a pea. and you will per- ceive an independent. indefatigable. Here. one never suspect that. unex- pected little intelligence at work. They in are varieties of wild Lucern or Medick (Mediweeds" the humblest cago) . To see them crawling and would hiding among the proud grasses. flower. for instance. they had discovered the Archimedean screw and endeavoured to apply 2SS it not to the rais- . from the first tuft that offers. long before the illustri- ous geometrician and physician of Syracuse. down two to the most ungrateful corners to which a pinch of soil has strayed. two "ill sense of the word. Pick a blade of grass by the roadside.

They lodge their seeds in light spirals with three or four convolutions. to either the clothes of the pedestrians or the fleece of the animals. goats. admirably constructed to delay their fall and. with it. if they from a certain tree or from the top of some lofty 256 . It clearly hopes to add the advantages of eriophily that is to say the dissemination of seed by sheep. has even improved upon the appapoints. ratus of the red by furnishing the edges of the spiral with a double row of the evident intention of hooking on its passage. to prolong their jour- ney through the air. The poor red and yellow Lucerns have blundered. or dissemination by the wind. but to the art of flying. rabbits and so on — to those of anemophily. able screws are of Their remark- no use to them: they fell could act only height. consequently. with the help of the wind. the yellow. The most touching side of this great effort is its futility. One of them.— The Measure of the Hours ing of liquids.

little will maintain that she never Let us observe. that as? It would seem. the Medicago rounds its scutellata. on the level of the grass. We have here a curious instance of the mistakes. In one of them. constructed as they are Graminea. varieties of the in passing.The tall Intelligence of the Flowers but. another papilionaceous Le^Mmmoja. screw in the form of a therefore. we very clearly perceive the transition from the twisted pod to the screw or spiral. the gropings. almost identical with that of which we are now speaking) have not adopted this flying apparatus. that other Lucern (not to speak of the Clover. the Medi- cago aurantiaca. they have hardly taken a quarter of a turn before already they touch the ground. for only those who have studied nature but very errs. the experiments and the frequent little miscalculations of nature. but keep to the primitive meth- ods of the pod. we are assist- . ball. Another or variety. Snail-medick.

the yellow to it. stalks if and roots. is it not thanks to this new effort and to this happy thought is that the Lucern with the yellow flowers infinitely more widely distributed than its sturdier cousin whose flowers are red ? It is in the not only in the seed or the flower. we 258 stoop for a moment . leaves. at the attempts of a family that has not yet settled its destiny and its is seeking for the best way of ensuring future. that we discover. saying to its that. Lucern itself. Was the it not perhaps. added points or hooks not unreasonably.The Measure of the Hours ing at the stimulating spectacle of a sort of work of invention. having been deceived in spiral. it is since leaves attract the sheep. in the course of this search that. but whole plant. lastly. inevitable and right that the sheep should assume the care of its progeny? And.

As for myself. many traces of a prudent and quick intelligence. search for precarious water and 259 . sent its From hour. had carried the seed to the flank of the rock. violets. Think of the magnificent struggle towards the light of the thwarted branches. or the ingenious and courageous strife of trees in danger. A bird or the wind. by a huge centenarian Laurelto read It was easy on its twisted and. it had But blind roots on a long and painful soil. I shall never forget the ad- mirable example of heroism given me the other day in Provence. torrent. inacces- among the the burning and first barren stones. so to speak. in the wild and delightful gorges of the Loup. writhing trunk the whole drama of its hard and tenacious life. as perpendicular as an iron curtree and the and was born there. masters of destiny both. two hundred yards above the sible solitary.The Intelligence of the Flowers over their humble work. all fragrant with tree. which was tain.

tension and heavy crown of up into the sky.The Measure of this the Hours species was only the hereditary care of a that knows the aridity of the South. to correct the its first flight. to solve a The young stem had from much graver it and more unexpected problem: a vertical plane. all the free and conscious genius of the plant had centred around that vital knot. The monstrous. the successive solici- tudes of a kind of thought that to profit knew how it by the warnings which 260 received . It was obliged. stub- bornly to bend disconcerted trunk in the close to the rock form of an elbow like a and thus. bent down over the gulf. hypertrophled elbow revealed. therefore. one by one. in- Its stead of rising towards the sky. all the energy. all Thenceforward. the preoccupations. swimmer who throws back his head. by means of an incessant contraction to hold leaves straight its will. so that started top. notwithstanding the increasing weight of Its branches.

from the day. obeying instinct. two stout two fibrous cables. to Ueber Leben und Polaritdt. In penetrating into in order it had come upon an old boot-sole cross this obstacle. with no itself other care than to spread light out in the and heat. Year by year. know not what order of the roots. moor it to the granite Had they really been evoked by the tree's distress or were they perhaps waitfirst ing providently. had come to wall. hidden canker gnawed deep ported it into the tragic arm that supI in space. whose exploits are related by Brandis in his the earth. Then.The Intelligence of the Flowers rains from the and the storms. for the acute hour of danger. in order to Increase the value of their assistance? a happy accident? Was it only What human eye will ever assist at these silent dramas. apparently. which are all too long for our short lives ?^ ' Let us compare with this the act of intelligence of another root. which. issuing from the trunk at more than two feet above the elbow. the leafy dome grew while a heavier. the root was : 261 .

dance in it of its kind to find upon its subdivided left in itself into as many parts as there . notably the rea. endowed with spontaneous movements are not so well known. which is a native of Bengal. were holes the sole by the stitching needle then. Hedysagyrans. I will to be studied recall the do no more than delightful nervous terrors of the Sensitiveplant. the plants which might be described as "ani- mated" or "sentient" deserve in detail. but often cultivated in our hothouses. its it came together again and united all divided radicles into a single homogeneous tap-root. 262 . This Leguminosa. when the obstacle was overcome. acts in a very restless and surprising fashion.The Measure of VI the Hours Among the vegetals that give the most striking proofs of intelligence and initiative. performs a sort of perpetual the first and intricate road. among which the Hedysarum little or Moving-plant. the shrinking Mimosa with which we There are other herbs that are all acquainted.

the two others narrow and planted at the base of the first. are.theDionaeas and many others. They live in a state of rhythmical. and this long before Crook's discovery of the natural otheoscopes. almost chronometrical and continuous agitation. real photometers. to which should be added the Droseras. Its leaves are honour of the divided into three folioles.The Intelligence of the Flowers light. little are nervous plants that already go a beyond the mysterious and probably imaginary ridge that separates the vegetable 263 . Each of different these leaflets is animated with a movement of its own. as They we see. They are so sensitive to light that their dance flags or quickens accord- ing as the clouds veil or uncover that corner of the sky which they contemplate. one wide and terminal. VII But these plants.

for which reason we will pass it by in silence. among the aquathe inhabitants of the original less secret tic plants. the Zosteras. hardly distinct from clay class We have here the fabulous of the Cryptogamia. which can be studied only under the microscope. marvels As the fertilisation of their flowers cannot be accomplished underwater. stuff the common Sea-wrack with which we 264 our beds. Thus. not neces- we find as much and almost as much visible sponend of the world which taneity at the other we are considering. carefully enclose their flower in . in its Ferns and Horse-tails incomparable and ingenuity. that is to say.The Measure of sary to seek so high. each of them has thought out a different sys- tem to allow of the dry dissemination of the pollen. we can see performed. ooze and mud. although the work of delicacy the sporules of the is Mushrooms. But. and intelligence the Hours It is from the animal kingdom. in the low-lying places is where the plant or stone.

where the fruits ripen. and burst like bubbles. The Villersia rise to nynt- phoides. when the fertilisation is is accomplished. Henri Bocquillon it in his Fie des Plantes: "These plants. heavier than the water. pools and the puddles of peat-bogs. is The scribes system of the Utricularia even de- more complicated. The Trapa or Water-caltrop. simply lets its flowers go: they the surface nutans. which are common in ponds. M. ditches. 26s when . are not visible in winter. supplies them with a sort of inflated tumour they shoot up and open. supporting and feeding it at the top of an endless stalk. the air in the tumour replaced by a muci- laginous fluid. and the Water-lilies send theirs to blossom on the surface of the pond. which lengthens as the level of the water rises. having no expanding stalk. : Then. and the whole apparatus sinks back again to the slime.The Intelligence of the Flowers a regular diving-bell.

furnished with leaves reaxilla duced to ramified filaments. which can be opened only outside inwards . When the moment of efforescence the axillary utricles fill has come. slim. of the of At the leaves thus transformed. little sembling quaint less mouths with more or swollen lips and palates streaked with lines.The Measure trailing stalk is of the Hours Their long. they He on the mud. with air: the more this air tends to escape. little Not till then do those charming re- yellow flowers come into blossom. The It result is that it imparts a great specific buoyancy to the plant and carries to the surface of the water. we see a sort little pyriform pocket with an aperture in its pointed upper end. This aperture has a valve. is the inside of the pocket little covered with other it secretory hairs which give the appearance of velvet. orange or rubiginous 266 During the . the more tightly it closes the valve. from the its edges are provided with ramified hairs.

amid the vegetable decay fertilisation around them. the pres- sure of fluids and air." Is it not interesting to see thus gathered little in this immemorial apparatus some of the most fruitful and recent of human inventions : the play of valves or plugs. forces rushes into the cavity. they the play their fresh colours gracefully above muddy water. the fruit develops. the Archimedean to account? principle studied and turned As the author observes. weighs plant and compels it down the to descend to the mud again. But has been ef- fected. whom we have just quoted "The engineer who first attached little a rafting apparatus to a sunk ship thought that a similar process had been in use for thousands of years. all things play a different part: the ambient water presses it in.The Intelligence of the Flowers dis- months of June." 267 In a world . July and August. upon the valve of the utricles.

But we will return VIII We must not leave the aquatic plants briefly without mentioning the life of the most romantic of them all: the legen- dary Vallisneria. When we come to look into things more closely.The Measure of of intelligence. like astonished we it travel again the road which all had travelled before us. life is existed and. nuptials an hydrocharad whose In the form the most tragic episode 268 . is When said. last We are the comers on this earth. very natural and comforting that this should be so. to this point. we simply find what has always children. is it appears infinitely probable that it impossible for us to create anything whatsoever. the Hours destitute which we believe unconscious and we begin by imagining that the least of our ideas creates new combinations and relations.

rise in their turn. the only spot in 269 abode of which the . they back: their life. possessing none of the strange grace of the Water-lily or of certain submersed verdant plants. they will never reach the light. From a neighbouring it stem. the male flowers. a The Vallisneria rather insignificant herb. But it seems as though nature had delighted it in giving ence is a beautiful idea. towards the one that rocks. when they have come half- way. is feel themselves stalk. But. that awaits them. emerges and and blossoms on the sur- face of the pond. in a sort of half-slumber. Then floats the female plant slowly uncoils the long spiral of peduncle. until the the wedding-hour comes. Its whole exist- spent at the bottom of the water. the suddenly held very source of their too short. rises. that calls them to a fairer world.The is Intelligence of the Flowers love-history of the flowers. full of hope. a moment of it when its aspires to new life. which see through the sunlit water.

attained. with a magnificent effort. in their hearts a bubble of air. impossible It with not a visible obstacle would be insoluble. even as we lock up in our souls a thought of desperate deliverance. bond that attaches them themselves 270 They tear from their . the most supernatural that I the pageantry of the insects in know of in all and the flowers.The Measure of achieved! Is there the Hours pistil union of the stamens and the . . is were it not that an unex- pected element mingled with Did is the males foresee the disillusion to which they would be subjected? that they have locked One up thing certain. the finest. like our own it. tragedy upon this earth. order to rise to happiness they deliberto ately break the life. It is as though they hesitated for a moment. any more cruel inadvertence or Picture the tragedy of inaccessible ordeal in nature? that longing. then. the so nearly the 1 the transparent fatality. can be .

already a mother. there to ripen the fruit of the heroic kiss. up her and descends to the depths.The Intelligence of the Flowers flight. whereupon the victims her corolla. to perish. when we observe them act 271 viduals. which strictly accurate. perfect only delightful tragedy is when we indi- consider the intelligence and the aspirations of the species. Must we is spoil this charming picture. peduncle and. rolls drift away while the wife. closes in which spiral lives their last breath. their petals dart up and break the surface of the water. but radiant and free. light. we shall often see awk- . Wounded less brides to death. But. they float for a moment beside their heedis and the union accomplished. but seen from the side at it of the by looking also from that of the shadow? Why not? There are This sometimes on the shady side truths quite as interesting as those on the bright. with an incomparable amid bubbles of gladness.

again. present curi- ous and crafty spectacles. IX The parasitic plants. whereas the In individual nearly always stupid. We establish the fact that all genius lies in the species. when the low water would permit them and to no purpose here once more easily to join their companions. 272 commonly called . they will nevertheless mechanically break their stalks. as in the case of the astonishing Cuscuta. more and more more and more active tendency towards is a sort of equilibrium which secret of the great our future. man pre- alone does a real emulation exist between the two intelligences. At another. in life is or in nature. a cise. the male flowers will ascend to the surface when there are not yet any pistilled flowers near.The Measure wardly and plan. in the of the Hours in this ideal wrong way At one time.

Hop. power of vision. prey. in search of the stem of its Hemp. Lucern temperament and or Flax that suits its taste. the tendril will have 273 . This Cuscuta naturally to the Creepers. calls our attention which have very remark- able to habits and which deserve a word themselves. stalk attained a few inches its in length than it voluntarily abandons its roots to twine about it chosen victim. if necessary. that directs the tendrils of the Virginian Creeper or the Convolvulus towards the handle of a rake or spade resting against a wall. has no leaves and no sooner . . little Those of us who have in lived a the country have often the had occasion sort of to admire the instinct. it lives exclusively is upon its Its perspicacity not to be deceived it will refuse it any sup- port that does not please and will go some distance. Move the rake and. Thenceforth. the next day. into which digs its suckers.The has its Intelligence of the Flowers It the Dodder.

in the chapter devoted to the physiology of plants. the foresight displayed by the Hyoseris radiata. be- almost inexhaustible? Among fices so many different inventions. his treatise Ueber den on JVillen in der Natur. recapitulates this point and on many others a host of ob- servations and experiments which I it would take too long to set out here. Need I add that. these sources have been strangely multiplied and sides.The Measure Schopenhauer. in of the Hours turned completely round and found it again. therefore refer the reader to this chapter. in the past sixty or seventy years. In order to ensure both the its dissemination and the stability of race. artilet and precautions. it bears at one and the same time two kinds of 374 . for instance. or Starry Swine's-succory. the subject is that. not unlike the Dandelion and often found on the walls of the Riviera. a little yellow-flowered plant. will find where he numerous sources and references marked out for him. us mention also.

This Xanthium with a hideous prickles. weed. bristling barbaric in Not long ago. remain captive in the inflorescence latter is and are set free only when the decomposed. The seeds: are Intelligence of the Flowers the first are easily detached and to furnished with wings wherewith abandon themselves to the wind. 275 . while the others have no wings. The case of the Xanthium spinosum. it. naturally. it was unknown owes Western Europe and no dreamt of acclimatising one. had con- It its quests to the hooks which finish off the capsules of its fruits fleece it and which cling to the of the animals. shows us how well-condisis ceived and effective certain systems of semination can be. came to us in bales of wool imported from the depths of the Muscovite steppes and one might follow on the map the stages of this great emigrant which has annexed a new world.. A native of Russia. or Spiny Xanthium.

very susceptible. to place a wide viscid ring under the node of each stalk. found in abunolive-trees. in order to prevent them from passing.The Measure of The simple little the Hours Silene Italica. or Italian Catchfly. This is exactly what our gardeners do a circle when they draw of tar around the trunk of the apple-trees to stop the ascent of the caterpillars. This leads to the study of the defensive 276 . a white flower. Ap- parently very timorous. Dreading the ants it in particular. dance under the has set its thought working in another direction. Certain kinds of Catchflies. whence oozes a viscid fluid in which the parasites are caught with such success that the peasants of the South use the plant as a fly-catcher in their houses. more- over. have ingeniously simplified the sys- tem. to avoid the visits it of importunate and furnishes its in- delicate insects stalks with glandular hairs. they discovered that was enough.

M.The cellent Intelligence of the Flowers plants. the plant bristles and multiplies spikes. as though it felt that. fact. that. I refer to the reader who wishes for fuller details. Henri Coupin examines startling some of these quaint and weapons. as almost the sole survivor the hot sand. M. On the other hand. concerning which a student at the Sorbonne. Lothelier. Les Plantes originates. We have first the stimulating question of the thorns. whenever the it place in which grows is dry and burnt by its the sun. most of the thorny plants gradually 277 . a remarkable moreover. means employed by the which In an ex- popular work. result- ing in the conclusion that shade and damp tend to suppress the prickly parts of the plants. it among is the rocks or in called upon its to make a mighty effort to redouble defences against an enemy that no longer has a choice It is of victims to prey upon. when cultivated by man. has made a number of interesting experiments.

The Measure

of the Hours

lay aside their weapons, leaving the care of
their safety to the supernatural protector



adopted them





Certain plants,


others the Bora-

ginea, supply the place of thorns with very



Others, such as the Nettle, Others, the Geranium, the




themselves, the most striking case

have ceased to defend is that of the Lettuce : wild state," says the author whom I have

mentioned above, "hi we break a stalk or a leaf, we see a white juice exude from it, the latex, a substance formed of different matters which vigorously defend the plant against the assaults of the slugs. On the other hand, in the cultivated species derived from the former, the latex is almost missing, for which reason the plant, to the despair of the gardeners, is no longer able to resist and allows the slugs to eat it."

nevertheless right to


that this latex



lacking except in the
quite abundant





the Lettuce begins to

becomes "cabbage"

and when


runs to seed.
its life,

at the

it is

especially at the

commencement of

budding of


tender leaves, that the plant needs to defend itself



inclined to think that the cultivated


head a


so to speak, and that


no longer

knows exactly where




Intelligence of the Flowers

Mint, the Rue, steep themselves
ful odours to




the animals.

But the

strangest are those which defend themselves mechanically.
I will

mention only

the Horse-tail, which surrounds


a veritable armour of microscopic





the Graminea,


order to discourage the gluttony of the



add lime

to their tissues.

Before broaching the study of the complicated forms of apparatus rendered necessary by cross-fertilisation,


the thou-

sands of nuptial ceremonies that prevail in

our gardens
ideas of


us mention the ingenious
flowers, in

some very simple same


the grooms and brides are born, love and
die in the


typical sys-



well enough


the stamens, or

male organs, generally


and numerous,

The Measure

of the Hours
and patient

are grouped around the robust

But the

disposition, the form, the

habits of these organs vary in every flower,





thought that

cannot yet become settled, or an imagination that



a point of

honour never

to repeat itself.

Often the pollen, when

ripe, falls quite naturally

from the top of

the stamens

upon the


but very often,

and stamens are of the same


or the latter are too
pistil is


or the

twice as tall as they.



endless efforts to succeed in meeting.
in the Nettle, the stamens, at

Sometimes, as

the bottom of the corolla, stand cowering

on their stalk: at the moment of
tion, the stalk straightens


out like a spring

and the anther, or pollen-mass, that tops
Sometimes, as

shoots a cloud of dust over the stigma.
in the

Barberry, whose nup-

can be accomplished only in the bright

hours of a cloudless day, the stamens, far


Intelligence of the Flowers

removed from the

are kept against

the sides of the flower by the weight of their

moist glands: the sun appears and evaporates

the fluid and the unballasted stamens

dart upon the stigma.
ferent things again

Elsewhere are


thus, in the Primroses,

the females are by turns longer and shorter

than the males
other flowers,


In the Lily, the Tulip and
the too lanky bride does

what she can

to gather



the pollen.

But the most original and

fantastic system

that of the

Rue (Ruta graveolens),


rather evil-smelling medicinal herb of the





docile stamens,

drawn up

in a circle

around the
in the


wait expectant
the conjugal

yellow corolla.


hour, obeying the


of the female,

which apparently gives a

sort of call


name, one of the males approaches and
touches the stigma.

Then come

the third,

the seventh, the ninth male, until

The Measure of
the whole

the Hours

row of odd numbers has rendered

Next, in the even ranks, comes the

turn of the second, the fourth, the sixth and
so on.





love to order


This flower which knows how to count appears to


so extraordinary that I at


refused to believe the botanists; and I was

determined more than once to
merical sense before accepting
ascertained positively that

test its nuit.



but seldom

makes a mistake.



multiply these



A stroll in


woods or

fields will

allow any one to


a thousand observa-

tions in this direction, each quite as curious


those related by the botanists.


before closing this chapter,

would mention

one more flower: not that

displays any

extraordinary imagination, but because of
the delightful and easily-perceptible grace



movement of


I allude to the






Intelligence of the Flowers

whose folk-names are charming Love-in-aDevil-in-a-bush,



many happy and

touching efforts of popular

poetry to describe a

flower that pleases

This plant



in a

wild state

in the

South, by the roadside and under the olivetrees,



often cultivated in the



old-fashioned gardens.



pale blue, simple as a floweret in a primitive painting,

and the "Venus' locks" or
France are the

"ragged locks" that give the Ragged-lady

popular name



tenuous, tangled leaves that surround the
corolla with a "bush" of misty verdure.


the source of the flower, the five expistils

tremely long

stand close-grouped in

the centre of the azure crown,

queens clad in green gowns, haughty and

Around them crowd hopeinnumerous



the stamens, which do not come up


their knees.




the heart

The Measure of
in the

the Hours

of this palace of sapphires and turquoises,
gladness of the


days, begins


drama without words or catastrophe

which one might expect, the drama of
powerless, useless, motionless waiting.

the hours pass that are the flower's years:

brilliancy fades,


petals fall

and the

pride of the great queens seems at last to

bend under the weight of



a given



though obeying the





of love, which deems

the proof to have lasted long enough, with

concerted and symmetrical movement,

comparable with the harmonious parabolas
of a five-fold jet of water, they


bend backwards, stoop and gracefully
of their humble lovers.

the golden dust of the nuptial kiss on the

The unexpected abounds

here, as



A great volume might be written on the

the random result of observation and cumstance. I set aside. a privileged. Droseras. but taken. is believed to be insentient. Nepenthes and the rest.The Intelligence of the Flowers telligence of the plants. passive and inani- mate. I propose. even as Romanes But this wrote one on animal sketch intelligence. for it is in the flower that the greatest marvels shine forth. 28s . the carnivorous flowers. and call attention to wish only to a few interesting events in this little that happen beside us world wherein too vainglori- we think ourselves. in these all short notes. to concern myself above with the flower. ously. These events are not by way of instances. the flower proper. as cir- selected. in order to devote myself to the true flower. has no pretension to become I a manual of that kind. however. which approach the animal kingdom and would demand a special and expansive study. which motionless. for the moment.

The Measure of To the Hours separate facts from theories. motionless stalk. then. big with awful threats. For the dowed with reason and denying that both . much we must leave to away from it. sheltering in a dazzling tabernacle the reproductive organs of the plant. the normally insoluble problem of sult cross-fertilisation. It is there. We shall see later how it. how much it take present. let us all speak of the flower as though realised that it has had been foreseen and conceived in the manner of men. And many to flowers do so consent. let take the stage alone. As the re- of what numberless and immemorial 286 . parently. There is no it appears to be provided with it and to deprive of either we should on its have to resort to very obscure hypotheses. like a splendid princess enwill. is But many others there propounded. it Apto has but to allow the mysterious union of the stamens in and pistil be accomplished this tabernacle of love.

such as the exaggerated length of the it pistil. were pre- vented from fertilising themselves. For the moment. rendering inaccessible to the anthers. through some anomaly. Soon only those survived which.The isation Intelligence of the Flowers experiments did they observe that self. force of things quite simply and gradually elimi- nated the seeds and plants weakened by self-fertilisation.fertil- — that is the fertilisation of the stigfalling ma by the pollen it from the anthers that surround in the same corolla — rapidly induces the degeneration of the species? They have observed nothing. finally deter- mined the work of chance and the normal type disappeared. through a thou- sand revolutions. 287 . XII We shall see presently what light these let explanations throw. nor profited by any experience. heredity . These exceptions alone endured. we are The told.

to in passing. concerned here only with the most Sage. at this to common as moment. us stroll into the garden or the to in- study more closely two or three curious ventions of the genius of the flower. frequented sweet-scented cluster inhabited by a most skilled mechanic.The Measure of the Hours field. though celebrate spring's passage. that which. and bears a very modest snap the rays of the sun that matter. all covers with violet draperies the walls of my terraces of olive-trees. it opens violently. by the bees. a we have here. For presents a large number of not all of which detail —have am — this is a curious adopted or carried to the same But pitch of perfection the system of fer- tilisation I which we are about to examine. an unpretending Lahiata flower. without going far And from the house. 288 I assure you that . already. There is no one. but It is knows the which good Sage. even among the least countrified. varieties. like a hungry mouth.

when noon-day . To prevent these from fertilising the stigma which shares the same nuptial tent. more fragrantly adorned.The Intelligence of the Flowers the balconies of the great marble palaces that await the kings were never ously. of the flower contained in the in which forms a sort of hood. to details. necessary. . To come upper lip. the males have already disIt is appeared. the stigma. in order to avoid any accident. more luxuri- more happily. One seems to catch the very perits fumes of the light of the sun at strikes. the stamens ripen before the fit pistil. that an external force should intervene to accomplish the union by carrying a foreign 289 . the flower has that is made itself protenandrous. so that they have no hope of reaching Moreover. or male organs. which are also the two stamens. or female is organ. therefore. it. this stigma is twice as long as they. so that. . hottest. when the female is to conceive. to say.

that lives in a world where is best to expect It no sympathy. it loves insects and relies upon their collaboration it alone. it is quite aware. for it knows chari- many it things.The Measure tain of the Hours pollen to the abandoned stigma. like all that struggles against death in this world of ours. leave this care to the wind. The bee. or at unconsciously. But. oflice? to fulfil her matri- monial Observe the wonderful love-trap contrived by the Sage: right at the back of a its tent of violet silk. no table aid. in does not waste time. fore. Still. shall she least How be obliged. in spite of herself. that to say. But case the Sage — —and this is the more general is is entomophilous. the anemophilous flowers. this is it distils few drops of nectar. 290 . A cer- number of flowers. thereuseless making appeals to the courtesy of the bee. exists only for herself and for her kind and is in no way concerned to render a service to the flowers that feed her. the bait.

The two down and they which turn on an axis. 291 .The two Intelligence of the Flowers fluid. stalks. the only the is first half of the in sequel enacted another In a neighbouring flower. barring the access to the sugary parallel stalks. at once topple over and the upper anthers come touch the sides of the insect. No sooner has the bee departed than the springy pivots fly back and replace the mechanism position . whom cover with fertilising dust. order to reach the nectar she has to push the small sacks with her head. whose stamens have just withered. is Right at a great sack. in When the bee enters the flower. enters upon the stage the pistil that awaits the pollen. this is However. the at overflowing with pollen. the top of each stalk anther. in its first and all is ready to repeat the work play: scene. at the next visit. stand somewhat similar to the uprights of a Dutch drawbridge. two smaller sacks serve as a counterpoise. the bottom.

azurea. curves down. Sclarea. (our Garden Sage) . the tent. Horminoides. easy. Pitcheri. stoops. becomes forked so as. in its turn. splen292 . On its way head of the bee passes freely under the hanging fork. for that matter. lengthens out. stigma greedily absorbs the silvery dust tion is and the impregnaIt is accomplished. grazes her back and sides exactly at the spots touched by the stamens. by introducing a straw or the end of a match. to bar the entrance to the to the nectar. however.Horminum. The varieties of the Sage are very many five — they number about hundred —and I will spare tific you the majority of their scien- names. The two-cleft . which. to set the apparatus going and to take stock of the striking and marall its vellous combination and precision of movements.The Measure It issues of the Hours slowly from the hood. glutinosa. which are not always pretty: officinalis Salvia pratensis. Romeri.

A few—and this. one but has modified some detail of the machinery which we have just examined. make thers diverge farther apart so as to strike the sides of the animal with greater precision. so that it not only emerges from the hood. in the Others the an- movement of the lever. Others. may the protenandry be not strict. on the other hand. on leaving the flower. the insect. if but. lastly. deposits on the stigma the pollen of the very anthers with which the stigma cohabits. perhaps.— The and so Intelligence of the Flowers dens (the magnificent Sage of our baskets) on. have not succeeded in arranging and adjusting every part of the 293 . pen. but makes a wide plume-like curve in front of the entrance to the flower. I think. There is not. is a doubtful improvement have doubled and sometimes trebled the length of the pistil. They thus avoid the just- possible danger of the fertilisation of the stigma by the anthers dwelling in the it same hapthat hood.

conclusion are still What the we to draw? Is the system in the experimental stage among aromatic tribe? Has it not yet left the period of models and "trial trips. near the well. to any one collecting the very numerous varieties of this Lahiata. under a cluster of Oleanders. I find." as in the case of the Archimedean screw in the Saintfoin family? Has 294 the excellence of the automatic lever not yet been unani- .The Measure mechanism. a family of white flowers tinted with' pale lilac which lever. to follow all the stages of the invention. left to chance and disorganised. of the Hours for instance. not far from my violet Sage. from the primitive disorder of the white Sage under my eyes to the latest improvements of the Salvia pratensis. to reconstruct the whole history. have no suggestion or trace of a The stamens and promiscuously All seems I the stigma are heaped up in the middle of the corolla. it have no doubt that would be possible.

whereas the latter is not so prone to accept the defects of the first. artificially fertilising (first any interference of wind or insects) a variety of which the floral mechanism has reached a high state of perfection with the pollen of a very backward variety . it already appears as law were being evolved. This would tend to throw an interesting side-light upon the operations. namely that the backward Sage readily adopts the improvements of the more advanced variety. My observations are not yet sufiiciendy numerous to permit me to give any details or against conclusions here. if a general Nevertheless. then. I have been engaged upon taking the usual precautions a series of experiments in the hybridisation of Sages. But these experiments cannot possibly be completed in so short a period. the preferences. organically regular ?^ ' For nearly four years. 295 .The Intelligence of the Flowers mously admitted? everything established . that is not unchangeable and pre- and are they still discussing and experimenting in this world which we be- lieve to be fatally. would be premature. the tastes of nature at her best. the habits. Can it be. therefore. because of the time lost in collecting the different varieties. of the numberIt less proofs and counter-proofs required and so on. as yet to draw the slightest conclusion firom them. and vice versa.

the stigma and the two anthers are all three little contained in the upper hood. which you must surely have noticed shady parts of small woods and heaths. a new fied. the great problem of cross- But. among men. the flower of most Sage presents an attractive varieties of the solution of fertilisation. has introduced some extremely ingenious modifications. the common Lousein the wort. the patent of the Sage has been elaborated and in many details strangely perfected. A pretty general Scrophularinea. even is as. Only the 296 . invention at once taken up. The shape of the corolla is almost similar to that of the Sage. simpli- improved by a host of small indefatigseekers. able in the world of what we may mechanical flowers.The Measure of the Hours xm Be this as it may. call so. or Red-rattle (Pedicularis sylvatica).

in fact. therefore. thanks to an enactment quite different from that of the Sage. while the anthers remain captive. on their curved. up. this silky tabernacle. . self-fertilisation absolutely impossible. Is made The anthers. As Hermann 397 Miiller. the In organs of the two sexes are very close together and even in immediate contact. by a sort of The bee or humble-bee that enters its the flower to sip nectar necessarily pushes these teeth aside. .The Intelligence of the Flowers pistil moist tip of the protrudes from the hood. and the sacks are no fly sooner set free than they outside insect. nevertheless. are flung and alight upon the back of the But the genius and foresight of the flower go farther than this. form two sacks juxtaposed coincide filled with powder each of the sacks has only one opening and they are in such a way that the openings and mutually close each other. They teeth. springy stalks. are forcibly kept inside the hood.

so that one side of it is higher by a few millimetres than the other. instead of being is symmetrical and horizontal. lip The lower of the corolla. But a contrivance which is is as simple as it ingenious overcomes the difficulty. . now freed. humble-bee resting upon it The The must herself one and necessarily stand in a sloping position. result is that her head strikes first then the other of the projections of the corolla. Therefore the releasing of the stamens also takes place successively. and. their 298 orifices. not a grain of pollen would leave them. observes ( I am quoting from a sum- mary) : "If the stamens struck the insect while preserving their relative positions. irregular and slanting. one after the other.The Measure who was the first of the Hours a complete study to make of the wonderful mechanism of the Lousewort. because their orifices reciprocally close each other.

which grazes her just at the spot after. to where she is about. the exact spot where she has already been touched by the stamens of the flower which she has last left. "When because detail the humble-bee next passes to fertilises it. she inevitably —and — is I have purposely omitted first this ^what she meets of all. another flower. when thrusting her head into the entrance to the corolla. inits it every flower has its idea. we are reminded of those enthrall- ing exhibitions of machine-tools. their diverse methods. When we examine closely their little inventions. of ma299 . the stigma." XIV These instances might be multiplied definitely.The strike Intelligence of the Flowers the insect and sprinkle her with fertilising dust. the moment be struck by the stamens. its acquired experience which turns to advantage. system.

the tackle. whereas mechanism has been at work for thousands of years. of its inclined planes. which the its re- mechanical genius of sources. the springs and the successive releasing of combination.. the bow and the flail comparatively recent days when we conceived the spinning-wheel. man reveals all But our mechanical genius dates floral from yesterday. the clock and the weaving-loom. the Sage had contrived the uprights and counterweights of precision lever of and the Lousewort scientific its its sacks closed up as though for a experiment. speak at the time —when our masterits — it was pieces were the catapult. The Measure of chines for the Hours in making machinery. made their appearance upon our there were no models . When the flowers earth. . around them which they could imitate they had to derive everything from within them- selves. At the period when we had not gone beyond the in the club. so to ram. the last year. 300 Who. the pulley.

dreamt of the properties of the screw which the Maple to use and the Lime-tree have been turning since the birth of the trees ? When shall we and as succeed in building a parachute or a flying- machine as rigid. as subtle safe as that of the Dandelion ? When shall we discover the secret of cutting in so frail a fabric as the silk of the petals a spring as powerful as that which projects into space the golden pollen of the Spanish Broom? at the be- As for the Momordica. its who shall tell us the mystery of miraculous strength? It is Do you know the Momordica? Cucurbitacea. as light. vitality it. fruit. endowed with energy. and 301 suddenly . whose name ginning of mentioned this little study. or Squirting CuI cumber.The Intelligence of the Flowers say a hundred years ago. a humble common enough along the Mediterranean coast. inexplicable and You have of its but to touch it at the moment maturity. Its prickly is which resembles a small cucumber.

The Measure quits Its of the Hours peduncle by means of a convulsive contraction and shoots through the hole produced by the wrench. the explosions of the Colza and the Heath. a tall and mental "weed. our viscera and our blood to a distance of half a mile skeleton. in proportion. for instance. as though we were to succeed in emptying ourselves with a single spasmodic movement and all in precipitating our organs. the great masters is But one of an Euphorfairly orna- of vegetable artillery is the Spurge." which often exceeds the 30a . unknown to Remember. The action is as extraordi- nary. The Spurge biacea of our climes. from our skin and have A large number of seeds besides ballistic methods and employ sources of less energy that are more or us. mingled with stream of carries the numerous seeds. a mucilaginous it such wonderful intensity that seed to four or five yards' distance from the natal plant.

each no larger than a berry. The Spanish Broom (Spartium junceutn) fitted has not only pods. gifted with a prodigious furniture initial velocity. steeped of water. From time to time. and the seeds. have a branch of Spurge on in a glass my table at this It moment trifid. look for life: pin's head. strike the If and the walls on every hits side. one of them your face. resentative the proudest rep- of this powerful life. which contain the seeds. family of the Brooms. which as invisible as that of our nerves. but flowers springs. one of these berries bursts with a loud report. with the You may have remarked It is wonderful plant. though you had been stung by an so extraordinary these tiny is the penetrating force of seeds. Greedy of 303 poor. sober. you feel as insect. has greenish berries.The Intelligence of the Flowers I height of a man. . Examine the it the springs that give you shall is not find the secret of this force.

tufted balls. The all flower of this Broom.. pistil. three yards high. cool streams and starry transparencies in the hollow of azure grottoes. mingling with those of its habitual neighbour. which. are covered with a magnificent bloom of pure gold. who But. spread under the fury of a fierce sun delights that are not to be described save by evoking celestial dews. like that of the papilionaceous Leguminosa. . shaped like the beak of a galley. . contain hermetically the sta- mens and the the bee trable. the Honeysuckle. Elysian springs. The Measure of robust. resem- bles the flowers of the Peas of our gardens and its lower petals. explores finds impene- as soon as the moment of puberty arrives for the captive bride and 304 . rejecting the Hours no trial. So long as it it is it not ripe. whose perfumes. it no soil. . forms (along the paths and in the mountains of sometimes the South huge. between May and June.

hurling with violence and afar. a cloud of lumi- nous dust.The Intelligence of the Flowers grooms. who was the first. XV Let us leave the seeds and return flowers. the beak bends under the weight of the insect that rests upon it. to Das entdeckte Geheimniss Ban und in der Befruchtung in analyse the functions of the different organs the Orchids. over the flowers around. shaped a penthouse. and the golden chamber bursts voluptuously. in 1793. of their ingenious I refer those who might wish to study these problems thoroughly to the works of Christian Konrad Sprengel. in his curious volume. to the As I have said. over the visitor. list one could pro- long indefinitely the inventions. next. 305 to the books of . der Natur im der Blutnen. which a broad petal. casts like down upon the stigma to be impregnated.

Hildebrand. In the these writhing and eccentric flowers. which Charles Darwin studied 3o6i these . that matter. shall find the many We most perfect and the most harmonious manifestations of vegetable intelligence among the Orchids. those hot- house queens which seem to claim the care of the goldsmith rather than the gardener. its genius of the plant touches extreme pierces point and with an unusual fire the wall that separates the kingdoms. this For not be allowed to believe that name of Orchid must mislead us or make us here to do only with we have rare and precious flowers. of the Hours Hermann Miiller of Lippstadt. Robert Brown and others. Our native wild flora. Sir William Hooker.The Measure Charles Darwin. which comprises all our modest "weeds. including most ingenious and complicated." numbers more than twepty-five species just the It is of Orchids. with. Delpino the Italian. Dr.

Nevertheless. Nevertheless. summarise that abundant and fairylike biography. it is necessary that we should give some idea of the methods and the mental habits of that which excels all the others in the art of compelling the bee or the butterfly to do exactly what it wishes. On the Furious Contrivances by which Orchids are fertilised by Insects. in the prescribed form and time. in a few lines. I will try to give a sufficient idea of less it with the aid of more or approximate comparisons. out of the question that I should here. which is the wonderful history of the most It is heroic efforts of the soul of the flower. while avoid307 .The in his Intelligence of the Flowers book. XVI It is not easy to explain without diagrams the extraordinarily complex mechanism of the Orchid. since we are on the subject of the intelligence of flowers.

a perennial plant and grows It is to a height of an inch or more. the Orchis latifolia. because it is a little larger and therefore more the easily observed.The Measure of the Hours ing as far as possible the use of technical terms such as retinaculum. which evoke no precise image in the minds of persons unfamiliar with botany. serves as a landing-place for the . commonly It is known as the Meadow-rocket. Marsh Orchid. The which the is very long and which hangs in form of a jagged or den308 tate apron. Let us take one of the most widely distributed Orchids in our regions. bears a thyrse of pink flowers which blossom in May and The typical flower of our Orchids represents pretty closely the fantastic and yawning mouth of a Chinese dragon. lower lip. rostel- lum and the rest. for instance. or rather. lahellum. the Orchis maculata. fairly common it in the woods and little damp meadows and June.

which stoup is This full of a viscid fluid in which soak two tiny balls at whence issue two short stalks laden their upper extremity with a packet of grains of pollen carefully tied up. beside the peduncle. the stigma. in the place occupied in the throat by the uvula. there falls a kind of spur or long. more correctly. awaits at the end of a frail stalk.The insect. are two closely-welded stigmas. become irrecog- At the back of the mouth. while. At Is its top. it carries a sort of little pouch. at the back of the flower. is a more or less viscid little tuft which. which contains the nectar. of stoup. pointed horn. Let us now see what happens when an 309 . or female organ. In the Orchid. patiently the coming of the pollen. which shelters the essential organs. In most flowers. a sort called the rostellum. Intelligence of the Flowers The upper lip rounds into a sort of hood. or. this traditional installation has nisable. above which stigma modified into an extraor- rises a third dinary organ.

is at once ruptured along a convenient line and lays bare the two fluid. necessarily strikes the stoup. and. with them. and the head. bottle-shaped horns. nectar. the Hours She lands on the lower lip. little balls steeped in the viscid These. seeks it. outspread to receive her. as she advances. latter. The unconvisits scious artisan of a difficult work now a neighbouring flower. is purposely very narrow. We two therefore have the insect capped with straight.The Measure of insect enters the flower. sensitive to The the least shock. when ries the insect leaves the flower. they would simply strike with 310 . If her horns re- mained stiff. she car- them away and. it and become firmly stuck to so that. attracted by the scent of the But the passage insect's to reach the horn that contains right at the back. coming into immediate con- tact with the visitor's skull. fasten to it. the two stalks which rise from them and which end In the packets of tied-up pollen.


Intelligence of the Flowers

their pollen-masses the other pollen-masses

soaking in the vigilant stoup and



would spring from the pollen mingling with

But here the genius, the experience

and the foresight of the Orchid become apparent.

The Orchid

has minutely calculated

the time needed for the insect to suck the nectar and repair to the next flower; and

has ascertained that



on an

average, thirty seconds.

We have seen

the packets of pollen are carried on


short stalks inserted into the viscid balls.

Now at the point of insertion there
stalk, a







only function

at the

end of thirty seconds,

to contract and throw forward the stalks,

causing them


curve and



arc of ninety degrees.


the result

of a fresh calculation, not of time, on the
occasion, but of space.

The two

horns of

pollen that cap the nuptial messenger are


horizontal and point in front of her

The Measure of
head, so that,

the Hours
enters the next

when she

flower, they will just strike the

two welded

stigmas under the pendent stoup.





and the genius of the
all its fore-

Orchid has not yet expended


stigma which receives the blow

of the packet

coated with a viscid sub-

stance. If this substance

were as powerfully were

adhesive as that contained in the stoup, the


broken, would stick to

and remain

whole; and their destiny would be


This must not be;




that the chances of the pollen should not

be exhausted

in a single venture,

but rather

that they should be multiplied to the greatest possible extent..


flower that counts

the seconds and measures the lines


chemist to boot and



sorts of

gums one extremely


hardening as

soon as


touches the

to glue the pollen-

horns to the insect's head; the other greatly


Intelligence of the Flowers

lenified, for

work of

the stigma.


just prehensile


slightly to

unfasten or loosen the tenuous and elastic

threads with which the grains of pollen are
tied up.

Some of

these grains cling to


but the poUinic mass

not destroyed




the insect visits other flowers, she will

continue her fertilising labours almost

Have I expounded the whole No; I have still to call attention
a neglected detail:




others, to the

movement of the little stoup, which, after its membrane has been ruptured to unmask
the viscid balls,










condition, in the sticky fluid, the packet of

pollen which the insect


not have car-


should also note the very





poUinic stalks on the head of the insect, as
well as certain chemical precautions com313

The Measure of
mon to

the Hours



for the experiments


quite recently



Gaston Bonnier seem

to prove that every flower, in order to pre-



species intact, secretes poisons that












see; but here, as

in all things, the real, the great miracle be-

gins where our

power of

vision ends.



just this





untilled corner of the olive-yard, a splendid

sprig of Loroglossum hircinum, a variety

which, for I

know not what

reason (per-




very rare in England), Darwin
certainly the

omitted to study.


remarkable, the most fantastic, the most

astounding of


our native Orchids.



were of the

size of the

American Orchids,

one could declare that there

no more




Imagine a

as tall.

Intelligence of the Flowers

thyrse, like that of the Hyacinth, but twice

symmetrically adorned with
of a

ill-favoured, three-cornered flowers,

greenish white stippled with pale violet.

The lower

petal, embellished at



with bronzed caruncles, huge mustachios
sinister-looking lilac buboes, stretches

out interminably, madly, unreally, in the

shape of a corkscrew riband of the colour

assumed by a drowned corpse after a
month's immersion

the river.





idea of the most fearsome maladies and

seems to blossom


some vague land of

ironical nightmares
issues a potent


and abominable stench as

of a poisoned goat, which spreads afar and
reveals the presence of the monster.


pointing to and describing this nauseating

Orchid because





easily recognised

and adapts

self very well,

by reason of

height and

The Measure
the distinctness of

of the Hours
organs, to any experi-

ments that one might wish to make.



only, in fact, to introduce the tip
into the


flower and to push

carefully to the
in order,

bottom of the nectary,

with the naked eye, to witness

the successive revolutions of the process of


in passing, the


or rostellum sinks down, exposing the
viscid disc

(the Loroglossum has only one)

that supports the




soon as

this disc violently grips the

end of

the wood, the



that contain the

open longitudinally; and,


the match





capped with two



two golden



we do

not here, as

in the

experiment with

the Orchis latifolia,
spectacle offered

enjoy the charming

by the gradual and precise

inclination of the

two horns.



they not lowered?


have but to


Intelligence of the Flowers

troduce the capped match into a neighnectary




movement would be

superfluous, the flower


larger than that of the Orchis

tnaculata or latifolia

and the nectar-horn


such a





insect laden

with the pollen-masses enters

they just reach the level of the stigma

to be fertilised.

Let us add that



important to the

success of the experiment to select a flower



quite ripe.


do not know when

the flower

ripe; but the insect

and the

flower itself know, for the flower does not

necessary guests, by offering


a drop of nectar, until the

moment comes


all its



ready to work.


the basis of the system of


isation adopted by the Orchid of our climes.

But each

species, every family modifies


is Darwin very justly comlittle pares this ingenious accessory with the instrument for guiding a thread into the fine eye of a needle. Here is another little inter- esting improvement: the two balls in the that carry the pollen-stalks and soak a single If. we very ceive the advantages of this simpler and more practical arrangement. and conone of The Orchis or Anacamptis is pyramidalis. following the road to be taken by the insect's proboscis.The Measure of improves the details in the Hours its accordance with particular experience. for instance. has lip added to its lower or labellum two little ridges which guide the proboscis of the insect to the nectar and compel her to accomplish exactly what expected of her. psychology venience. As is the bristle in touches the stoup. are replaced by viscid shaped like a saddle. the latter 318 ruptured . we insert the point of a needle or a plainly per- bristle into the flower. which the most intelligent. stoup disc.

so as to it. are forced to diverge. the second movement of the stalks begins and they bend towards the tip of the the same bristle. above . and uncovers the saddleat which once becomes the attached to the bristle bristle. curls its two flaps inwards.sure to enin with greater precision than the Orchis latifolia the indispensable divergence of the pollen-stalks. As soon it. seated on the bristle or needle. movement is to strengthen the adhesive power of the saddle and. as the saddle has curled round the bristle and as the pollen-stalks planted in its drawn apart by contraction.The formed Intelligence of the Flowers a symmetrical line disc. embrace the of object that supports this The purpose all. Withdraw smartly and you will just have time to catch the pretty action of the saddle. which. The two movein thirty to ments combined are performed thirty-four seconds. 319 . in manner as in the Orchid which we have already studied.

the ill-will.have all. but constant improvements in the sparking. 320 Their inventive . same unknown. that human inventions proceed? We . against a great indifferent force that ends by assisting them. followed the tiny. by means of trifles. same way It would really seem as though ideas came as to us. They struggle. to the flowers in the The en- flowers grope in the same darkness. almost the same hopes and the same ideals. same counter the in the same obstacles.The Measure of the Hours XIX Is It not exactly in this manner. our self-love. the disillusions. the clutch and the speed-gear. same They have the same laws. the same slow and difiicult triumphs. They would appear diversi- to possess our patience. the same varied and fied intelligence. our perseverance. like our- selves. of successive overhaulings and retouches. the carbu- ration. in the latest of our mechanical industries.

or mass or packet of pollen. It is bent back on a powerful spring. tiring. Nothing attracts the insect specially cell. any there awaiting. It fix definitely is an uncertain discovin- thus that a family of. that of the Catase- American tida. the lucky accident that to fix it on the insect's head. is the separation of the sexes absolute : each has its particular flower. the pol- liniutn. a case. inertly and. great ventors rich among the Orchids. a strange and family. abruptly altered a number of it habits that doubtless First of all. 321 com- . in without is initiative.The Intelligence of the Flowers not only follows the imagination same same it prudent and minute methods. in a sort of cell. in the direction of this Nor have like the the proud Catasetida reckoned. no its longer dips stalk in a stoup full of little gum. appeared to too primitive. Next. thanks to a bold inspiration. the narrow and winding little paths: also has unexpected leaps and bounds that suddenly ery.

supported on a huge viscid Abruptly released. silk before long and nervous which she cannot avoid touching. In consequence the disc is of a curious ballistic calculation. the visitor a guided and precise you wish. first always flung and strikes the insect. the pedicel straightens itself like a spring. dragging with it the disc. the cell is torn asunder in which the pollenis mass. but nevertheless a contingent movement. its held is captive on bent-back pedicel. two packets which are of pollen and the viscid violently projected outside. to whom It adheres. divided into two packets.The Measure of mon if the Hours Orchid. Hardly has she pitched feel- upon the magnificent outer court of coppercoloured ers. a flower : No. which disc. the insect no longer enters endowed with an admirable mechliterally anism she enters an animated and sensitive flower. carry Forthwith the alarm all over the edifice. on this or that : movement of movement. She. 322 stunned by the .

to his principal just the opposite ? "Suppose we tried to do Suppose we reversed the movement. has but one thought: to leave the aggressive corolla with all speed and take refuge in a neighbouring flower. XX Shall I describe also the curious and practical simplifications introduced into the genexotic eral system by another family of Orchids. in the labora- one day. suppose we inverted the mixture of the fluids?" The experiment is tried. the Cypripedea? to bear in Let us continue mind the circumvolutions of human inventions: we have here an amusthe engine- ing counter-proof. tory. A fitter. says. One could easily believe the Cypripedea 323 . in room.: The Intelligence of the Flowers blow. a preparator. a pupil. and suddenly from the unknown issues the unexpected. that the This is all American Orchid wanted.

the cunning rest. its crabbed and venomous is the most characteristic flower of our hothouses. : or Ladies'-slipper with its enormous shoeair. are covered with a coat 324 . the female organ that viscid. not the important point: the >vholly unexpected that. The all Cypri- pedium has bravely suppressed plicated the com- and delicate apparatus of the springy pollen-masses. so to speak. the one that seems to us the typical Orchid. of the Hours to have held similar conversations among We all know the Cypripedium. the viscid discs. contrary to and abnormal thing is what we have observed it is in all the other species. the diverging stalks. shaped it chin. shield- shaped anther bar the entrance in such a manner But as to compel the insect to pass its proboscis over this is two little heaps of pollen. but the pollen itself. gums and the Its clog-like chin and a barren. no longer the is stigma. whose grains. instead of being pulverulent.The Measure themselves.

remains for us to say a few sets the words on an auxiliary organ that whole mechanism going: I mean the nec- tary. on the is other hand. XXI To have done with it this strange tribe of the Orchids. there are patents whose we do not grasp at once. attempts and experiintelligent ments as and 325 as varied as those . What to be are the advan- tages and the drawbacks of this new ar- rangement? It is feared that the pollen carried off by the insect to may adhere any object other than the stigma. for that matter. species. has been the object.The drawn Intelligence of the Flowers it so glutinous that can be stretched and into threads. the stigma dispensed from secreting the fluid destined to sterilise every foreign pollen. would demand a ness In the useful- same way. on the part of the genius of the of enquiries. In any case. which. this problem special study.

beetles and into other insects and which bee. We to already know enough as of the fantastic character and imagination of the Orchids foresee that here. which serves as food for butterflies. as we have seen. their habits. therefore. pointed horn right at that opens the bottom of the flower. always arranged in such a way that they cannot introduce or withdraw their proboscis without scrupulously and all successively performing the rights pre- scribed by the organic laws of the flower.The Measure of the Hours which are incessantly modifying the econ- omy of the essential organs. beside the peduncle. is turned honey by the is Its business. for the more 326 . their tastes. a sort is. the nectar. in prin- of spur. It is adapted to their it is size. elsewhere —and even more than elsewhere. The nectary. of long. and acts more It or less as a counterpoise to the corolla. ciple. to attract the indispensable guests. contains a sugary liquid.

probably failing endeavour to elaborate a viscid fluid that should harden quickly enough to stick the bundle of pollen to the insect's head. has given free One of them. the Sarin its canthus teretifoUus. starting- on the excellent principle that every simplification is an improvement. has overcome the difficulty by delaying the in the visitor's proboscis as long as possible narrow passages leading to the labyrinth which plicated it nectar.The ily Intelligence of the Flowers itself to this supple organ lends more readobservant itself — their inventive. have boldly suppressed the nectar-horn. Darwin's skilful draughtsman. Is it necessary to 327 add that these . for instance. and groping scope. There are some which. fantastic and evidently suc- culent excrescences which are nibbled by the insects. spirit practical. had to admit himself beaten and gave up the attempt to reproduce it. is The com- has laid out so that Bauer. They have replaced it by certain fleshy.

this : The its astounding lip Orchid has contrived lower or labellum forms a sort of bucket. when flows this bucket is half the water gutter. we no longer know with exactly what being sort of we here have to do. into which drops of almost pure water. without lingering over a thousand very various fairy stories little artifices. but here is where the alarming. fall continually. 328 The liquid . I might almost say the diabolical side of the combination begins. secreted by two horns situated overhead. let us end these by studying the enticements Truly. full. re- away on one side by a spout or is All this hydraulic installation very markable in itself. of the Coryanthes macrantha.The Measure of the Hours excrescences are always placed in such a manner that the guest who must inevitably in set all the feasts on them pollen-machinery movement? XXII But.

If she were alone. quietly. she would go away after finishing her meal. without even grazing the bucket of water. The artless insects are in- vited by the sugary perfumes diffused by the fleshy excrescences of which I spoke above to walk into the trap. being enormous.The which Intelligence of the Flowers is secreted by the horns and which is accumulates in the satin basin not nectar attract the and is in it no way intended to has a insects: much more delicate func- tion in the really machiavellian plan of this strange flower. in a sort of chamber access. 329 But . allures hardly any but the heaviest Hymenoptera. to which two lateral openings give The big visiting bee — the flower. as though the others experienced a certain shame at enter- ing such vast and sumptuous halls — the big bee begins to nibble the savoury caruncles. and none of that which is required would take place. These ex- crescences are above the cup. the stigma and the pollen.

cannot succeed in resuming is flight. that they come out by thousands the sunny hours. This where the astute flower lies in wait for her. that a perfume has but to quiver like a kiss on the threshold of an opening flower for them to hasten in a crowd to the banquet prepared under the nuptial tent. We therefore have two or three looters in the sugary chamber: the space guests is scanty. despite im- mense her efforts. greedy and busy people. conscientiously wets bright. the walls slippery.The Measure moves around it. the Ill-mannered. diaphanous wings and. o£ the Hours the sapient Orchid observes the life that It knows that the bees in form an innumerable. There 330 is but one open- ing through which she can leave the magic . finds an unher expected bath. They crowd and good purpose falling hustle one another to such that one of them always ends by She there into the bucket that awaits her beneath the treacherous repast.

Here. She thus escapes. Nor be pretended that less all these are only many more or : romantic interpreta- tions no. We must accept the evidence as 331 it stands. the hustling. then. whose back touches sticky surface of the stigma the and then the that viscid glands of the pollen-masses await her along the vault. and enters a neighbouring flower. the fall. . laden with the adhesive dust. just It is wide enough to allow of the passage first of the insect. where the tragedy of the banquet. the bath and the escape is reenacted and perforce brings the imported pollen into contact with the greedy stigma. we have a flower that knows and plays upon the passions of can so it insects.The Intelligence of the Flowers bucket: the spout that acts as a waste-pipe for the overflow of the reservoir. the facts have been precisely and scientifically observed and it is impossible to explain the use and arrangement of the flower's different organs in any other way.

we tastic shall be asked. Do we know what obstacles simplicity ? the the flower encounters in the direction of logic and Do we know growth? thoroughly a single one of the organic laws of its existence and its One watching as us from the height of Mars or Venus.The Measure This incredible and of the Hours is efficacious artifice it the more surprising inasmuch as does not here tend to satisfy the immediate and urgent need to eat that sharpens the dullest wits . those balloons. those parachutes. But why. We know nothing of the reasons of plant. might. ask: those shapeless we exert ourselves to achieve the conquest of the air. when 332 it . it has only a distant ideal in view : the propagation of the species. those air-ships. "Why and monstrous were so easy to machines. in his turn. these fanin- complications which end only by creasing the dangers of chance? Let us not hasten to give judgment and reply.

we can say and it is Have we as much as . the its same. eternally those marvels remain species.The Intelligence of the Flowers copy the birds and to supply the arms with a pair of all-sufficing wings?" XXIII To these proofs of intelligence. since we have been observing them years — — that ^we is to say. man's puerile vanity opposes the tra: somewhat but ditional objection yes. 333 among . Each each variety has system and. attempted . introduces no perceptible improvement. they create marvels. if different surroundings. is It true that. during the past fifty have not seen the Coryanthes macrantha or the Catasetida perfect their trap : this is all that really not enough. from generation to generation. the most elementary experi- ments and do we know what the successive generations of our in astonishing bathing Orchid might do placed in a century's time.

whereas they are probably only the representatives of one and the same flower. amid all that which we do not know. ing ourselves and types which we thus create imaginary we believe to be fixed. therefore. to bring together a large number of 334 facts which . without ap- pealing to this prehistoric event. modification. The flowers came upon our earth before the insects. and does not after some- what vague word mean. the names which we give to the and varieties orders. intelligent progress? It easy. lish is enough to this all. moreover. would be adapta- tion. This geologi- cally-incontestable fact alone. they had. species .The Measure of insects to the Hours which it was not accustomed? end by deceiv- Besides. to when the adapt an entirely new system of machinery to the habits of these unexpected collaborators. which continues to modify its organs slowly in accordance with slow circumstances. estab- evolution. latter appeared.

E. to find them reverting to the tropical ' manners of just written their ancestors. for instance. In the wild and primitive state and in their country of origin. I will simply recall topical details The Life of two or three which are there mentioned. Bouvier made a communication in when M. pecially in the South. It was the uncertainty. the in- clemency of our northern seasons that gave them the idea of seeking idea restored to the a shelter in hollow trees or a hole in the rocks.^ I had these lines. during exceptionally mild summers. they work in the open air. the Academy of 333 .The and Intelligence of the Flowers faculty of adaptation is would show that the intelligent progress not reserved exrace. invented the hive. It not uncommon. The bees. This ingenious looting work of combs is and to the care of the eggs the thousands of bees stationed around the to maintain the es- necessary heat. clusively for the human Without returning to the detailed chapters which I have devoted to this subject in the Bee. L.

content to gather the honey and pollen indispensable for the day's consumption. "built consolidating pillars and resorted to really remarkable artifices of protection and ended by transforming the two forks of the chestbees. finding that summer perpetual and flowers for ever abundant.The Measure of Another tralia the Hours to Aus- fact: when transported or California. nut-tree into a solid ceiling. in his summary of the Journal des Ddbats of the 31st of May. the report of the 7th of May. now at the Museum. which hung from a small branch furnished with two almost contiguous forks. because of its evident and intelligent adaptation to particularly diffiin Paris. The cult circumstances. she will live from day to day." says "The M. except by observing the architecture of the nidifications. one in a chestnut-tree. the other in a latter. years. was the more remarkable of the two. "To protect themselves against the rain. they had installed fences. thickenings and blinds against the sun. An ingenious human being would certainly not have done so well. One two can have no idea of the perfection of the industry of the bees. her recent and observation thoughtful Science triumphing over {cf. 1906. 1906) on the subject of two nidifications in the open air observed Sophora Japonica." 336 . in the science-column de Parville. our black bee comAfter one or two is pletely alters her habits. and.

wish. Kirkby and Spence "Show us. : and but immediate and intelligent in Bar- bados. secular. not slow." this we will admit their reasoning Hardly had they expressed arbitrary somewhat naturalist. having coated the bark of certain trees with a sort of cement 337 made of . under stress of circumstances." said these. where they find sugar in plenty during the whole year.: The make proves Intelligence of the Flowers experience. will entirely abandon their visits to the flowers. fact. the bees whose hives are in the midst of the refineries. hereditary she will cease to provision for her winter. when another Andrew Knight. "a single case in which. unconscious fatal. the bees have had the idea of substituting clay or mortar for wax and propolis and faculties. lastly recall the Let us us diction amusing contra- which the bees gave to two learned English entomologists. Biichner also mentions an analogous the bees' which to adaptation circum- stances.

when cli- transported far from 33§ their habitual . What I have just said. be confirmed in the kingdom of the flowers. Moreover. I think. which they found prepared dance in the neighbourhood of their home.The Measure wax and of the Hours turpentine. observed that his bees entirely ceased to gather propolis and emin abun- ployed only this new and unknown substance. although its taste. And a curious study by Babinet on the cereals tells us that certain plants. I have referred above to in the my humble experiefforts ments wonderful evolutionary of the numerous varieties of the Sage. the bee-keeper has when pollen but to place a few handfuls of flour at their disposal for them at once to understand that this can serve the same purpose and be turned to the same use as the dust of the anthers. in the the bees. mutatis mutandis. scarce. might. in is the practice of apiculture. smell and colour matter of are absolutely different.

ears or grains. As Babinet well says: "The organism of the plant. in the hottest regions of Africa and America. It re- mains always green." 339 . observe the new circumstances and avail themselves of them. Thus. multiplies by the root and no longer bears therefore. it came it to be acclimatised in our its icy regions. Asia. tropical from its original and country. exactly as the bees do. When. must have been at a perennial plant. our corn becomes again what first. where the winter does not kill it it annually. thanks to an inconceivable miracle. seemed to foresee the need of passing through the grain state. lest it should perish completely during the severe season.The Intelligence of the Flowers mate. must have had to upset habits and invent a new method of multi- plication. like grass.

attaches to this question of the per- sonal intelligence of the flowers. a single occasion. apart from the pleasure which one takes in refuting an over-vain and out-of-date argument.The Measure of the Hours XXIV In any case. the insects or the birds ! Suppose that we say. to destroy the objection which we mentioned above and which subject. it has caused us to travel so far from our immediate would be enough to establish one act of intelligent progress. outside mankind. in- vents and thinks tinction : what interest can this dis- have for us? A much loftier quesWhat tion and one much worthier of our eager attention towers over these details. that is nature and not the plant or the insect that calculates. that adorns. when all said. were it but for But. the 340 . we have to do is to grasp the character. is how little importance. that combines. speakit ing of the Orchid and the bee alike.

the habits and perhaps the object of the general intelligence whence emanate all the intelligent acts performed It is upon this earth. outside human form. Let us add that a large number of the motives and a portion of the logic of these restless insects. the among others in which. that those tendencies. It is clear. grasp with escape us. 341 . the proceedings and the most clearly mani- — —the and ideal of that genius are fested becomes one of the most curious that we can undertake. those intellectual methods must be at least as complex. as advanced. whereas we can ease all the silent motives. all the wise stable and arguments of the peaceful flower. as startling in the Orchids as in the gregarious Hymenoptera.The Intelligence of the Flowers quality. so difficult still of observation. after all that we have shown. from this point of view that ants the study of those creatures the bees.

to mention only in passing. her aesthetic tastes are very near akin to our own. what might one not 342 say. we begin by ascertaining that her idea of beauty. the skies. the night.The Measure of the Hours XXV Now what do we observe. and. for in- stance. the twilight. of the beauty of the trees? I speak . for the subject would offer facilities for a long study. tectural. of gladness. it But no doubt would be more correct to state that ours It is. all our musical motives. our harmonies of colour and light are borrowed directly from nature. are congenial with hers. Without calling upon the sea. when we perceive nature (or the general intelligence or the universal genius little) at : the name matters but work in the Orchid world? it Many things. very uncertain whether we have ever invented a All our archiall beauty peculiar to ourselves. her methods of attraction. in fact. the mountains.

Among those impressions which. whose green old age laden with a thousand seasons. when he all has come to the end of the wondering when he has exhausted nigh the lux- sights that the art. to carry it which he would wish away with him in his last sleep. instincts. raise They upon the purified horizon two or three innocent. after experi- and comparing many things he returns to very simple memories. a man has passed mid-life. without our know- ing it.The where Intelligence of the Flowers not only of the tree considered in the forest. is the solitary tree. invariable and refreshing images. form the limpid hollow and perhaps which of us does not pre- the subsoil of happiness and calm of our whole existence. serve the recollection of a few fine trees? When period. the genius and the ury of ages and encing men can offer. it is one of the powers of the earth. but of the tree itself. perhaps the chief source of our of in our sense of the universe. if 343 be true that an .

does almost what should do had posal. or a Parasol Pine of Florence or of a charming hermitage near house. with reference to the flower. I we we her treasures at our disknow that. of the Hours image can pass the threshold that separates For myself. when she wishes to be beautiful. my own any one of which affords to the passer-by a model of all the great move- ments of necessary resistance. in which a certain magnifiOak would be out of place. XXVI But I am wandering too far afield: I in- tended only to remark. to please. of soaring. of peaceful courage. I am little like speaking a the bishop who was 344 . of gravity. to delight and to prove herself happy.The Measure our two worlds. that nature. after-life. I can imagine splen- no paradise nor did cent it however may be. speaking thus. or a certain Cypress. of silent victory and of perseverance.

then. lines. human point of view. The peasants have lost the habit of cultivating corn. as though they had now only to proon sweet fragrance and vide for the needs of a subtle race of mankind that ambrosia. which lived The is fields form one great nose- incessantly renewed. gay. truly. the flower is the sole hills sovereign of the and valleys. consider that we should know very if few signs or expressions of happiness did not to we know the flower. and the perfumes that succeed one another seem to 345 . but it is difficult to look upon these a things from any other than Let us. its In order well judge of power of gladness and live in beauty.The Intelligence of the Flowers always astonished that Providence made the great streams flow close to the big cities. one must it a part of the country where reigns undivided. in which I am writing these Here. such as the corner of Provence. from this point of view. between the Siagne and the Loup.

above spacious. The roads. Pinks. health and joy. trees. all the Hours through the azure Anemones. directly from the sources of beatitude. that opens up the sky emanates. Jonquils. the paths are carved in the pulp of the flower. they flow on every side like a stream of petals whence emerge the houses and the youth. For the first time in one seems to have a satisfying vision of happiness. a stream of the colour which we assign to The aroma. Mimosas. Hyacinths. spring and autumn months. in the very substance of Eden. as from the slope of the hills to the hollow of the plains. the winter. summer. one's life. May. but at once all warm and refreshing. Violets. Mignonette. 346 . one would think. Gilliflowers.The Measure of dance their rounds year. But the magnificent hour belongs to the Roses of far as the eye can see. Then. be- tween dikes of Vines and Olive-trees. Narcissuses. Jasmine invade the days. the nights.

it hesitates. It fights like ourselves against the huge and obscure mass of its being. knows no more than we do whither 347 . us add to our first remark one a little more extensive. the manner of the heavy. It it is workmen and engineers in our workshops. namely. adds. we should do it in its place. a little less hazardous and per- haps big with consequences. It makes great efforts. which is probably that of the whole world. that the genius of the earth. in the vital struggle. the same It attains its logic. little invents with difficulty and after by little. it it it cor- rects itself time after time.The Intelligence of the Flowers XXVII Still from our human point of view and let persevering in the necessary illusion. exactly as a man would it use it gropes. its sup- recognises and repairs errors. aim by the same means that : we would presses. acts. It employs the same methods. .

the great desires of the universe ? 348 . Materially. it of the Hours finds itself gradually. we distinguish a host of great lines that rise towards a more ardent. in whom are voli- most intensely manifested the great tions. but.The Measure going. its. does this it ? not mean it that there is nothing beyond Does not mean that the methods of the ods. but the being through whom pass. nervous and spiritit ual form of existence. nevertheless. but one in which. that human mind are the only possible methman has not erred. intellectually. secret of prodigious knows the which we it forces of know nothing. hitherto. appears cannot its strictly to occupy our sphere: it we prove that. if it does not endeavour to take anything from beyond that sphere. is seeks and It has an ideal that often confused. that he is neither an exception nor a monster. it dis- poses of Infinite resources. complex. has exceeded lim- and.

: The Intelligence of the Flowers XXVIII The emerge Plato's I touchstones slowly. it it. we tried to substitute a its new and would be more exact image in place. cave enlarged. regret the light. at. if thrown into the cave below. but. that our civilisation permits and men have their birth. having be- nothing to look would probably organ of touch. come the most sensitive In order to recognise ourselves in their 349 . this hardly more consoling. is Perhaps sufficient it famous figure no longer mean the cave with the wall above whence the shadows of unknown men and objects are but. having they would not be blind. Suppose Plato's No ray of brightness ever With the exception of light and all has been carefully supplied with . been imprisoned in it from They would not never seen their eyes it. enters fire. of our consciousness grudgingly. would not be dead.

what incredible de- viations. What tions quaint mistakes. in the midst of the multitude of unknown objects that surround them. if. which they crawl is The mystery limited.The Measure of the Hours actions. whereas impossible to estimate the in number of those which we are lacking. They are it is deprived of only one sense. let us picture these wretches in their darkness. The cause of their 350 . And how faction they discovered the nature and the real object of utensils and furniture which they had as best they could to the accommodated uncertainties of the shade? And in yet their position seems simple and easy compared with our own. what astounding misinterpreta! must needs occur But how touching and often how ingenious would seem the use which they would make of things that in the had not been created for employment dark I How often would they guess aright ? great would not be their stupesuddenly. by the light of day.

greatly for preferable to be less prodigious.The Intelligence of the Flowers is mistakes one alone. devoid of any certain in ties with the rest of life and. endowed with an unusual. It is comparable. in- any case. whereas those of ours are countless. Since we live in a cave of this sort. unparall- eled and marvellously incidental beings. probably fallen from another world. monstrous faculty. we have learnt that prodigies do not take long 351 . is it not interesting to prove that the power which has placed us there acts often and on some important points even selves? in as we act our- Here we have a glimpse of light our subterranean cave to show us that not been mistaken as to the use of we have every object to be found therein. XXIX We have long taken a rather foolish pride in thinking ourselves miraculous.

in 352 her . to better our lot. unconscious and other unruly regions. everywhere. the occasions. but analogous and apposite to our own. the same not for our specific trials and —were dream It of justice and pity is — the same feelings. if. not impenetrable and hostile. It is much more the serve that we follow same road soul of this great world. if she were all never mistaken. much more tranquilising to assure our- selves that. enlighten and its unsubjected. however. that we are midst of truth and that we are in our right place and at home in this universe formed of unknown is substances. the laws of matter. whose thought. to utilise the forces. the it same hopes. If nature knew everything. we employ methods which order it exactly similar to those uses to conquer.The Measure of to disappear in the the Hours normal evolution of consoling to obas the nature. that there are no in the methods. that we have the same ideas.

It is much better to be con- vinced that this power. then there would be cause to fear and to lose courage. if she revealed in things an intelligence immeasurably superior to our own. which we should have no hope of knowing or measuring. she showed herself. We should feel ourselves the vic- tims and the prey of an extraneous power. but with veiled. yet fra- ternal volitions which it is our business to surprise and to direct XXX It would not. impeccable.The first Intelligence of the Flowers undertakings. Our intelligence draws upon the same reserve as does that of nature. We in- belong to the same world. be very bold to less maintain that there are not any more or 3S3 . at least from the intellectual point of view. we are almost We are associating not with accessible gods. at the onset. equals. I imagine. is closely akin to our own. all infallible. perfect.

But these are mysteries which it were somewhat idle to question. The circumvolutions of our brain would. which the religions called divine. upon mode of life that offered the least resistance to this fluid. a sort of the Hours intelligent beings. Let us be 354 satisfied with . but a scattered. Man this would then earth. seeing that we do not yet possess the organ that could gather their reply. the represent. general of universal fluid that it penetrates diversely the organisms which encounters according as they are good or bad conductors of the understanding. form the induction-coil in which the force of the this cur- current rent would be multiplied. the star. but would be of no other nature. in a manner. until now. Our nerves would be the threads along which this more subtle electricity would spread. would proceed from no other source than that which passes through the the flower or the animal.The Measure intelligence. stone.

as that which animates our if If this spirit resembles us. Nevertheless. if It em- has our habits. All that we observe to within ourselves is rightly open suspicion: we are at once judge and Interest in illu- suitor and we have too great an and hopes. the and the stars sea sur- would tell us.The Intelligence of the Flowers having observed certain manifestations of this intelligence outside ourselves. ploys our methods. could we prise the secrets of their life. they allow us to presume with greater confiall dence that the spirit which animates things or emanates from them Is of the same essence bodies. we is thus resemble If all that it contains If It contained also within ourselves. our tendencies. our preoccupations. it. and precious have to Those which the flowers just offered us are probably quite infinitesimal compared with what the mountains. our desires 3SS . But peopling our world with magnificent sions let the slightest ex- ternal indication be dear us.

of perfection. instinctively. seeing that it almost certain that probable. that this life make no work of intelligence. that should not pursue an aim of happiness. is of the Hours it illogical for us to in- hope all that we do hope. is total of intelligence. which face or is probably only the shadow of its own sleep ? 3S6 .The Measure for better things. death. it is vincibly. annihilation. of victory over that which we but its call evil. hopes the same ? Is it find scattered through life so when we great a sum should to say. darkness.



Unfortu- nately. so that the visit of the butterfly or 359 . We are almost entirely unacquainted with the purpose of that zone of festive and invisibly magnificent airwhich the corollas shed is. we have at once to do with the unknowable. at some length of the it intelligence of the flowers. In the place. There doubt whether it in fact. where reason bathes. many among the most sweet-scented of the flowers do not admit of cross-fertilisation. a perfume of another sphere. around themselves. as in the case of the soul of man. a great serves first chiefly to attract the insects. will seem we should is say a word of their which their perfume. here.PERFUMES AFTER speaking natural that soul.

in a manner of not yet speaking. tracts tlie insects is Next. senses. to besiege in crowds the flowers of the maple or the hazel-tree. tible generally. A long education alone teaches us the disinterested enjoyment of forms. that which solely the pollen and the nectar. Let us. whose aroma is. our animal evident that sight. which. of our most unexplained. touch and exist- taste are indispensable to ence. confess that we do tell know in what respect perfumes are useful to the flower. And thus we see them neglect the most deliciously perfumed flowers. It is the keeper of the 360 . sense For that matter. have no percep- odour. such as the rose and the carnation. hearing. even as we cannot why we all ourselves perceive them. null.The Measure the bee is of the Hours indifference at- to them a matter of or inconvenience. col- ours and sounds. that of smell is the It is Indeed. then. our exercises of smell also important servile functions.

in We have here the only occurrence which nature procures us a gratuitous pleasure. Nevertheless. a satisfaction that does not serve to adorn one is of necessity's snares. needs of our physical When too vio- lent or too lasting. must hide some fair secret. the hygienist or chemist that watches carefully over the quality of the food offered for our consumption. Our scent the only purely luxurious sense that she has granted 361 . Perfumes are utterly useless to the life. This uselessness deserves our conIt sideration. they may even become detrimental to it. sides this dis- agreeable emanation revealing the presence But behas an- practical mission it other which corresponds with nothing at all. any of suspicious or dangerous germs.Perfumes air we breathe. we possess a faculty that revels in them and brings us as the joyful tidings of them with much it en- thusiasm and conviction as though con- cerned the discovery of a delicious fruit or drink.

we ever see our peasants. who perceives a flower? There therefore. incense. the more solid scents. or an awaken- Everything leads us to think is being evolved on even lines with' our civilisation. that 36a . the heavier. or one that wasting away ing faculty? that it a somnolent. benzoin. on the other hand. The ancients interested themselves almost exclusively in the more brutal. do Hebrew literature. even at their longest periods of leisure. of the Hours Wherefore it seems almost foreign to our bodies. developing. paratus that is . the only one.The Measure us. Is it an apis. dream of smelling a violet or a rose? And cities is not this. so to speak: musk. perhaps. the very first act of an inhabitant of our great is. appears to be not very closely connected with our organism. and the fragrance of the flowers Is very seldom in mentioned in Greek and Latin poetry or To-day. some ground for admitting is that the sense of smell the last-born of is our senses.

the perfection of our sight. do not adorn it without good if this It were not surprising 363 luxury . carefully it considered. that which enters into intimately. at first sight. when more not. instance. appears almost foreign to our organism." to use the ponderous phrase of the is biologists. as does in the case of the dog. becomes. air. most Are we above all things.Perfumes not "in course of retrogression. it Who shall tell the surprises which have in would for it store for us if it equalled. which. This a reason for it making it our study. beings of the air? Is the air not for us the most absolutely and promptly indispensable element. quesits tioning and cultivating possibilities. This mysterious sense. and is not our smell just the one sense that perceives some parts of it? Perlife- fumes. perhaps. which lives as much by the nose as by the eyes ? We have here an unexplored world. which are the jewels of that giving cause.

As we are on the point of distinguishing those of the rain and the twilight. why should we not one day first succeed in recognising and fixing the scent of snow. of the 364 . it has not yet reached beyond the stage of the perceptions. more violent. the profound and harmonious effluvia that evidently envelop the great spectacles of the atmosphere and the light.The Measure of the Hours which we do not understand corresponded with something very profound and very essential and rather. as is we have seen. the less subtle it Hardly does so much as with the aid of the imagination. is reserving many surprises Meanwhile. of morning dew. very is possible that this sense. is already discerning the most striking manifestations of a form or of a happy and salutary state of matter that for us. of ice. with something that not yet than with someIt is thing that has ceased to be. suspect. the only one that turned towards the future.

space: moonbeam. which stand the in exactly same relation to nature's perfumes as do the painted woods and to the plains of a theatre woods and plains of the real country. cloud. a hovering . II Chance or rather the choice of brought almost life has me back lately to the spot where all the perfumes of It is. an azure smile of the sky. in its stars . a ripple of water. in point every one knows. of the twinkling of the for everything must have as yet. . . even a inconceivable. in the sun-swept and to balmy region stretching from Cannes Nice that the last hills and the last valleys of living and true flowers maintain an heroic struggle against the coarse chemical odours of Germany. Europe are born of fact. Here the labourer's work is ruled by a 36s . as and elaborated.Perfumes fruits of the dawn. perfume.

and artless. the pink laden with precious spices. the too-potent tuberose and the acacia that resembles an orange caterpillar. the lavender. not a little disconcerting to rustics. marvel-eyed narcissuses. in and July. 366 But the . the Spanish broom. colour of the dawn. the mignonette. in which. defile in procession.The Measure May these of the Hours sort of purely floral calendar. It is. performing a task fit for a princess or a bee and bending under a weight of violets or jonquils. see the great dull and heavy whom seri- harsh necessity turns every elsewhere from the smiles of life. at first. the im- perious geranium. Around one the two sovereigns of the year. prompt. two adorable queens hold sway: the rose and the jasmine. the other clad in white stars. handling carefully those fragile orna- ments of the earth. the tyrannically virginal orange-flower. from January to innumerous December. the clustering mimosas. taking flowers so ously. the the violets.

perched. normal and inalienable. but stable. spacious. generous. the great halls in which the sorters the flood of petals. where perfumes are not. speaking of Grassc. have drawn the picture of that almost fairy-like industry which occupies the whole of a hard-working town. hive. as here. Ill Many writers. They have told of the magnificent cartloads of roses shot upon the threshold of the smoking factories. literally wade through 367 the less cumbersome. like a sunlit upon a mountain-side. fleeting.Perfumes most striking impression is that of certain evenings or mornings in the season of the roses or the jasmine. as though had made way for vague full. It is as though the atmosphere of the earth it had suddenly changed. but more precious . that of an infinitely happy planet. permanent. and precarious.

for in- stance. tuberoses. through which steam is made to pass. We know that some of them. pearls. But the greater part of the flowers do not so easily allow their souls to be imprisoned. acacias. tall as those of our locomotive engines.The Measure of the Hours arrival of the violets. each according to its character. their essential oil. 1 will not. are forced to yield to the crystal the marvellous secrets of their hearts. the roses. oozes more costly than a jelly of drop by drop into a glass tube. are accommodating and willing and give up their aroma with huge simplicity. bottom which resembles to a some mountain painfully giving birth tear of amber. Lastly. They are heaped into boilers. in the wake of 368 so many others. at the no wider than a goose-quill of the monstrous still. jas- mine. Little by little. in wide baskets which the peasant- women carry nobly on their heads. . they have described the different processes whereby the flowers.

369 . ever faithful to tradition. sulphide of carbon and the rest. wound It will suffice to give an idea of the executioner's cunning and the obstinacy of some of the victims. scorn these artificial and almost the soul of unfair methods.Perfumes speak here of the inflicted infinitely varied tortures upon them to force them at length to surrender the treasure which they despe- rately hide in the depth of their corollas. The and the lard.^ and I ' may menfat The is violets resist the reduction torture of fire has to fore. I will not enumerate the different processes of chemical extraction by means of petrol ether. the tuberose and the jasmine. of cold be superadded. The great perfumers of Grasse. there- it approaches In consequence of this barbarous treatment. made The to endure before they break cold enfleurage is practised only upon the jonquil. to recall the pangs of the enfleurage which certain flowers are silence. which recalls that inflicted upon the coiners of heated in the water-bath until boiling-point. which the flower. the mignonette.

the only one that cannot be obtained by a cunning mixture of other odours. away as rubbish and. a new in- ingenuous heap takes their place on the sidious couch. they surrender. the modest fragrant flowers that deck the roads in spring gradually lose the strength to keep their secret. None can but the fact remains that soon the too- trusting flowers have nothing more to lose. The fingers torturer coats large plates of glass with a white fat of the thickness of two and spreads on this bed of humiliating pain the flowers to be questioned. in passing. which causes the torture to be prolonged throughout the season in which the violets blossom under the olive-trees. These yield and in their turn the middle ages. Forthwith. and liquid executioner absorbed four times its their satiated imtil it has weight in petals. of fat obtain what unctuous promises does the their irrevocable confidences? tell . is not own 370 . that the scent the only one that is inimitable. they are removed and flung . each morning. They yield.The Measure mine is of the Hours of the jas- tion. sult As the re- of what hypocritical manoeuvres.

after these adventures. none other. essential. inexhaustible and almost imperishable. the liquid pearl. evaporated. a crystal blade. pure. others and yet them and it is not until the end of three months. 371 is at last gath- ered on . and. further victims. that is after devouring ninety successive layers of flowers. fate .Perfumes and undergo the same others follow . It now becomes miser disgorge of making the energy. The now it possesses the mystery. difficulty. to keep them for is It attacked in its turn. all condensed. its This is achieved. its intoxi- cated and ends by quitting alcohol hold. It is plied with alcohol. tortured. that the unctuous ogre is completely surfeited and refuses to absorb the life and soul of any a matter . No sooner has it the secrets in its custody than too claims the right to impart them to itself alone. wan for the to retain the absorbed treasure. not without The fat has base passions ' which are is un- doing.