, Dante Gabriel

Hand and soul






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' Chiaro sat with his face in his open hands.' .




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he would valk abroad in the most solitary places. Chiaro sat with his face in his open Frontispiece hands.' Title-page ' Chiaro went slowly on his knee.I.ILLUSTRATIONS From Water-colour Drawings By WILLIAM HATHERELL.' Page thirty-three .' ' Ladies who lay or sat along the bal- conies. ' R. after nightfall.' Page sixteen 1 Sometimes.


whose trade it was to sell their own worksin Italy and teach Italians to imitate them. grave workmen from Greece.HAND AND SOUL ANY KNOW- BEFORE brought ledge of painting was to Florence. The keen. had already found rivals of the soil with skill that could forestall their lessons and cheapen their crucifixes more years than is art came at all into Florence. with the lives of some few. and partly by that extraordinary purpose of fortune born. and Arezzo. is to be accounted for partly by the circumstances under which he arose. and through not a little 7 which it is thing for any . and and addolorati. and Pisa. there were already painters in Lucca. supposed before the which he still retains to a wide extent even in the modern mind. The pre-eminence to which Cimabue was raised at once by his contemporaries. who feared God and loved the art.

Nevertheless. almost exclusively. This Chiaro dell' Erma was a young man of very honourable family in Arezzo . to which the eloquent pamphlet of Dr. case in point that of the triptych and two cruciform pictures at Dresden. now proved to be by the same hand. They have left little. where. There is another still more solemn and beautiful work. if they are even as the shadows of the coming of such an one. It is thus. by is become A Chiaro di Messer Bello dell* Erma. of very late years in very rare instances. a track of dust and dead leaves that merely led to the fountain. some signs of abetter understanding have and manifest. and but little heed is taken of that which men hold to have been I surpassed. It is the one to which my narrative will relate. in the gallery at Florence. and the voices which prepared his way in the wilderness. conceiving .who went remembered before. Aemmster has at length succeeded in attracting the students. it is gone like time gone. that the painters of whom speak are now known.

if possible.almost for himself. leaving his bag- gage at a house of entertainment. and. and loving it deeply. . he heard of the famous Giunta Pisano and. conceiving him to B 9 . he determined that he would seek out Giunta. he endeavoured from early boyhood towards the imitation of art any objects offered in nature. pupil. When he had lived nineteen years. of admiration. he took his way along the street. It soon chanced that one of that city. being unwilling that any other thing than the desire he had for knowledge should be his plea with the great painter. The extreme longing after a visible embodiment of his thoughts strengthened as his years increased. he clothed himself in humble apparel. feeling much . asking whom he met for the lodging of Giunta. become his Havingarrived in Pisa. and then. more even than his sinews or the blood of his life until he would feel faint in sunsets and at the sight of stately persons. with perhaps a little of that envy which youth always feels until it has learned to measure success by time and opportunity.

this. When he was brought to speech of Giunta. He was received with courtesy and consideration. Chiaro's first resolve was. speaking. speaking very little to Giunta. that he would work out thor- After oughly some one of his thoughts. and let the world know him. and that nothing in the world was so much at his heart as to become that which he had heard told of him with whom he was . and how a greatness might little there was .be a stranger and poor.' The blood came at first into his face. he said merely that he was a student. took him into his house and refreshed him afterwards directing him on his way. ' fell to trembling. however. thanking him respectfully. and shown into the study of the famous artist. to conceal his emotion. I am the master of this man. But the forms he saw there were lifeless and incomplete and a sudden exultation possessed him as he said within himself. of how small win fame. He was able. But the lesson which he had now learned. but when he took his leave. but the next moment he was quite pale and .

voured and very manly in his walking and. round his hair. he was well-fa. Also Pisa was a larger and more luxurious city than Arezzo. and heard the music that was in the groves of the city at evening. When Chiaro heard this. . in his walks. loved Chiaro for. he saw the great gardens laid out for pleasure. one night. served to make him torpid. and when. being in a certain company of ladies. he was taken with wonder that he had never claimed his share of the inheritance of those years in which And women his youth was cast. and the beautiful women who passed to and fro. to speak of the paint- ings of a youth. there was a glory upon it. So he put thought from him. named Bonavenwhich he had seen in Lucca adding that Giunta Pisano might now look for a rival. in despite of the burthen of study. and rendered his exertions less continual. a gentleman that was there with him began tura. seeing his face in strive against. and partook of his life. as upon the face of one who feels a light . But. the lamps shook before .

as he sat at work. but remaining in Pisa. He now took to work diligently. afternightf all. wrought out of silver. Beside the matters of his art and a very few books. almost the only object to be noticedin Chiaro's room was a small consecrated image of St.andifhiswindowwereopen. he would walk abroad in the most solitary places he could find hardly feeling the ground under him. him in in fever.him and the music beat in his ears and made him giddy. before which stood always. only living entirely to himself. alleging a sudden sickness. and went out of that house with his teeth set. that no day more might be lost . Sometimes. is in summer- . The lodging he had chosen was fast ahousethatlookedupon gardens by the Church of San Rocco. he could hear the music of the organ andthelongmurmurthat the chantingleft. Mary Virgin. his earcaughtfaintly the single voice of the priest. During the offices. not returning to Arezzo. at those parts of the mass where there is silence throughout the church. because of the thoughts of the day which held . He rose up. sometimes.

he would sit for hours in thought of all the greatness the world had known from of old until he was weak with yearning. inferior in merit. Or. and with the hair . . pictures the one that Chiaro painted the Dresden as also. like one who gazes upon a path of stars. but certainly his which is now at Munich. at the end of which his name was spoken As his throughout all Tuscany. He continued in this patient endeavourf or about three years. he began to be employed. He is said to have - painted in theDuomo. these latter. It lily and a was here. and . fame waxed.time. and D' Agin court mentions having seen some portions of a fresco by 13 him which . besides easel-pictures. at this time. though often he would remain at work through the whole of a day. For the most part he was calm and regular in his manner of study. at times. in all likelihood. when he could not paint. from his face. upon paintings in fresco but I believe that no traces remain to us of any of . a glass containing a rose. not resting once so long as the light lasted flushed.

originally had its place above the high altar in the Church of the Certosa but which, at the time he saw

being very dilapidated, had been hewn out of the wall, and was preserved in the stores of the convent.

BeforetheperiodofDr.Aemmster's researches, however, it had been entirely


It was fame that he had girded up his loins and he had not paused until fame was reached; yet now, in taking breath, he found that the weight was still at his heart The years of his labour had fallen from him, and his life was still in its

Chiaro was

now famous.

for the race of



painful desire. all that Chiaro

had done

during these three years, and even before with the studies of his early youth, there had always been a feeling of worship and service. It was the peace-offering that he made to

God and

to his


soul for the

eager selfishness of his aim. There was earth, indeed, upon the hem of his raiment but this was of the heaven, heavenly. He had seasons

when he could endure to think of no other feature of his hope than



of prayer it had even

and sometimes in the ecstasy seemed to him

tobehold that day when his mistress
his mystical lady (now hardly in her ninth year, but whose solemn smile at meeting had already lighted on his soul like the dove of the

even she, his own graciTrinity), ous and holy Italian Art with her virginal bosom, and her unfathomable eyes, and the thread of sunlight

round her brows should pass, through the sun that never sets,
into the circle of the
tree of

shadow of the and be seen of God and foundgood: and thenithad seemed to him that he, with many who, since his coming, had joined the band of whom he was one (for, in his dream, the body he had worn on earth had been dead an hundred years), were
permitted togatherround theblessed maiden, and to worship with her

through all ages and ages of ages, saying, Holy, holy, holy. This thing he had seen with the eyes of his

and in

this thing

believing that
to pass.

had trusted, would surely come

But now, (being at length led to inquire closely into himself), even


Chiaro went slowly on his knee.'



now that he have fallen worship of beauty. doing this. the unrest abiding after attainment had proved to him that he had misinterpreted the craving of his own spirit -so would willingly back on devotion. he did not choose for of his medium the action and passion human life. town to their destination. in the pursuit of fame. prayers or offerings were brought c 17 . when they were carried through town and . So the people ceased to throng about his pictures as heretofore and. but cold symbolism and abstract impersonation. and put his hand no other works but only to such as had for their end the presentment of some moral greatness that in should influence the beholder: and.' From that moment Chiaro set a ' : watch on to his soul. My life and my will are yet before me I will take another aim to my life. they were no longer delayed by the crowds eager to gaze and admire and no . he became aware that much of that reverence which he had mistaken for faith had been no more than the also. Chiaro said within himself. after certain days passed in perplexity.

his former pictures. in all likelihood. and his Saints. he had no more of fever upon him but was calm and pale each day in all that he did and in his goings in and out. the measure of that boundary to which they were made to conform.them on their path. andalltheguilds and companies of the city were got together for games and rejoicings. they though more laboured than were cold and unemphatic. that there fell a great feast in Pisa. . and his Holy Children. And the weight was : still close at Chiaro's heart but he held in his breath. in default of more worthy matter. never resting (for he afraid). It said (and that.forholy matters: andeachman left his occupation. is not unjustly. within these days. as they must certainly have done. Meanwhile. 18 . Now happened. bearing marked out upon them. would have turned their scrutiny on a puppet or a mantle. The works he produced at this time have perished to . Only the critical audience remained to him and these. as to his Madonnas. was and would not know it it. we may easily believe it).

and he who encountered his enemy could not choose but draw 19 . Also. except ladies who lay or sat along their balconies between open windows which let the breeze beat through the rooms and over the spread tables from end to end. awoke that morningon the hotpavement of the Piazza Nunziata. their And the golden cloths that arms lay upon drew all eyes upward to see their beauty and the day was long and every hour of the day was bright with the sun. hushed only at long intervals while the processions for the f east-day chantedin going under his windows. . So Chiaro's model. vain. Forthe whole of that morning. got up and went along with them and Chiaro waited for him in . and saw the hurry of people that passed him. the music was in Chiaro's room from the church close at hand and he could hearthe sounds that the crowd made . when he . there was a high clamour from the meeting of factious persons for the : ladies of both leagues were looking down. in the streets . more than once.And there were scarcely any that stayed in the houses.

laid back his hood and gazed about him.upon him. It was within a short space of noon and underneath him a throng of people was . The two greatest houses of the feud in Pisa had filled the church for that mass. who. had fallen back in ranks along each side of the so that now. All the chiefs were there and their whole adherents . coming out through the porch of San Rocco. to beat round and round him. Everyman of the Marotoli. Chiaro waited a long and then knew that his model was gone elsewhere. as it were. He now rose. stopping on the threshold. therefore. : . the Marotoli had to walk archway : between two files of men whom they hated. and each knew the name of each. time idle . he was blind and deaf to all else but he feared sloth for then his stealthy thoughts would begin. The first to leave had been the Gherghiotti. and went to the window. When at his work. in passing outward. and whose fathers had hated theirs. to show the badge upon the close cap that held . as he came forth and saw his foes. seeking a point for attack.

he drew the long silver shoe off his foot and struck the dust out of it on him who was going by. This youth had remained for some while . And of the Gherghiotti there were some who tightened their girdles. and held them there while the sea came in . as who flies a falcon . called by the people Golaghiotta. at that place. talking listlessly to his fellows. And he said so because the cloak of it was three months since.presenting a moral allegory of Peace. asking him how far the tides rose at Viderza. whereby many had been drowned. which Chiaro had painted that year for the Church. On the walls within the entry were anumberoftallnarrowfrescoes. though with his sleepy sunken eyes fixed on them who passed: butnow. The Gherghiotti stood with their backs to these frescoes and among them Golzo Ninuccio. for his debased life.his hair. for that was the crest of their house. the Gherghiotti had beaten the Marotoli to the sands. andsomeshrilledand threw up their wrists scornfully. the youngest noble of the faction. seeing that no man jostled another. .

. Chiaro turned himself from the window look. when he had spoken. Chiaro sat with his face in his open hands. and bewildered him . where those of both parties were gathering to join in the tumult. Once again he had wished to set his foot on a place that looked green and fertile and once again it seemed to him that the thin rank mask was about to spread away. at once the whole archway was dazzling with the light of confused swords . for the light felt dry belids. that it ran in long streams much blood cast up down Chiaro's paintings. The light still swam in his head. and that this time the chill of the watermust leave leprosy . tween his He sat and he could not down. and heard the noise of contention driven out of the church-porch and a great way through the streets. and they who were still behind made haste to come forth and there was . so the walls on a sudden. and soon there was a deep murmur that heaved and waxed from the other side of the city. and they who had left turned back.And. in his flesh.

except of his last own feet. and who. I am as one who. is not as we sit are. to lead some whom he knew darkling who hath kept his eyes always on the sparks that himself made. for we are many. holding his way hath smitten the steel unto the flint. . Yet because of this are my feet become slow and my hands thin. they were these 'Fame : failed me: faith failed me and now tion of this also. towards dawn. lest they should fail. and there men's footprints are red. nor light ensueth from him. sees the wet grass untrodden diligently. turning to bid them that he had guided Godspeed. and leave my feet and my hands groping. in that spot is the drawing of swords." Where I write Peace. through the whole night. " This is not God nor man . shall pass from me. whose chimes are a perfect number. . neither above let him beneath us. whom the next followeth not. the hope that I nourished in this my genera- men. but when he knew his : thoughts. he us : the old order begun afresh. but in the same darkness is Men say. I am as the hour of the first.

' the fever encroached slowly on his veins. A woman was present in his room. The warmth of the air was not shaken. made the blood ache in his temples and he lifted his face and his deep eyes.When I would sow. and a The that living freshness. like rain. May one be a devil and not know it ? As Chiaro was in these thoughts. another harvest is ripe. it is much worse with than thus much. first It seemed that the thoughts he had ever 24 known . and held his head bowed. " We Wherefore will not walk by it. green and grey raiment. butthereseemedapulsein the light. seeing that through me they reject the light. that the looker may not be blinded? but me Am which showeth thereby the grain of his own coarseness. silence was a painful music. without stirring. clad to the hands and feet with a ." through me they shall be doubly accursed. and men say. so that the light seems denied. till he could sit no longer and would have risen. I not as a cloth drawn before the light. fashioned to that time. Nay. but suddenly he found awe within him.

were given him as at first from her eyes. Chiaro. See me. And as he looked. there25 . from her mouth or in his ears but distinctly between them. not laid thy life unto riches. her face was not lifted. and he knew her hair to be the golden veil through which he beheld his dreams. thrill and his lips . yet her mouth . andfaith failed thee but because at least thou hast . scaling a great steepness. She did not move closer towards him. As the woman stood. but set forward and though the gaze was austere. bitter while hears his own voice echoed in some place much higher than he can see. ' own soul within thee. but he felt her to be as much with him as his breath. I am an image. was supreme in gentleness. He was like one who. and know me as I am. Though her hands were j oined. Chiaro's spirit appeared abashed of its own intimate presence. and the name of which is not known to him. of tears it shook with the seemed such a till the spirit might be indeed alone. Thou sayest that fame has failed thee. as it were. of thine : . her speech was with Chiaro not.

let it be enough that these have found the feast good. and thou remain vexed with emptiness. and thanked the giver: remember26 .fore. and though thou indeed gather all thy harvest. and the soil be indeed." Take heed rather that thou trouble not the wise secret earth . though thus late. to thee. first tender growth lie to waste had been strong in its season. but the lily is dead in the dry ground. for in the mould the that thou throwest up shall . Yea. Fame thou didst seek conscience : sufficed not. and the drouth rasp which else thy throat. I am suffered to come into thy knowledge. and even if the year fall past in all its months. a fruit of the Spring: but not therefore should it be said : " Lo I my garden that I planted is barren: the crocus lift is here. and shall not the earth that covers it : there- fore I will fling my garden together. in noble soils. andgive it unto the builders. peevish and incapable. and others drink of thy streams. is For Fame. and all shall approve and suffice. for that fame seek thine own (not thy mind'sconscience.but thine heart's). and it suffice for others.

and whose fulfilleth all. and not worthy comes not upon it there. The airbrooded in sunshine. my : Thy fire fore. whose wind sun meek. This cannot be so. he wept. and spoke again said.' While he heard. forthe speech seemed within him and his own. Chiaro went slowly on his that. of 27 . there is another year. gently. of earth. when the winter is is striven through. and cast her hair over him. the within was at peace. and though was great outside. that faith failed thee. and took her hands about his forehead. Either thou hadst it not." Why shouldst thou rise up and tell God lie is not content ? Had He.' : she continued. It was not to her that spoke. And the turmoil air she came to him. But who bade thee strike the point betwixt love and faith ? Wouldst thou sift the ' 'Thou hast warm breeze from the sun that it ? quickens offering Who : bade thee turn " upon God and say is Behold. I will depart before Thou smite me. or thou hast it. though I slay not my brother whom Thou acceptest. But when he looked in her eyes.

' Chiaro held silence. nor thou shouldst kiss it. and the salt tears that he shed ran through her hair upon his and he tasted the bitterness lips of shame. thine heart hath already put them away. For God is no morbid exactor: He hath no hand to bow beneath. but possess thy love in sufficiency His warrant. ' spoke again to him. Think not of Him but of His love and thy love. a man. well . that . do thou and even though thou do it without thought of Him. What he hath set in thine heart to do. .certified so to thee ? nice to seek out division. and His flame is upon it for a sign. Then thefair woman. that was his soul. and it needs not that I lay my bidding upon thee. it shall be done it is the sacrifice that asketh of thee. that a And . saying : And and for this thy last purpose. wouldst say coldly to the mind what God hath said to the heart warmly ? Thy 28 thy teaching. for the heart must believe first. foot. Be not : assuredly this is faith. and wept into her hair which covered his face. for those unprofitable truths of How is it that thou. He .

and the sun's prism in all and shalt thou not be as he.will was honest and wholesome. In is all that thou doest." When at any time in doing this. work from thine own for his heart is as thine. . stretched feebly. and to see thy hands. unto thy thin which merely the fall of their visors can drown. to do strengthen Godamongmen. saying. midway between Him and themselves. heart. to God no more than He asketh of thee but to man also. to give ear voice. when thine shall wise and humble and he have understanding of thee. I. hath He cried unto thee. tremble among their swords ? Give thou . simply. shall afterwards stand with thee in the porch. whose lives are the . One drop of rain is as another. and at last 29 . lend " ? Me thy shoulder. breath of One ? Only by making thyself his equal can he learn to hold communion with thee." My fall son. look well lest this also be " say. to the provoking of blood. for I Deemest thou that the men who enter God's temple in malice. that which is man's. and neither for His love nor for His wrath will abate their purpose. but folly.

sen-ant of God. only with eyes which seek out labour. Not till thou lean over the water shalt thou see thine image therein: stand erect. Do this. to know me weak. yet jealous of prayer. take now thine Art unto thee. While he worked. and paint me thus. . as I am. and it shall slope from thy feet and be lost.not learned. speaking again. she left his side quietly. and with a faith. And. Having finished. and in the weeds of this : time . said * : Chiaro. his work was done.' And when she that spoke had said these words within Chiaro's spirit. his face grew solemn with knowledge and before the shadows had turned. and perplex thee no more. as I am. she fingers laid together.own thee above him. Know that there is but this : means whereby thou mayst serve God with man Set thine hand and thysoul toserve man with God. and stood up as he had first seen her: with her and her eyes steadfast.' And Chiaro did as she bade him. so shall thy soul stand before thee al- ways. and with the breadth of her long dress covering her feet on the floor. 3 .

at least. hollow country. and he felt weak and haggard like one just come out of a dusk. and quieted his sleep with her voice. In the spring of 1847. in order Pitti 31 rooms of the . Thetumultof thefactionshadendured all that day through all Pisa. I was at Such as were there at the same time with myself those. though Chiaro had not heard it: and the last service of that feast was a mass sung at midnight from the windows of all the churches for the many dead who lay about the city. bewildered with echoes. gazing.he lay back where he sat. will certainly recollect how many Gallery were closed through that season. and who has not slept for many days and nights. the beautiful woman came to him. Florence. because of the extreme heats. and was asleep immediately: for the growth of that strong sunset was heavy about him. and sat at his head. to whom Art is something. And when she saw . where he had lost himself. and who had to be buried before morning. him lie back.

One picture that I saw that spring I shall not easily forget. I do not mean only the most talked of for these. and . the vast central suite of apartments.that some of the pictures they contained might be examined and repaired without the necessity of re- moval. or persons. I may have missed seeing many of the best pictures. It was among those. to scrutinise and elucidate. old Ercoli's. The hall. brought from the other rooms. I fear that. owing to the clamours by the students and I re. I believe. spectacles used to be mirrored in the reclaimed surface. the curator's. generally found their way somehow into the : raised open rooms. immediately beneath that 32 . were the only accessible portions and in these such paintings as they could admit from the sealed penetralia were profanely huddled together. as they were restored. the staircases. obviously out of all chronology. through this interdict. schools. and had been hung. without respect of dates. as member how he leaned mysteriously over these works with some of the visitors.



he would in the most solitary places. after nightfall.' walk abroad Sometimes.' .

in a single sitting the drapery is unfinished. ality. and her eyes set earnestly chaste and early in open. On ex- amining it closely. and now said to be the portrait of Cecco Ciulli. among those who have. when had been seen. This painted. and represents merely the figure of a woman. You knew that figure. The face and hands in this picture. I shall : not attempt to describe it more than I have already done for the most absorbing wonder of it was its liter.head by Raphael so long known as the Berrettino. She is standing: her hands are held together lightly. like water in shadow. it drew an awe upon me. language will appear ridiculous to such as have never looked on the work and it may be even to some . its fashion. I perceived in one corner of the canvas the words 34 . though wroughtwith great delicacy. The picture I speak of is a small one. but exceedingly simple. yet it was not a thing to be seen of men. have the appearance of being painted at once. As soon as I saw the figure. clad to the hands and feet with a green and grey raiment.

' and there is a brief notice of the author ap' pended.' . Aemmster).Manus Animam pinxit. as it said. I I should here say. and the date 1239. 35 . I turned to my Catalogue. I thought. and asked him regarding the subject and authorship of the painting. He treated the ingly. a room I did not see as under the number of 161. in the hope that it might somehow lead to some result but merely ' certo. and he was not communicative I went back. was not of much value. who was in the room at the moment. matter. I then stepped Cavaliere Ercoli. had disturbed the curator from certain yards of Guido. this. This. when found. for the pictures were all displaced. as in cases before mentioned. Schizzo d'autore inadding the inscription. which he had compiled. and several other pictures.* I could willingly have prolonged my inquiry. have been more competently entered. The work in question is now placed in the Sala Sessagona. that in the catalogue for the year just over (owing. to the zeal and enthusiasm * of Dr. It is described Fiejura mistica di Chiaro dell' Erma. but that up to the was useless. somewhat slightand said that he could show me the reference in the Catalogue.

whence I could see my picture. For some to find a place minutes I remained undisturbed. standing . to more to this side.therefore. and then I heard. however. sir. He did not laugh. The other students near continental . and where I seemed to be in nobody's way. all copying the I contrived. so I complied. us were lishman select and seeing an Engan Englishman to 36 speak with. . I knew it was not worth while yet I felt vexed. as you interrupt my view ? ' where he asked me. However. students was round the spot. conceived. in an English voice ' : Might little stand a I beg of you. I referred in some way to the work underneath the one he was copying. I suppose. ture till it and stood before the pic- grew dusk. The next day I was there again. circle of but this time a Berrettino. but he smiled as we do not ? all ' in England. is it said he. and from a countryman. and I could not see it. and turning away. stood by his easel. a glare struck on the picture from the windows. the request was reasonably made. for. ' Very odd.

being amused." La notte.that he could understand no lan- guage but his own. There was a general laugh. said something to another who stood next to him. turning to a student. whose birthplace was unmistakable. He spoke with a Genoese accent. One of them. vuoi dire. Et toi done ? said he who had ' ' quoted Dante. even had he been addressed in any other language ' : que dis-tu de ce genre-la?' 'Moi?' returned the Frenchman. 37 . They had evidently been noticing the interest which the little picture appeared to excite in me. and did not take in what was said. My compatriot was evidently a novice in the language. so ? ' replied the other. Inglesi son matti sul somiglia alle nebbie di alia patria. Che . I remained silent. lifting his eyebrows towards the figure ' roba mistica : 'st' : misticismo Ik. an Italian.' said a third. il Li fa pensare 'e intenerisce ' core ai dolci Lo 4 di ch'han detto amici adio. and I lost the sense ' in the villainous dialect.

though with an evi- dent reservation ' : Jedis. quite politely. . speciality dont je me fiche pas mal. c'est que c'est une qu'elle ne signifie rien.standing back from his easel. and looking at me and at the figure.' My reader thinks possibly that the French student was right. Je tiens que quand onne comprend pas une chose. moncher.














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