Oh! Science! Everything has been revised. For the body and for the soul,–the viaticum,–there are medicine and philosophy,–old wives’ remedies and popular songs rearranged. And the pastimes of princes and games they proscribed! Geography, cosmography, mechanics, chemistry! . . .
Science, the new nobility! Progress. The world marches on! Why shouldn’t it turn?
On highroads on winter nights, without roof, without clothes, without bread, a voice gripped my frozen heart: “Weakness or strength: there you are, it’s strength. You do not know where you are going, nor why you are going; enter anywhere, reply to anything. They will no more kill you than if you were a corpse.” In the morning I had a look so lost, a face so dead, that perhaps those whom I met did not see me.
Out there, are they not honest souls that wish me well? . . . Come . . . I have a pillow over my mouth, they do not hear me, they are phantoms. Besides, no one ever thinks of others. Let no one come near me. I must smell scorched I’m sure.
I used to make him promise never to leave me. It was as vain as when I said to him: ‘I understand you.’
“Ah! I have never been jealous of him. He will not leave me, I believe. What would become of him? He knows nothing; he will never work. He wants to live a sleep walker…”