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When the world will be reduced to one mere dark forest for our two astonished eyes—to a beach for two loyal children—to a musical house for our bright sympathy—I will find you.

Let there be on earth but one old man, calm and fine, surrounded by an "unheard-of luxury"—and I am at your knees.

Let me have realized all your recollections—let me be she who can garrote you—I will smother you.


When we are quite strong—who recoils? quite gay—who drops with ridicule? When we are quite bad, what might they do with us?

Deck yourself, dance, laugh. I will never be able to throw Love out the window.


My comrade, beggargirl, monstrous child! how it's all the same to you, these wretched women and these maneuvers, and my embarrassments. Ally yourself to us with your impossible voice, your voice! only flatterer of this vile despair.

An overcast morning, in July. An ashen taste flies in the air—an odor of oozing wood in the hearth—flowers beretted—havoc in the promenades—canal mizzle in the fields—why not already toys and incense?

* * *

I have strung ropes from belfry to belfry; garlands from window to window; golden chains from star to star, and I dance.

* * *

The tarn steams continuously. What sorceress will rise up against the white sunset? What violet frondescence fall?

* * *

While public funds flow in feasts of brotherhood, a bell of pink fire rings in the clouds.

* * *

Arousing an agreeable taste for India ink, a black powder rains softly on my vigil—I lower the flames of the lustre, I hurl myself on my bed, and, turned toward the darkness, I see you, my daughters! my queens!



O that hot February morning. The inopportune South came to relieve our memories of absurd indigence, our young misery.

Henrika had on a cotton skirt with brown and white checks, which must have been worn in the last century, a ribbon bonnet and a silk scarf. It was much sadder than mourning. We were going round the suburb. The weather was overcast, and the South wind excited all the nasty odors of the ravaged gardens and the desiccated fields.

That must not have wearied my wife to the same extent as me. In a puddle left by the inundation of the previous month on a rather high path she drew my attention to very small fish.

The city, with its smoke and trade noises, followed us very far in the roads. O the other world, the habitation blessed by heaven, and the shades! The South recalled to me the miserable incidents of my childhood, my summer despairs, the horrible quantity of strength and science that fate has always kept from me. No! we shall not pass summer in this greedy country where we shall always be only engaged orphans. I want this hardened arm to drag no more a dear image.




The Bridges

Skies crystal gray. A bizarre design of bridges, some straight, some humped, others descending or obliquing on corners of the first; and these figures repeating in the other lighted circuits of the canal, but all so long and light that the banks, laden with domes, drop and diminish. A few of these bridges are already laden with ramshackle houses. Others support masts, signals, frail parapets. Minor chords cross, and go off; ropes climb the riverbanks. You make out a red jacket, perhaps other costumes and musical instruments. Are these popular tunes, bits of lordly concerts, scraps of public hymns? The water is gray and blue, broad as an arm of the sea—a pallid beam, falling from the height of heaven, annihilates this comedy.





I am an ephemeral and not too discontented citizen of a metropolis believed modern, because all known taste has been eluded in the furnishings and the exterior of the houses as well as in the city plan. Here you would indicate traces of no monument of superstition. Morals and language are reduced to their simplest expression, finally! These millions of people who have no need to know each other bring about so alike education, jobs, and old age, that this course of life must be several times less long than what a foolish statistic finds for the people of the Continent. Also as, from my window, I see new specters rolling through the thick and eternal coal smoke—our woodland shade, our summer night!—new Erinnyes, before my cottage which is my nation and my whole heart since everything here resembles it—Death without tears, our active daughter and servant girl, a Love in despair and a pretty Crime whimpering in the mud of the street.