The idea of bringing someone into the world fills me with horror. I would curse myself if I were a father. A son of mine! Oh no, no, no! May my entire flesh perish and may I transmit to no one the aggravations and the disgrace of existence. .
The brazen arms were working more quickly. They paused no longer. Every time that a child was placed in them the priests ofspread out their hands upon him to burden him with the crimes of the people, vociferating: "They are not men but oxen!" and the multitude round about repeated: "Oxen! oxen!" The devout exclaimed: "Lord! Eat!" .
Axiom: hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of wisdom. But I include in the word bourgeois, the bourgeois in blouses as well the bourgeois in coats. It is we and we alone, that is to say the literary men, who are the people, or to say it better: the tradition of humanity. .
For some men, the stronger their desire, the more difficult it is for them to act. They are hampered by mistrust of themselves, daunted by the fear of giving offence; besides, deep feelings of affection are like respectable women; they are afraid of being found out and they go through life with downcast eyes. .
He was happy now, without a care in the world. A meal alone with her, a stroll along the highway in the evening, the way she touched her hand to her hair, the sight of her straw hat hanging from a window hasp, and many other things in which it had never occurred to him to look for pleasure -- such now formed the steady current of his happiness. .
Seen from close, her eyes appeared larger than life, especially when she opened and shut her eyelids several times on awakening: black when looked at in the shadow, dark blue in bright light, they seemed to contain layer upon layer of color, thicker and cloudier beneath, lighter and more transparent toward the lustrous surface. .
Before her marriage she had thought that she had love within her grasp but since the happiness which she had expected this love to bring her hadn't come, she supposed she must have been mistaken. And Emma tried to imagine just what was meant, in life, by the words "bliss," "passion," and "rapture" -- words that had seemed so beautiful to her in books. .
She loved the sea for its storms alone, cared for vegetation only when it grew here and there among ruins. She had to extract a kind of personal advantage from things and she rejected as useless everything that promised no immediate gratification -- for her temperament was more sentimental than artistic, and what she was looking for was emotions, not scenery. .
The sentimental songs she sang in music class were all about little angels with golden wings, madonnas, lagoons, gondoliers -- mawkish compositions that allowed her to glimpse, through the silliness of the words and the indiscretions of the music, the alluring, phantasmagoric realm of genuine feeling. .
It seemed to her that certain portions of the earth must produce happiness -- as thought it were a plant native only to those soils and doomed to languish elsewhere. Why couldn't she be leaning over the balcony of some Swiss chalet? Or nursing her melancholy in a cottage in Scotland, with a husband clad in a long black velvet coat and wearing soft leather shoes, a high-crowned hat and fancy cuffs? .
She might have been glad to confide all these things to someone. But how to speak about so elusive a malaise, one that keeps changing its shape like the clouds and its direction like the wind? She could find no words; and hence neither occasion nor courage came to hand. .
But even as they were brought closer together by the details of daily life, she was separated from him by a growing sense of inward detachment. Charles' conversation was flat as a sidewalk, a place of passage for the ideas of everyman; they wore drab everyday clothes, and they inspired neither laughter nor dreams. .
The music was still throbbing in her ears, and she forced herself to stay awake in order to prolong the illusion of this luxurious life she would so soon have to be leaving. . . . She longed to know all about their lives, to penetrate into them, to be part of them. .
Everything immediately surrounding her -- boring countryside, inane petty bourgeois, the mediocrity of daily life -- seemed to her the exception rather than the rule. She had been caught in it all by some accident: out beyond, there stretched as far as the eye could see the immense territory of rapture and passions. In her longing she made no difference between the pleasures of luxury and the joys of the heart, between elegant living and sensitive feeling. Didn't love, like Indian plants, require rich soils, special temperatures? .
Though she had no one to write to, she had bought herself a blotter, a writing case, a pen and envelopes; she would dust off her whatnot, look at herself in the mirror, take up a book, and then begin to daydream and let it fall to her lap. . . . She wanted to die. And she wanted to live in Paris. .
Deep down, all the while, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a sailor in distress, she kept casting desperate glances over the solitary waster of her life, seeking some white sail in the distant mists of the horizon. She had no idea by what wind it would reach her, toward what shore it would bear her, or what kind of craft it would be – tiny boat or towering vessel, laden with heartbreaks or filled to the gunwales with rapture. But every morning when she awoke she hoped that today would be the day; she listened for every sound, gave sudden starts, was surprised when nothing happened; and then, sadder with each succeeding sunset, she longed for tomorrow. .
So from now on the days were going to continue one after the other like this, always the same, innumerable, bringing nothing!... It was God's will. The future was a pitch-black tunnel, ending in a locked door. She gave up her music: why should she play? Who was there to listen?... She left her drawing books and her embroidery in a closet. What was the use of anything? What was the use? .
"What's more delightful than an evening beside the fire with a nice bright lamp and a book, listening to the wind beating against the windows?" "How true!" she said, her great dark eyes fixed widely on him. "I'm absolutely removed from the world at such times," he said. "The hours go by without my knowing it. Sitting there I'm wandering in countries I can see every detail of -- I'm playing a role in the story I'm reading. I actually feel I'm the characters -- I live and breathe with them." .
Had they nothing more to say to each other? Their eyes, certainly, were full of more meaningful talk; and as they made themselves utter banalities they sensed the same languor invading them both: it was like a murmur of the soul, deep and continuous, more clearly audible than the sound of their words. Surprised by a sweetness that was new to them, it didn't occur to them to tell each other how they felt or to wonder why. Future joys are like tropic shores: out into the immensity that lies before them they waft their native softness, a fragrant breeze that drugs the traveler into drowsiness and makes him careless of what awaits him on the horizon beyond his view. .
Nevertheless the flames did die down -- whether exhausted from lack of supplies or choked by excessive feeding. Little by little, love was quenched by absence; regret was smothered by routine; and the fiery glow that had reddened her pale sky grew gray and gradually vanished... But the storm kept raging, her passion burned itself to ashes, no help was forthcoming, no new sun rose to the horizon. Night closed in completely around her, and she was left alone in a horrible void of piercing cold. .
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