À SOMBRA DAS MAIORIAS SILENCIOSAS: O fim do social e o surgimento das massas (4ª ed.) – Baudrillard (MANUAL EM CONTRA-SOCIOLOGIA)

Trad. de 1985, Suely Bastos

Não são boas condutoras do político, nem boas condutoras do social, nem boas condutoras do sentido em geral. Tudo as atravessa, tudo as magnetiza, mas nelas se dilui sem deixar traços. E na realidade o apelo às massas sempre ficou sem resposta. Elas não irradiam, ao contrário, absorvem toda a irradiação das constelações periféricas do Estado, da História, da Cultura, do Sentido. Elas são a inércia, a força da inércia, a força do neutro.” “neutro = nem 1 nem 0utr0”

hoje referente mudo, amanhã protagonista da história, quando elas tomarão a palavra e deixarão de ser a <maioria silenciosa> – ora, justamente as massas não têm história a escrever, nem passado, nem futuro, elas não têm energias virtuais para liberar, nem desejo a realizar: sua força é atual, toda ela está aqui, e é a do seu silêncio.”

A sociologia só pode descrever a expansão do social e suas peripécias. Ela vive apenas da hipótese positiva e definitiva do social. A assimilação, a implosão do social lhe escapam. A hipótese da morte do social é também a da sua própria morte.

O termo massa não é um conceito. Leitmotiv da demagogia política, é uma noção fluida, viscosa, <lumpen-analítica>. Uma boa sociologia procurará abarcá-la em categorias <mais finas>: sócio-profissionais, de classe, de status cultural, etc. Erro: é vagando em torno dessas noções fluidas e acríticas (como outrora a de <mana>) que se pode ir além da sociologia critica inteligente. Além do que, retrospectivamente, se poderá observar que os próprios conceitos de <classe>, de <relação social>, de <poder>, de <status>, todos estes conceitos muito claros que fazem a glória das ciências legítimas, também nunca foram mais do que noções confusas, mas sobre as quais se conciliaram misteriosos objetivos, os de preservar um determinado código de análise.”

As <massas camponesas> de outrora não eram exatamente massas: só se comportam como massa aqueles que estão liberados de suas obrigações simbólicas, <anulados> (presos nas infinitas <redes>) e destinados a serem apenas o inumerável terminal dos mesmos modelos, que não chegam a integrá-los e que finalmente só os apresentam como resíduos estatísticos.” “Qualquer tentativa de qualificá-la é somente um esforço para transferi-Ia para a sociologia e arrancá-la dessa indistinção que não é sequer a da equivalência (soma ilimitada de indivíduos equivalentes: 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 – tal é a definição sociológica)”

Infelizmente não existem aliens. O inferno não é ninguém, o inferno não existe. O inferno sou eu e esse lustre.

O último avatar de deus dura um século. Foi selado, se não fôra selado ficaria ao relento, louco de si mesmo, esfalfado, inútil, um cu negro diante das civilizações selvagens.

Nada de histeria nem de fascismo potencial, mas simulação por precipitação de todos os referenciais perdidos. Caixa preta de todos os referenciais, de todos os sentidos que não admitiu, da história impossível, dos sistemas de representação inencontráveis, a massa é o que resta quando se esqueceu tudo do social.”

Foram pagãs e permaneceram pagãs à sua maneira, jamais freqüentadas pela Instância Suprema, mas vivendo das miudezas das imagens, da superstição e do diabo.” “Esta é a sua maneira de minar o imperativo categórico da moral e da fé, o imperativo sublime do sentido

imperativo incessantemente renovado de moralização da informação: melhor informar, melhor socializar, elevar o nível cultural das massas” “O que elas rejeitam é a <dialética> do sentido. E de nada adianta alegar que elas são mistificadas. Hipótese sempre hipócrita que permite salvaguardar o conforto intelectual dos produtores de sentido: as massas aspirariam espontaneamente às luzes naturais da razão. Isso para conjurar o inverso, ou seja, que é em plena <liberdade> que as massas opõem ao ultimato do sentido a sua recusa e sua vontade de espetáculo. Temem essa transparência e essa vontade política como temem a morte.” “trabalho de absorção e de aniquilamento da cultura” “nós somos apenas episodicamente condutores de sentido, no essencial e em profundidade nós nos comportamos como massa, vivendo a maior parte do tempo num modo pânico ou aleatório, aquém ou além do sentido.”

Nos Estados Unidos, a playlist dá shuffle em vosmecê!

essa indiferença não deveria existir, ela não tem nada a nos dizer. Em outros termos, a <maioria silenciosa> é despossuída até de sua indiferença, ela não tem nem mesmo o direito de que esta lhe seja reconhecida e imputada, é necessário que também esta apatia lhe seja insuflada pelo poder.” “Ora, é exatamente essa indiferença que exigiria ser analisada na sua brutalidade positiva, em vez de ser creditada a uma magia branca, a uma alienação mágica que sempre desviaria as multidões de sua vocação revolucionária.” A indiferença em relação à indiferença é forçoso.

É curioso que essa constatação jamais tenha subvertido a análise, reforçando-a, ao contrário, em sua fantasia de um poder todo-poderoso na manipulação, e de uma massa prostrada num coma ininteligível.”

O poder está muito satisfeito por colocar sobre o futebol uma responsabilidade fácil, ou seja, a de assumir a responsabilidade diabólica pelo embrutecimento das massas.”

VIDA TRANS,CORRA NORMAL: Rancor e Mal

Bom dia, diabo! Casemos essa música em nossos olvidos. Desovados de nosso próprio planeta. Contra-estratégia expressa aos pais fantasmas nebulosos azuis zumbis: nothing beyond our pseudofamily, so… nothing like family routines, nothing like normal boys usually do things. O fascismo não existe, Bolsonaro muito menos; ora, ninguém (me) liga, meu telephone está sempre no silencioso das massas pretas de absorção da matéria escura da Samsung. atroCIDADE alerta…:… ban ban e não bang bang. A missa mulheril de cada dia, ruminando poliânus, ciprestes a cair. Saudade e açucalinidade. Mútuo piscar de olhos de almas desentendidas que se entendem muito bem, pois. Que assim seja! Amem.a.meta.

O Homem veio da @

ANTI-FREUD (E DE CARONA REICH): “Ora, não se trata de maneira alguma de encontrar uma nova interpretação das massas em termos da economia libidinal (remeter o conformismo ou o <fascismo> das massas a uma estrutura latente, a um obscuro desejo de poder e de repressão que eventualmente se alimentaria de uma repressão primária ou de uma pulsão de morte).” Ironia: até quem vai contra Reich vai contra o nazismo!

Esta é hoje a única alternativa para a declinante análise marxista. Outrora se atribuía às massas um destino revolucionário contrariado pela servidão sexual (Reich), hoje se lhes atribui um desejo de alienação e servidão, ou ainda uma espécie de microfascismo cotidiano tão incompreensível quanto sua virtual pulsão de liberação. Ora, não há nem desejo de fascismo e de poder nem desejo de revolução.” Será? O revolucionário encara com otimismo o espectro fascista clássico, pois se existe a vontade de autoescravização, existirá a posteriori, sem dúvida, a revolução. O tique-taque do pêndulo do relógio.

RECADO A DELEUZE: “Última esperança: que as massas tenham um inconsciente ou um desejo, o que permitiria reinvesti-las como suporte ou suposto de sentido. O desejo, reinventado em toda parte, não é senão o referencial do desespero político.”

O cinismo e a imoralidade da política maquiaveliana estão nisso: não no uso sem escrúpulos dos meios com que se o confundiu na concepção vulgar, mas na desenvoltura com relação aos fins. Pois, Nietzsche o viu bem, é nesse menosprezo por uma verdade social, psicológica, histórica, nesse exercício dos simulacros enquanto tais, que se encontra o máximo de energia política, nesse momento em que o político é um jogo e ainda não se deu uma razão. É a partir do século XVIII, e particularmente depois da Revolução, que o político se infletiu de uma maneira decisiva.” Carta de compromissos (grilhões). “No mesmo momento começa a ser representação” “(o teatro segue um destino paralelo: torna-se um teatro representativo – o mesmo acontece com o espaço perspectivo [da pintura]: de instrumental que era no início, torna-se o lugar de inscrição de uma verdade do espaço e da representação)” “idade de ouro dos sistemas representativos burgueses (a constitucionalidade: a Inglaterra do século XVIII, os Estados Unidos da América, a França das revoluções burguesas, a Europa de 1848).

É com o pensamento marxista em seus desenvolvimentos sucessivos que se inaugura o fim do político e de sua energia própria. Nesse momento começa a hegemonia definitiva do social e do econômico, e a coação, para o político, de ser o espelho, legislativo, institucional, executivo, do social.” “a energia do social se inverte, sua especificidade se perde, sua qualidade histórica e sua idealidade desaparecem em benefício de uma configuração em que não só o político se volatilizou, mas em que o próprio social não tem mais nome.”

não há mais investidura política porque também não há mais referente social de definição clássica” massinha: representante da massa.

O fato de a maioria silenciosa (ou as massas) ser um referente imaginário não quer dizer que ela não existe. (…) Elas não se expressam, são sondadas.”

A cabine de votação parece um banheiro químico misturado com cápsula do tempo (um revestimento futurista, branco, metálico, moderno, com coisas bregas e ultrapassadas, fetichistas, por dentro da embalagem), cabine telefônica, uma urna (para os mortos).

jogo nojo gozo enajenación naja-nación luto Geena não

churrasco de cerveja zero álcool na laje na segunda-feira de noite

Fim das esperanças revolucionárias. Porque estas sempre especularam sobre a possibilidade de as massas, como da classe proletária, se negarem enquanto tais. Mas a massa não é um lugar de negatividade nem de explosão, é um lugar de absorção e de implosão.”

Na massa o político se deteriora como vontade e representação.” #IDÉIATÍTULODELIVRO O Único e seus fenômenos. “Durante muito tempo a estratégia do poder pôde parecer se basear na apatia das massas. Quanto mais elas eram passivas, mais ele estava seguro. Mas essa lógica só é característica da fase burocrática e centralista do poder. E é ela que hoje se volta contra ele: a inércia que fomentou se tornou o signo de sua própria morte. É por isso que o poder procura inverter as estratégias: da passividade à participação, do silêncio à palavra. Mas é muito tarde. O limite da <massa crítica>, o da involução do social por inércia, foi transposto.”

Agora buracos negros até existem, pois aparecem em fotografias. O real começou de facto a ser engolido por si mesmo. Nem energia ele arrota, nonobstant.

Em toda parte se procura fazer as massas falarem, se as pressiona a existir de forma social eleitoralmente, sindicalmente, sexualmente, na participação, nas festas, na livre expressão, etc. É preciso conjurar o espectro, é preciso que ele diga seu nome. Nada demonstra com mais clareza que hoje o único problema verdadeiro é o silêncio da massa, o silêncio da maioria silenciosa.” Comprovante de votação nas duas últimas eleições: prove que você existe; comprovante de residência: esse não precisa, sabemos que você pode mesmo morar nas ruas, pular de hotel em motel, pode ter seu organismo alterado artificialmente para jamais dormir. Injetar-se drogas, matar pessoas sonâmbulo pelas ruas de madrugada. Mas isso não nos diz respeito. Votaste? É isso que importa! Não que estejamos indignados com os outros, apenas sabemos que você existe… A propósito, você quer entrar para o sindicato? Nós descontamos a parcela no seu contracheque, não precisa se preocupar. Quem não tem foto no instagram ou facebook, quem não comprova sua vida sexual ativa, tampouco existe. Portanto, cuidado. Você tem direito a ter fases depressivas, mas não exagere… Estamos de olho, passar bem. Ótima semana!

Como não é mais do reino da vontade nem do da representação, ela cai sob o golpe do diagnóstico, da adivinhação pura e simples – de onde o reino universal da informação e da estatística: é preciso auscultá-la, senti-Ia, retirar-lhe algum oráculo. Daí o furor de sedução, de solicitude e de solicitação em torno dela. Daí a predição por ressonância, os efeitos de antecipação e de futuro da multidão em miragens como: <O povo francês pensa… A maioria dos alemães reprova… Toda a Inglaterra vibra com o nascimento do Príncipe…, etc.> – espelho que tende a um reconhecimento sempre cego, sempre ausente.”

Acredita-se que se estruturam as massas injetando-lhes informação, acredita-se que se libera sua energia social cativa à força de informação e de mensagens (a tal ponto que não é mais o enquadramento institucional, mas a quantidade de informação e a taxa de exposição aos meios de comunicação que hoje medem a socialização).”

A massa só é massa porque sua energia social já se esfriou. É um estoque frio, capaz de absorver e de neutralizar todas as energias quentes. Ela se assemelha a esses sistemas semimortos em que se injeta mais energia do que se retira, a essas minas esgotadas que se mantêm em estado de exploração artificial a preço de ouro.”

A energia que se dispende para atenuar a baixa tendencial da taxa de investimento político e a fragilidade absoluta do princípio social de realidade, para manter essa situação do social e impedi-lo de implodir totalmente, essa energia é imensa, e o sistema se precipita aí.”

Não se trata também de produção do social, porque senão o socialismo bastaria, até mesmo o próprio capitalismo. De fato, tudo muda com a precedência da produção da demanda sobre a das mercadorias. A relação lógica (da produção ao consumo) se desfaz, e estamos numa ordem inteiramente diferente, que não é mais nem de produção nem de consumo, mas de simulação de ambas graças à inversão do processo. De repente, não se trata mais de uma crise <real> do capital, como o supõe Attali, crise que depende de um pouco mais de social e de socialismo, mas de um dispositivo absolutamente diferente, hiper-real, que não tem mais nada a ver nem com o capital nem com o social.”

como massa, se limita a ser boa condutora dos fluxos, mas de todos os fluxos, boa condutora da informação, mas de qualquer informação, boa condutora de normas, mas de todas as normas; com isso, se limita a remeter o social à sua transparência absoluta, a só dar lugar aos efeitos do social e do poder, constelações flutuantes em torno desse núcleo imperceptível.”

Nunca houve manipulação. A partida foi jogada pelos dois, com as mesmas armas, e ninguém hoje poderia dizer quem a venceu”

hiperconformismo, forma imanente de humor” “a massa realiza esse paradoxo de não ser um sujeito, um grupo-sujeito, mas de também não ser um objeto.” “a noção de objeto aí se perde, como o campo da microfísica se perde na análise última da <matéria> – impossível captá-la como objeto neste limite infinitesimal

Todo o mundo conhece a profunda indeterminação que reina sobre as estatísticas (o cálculo de probabilidades ou os grandes números também correspondem a uma indeterminação, a uma <flutuação> do conceito de matéria, a que pouco corresponde uma insignificante noção de <lei objetiva>.”

Daí partiria, no sentido literal, uma patafÍsica ou a ciência das soluções imaginárias, ciência da simulação e da hiper-simulação de um mundo exato, verdadeiro, objetivo, com suas leis universais, incluindo o delírio daqueles que o interpretam segundo estas leis. As massas e seu humor involuntário nos introduziriam a uma patafísica do social que finalmente nos desembaraçaria de toda esta metafísica do social que nos atravanca.”

O publicitário não pode deixar de crer que as pessoas acreditam – por pouco que seja, isso quer dizer que existe uma probabilidade mínima de que a mensagem alcance seu objetivo e seja decodificada segundo seu sentido.”

O MEIO É A MENSAGEM, profetizava Mac Luhan: fórmula característica da fase atual, a fase cool de qualquer cultura mass-media

Enquanto o político há muito tempo é considerado só como espetáculo no interior da vida privada, digerido como divertimento semi-esportivo, semilúdico (veja-se o voto vencedor das eleições americanas, ou as tardes de eleições no rádio ou na tevê), e na forma ao mesmo tempo fascinada e maliciosa das velhas comédias de costumes. O jogo eleitoral se identifica há muito tempo aos jogos televisados na consciência do povo. Este, que sempre serviu de álibi e de figurante para a representação política, se vinga entregando-se à representação teatral da cena política e de seus atores.” “É o jogo, o filme ou os desenhos animados que servem de modelos de percepção da esfera política.” Neymar vingador e seu Death Note.

Até os anos 60, a história se impõe como tempo forte: o privado e o cotidiano não são mais do que o avesso obscuro da esfera política. No melhor dos casos, intervém uma dialética entre os dois e pode-se pensar que um dia o cotidiano, como o individual, resplandecerá além da história, no universal. Mas até lá só se pode deplorar o recuo das massas a sua esfera doméstica, sua recusa da história, da política e do universal, e sua absorção na cotidianidade embrutecida do consumo (felizmente elas trabalham, o que lhes garante um estatuto histórico <objetivo> até o momento da tomada de consciência). Hoje, inversão do tempo fraco e do tempo forte: começa-se a vislumbrar que o cotidiano, que os homens em sua banalidade até que poderiam não ser o reverso insignificante da história – melhor: que o recuo para o privado até poderia ser um desafio direto ao político, uma forma de resistência ativa à manipulação política. Os papéis se invertem: é a banalidade da vida, a vida corrente, tudo o que se estigmatizara como pequeno-burguês, abjeto e apolítico (inclusive o sexo) que se torna o tempo forte

Hipótese vertiginosa. As massas despolitizadas não estariam aquém mas além da política. (…) As massas executariam em sua prática <ingênua> (e sem ter esperado as análises sobre o <fim do político>) a sentença da anulação do político, seriam espontaneamente transpolíticas, como são translingüísticas em sua linguagem. Mas, atenção! (…) alguns desejariam que se tratasse (em particular em sua versão sexual e de desejo) de uma nova fonte de energia revolucionária, desejariam lhe dar um sentido e o reconstituir como negatividade histórica em sua própria banalidade. Exaltação de microdesejos, de pequenas diferenças, de práticas cegas, de marginalidades anônimas. Último sobressalto dos intelectuais para exaltar a insignificância, para promover o não-sentido na ordem do sentido. E revertê-lo à razão política. A banalidade, a inércia, o apoliticismo eram fascistas, agora se tornam revolucionários – sem mudar de sentido, isto é, sem deixar de ter sentido. Micro-revolução da banalidade, transpolítica do desejo – mais um truque dos <libertadores>.”

UMA ETNOGRAFIA DA AMÉRICA LATINA 2020’S: “A emergência das maiorias silenciosas se integra no ciclo completo da resistência histórica ao social. Resistência ao trabalho, evidentemente, mas também resistência à medicina, resistência à escola, resistência à segurança, resistência à informação. A história oficial só registra o progresso ininterrupto do social, relegando às trevas, como culturas passadas, como vestígios bárbaros, tudo que não concorreria para esse glorioso acontecimento.” “(o social vai bem, obrigado, só restam uns loucos para escapar ao registro, à vacinação e às vantagens da segurança)”

QUANDO A REDE GLOBO SE TORNA VÍTIMA DO MONSTRO QUE CRIOU (OU MELHOR: QUANDO ELA DESCOBRE QUE A MASSA ERA O DOUTOR E ELA MERO FRANKENSTEIN): “Sempre se acreditou que são os meios de comunicação que enredam as massas – o que é a própria ideologia dos mass media. Procurou-se o segredo da manipulação numa semiologia que combate os mass media. Mas se esqueceu, nessa lógica ingênua da comunicação, que as massas são um meio muito mais forte que todos os meios de comunicação, que são elas que os enredam e os absorvem – ou que pelo menos não há nenhuma prioridade de um sobre o outro. O processo da massa e o dos meios de comunicação são um processo único. Mass(age) é a mensagem.”

trata-se de lhes inculcar de todos os lados (propaganda oficial [Keenes], associação de consumidores, ecólogos [Uirás], sociólogos) a boa prática e o cálculo funcional em matéria de consumo, mas sem esperança.” “Valor/signo em vez de valor de uso já é um desvio da economia política.” “Uso a-social, resistente a todas as pedagogias socialistas – uso aberrante através do qual as massas (nós, vocês, todo o mundo) inverteram a economia política desde agora. Não esperaram as revoluções futuras nem as teorias que pretendem libertá-las de um movimento <dialético>. Elas sabem que não se liberta de nada e que só se abole um sistema obrigando-o ao hiperlógico, impelindo-o a um uso excessivo que equivale a um amortecimento brutal. <Vocês querem que se consuma – pois bem, consumamos sempre mais, e não importa o quê; para todos os fins inúteis e absurdos.>”

O mesmo aconteceu com a medicina: à resistência frontal (que aliás não desapareceu) se substituiu uma forma mais sutil de subversão, um consumo excessivo, irrefreável, da medicina, um conformismo pânico às injunções da saúde. Escalada fantástica do consumo médico que desvia completamente os objetivos e as finalidades sociais da medicina. Que melhor meio de aboli-Ia? Desde então os médicos não sabem mais o que fazem, o que são, muito mais manipulados do que manipuladores. <Queremos mais cuidados, mais médicos, mais medicamentos, mais segurança, mais saúde, sempre mais, sem limites!> As massas são alienadas na medicina? De modo algum: ao exigirem sempre mais, como mercadoria, estão prestes a arruinar sua instituição, a explodir a segurança social, a colocar o próprio social em perigo. Que maior ironia pode haver do que nesta exigência do social como bem de consumo individual, submetido ao excesso da oferta e da procura? Paródia e paradoxo: é por sua inércia nos caminhos do social que lhes foram traçados que as massas lhes ultrapassam a lógica e os limites, e destroem todo o edifício.”

o terrorismo na verdade pretende visar o capital (o imperialismo mundial, etc.) mas se engana de inimigo, e ao fazer isso visa seu verdadeiro inimigo, que é o social.” NADA A VER COM COPA OU OLIMPÍADAS: “terrorismo não-explosivo, não-histórico, não-político; implosivo, cristalizante, siderante” V de Vacância

Ele é o único ato não-representativo. É nisso que ele tem afinidade com as massas, que são a única realidade não-representável. Sobretudo isso não quer dizer que novamente o terrorismo representaria o silêncio e o não-dito das massas, que exprimiria violentamente sua resistência passiva. Isso quer dizer simplesmente: não há equivalente ao caráter cego, não-representativo, desprovido de sentido, do ato terrorista, senão o comportamento cego, desprovido de sentido e além da representação que é o das massas. Eles têm isso de comum porque são a forma atual mais radical, mais exacerbada, de negação de qualquer sistema representativo. É tudo.” “Só conhecemos bem os encadeamentos representativos, não sabemos grande coisa dos encadeamentos analógicos, a-finitários, imediatizados, irreferenciais e outros sistemas.”

Não se pode dizer que é a <era das maiorias silenciosas> que <produz> o terrorismo. É a simultaneidade dos dois que é assombrosa e causa estranheza. Único acontecimento, aceite-se ou não sua brutalidade, que verdadeiramente marca o fim do político e do social. O único que traduz essa realidade de uma implosão violenta de todos os nossos sistemas de representação.” “O terrorismo não visa de modo algum desmascarar o caráter repressivo do Estado (essa é a negatividade provocadora dos grupelhos, que aí encontram uma última oportunidade de serem representativos aos olhos das massas).”

solidariedade dos ativistas mortos “onda de choque”

P. 29: terrorismo x banditismo

os meios são apenas meios

roleta russa mode on

Rael is a problem.

patafísica reacionária do nazista frustrado

de toda forma,

já-deu

agora

fodeu

fode eu

Esahubris 9001 & Stephen Jacobs

Não há diferença alguma entre um terremoto na Guatemala e a queda de um Boeing da Lufthansa com 300 passageiros a bordo, entre a intervenção <natural> e a intervenção <humana> terrorista. A natureza é terrorista, como o é a interrupção abrupta de todo o sistema tecnológico: os grandes black-outs de Nova Iorque (1965 e 1977) criam situações terroristas melhores que as verdadeiras, situações sonhadas. Melhor: esses grandes acidentes tecnológicos, como os grandes acidentes naturais, exemplificam a possibilidade de uma subversão radical sem sujeito. A pane de 1977 em Nova Iorque poderia ser fomentada por um grupo terrorista muito organizado e isso não mudaria nada no resultado objetivo. Teriam sucedido os mesmos atos de violência, de pilhagem, de levante, a mesma suspensão da ordem <social>. Isso significa que o terrorismo não está na decisão de violência, mas em toda parte na normalidade do social, de modo que ela pode de um momento para o outro se transfigurar numa realidade inversa, absurda, incontrolável. A catástrofe natural funciona dessa maneira e é assim que, paradoxalmente, ela se torna a expressão mítica da catástrofe do social. Ou melhor, sendo a catástrofe natural por excelência um incidente desprovido de sentido, não-representativo (senão de Deus, eis por que o responsável pela Continental Edison pôde falar de Deus e de sua intervenção no episódio do último black-out de Nova Iorque), torna-se uma espécie de sintoma ou de encarnação violenta do estado do social, a saber, de sua catástrofe e da ruína de todas as representações que o sustentavam.”

a fascinação é a intensidade extrema do neutro.”

A implosão, para nós e hoje, só pode ser violenta e catastrófica, porque ela resulta do fracasso do sistema de explosão e de expansão dirigida que foi o nosso no Ocidente há alguns séculos.” “A implosão é inelutável, e todos os esforços para salvar os princípios de realidade, de acumulação, de universalidade, os princípios de evolução que dependem dos sistemas em expansão, são arcaicos, regressivos, nostálgicos. Inclusive todos aqueles que querem liberar as energias libidinais, as energias plurais, as intensidades fragmentárias, etc.” “Há traços disso, de diversas tentativas de controlar os novos impulsos anti-universais [satanização do “globalismo”], anti-representativos, tribais, centrípetos, etc.: as comunidades, a ecologia, o crescimento zero [CPTK(SIC) – Centro de Pesquisas Tirei do Ku para a Sustentação Idônea do Capital], as drogas [a única ‘evasão de divisas’ politicamente correta] – tudo isso sem dúvida é dessa natureza. Mas é preciso não se iludir sobre a implosão lenta. Ela está destinada à efemeridade e ao fracasso. Não houve transição equilibrada de sistemas implosivos aos sistemas explosivos: isso sempre aconteceu violentamente, e há toda a possibilidade de que nossa passagem para a implosão também seja violenta e catastrófica.”

ESTE ZERO: “Só a <sociologia> pode parecer testemunhar sua eternidade, e a soberana algaravia das <ciências sociais> ainda o divulgará muito tempo após ele ter desaparecido.”

SANTÍSSIMA TRINDADE SPONSORED BY K. – RIMA COM…: “como o espaço e o tempo, o social efetivamente abre uma perspectiva ao infinito. Não há definição do social senão nessa perspectiva panótica.”

Se o sexo e a sexualidade, dado que a revolução sexual os muda em si mesmos, são verdadeiramente um modo de troca e de produção de relações sexuais, já a sedução é o inverso da troca, e próxima ao desafio. A sexualidade realmente só se tornou <relação sexual>, só pôde ser falada nesses termos já racionalizados de valor e de troca, ao se esquecer qualquer forma de sedução – assim como o social só se torna <relação social> quando perdeu toda a dimensão simbólica.

SEMPRE CABE +1: “Ver, em L’Échange Simbolique et le Mort¹, a tripla residualidade: do valor na ordem econômica, do fantasma na ordem psíquica, da significação da ordem lingüística. É preciso portanto acrescentar aí a residualidade do social na ordem… social.”

¹ Talvez o único livro de Baudrillard que ainda não li!

não se pode dizer que o social morre, pois ele é desde sempre acumulação do morto. Com efeito, estamos numa civilização do super-social, e simultaneamente do resíduo indegradável, indestrutível, que se expande na própria medida da extensão do social.”

O REI MAGNÂNIMO: “Em 1544 abriu-se o primeiro grande estabelecimento de pobres em Paris: vagabundos, dementes, doentes, todos aqueles que o grupo não integrou e deixou como sobras serão adotados sob o signo nascente do social.”

4 CENTURIES LATER…: “Quando a sobra atinge as dimensões da sociedade toda, tem-se uma socialização perfeita. Vejam-se os Guaiaqui [Kwakiutl?] ou os Tupi-Guarani: quando um tal resíduo aparece, é drenado pelos líderes messiânicos para o Atlântico, sob a forma de movimentos escatológicos que purgam o grupo dos resíduos <sociais>. Não só o poder político (Clastres) mas o próprio social é conjurado como instância desintegrada/desintegrante.” Não há uma obra de Baudrillard sem Pierre Clastres…

Sea-arriba: O paradoxo do sociólogo que combate os anti-sociólogos: parcial no cultivo da neutralidade, torna-se tendencioso. A evolução social re-quer o autogolpe, uma espécie de “Brasil transformado em ciência”. Onde tudo é ruçamente permitido!

gestão usurária da morte” “É nessa perspectiva de gestão de resíduos que o social pode aparecer hoje pelo que é: um direito, uma necessidade, um serviço, um puro e simples valor de uso.” “o social como ecossistema, homeostase e superbiologia funcional da espécie“Uma espécie de espaço fetal de segurança (…) a forma mais baixa da energia social”

* * *

Se toda a riqueza fosse sacrificada, as pessoas perderiam o sentido do real. Se toda a riqueza se tornasse disponível, as pessoas perderiam o sentido do útil e do inútil. O social existe para garantir o consumo inútil da sobra a fim de que os indivíduos se dediquem à gestão útil de suas vidas.” Transformar leite e queijo em livros.

Não é à toa que cálculo (estudo de relações entre coisas) se chama razão.

o afluxo repentino de divisas é a maneira mais rápida e mais radical de arruinar uma moeda”

NEGATIVE LOTTO: “A loucura de Hölderlin lhe veio desta prodigalidade dos deuses, desta graça dos deuses que afoga e se torna mortal se não pode ser reparada e compensada por uma equivalência humana, a da terra, a do trabalho. Há aí uma espécie de lei que não tem nada a ver com a moral burguesa. Mais próximo de nós, citemos a confusão mortal das pessoas superexpostas à riqueza e à felicidade – como clientes de uma grande loja aos quais se oferece escolher o que desejam: é o pânico. Ou ainda esses vinhateiros a quem o Estado oferece mais dinheiro para arrancar suas vinhas do que ganhariam trabalhando nelas. São muito mais desestruturados por este prêmio inesperado do que pela tradicional exploração de força de trabalho.”

Eu preciso de imbecis me aparando ou eu seria só cabelo.

Se meu talento fosse reconhecido da noite para o dia, fatalmente eu ficaria louco como se toda a metanfetamina do mundo fosse-me injetada duma vez.

DESAFIO: Cite 10 coisas mais úteis que pisar na Lua.

A verdadeira candura é a dos socialistas e humanistas de toda espécie, que querem que toda a riqueza seja redistribuída, que não haja nenhuma despesa inútil, etc.”

É o que o socialismo não vê: ao querer abolir essa escassez, e ao reivindicar o usufruto generalizado da riqueza, põe fim ao social acreditando que o está conduzindo ao auge.” “Quando tudo, inclusive o social, se torna valor de uso, o mundo se tornou inerte, onde se opera o inverso do que Marx sonhava. Ele sonhava com uma reabsorção do econômico no social (transfigurado). O que nos acontece é a reabsorção do social na economia política (banalizada): a gestão pura e simples.”

Nada mudou desde Mandeville e sua Fábula das Abelhas.”

Terceira hipótese: “O social não foi sempre um equívoco, como na primeira hipótese, nem uma sobra, como na segunda. Mas justamente só teve sentido, como o poder, como o trabalho, como o capital, num espaço perspectivo de distribuição racional (…) e hoje morre” “Ora, o social só existe num espaço perspectivo, morre no espaço de simulação”

Curto-circuito fantástico: o real é hiper-realizado; nem realizado, nem idealizado. O hiper-real é a abolição do real não por destruição violenta, mas pela afirmação, elevação à potência do modelo.” “Há real em demasia, cai-se no obsceno e no pornô.”

CAGADA HAT-TRICK

A direita

A esquerda

O espírito aristocráticotirânico AMEMuns aos outros

Doña Flôbert e seus 2 Partidos

* * *

A esquerda é o monstro do Alien.

Por que, no final das contas, o fascismo (genuíno, pur sang) é sempre eleito democraticamente: “Os representantes do povo são bastante ingênuos a esse respeito: tomam sua eleição por uma aprovação e um consenso popular, não desconfiam nunca que não há nada mais ambíguo do que impelir alguém ao poder e que o espetáculo mais gratificante para o povo sem dúvida sempre foi a derrota de uma classe política.”

O advento do socialismo como modelo é absolutamente diferente de seu advento histórico. Como acontecimento, como mito, como força de ruptura, o socialismo não tem, como se diz, o tempo de se parecer consigo mesmo, de se fortalecer como modelo, não tem tempo de se confundir com a sociedade – nessa qualidade ele não é um estado estável, e aliás só fez breves aparições históricas. Ao passo que hoje o socialismo se propõe como modelo estável e confiável – não é mais uma exigência revolucionária, é uma simulação de mudança (simulação no sentido de desenvolvimento do melhor cenário possível) e uma simulação do futuro. Nada de surpresa, nada de violência, nada de ultrapassagem, nada de verdadeira paixão.”

A menos que haja uma reversão miraculosa da história, que daria sua carne e seu sangue a qualquer projeto social que apareça, e à realidade sem mais, é-nos necessário, como diz Canetti, perseverar na destruição atual.”

* * *

o intelectual infelizmente sempre é bastante virginal para ser cúmplice da repressão ao vício.” Nunca cansamos de ser críticos. Só com críticas explícitas fazemos 3 pontos fora de casa. Como político, excelente filósofo; como filósofo, excelente político. Como legislador, excelente burocrata. Enquanto funcionário racional-legal, criador de exceções imprevisíveis incontroláveis o tempo inteiro. Como pai ótimo filho.

Ou Stalin ou Nada, de que lado Você (o[u] Eu) está?

O CORPO DECIDE QUANDO O TEATRO FICA ENJOADO: “Nós vagueamos entre os fantasmas do capital, de hoje em diante vaguearemos no modelo póstumo do socialismo. A hiper-realidade de tudo isso não mudará nem um pouco, num certo sentido é nossa paisagem familiar há muito tempo. Estamos doentes de leucemia política, e essa indiferença crescente (estamos atravessados pelo poder sem por ele sermos atingidos, analisamos, atravessamos o poder sem alcançá-lo) é absolutamente semelhante ao tipo de patologia mais moderna: a saber, não a agressão biológica objetiva, mas a incapacidade crescente do organismo de fabricar anticorpos (ou mesmo, como na esclerose em placas, a possibilidade de os anticorpos se voltarem contra o próprio organismo).”

E aí nós, intelectuais, fomos pegos. Porque enquanto se tratava de economia, de programação e do desencantamento de uma sociedade liberal, mantivemos nosso foro íntimo, ricos de uma reserva mental e política indefinida, vestais de uma pequena chama crítica e filosófica, promessa de uma eficácia silenciosa da teoria (aliás a teoria se portava muito bem, ela não reencontrará sem dúvida jamais a qualidade ofensiva e jubilatória ao mesmo tempo que a grandiosa sinecura de que desfrutou nesses últimos 20 anos).” “Nada pior do que a absorção da força teórica numa instituição. Eu compreendo: a própria utopia dos conceitos segundo os quais analisávamos esta situação que não era a nossa, e a dissolvíamos em seus componentes imaginários, essa utopia mesma se volta contra nós sob a forma de julgamento de valor real, de jurisdição intelectualmente armada com nossas próprias armas, sob a forma desse fantasma da vontade coletiva, essa utopia foi a de nossa própria classe [os intelectuais], que mantém, mesmo na simulação, o poder de nos anular.”

velho slogan rimbaudiano que se tornou socialista – alegrai-vos, hoje se vai mudar verdadeiramente a vida – é maravilhoso!”

Thomas En(do)gênio: “Tal é o sonho socialista, enlouquecido de transparência, inundado de ingenuidade. Porque nenhum grupo jamais funcionou assim – mas sobretudo: que grupo não sonhou com isso? Felizmente é verossímil que algum projeto social digno desse nome jamais existiu, que nenhum grupo na verdade jamais se concebeu idealmente como social, em suma, jamais houve <a sombra> (salvo nas cabeças intelectuais) nem o embrião de um sujeito coletivo com responsabilidade limitada, nem a possibilidade mesma de um objetivo dessa ordem.”

Anúncios

VANIHILL SKY

Nos anos 50 era provavelmente impensável uma ressurreição do fascismo para a quase totalidade dos seres humanos. Para os vitoriosos, porque deviam intuir que seu êxito era a comprovação plena da justiça universal; o evento era recente demais para que se pudesse conceber sequer uma nova tentativa de alçada ao poder por parte da extrema direita, com o mesmo ímpeto e nas mesmas bases do recém-intentado. Tal tentativa, era óbvio, estava fadada ao fracasso. E se a tentativa ocorresse, se por um milagre triunfasse em algum país (a Alemanha estava então ocupada e dividida), o resultado final, após um inevitável confronto bélico, já estava escancarado: a vitória incondicional das forças aliadas democráticas. Mesmo o derrotado que como conseqüência do fim da guerra (já tendo sido lucro o “continuar vivo”) ainda não houvesse mudado de lado (pensemos no clássico tipo do soldado alemão, homenzinhos em série que “só cumpriam ordens” e não tinham possibilidade hierárquica alguma de estipular ações relevantes nem de influenciar na guerra, tampouco de ser responsabilizados em massa e punidos num tribunal por seus crimes durante o regime de exceção, sem falar que estamos, ainda, antes – e na iminência – da criação dos Direitos Humanos e das Nações Unidas) certamente estaria em frangalhos para cultivar qualquer fé no futuro do seu ideal supremacista. A reação mais normal era a conversão imediata pura e simples, o acordar do hipnotismo ou do sonho, regressando à condição humana. Desconsidero aqui os “nazistas revisionistas”, esse tipo de criatura que, 50 anos depois, nega a existência do Holocausto. Difícil acreditar que esses indivíduos acreditem em si mesmos. Por definição, este não seria um verdadeiro nazista, pois o judeu é o “mal denso e opaco” que não pode em absoluto ser negado. Para o nazista, negar o extermínio dos judeus, negar os bons auspícios da mera idéia da abolição desta “raça”, seria sintoma de fraqueza e degeneração, além de um vexame perante os antepassados, não se justificando nem mesmo como tática mesquinha para a ascensão ao poder. Também acho improvável que qualquer “revisionista” dos anos 50 não fosse enviado a manicômios. Deve se tratar de um fenômeno mais recente, de pessoas que não viveram a guerra.

O ponto sensível em que queria chegar: tinha-se como preceito básico que enquanto fosse conhecido e lembrado o Nazifascismo não se repetiria. Esse pressuposto já foi demolido. Hoje o sinal preocupante é que indivíduos que conhecem a História, a Segunda Guerra e os mecanismos totalitários passam agora a desejar fervorosamente sua manifestação mais uma vez. A verdade era auto-revelada; assim que o véu do enredo se levantava, o aspecto atroz do Nacional-Socialismo tinha um poder instantâneo de convencimento das massas: uma aberração tal carregava consigo a verdade evidente de sua cretinice e bestialidade. O sentimento expiatório, o choque compartilhado por todos os conscientes do ocorrido, proibia qualquer simpatia pelos derrotados. Havia um mudo consenso sobre esta fabulosa calamidade ou episódio mais grotesco de todos os tempos…

…Que não se mostrou muito duradouro, pelo que hoje vemos. Poucas gerações depois, uma parcela da humanidade deseja o ressurgimento da cretinice e da bestialidade, não mais cretinas, não mais embaraçosas, mas índices, pelo contrário, de um “novo homem”, renascido das cinzas da debilidade social-democrata. E essa vontade já não é mascarada ou tratada com pudor: é nua e crua. Hitler e Mussolini foram desventurados, mas devem ser tomados como modelo e inspiração, dizem os novos jovens (e alguns já velhos). Porém, reviravolta das reviravoltas, eis a inflexão inaudita: termos chegado a esse ponto não teria dois lados?!

Se por um lado é factível um novo nazismo, ver que a idéia foi apropriada por fatias de “consumidores” da aldeia global não seria constatar que não se trata da hecatombe original, mas de uma forma, que direi eu?, atenuada, até mesmo inofensiva?! Apropriado pelo capitalismo, o movimento da ultradireita poderia ser reeditado sem romper daqui em diante as regras do sistema, sem apresentar perigo letal, como tudo o mais o é? Como toda revolução, forma de protesto ou anti-mercadoria se torna apenas mais um item do catálogo pouquíssimo tempo depois de seu aparecimento, contradizendo-se a si própria ao se tornar paradoxalmente imortal e serializável, não seria o nazifascismo mais uma vedete dentre outras da Sociedade do Espetáculo? Apenas uma forma de se distinguir socialmente (Bourdieu e a insípida sociologia acadêmica francesa)?! Incapaz, na prática, de efetivar as metas hitleristas, condenado a ficar eternamente no “quase”, igual a democracia, igual a social-democracia, igual o socialismo, igual o neoliberalismo, igual tudo que já foi inventado e rotulado pelo homem? Utopia mundana, eleger fascistas já nada significaria?!

A máquina perfeita de simulação virtual, essa reversibilidade ad infinitum dos elementos de um jogo insuprimível, como diria o discurso pós-moderno de um Baudrillard? Confesso-me esmagado entre dois extremos que não consigo adotar por mais de um dia sem reservas: o do antifa histérico e histriônico (“apenas eu estou vendo isso? o que vocês estão fazendo que não tomam uma atitude?”) e o do conformado mais apático que se imagina (“não é nada para se preocupar, não esquenta, isso passa”). Faz diferença a indiferença? Não é o fascista de hoje muito mais incompetente e estéril? Uma falsa impressão que, se levada adiante, possibilitaria a vitória totalitária? Mas o antifa existe e está aí, e brada contra qualquer “atributo fascista” enxergado e hipostasiado, alucinado, até mesmo no seio da esquerda mais ortodoxa! Não parece ser esta a questão, num mundo que ainda não decidiu o que é mais difícil ou lenda urbana: alienar-se ou evitar a hipocrisia, ser fiel a um imperativo categórico ou tornar-se o perfeito blasé. A rigor sabemos que jamais voltaremos ao cenário em que essas coisas eram mais simples e apresentavam quaisquer remotos resquícios de sentido. Estarei indefinidamente espremido, como joguete baudrillardiano, entre esses dois falsos-horizontes, num corredor polonês estreito e interminável, se bem que fruto da minha imaginação, condenado a viver num mundo que reprisa sempre os mesmos sucessos e fracassos sem dar a hegemonia a nada nem ninguém, um sonhador como o de Vanilla Sky, cujo sonho é reinicializado quando sai um pouco de controle, sendo a suma de um niilismo inexpugnável e estagnado?

Nossa memória histórica realmente existe ou ela é reconfigurada todos os dias por um administrador do sistema operacional, ou pelo nosso próprio inconsciente?! O problema da reascensão do fascismo e de continuarmos aqui, banais, pensantes, é esse: o de pôr em questão e entre parênteses a própria realidade, o próprio conceito de triunfo, a própria definição de medo, ansiedade, da claustrofobia, da sensação de esgotamento ou exaustão. Céu branco de baunilha, o ontem é mitologia, o amanhã apenas um reboot.

EREWHON (1872) – Samuel Butler (capítulos 24&25)

-Essays on machine and apocalypse-

If all machines were to be annihilated at one moment, so that not a knife nor lever nor rag of clothing nor anything whatsoever were left to man but his bare body alone that he was born with, and if all knowledge of mechanical laws were taken from him so that he could make no more machines, and all machine-made food destroyed so that the race of man should be left as it were naked upon a desert island, we should become extinct in six weeks.”

May we not fancy that if, in the remotest geological period, some early form of vegetable life had been endowed with the power of reflecting upon the dawning life of animals which was coming into existence alongside of its own, it would have thought itself exceedingly acute if it had surmised that animals would one day become real vegetables?”

If their belief is sincere they will speculate instead of working: these ought to be the immoral men; the others have the strongest spur to exertion and morality, if their belief is a living one.” O pessimismo da força é o otimismo supremo: o artista sabe seu futuro, e ele só depende de si mesmo.

spontaneity is only a term for man’s ignorance of the gods.”

For how many emergencies is an oyster adapted? For as many as are likely to happen to it, and no more. So are the machines; and so is man himself.”

The misery is that man has been blind so long already. In his reliance upon the use of steam he has been betrayed into increasing and multiplying. To withdraw steam power suddenly will not have the effect of reducing us to the state in which we were before its introduction; there will be a general break-up and time of anarchy such as has never been known” “For many seem inclined to acquiesce in so dishonourable a future. They say that although man should become to the machines what the horse and dog are to us, yet that he will continue to exist, and will probably be better off in a state of domestication under the beneficent rule of the machines than in his present wild condition. We treat our domestic animals with much kindness. We give them whatever we believe to be the best for them; and there can be no doubt that our use of meat has increased their happiness rather than detracted from it. In like manner there is reason to hope that the machines will use us kindly, for their existence will be in a great measure dependent upon ours; they will rule us with a rod of iron, but they will not eat us; they will not only require our services in the reproduction and education of their young, but also in waiting upon them as servants; in gathering food for them, and feeding them; in restoring them to health when they are sick; and in either burying their dead or working up their deceased members into new forms of mechanical existence.” What is man but a miserable pile of machinery?

What is mean, but a miser pile of glory!

Wait, is man a machine-pile of a greater secret?

Slaves are tolerably happy if they have good masters, and the revolution will not occur in our time, nor hardly in 10.000 years, or 10x that. Is it wise to be uneasy about a contingency which is so remote?”

Among themselves the machines will war eternally, but they will still require man as the being through whose agency the struggle will be principally conducted.”

Could I believe that 1.000.000 years ago a single one of my ancestors was another kind of being to myself, I should lose all self-respect, and take no further pleasure or interest

in life. I have the same feeling with regard to my descendants, and believe it to be one that will be felt so generally that the country will resolve upon putting an immediate stop to all further mechanical progress, and upon destroying all improvements that have been made for the last 300 years. I would not urge more than this. We may trust ourselves to deal with those that remain, and though I should prefer to have seen the destruction include another 200 years, I am aware of the necessity for compromising, and would so far sacrifice my own individual convictions as to be content with 300. Less than this will be insufficient.” !!!

The lower animals keep all their limbs at home in their own bodies, but many of man’s are loose, and lie about detached, now here and now there, in various parts of the world—some being kept always handy for contingent use, and others being occasionally hundreds of miles away.” Citado em O ANTI-ÉDIPO

a train is only a seven-leagued foot that 500 may own at once.”

if he be a really well-developed specimen of his race, he will be furnished with a large box upon wheels, two horses, and a coachman.”

That old philosophic enemy, matter, the inherently and essentially evil, still hangs about the neck of the poor and strangles him: but to the rich, matter is immaterial”

Among savage races it is deemed highly honourable to be the possessor of a gun, and throughout all known time there has been a feeling that those who are worth most are the worthiest.”

LA(LES) FEMME(S) DE TRENTE ANS OU DA FRIGIDEZ E DA AUTO-REALIZAÇÃO NA MESMA ÁRVORE GENEALÓGICA – Balzac

“– L’on te croit ma femme, dit-il à l’oreille de la jeune personne en se redressant et marchant avec une lenteur qui la désespéra.

Il semblait avoir de la coquetterie pour sa fille et jouissait peut-être plus qu’elle des oeillades que les curieux lançaient sur ses petits pieds chaussés de brodequins en prunelle puce, sur une taille délicieuse dessinée par une robe à guimpe, et sur le cou frais qu’une collerette brodée ne cachait pas entièrement.”

Ce dimanche était le treizième de l’année 1813. Le surlendemain, Napoléon partait pour cette fatale campagne pendant laquelle il allait perdre successivement Bessières et Duroc, gagner les mémorables batailles de Lutzen et de Bautzen, se voir trahi par l’Autriche, la Saxe, la Bavière, par Bernadotte, et disputer la terrible bataille de Leipsick. La magnifique parade commandée par l’empereur devait être la dernière de celles qui excitèrent si longtemps l’admiration des Parisiens et des étrangers. La vieille garde allait exécuter pour la dernière fois les savantes manoeuvres dont la pompe et la précision étonnèrent quelquefois jusqu’à ce géant lui-même, qui s’apprêtait alors à son duel avec l’Europe. Un sentiment triste amenait aux Tuileries une brillante et curieuse population. Chacun semblait deviner l’avenir, et pressentait peut-être que plus d’une fois l’imagination aurait à retracer le tableau de cette scène, quand ces temps héroïques de la France contracteraient, comme aujourd’hui, des teintes presque fabuleuses.”

Son amour pour cette belle créature lui faisait autant admirer le présent que craindre l’avenir. Il semblait se dire : – Elle est heureuse aujourd’hui, le sera-telle toujours? Car les vieillards sont assez enclins à doter de leurs chagrins l’avenir des jeunes gens.

“– Restons, mon père. D’ici je puis encore apercevoir l’empereur. S’il périssait pendant la campagne, je ne l’aurais jamais vu.”

Le cordon de sentinelles, établi pour laisser un passage libre à l’empereur et à son état-major, avait beaucoup de peine à ne pas être débordé par cette foule empressée et bourdonnant comme un essaim.”

La France allait faire ses adieux à Napoléon, à la veille d’une campagne dont les dangers étaient prévus par le moindre citoyen. Il s’agissait, cette fois, pour l’Empire Français, d’être ou de ne pas être.” “Entre la plupart des assistants et des militaires, il se disait des adieux peut-être éternels ; mais tous les coeurs, même les plus hostiles à l’empereur, adressaient au ciel des voeux ardents pour la gloire de la patrie. Les hommes les plus fatigués de la lutte commencée entre l’Europe et la France avaient tous déposé leurs haines en passant sous l’arc de triomphe, comprenant qu’au jour du danger Napoléon était toute la France. L’horloge du château sonna une demi-heure. En ce moment les bourdonnements de la foule cessèrent, et le silence devint si profond, que l’on eût entendu la parole d’un enfant.”

Des cris de: Vive l’empereur! furent poussés par la multitude enthousiasmée. Enfin tout frissonna, tout remua, tout s’ébranla. Napoléon était monté à cheval. Ce mouvement avait imprimé la vie à ces masses silencieuses, avait donné une voix aux instruments, un élan aux aigles et aux drapeaux, une émotion à toutes les figures. Les murs des hautes galeries de ce vieux palais semblaient crier aussi: Vive l’empereur! Ce ne fut pas quelque chose d’humain, ce fut une magie, un simulacre de la puissance divine, ou mieux une fugitive image de ce règne si fugitif. L’homme entouré de tant d’amour, d’enthousiasme, de dévouement, de voeux, pour qui le soleil avait chassé les nuages du ciel, resta sur son cheval, à trois pas en avant du petit escadron doré qui le suivait, ayant le grand-maréchal à sa gauche, le maréchal de service à sa droite. Au sein de tant d’émotions excitées par lui, aucun trait de son visage ne parut s’émouvoir.”

Le colonel Victor d’Aiglemont à peine âgé de trente ans, était grand, bien fait, svelte; et ses heureuses proportions ne ressortaient jamais mieux que quand il employait sa force à gouverner un cheval dont le dos élégant et souple paraissait plier sous lui.”

Je pense, Julie, que vous avez des secrets pour moi. – Tu aimes, reprit vivement le vieillard en s’apercevant que sa fille venait de rougir. Ah! j’espérais te voir fidèle à ton vieux père jusqu’à sa mort, j’espérais te conserver près de moi heureuse et brillante! t’admirer comme tu étais encore naguère. En ignorant ton sort, j’aurais pu croire à un avenir tranquille pour toi ; mais maintenant il est impossible que j’emporte une espérance de bonheur pour ta vie, car tu aimes encore plus le colonel que tu n’aimes le cousin. Je n’en puis plus douter.

Julie, j’aimerais mieux te savoir amoureuse d’un vieillard que de te voir aimant le colonel. Ah! si tu pouvais te placer à dix ans d’ici dans la vie, tu rendrais justice à mon expérience. Je connais Victor: sa gaieté est une gaieté sans esprit, une gaieté de caserne, il est sans talent et dépensier. C’est un de ces hommes que le ciel a créés pour prendre et digérer quatre repas par jour, dormir, aimer la première venue et se battre. Il n’entend pas la vie. Son bon coeur, car il a bon coeur, l’entraînera peut-être à donner

sa bourse à un malheureux, à un camarade ; mais il est insouciant, mais il n’est pas doué de cette délicatesse de coeur qui nous rend esclaves du bonheur d’une femme ; mais il est ignorant, égoïste… Il y a beaucoup de mais.”

Mais, ma pauvre Julie, tu es encore trop jeune, trop faible, trop délicate pour supporter les chagrins et les tracas du mariage. D’Aiglemont a été gâté par ses parents, de même que tu l’as été par ta mère et par moi. Comment espérer que vous pourrez vous entendre tous deux avec des volontés différentes dont les tyrannies seront inconciliables? (…) Je connais les militaires, ma Julie; j’ai vécu aux armées. Il est rare que le coeur de ces gens-là puisse triompher des habitudes produites ou par les malheurs au sein desquels ils vivent, ou par les hasards de leur vie aventurière.

Épouse Victor, ma Julie. Un jour tu déploreras amèrement sa nullité, son défaut d’ordre, son égoïsme, son indélicatesse, son ineptie en amour, et mille autres chagrins qui te viendront par lui. Alors, souviens-toi que, sous ces arbres, la voix prophétique de ton vieux père a retenti vainement à tes oreilles!”

* * *

Un an après…

À travers le tendre feuillage des îles, au fond du tableau, Tours semble, comme Venise, sortir du sein des eaux.”

En plus d’un endroit il existe trois étages de maisons, creusées dans le roc et réunies par de dangereux escaliers taillés à même la pierre. Au sommet d’un toit, une jeune fille en jupon rouge court à son jardin. La fumée d’une cheminée s’élève entre les sarments et le pampre naissant d’une vigne. Des closiers labourent des champs perpendiculaires.”

Cette partie de la France, la seule que les armées étrangères ne devaient point troubler, était en ce moment la seule qui fût tranquille, et l’on eût dit qu’elle défiait l’Invasion.”

Julie d’Aiglemont ne ressemblait déjà plus à la jeune fille qui courait naguère avec joie et bonheur à la revue des Tuileries. Son visage, toujours délicat, était privé des couleurs roses qui jadis lui donnaient un si riche éclat. Les touffes noires de quelques cheveux défrisés par l’humidité de la nuit faisaient ressortir la blancheur mate de sa tête, dont la vivacité semblait engourdie. Cependant ses yeux brillaient d’un feu surnaturel; mais au-dessous de leurs paupières, quelques teintes violettes se dessinaient sur les joues fatiguées. Elle examina d’un oeil indifférent les campagnes du Cher, la Loire et ses îles, Tours et les longs rochers de Vouvray; puis, sans vouloir regarder la ravissante vallée de la Cise, elle se rejeta promptement dans le fond de la calèche, et dit d’une voix qui en plein air paraissait d’une extrême faiblesse: – Oui, c’est

admirable. Elle avait comme on le voit pour son malheur triomphé de son père.

Julie, n’aimerais-tu pas à vivre ici?

Oh! là ou ailleurs, dit-elle avec insouciance.

Souffres-tu? lui demanda le colonel d’Aiglemont.

Pas du tout, répondit la jeune femme avec une vivacité momentanée. Elle contempla son mari en souriant et ajouta : – J’ai envie de dormir.”

Elle eut un air aussi stupide que peut l’être celui d’un paysan breton écoutant le prône de son curé.”

Il y a beaucoup d’hommes dont le coeur est puissamment ému par la seule apparence de la souffrance chez une femme: pour eux la douleur semble être une promesse de constance ou d’amour.”

Chargé par l’empereur de porter des ordres au maréchal Soult, qui avait à défendre la France de l’invasion faite par les Anglais dans le Béarn, le colonel d’Aiglemont profitait de sa mission pour soustraire sa femme aux dangers qui menaçaient alors Paris, et la conduisait à Tours chez une vieille parente à lui.”

Ma Julie n’est ni coquette ni jalouse, elle a une douceur d’ange…”

il était bien difficile à une femme amie de Duclos et du maréchal de Richelieu de ne pas chercher à deviner le secret de ce jeune ménage.”

Après avoir échangé quelques mots avec cette tante, à laquelle elle avait écrit naguère une lettre de nouvelle mariée, elle resta silencieuse comme si elle eût écouté la musique d’un opéra.”

Ma chère petite, nous connaissons la douleur des veuves, répondit la tante.

Aussi, malgré l’envie qu’avait la vieille dame de promener orgueilleusement sa jolie nièce, finit-elle par renoncer à vouloir la mener dans le monde. La comtesse avait trouvé un prétexte à sa solitude et à sa tristesse dans le chagrin que lui avait causé la mort de son père, de qui elle portait encore le deuil. Au bout de huit jours, la douairière admira la douceur angélique, les grâces modestes, l’esprit indulgent de Julie, et s’intéressa, dès lors, prodigieusement à la mystérieuse mélancolie qui rongeait ce jeune coeur. (…) Un mois suffit pour établir entre elles une éternelle amitié.”

Elle devina que ni le souvenir paternel ni l’absence de Victor n’étaient la cause de la mélancolie profonde qui jetait un voile sur la vie de sa nièce; puis elle eut tant de mauvais soupçons, qu’il lui fut difficile de s’arrêter à la véritable cause du mal, car nous ne rencontrons peut-être le vrai que par hasard. Un jour, enfin, Julie fit briller aux yeux de sa tante étonnée un oubli complet du mariage, une folie de jeune fille étourdie, une candeur d’esprit, un enfantillage digne du premier âge, tout cet esprit délicat, et parfois si profond, qui distingue les jeunes personnes en France. Madame de Listomère résolut alors de sonder les mystères de cette âme dont le naturel extrême équivalait à une impénétrable dissimulation.”

La tante, bien convaincue que sa nièce n’aimait pas son neveu, fut stupéfaite en découvrant qu’elle n’aimait personne. Elle trembla d’avoir à reconnaître en Julie un coeur désenchanté, une jeune femme à qui l’expérience d’un jour, d’une nuit peut-être, avait suffi pour apprécier la nullité de Victor.”

Elle se proposait alors de convertir Julie aux doctrines monarchiques du siècle de Louis XV; mais, quelques heures plus tard, elle apprit, ou plutôt elle devina la situation assez commune dans le monde à laquelle la comtesse devait sa mélancolie.”

Confusão nesta edição entre os títulos de “comtesse” e “marquise”, que parecem se referir alternadamente à jovem “sobrinha” recém-casada com o coronel da era bonapartista e a “tia”, não de sangue, tia do coronel, a velha que a acolhe no campo devido à guerra estourando na capital. Erro de revisão ou de redação de Balzac?

Tu vas te marier, Louisa. Cette pensée me fait frémir. Pauvre petite, marie-toi; puis, dans quelques mois, un de tes plus poignants regrets viendra du souvenir de ce que nous étions naguère, quand un soir, à Écouen, parvenues toutes deux sous les plus grands chênes de la montagne, nous contemplâmes la belle vallée que nous avions à nos pieds, et que nous y admirâmes les rayons du soleil couchant dont les reflets nous enveloppaient. Nous nous assîmes sur un quartier de roche, et tombâmes dans un ravissement auquel succéda la plus douce mélancolie. Tu trouvas la première que ce soleil lointain nous parlait d’avenir. Nous étions bien curieuses et bien folles alors! Te souviens-tu de toutes nos extravagances? Nous nous embrassâmes comme deux amants, disions-nous. Nous nous jurâmes que la première mariée de nous deux raconterait fidèlement à l’autre ces secrets d’hyménée, ces joies que nos âmes enfantines nous peignaient si délicieuses. Cette soirée fera ton désespoir, Louisa. Dans ce temps, tu étais jeune, belle, insouciante, sinon heureuse; un mari te rendra, en peu de jours, ce que je suis déjà, laide, souffrante et vieille. Te dire combien j’étais fière, vaine et joyeuse d’épouser le colonel Victor d’Aiglemont, ce serait une folie! Et même comment te le dirai-je? je ne me souviens plus de moi-même. En peu d’instants mon enfance est devenue comme un songe. La contenance pendant la journée solennelle qui consacrait un lien dont l’étendue m’était cachée n’a pas été exempte de reproches. Mon père a plus d’une fois tâché de réprimer ma gaieté, car je témoignais des joies qu’on trouvait inconvenantes, et mes discours révélaient de la malice, justement parce qu’ils étaient sans malice. Je faisais mille enfantillages avec ce voile nuptial, avec cette robe et ces fleurs. Restée seule, le soir, dans la chambre où j’avais été conduite avec apparat, je méditai quelque espièglerie [faceirice] pour intriguer Victor ; et, en attendant qu’il vînt, j’avais des palpitations de coeur semblables à celles qui me saisissaient autrefois en ces jours solennels du 31 décembre, quand, sans être aperçue, je me glissais dans le salon où les étrennes [embrulhos de Natal] étaient entassées. Lorsque mon mari entra, qu’il me chercha, le rire étouffé que je fis entendre sous les mousselines qui m’enveloppaient a été le dernier éclat de cette gaieté douce qui anima les jeux de notre enfance…

depuis Ève jusqu’à nous, le mariage a paru chose si excellente – Vous n’avez plus de mère?”

Parfois ne pensez-vous point que l’amour légitime est plus dur à porter que ne le serait une passion criminelle?”

Enfin, mon ange, vous adorez Victor, n’est-ce pas? mais vous aimeriez mieux être sa soeur que sa femme, et le mariage enfin ne vous réussit point.

Hé! bien, oui, ma tante. Mais pourquoi sourire?”

“– Enfim, meu anjo, você adora o Victor, não é? mas você amaria ainda mais ser sua irmã que sua mulher, e o casamento, portanto, em nada lhe apraz!

É… é isso mesmo, minha tia! Mas por que a gargalhada?”

Sous le règne de notre bien-aimé Louis XV, une jeune femme qui se serait trouvée dans la situation où vous êtes aurait bientôt puni son mari de se conduire en vrai lansquenet. L’égoïste ! Les militaires de ce tyran impérial sont tous de vilains ignorants. Ils prennent la brutalité pour de la galanterie, ils ne connaissent pas plus les femmes qu’ils ne savent aimer; ils croient que d’aller à la mort le lendemain les dispense d’avoir, la veille, des égards et des attentions pour nous. Autrefois, l’on savait aussi bien aimer que mourir à propos. Ma nièce, je vous le formerai. Je mettrai fin au triste désaccord, assez naturel, qui vous conduirait à vous haïr l’un et l’autre, à souhaiter un divorce, si toutefois vous n’étiez pas morte avant d’en venir au désespoir.” “Sob o reinado de nosso adorado Luís XV, uma jovem na sua situação cedo saberia punir seu marido por agir como um militarzinho destemperado¹. O egoísta! Os militares desse tirano imperial são todos uns vilães ignorantes. Confundem brutalidade com charme, são incapazes de compreender as mulheres, não sabem mais amá-las; eles crêem piamente que por terem, em média, uma vida curta, devotada ao campo de batalha, isso lhes dá licença de, antes de partirem deste mundo, ser prestativos e atenciosos. Antigamente, sabia-se tanto morrer pelo seu país quanto amar dignamente. Ah, sobrinha, eu tomarei os cuidados de formá-la! Porei fim a esse triste desacordo, tão natural, afinal, que condu-la, e ao seu marido, ao mútuo ódio e desprezo; se não ao divórcio, à morte precoce, de tanta tristeza, ou quem sabe à loucura, principalmente da fêmea, a sofredora-mor.”

¹ Escolha difícil de tradução. Lansquenet se refere, de modo geral, a três significados diferentes: 1. soldado alemão, de onde veio a palavra; 2. soldado de infantaria francês; 3. tornou-se, ainda, um jogo de azar (de cartas). O termo adquiriu ar pejorativo na França, conotando “brutalidade”, “falta de espírito”. Poderíamos dizer que um lansquenet é um mero tratante. É conhecida a rivalidade histórica entre a França e a Alemanha. Um lansquenet da época de Napoleão, para quem vive na era pós-napoleônica, sintetiza tudo de repulsivo que havia na classe militar do tempo imperial; arrogantes como o mestre das guerras Napoleão Bonaparte, seu venerado chefe militar, esta(s) geração(ões) de soldados se transformou(aram) em homens absolutamente faltos de caráter e incapazes de constituir uma família feliz nos tempos de paz. Ou seja, a tia admoesta a sobrinha: antigamente, quando havia os valores aristocratas, as mulheres saberiam maltratar um mau marido, devolver o tratamento na mesma moeda. E os maus maridos eram escassos. Hoje, que os valores estão degenerados, falta às esposas o vigor, e quase todos os maridos militares são uns pulhas insensíveis.

“– Soyez ma mère! La tante ne pleura pas, car la Révolution a laissé aux femmes de

l’ancienne monarchie peu de larmes dans les yeux.” Seja minha mãe! A tia não chorou, porque a Revolução deixou às mulheres da antiga monarquia poucas, quase nada de lágrimas nos olhos.”

Ne serait-ce pas lui donner à penser qu’il est dangereux? Et d’ailleurs pouvez-vous empêcher un homme d’aller et venir où bon lui semble? Demain nous ne mangerons plus dans cette salle; quand il ne nous y verra plus, le jeune gentilhomme discontinuera de vous aimer par la fenêtre. Voilà, ma chère enfant, comment se comporte une femme qui a l’usage du monde.

Victor, qui avait quitté l’empereur, annonçait à sa femme la chute du régime impérial, la prise de Paris, et l’enthousiasme qui éclatait en faveur des Bourbons sur tous les points de la France; mais ne sachant comment pénétrer jusqu’à Tours, il la priait de venir en toute hâte à Orléans où il espérait se trouver avec des passeports pour elle. Ce valet de chambre, ancien militaire, devait accompagner Julie de Tours à Orléans, route que Victor croyait libre encore.

Madame, vous n’avez pas un instant à perdre, dit le valet de chambre, les Prussiens, les Autrichiens et les Anglais vont faire leur jonction à Blois ou à Orléans…”

Comme la plupart des jeunes femmes réellement innocentes et sans expérience, elle voyait une faute dans un amour involontairement inspiré à un homme. Elle ressentait une terreur instinctive, que lui donnait peut-être la conscience de sa faiblesse devant une si audacieuse agression. Une des plus fortes armes de l’homme est ce pouvoir terrible d’occuper de lui-même une femme dont l’imagination naturellement mobile s’effraie ou s’offense d’une poursuite.

Cependant, au milieu des fêtes qui marquèrent le retour des Bourbons, un malheur bien profond, et qui devait influer sur sa vie, assaillit la pauvre Julie : elle perdit la comtesse de Listomère-Landon. La vieille dame mourut de joie et d’une goutte remontée au coeur, en revoyant à Tours le duc d’Angoulême. Ainsi, la personne à laquelle son âge donnait le droit d’éclairer Victor, la seule qui, par d’adroits conseils, pouvait rendre l’accord de la femme et du mari plus parfait, cette personne était morte.”

Ne se rencontre-t-il pas beaucoup d’hommes dont la nullité profonde est un secret pour la plupart des gens qui les connaissent? Un haut rang, une illustre naissance, d’importantes fonctions, un certain vernis de politesse, une grande réserve dans la conduite, ou les prestiges de la fortune sont, pour eux, comme des gardes qui empêchent les critiques de pénétrer jusqu’à leur intime existence. Ces gens ressemblent aux rois dont la véritable taille, le caractère et les moeurs ne peuvent jamais être ni bien connus ni justement appréciés, parce qu’ils sont vus de trop loin ou de trop près. Ces personnages à mérite factice interrogent au lieu de parler, ont l’art de mettre les autres en scène pour éviter de poser devant eux; puis, avec une heureuse adresse, ils tirent chacun par le fil de ses passions ou de ses intérêts, et se jouent ainsi des hommes qui leur sont réellement supérieurs, en font des marionnettes et les croient petits pour les avoir rabaissés jusqu’à eux. Ils obtiennent alors le triomphe naturel d’une pensée mesquine, mais fixe, sur la mobilité des grandes pensées. Aussi pour juger ces têtes vides, et peser leurs valeurs négatives, l’observateur doit-il posséder un esprit plus subtil que supérieur, plus de patience que de portée dans la vue, plus de finesse et de tact que d’élévation et grandeur dans les idées. Néanmoins, quelque habileté que déploient ces usurpateurs en détendant leurs côtés faibles, il leur est bien difficile de tromper leurs femmes, leurs mères, leurs enfants ou l’ami de la maison; mais ces personnes leur gardent presque toujours le secret sur une chose qui touche, en quelque sorte, à l’honneur commun; et souvent même elles les aident à en imposer au monde. (…) Songez maintenant au rôle que doit jouer une femme d’esprit et de sentiment en présence d’un mari de ce genre, n’apercevez-vous pas des existences pleines de douleurs et de dévouement dont rien ici-bas ne saurait récompenser certains coeurs pleins d’amour et de délicatesse?”

Tant que Napoléon resta debout, le comte d’Aiglemont, colonel comme tant d’autres, bon officier d’ordonnance, excellant à remplir une mission dangereuse, mais incapable d’un commandement de quelque importance n’excita nulle envie, passa pour un des braves que favorisait l’empereur, et fut ce que les militaires nomment vulgairement un bon enfant. La Restauration, qui lui rendit le titre de marquis, ne le trouva pas ingrat: il suivit les Bourbons à Gand.” itálicos: mistério dos títulos esclarecidos; conde ‘ilegítimo’ cassado pela nobreza, devolveram-lhe um biscoito, bom consolo, à meia-altura.

son instinct si délicatement féminin lui disait qu’il est bien plus beau d’obéir à un homme de talent que de conduire un sot, et qu’une jeune épouse, obligée de penser et d’agir en homme, n’est ni femme ni homme, abdique toutes les grâces de son sexe en en perdant les malheurs, et n’acquiert aucun des privilèges que nos lois ont remis aux plus forts. Son existence cachait une bien amère dérision. N’était-elle pas obligée d’honorer une idole creuse, de protéger son protecteur, pauvre être qui, pour salaire d’un dévouement continu, lui jetait l’amour égoïste des maris, ne voyait en elle que la femme, ne daignait ou ne savait pas, injure toute aussi profonde, s’inquiéter de ses plaisirs, ni d’où venaient sa tristesse et son dépérissement?”

La marquise, chargée de tous les malheurs de cette triste existence, devait sourire encore à son maître imbécile, parer de fleurs une maison de deuil, et afficher le bonheur sur un visage pâli par de secrets supplices. Cette responsabilité d’honneur, cette abnégation magnifique donnèrent insensiblement à la jeune marquise une dignité de femme, une conscience de vertu qui lui servirent de sauvegarde contre les dangers du monde. (…) elle attendit avec résignation la fin de ses peines en espérant mourir jeune.” “souffrance élégante d’ailleurs, maladie presque voluptueuse en apparence, et qui pouvait passer aux yeux des gens superficiels pour une fantaisie de petite maîtresse. Les médecins avaient condamné la marquise à rester couchée sur un divan, où elle s’étiolait au milieu des fleurs qui l’entouraient, en se fanant comme elle. Sa faiblesse lui interdisait la marche et le grand air; elle ne sortait qu’en voiture fermée. Sans cesse environnée de toutes les merveilles de notre luxe et de notre industrie modernes, elle ressemblait moins à une malade qu’à une reine indolente. Quelques amis, amoureux peut-être de son malheur et de sa faiblesse, sûrs de toujours la trouver chez elle, et spéculant sans doute aussi sur sa bonne santé future, venaient lui apporter les nouvelles et l’instruire de ces mille petits événements qui rendent à Paris l’existence si variée. Sa mélancolie, quoique grave et profonde, était donc la mélancolie de l’opulence. La marquise d’Aiglemont ressemblait à une belle fleur dont la racine est rongée par un insecte noir.”

Son mari n’aimait pas la musique. Enfin, elle se trouvait presque toujours gênée dans les salons où sa beauté lui attirait des hommages intéressés. Sa situation y excitait une sorte de compassion cruelle, une curiosité triste. Elle était atteinte d’une inflammation assez ordinairement mortelle, que les femmes se confient à l’oreille, et à laquelle notre néologie n’a pas encore su trouver de nom. Malgré le silence au sein duquel sa vie s’écoulait, la cause de sa souffrance n’était un secret pour personne. Toujours jeune fille, en dépit du mariage, les moindres regards la rendaient honteuse. Aussi, pour éviter de rougir, n’apparaissait-elle jamais que riante, gaie; elle affectait une fausse joie, se disait toujours bien portante, ou prévenait les questions sur sa santé par de pudiques mensonges. Cependant, en 1817, un événement contribua beaucoup à modifier l’état déplorable dans lequel Julie avait été plongée jusqu’alors. Elle eut une fille, et voulut la nourrir. Pendant deux années, les vives distractions et les inquiets plaisirs que donnent les soins maternels lui firent une vie moins malheureuse. Elle se sépara nécessairement de son mari. Les médecins lui pronostiquèrent une meilleure santé ; mais la marquise ne crut point à ces présages hypothétiques. Comme toutes les personnes pour lesquelles la vie n’a plus de douceur, peut-être voyait-elle dans la mort un heureux dénouement.”

Quoiqu’elle fût certaine de conserver un grand empire sur Victor et d’avoir obtenu son estime pour toujours, elle craignait l’influence des passions sur un homme si nul et si vaniteusement irréfléchi.”

Les prévoyantes paroles de son père retentissaient derechef à son oreille”

Dans le tableau que sa mémoire lui traçait du passé, la candide figure d’Arthur s’y dessinait chaque jour plus pure et plus belle, mais rapidement; car elle n’osait s’arrêter à ce souvenir. Le silencieux et timide amour du jeune Anglais était le seul événement qui, depuis le mariage, eût laissé quelques doux vestiges dans ce coeur sombre et solitaire.”

dores latentes e lactantes

À qui se serait-elle plainte? de qui pouvait-elle être entendue? Puis, elle avait cette extrême délicatesse de la femme, cette ravissante pudeur de sentiment qui consiste à taire une plainte inutile, à ne pas prendre un avantage quand le triomphe doit humilier le vainqueur et le vaincu. Julie essayait de donner sa capacité, ses propres vertus à monsieur d’Aiglemont, et se vantait de goûter le bonheur qui lui manquait. Toute sa finesse de femme était employée en pure perte à des ménagements ignorés de celui-là même dont ils perpétuaient le despotisme. Par moments, elle était ivre de malheur, sans idée, sans frein ; mais, heureusement, une piété vraie la ramenait toujours à une espérance suprême: elle se réfugiait dans la vie future, admirable croyance qui lui faisait accepter de nouveau sa tâche douloureuse. Ces combats si terribles, ces déchirements intérieurs étaient sans gloire, ces longues mélancolies étaient inconnues; nulle créature ne recueillait ses regards ternes, ses larmes amères jetées au hasard et dans la solitude.”

Quand deux époux se connaissent parfaitement et ont pris une longue habitude d’eux-mêmes, lorsqu’une femme sait interpréter les moindres gestes d’un homme et peut pénétrer les sentiments ou les choses qu’il lui cache, alors des lumières soudaines éclatent souvent après des réflexions ou des remarques précédentes, dues au hasard, ou primitivement faites avec insouciance. Une femme se réveille souvent tout à coup sur le bord ou au fond d’un abîme. Ainsi la marquise, heureuse d’être seule depuis quelques jours, devina le secret de sa solitude. Inconstant ou lassé, généreux ou plein de pitié pour elle, son mari ne lui appartenait plus. En ce moment, elle ne pensa plus à elle, ni à ses souffrances, ni à ses sacrifices; elle ne fut plus que mère, et vit la fortune, l’avenir, le bonheur de sa fille; sa fille, le seul être d’où lui vînt quelque félicité; son Hélène, seul bien qui l’attachât à la vie.”

Jusqu’alors, sûre d’être aimée par Victor, autant qu’il pouvait aimer, elle s’était dévouée à un bonheur qu’elle ne partageait pas; mais, aujourd’hui, n’ayant plus la satisfaction de savoir que ses larmes faisaient la joie de son mari, seule dans le monde, il ne lui restait plus que le choix des malheurs. Au milieu du découragement qui, dans le calme et le silence de la nuit, détendit toutes ses forces; au moment où, quittant son

divan et son feu presque éteint, elle allait, à la lueur d’une lampe, contempler sa fille d’un oeil sec, monsieur d’Aiglemont rentra plein de gaieté. Julie lui fit admirer le sommeil d’Hélène; mais il accueillit l’enthousiasme de sa femme par une phrase banale.

À cet âge, dit-il, tous les enfants sont gentils.”

Elle n’eut plus aucun remords de lui imposer une vie difficile. D’un seul bond, elle s’élança dans les froids calculs de l’indifférence. Pour sauver sa fille, elle devina tout à coup les perfidies, les mensonges des créatures qui n’aiment pas, les tromperies de la coquetterie, et ces ruses atroces qui font haïr si profondément la femme chez qui les hommes supposent alors des corruptions innées. À l’insu de Julie, sa vanité féminine, son intérêt et un vague désir de vengeance s’accordèrent avec son amour maternel pour la faire entrer dans une voie où de nouvelles douleurs l’attendaient. Mais elle avait l’âme trop belle, l’esprit trop délicat, et surtout trop de franchise pour être longtemps complice de ces fraudes. Habituée à lire en elle-même, au premier pas dans le vice, car ceci était du vice, le cri de sa conscience devait étouffer celui des passions et de l’égoïsme. En effet, chez une jeune femme dont le coeur est encore pur, et où l’amour est resté vierge, le sentiment de la maternité même est soumis à la voix de la pudeur. La pudeur n’est-elle pas toute la femme? Mais Julie ne voulut apercevoir aucun danger, aucune faute dans sa nouvelle vie. Elle vint chez madame de Sérizy. Sa rivale comptait voir une femme pâle, languissante; la marquise avait mis du rouge, et se présenta dans tout l’éclat d’une parure qui rehaussait encore sa beauté.”

Lorsque Julie se leva pour aller au piano chanter la romance de Desdémone, les hommes accoururent de tous les salons pour entendre cette célèbre voix, muette depuis si longtemps, et il se fit un profond silence. La marquise éprouva de vives émotions en voyant les têtes pressées aux portes et tous les regards attachés sur elle. Elle chercha son mari, lui lança une oeillade pleine de coquetterie, et vit avec plaisir qu’en ce moment son amour-propre était extraordinairement flatté. Heureuse de ce triomphe, elle ravit l’assemblée dans la première partie d’al piu salice. Jamais ni la Malibran, ni la Pasta n’avaient fait entendre des chants si parfaits de sentiment et d’intonation; mais, au moment de la reprise, elle regarda dans les groupes, et aperçut Arthur dont le regard fixe ne la quittait pas. Elle tressaillit vivement, et sa voix s’altéra.” “Elle lut sur le visage presque féminin du jeune anglais les pensées profondes, les mélancolies douces, les résignations douloureuses dont elle-même était la victime. Elle se reconnut en lui.”

La malade et son médecin marchaient du même pas sans être étonnés d’un accord qui paraissait avoir existé dès le premier jour où ils marchèrent ensemble, ils obéissaient à une même volonté, s’arrêtaient, impressionnés par les mêmes sensations, leurs regards, leurs paroles correspondaient à des pensées mutuelles.”

Oh! Mon Dieu, combien j’aime ce pays, répéta Julie avec un enthousiasme croissant et naïf. Vous l’avez habité longtemps ? reprit-elle après une pause.

À ces mots, lord Grenville tressaillit.

C’est là, répondit-il avec mélancolie en montrant un bouquet de noyers sur la route, là que prisonnier je vous vis pour la première fois…

Les femmes ont un inimitable talent pour exprimer leurs sentiments sans employer de trop vives paroles; leur éloquence est surtout dans l’accent, dans le geste, l’attitude et les regards. Lord Grenville se cacha la tête dans ses mains, car des larmes roulaient dans ses yeux. Ce remerciement était le premier que Julie lui fît depuis leur départ de Paris. Pendant une année entière, il avait soigné la marquise avec le dévouement le plus entier. Secondé par d’Aiglemont, il l’avait conduite aux eaux d’Aix, puis sur les bords de la mer à La Rochelle. Épiant à tout moment les changements que ses savantes et simples prescriptions produisaient sur la constitution délabrée de Julie, il l’avait cultivée comme une fleur rare peut l’être par un horticulteur passionné. La marquise avait paru recevoir les soins intelligents d’Arthur avec tout l’égoïsme d’une Parisienne habituée aux hommages, ou avec l’insouciance d’une courtisane qui ne sait ni le coût des choses ni la valeur des hommes, et les prise au degré d’utilité dont ils lui sont. L’influence exercée sur l’âme par les lieux est une chose digne de remarque. Si la mélancolie nous gagne infailliblement lorsque nous sommes au bord des eaux, une autre loi de notre nature impressible fait que, sur les montagnes, nos sentiments s’épurent: la passion y gagne en profondeur ce qu’elle paraît perdre en vivacité. L’aspect du vaste bassin de la Loire, l’élévation de la jolie colline où les deux amants s’étaient assis, causaient peut-être le calme délicieux dans lequel ils savourèrent d’abord le bonheur qu’on goûte à deviner l’étendue d’une passion cachée sous des paroles insignifiantes en apparence. Au moment où Julie achevait la phrase qui avait si vivement ému lord Grenville, une brise caressante agita la cime des arbres, répandit la fraîcheur des eaux dans l’air, quelques nuages couvrirent le soleil, et des ombres molles laissèrent voir toutes les beautés de cette jolie nature. Julie détourna la tête pour dérober au jeune lord la vue des larmes qu’elle réussit à retenir et à sécher, car l’attendrissement d’Arthur l’avait promptement gagnée. Elle n’osa lever les yeux sur lui dans la crainte qu’il ne lût trop de joie dans ce regard. Son instinct de femme lui faisait sentir qu’à cette heure dangereuse elle devait ensevelir son amour au fond de son coeur. Cependant le silence pouvait être également redoutable. En s’apercevant que lord Grenville était hors d’état de prononcer une parole, Julie reprit d’une voix douce : – Vous êtes touché de ce que je vous ai dit, milord. Peut-être cette vive expansion est-elle la manière que prend une âme gracieuse et bonne comme l’est la vôtre pour revenir sur un faux jugement. Vous m’aurez crue ingrate en me trouvant froide et réservée, ou moqueuse et insensible pendant ce voyage qui heureusement va bientôt se terminer. Je n’aurais pas été digne de recevoir vos soins, si je n’avais su les apprécier. Milord, je n’ai rien oublié. Hélas! je n’oublierai rien, ni la sollicitude qui vous faisait veiller sur moi comme une mère veille sur son enfant, ni surtout la noble confiance de nos entretiens fraternels, la délicatesse de vos procédés; séductions contre lesquelles nous sommes toutes sans armes. Milord, il est hors de mon pouvoir de vous récompenser…

À ce mot, Julie s’éloigna vivement, et lord Grenville ne fit aucun mouvement pour l’arrêter, la marquise alla sur une roche à une faible distance, et y resta immobile; leurs émotions furent un secret pour eux-mêmes; sans doute ils pleurèrent en silence ; les chants des oiseaux, si gais, si prodigues d’expressions tendres au coucher du soleil, durent augmenter la violente commotion qui les avait forcés de se séparer: la nature se chargeait de leur exprimer un amour dont ils n’osaient parler.”

L’oiseau n’oisais pas parler

J’ai plusieurs fois calculé trop habilement les moyens de tuer cet homme pour pouvoir y toujours résister, si je restais près de vous.”

Les lois du monde, reprit-elle, exigent que je lui rende l’existence heureuse, j’y obéirai; je serai sa servante; mon dévouement pour lui sera sans bornes, mais d’aujourd’hui je suis veuve. Je ne veux être une prostituée ni à mes yeux ni à ceux du monde; si je ne suis point à monsieur d’Aiglemont, je ne serai jamais à un autre. Vous n’aurez de moi que ce que vous m’avez arraché. Voilà l’arrêt que j’ai porté sur moi-même, dit-elle en regardant Arthur avec fierté. Il est irrévocable, milord. Maintenant, apprenez que si vous cédiez à une pensée criminelle, la veuve de monsieur d’Aiglemont entrerait dans un cloître, soit en Italie, soit en Espagne. Le malheur a voulu que nous ayons parlé de notre amour. Ces aveux étaient inévitables peut-être; mais que ce soit pour la dernière fois que nos coeurs aient si fortement vibré. Demain, vous feindrez de recevoir une lettre qui vous appelle en Angleterre, et nous nous quitterons pour ne plus nous revoir.”

“– Voici, certes, le plus beau site que nous ayons vu, dit-elle. Je ne l’oublierai jamais. Voyez donc, Victor, quels lointains, quelle étendue et quelle variété. Ce pays me fait concevoir l’amour.

Riant d’un rire presque convulsif, mais riant de manière à tromper son mari, elle sauta gaiement dans les chemins creux, et disparut.”

La noble et délicate conduite que lord Grenville tenait pendant ce voyage avait détruit les soupçons du marquis, et depuis quelque temps il laissait sa femme libre, en se confiant à la foi punique du lord-docteur.”

Telle femme incapable de se rappeler les événements les plus graves, se souviendra pendant toute sa vie des choses qui importent à ses sentiments. Aussi, Julie eut-elle une parfaite souvenance de détails même frivoles. Elle reconnut avec bonheur les plus légers accidents de son premier voyage, et jusqu’à des pensées qui lui étaient venues à certains endroits de la route. Victor, redevenu passionnément amoureux de sa femme depuis qu’elle avait recouvré la fraîcheur de la jeunesse et toute sa beauté, se serra près d’elle à la façon des amants. Lorsqu’il essaya de la prendre dans ses bras, elle se dégagea doucement, et trouva je ne sais quel prétexte pour éviter cette innocente caresse. Puis, bientôt, elle eut horreur du contact de Victor de qui elle sentait et partageait la chaleur, par la manière dont ils étaient assis. Elle voulut se mettre seule sur le devant de la voiture; mais son mari lui fit la grâce de la laisser au fond. Elle le remercia de cette attention par un soupir auquel il se méprit, et cet ancien séducteur de garnison, interprétant à son avantage la mélancolie de sa femme, la mit à la fin du jour dans l’obligation de lui parler avec une fermeté qui lui imposa.”

Mais qui donc oserait blâmer les femmes? Quand elles ont imposé silence au sentiment exclusif qui ne leur permet pas d’appartenir à deux hommes, ne sont-elles pas comme des prêtres sans croyance?”

* * *

Deux ans se passèrent, pendant lesquels monsieur et madame d’Aiglemont menèrent la vie des gens du monde, allant chacun de leur côté, se rencontrant dans les salons plus souvent que chez eux; élégant divorce par lequel se terminent beaucoup de mariages dans le grand monde.”

Madame de Wimphen était cette Louisa à laquelle jadis madame d’Aiglemont voulait conseiller le célibat. Les deux femmes se jetèrent un regard d’intelligence qui prouvait que Julie avait trouvé dans son amie une confidente de ses peines, confidente précieuse et charitable, car madame de Wimphen était très heureuse en mariage ; et, dans la situation opposée où elles étaient, peut-être le bonheur de l’une faisait-il une garantie de son dévouement au malheur de l’autre. En pareil cas, la dissemblance des

destinées est presque toujours un puissant lien d’amitié.”

Je suis une femme très vertueuse selon les lois: je lui rends sa maison agréable, je ferme les yeux sur ses intrigues, je ne prends rien sur sa fortune, il peut en gaspiller les revenus à son gré, j’ai soin seulement d’en conserver le capital. À ce prix, j’ai la paix. Il ne s’explique pas, ou ne veut pas s’expliquer mon existence.”

Croirais-tu, ma chère, que je lis les journaux anglais, dans le seul espoir de voir son nom imprimé.”

Ceci est un secret, répondit la marquise en laissant échapper un geste de naïveté presque enfantine. Écoute. Je prends de l’opium. L’histoire de la duchesse de…, à Londres, m’en a donné l’idée. Tu sais, Mathurin en a fait un roman. Mes gouttes de laudanum sont très faibles. Je dors. Je n’ai guère que sept heures de veille, et je les donne à ma fille…

Un mari, nous pouvons l’abandonner même quand il nous aime. Un homme est un être fort, il a des consolations. Nous pouvons mépriser les lois du monde. Mais un enfant sans mère!

Vous épousez une jolie femme, elle enlaidit; vous épousez une jeune fille pleine de santé, elle devient malingre; vous la croyez passionnée, elle est froide; ou bien, froide en apparence, elle est réellement si passionnée qu’elle vous tue ou vous déshonore. Tantôt la créature la plus douce est quinteuse, et jamais les quinteuses ne deviennent douces; tantôt, l’enfant que vous avez eue niaise et faible, déploie contre vous une volonté de fer, un esprit de démon. Je suis las du mariage.”

À propos, veux-tu venir à Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin avec moi voir l’enterrement de lord Grenville?”

Il lui était si difficile de supporter le moindre bruit que toute voix humaine, même celle de son enfant, l’affectait désagréablement. Les gens du pays s’occupèrent beaucoup de ces singularités; puis, quand toutes les suppositions possibles furent faites, ni les petites villes environnantes, ni les paysans ne songèrent plus à cette femme malade.

La marquise, laissée à elle-même, put donc rester parfaitement silencieuse au milieu du silence qu’elle avait établi autour d’elle, et n’eut aucune occasion de quitter la chambre tendue de tapisseries où mourut sa grand-mère, et où elle était venue pour y mourir doucement, sans témoins, sans importunités, sans subir les fausses démonstrations des égoïsmes fardés d’affection qui, dans les villes, donnent aux mourants une double agonie. Cette femme avait 26 ans. À cet âge, une âme encore pleine de poétiques illusions aime à savourer la mort, quand elle lui semble bienfaisante. Mais la mort a de la coquetterie pour les jeunes gens; pour eux, elle s’avance et se retire, se montre et se cache; sa lenteur les désenchante d’elle, et l’incertitude que leur cause son lendemain finit par les rejeter dans le monde où ils rencontreront la douleur, qui, plus impitoyable que ne l’est la mort, les frappera sans se laisser attendre. Or, cette femme qui se refusait à vivre allait éprouver l’amertume de ces retardements au fond de sa solitude, et y faire, dans une agonie morale que la mort ne terminerait pas, un terrible apprentissage d’égoïsme qui devait lui déflorer le coeur et le façonner au monde.

La marquise souffrait véritablement pour la première et pour la seule fois de sa vie peut-être. En effet, ne serait-ce pas une erreur de croire que les sentiments se reproduisent? Une fois éclos, n’existent-ils pas toujours au fond du coeur? Ils s’y apaisent et s’y réveillent au gré des accidents de la vie ; mais ils y restent, et leur séjour modifie nécessairement l’âme. Ainsi, tout sentiment n’aurait qu’un grand jour, le jour plus ou moins long de sa première tempête. Ainsi, la douleur, le plus constant de nos sentiments, ne serait vive qu’à sa première irruption; et ses autres atteintes iraient en s’affaiblissant, soit par notre accoutumance à ses crises, soit par une loi de notre nature qui, pour se maintenir vivante, oppose à cette force destructive une force égale mais inerte, prise dans les calculs de l’égoïsme. La perte des parents est un chagrin auquel la nature a préparé les hommes; le mal physique est passager, n’embrasse pas l’âme; et s’il persiste, ce n’est plus un mal, c’est la mort. Qu’une jeune femme perde un nouveau-né, l’amour conjugal lui a bientôt donné un successeur. Cette affliction est passagère aussi. Enfin, ces peines et beaucoup d’autres semblables sont, en quelque sorte, des coups, des blessures; mais aucune n’affecte la vitalité dans son essence, et il faut qu’elles se succèdent étrangement pour tuer le sentiment qui nous porte à chercher le bonheur. La grande, la vraie douleur serait donc un mal assez meurtrier pour étreindre à la fois le passé, le présent et l’avenir, ne laisser aucune partie de la vie dans son intégrité, dénaturer à jamais la pensée, s’inscrire inaltérablement sur les lèvres et sur le front, briser ou détendre les ressorts du plaisir, en mettant dans l’âme un principe de dégoût pour toute chose de ce monde. Encore, pour être immense, pour ainsi peser sur l’âme et sur le corps, ce mal devrait arriver en un moment de la vie où toutes les forces de l’âme et du corps sont jeunes, et foudroyer un coeur bien vivant.”

O TRISTE CREPÚSCULO DA DOR DE VIVER

Os novos sofrimentos são apenas lembranças dos dias concretamente pungentes. Vivo apenas na nostalgia de euforias e lutos já para mim perdidos, em perpétuo déjà vu à l’écran. Ainda que seja uma tela que dá para a alma, não passa de uma tela, de um sofrimento mediado no tempo e no espaço, indireto. Reflexo do reflexo do reflexo da coisa em si, paredes de espelhos infinitos sem quinas nem esquinas nem inclinações, perfeitamente paralelos e reluzentes. Mas é um corredor particular, cerrado ao público.

et nul être ne peut sortir de cette maladie sans quelque poétique changement : ou il prend la route du ciel, ou, s’il demeure ici-bas, il rentre dans le monde pour mentir au monde, pour y jouer un rôle; il connaît dès lors la coulisse où l’on se retire pour calculer, pleurer, plaisanter. Après cette crise solennelle, il n’existe plus de mystères dans la vie sociale qui dès lors est irrévocablement jugée. Chez les jeunes femmes qui ont l’âge de la marquise, cette première, cette plus poignante de toutes les douleurs, est toujours causée par le même fait. La femme et surtout la jeune femme, aussi grande par l’âme qu’elle l’est par la beauté, ne manque jamais à mettre sa vie là où la nature, le sentiment et la société la poussent à la jeter tout entière. Si cette vie vient à lui faillir et si elle reste sur terre, elle y expérimente les plus cruelles souffrances, par la raison qui rend le premier amour le plus beau de tous les sentiments. Pourquoi ce malheur n’a-t-il jamais eu ni peintre ni poète? Mais peut-il se peindre, peut-il se chanter? Non, la nature des douleurs qu’il engendre se refuse à l’analyse et aux couleurs de l’art. D’ailleurs, ces souffrances ne sont jamais confiées: pour en consoler une femme, il faut savoir les deviner; car, toujours amèrement embrassées et religieusement ressenties, elles demeurent dans l’âme comme une avalanche qui, en tombant dans une vallée, y dégrade tout avant de s’y faire une place.”

Un homme aimé, jeune et généreux, de qui elle n’avait jamais exaucé les désirs afin d’obéir aux lois du monde, était mort pour lui sauver ce que la société nomme l’honneur d’une femme.”

Non, cette pauvre affligée ne pouvait pleurer à son aise que dans un désert, y dévorer sa souffrance ou être dévorée par elle, mourir ou tuer quelque chose en elle, sa conscience peut-être.”

Il y avait en elle une femme qui raisonnait et une femme qui sentait, une femme qui souffrait et une femme qui ne voulait plus souffrir. Elle se reportait aux joies de son enfance, écoulée sans qu’elle en eût senti le bonheur, et dont les limpides images revenaient en foule comme pour lui accuser les déceptions d’un mariage convenable aux yeux du monde, horrible en réalité. À quoi lui avaient servi les belles pudeurs de sa jeunesse, ses plaisirs réprimés et les sacrifices faits au monde?”

Sa beauté même lui était insupportable, comme une chose inutile. Elle entrevoyait avec horreur que désormais elle ne pouvait plus être une créature complète.”

Neuf neuves

Après l’enfance de la créature vient l’enfance du coeur. Or, son amant avait emporté dans la tombe cette seconde enfance. Jeune encore par ses désirs, elle n’avait plus cette entière jeunesse d’âme qui donne à tout dans la vie sa valeur et sa saveur.”

Puis, en soulevant toutes les questions, en remuant tous les ressorts des différentes existences que nous donnent les natures sociale, morale et physique, elle relâchait si bien les forces de l’âme, qu’au milieu des réflexions les plus contradictoires elle ne pouvait rien saisir. Aussi parfois, quand le brouillard tombait, ouvrait-elle sa fenêtre, en y restant sans pensée, occupée à respirer machinalement l’odeur humide et terreuse épandue dans les airs, debout, immobile, idiote en apparence, car les bourdonnements [murmúrios] de sa douleur la rendaient également sourde aux harmonies de la nature et aux charmes de la pensée.”

La marquise avait perdu sa mère en bas âge, et son éducation fut naturellement influencée par le relâchement qui, pendant la révolution, dénoua les liens religieux en France. La piété est une vertu de femme que les femmes seules se transmettent bien, et la marquise était un enfant du dix-huitième siècle dont les croyances philosophiques furent celles de son père. Elle ne suivait aucune pratique religieuse. Pour elle, un prêtre était un fonctionnaire public dont l’utilité lui paraissait contestable. Dans la situation où elle trouvait, la voix de la religion ne pouvait qu’envenimer ses maux; puis, elle ne croyait guère aux curés de village, ni à leurs lumières, elle résolut donc de mettre le sien à sa place, sans aigreur, et de s’en débarrasser à la manière des riches, par un bienfait. Le curé vint, et son aspect ne changea pas les idées de la marquise. Elle vit un gros petit homme à ventre saillant, à figure rougeaude, mais vieille et ridée, qui affectait de sourire et qui souriait mal; son crâne chauve et transversalement sillonné de rides nombreuses retombait en quart de cercle sur son visage et le rapetissait; quelques cheveux blancs garnissaient le bas de la tête au-dessus de la nuque et revenaient en avant vers les oreilles. Néanmoins, la physionomie de ce prêtre avait été celle d’un homme naturellement gai. Ses grosses lèvres, son nez légèrement retroussé, son menton, qui disparaissait dans un double pli de rides, témoignaient d’un heureux caractère. La marquise n’aperçut d’abord que ces traits principaux; mais, à la première parole que lui dit le prêtre, elle fut frappée par la douceur de cette voix; elle le regarda plus attentivement, et remarqua sous ses sourcils grisonnants des yeux qui avaient pleuré; puis le contour de sa joue, vue de profil, donnait à sa tête une si auguste expression de douleur, que la marquise trouva un homme dans ce curé.”

Nous périssons moins par les effets d’un regret certain que par ceux des espérances trompées. J’ai connu de plus intolérables, de plus terribles douleurs qui n’ont pas donné la mort.”

Puis elle éprouva cette espèce de satisfaction qui réjouit le prisonnier quand, après avoir reconnu la profondeur de sa solitude et la pesanteur de ses chaînes, il rencontre un voisin qui frappe à la muraille en lui faisant rendre un son par lequel s’expriment des pensées communes.”

Le mariage, institution sur laquelle s’appuie aujourd’hui la société, nous en fait sentir à nous seules tout le poids: pour l’homme la liberté, pour la femme des devoirs. Nous vous devons toute notre vie, vous ne nous devez de la vôtre que de rares instants. Enfin l’homme fait un choix là où nous nous soumettons aveuglément. Oh! monsieur, à vous je puis tout dire. Hé bien, le mariage, tel qu’il se pratique aujourd’hui, me semble être une prostitution légale. De là sont nées mes souffrances. Mais moi seule parmi les malheureuses créatures si fatalement accouplées je dois garder le silence! moi seule suis l’auteur du mal, j’ai voulu mon mariage.”

Monsieur, rien de rien ou rien pour rien est une des plus justes lois de la nature et morale et physique.” “Il existe deux maternités, monsieur. J’ignorais jadis de telles distinctions; aujourd’hui je les sais. Je ne suis mère qu’à moitié, mieux vaudrait ne pas l’être du tout. Hélène n’est pas de lui! Oh! ne frémissez pas! Saint-Lange est un abîme où se sont engloutis bien des sentiments faux, d’où se sont lancées de sinistres lueurs, où se sont écroulés les frêles édifices des lois antinaturelles. J’ai un enfant, cela suffit; je suis mère, ainsi le veut la loi. (…) S’il ne tient pas à toutes les fibres du corps comme à toutes les tendresses du coeur; s’il ne rappelle pas de délicieuses amours, les temps, les lieux où ces deux êtres furent heureux, et leur langage plein de musiques humaines, et leurs suaves idées, cet enfant est une création manquée. Oui, pour eux, il doit être une ravissante miniature où se retrouvent les poèmes de leur double vie secrète; il doit leur offrir une source d’émotions fécondes, être à la fois tout leur passé, tout leur avenir. Ma pauvre petite Hélène est l’enfant de son père, l’enfant du devoir et du hasard”

l’amour m’a fait rêver une maternité plus grande, plus complète. J’ai caressé dans un songe évanoui l’enfant que les désirs ont conçu avant qu’il ne fût engendré, enfin cette délicieuse fleur née dans l’âme avant de naître au jour.”

Pour moi le jour est plein de ténèbres, la pensée est un glaive, mon coeur est une plaie, mon enfant est une négation. Oui, quand Hélène me parle, je lui voudrais une autre voix; quand elle me regarde, je lui voudrais d’autres yeux. Elle est là pour m’attester tout ce qui devrait être et tout ce qui n’est pas. Elle m’est insupportable! Je lui souris, je tâche de la dédommager des sentiments que je lui vole. Je souffre! oh! monsieur, je souffre trop pour pouvoir vivre. Et je passerai pour être une femme vertueuse! Et je n’ai pas commis de fautes! Et l’on m’honorera! J’ai combattu l’amour involontaire auquel je ne devais pas céder; mais, si j’ai gardé ma foi physique, ai-je conservé mon coeur? Ceci, dit-elle en appuyant la main droite sur son sein, n’a jamais été qu’à une seule créature. (…) Parfois je tremble de trouver en elle un tribunal où je serai condamnée sans être entendue. Fasse le ciel que la haine ne se mette pas un jour entre nous! Grand Dieu! ouvrez-moi plutôt la tombe, laissez-moi finir à Saint-Lange! Je veux aller dans le monde où je retrouverai mon autre âme, où je serai tout à fait mère! oh ! pardon, monsieur, je suis folle. Ces paroles m’étouffaient, je les ai dites. Ah! vous pleurez aussi! vous ne me mépriserez pas. – Hélène ! Hélène ! ma fille, viens! s’écria-t-elle avec une sorte de désespoir en entendant son enfant qui revenait de sa promenade.”

Le sourire est l’apanage, la langue, l’expression de la maternité. La marquise ne pouvait pas sourire. Elle rougit en regardant le prêtre: elle avait espéré se montrer mère, mais ni elle ni son enfant n’avaient su mentir. En effet, les baisers d’une femme sincère ont un miel divin qui semble mettre dans cette caresse une âme, un feu subtil par lequel le coeur est pénétré. Les baisers dénués de cette onction savoureuse sont âpres et secs. Le prêtre avait senti cette différence: il put sonder l’abîme qui se trouve entre la maternité de la chair et la maternité du coeur.”

Mon corps a été lâche quand mon âme était forte, et quand ma main ne tremblait plus, mon âme vacillait! J’ignore le secret de ces combats et de ces alternatives. Je suis sans doute bien tristement femme, sans persistance dans mes vouloirs, forte seulement pour aimer. Je me méprise! Le soir, quand mes gens dormaient, j’allais à la pièce d’eau courageusement; arrivée au bord, ma frêle nature avait horreur de la destruction. Je vous confesse mes faiblesses. Lorsque je me retrouvais au lit, j’avais honte de moi, je redevenais courageuse. Dans un de ces moments j’ai pris du laudanum; mais j’ai souffert et ne suis pas morte. J’avais cru boire tout ce que contenait le flacon et je m’étais arrêtée à moitié.”

Quel sera le sort d’Hélène? le mien sans doute. Quels moyens ont les mères d’assurer à leurs filles que l’homme auquel elles les livrent sera un époux selon leur coeur? Vous honnissez de pauvres créatures qui se vendent pour quelques écus à un homme qui passe, la faim et le besoin absolvent ces unions éphémères; tandis que la société tolère, encourage l’union immédiate bien autrement horrible d’une jeune fille candide et d’un homme qu’elle n’a pas vu trois mois durant; elle est vendue pour toute sa vie. Il est vrai que le prix est élevé! Si en ne lui permettant aucune compensation à ses douleurs vous l’honoriez; mais non, le monde calomnie les plus vertueuses d’entre nous! Telle est notre destinée, vue sous ses deux faces: une prostitution publique et la honte, une prostitution secrète et le malheur. Quant aux pauvres filles sans dot, elles deviennent folles, elles meurent; pour elles aucune pitié ! La beauté, les vertus ne sont pas des valeurs dans votre bazar humain et vous nommez Société ce repaire d’égoïsme. Mais exhérédez les femmes! au moins accomplirezvous ainsi une loi de nature en choisissant vos compagnes en les épousant au gré des voeux du coeur.”

Le philosophisme et l’intérêt personnel ont attaqué votre coeur; vous êtes sourde à la voix de la religion comme le sont les enfants de ce siècle sans croyance! Les plaisirs du monde n’engendrent que des souffrances. Vous allez changer de douleurs voilà tout.

Je ferai mentir votre prophétie, dit-elle en souriant avec amertume, je serai fidèle à celui qui mourut pour moi.

La douleur, répondit-il, n’est viable que dans les âmes préparées par la religion.”

* * *

Quatre ans après…

les jouissances de Paris, à cette vie rapide, à ce tourbillon de pensées et de plaisirs que l’on calomnie assez souvent, mais auquel il est si doux de s’abandonner. Habitué depuis trois ans à saluer les capitales européennes, et à les déserter au gré des caprices de sa destinée diplomatique, Charles de Vandenesse avait cependant peu de chose à regretter en quittant Paris. Les femmes ne produisaient plus aucune impression sur lui, soit qu’il regardât une passion vraie comme tenant trop de place dans la vie d’un homme politique, soit que les mesquines occupations d’une galanterie superficielle lui parussent trop vides pour une âme forte. Nous avons tous de grandes prétentions à la force d’âme. En France, nul homme, fût-il médiocre, ne consent à passer pour simplement spirituel. Ainsi, Charles, quoique jeune (à peine avait-il trente ans), s’était déjà philosophiquement accoutumé à voir des idées, des résultats, des moyens, là où les hommes de son âge aperçoivent des sentiments, des plaisirs et des illusions. Il refoulait la chaleur et l’exaltation naturelle aux jeunes gens dans les profondeurs de son âme que la nature avait créée généreuse. Il travaillait à se faire froid, calculateur; à mettre en manières, en formes aimables, en artifices de séduction, les richesses morales qu’il tenait du hasard; véritable tâche d’ambitieux; rôle triste, entrepris dans le but d’atteindre à ce que nous nommons aujourd’hui une belle position. Il jetait un dernier coup d’oeil sur les salons où l’on dansait. Avant de quitter le bal, il voulait sans doute en emporter l’image, comme un spectateur ne sort pas de sa loge à l’opéra sans regarder le tableau final. Mais aussi, par une fantaisie facile à comprendre, monsieur de Vandenesse étudiait l’action tout française, l’éclat et les riantes figures de cette fête parisienne, en les rapprochant par la pensée des physionomies nouvelles, des scènes pittoresques qui l’attendaient à Naples, où il se proposait de passer quelques jours avant de se rendre à son poste. Il semblait comparer la France si changeante et sitôt étudiée à un pays dont les moeurs et les sites ne lui étaient connus que par des ouï-dires contradictoires, ou par des livres, mal faits pour la plupart. Quelques réflexions assez poétiques, mais devenues aujourd’hui très vulgaires, lui passèrent alors par la tête, et répondirent, à son insu peut-être, aux voeux secrets de son coeur, plus exigeant que blasé, plus inoccupé que flétri.

Voici, se disait-il, les femmes les plus élégantes, les plus riches, les plus titrées de Paris. Ici sont les célébrités du jour, renommées de tribune, renommées aristocratiques et littéraires: là, des artistes; là, des hommes de pouvoir. Et cependant je ne vois que de petites intrigues, des amours mort-nés, des sourires qui ne disent rien, des dédains sans cause, des regards sans flamme, beaucoup d’esprit, mais prodigué sans but. Tous ces visages blancs et roses cherchent moins le plaisir que des distractions. Nulle émotion n’est vraie. Si vous voulez seulement des plumes bien posées, des gazes fraîches, de jolies toilettes, des femmes frêles; si pour vous la vie n’est qu’une surface à effleurer, voici votre monde. Contentez-vous de ces phrases insignifiantes, de ces ravissantes grimaces, et ne demandez pas un sentiment dans les coeurs. Pour moi, j’ai horreur de ces plates intrigues qui finiront par des mariages, des sous-préfectures, des recettes générales, ou, s’il s’agit d’amour, par des arrangements secrets, tant l’on a honte d’un semblant de passion. Je ne vois pas un seul de ces visages éloquents qui vous annonce une âme abandonnée à une idée comme à un remords. Ici, le regret ou le malheur se cachent honteusement sous des plaisanteries. Je n’aperçois aucune de ces femmes avec lesquelles j’aimerais à lutter, et qui vous entraînent dans un abîme. Où trouver de l’énergie à Paris? Un poignard est une curiosité que l’on y suspend à un clou doré, que l’on pare d’une jolie gaine. Femmes, idées, sentiments, tout se ressemble. Il n’y existe plus de passions, parce que les individualités ont disparu. Les rangs, les esprits, les fortunes ont été nivelés, et nous avons tous pris l’habit noir comme pour nous mettre en deuil de la France morte. Nous n’aimons pas nos égaux. Entre deux amants, il faut des différences à effacer, des distances à combler. Ce charme de l’amour s’est évanoui en 1789! Notre ennui, nos moeurs fades sont le résultat du système politique. Au moins, en Italie, tout y est tranché. Les femmes y sont encore des animaux malfaisants, des sirènes dangereuses, sans raison, sans logique autre que celle de leurs goûts, de leurs appétits, et desquelles il faut se défier comme on se défie des tigres…”

Le mérite d’une rêverie est tout entier dans son vague, n’est-elle pas une sorte de vapeur intellectuelle?”

Une femme de qui vous vous êtes, certes, entretenu plus d’une fois pour la louer ou pour en médire, une femme qui vit dans la solitude, un vrai mystère.

Si vous avez jamais été clémente dans votre vie, de grâce, dites-moi son nom?

La marquise d’Aiglemont.

Je vais aller prendre des leçons près d’elle: elle a su faire d’un mari bien médiocre un pair de France, d’un homme nul une capacité politique. Mais, dites-moi, croyez-vous que lord Grenville soit mort pour elle, comme quelques femmes l’ont prétendu?

Peut-être.

C’est quelque chose, à Paris, qu’une constance de quatre ans.”

Quatro anos sem trair o marido em plena Paris é um feito e tanto.”

Charles resta pendant un moment immobile, le dos légèrement appuyé sur le chambranle de la porte, et tout occupé à examiner une femme devenue célèbre sans que personne pût rendre compte des motifs sur lesquels se fondait sa renommée. Le monde offre beaucoup de ces anomalies curieuses. La réputation de madame d’Aiglemont n’était pas, certes, plus extraordinaire que celle de certains hommes toujours en travail d’une oeuvre inconnue: statisticiens tenus pour profonds sur la foi de calculs qu’ils se gardent bien de publier; politiques qui vivent sur un article de journal; auteurs ou artistes dont l’oeuvre reste toujours en portefeuille; gens savants avec ceux qui ne connaissent rien à la science, comme Sganarelle est latiniste avec ceux qui ne savent pas le latin; hommes auxquels on accorde une capacité convenue sur un point, soit la direction des arts, soit une mission importante. Cet admirable mot: c’est une spécialité, semble avoir été créé pour ces espèces d’acéphales politiques ou littéraires. Charles demeura plus longtemps en contemplation qu’il ne le voulait, et fut mécontent d’être si fortement préoccupé par une femme; mais aussi la présence de cette femme réfutait les pensées qu’un instant auparavant le jeune diplomate avait conçues à l’aspect du bal.”

MULHER CENTRÍPETA

centopéia

fugaz

tout homme supérieur se sentait-il curieusement attiré vers cette femme douce et silencieuse. Si l’esprit cherchait à deviner les mystères de la perpétuelle réaction qui se faisait en elle du présent vers le passé, du monde à sa solitude, l’âme n’était pas moins intéressée à s’initier aux secrets d’un coeur en quelque sorte orgueilleux de ses souffrances. En elle, rien d’ailleurs ne démentait les idées qu’elle inspirait tout d’abord. Comme presque toutes les femmes qui ont de très longs cheveux, elle était pâle et parfaitement blanche.”

ces sortes de cous sont les plus gracieux, et donnent aux têtes de femmes de vagues affinités avec les magnétiques ondulations du serpent. S’il n’existait pas un seul des mille indices par lesquels les caractères les plus dissimulés se révèlent à l’observateur, il lui suffirait d’examiner attentivement les gestes de la tête et les torsions du cou, si variées, si expressives, pour juger une femme. Chez madame d’Aiglemont, la mise était en harmonie avec la pensée qui dominait sa personne.”

À un certain âge seulement, certaines femmes choisies savent seules donner un langage à leur attitude. Est-ce le chagrin, est-ce le bonheur qui prête à la femme de trente ans, à la femme heureuse ou malheureuse, le secret de cette contenance éloquente? Ce sera toujours une vivante énigme que chacun interprète au gré de ses désirs, de ses espérances ou de son système.”

l’insouciance de sa pose, ses mouvements pleins de lassitude, tout révélait une femme sans intérêt dans la vie, qui n’a point connu les plaisirs de l’amour (…) une femme inoccupée qui prend le vide pour le néant.”

vocação: vazio:

voto: de silêncio

em branco

paz

silêncio

branco chiado

O que eu não obtive não existe!

Ass: Napoleão,

que nega a Europa.

NA VELOCIDADE DA MEDULA ESPINHAL (OU DE UM METEORO SENTIMENTAL): “Une conversation s’établit alors entre la marquise et le jeune homme, qui, suivant l’usage, abordèrent en un moment une multitude de sujets: la peinture, la musique, la littérature, la politique, les hommes, les événements et les choses. Puis ils arrivèrent par une pente insensible au sujet éternel des causeries françaises et étrangères, à l’amour, aux sentiments et aux femmes.

Nous sommes esclaves.

Vous êtes reines.

Les phrases plus ou moins spirituelles dites par Charles et la marquise pouvaient se réduire à cette simple expression de tous les discours présents et à venir tenus sur cette matière. Ces deux phrases ne voudront-elles pas toujours dire dans un temps donné : – Aimez-moi. – Je vous aimerai.”

Il existe des pensées auxquelles nous obéissons sans les connaître: elles sont en nous à notre insu. Quoique cette réflexion puisse paraître plus paradoxale que vraie, chaque

personne de bonne foi en trouvera mille preuves dans sa vie. En se rendant chez la marquise, Charles obéissait à l’un de ces textes préexistants dont notre expérience et les conquêtes de notre esprit ne sont, plus tard, que les développements sensibles.”

L’une [la jeune femme] cède, l’autre choisit.”

en se donnant, la femme expérimentée semble donner plus qu’elle-même”

Pour qu’une jeune fille soit la maîtresse, elle doit être trop corrompue, et on l’abandonne alors avec horreur; tandis qu’une femme a mille moyens de conserver tout à la fois son pouvoir et sa dignité. L’une, trop soumise, vous offre les tristes sécurités du repos; l’autre perd trop pour ne pas demander à l’amour ses mille métamorphoses. L’une se déshonore toute seule, l’autre tue à votre profit une famille

entière. La jeune fille n’a qu’une coquetterie, et croit avoir tout dit quand elle a quitté son vêtement; mais la femme en a d’innombrables et se cache sous mille voiles; enfin elle caresse toutes les vanités, et la novice n’en flatte qu’une. Il s’émeut d’ailleurs des indécisions, des terreurs, des craintes, des troubles et des orages chez la femme de trente ans, qui ne se rencontrent jamais dans l’amour d’une jeune fille. Arrivée à cet âge, la femme demande à un jeune homme de lui restituer l’estime qu’elle lui a sacrifiée; elle ne vit que pour lui, s’occupe de son avenir, lui veut une belle vie, la lui ordonne glorieuse; elle obéit, elle prie et commande, s’abaisse et s’élève, et sait consoler en mille occasions, où la jeune fille ne sait que gémir. Enfin, outre tous les avantages de sa position, la femme de trente ans peut se faire jeune fille, jouer tous les rôles, être pudique, et s’embellir même d’un malheur. Entre elles deux se trouve l’incommensurable différence du prévu à l’imprévu, de la force à la faiblesse.”

La sainteté des femmes est inconciliable avec les devoirs et les libertés du monde. Émanciper les femmes, c’est les corrompre. En accordant à un étranger le droit d’entrer dans le sanctuaire du ménage, n’est-ce pas se mettre à sa merci? mais qu’une femme l’y attire, n’est-ce pas une faute, ou, pour être exact, le commencement d’une faute? Il faut accepter cette théorie dans toute sa rigueur, ou absoudre les passions. Jusqu’à présent, en France, la Société a su prendre un mezzo termine: elle se moque des malheurs. Comme les Spartiates qui ne punissaient que la maladresse, elle semble admettre le vol. Mais peut-être ce système est-il très sage. Le mépris général constitue le plus affreux de tous les châtiments, en ce qu’il atteint la femme au coeur.” “La plus corrompue d’entre elles exige, même avant tout, une absolution pour le passé, en vendant son avenir, et tâche de faire comprendre à son amant qu’elle échange contre d’irrésistibles félicités, les honneurs que le monde lui refusera.”

Brunne marquise-né

Mais la marquise prit bientôt cet air affectueux, sous lequel les femmes s’abritent contre les interprétations de la vanité.”

Les femmes se tiennent alors aussi longtemps qu’elles le veulent dans cette position équivoque, comme dans un carrefour qui mène également au respect, à l’indifférence, à l’étonnement ou à la passion. À trente ans seulement une femme peut connaître les ressources de cette situation. Elle y sait rire, plaisanter, s’attendrir sans se compromettre. Elle possède alors le tact nécessaire pour attaquer chez un homme toutes les cordes sensibles, et pour étudier les sons qu’elle en tire. Son silence est aussi dangereux que sa parole. Vous ne devinez jamais si, à cet âge, elle est franche ou fausse, si elle se moque ou si elle est de bonne foi dans ses aveux. Après vous avoir donné le droit de lutter avec elle, tout à coup, par un mot, par un regard, par un de ces gestes dont la puissance leur est connue, elles ferment le combat, vous abandonnent, et restent maîtresses de votre secret, libres de vous immoler par une plaisanterie, libres de s’occuper de vous, également protégées par leur faiblesse et par votre force. Quoique la marquise se plaçât, pendant cette première visite, sur ce terrain neutre, elle sut y conserver une haute dignité de femme. Ses douleurs secrètes planèrent toujours sur sa gaieté factice comme un léger nuage qui dérobe imparfaitement le soleil. Vandenesse sortit après avoir éprouvé dans cette conversation des délices inconnus; mais il demeura convaincu que la marquise était de ces femmes dont la conquête coûte trop cher pour qu’on puisse entreprendre de les aimer.”

En France l’amour-propre mène à la passion. Charles revint chez madame d’Aiglemont et crut s’apercevoir qu’elle prenait plaisir à sa conversation. Au lieu de se livrer avec naïveté au bonheur d’aimer, il voulut alors jouer un double rôle. Il essaya de paraître passionné, puis d’analyser froidement la marche de cette intrigue, d’être amant et diplomate; mais il était généreux et jeune, cet examen devait le conduire à un amour sans bornes; car, artificieuse ou naturelle, la marquise était toujours plus forte que lui. Chaque fois qu’il sortait de chez madame d’Aiglemont, Charles persistait dans sa méfiance et soumettait les situations progressives par lesquelles passait son âme à une sévère analyse, qui tuait ses propres émotions.

Or, je ne suis ni son frère ni son confesseur, pourquoi m’a-t-elle confié ses chagrins? Elle m’aime.”

L’amour prend la couleur de chaque siècle. En 1822 il est doctrinaire. Au lieu de se prouver, comme jadis, par des faits, on le discute, on le disserte, on le met en discours de tribune. Les femmes en sont réduites à trois moyens: d’abord elles mettent en question notre passion, nous refusent le pouvoir d’aimer autant qu’elles aiment. Coquetterie! véritable défi que la marquise m’a porté ce soir. Puis elles se font très malheureuses pour exciter nos générosités naturelles ou notre amour-propre. Un jeune homme n’est-il pas flatté de consoler une grande infortune? Enfin elles ont la manie de la virginité! Elle a dû penser que je la croyais toute neuve. Ma bonne foi peut devenir une excellente spéculation.

elle vivait dans une solitude profonde, et dévorait en silence des chagrins qu’elle laissait à peine deviner par l’accent plus ou moins contraint d’une interjection. Dès ce moment Charles prit un vif intérêt à madame d’Aiglemont. Cependant, en venant à un rendez-vous habituel qui leur était devenu nécessaire l’un à l’autre, heure réservée par un mutuel instinct, Vandenesse trouvait encore sa maîtresse plus habile que vraie, et sondernier mot était : – Décidément, cette femme est très adroite. Il entra, vit la marquise dans son attitude favorite, attitude pleine de mélancolie; elle leva les yeux sur lui sans faire un mouvement, et lui jeta un de ces regards pleins qui ressemblent à un sourire. Madame d’Aiglemont exprimait une confiance, une amitié vraie, mais point d’amour. Charles s’assit et ne put rien dire. Il était ému par une de ces sensations pour lesquelles il manque un langage.

Qu’avez-vous? lui dit-elle d’un son de voix attendrie.”

elle n’imaginait pas que le bonheur pût apporter deux fois à une femme ses enivrements, car elle ne croyait pas seulement à l’esprit, mais à l’âme, et, pour elle, l’amour n’était pas une séduction, il comportait toutes les séductions nobles. En ce moment Charles redevint jeune homme, il fut subjugué par l’éclat d’un si grand caractère, et voulut être initié dans tous les secrets de cette existence flétrie par le hasard plus que par une faute.”

Si je n’ai pas su mourir, je dois être au moins fidèle à mes souvenirs.”

les larmes d’un deuil de trois ans fascinèrent Vandenesse qui resta silencieux et petit devant cette grande et noble femme: il n’en voyait plus les beautés matérielles si exquises, si achevées, mais l’âme si éminemment sensible. Il rencontrait enfin cet être idéal si fantastiquement rêvé, si vigoureusement appelé par tous ceux qui mettent la vie dans une passion, la cherchent avec ardeur, et souvent meurent sans avoir pu jouir de tous ses trésors rêvés.”

Raisonner là où il faut sentir est le propre des âmes sans portée.”

à ce bel âge de trente ans, sommité poétique de la vie des femmes, elles peuvent en embrasser tout le cours et voir aussi bien dans le passé que dans l’avenir. Les femmes connaissent alors tout le prix de l’amour et en jouissent avec la crainte de le perdre: alors leur âme est encore belle de la jeunesse qui les abandonne, et leur passion va se renforçant toujours d’un avenir qui les effraie.”

Cette triste réflexion, due au découragement et à la crainte de ne pas réussir, par lesquels commencent toutes les passions vraies, fut le dernier calcul de sa diplomatie expirante. Dès lors il n’eut plus d’arrière-pensées, devint le jouet de son amour et se perdit dans les riens de ce bonheur inexplicable qui se repaît d’un mot, d’un silence, d’un vague espoir. Il voulut aimer platoniquement, vint tous les jours respirer l’air que respirait madame d’Aiglemont, s’incrusta presque dans sa maison et l’accompagna partout avec la tyrannie d’une passion qui mêle son égoïsme au dévouement le plus absolu. L’amour a son instinct, il sait trouver le chemin du coeur comme le plus faible insecte marche à sa fleur avec une irrésistible volonté qui ne s’épouvante de rien. Aussi, quand un sentiment est vrai, sa destinée n’est-elle pas douteuse.”

Or, il est impossible à une femme, à une épouse, à une mère, de se préserver contre l’amour d’un jeune homme ; la seule chose qui soit en sa puissance est de ne pas continuer à le voir au moment où elle devine ce secret du coeur qu’une femme devine toujours. Mais ce parti semble trop décisif pour qu’une femme puisse le prendre à un âge où le mariage pèse, ennuie et lasse, où l’affection conjugale est plus que tiède, si déjà même son mari ne l’a pas abandonnée. Laides, les femmes sont flattées par un amour qui les fait belles; jeunes et charmantes, la séduction doit être à la hauteur de leurs séductions, elle est immense; vertueuses, un sentiment terrestrement sublime les porte à trouver je ne sais quelle absolution dans la grandeur même des sacrifices qu’elles font à leur amant et de la gloire dans cette lutte difficile. Tout est piège. Aussi nulle leçon n’est-elle trop forte pour de si fortes tentations. La réclusion ordonnée autrefois à la femme en Grèce, en orient, et qui devient de mode en Angleterre, est la seule sauvegarde de la morale domestique; mais, sous l’empire de ce système, les agréments du monde périssent: ni la société, ni la politesse, ni l’élégance des moeurs ne sont alors possibles. Les nations devront choisir.”

Não há sociedade, não há etiqueta, não há modos, não há chifres.

Avait-elle pris les idées de Vandenesse, ou Vandenesse avait-il épousé ses moindres caprices? elle n’examina rien. Déjà saisie par le courant de la passion, cette adorable femme se dit avec la fausse bonne foi de la peur: – Oh! non! je serai fidèle à celui qui mourut pour moi.”

Pascal a dit: Douter de Dieu, c’est y croire. De même, une femme ne se débat que quand elle est prise. Le jour où la marquise s’avoua qu’elle était aimée, il lui arriva de flotter entre mille sentiments contraires. Les superstitions de l’expérience parlèrent leur langage. Serait-elle heureuse? pourrait-elle trouver le bonheur en dehors des lois dont la Société fait, à tort ou à raison, sa morale? Jusqu’alors la vie ne lui avait versé que de l’amertume. Y avait-il un heureux dénouement possible aux liens qui unissent deux êtres séparés par des convenances sociales? Mais aussi le bonheur se paie-t-il jamais trop cher? Puis ce bonheur si ardemment voulu, et qu’il est si naturel de chercher, peut-être le rencontrerait-elle enfin! La curiosité plaide toujours la cause des amants. Au milieu de cette discussion secrète, Vandenesse arriva. Sa présence fit évanouir le fantôme métaphysique de la raison. Si telles sont les transformations successives par lesquelles passe un sentiment même rapide chez un jeune homme et chez une femme de trente ans, il est un moment où les nuances se fondent, où les raisonnements s’abolissent en un seul, en une dernière réflexion qui se confond dans un désir et qui le corrobore. Plus la résistance a été longue, plus puissante alors est la voix de l’amour.”

A curiosidade sempre ajuda a causa dos amantes.

Je suis déjà vieille, dit-elle, rien ne m’excuserait donc de ne pas continuer à souffrir comme par le passé. D’ailleurs il faut aimer, dites-vous? Eh! bien, je ne le dois ni ne le puis. Hors vous, dont l’amitié jette quelques douceurs sur ma vie, personne ne me plaît, personne ne saurait effacer mes souvenirs. J’accepte un ami, je fuirais un amant.

Ces paroles, empreintes d’une horrible coquetterie, étaient le dernier effort de la sagesse.

S’il se décourage, eh! bien, je resterai seule et fidèle. Cette pensée vint au coeur de cette femme, et fut pour elle ce qu’est la branche de saule trop faible que saisit un nageur avant d’être emporté par le courant.”

…Essas palavras, impregnadas de um charme horrendo, foram o esforço final da sabedoria.

– Bem, se ele se desencoraja agora, seguirei, como sempre, solitária e fiel! Esse foi o pensamento que iluminou o coração dessa mulher, comparável a um nadador na forte correnteza, que agarra inutilmente um galho fraco, sem poder se prender ao próprio tronco, na iminência da perdição.”

La passion fait un progrès énorme chez une femme au moment où elle croit avoir agi peu généreusement, ou avoir blessé quelque âme noble. Jamais il ne faut se défier des sentiments mauvais en amour, ils sont très salutaires, les femmes ne succombent que sous le coup d’une vertu. L’enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions n’est pas un paradoxe de prédicateur.”

Le ciel et l’enfer sont deux grands poèmes qui formulent les deux seuls points sur lesquels tourne notre existence: la joie ou la douleur. Le ciel n’est-il pas, ne sera-t-il pas

toujours une image de l’infini de nos sentiments qui ne sera jamais peint que dans ses détails, parce que le bonheur est un, et l’enfer ne représente-t-il pas les tortures infinies de nos douleurs dont nous pouvons faire oeuvre de poésie, parce qu’elles sont toutes dissemblables?”

En ce moment le général d’Aiglemont entra.

Le ministère est changé, dit-il. Votre oncle fait partie du nouveau cabinet. Ainsi, vous avez de bien belles chances pour être ambassadeur, Vandenesse.”

Pour moi, je ne connais maintenant rien de plus horrible qu’une pensée de vieillard sur un front d’enfant le blasphème aux lèvres d’une vierge est moins monstrueux encore. Aussi l’attitude presque stupide de cette fille déjà pensive, la rareté de ses gestes, tout m’intéressa-t-il. Je l’examinai curieusement. Par une fantaisie naturelle aux observateurs, je la comparais à son frère, en cherchant à surprendre les rapports et les différences qui se trouvaient entre eux. La première avait des cheveux bruns, des yeux noirs et une puissance précoce qui formaient une riche opposition avec la blonde chevelure, les yeux vert de mer et la gracieuse faiblesse du plus jeune. L’aînée pouvait avoir environ sept à huit ans, l’autre six à peine. Ils étaient habillés de la même manière.”

Le beau jeune homme, blond comme lui, le faisait danser dans ses bras, et l’embrassait en lui prodiguant ces petits mots sans suite et détournés de leur sens véritable que nous adressons amicalement aux enfants. La mère souriait à ces jeux, et, de temps à autre, disait, sans doute à voix basse, des paroles sorties du coeur; car son compagnon s’arrêtait, tout heureux, et la regardait d’un oeil bleu plein de feu, plein d’idolâtrie. Leurs voix mêlées à celle de l’enfant avaient je ne sais quoi de caressant. Ils

étaient charmants tous trois. Cette scène délicieuse, au milieu de ce magnifique paysage, y répandait une incroyable suavité. Une femme, belle, blanche, rieuse, un enfant d’amour, un homme ravissant de jeunesse, un ciel pur, enfin toutes les harmonies de la nature s’accordaient pour réjouir l’âme. Je me surpris à sourire, comme si ce bonheur était le mien.”

En voyant son frère sur le penchant du talus, Hélène lui lança le plus horrible regard qui jamais ait allumé les yeux d’un enfant, et le poussa par un mouvement de rage. Charles glissa sur le versant rapide, y rencontra des racines qui le rejetèrent violemment sur les pierres coupantes du mur; il s’y fracassa le front; puis, tout sanglant, alla tomber dans les eaux boueuses de la rivière.” “L’eau noire bouillonnait sur un espace immense. Le lit de la Bièvre a, dans cet endroit, dix pieds de boue. L’enfant devait y mourir, il était impossible de le secourir. À cette heure, un dimanche, tout était en repos. La Bièvre n’a ni bateaux ni pêcheurs. Je ne vis ni perches pour sonder le ruisseau puant, ni personne dans le lointain. Pourquoi donc aurais-je parlé de ce sinistre accident, ou dit le secret de ce malheur? Hélène avait peut-être vengé són père. Sa jalousie était sans doute le glaive [épée] de Dieu.”

L’enfance a le front transparent, le teint diaphane; et le mensonge est, chez elle, comme une lumière qui lui rougit même le regard.”

Le père était parti sans attendre le dessert, tant sa fille et son fils l’avaient tourmenté pour arriver au spectacle avant le lever du rideau.”

O Vale da Torrente

Foi d’homme d’honneur, dit le notaire, les auteurs de nos jours sont à moitié fous! La

Vallée du torrent! Pourquoi pas le Torrent de la vallée? il est possible qu’une vallée n’ait pas de torrent, et en disant le Torrent de la vallée, les auteurs auraient accusé quelque chose de net, de précis, de caractérisé, de compréhensible. Mais laissons cela. Maintenant comment peut-il se rencontrer un drame dans un torrent et dans une vallée? Vous me répondrez qu’aujourd’hui le principal attrait de ces sortes de spectacles gît dans les décorations, et ce titre en indique de fort belles. Vous êtes-vous bien amusé, mon petit compère? ajouta-t-il en s’asseyant devant l’enfant.

Au moment où le notaire demanda quel drame pouvait se rencontrer au fond d’un torrent, la fille de la marquise se retourna lentement et pleura. La mère était si violemment contrariée qu’elle n’aperçut pas le mouvement de sa fille.”

Il y avait dans la pièce un petit garçon bien gentil qu’était seul au monde, parce que son papa n’avait pas pu être son père. Voilà que, quand il arrive en haut du pont qui est sur le torrent, un grand vilain barbu, vêtu tout en noir, le jette dans l’eau. Hélène s’est mise alors à pleurer, à sangloter; toute la salle a crié après nous, et mon père nous a bien vite, bien vite emmenés…

Monsieur de Vandenesse et la marquise restèrent tous deux stupéfaits, et comme saisis par un mal qui leur ôta la force de penser et d’agir.

Gustave, taisez-vous donc, cria le général. Je vous ai défendu de parler sur ce qui s’est passé au spectacle, et vous oubliez déjà mês recommandations.”

Assez, Hélène, lui dit-elle, allez sécher vos larmes dans le boudoir.

Qu’a-t-elle donc fait, cette pauvre petite? dit le notaire, qui voulut calmer à la fois la colère de la mère et les pleurs de la fille. Elle est si jolie que ce doit être la plus sage créature du monde; je suis bien sûr, madame, qu’elle ne vous donne que des jouissances; pas vrai, ma petite?

Hélène regarda sa mère en tremblant, essuya ses larmes, tâcha de se composer un visage calme, et s’enfuit dans le boudoir.

Et certes, disait le notaire en continuant toujours, madame, vous êtes trop bonne mère pour ne pas aimer également tous vos enfants. Vous êtes d’ailleurs trop vertueuse pour avoir de ces tristes préférences dont les funestes effets se révèlent plus particulièrement à nous autres notaires. La société nous passe par les mains. Aussi en voyons-nous les passions sous leur forme la plus hideuse, l’intérêt. Ici, une mère veut déshériter les enfants de son mari au profit des enfants qu’elle leur préfère; tandis que, de son côté, le mari veut quelquefois réserver as fortune à l’enfant qui a mérité la haine de la mère. Et c’est alors des combats, des craintes, des actes, des contre-lettres, des ventes simulées, des fidéicommis; enfin, un gâchis pitoyable, ma parole d’honneur, pitoyable! Là, des pères passent leur vie à déshériter leurs enfants em volant le bien de leurs femmes… Oui, volant est le mot. Nous parlions de drame, ah! je vous assure que si nous pouvions dire le secret de certaines donations, nos auteurs pourraient en faire de terribles tragédies bourgeoises. Je ne sais pas de quel pouvoir usent les femmes pour faire ce qu’elles veulent: car, malgré les apparences et leur faiblesse, c’est toujours elles qui l’emportent. Ah! par exemple, elles ne m’attrapent pas, moi. Je devine toujours la raison de ces prédilections que dans le monde on qualifie poliment d’indéfinissables! Mais les maris ne la devinent jamais, c’est une justice à leur rendre. Vous me répondrez à cela qu’il y a des grâces d’ét…–

Un ancien officier d’ordonnance de Napoléon, que nous appellerons seulement le marquis ou le général, et qui sous la restauration fit une haute fortune, était venu passer les beaux jours à Versailles, où il habitait une maison de campagne située entre l’église et la barrière de Montreuil, sur le chemin qui conduit à l’avenue de Saint-Cloud. Son service à la cour ne lui permettait pas de s’éloigner de Paris.”

Il contemplait le plus petit de ses enfants, un garçon à peine âgé de cinq ans, qui, demi-nu, se refusait à se laisser déshabiller par sa mère.” “La petite Moïna, son aînée de deux ans, provoquait par des agaceries déjà féminines d’interminables rires, qui partaient comme des fusées et semblaient ne pas avoir de cause”

Âgée d’environ trente-six ans, elle conservait encore une beauté due à la rare perfection des lignes de son visage, auquel la chaleur, la lumière et le bonheur prêtaient en ce moment un éclat surnaturel.”

N’y a-t-il pas toujours un peu d’amour pour l’enfance chez les soldats qui ont assez expérimenté les malheurs de la vie pour avoir su reconnaître les misères de la force et les privilèges de la faiblesse? Plus loin, devant une table ronde éclairée par des lampes astrales dont les vives lumières luttaient avec les lueurs pâles des bougies placées sur la cheminée, était un jeune garçon de treize ans qui tournait rapidement les pages d’un gros livre. (…) Il restait immobile, dans une attitude méditative, un coude sur la table et la tête appuyée sur l’une de ses mains, dont les doigts blancs tranchaient au moyen d’une chevelure brune.” “Entre cette table et la marquise, une grande et belle jeune fille travaillait, assise devant un métier à tapisserie sur lequel se penchait et d’où s’éloignait alternativement sa tête, dont les cheveux d’ébène artistement lissés réfléchissaient la lumière. À elle seule Hélène était un spectacle.” “Les deux aînés étaient en ce moment complètement oubliés par le mari et par la femme.”

La vie conjugale est pleine de ces heures sacrées dont le charme indéfinissable est dû peut-être à quelque souvenance d’un monde meilleur. Des rayons célestes jaillissent sans doute sur ces sortes de scènes, destinées à payer à l’homme une partie de ses chagrins, à lui faire accepter l’existence. Il semble que l’univers soit là, devant nous, sous une forme enchanteresse, qu’il déroule ses grandes idées d’ordre, que la vie sociale plaide pour ses lois en parlant de l’avenir.

          Cependant, malgré le regard d’attendrissement jeté par Hélène sur Abel et Moïna quand éclatait une de leurs joies; malgré le bonheur peint sur sa lucide figure lorsqu’elle contemplait furtivement son père, un sentiment de profonde mélancolie était empreint dans ses gestes, dans son attitude, et surtout dans ses yeux voilés par de longues paupières.” “Ces deux femmes se comprirent alors par un regard terne, froid, respectueux chez Hélène, sombre et menaçant chez la mère. Hélène baissa promptement sa vue sur le métier, tira l’aiguille avec prestesse, et de longtemps ne releva sa tête, qui semblait lui être devenue trop lourde à porter. La mère était-elle trop sévère pour sa fille, et jugeait-elle cette sévérité nécessaire? Était-elle jalouse de la beauté d’Hélène, avec qui elle pouvait rivaliser encore, mais en déployant tous les prestiges de la toilette? Ou la fille avait-elle surpris, comme beaucoup de filles quand elles deviennent clairvoyantes, des secrets que cette femme, en apparence si religieusement fidèle à ses devoirs, croyait avoir ensevelis dans son coeur aussi profondément que dans une tombe?”

Dans certains esprits, les fautes prennent les proportions du crime; l’imagination réagit alors sur la conscience; souvent alors les jeunes filles exagèrent la punition en raison de l’étendue qu’elles donnent aux forfaits. Hélène paraissait ne se croire digne de personne. Un secret de sa vie antérieure, un accident peut-être, incompris d’abord, mais développé par les susceptibilités de son intelligence sur laquelle influaient les idées religieuses, semblait l’avoir depuis peu comme dégradée romanesquement à ses propres yeux. Ce changement dans sa conduite avait commencé le jour où elle avait lu, dans la récente traduction des théâtres étrangers, la belle tragédie de Guillaume Tell, par Schiller.” “Devenue humble, pieuse et recueillie, Hélène ne souhaitait plus d’aller au bal. Jamais elle n’avait été si caressante pour son père, surtout quand la marquise n’était pas témoin de ses cajoleries de jeune fille. Néanmoins, s’il existait du refroidissement dans l’affection d’Hélène pour sa mère, il était si finement exprimé, que le général ne devait pas s’en apercevoir, quelque jaloux qu’il pût être de l’union qui régnait dans sa famille. Nul homme n’aurait eu l’oeil assez perspicace pour sonder la profondeur de ces deux coeurs féminins: l’un jeune et généreux, l’autre sensible et fier; le premier, trésor d’indulgence; le second, plein de finesse et d’amour. Si la mère contristait sa fille par un adroit despotisme de femme, il n’était sensible qu’aux yeux de la victime. Au reste, l’événement seulement fit naître ces conjectures toutes insolubles. Jusqu’à cette nuit, aucune lumière accusatrice ne s’était échappée de ces deux âmes; mais entre elles et Dieu certainement il s’élevait quelque sinistre mystère.

Gustave, ajouta-t-il en se tournant vers son fils, je ne t’ai donné ce livre qu’à la condition de le quitter à dix heures; tu aurais dû le fermer toi-même à l’heure dite et t’aller coucher comme tu me l’avais promis. Si tu veux être un homme remarquable, il faut faire de ta parole une seconde religion, et y tenir comme à ton honneur. Fox, un des plus grands orateurs de l’Angleterre, était surtout remarquable par la beauté de son caractère. La fidélité aux engagements pris est la principale de ses qualités.”

(…) Je ne reconnais à personne le droit de me plaindre, de m’absoudre ou de me condamner. Je dois vivre seul. Allez, mon enfant, ajouta-t-il avec un geste de souverain, je reconnaîtrais mal le service que me rend le maître de cette maison, si je laissais une seule des personnes qui l’habitent respirer le même air que moi. Il faut me soumettre aux lois du monde.

Cette dernière phrase fut prononcée à voir basse. En achevant d’embrasser par sa profonde intuition les misères que réveilla cette idée mélancolique, il jeta sur Hélène un regard de serpent, et remua dans le coeur de cette singulière jeune fille un monde de pensées encore endormi chez elle. Ce fut comme une lumière qui lui aurait éclairé des pays inconnus. Son âme fut terrassée, subjuguée, sans qu’elle trouvât la force de se défendre contre le pouvoir magnétique de ce regard, quelque involontairement lancé qu’il fût.

Honteuse et tremblante, elle sortit et ne revint au salon qu’un instant avant le retour de son père, en sorte qu’elle ne put rien dire à sa mère.

Le marquis et sa fille, certains d’avoir enfermé l’assassin de monsieur de Mauny, attribuèrent ces mouvements à une des femmes, et ne furent pas étonnés d’entendre

ouvrir les portes de la pièce qui précédait le salon. Tout à coup le meurtrier apparut au milieu d’eux. La stupeur dans laquelle le marquis était plongé, la vive curiosité de la mère et l’étonnement de la fille lui ayant permis d’avancer presque au milieu du salon, il dit au général d’une voix singulièrement calme et mélodieuse: – Monseigneur, les deux heures vont expirer.”

Au mot d’assassin, la marquise jeta un cri. Quant à Hélène, ce mot sembla décider de sa vie, son visage n’accusa pas le moindre étonnement. Elle semblait avoir attendu cet homme. Ses pensées si vastes eurent un sens. La punition que le ciel réservait à ses fautes éclatait. Se croyant aussi criminelle que l’était cet homme, la jeune fille le regarda d’un oeil serein : elle était sa compagne, sa soeur. Pour elle, un commandement de Dieu se manifestait dans cette circonstance. Quelques années plus tard, la raison aurait fait justice de ses remords ; mais en ce moment ils la rendaient insensée. L’étranger resta immobile et froid. Un sourire de dédain se peignit dans ses traits et sur ses larges lèvres rouges.”

Ah ! ma fille?… dit la marquise à voix basse mais de manière à ce que son mari l’entendît. Hélène, vous mentez à tous les principes d’honneur, de modestie, de vertu, que j’ai tâché de développer dans votre coeur. Si vous n’avez été que mensonge jusqu’à cette heure fatale, alors vous n’êtes point regrettable. Est-ce la perfection morale de cet inconnu qui vous tente? serait-ce l’espèce de puissance nécessaire aux gens qui commettent un crime?… Je vous estime trop pour supposer…

Oh! supposez tout, madame, répondit Hélène d’un ton froid.

(…) Voyons, es-tu jalouse de notre affection pour tes frères ou ta jeune soeur? As-tu dans l’âme un chagrin d’amour? Es-tu malheureuse ici? Parle? explique-moi les raisons qui te poussent à laisser ta famille, à l’abandonner, à la priver de son plus grand charme, à quitter ta mère, tes frères, ta petite soeur.

Mon père, répondit-elle, je ne suis ni jalouse ni amoureuse de personne, pas même de votre ami le diplomate, monsieur de Vandenesse.”

Savons-nous jamais, dit-elle en continuant, à quel être nous lions nos destinées? Moi, je crois en cet homme.

Enfant, dit le général en élevant la voix, tu ne songes pas à toutes les souffrances qui vont t’assaillir.

Je pense aux siennes…

Quelle vie! dit le père.

Une vie de femme, répondit la fille en murmurant.

Vous êtes bien savante, s’écria la marquise en retrouvant la parole.

Madame, les demandes me dictent les réponses ; mais, si vous le désirez, je parlerai plus clairement.

Dites tout, ma fille, je suis mère. Ici la fille regarda la mère, et ce regard fit faire une pause à la marquise.

Soit! mon père, répondit-elle avec un calme désespérant, j’y mourrai. Vous n’êtes comptable de ma vie et de son âme qu’à Dieu.

Que seja, papai!, respondeu Helèna, com uma calma que soava desesperante para seus pais: eu definharei. Você não é responsável por minha vida nem pela alma dele senão perante o Senhor.

L’hospitalité que je vous ai donnée me coûte cher, s’écria le général en se levant. Vous n’avez tué, tout à l’heure, qu’un vieillard; ici, vous assassinez toute une famille. Quoi qu’il arrive, il y aura du malheur dans cette maison.

Et si votre fille est heureuse? demanda le meurtrier en regardant fixement le militaire.

Vous qu’un meurtrier n’épouvante pas, ange de miséricorde, dit-il, venez, puisque vous persistez à me confier votre destinée.

Par où vont-ils? s’écria le général en écoutant les pas des deux fugitifs. – Madame, reprit-il en s’adressant à sa femme, je crois rêver: cette aventure me cache un mystère. Vous devez le savoir.

La marquise frissonna.

À sept heures du matin, les recherches de la gendarmerie, du général, de ses gens et des voisins avaient été inutiles. Le chien n’était pas revenu. Harassé de fatigue, et déjà vieilli par le chagrin, le marquis rentra dans son salon, désert pour lui, quoique ses trois autres enfants y fussent.”

* * *

La terrible nuit de Noël, pendant laquelle le marquis et sa femme eurent le malheur de perdre leur fille aînée sans avoir pu s’opposer à l’étrange domination exercée par son ravisseur involontaire, fut comme un avis que leur donna la fortune. La faillite d’un agent de change ruina le marquis. Il hypothéqua les biens de sa femme pour tenter une spéculation dont les bénéfices devaient restituer à sa famille toute sa première fortune; mais cette entreprise acheva de le ruiner. Poussé par son désespoir à tout tenter, le général s’expatria. Six ans s’étaient écoulés depuis son départ. Quoique sa famille eût rarement reçu de ses nouvelles, quelques jours avant la reconnaissance de l’indépendance des républiques américaines par l’Espagne, il avait annoncé son retour.”

Un beau jour, un vent frais, la vue de la patrie, une mer tranquille, un bruissement mélancolique, un joli brick solitaire, glissant sur l’océan comme une femme qui vole à un rendez-vous, c’était un tableau plein d’harmonies, une scène d’où l’âme humaine pouvait embrasser d’immuables espaces, en partant d’un point où tout était mouvement. Il y avait une étonnante opposition de solitude et de vie, de silence et de bruit, sans qu’on pût savoir où était le bruit et la vie, le néant et le silence; aussi pas une voix humaine ne rompait-elle ce charme céleste. Le capitaine espagnol, ses matelots, les Français restaient assis ou debout, tous plongés dans une extase religieuse pleine de souvenirs.” “Cependant, de temps en temps, le vieux passager, appuyé sur le bastingage, regardait l’horizon avec une sorte d’inquiétude. Il y avait une défiance du sort écrite dans tous ses traits, et il semblait craindre de ne jamais toucher assez vite la terre de France. Cet homme était le marquis. La fortune n’avait pas été sourde aux cris et aux efforts de son désespoir. Après 5 ans de tentatives et de travaux pénibles, il s’était vu possesseur d’une fortune considérable. Dans son impatience de revoir son pays et d’apporter le bonheur à sa famille, il avait suivi l’exemple de quelques négociants français de la Havane, en s’embarquant avec eux sur un vaisseau espagnol en charge pour Bordeaux. Néanmoins son imagination, lassée de prévoir le mal, lui traçait les images les plus délicieuses de son bonheur passé. En voyant de loin la ligne brune décrite par la terre, il croyait contempler sa femme et ses enfants. Il était à sa place, au foyer, et s’y sentait pressé, caressé. Il se figurait Moïna, belle, grandie, imposante comme une jeune fille. Quand ce tableau fantastique eut pris une sorte de réalité, des larmes roulèrent dans ses yeux; alors, comme pour cacher son trouble, il regarda l’horizon humide, opposé à la ligne brumeuse qui annonçait la terre.

C’est lui, dit-il, il nous suit.

Qu’est-ce? s’écria le capitaine espagnol.

Un vaisseau, reprit à voix basse le général.

Je l’ai déjà vu hier, répondit le capitaine Gomez. Il contempla le Français comme pour l’interroger. – Il nous a toujours donné la chasse, dit-il alors à l’oreille du général.

Et je ne sais pas pourquoi il ne nous a jamais rejoints, reprit le vieux militaire, car il est meilleur voilier que votre damné Saint-Ferdinand.

Il aura eu des avaries, une voie d’eau.

Il nous gagne, s’écria le Français.

C’est un corsaire colombien, lui dit à l’oreille le capitaine. Nous sommes encore à 6 lieues de terre, et le vent faiblit.

Il ne marche pas, il vole, comme s’il savait que dans 2 heures sa proie lui aura échappé. Quelle hardiesse!

Lui? s’écria le capitaine. Ah! il ne s’appelle pas l’Othello sans raison. Il a dernièrement coulé bas une frégate espagnole, et n’a cependant pas plus de 30 canons! Je n’avais peur que de lui, car je n’ignorais pas qu’il croisait dans les Antilles… – Ah! ah! reprit-il après une pause pendant laquelle il regarda les voiles de son vaisseau, le vent s’élève, nous arriverons. Il le faut, le Parisien serait impitoyable.

Lui aussi arrive! répondit le marquis.”

Pourquoi vous désoler? reprit le général. Tous vos passagers sont Français, ils ont frété votre bâtiment. Ce corsaire est un Parisien, dites=vous; hé bien, hissez pavillon blanc, et…

Et il nous coulera, répondit le capitaine. N’est-il pas, suivant les circonstances, tout ce qu’il faut être quand il veut s’emparer d’une riche proie?

Ah! si c’est un pirate!

Pirate! dit le matelot d’un air farouche. Ah! il est toujours en règle, ou sait s’y mettre.

Le Saint-Ferdinand portait en piastres 4 millions, qui composaient la fortune de 5 passagers, et celle du général était de 1,1 million francs. Enfin l’Othello, qui se trouvait alors à 10 portées de fusil, montra distinctement les gueules menaçantes de 12 canons prêts à faire feu.”

Il avait sur la tête, pour se garantir du soleil, un chapeau de feutre à grands bords, dont l’ombre lui cachait le visage.”

Le général se croyait sous la puissance d’un songe, quand il se trouva les mains liées et jeté sur un ballot comme s’il eût été lui-même une marchandise. Une conférence avait lieu entre le corsaire, son lieutenant et l’un des matelots qui paraissait remplir les fonctions de contremaître. Quand la discussion, qui dura peu, fut terminée, le matelot

siffla ses hommes, sur un ordre qu’il leur donna, ils sautèrent tous sur le Saint-Ferdinand, grimpèrent dans les cordages, et se mirent à le dépouiller de ses vergues, de ses voiles, de ses agrès, avec autant de prestesse qu’un soldat déshabille sur le champ de bataille un camarade mort dont les souliers et la capote étaient l’objet de sa convoitise.”

Les corsaires regardaient avec une curiosité malicieuse les différentes manières dont ces hommes tombaient, leurs grimaces, leur dernière torture; mais leurs visages ne trahissaient ni moquerie, ni étonnement, ni pitié. C’était pour eux un événement tout simple, auquel ils semblaient accoutumés.”

Ah! brigands, vous ne jetterez pas à l’eau comme une huître un ancien troupier de Napoléon.

En ce moment le général rencontra l’oeil fauve du ravisseur de sa fille. Le père et le gendre se reconnurent tout à coup.”

C’est le père d’Hélène, dit le capitaine d’une voix claire et ferme. Malheur à qui ne le respecterait pas!

Enfin Hélène semblait être la reine d’un grand empire au milieu du boudoir dans lequel son amant couronné aurait rassemblé les choses les plus élégantes de la terre.”

Écoutez, mon père, répondit-elle, j’ai pour amant, pour époux, pour serviteur, pour maître, un homme dont l’âme est aussi vaste que cette mer sans bornes, aussi fertile en douceur que le ciel, un dieu enfin! Depuis sept ans, jamais il ne lui est échappé une parole, un sentiment, un geste, qui pussent produire une dissonance avec la divine harmonie de ses discours, de ses caresses et de son amour. Il m’a toujours regardée en ayant sur les lèvres un sourire ami et dans les yeux un rayon de joie. Là-haut sa voix tonnante domine souvent les hurlements de la tempête ou le tumulte des combats; mais ici elle est douce et mélodieuse comme la musique de Rossini, dont les oeuvres m’arrivent. Tout ce que le caprice d’une femme peut inventer, je l’obtiens. Mes désirs sont même parfois surpassés. Enfin je règne sur la mer, et j’y suis obéie comme peut l’être une souveraine. – Oh! heureuse! reprit-elle en s’interrompant elle-même, heureuse n’est pas un mot qui puisse exprimer mon bonheur. J’ai la part de toutes les femmes! Sentir un amour, un dévouement immense pour celui qu’on aime, et rencontrer dans son coeur, à lui, un sentiment infini où l’âme d’une femme se perd, et toujours! dites, est-ce un bonheur? j’ai déjà dévoré mille existences. Ici je suis seule, ici je commande. Jamais une créature de mon sexe n’a mis le pied sur ce noble vaisseau, où Victor est toujours à quelques pas de moi. – Il ne peut pas aller plus loin de moi que de la poupe à la proue, reprit-elle avec une fine expression de malice. Sept ans! un amour qui résiste pendant sept ans à cette perpétuelle joie, à cette épreuve de tous les instants, est-ce l’amour? Non! oh! non, c’est mieux que tout ce que je connais de la vie… le langage humain manque pour exprimer un bonheur céleste.

Un torrent de larmes s’échappa de ses yeux enflammés. Les quatre enfants jetèrent alors un cri plaintif, accoururent à elle comme des poussins à leur mère, et l’aîné frappa le général en le regardant d’un air menaçant.

Abel, dit-elle, mon ange, je pleure de joie.

(…)

Tu ne t’ennuies pas? s’écria le général étourdi par la réponse exaltée de sa fille.

Si, répondit-elle, à terre quand nous y allons; et encore ne quitté-je jamais mon mari.

Mais tu aimais les fêtes, les bals, la musique!

La musique, c’est sa voix; mes fêtes, c’est les parures que j’invente pour lui. Quand une toilette lui plaît, n’est-ce pas comme si la terre entière m’admirait! Voilà seulement pourquoi je ne jette pas à la mer ces diamants, ces colliers, ces diadèmes de pierreries, ces richesses, ces fleurs, ces chefs-d’oeuvre des arts qu’il me prodigue en me disant: – Hélène, puisque tu ne vas pas dans le monde, je veux que le monde vienne à toi.

Mais sur ce bord il y a des hommes, des hommes audacieux, terribles, dont les passions…

Je vous comprends, mon père, dit-elle em souriant. Rassurez-vous. Jamais impératrice n’a été environnée de plus d’égards que l’on ne m’en prodigue. Ces gens-là sont superstitieux, ils croient que je suis le génie tutélaire de ce vaisseau, de leurs entreprises, de leurs succès. Mais c’est lui qui est leur dieu! Un jour, une seule fois, un matelot me manqua de respect… em paroles, ajouta-t-elle en riant. Avant que Victor eût pu l’apprendre, les gens de l’équipage le lancèrent à la mer malgré le pardon que je lui accordais. Ils m’aiment comme leur bon ange, je les soigne dans leurs maladies, et j’ai eu le bonheur d’en sauver quelques-uns de la mort em les veillant avec une persévérance de femme. Ces pauvres gens sont à la fois des géants et des enfants.

(…)

Et tes enfants?

Ils sont fils de l’Océan et du danger, ils partagent la vie de leurs parents… Notre existence est une, et ne se scinde pas. Nous vivons tous de la même vie, tous inscrits sur la même page, portés par le même esquif, nous le savons.

Le vieux militaire sentit toutes ces choses, et comprit aussi que sa fille n’abandonnerait jamais une vie si large, si féconde en contrastes, remplie par un amour si vrai; puis, si elle avait une fois goûté le péril sans en être effrayée, elle ne pouvait plus revenir aux petites scènes d’un monde mesquin et borné.”

Général, dit le corsaire d’une voix profonde, je me suis fait une loi de ne jamais rien distraire du butin. Mais il est hors de doute que ma part sera plus considérable que ne l’était votre fortune. Permettez-moi de vous la restituer en autre monnaie…

Il prit dans le tiroir du piano une masse de billets de banque, ne compta pas les paquets, et présenta un million au marquis.”

Or, à moins que vous ne soyez séduit par les dangers de notre vie bohémienne, par les scènes de l’Amérique méridionale, par nos nuits des tropiques, par nos batailles, et par le plaisir de faire triompher le pavillon d’une jeune nation, ou le nom de Simon Bolivar, il faut nous quitter… Une chaloupe et des hommes dévoués vous attendent. Espérons une troisième rencontre plus complètement heureuse…

Victor, je voudrais voir mon père encore un moment, dit Hélène d’un ton boudeur.”

Hélène, reprit le vieillard en la regardant avec attention, ne dois-je plus te revoir? Ne saurai-je donc jamais à quel motif ta fuite est due?

Ce secret ne m’appartient pas, dit-elle d’un ton grave. J’aurais le droit de vous l’apprendre, peut-être ne vous le dirais-je pas encore. J’ai souffert pendant dix ans des maux inouïs…

Soyez toujours heureux! s’écria le grandpère en s’élançant sur le tillac.

L’Othello était loin; la chaloupe s’approchait de terre; le nuage s’interposa entre cette frêle embarcation et le brick. La dernière fois que le général aperçut sa fille, ce fut à travers une crevasse de cette fumée ondoyante. Vision prophétique! Le mouchoir blanc, la robe se détachaient seuls sur ce fond de bistre. Entre l’eau verte et le ciel bleu, le brick ne se voyait même pas. Hélène n’était plus qu’un point imperceptible, une ligne déliée, gracieuse, un ange dans le ciel, une idée, un souvenir.”

* * *

Et aussitôt la marquise monta chez l’inconnue sans penser au mal que sa vue pouvait faire à cette femme dans un moment où on la disait mourante, car elle était encore en deuil. La marquise pâlit à l’aspect de la mourante. Malgré les horribles souffrances qui avaient altéré la belle physionomie d’Hélène, elle reconnut sa fille aînée. À l’aspect d’une femme vêtue de noir, Hélène se dressa sur son séant, jeta un cri de terreur, et retomba lentement sur son lit, lorsque, dans cette femme, elle retrouva sa mère.

Ma fille! dit madame d’Aiglemont, que vous faut-il? Pauline!… Moïna!…

elle oublia qu’Hélène était un enfant conçu jadis dans les larmes et le désespoir, l’enfant du devoir, un enfant qui avait été cause de ses plus grands malheurs; elle s’avança doucement vers sa fille aînée, en se souvenant seulement qu’Hélène la première lui avait fait connaître les plaisirs de la maternité. Les yeux de la mère étaient pleins de larmes; et, em embrassant sa fille, elle s’écria: – Hélène! ma fille…”

Exaspérée par le malheur, la veuve du marin, qui venait d’échapper à un naufrage en ne sauvant de toute sa belle famille qu’un enfant, dit d’une voix horrible à sa mère: – Tout ceci est votre ouvrage! si vous eussiez été pour moi ce que…”

Tout est inutile, reprit Hélène. Ah! pourquoi ne suis-je pas morte à seize ans, quand je voulais me tuer! Le bonheur ne se trouve jamais en dehors des lois…

* * *

LA FEMME DE SOIXANTE ANS (Epílogo)

La vieille dame si matinale était la marquise d’Aiglemont, mère de madame de Saint-Héreen, à qui ce bel hôtel appartenait. La marquise s’en était privée pour sa fille, à qui elle avait donné toute sa fortune, en ne se réservant qu’une pension viagère. La comtesse Moïna de Saint-Héreen était le dernier enfant de madame d’Aiglemont. Pour lui faire épouser l’héritier d’une des plus illustres maisons de France, la marquise avait tout sacrifié. Rien n’était plus naturel: elle avait successivement perdu deux fils; l’un, Gustave marquis d’Aiglemont, était mort du choléra; l’autre, Abel, avait succombé devant Constantinople. Gustave laissa des enfants et une veuve. Mais l’affection assez tiède que madame d’Aiglemont avait portée à ses deux fils s’était encore affaiblie en passant à ses petitsenfants. Elle se comportait poliment avec madame d’Aiglemont la jeune: mais elle s’en tenait au sentiment superficiel que le bon goût et les convenances nous prescrivent de témoigner à nos proches. La fortune de ses enfants morts ayant été parfaitement réglée, elle avait réservé pour sa chère Moïna ses économies et ses biens propres. Moïna, belle et ravissante depuis son enfance, avait toujours été pour madame d’Aiglemont l’objet d’une de ces prédilections innées ou involontaires chez les mères de famille; fatales sympathies qui semblent inexplicables, ou que les observateurs savent trop bien expliquer. La charmante figure de Moïna, le son de voix de cette fille chérie, ses manières, sa démarche, sa physionomie, ses gestes, tout en elle réveillait chez la marquise les émotions les plus profondes qui puissent animer, troubler ou charmer le coeur d’une mère. Le principe de sa vie présente, de sa vie du lendemain, de sa vie passée, était dans le coeur de cette jeune femme, où elle avait jeté tous ses trésors. Moïna avait heureusement survécu à 4 enfants, ses aînés. Madame d’Aiglemont avait en effet perdu, de la manière la plus malheureuse, disaient les gens du monde, une fille charmante dont la destinée était presque inconnue, et un petit garçon, enlevé à cinq ans par une horrible catastrophe [pas Gustave?].

Le monde aurait pu demander à la marquise un compte sévère de cette insouciance et de cette prédilection; mais le monde de Paris est entraîné par un tel torrent d’événements, de modes, d’idées nouvelles, que toute la vie de madame d’Aiglemont devait y être en quelque sorte oubliée. Personne ne songeait à lui faire un crime d’une froideur, d’un oubli qui n’intéressait personne, tandis que sa vive tendresse pour Moïna intéressait beaucoup de gens, et avait toute la sainteté d’un préjugé.”

que ne pardonne-t-on pas aux vieillards lorsqu’ils s’effacent comme des ombres et ne veulent plus être qu’un souvenir?”

Enfin, peut-être ne doit-on jamais prononcer qui a tort ou raison de l’enfant ou de la mère. Entre ces deux coeurs, il n’y a qu’un seul juge possible. Ce juge est Dieu! Dieu qui, souvent, assied sa vengeance au sein des familles, et se sert éternellement des enfants contre les mères, des pères contre les fils, des peuples contre les rois, des princes contre les nations, de tout contre tout; remplaçant dans le monde moral les sentiments par les sentiments comme les jeunes feuilles poussent les vieilles au printemps; agissant en vue d’un ordre immuable, d’un but à lui seul connu. Sans doute, chaque chose va dans son sein, ou, mieux encore, elle y retourne.”

Elle était un de ces types qui, entre mille physionomies dédaignées parce qu’elles sont sans caractère, vous arrêtent un moment, vous font penser (…) Le visage glacé de madame d’Aiglemont était une de ces poésies terribles, une de ces faces répandues par milliers dans la divine Comédie de Dante Alighieri.”

La figure d’une jeune femme a le calme, le poli, la fraîcheur de la surface d’un lac. La physionomie des femmes ne commence qu’à trente ans.”

une tête de vieille femme n’appartient plus alors ni au monde qui, frivole, est effrayé d’y apercevoir la destruction de toutes les idées d’élégance auxquelles il est habitué ni aux artistes vulgaires qui n’y découvrent rien; mais aux vrais poètes, à ceux qui ont le sentiment d’un beau indépendant de toutes les conventions sur lesquelles reposent tant de préjugés en fait d’art et de beauté.”

Les peintres ont des couleurs pour ces portraits, mais les idées et les paroles sont impuissantes pour les traduire fidèlement”

Ces souffrances sans cesse refoulées avaient produit à la longue je ne sais quoi de morbide en cette femme. Sans doute quelques émotions trop violentes avaient physiquement altéré ce coeur maternel, et quelque maladie, un anévrisme peut-être, menaçait lentement cette femme à son insu. Les peines vraies sont en apparence si tranquilles dans le lit profond qu’elles se sont fait, où elles semblent dormir, mais où elles continuent à corroder l’âme comme cet épouvantable acide qui perce le cristal! En ce moment deux larmes sillonnèrent les joues de la marquise, et elle se leva comme si quelque réflexion plus poignante que toutes les autres l’eût vivement blessée. Elle avait sans doute jugé l’avenir de Moïna. Or, en prévoyant les douleurs qui attendaient sa fille, tous les malheurs de as propre vie lui étaient retombés sur le coeur.

          La situation de cette mère sera comprise em expliquant celle de sa fille.”

Elle savait d’avance que Moïna n’écouterait aucun de ses sages avertissements; elle n’avait aucun pouvoir sur cette âme, de fer pour elle et toute moelleuse pour les autres. Sa tendresse l’eût portée à s’intéresser aux malheurs d’une passion justifiée par les nobles qualités du séducteur, mais sa fille suivait un mouvement de coquetterie; et la marquise méprisait le comte Alfred de Vandenesse, sachant qu’il était homme à considérer sa lutte avec Moïna comme une partie d’échecs.” “le marquis de Vandenesse, père d’Alfred”

Le sentiment maternel est si large dans les coeurs aimants qu’avant d’arriver à l’indifférence une mère doit mourir ou s’appuyer sur quelque grande puissance, la religion ou l’amour.”

Ce sourire prouvait à cette jeune parricide que le coeur d’une mère est un abîme au fond duquel se trouve toujours un pardon.”

14 anos investidos no livro

L’ENCYCLOPÉDIE – AG

AG

* AGE, (Myth.) Les Poëtes ont distribué le tems qui suivit la formation de l’homme en quatre âges. L’âge d’or, sous le regne de Saturne au ciel, & sous celui de l’innocence & de la justice en terre. La terre produisoit alors sans culture, & des fleuves de miel & de lait couloient de toutes parts. L’âge d’argent, sous lequel ces hommes commencerent à être moins justes & moins heureux. L’âge d’airain, où le bonheur des hommes diminua encore avec leur vertu; & l’âge de fer, sous lequel, plus méchans que sous l’âge d’airain, ils furent plus malheureux. On trouvera tout ce système exposé plus au long dans l’ouvrage d’Hésiode, intitulé Opera & dies; ce Poëte fait à son frère l’histoire des siècles écoulés, & lui montre le malheur constamment attaché à l’injustice, afin de le détourner d’être méchant [?]. Cette allégorie des âges est très-philosophique & très-instructive; elle étoit très-propre à apperendre aux peuples à estimer la vertu ce qu’elle vaut.

Les Historiens, ou plûtôt les Chronologistes, ont divisé l’age du Monde en six époques principales, entre lesquelles ils laissent plus ou moins d’intervalles, selon qu’ils font le monde plus ou moins vieux. Ceux qui placent la création six mille ans avant Jesus-Christ, comptent pour l’âge d’Adam jusqu’au déluge, 2.262 ans; depuis le déluge jusqu’au partage des Nations, 738; depuis le partage des Nations jusqu’à Abraham, 460; depuis Abraham jusqu’à la pâque des Israëlites, 645; depuis la pâque des Israëlites jusqu’à Saül, 774; depuis Saül jusqu’à Cyrus, 583; & depuis Cyrus jusqu’à Jesus-Christ, 538.

Ceux qui ne font le monde âgé que de 4 mille ans, comptent de la création au déluge, 1.656; du déluge à la vocation d’Abraham, 426; depuis Abraham jusqu’à la sortie d’Egypte, 430; depuis la sortie d’Egypte jusqu’à la fondation du Temple, 480; depuis la fondation du Temple jusqu’à Cyrus, 476; depuis Cyrus jusqu’à Jesus-Christ, 532.

D’autres comptent de la création à la prise de Troie, 2.830 ans; & à la fondation de Rome, 3.250; de Carthage vaincue par Scipion à Jesus-Christ, 200; de Jesus-Christ à Constantin, 312, & au rétablissement de l’Empire d’Occident, 808.”

TRADUÇÃO COMPLETA DO VERBETE:

IDADES, (Mitologia) Os Poetas dividiram o tempo que sucedeu à criação do homem em 4 partes. A idade de ouro, sob o reinado de Saturno nos Céus, e da Inocência e da Justiça na Terra. A própria terra dava de comer sem precisar ser cultivada, pois era excessivamente fértil, e havia favos de mel e leite jorrando de todas as partes. A idade de prata, em que os homens principiaram a ser menos justos e felizes. A idade de bronze, quando a felicidade do homem decaía mais e mais, em proporção ao rebaixamento da virtude. E finalmente a idade de ferro, a idade mais infeliz dos homens, quando já eram mais maus que na idade de bronze. Esse sistema é meticulosamente descrito na obra de Hesíodo Os Trabalhos e Os Dias. Esse poeta dedica a seu irmão caçula a história dos séculos passados, mostrando a desgraça inexoravelmente ligada à injustiça, como uma espécie de educação sentimental ao menino: não sejas cruel! Essa alegoria das idades é bastante filosófica e intuitiva; nenhuma melhor a fim de transmitir ao homem o real valor da virtude.

Os Historiadores, ou melhor diria Cronologistas, dividiram as épocas do mundo em 6 principais, de forma geral, mas discordando, entre si, a respeito da duração de cada época, e dos marcos que representaram as transições, explicando-se assim a variação nas teorias acerca da idade total do mundo:

Aqueles que optam pela criação do mundo a 6.000 a.C. contam, de Adão ao Dilúvio, 2.262 anos; do dilúvio à partilha das nações pelos Eleitos de Jeová, 738; da divisão das tribos até Abraão, decorreram mais 460 anos; de Abraão ao Êxodo, outros 645; do exílio no deserto ao reinado de Saul, temos 774 anos; de Saul a Ciro, 583; de Ciro a Jesus, 538.”¹

¹ Perceba que a soma dos 6 períodos, tão irregulares entre si, dá exatamente 6.000. Mas se o mundo tem 6.000 anos, e esta Enciclopédia é do século XVIII, provavelmente esses historiadores eram contemporâneos de Cristo, ou muito maus matemáticos!

Outros, partidários da teoria de que a Terra não tem mais do que 4 mil anos de existência, computam da Criação ao Dilúvio 1.656 anos; do Dilúvio ao pacto monoteísta de Abraão, 426; do aparecimento de Abraão à fuga do Egito, 430; entre o grande expurgo e a fundação do Templo de Salomão, mais 480; a partir da fundação do templo até o reinado de Ciro, 476; e de Ciro a Jesus 532.”¹

¹ Outra vez a mágica: as 6 parcelas totalizam 4 mil.

Um terceiro grupo contabiliza do Gênese à destruição de Tróia precisamente 2.830 anos; daí à fundação de Roma, mais 3.250 anos; de quando Cipião¹ venceu Cartago até Jesus Cristo, dois séculos exatos; até Constantino surgir, transcorreram-se mais 312 anos; o reestabelecimento do Império do Ocidente ter-se-ia dado, por fim, 808 anos após.”²

¹ Públio Cornélio Cipião Africano, cônsul e general romano. Com uma margem de erro de uma ou duas décadas, a contagem desse intervalo segue muito provável, segundo os dados da historiografia contemporânea, aperfeiçoada desde o tempo dos Enciclopedistas.

² Essa conta, que fecha em 7.400, é a mais particular das 3, e além de escolher “menos datas bíblicas” se estende até quase a época de Diderot. Curioso, no entanto, é a uniformidade das perspectivas sobre as dimensões da “idade do universo” então: nunca mais antigo do que um punhadinho de milênios que se contam nos dedos.

AGITATEURS, s. m. (Hist. mod.) nom que l’on donna en Angleterre vers le milieu du siecle passé à certains Agens ou Solliciteurs que l’armée créa pour veiller à ses intérêts. Cromwel se ligua avec les Agitateurs, trouvant qu’ils étoient plus écoutés que le Conseil de guerre même. Les Agitateurs commencerent à proposer la réforme de la Religion & de l’État, & contribuerent plus que tous les autres factieux à l’abolition de l’Épiscopat & de la Royauté: mais Cromwel parvenu à ses fins par leur moyen, vint à bout de les faire casser.

AGLIBOLUS.png* AGLIBOLUS, (Myth.) Dieu des Palmyréniens. Ils adoroient le soleil sous ce nom: ils le représentoient sous la figure d’un jeune homme vêtu d’une tunique relevée par la ceinture, & qui ne lui descendoit que jusqu’au genou, & ayant à sa main gauche un petit bâton en forme de rouleau; ou selon Hérodien, sous la forme d’une grosse pierre ronde par enbas, & finissant en pointe; ou sous la forme d’un homme fait, avec les cheveux frisés, la figure de la lune sur l’épaule, des cothurnes aux piés, & un javelot à la main.”

AGON, s. m. (Hist. anc.) chez les Anciens étoit une dispute ou combat pour la supériorité dans quelqu’exercice du corps ou de l’esprit.

Il y avoit de ces combats dans la plupart des fêtes anciennes en l’honneur des Dieux ou des Héros. V. Fête, Jeu.

Il y en avoit aussi d’institués exprès, & qui ne se célébroient pas simplement pour rendre quelque fête plus solemnelle. Tels étoient à Athenes l’agon gymnicus, l’agon nemeus, institué par les Argiens dans la 53e Olympiade; l’agon olympius, institué par Hercule 430 ans avant la premiere Olympiade. Voyez Néméen, Olympique, &c.

Les Romains, à l’imitation des Grecs, instituerent aussi de ces sortes de combats. L’Empereur Aurélien en établit un sous le nom d’agon solis, combat du soleil; Diocletien un autre, sous le nom d’agon capitolinus, qui se célébroit tous les quatre ans à la maniere des jeux Olympiques. C’est pourquoi au lieu de compter les années par lustres, les Romains les ont quelquefois comptées par agones.

Agon se disoit aussi du Ministre dans les sacrifices dont la fonction étoit de frapper la victime. Voyez Sacrifice, Victime.

On croit que ce nom lui est venu de ce que se tenant prêt à porter le coup, il demandoit: agon ou agone, frapperai-je?

L’agon en ce sens s’appelloit aussi pona cultr arius & victimarius. (G)”

AGRANIES, AGRIANIES ou AGRIONIES, (Hist. anc. Myth.) fête instituée à Argos en l’honneur d’une fille de Proëtus. Plutarque décrit ainsi cette fête. Les femmes y cherchent Bacchus, & ne le trouvant pas elles cessent leurs poursuites, disant qu’il s’est retiré près des Muses. Elles soupent ensemble, & après le repas elles se proposent des énigmes: mystere qui signifioit que l’érudition & les Muses doivent accompagner la bonne chere; & si l’ivresse y survient, sa fureur est cachée par les Muses qui la retiennent chez elles, c’est-à-dire, qui en répriment l’excès. On célébroit ces fêtes pendant la nuit, & l’on y portoit des ceintures & des couronnes de lier[r]e, arbuste consacré à Bacchus & aux Muses. (G)”

* AGRÉABLE, GRACIEUX, “On aime la rencontre d’un homme gracieux; il plaît. On recherche la compagnie d’un homme agréable; il amuse. Les personnes polies sont toûjours gracieuses. Les personnes enjoüées sont ordinairement agréables. Ce n’est pas assez pour la société d’être d’un abord gracieux, & d’un commerce agréable. On fait une réception gracieuse. On a la conversation agréable. Il semble que les hommes sont gracieux par l’air, & les femmes par les manières.”

AGRICULTURE. “Les Egyptiens faisoient honneur de son invention à Osiris; les Grecs à Cerès & à Triptoleme son fils; les Italiens à Saturne ou à Janus leur Roi, qu’ils placerent au rang des Dieux en reconnoissance de ce bienfait. L’agriculture fut presque l’unique emploi des Patriarches, les plus respectables de tous les hommes par la simplicité de leurs moeurs, la bonté de leur ame, & l’élevation de leurs sentimens. Elle a fait les délices des plus grands hommes chez les autres peuples anciens. Cyrus le jeune avoit planté lui-même la plûpart des arbres de ses jardins, & daignoit les cultiver; & Lisandre de Lacédemone, & l’un des chefs de la République, s’écrioit à la vûe des jardins de Cyrus: O Prince, que tous les hommes vous doivent stimer heureux, d’avoir sü joindre ainsi la vertu à tant de grandeur & de dignité! Lisandre dit la vertu, comme si l’on eût pensé dans ces tems qu’un Monarque agriculteur ne pouvoit manquer d’être un homme vertueux; & il est constant du moins qu’il doit avoir le goût des choses utiles & des occupations innocentes. Hiéron de Syracuse, Attalus, Philopator de Pergame, Archelaüs de Macédoine, & une infinité d’autres, sont loüés par Pline & par Xénophon, qui ne loücient pas sans connoissance, & qui n’étoient pas leurs sujets, de l’amour qu’ils ont eu pour les champs & pour les travaux de la campagne. La culture des champs fut le premier objet du Législateur des Romains; & pour en donner à ses sujets la haute idée qu’il en avoit lui-même, la fonction des premiers Prêtres qu’il institua, fut d’offrir aux Dieux les prémices de la terre, & de leur demander des recoltes abondantes. Ces Prêtres étoient au nombre de douze; ils étoient appellés Arvals, de arva, champs, terres labourables. Un d’entr’eux étant mort, Romulus lui-même prit sa place; & dans la suite on n’accorda cette dignité qu’à ceux qui pouvoient prouver une naissance illustre. Dans ces premiers tems, chacun faisoit valoir son héritage, & en tiroit sa subsistance. Les Consuls trouverent les choses dans cet état, & n’y firent aucun changement. Toute la campagne de Rome fut cultivée par les vainqueurs des Nations. On vit pendant plusieurs siecles, les plus célebres d’entre les Romains, passer de la campagne aux premiers emplois de la République, &, ce qui est infiniment plus digne d’être observé, revenir des premiers emplois de la République aux occupations de la campagne. Ce n’étoit point indolence; ce n’étoit point dégoût des grandeurs, ou éloignement des affaires publiques: on retrouvoit dans les besoins de l’État nos illustres agriculteurs, toujours prêts à devenir les défenseurs de la patrie. Serranus semoit son champ, quand on l’appella à la tête de l’Armée Romaine: Quintius Cincinnatus la bouroit une piece de terre qu’il possédoit au-delà du Tibre, quand il reçut ses provisions de Dictateur; Quintius Cincinnatus quitta ce tranquille exercice; prit le commandement des armées; vainquit les ennemis; fit passer les captifs sous le joug; reçut les honneurs du triomphe, & fut à son champ au bout de 16 jours. Tout dans les premiers tems de la République & les plus beaux jours de Rome, marqua la haute estime qu’on y faisoit de l’agriculture: les gens riches, locupletes, n’étoient autre chose que ce que nous appellerions aujourd’hui de gros Laboureurs & de riches Fermiers. La premiere monnoie, pecunia à pecu, porta l’empreinte d’un mouton ou d’un boeuf, comme symboles principaux de l’opulence: les registres des Questeurs & des Censeurs s’appellerent pascua. Dans la distinction des citoyens Romains, les premiers & les plus considérables furent ceux qui formoient les tribus rustiques, rusticoe tribus: c’étoit une grande ignominie, d’être réduit, par le défaut d’une bonne & sage oeconomie de ses champs, au nombre des habitans de la ville & de leurs tribus, in tribu urbana. On prit d’assaut la ville de Carthage: tous les livres qui remplissoient ses Bibliotheques furent donnés en présent à des Princes amis de Rome; elle ne se réserva pour elle que les 28 livres d’agriculture du Capitaine Magon. Decius Syllanus fut chargé de les traduire; & l’on conserva l’original & la traduction avec un très-grand soin. Le vieux Caton étudia la culture des champs, & en écrivit: Ciceron la recommande à son fils, & en fait un très bel éloge: Omnium rerum, lui dit-il, ex quibus aliquid exquisitur, nihil est agriculturâ melius, nihil uberius, nihil dulcius, nihil homine libero dignius. Mais cet éloge n’est pas encore de la force de celui de Xénophon. L’agriculture naquit avec les lois & la société; elle est contemporaine de la division des terres. Les fruits de la terre furent la premiere richesse: les hommes n’en connurent point d’autres, tant qu’ils furent plus jaloux d’augmenter leur félicité dans le coin de terre qu’ils occupoient, que de se transplanter en différens endroits pour s’instruire du bonheur ou du malheur des autres: mais aussitôt que l’esprit de conquête eut agrandi les sociétés & enfanté le luxe, le commerce, & toutes les autres marques éclatantes de la grandeur & de la méchanceté des peuples; les métaux devinrent la représentation de la richesse, l’agriculture perdit de ses premiers honneurs; & les travaux de la campagne abandonnés à des hommes subalternes, ne conserverent leur ancienne dignité que dans les chants des Poëtes. Les beaux esprits des siecles de corruption, ne trouvant rien dans les villes qui prêtât aux images & à la peinture, se répandirent encore en imagination dans les campagnes, & se plurent à retracer les moeurs anciennes, cruelle satyre de celles de leur tems: mais la terre sembla se venger elle-même du mépris qu’on faisoit de sa culture. «Elle nous donnoit autrefois, dit Pline, ses fruits avec abondance; elle prenoit, pour ainsi dire, plaisir d’être cultivée par des charrues couronnées par des mains triomphantes; & pour correspondre à cet honneur, elle multiplioit de tout son pouvoir ses productions. Il n’en est plus de même aujourd’hui; nous l’avons abandonnée à des Fermiers mercenaires; nous la faisons cultiver par des esclaves ou par des forçats; & l’on seroit tenté de croire qu’elle a ressenti cet affront.» [Je] ne sai[s] quel est l’état de l’agriculture à la Chine: mais le Pere du Halde nous apprend que l’Empereur, pour en inspirer le goût à ses sujets, met la main à la charrue tous les ans une fois; qu’il trace quelques sillons; & que les plus distingués de sa Cour lui succèdent tour à tour au même travail & à la même charrue.”

Constantin le Grand défendit à tout créancier de saisir pour dettes civiles les esclaves, les boeufs, & tous les instrumens du labour. «S’il arrive aux créanciers, aux cautions, aux Juges mêmes, d’enfreindre cette loi, ils subiront une peine arbitraire à laquelle ils seront condamnés par un Juge supérieur.» Le même Prince étendit cette défense par une autre loi, & enjoignit aux Receveurs de ses deniers [denários], sous peine de mort, de laisser en paix le Laboureur indigent. Il concevoit que les obstacles qu’on apporteroit à l’agriculture diminueroient l’abondance des vivres & du commerce, & par contrecoup l’étendue de ses droits. Il y eut un tems où l’habitant des provinces étoit tenu de fournir des chevaux de poste aux couriers, & des boeufs aux voitures publiques; Constantin eut l’attention d’excepter de ces corvées le cheval & le boeuf servant au labour.”

Mais les lois qui protegent la terre, le Laboureur & le boeuf, ont veillé à ce que le Laboureur remplît son devoir. L’Empereur Pertinax voulut que le champ laissé en friche appartînt à celui qui le cultiveroit; que celui qui le défricheroit fût exempt d’imposition pendant dix ans; & s’il étoit esclave, qu’il devînt libre. Aurelien ordonna aux Magistrats municipaux des villes d’appeller d’autres citoyens à la culture des terres abandonnées de leur domaine, & il accorda trois ans d’immunité à ceux qui s’en chargeroient. Une loi de Valentinien, de Théodose & d’Arcade met le premier occupant en possession des terres abandonnées, & les lui accorde sans retour, si dans l’espace de deux ans personne ne les réclame: mais les Ordonnances de nos Rois ne sont pas moins favorables à l’agriculture que les Lois Romaines.”

Cet article n’auroit point de fin, si nous nous proposions de rapporter toutes les Ordonnances relatives à la conservation des grains depuis la semaille jusqu’à la récolte. Mais ne sont-elles pas toutes bien justes? Est-il quelqu’un qui voulût se donner les fatigues & faire toutes les dépenses nécessaires à l’agriculture, & disperser sur la terre le grain qui charge son grenier, s’il n’attendoit la récompense d’une heureuse moisson?”

«Si quelque voleur de nuit dépouille un champ qui n’est pas à lui, il sera pendu, s’il a plus de 14 ans; il sera battu de verges, s’il est plus jeune, est livré au propriétaire du champ, pour être son esclave jusqu’à ce qu’il ait réparé le dommage, suivant la taxe du Préteur. Celui qui mettra le feu à un tas de blé, sera fouetté & brûlé vif. Si le feu y prend par sa négligence, il payera le dommage, ou sera battu de verges, à la discrétion du Préteur».

AGRIPPA, (Hist. anc.) nom que l’on donnoit anciennement aux enfans qui étoient venus au monde dans une attitude autre que celle qui est ordinaire & naturelle, & specialement à ceux qui étoient venus les piés en devant.”

ce mot a été à Rome un nom, puis un surnom d’hommes, qu’on a féminisé en Agrippina. (G)”

* AGUAS, (Géogr.) peuple considérable de l’Amérique méridionale, sur le bord du fleuve des Amazones. Ce sont, dit-on dans l’excellent Dictionnaire portatis de M. Vosgien, les plus raisonnables des Indiens: ils serrent la tête entre deux planches à leurs enfans aussitôt qu’ils sont nés.”

UM FRAGMENTO DA COMÉDIA HUMANA – Honoré de Balzac (A VENDETA + A PAZ CONJUGAL)

Tradução de William Lagos, L&PM, 2006.

Comentários da edição inseridos após trechos das duas obras de Ivan Pinheiro Machado.

GLOSSÁRIO

ritornelo: “Do italiano ritornello, <estribilho> ou <pequeno retorno>. Passagem musical curta e recorrente no meio de uma composição maior, no caso uma suíte de danças.”

A VENDETA

(*) “O Palácio do Louvre transformou-se em museu em 1791, mas sua construção só foi completada sob Napoleão III.

Mas a fonte da bondade fugidia que caracteriza os parisienses se esgotava de imediato. Tão logo o desconhecido percebia ser objeto da atenção de qualquer transeunte, encarava-o com um ar tão feroz que o desocupado mais corajoso apressava o passo como se tivesse pisado em uma serpente.”

As pessoas que desejam intensamente alguma coisa são quase sempre bem atendidas pelo destino.”

Esse costume da vendeta é um preconceito que ainda vai impedir por muito tempo a aplicação das leis na Córsega”

Se você começar a brandir o punhal por estas bandas, não deverá esperar por qualquer misericórdia. Aqui a lei se destina a proteger todos os cidadãos e ninguém tem o direito de fazer justiça por suas próprias mãos.”

(*) “Os Cem Dias: O período entre o retorno de Napoleão da Ilha de Elba (no Meditarrâneo), em março de 1815, e sua abdicação definitiva a 18 de julho daquele ano, quando foi desterrado para a ilha de Santa Helena, no oceano Atlântico, ao largo da África, onde morreu, em 1821.”

As crianças, as mocinhas e os velhos compartilhavam da febre monárquica que dominava o governo.” “Incapaz de renegar sua fé política, até mesmo disposto a proclamá-la, o velho barão de Piombo permanecera em Paris no meio de seus inimigos. A própria Ginevra de Piombo poderia ser perfeitamente colocada na lista das pessoas suspeitas, porque ela não fazia o menor mistério da tristeza que a Segunda Restauração causava a sua família. Talvez as únicas lágrimas que ela havia derramado em sua vida até então lhe houvessem sido arrancadas pela dupla notícia do cativeiro de Bonaparte no Bellérophon e da prisão de Labédoyère.”

Por mesquinha e insignificante que pudesse parecer hoje em dia a iniciativa de Amélie Thirion, era então uma expressão de ódio perfeitamente natural.”

todos os artistas têm um lugar preferido para seu trabalho.”

O único defeito daquela criatura verdadeiramente poética derivava da própria pujança de uma beleza que se desenvolvera tanto: ela era claramente uma mulher. Até então ela se recusara a casar, por amor a seu pai e sua mãe e porque sentia que sua companhia lhes era necessária em sua velhice. Seu gosto pela pintura havia tomado o lugar das emoções que em geral manifestam as mulheres.”

Não existe nada mais mortificante para um bando de moças maldosas, como de resto para todo o mundo, do que perceber que uma picuinha, um insulto ou um gracejo de mau gosto não fizeram o menor efeito sobre a vítima pretendida, que, muito pelo contrário, mostra a maior indiferença. Segundo parece, o ódio contra um inimigo aumenta quanto mais ele demonstra estar acima de nosso rancor.” “os exemplos que ela dera anteriormente sobre sua natureza vingativa e sua firmeza em cobrar sempre uma retribuição por qualquer ofensa já haviam deixado uma impressão profunda no espírito de suas companheiras.”

girodet endymion

Endimião, como fôra representado na obra-prima de Girodet” (*) “Endimião é um personagem mitológico de grande beleza, um pastor por quem Selene, deusa da Lua, apaixonou-se. Ela o contemplava todas as noites enquanto ele dormia. A deusa conseguiu de Zeus a graça de que o rapaz conservasse eternamente sua beleza, ainda que mergulhado em um sono eterno. Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy, chamado Girodet-Trioson (1767-1824), foi um pintor neoclássico francês.

nada escapa aos olhos aguçados pelo ódio”

Quando alguém se decide a morrer, o melhor é vender sua cabeça ao carrasco.”

a doce piedade que as mulheres encontram em seus corações pelos desgraçados que não trazem em si nada de ignóbil havia obscurecido no coração de Ginevra qualquer outro tipo de afeição; mas escutar um juramento de vingança, descobrir naquele proscrito uma alma italiana, um devotamento por Napoleão, de fato, uma alma de corso? Isso já era demais, e ela contemplou o jovem oficial com uma emoção cheia de respeito, mas que lhe agitava fortemente o coração.”

O Dio! Che non vorrei vivere dopo averla veduta!”

Ó, Deus!… Quem não quereria viver, depois de tê-la visto?…”

(*) “A frase está redigida em italiano, mas, somente na Córsega, existem 14 dialetos, e dificilmente dois corsos conversariam entre si no toscano da Itália central, que originou o italiano moderno.”

Durante um momento bastante curto, ela pareceu estar sonhando, como se estivesse imersa em um pensamento infinito”

O pobre soldado contou seus sofrimentos durante a derrota de Moscou, a forma como ele descobriu, depois da passagem do rio Berezina(*) e com apenas dezenove anos, ser o único sobrevivente de seu regimento, depois de ter visto morrer todos os seus camaradas de armas, os únicos homens que já haviam demonstrado interesse por um órfão.” (*) “Cenário de uma das maiores catástrofes da retirada de Napoleão da Rússia. A ponte sobre o rio Berezina fôra destruída sem conhecimento dos franceses, mas o passo implacável do Grande Exército forçou batalhões inteiros a se precipitarem nas águas geladas do rio, antes que finalmente conseguissem fazer parar as tropas, cujo avanço os empurrava para a morte sem perceber. A vanguarda inteira, composta por dezenas de milhares de soldados, morreu afogada ou congelada nessa ocasião.”

Nesse mesmo dia, ela ficou sabendo que o nome dele era Luigi.” (*) “Balzac chama o personagem alternadamente de <Luigi> e <Louis>, respectivamente, a forma italiana e francesa do mesmo nome.”

Logo Mlle. Roguin, a filha do porteiro do gabinete do rei, começou a achar que era pouco conveniente freqüentar o ateliê de um pintor cujas opiniões traziam uns respingos de patriotismo ou de <bonapartismo>, coisas que, naquela época, pareciam uma só e, desse modo, ela parou de ir às aulas de Servin.” “Um dia, Mathilde Roguin não apareceu mais; na lição seguinte, faltava outra moça; finalmente, 3 ou 4 garotas, que eram as últimas remanescentes freqüentando as aulas, pararam de ir também. Ginevra e mademoiselle Laure, sua amiga, foram durante 2 ou 3 dias de aulas as únicas habitantes do ateliê, agora deserto.”

Se as paixões somente nascem e crescem sob a influência de causas românticas, jamais tantas circunstâncias concorreram para ligar entre si 2 seres pelos laços do mesmo sentimento. A amizade de Ginevra por Louis e de Louis por ela fez assim maiores progressos em um único mês do que uma amizade normal se desenvolve durante dez anos de encontros em salões de festas. Pois não é a adversidade a pedra de toque que forja o caráter?” “Mais velha que Louis, Ginevra encontrou uma grande doçura em ver-se cortejada por um homem já tão grandioso, que já fôra provado tantas vezes pela sorte, mas que juntava ainda à experiência de um homem a graça de um adolescente. Do seu lado, Louis sentia um prazer indescritível em se deixar aparentemente proteger por uma jovem de 25 anos. Não era isso uma prova de amor a mais? A união da doçura com a ferocidade ou da força com a fraqueza demonstrava em Ginevra uma atração irresistível, a um ponto em que Louis sentiu-se inteiramente subjugado por ela.”

– A vida é longa e nos reencontraremos: as jovens acabam se casando… – disse Ginevra.”

Apesar das delicadas missões financeiras que confiavam à sua discrição, que alcançavam grande sucesso e se mostravam muito lucrativas, ele não possuía mais que 30 mil libras de renda em fundos de valores da bolsa. Se fosse comparadas com as grandes fortunas acumuladas sob o Império, caso se recordasse a liberalidade de Napoleão para aqueles de seus fiéis que sabiam pedir, é fácil perceber que o barão de Piombo era um homem de probidade severa.” “Bartholoméo sempre professou um ódio implacável pelos traidores e que se cercara Napoleão, que acreditava poder-lhes conquistar a fidelidade à força de vitória.” “A partir do retorno dos Bourbons, Bartholoméo deixou de usar a condecoração da Legião de Honra. Nunca outro homem ofereceu tão bela imagem dessas velhos republicanos, amigos incorruptíveis do Império, que permaneceram como destroços vivos dos dois governos mais enérgicos que o mundo já conheceu. Se o barão de Piombo desagradava a alguns dos cortesãos, seus amigos eram Daru, Drouot e Carnot.” (*) “Lazare-Nicolas-Marguerite, conde de Carnot (1753-1823), general e matemático francês.” Não se trata do Carnot da termodinâmica, um pouco mais jovem.

O mobiliário do tempo de Louis XIV era perfeitamente adequado a Bartholoméo e sua esposa, personagens dignos da Antiguidade. Sob o Império e durante os Cem Dias, ao exercer funções muito bem remuneradas, o velho corso mantivera muitos criados, mais com o objetivo de fazer honrar seu cargo do que pelo desejo de brilhar. Sua vida e a vida de sua esposa eram tão frugais e tranqüilas que sua modesta fortuna bastava para atender a suas necessidades. Para os dois, sua filha Ginevra valia mais que todas as riquezas do mundo. Desse modo, em maio de 1814, quando o barão de Piombo deixou seu cargo, demitindo igualmente a maior parte de seus criados e fechando as portas de sua estrebaria, Ginevra, simples e sem luxos, tal como seus pais, não sentiu a menor lástima: a exemplo das grandes almas, ela se revestia do luxo que vinha da força dos sentimentos, do mesmo modo que colocava sua felicidade na solidão e no trabalho. Além disso, esses 3 seres se amavam demais uns aos outros para que as coisas exteriores da existência tivessem qualquer valor a seus olhos. Freqüentemente, sobretudo depois da segunda e assustadora queda de Napoleão, Bartholoméo e sua esposa passavam noites deliciosas escutando Ginevra tocar piano ou cantar. Existia para eles um imenso prazer secreto na presença e na menor palavra da filha; eles a seguiam com os olhos, com uma preocupação cheia de ternura, e escutavam seus passos no pátio, por mais silenciosos que fossem. Do mesmo modo que amantes, eles podiam ficar os 3 em silêncio durante horas inteiras, assim escutando melhor a eloqüência de suas almas do que por meio de palavras. Esse sentimento profundo, que era a própria vida dos dois velhos, animava todos os seus pensamentos. Não eram três existências, mas uma única que, semelhante às chamas da lareira, divisava-se em três labaredas de fogo.”

Ginevra jogava-se inteira em qualquer coisa que lhe desse vontade, era tão vingativa e impulsiva como Bartholoméo havia sido em sua juventude.” “Mas, uma vez que esse aprendizado de vingança só podia ser realizado no interior do lar paterno, Ginevra nunca perdoava nada a seu pai, e era inevitável que ele cedesse perante ela.” “era quando se ameaçavam mutuamente que estavam mais perto de se abraçarem aos beijos.” “Ginevra vivia com seu pai e sua mãe um relacionamento de igualdade, o que sempre é funesto. Para terminar o relato de todas as mudanças que ocorreram a esses 3 personagens depois de sua chegada a Paris, Piombo e sua mulher, gente sem instrução, haviam deixado Ginevra estudar segundo sua própria vontade. Deixada ao léu de seus caprichos de mocinha, ela tinha aprendido um pouco de tudo e deixado de lado um pouco de tudo, retomando e abandonando de novo cada intenção uma após a outra, até que a pintura se transformou em sua paixão dominante; ela teria sido perfeita, caso sua mãe tivesse sido capaz de orientar seus estudos, de elucidar e harmonizar os dons que lhe dera a natureza: seus defeitos provinham da funesta educação que o velho corso sentira prazer em lhe transmitir.

(*) “Sra. Shandy: Mãe de Tristram Shandy, personagem fictício do escritor irlandês Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), cuja obra A vida e as opiniões do cavaleiro Tristram Shandy é citada com freqüência por Balzac.”

– Aqui está ela, Ginevra, Ginevrettina, Ginevrina, Ginevrola, Ginevretta, Ginevra bella!…

– Pai, o senhor está me machucando!…”

Os dois velhos ofereciam naquele momento a imagem exata dessas plantas sofredoras e sequiosas a que um pouco de água devolve a vida após um longo período de seca.

– Vamos jantar, vamos jantar!… – exclamou o Barão, oferecendo a mão larga a Ginevra, que chamou de signora Piombellina(*), um outro sintoma de felicidade a que sua filha respondeu com um sorriso.”

(*) “Senhora Chumbinho, trocadilho feito com o sobrenome Piombo, ou <chumbo>. Em italiano no original.”

Você está agindo mal, minha filha: é muito feio amar outro homem além de seu pai…”

Elisa – acrescentou ele, olhando para a esposa, que permanecera imóvel durante todo o tempo –, nós não temos mais filha: ela quer se casar!…”

Se ele te ama tanto quanto você merece ser amada, então vou me matar; mas se ele não te amar assim, então o apunhalarei!…”

– Vou viver por muito mais tempo que você!… Os filhos que não honram seus pais morrem em seguida!… – gritou seu pai, que havia chegado ao último grau da exasperação.

– Razão de sobra então para que eu me case em seguida e seja feliz, nem que seja por pouco tempo!… – gritou ela.”

– Este Noturno é a duas vozes: falta uma voz masculina!…

Ela era italiana, e não é preciso dizer mais nada.”

Era a segunda vez que o pobre oficial saía de seu esconderijo. As solicitações insistentes que Ginevra fizera ao duque de Feltre, na época ministro da Guerra, tinham sido coroadas de pleno sucesso. Louis acabara de ser reintegrado no exército, embora seu nome fosse incluído na relação dos oficiais da Reserva.” “Este homem tão corajoso em face da adversidade, tão bravo no campo de batalha, tremia só de pensar em sua entrada no salão dos Piombo.”

– Mas você está pálido!

– Ah, Ginevra! Pois minha vida inteira não depende disso?…”

– A semelhança do cavalheiro com Nina Porta é impressionante. Você não acha que o cavalheiro traz todos os traços fisionômicos dos Porta?

– Nada de mais natural – respondeu o jovem, sobre quem os olhos chamejantes do velho se fixaram. – Nina era minha irmã…

– Então você é Luigi Porta?… – indagou o velho.

– Sim.”

A EURÍDICE MODERNA: “Luigi Porta, estupefato, olhou para Ginevra, que ficou tão branca como uma estátua de mármore, mantendo os olhos fixos na porta por onde seu pai e sua mãe tinham desaparecido.”

– Meu pai – respondeu ela – nunca me falou de nossa deplorável história, e eu era pequena demais quando saímos da Córsega para saber como foi.

– Nós estaríamos em vendeta, então? – indagou Luigi, tremendo.

– Sim, é verdade. Perguntando a minha mãe, fiquei sabendo que os Porta tinham matado meus irmãos e queimado nossa casa. Em vingança, meu pai massacrou toda a sua família. Como foi que você conseguiu sobreviver? Meu pai pensou que o havia amarrado firmemente às colunas de uma cama, antes de pôr fogo à casa…”

– Vá embora, vá embora, Luigi – gritou Ginevra. – Não, não é possível, tenho de ir com você. Enquanto permanecer dentro da casa de meu pai, não terá nada a temer; mas assim que sair, tenha o maior cuidado!… Você vai sair de um perigo para cair noutro!… Meu pai tem dois empregados corsos e, se não for ele mesmo a ameaçar sua vida, então será um dos dois.”

Horror ao alimento é um dos sintomas que demonstram as grandes crises da alma.”

– Terá de escolher entre ele e nós. Nossa vendeta é parte de nós mesmos. Quem não ajuda em minha vingança, não faz parte de minha família.”

– …tenho um punhal e não sinto o menor temor da justiça dos homens. Nós, os corsos, só damos explicações a Deus.

– Pois eu sou Ginevra di Piombo e declaro que, dentro de 6 meses, serei esposa de Luigi Porta. O senhor não passa de um tirano, meu pai – acrescentou ela, calmamente, depois de uma pausa assustadora.”

Na verdade, o velho sentia-se cruelmente ressentido por aquela ofensa tácita, colhendo naquele instante um dos frutos amargos que a educação dada por ele mesmo à filha produzira. O respeito é uma barreira que protege tanto um pai ou mãe quanto seus filhos, evitando àqueles as tristezas e a estes os remorsos.”

Ceará, a Córsega Tropical

Não era difícil, nem mesmo para ela, adivinhar que jamais poderia gozar inteiramente de uma felicidade que causava tristeza a seus pais. Todavia, tanto em Bartholoméo como em sua filha, todas as irresoluções causadas pela bondade natural de suas almas eram logo afastadas pela ferocidade herdada do rancor particular dos corsos. Sua cólera mútua dava coragem à raiva sentida pelo outro e ambos fechavam os olhos para o futuro. Talvez ambos ainda se iludissem de que um dos dois acabaria por ceder.

Acostumados a fingir um grande interesse pelas pessoas com quem falam, os escrivães acabam por colar ao rosto uma espécie de careta, uma máscara que colocam e retiram como seu pallium(*) oficial.” (*) “Espécie de manto usado pelos magistrados.”

o instrumento público torna nula a resistência paterna… por meio de seu registro… além de que… conforme consta dos requisitos da lei civil… afirma-se que todo homem sensato… após expressar uma última exprobração a seu descendente… deve conceder-lhe liberdade para…”

Uma transformação extraordinária ocorrera na fisionomia de Bartholoméo: todas as suas rugas se haviam aprofundado, o que lhe dava um ar de crueldade indefinível, enquanto ele lançava sobre o notário o olhar de um tigre a ponto de dar o bote.”

– Existem ainda na França leis que destroem o poder paterno? – indagou o corso.”

Nada é mais horrível que o firme controle e o raciocínio legalmente exato dos notários públicos em meio às cenas apaixonadas em que eles estão acostumados a intervir.”

– Fuja, então!… – disse ele. – A mulher de Luigi Porta não poderá mais ser uma Piombo. (…) Minha Ginevra Piombo está enterrada aqui – gritou com voz profunda, apertando o peito à altura do coração.”

A alegria só se pode manifestar plenamente entre pessoas que se sentem iguais. O acaso determinou então que tudo fosse sombrio e grave ao redor dos noivos. Nada refletia a felicidade deles. Nem a igreja, nem a Prefeitura em que se localizava o cartório ficavam muito distantes do hotel. Os dois corsos, seguidos pelas 4 testemunhas que eram exigidas por lei, decidiram ir a pé, em uma simplicidade que despojou de qualquer pompa aquela grande cena da vida social.” “ali estavam, sozinhos no meio da multidão, tal como seria durante a vida que tinham pela frente.” “De um lado, a ostentação grosseira do prazer; do outro, o silêncio delicado das almas felizes: a terra e o céu.”

o mundo lhe reclamava a ausência de seus pais. Era como se a maldição paterna a perseguisse.”

O ódio entre os Porta e o Piombo e suas terríveis paixões foram escritos em uma página do registro de estado civil, assim como, sobre a lápide de um túmulo, são gravadas em poucas linhas os anais de um povo inteiro, muitas vezes em uma única palavra: Robespierre ou Napoleão.”

Os dois jovens corsos, cuja aliança continha toda a poesia atribuída tão genialmente a Romeu e Julieta, atravessaram duas alas de parentes alegres que não somente não tinham o menor interesse por eles, como já quase se impacientavam pelo atraso que lhes impunha aquele casamento aparentemente tão triste. Quando a jovem chegou ao pátio da subprefeitura e enxergou o céu, um suspiro de alívio escapou de seu seio.”

– Por que as pessoas se intrometem entre nós?”

(*) “Na época, os subprefeitos de cada arrondissement de Paris acumulavam as funções de juiz de paz.”

– Estamos começando a vida nos arruinando – disse ela, meio alegre, meio entristecida.

– Lá isso é verdade! Todos os meus soldos atrasados estão investidos aqui – respondeu Luigi. – Vendi o direito de cobrar os atrasados a um homem muito honesto, chamado Gigonnet¹.

– Mas por quê? – retorquiu ela, em um tom de reprovação em que se percebia uma satisfação secreta. – Você acha que eu seria menos feliz num sótão? Seja como for – continuou –, tudo isso é muito bonito e o melhor é que tudo é nosso…”

¹ Este personagem se encontra em outros livros da Comédia humana.

Pois o amor não é como o mar que, visto superficialmente ou às pressas, é acusado de monotonia pelas almas vulgares, enquanto certos entes privilegiados podem passar a vida inteira a admirá-lo, nele encontrando sem cessar fenômenos encantadores em perene mudança?”

Nunca a jovem artista havia pintado algo tão notável como esse auto-retrato.”

Ele também lutava contra concorrentes: o preço pago pelas cópias de escrituras tinha baixado a tal ponto que não lhe sobrava dinheiro para empregar quaisquer auxiliares e sentia-se obrigado a gastar muito mais tempo em seu labor para receber as mesmas somas de antes. Sua mulher tinha completado muitos quadros que não eram destituídos de mérito; mas naquela estação, os comerciantes quase nem compravam as obras de artistas que já gozavam de boa reputação; Ginevra passou a oferecê-los a preço vil e nem assim conseguia vender.”

No momento em que Ginevra se sentia a ponto de chorar por ver o sofrimento de Luigi, ela engolia as lágrimas e o recobria de carinhos. Do mesmo modo, era nos momentos em que Luigi sentia a mais negra desolação dentro de seu peito que expressava o mais terno amor a Ginevra. Eles buscavam uma compensação para seus males na exaltação de seus sentimentos, enquanto suas palavras, suas alegrias, suas brincadeiras se impregnavam de uma espécie de frenesi.”

A majestade da noite é realmente contagiosa, ela se impõe, ela nos inspira; existe alguma coisa muito poderosa na idéia de que, enquanto todos dormem, eu permaneço acordada.”

Luigi teve de tomar dinheiro emprestado para pagar as despesas do parto de Ginevra.”

Luigi a abraçou com um desses beijos desesperados que os amigos trocavam em 1793(*)” (*) “Em 1793, teve início o período do Terror da Revolução Francesa, que, com muitas execuções, durou até 1794, na tentativa de pôr fim à instabilidade política e assegurar a República.”

Minha morte é natural, eu sofria demais; além disso, uma felicidade tão grande como a que nós tivemos deveria ter um preço… Sim, meu Luigi, console-se… Fui tão feliz com você que, se eu recomeçasse a viver, aceitaria outra vez nosso destino. Mas eu sou uma mãe malvada: lastimo muito mais perder você do que perder o nosso filho… Meu filho…”

A PAZ CONJUGAL

Era como se uma embriaguez geral tivesse assumido o controle desse império que durou pouco mais de um dia. Todos os comandantes militares, sem exceção de seu chefe supremo, tinham-se transformado em novos-ricos e agiam como tal, gozando os tesouros conquistados por 1 milhão de homens que usavam simples divisas de lã e que se davam por satisfeitos ao serem recompensados com algumas fitas de lã vermelha.”

nessa época, tanto homens como mulheres se atiravam ao prazer com um abandono que parecia anunciar o fim do mundo. É preciso reconhecer que havia uma outra razão para essa libertinagem. A paixão das mulheres pelos militares se havia tornado uma espécie de frenesi e estava tão de acordo com os desejos do próprio imperador que este seria a última pessoa do mundo a tentar impedi-la.”

Assim, os corações tornaram-se tão errantes quanto os regimentos. Uma mulher tornava-se sucessivamente amante, esposa, mãe e viúva entre 5 relatórios de combate do Grande Exército. Seria a perspectiva de uma rápida viuvez, a de uma boa pensão ou a esperança de usar um sobrenome lembrado pela História que tornavam os militares tão sedutores?”

Nunca na história foram lançados tantos fogos de artifício, jamais os diamantes alcançaram tanto valor.” “Talvez fosse a necessidade de transformar os despojos de guerra na forma mais fácil de transportar que deu tanto valor a essas bugigangas entre os integrantes do exército.”

Murat, um homem de atitudes e temperamentos parecidos aos dos orientais, dava o exemplo de um tal luxo, que seria absurdo entre os militares modernos.”

Napoleão teria cumprido sua palavra, se não tivesse ocorrido uma cena desagradável entre ele e Joséphine naquela mesma noite, cena que anunciou o próximo divórcio desses augustos esposos.” (*) “Marie-Josèphe-Rose Tascher de La Pagerie (conhecida como Joséphine, 1763-1814), viscondessa viúva de Beauharnais, que foi guilhotinado em 1794. Em 1796, casou-se com Napoleão, 6 anos mais novo. Ele é quem decide mudar o nome da mulher para Joséphine, e logo após o casamento Napoleão é nomeado comandante da campanha militar na Itália. A vida do casal era conturbada, em parte devido às infidelidades da mulher. Joséphine tinha dois filhos do primeiro casamento, e Napoleão achava que a falta de prole do casal devia-se à sua própria esterilidade, até um dia em que uma camareira da imperatriz deu à luz um filho dele. Então ele se divorciou dela em 1809, com o intuito de formar uma dinastia, mas deixou que ela conservasse o título de imperatriz. Ela morre de pneumonia.”

As mulheres que tinham confiança suficiente na sedução de sua beleza vinham principalmente para experimentar a extensão de seus poderes. Ali, como aliás em toda parte, o prazer era apenas uma máscara.”

– Talvez seja uma viúva cujo marido está jogando bouilotte(*)! – replicou o belo couraceiro.

– É mesmo, agora que a paz foi assinada, muitas mulheres só ficam viúvas desse jeito! – respondeu Martial.”

(*) “Jogo de cartas derivado do pôquer inglês jogado entre 4 e 7 parceiros, embora o mais comum fossem 5.”

Veja só o vigor e a maciez da pele! As narinas mostram tanta juventude como as de uma colegial…”

– …Por que razão uma pessoa tão jovem estaria chorando?

– Ora, meu amigo, as mulheres choram por tão pouco… – disse o coronel.”

Ah, também!… Você está que nem uma panela de leite: vai ferver agora com a menor elevação da temperatura?…”

O senhor não é muito melhor em diplomacia do que eu, se primeiro imagina que essa garota é uma princesa alemã e, logo no instante seguinte, começa a sugerir que não passa de uma dama de companhia…”

Pouco me importa, que diferença faz se ela está nos olhando? Eu sou como o imperador: quando faço minhas conquistas, eu as conservo…”

E você ainda tem a pretensão de se portar como um verdadeiro Lovelace” (*) “Robert Lovelace é um personagem criado por Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) em seu romance Clarissa Harlowe e é citado freqüentemente por Balzac como um sedutor, embora seu nome tenha desaparecido da imaginação popular em favor de Don Juan ou de Casanova.”

– Escute, Martial – recomeçou o coronel-general. – Se você ficar rodopiando ao redor de minha jovem desconhecida, eu vou tentar conquistar madame de Vaudrémont…

– Pois então experimente, meu caro couraceiro, tenho certeza de que não obterá o menor sucesso com ela!… – disse o jovem desembargador”

– …fique sabendo que me desafiar assim é o mesmo que colocar um banquete em frente a Tântalo, porque você sabe muito bem que ele vai devorar tudo o que puder…

– Fffsssss!…”

Conforme a moda da época, era obrigatório que um homem usasse calças de casimira branca que lhe chegavam aos joelhos, completadas por meias de seda. Essa elegante vestimenta chamava a atenção para o físico perfeito de Montcornet, na época cm 35 anos, que atraía todos os olhares por sua elevada estatura, conforme era exigido para todos os couraceiros da Guarda Imperial, cujo belo uniforme realçava ainda mais seu aspecto, ainda jovem, embora tivesse engordado um pouco por andar sempre a cavalo.”

O coronel-general sorriu ao encarar o desembargador, que era um de seus melhores amigos desde o tempo em que haviam freqüentado a escola juntos”

essa eloqüência de salão e essa elegância de maneiras que substitui tão facilmente as qualidades mais duradouras, mas menos visíveis, que são demonstradas pelos homens de verdadeiro valor. Ainda que cheio de juventude e de vivacidade, seu rosto já apresentava o brilho imóvel de um busto de estanho cromado, uma das qualidades indispensáveis aos diplomatas, que lhes permite ocultar todas as suas emoções e disfarçar seus sentimentos, se é que essa impassibilidade já não anuncia neles a ausência de toda emoção e a morte dos sentimentos.” “escondia suas ambições sob a máscara de vaidade de um conquistador bem-sucedido e disfarçava seu talento sob uma aparência de mediocridade, depois de ter percebido claramente a rapidez com que avançavam na carreira justamente aquelas pessoas que faziam menos sombra a seus superiores.”

A maioria das perguntas e respostas desse tipo de conversação leve, característica dos bailes de então, era mais ou menos soprada no ouvido do vizinho por ambos os interlocutores. Não obstante, as girândolas e os archotes que enfeitavam a lareira derramavam uma luz tão clara sobre os dois amigos que seus rostos fortemente iluminados não tinham conseguido esconder, apesar de toda a sua discrição diplomática, a expressão imperceptível de seus sentimentos nem à esperta condessa, nem à cândida desconhecida. Tal habilidade de decifrar os pensamentos talvez seja para os ociosos um dos melhores prazeres que eles encontram na vida em sociedade, enquanto tantos tolos a ela atraídos pela influência das opiniões alheias ficam se aborrecendo durante a festa inteira, sem terem a coragem de confessar seu tédio nem mesmo a si próprios…

Madame de Vaudrémont nunca cometia o erro social de permanecer em uma festa a partir do momento em que as hastes das flores que a enfeitavam poderiam ser vistas meio penduradas, em que os cachos de seu cabelo começariam a se soltar, os enfeites a ficarem amarrotados e, acima de tudo, em que seu rosto começaria a se parecer com o das outras mulheres, a quem o sono começa a convocar imperiosamente, que se esforçam para resistir-lhe um pouco, mas que não conseguem enganá-lo por muito tempo.”

O oficial guardava na manga uma porção de frases irrelevantes, que podiam ser concluídas por um gancho do tipo; <e a senhora, madame, o que acha?>, que já lhe havia sido bastante útil no passado.”

Esta alegria, esta música, estes rostos estúpidos que riem sem motivo estão me assassinando…”

Em todas as festas existem algumas damas, semelhantes a madame de Lansac, iguais a velhos marujos parados à beira do cais, contemplando os jovens marinheiros em luta contra as tempestades.”

As almas que vivem muito e passam rapidamente de uma emoção a outra não sofrem menos que aquelas que se consomem em um único amor.”

A simpatia de madame de Vaudrémont por Martial tinha todos os motivos para crescer e frutificar no futuro, do mesmo modo que sua paixão anterior por Soulanges era um afeto sem esperança, envenenado desde o começo pelos remorsos que aquele sentia.”

o barão logo se entregou aos cálculos mesquinhos que costumam passar pela cabeça dos homens que têm habitualmente sorte com as mulheres: oscilava entre conservar a fortuna que estava ao alcance de sua mão e a satisfação de um capricho.”

Cometer erros aos 22 anos é a mesma coisa que rasgar o vestido que se pretende usar amanhã, vale dizer, comprometer o próprio futuro. Acredite, minha querida, quando aprendemos a maneira mais adequada de usar os trajes que melhor irão favorecer nosso futuro, em geral já é tarde demais.”

Você está pensando em casar-se com esse Martial, que não é nem bobo o suficiente para ser um bom marido, nem está apaixonado o bastante para tornar-se um bom amante… Ele tem dívidas, minha querida, é o tipo de homem capaz de devorar sua fortuna; mas isso não seria nada, caso ele fosse capaz de lhe trazer felicidade. Mas não vê como ele parece velho demais perto de você? No passado, esse homem deve ter sido consumido por muitas doenças e agora só lhe sobrou um restinho de energia. Daqui a 3 anos, vai estar fisicamente acabado. Talvez então se torne mais ambicioso, e é até mesmo possível que obtenha sucesso. (…) Afinal de contas, quem é ele? Não passa de um intrigante da côrte, que pode possuir grande domínio sobre as manobras sociais e até saber conversar muito bem, mas é pretensioso demais para que venha a desenvolver um verdadeiro talento. (…) Não consegue ler na sua testa que ele não vê em você uma mulher jovem e bonita, mas os 2 milhões de francos que você possui? Ele não a ama, minha querida, ele a avalia como se pretendesse fazer um bom negócio. (…) Uma viúva não deve considerar um 2º casamento como uma garotinha apaixonada. Por acaso já viu uma ratazana cair 2x na mesma armadilha? Não, minha cara, um novo contrato matrimonial deve ser para você como um investimento financeiro (…) recomendo encarecidamente que não se dê ao prazer de perturbar a paz conjugal, de destruir a união das famílias, de atrapalhar a felicidade das mulheres bem-casadas. No passado, eu representei muitas vezes este papel perigoso (…) Ai, meu Deus, só pelo prazer de aumentar a minha auto-estima, tantas vezes destruí a felicidade de algumas pobres criaturas virtuosas!… Porque existem, minha querida, realmente existem mulheres virtuosas, cujo ódio mortal é tão fácil de obter!… Um pouco tarde demais, aprendi que, para usar a expressão do duque de Alba, um salmão vale mais do que 1000 sapos!… (…) Antigamente, minha filha, a gente podia até levar um ator para o quarto, mas nunca se convidava essa gente para uma festa!… (…) Veja lá: aquela é minha jovem sobrinha-neta, a condessa de Soulanges, que finalmente aceitou meus freqüentes convites e consentiu em deixar o quarto de sofrimentos em que permanecia até hoje e no qual a visão de seu filhinho lhe trazia um consolo muito débil.”

O duplo quadro que apresentavam a esposa lacrimosa e o marido melancólico e sombrio, separados um do outro no meio da festa, tais como as duas metades do tronco de uma árvore que tivesse sido partida por um raio, despertou no coração da condessa algo que se assemelhava a uma profecia. Cresceu em seu peito o terror das vinganças que a aguardavam no futuro. Seu coração não se havia ainda pervertido o suficiente para que a sensibilidade e a indulgência fossem dele totalmente banidas”

Pode acreditar, minha filha, mulher alguma gosta de receber de volta o coração de seu marido das mãos de outra mulher. Ficará cem vezes mais feliz se acreditar que foi ela mesma quem o reconquistou.”

se o coronel se zangar só porque eu dancei com a esposa dele, depois de ter suportado estòicamente que eu tenha tirado dele a senhora…”

Nessa época, a moda era que as mulheres erguessem a cintura de seus vestidos para colocá-la justamente abaixo dos seios, à imitação das estátuas gregas, um estilo impiedoso para qualquer mulher cujo busto apresentasse o menor defeito.”

Para muitos homens, a dança em sociedade é uma maneira de ser; eles pensam que, ao exibir as habilidades de seu corpo, conseguem influenciar o coração das mulheres com muito mais eficiência que ao tentar seduzi-las pelo espírito.”

Quando as novas regras da contradança, que tinham sido inventadas pelo dançarino Trénis e que receberam por isso o nome de trenita, colocaram Martial frente a frente com o coronel, aquele murmurou sorridente:

– Ganhei seu cavalo…

– Pode ser, mas perdeu 80 mil libras de renda – replicou-lhe o coronel, indicando com a cabeça a sra. de Vaudrémont.

– E que me importa isso?… – sussurrou de volta Martial. – Madame de Soulanges vale milhões…”

Os homens não podiam compreender a sorte que tivera o pequeno desembargador, em cujo aspecto físico aparentemente insignificante não percebiam nada de encantador.”

(*) “Todos os alimentos eram servidos juntos e colocados à disposição dos convidados, com os pratos empilhados de antemão sobre a mesa ou sobre as mesinhas laterais, os buffets, de onde surgiu a expressão atual, <bufê> ou <bifê>.”

– Precisamente – respondeu ela, com um largo sorriso. – Mas meu marido me roubou esse anel, deu para ela, ela o deu de presente a você, ele viajou e agora voltou para mim, foi só isso. Talvez agora este anel me diga umas quantas coisas que ignoro e me ensinará o segredo de agradar sempre a todos… Cavalheiro – continuou ela –, se ele já não fosse meu, tenha certeza de que eu não teria corrido o risco de pagar tão caro por ele, porque, segundo dizem, qualquer jovem corre perigo ao lado do senhor… Olhe só!… – acrescentou, enquanto fazia saltar uma mola e mostrava um pequeno esconderijo por baixo da pedra – Os cabelos do sr. conde de Soulanges [peruca] ainda estão aqui dentro…

Ela saiu pelos salões com tal rapidez que parecia inútil querer alcançá-la. Além disso, Martial tinha ficado tão confuso e humilhado que não sentia a menor disposição para tentar a aventura.”

fôra com incrível repugnância que ela havia consentido no plano arquitetado por sua tia, a duquesa de Lansac, e, naquele momento, tinha grande receio de haver cometido um erro. O baile enchera de tristeza sua alma cândida. Inicialmente, horrorizara-se com o ar sombrio e sofredor do conde de Soulanges, depois se apavorara ainda mais ao ver a beleza de sua rival, ao passo que a visão da sociedade corrupta que a rodeava lhe havia partido o coração. (…) estremeceu mais de uma vez ao pensar como o dever das mulheres que desejam conservar a paz conjugal as obriga a ocultar no fundo do coração, sem proferir uma só queixa, angústias tão profundas como as que sentira.

– Hortense, o que é que você tem no dedo que me machucou tanto os lábios? – perguntou ele, ao mesmo tempo em que ria baixinho.

– Ora, é o meu diamante, que você disse ter perdido e que agora eu achei.”

Julho de 1829”

COMENTÁRIOS DA EDIÇÃO

A) SOBRE O LEGADO DA COMÉDIA HUMANA

A Comédia Humana é o título geral que dá unidade à obra máxima de Honoré de Balzac e é composta de 89 romances, novelas e histórias curtas.(*) Este enorme painel do séc. XIX foi ordenado pelo autor em 3 partes: Estudos de costumes, Estudos analíticos e Estudos filosóficos.”

(*) “A idéia de Balzac era que A comédia humana tivesse 137 títulos, segundo seu Catálogo do que conterá A comédia humana, de 1845. Deixou de fora, de sua autoria, apenas Les cent contes drolatiques, vários ensaios e artigos, além de muitas peças ficcionais sob pseudônimo e esboços que não foram concluídos.”

Trata-se de um monumental conjunto de histórias, considerado de forma unânime uma das mais importantes realizações da literatura mundial em todos os tempos. Cerca de 2,5 mil personagens se movimentam pelos vários livros de A comédia humana, ora como protagonistas, ora como coadjuvantes. Genial observador do seu tempo, Balzac soube como ninguém captar o <espírito> do séc. XIX. A França, os franceses e a Restauração têm nele um pintor magnífico e preciso.”

Clássicos absolutos da literatura mundial como Ilusões perdidas, Eugénie Grandet, O lírio do vale, O pai Goriot, Ferragus, Beatriz, A vendeta, Um episódio do terror, A pele de onagro, Mulher de trinta anos, A fisiologia do casamento, entre tantos outros, combinam-se com dezenas de histórias nem tão célebres, mas nem por isso menos deliciosas ou reveladoras. Tido como o inventor do romance moderno, Balzac deu tal dimensão aos seus personagens que já no séc. XIX mereceu do crítico literário e historiador francês Hippolyte Taine a seguinte observação: <Como William Shakespeare, Balzac é o maior repositório de documentos que possuímos sobre a natureza humana>.

Balzac nasceu em Tours em 20 de maio de 1799. Com 19 anos convenceu sua família – de modestos recursos – a sustentá-lo em Paris na tentativa de tornar-se um grande escritor. Obcecado pela idéia da glória literária e da fortuna, foi para a capital francesa em busca de periódicos e editoras que se dispusessem a publicar suas histórias – num momento em que Paris se preparava para a época de ouro do romance-folhetim, fervilhando em meio à proliferação de jornais e revistas. Consciente da necessidade do aprendizado e da sua própria falta de experiência e técnica, começou publicando sob pseudônimos exóticos, como Lord R’hoone e Horace de Saint-Aubin. Escrevia histórias de aventuras, romances policialescos, açucarados, folhetins baratos, qualquer coisa que lhe desse o sustento. Obstinado com seu futuro, evitava usar o seu verdadeiro nome para dar autoria a obras que considerava (e de fato eram) menores. Em 1829, lançou o primeiro livro a ostentar seu nome na capa – A Bretanha em 1800 –, um romance histórico em que tentava seguir o estilo de Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), o grande romancista escocês autor de romances históricos clássicos, como Ivanhoé.“seus delírios de gradeza levaram-no a bolar negócios que vão desde gráficas e revistas até minas de prata. Mas fracassa como homem de negócios. Falido e endividado, reage criando obras-primas para pagar seus credores numa destrutiva jornada de trabalho de até 18h diárias.”

Saudai-me, pois estou seriamente na iminência de tornar-me um gênio.”

Aos 47 anos, massacrado pelo trabalho, pela péssima alimentação e pelo tormento das dívidas que não o abandonaram pela vida inteira, ainda que com projetos e esboços para pelo menos mais 20 romances, já não escrevia mais.”

A imensidão de um projeto que abarca a um só tempo a história e a crítica social, a análise de seus males e a discussão de seus princípios, autoriza-me, creio, a dar a minha obra o título que ela tem hoje: A comédia humana. É ambicioso? É o que, uma vez terminada a obra, o público decidirá.”

B) SOBRE A VENDETA

Publicada pela 1ª vez em abril de 1830, Vendetta abria a seleção de romances que faziam parte do primeiro volume de Cenas da vida privada, no qual Balzac iniciava seu estudo de costumes que desembocaria na monumental A comédia humana, título que ele concebeu dez anos depois, em 1840, e que unificaria toda a sua obra anterior e futura.”

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO

Dumas [pai]

25/01/16-24/09/16

GLOSSÁRIO

Frascati: vinho branco italiano, procedente da região de mesmo nome

mazzolata: também mazzatello. Punição capital extremamente cruel empregada pela Igreja no século XVIII. A arma usada pelo carrasco era um enorme martelo ou um machado. O executor, no caso da 1ª arma, embalava a arma para pegar impulso no único golpe que desferia e acertava na cabeça do condenado, que se não morria caía desmaiado no chão e depois tinha a garganta cortada. Reservado a crimes hediondos.

singlestick: foi modalidade olímpica em 1904

I have a partner, and you know the Italian proverb – Chi ha compagno ha padrone – <He who has a partner has a master.>”

<but you were right to return as soon as possible, my boy.>

<And why?>

<Because Mercedes is a very fine girl, and fine girls never lack followers; she particularly has them by dozens.>

<Really?> answered Edmond, with a smile which had in it traces of slight uneasiness.”

Believe me, to seek a quarrel with a man is a bad method of pleasing the woman who loves that man.”

Why, when a man has friends, they are not only to offer him a glass of wine, but moreover, to prevent his suwallowing 3 or 4 pints [2 litros] of water unnecessarily!”

<Well, Fernand, I must say,> said Caderousse, beginning the conversation, with that brutality of the common people in which curiosity destroys all diplomacy, <you look uncommonly like a rejected lover;> and he burst into a hoarse laugh”

<they told me the Catalans were not men to allow themselves to be supplanted by a rival. It was even told me that Fernand, especially, was terrible in his vengeance.>

Fernand smiled piteously. <A lover is never terrible,> he said.”

pricked by Danglars, as the bull is pricked by the bandilleros”

<Unquestionably, Edmond’s star is in the ascendant, and he will marry the splendid girl – he will be captain, too, and laugh at us all unless.> – a sinister smile passed over Danglars’ lips – <unless I take a hand in the affair,> he added.”

happiness blinds, I think, more than pride.”

That is not my name, and in my country it bodes ill fortune, they say, to call a young girl by the name of her betrothed, before he becomes her husband. So call me Mercedes if you please.”

We are always in a hurry to be happy, Mr. Danglars; for when we have suffered a long time, we have great difficulty in believing in good fortune.”

<I would stab the man, but the woman told me that if any misfortune happened to her betrothed, she would kill herself>

<Pooh! Women say those things, but never do them.>”

<you are 3 parts drunk; finish the bottle, and you will be completely so. Drink then, and do not meddle with what we are discussing, for that requires all one’s wit and cool judgement.>

<I – drunk!> said Caderousse; <well that’s a good one! I could drink four more such bottles; they are no bigger than cologne flanks. Pere Pamphile, more wine!>”

and Caderousse rattled his glass upon the table.”

Drunk, if you like; so much the worse for those who fear wine, for it is because they have bad thoughts which they are afraid the liquor will extract from their hears;”

Tous les mechants sont beuveurs d’eau; C’est bien prouvé par le deluge.”

Say there is no need why Dantes should die; it would, indeed, be a pity he should. Dantes is a good fellow; I like Dantes. Dantes, your health.”

<Absence severs as well as death, and if the walls of a prison were between Edmond and Mercedes they would be as effectually separated as if he lay under a tombstone.>

<Yes; but one gets out of prison,> said Caderousse, who, with what sense was left him, listened eagerly to the conversation, <and when one gets out and one’s name is Edmond Dantes, one seeks revenge>-“

<I say I want to know why they should put Dantes in prison; I like Dantes; Dantes, our health!>

and he swallowed another glass of wine.”

the French have the superiority over the Spaniards, that the Spaniards ruminate, while the French invent.”

Yes; I am supercargo; pen, ink, and paper are my tools, and whitout my tools I am fit for nothing.” “I have always had more dread of a pen, a bottle of ink, and a sheet of paper, than of a sword or pistol.”

<Ah,> sighed Caderousse, <a man cannot always feel happy because he is about to be married.>”

Joy takes a strange effect at times, it seems to oppress us almost the same as sorrow.”

<Surely,> answered Danglars, <one cannot be held responsible for every chance arrow shot into the air>

<You can, indeed, when the arrow lights point downward on somebody’s head.>”

<That I believe!> answered Morrel; <but still he is charged>-

<With what?> inquired the elder Dantes.

<With being an agent of the Bonapartist faction!>

Many of our readers may be able to recollect how formidable such and accusation became in the period at which our story is dated.”

the man whom 5 years of exile would convert into a martyr, and 15 of restoration elevate to the rank of a god.”

glasses were elevated in the air à l’Anglais, and the ladies, snatching their bouquets from their fair bossoms, strewed the table with their floral treasures.”

yes, yes, they could not help admitting that the king, for whom we sacrificed rank, wealth and station was truly our <Louis the well-beloved,> while their wretched usurper has been, and ever wil be, to them their evil genius, their <Napoleon the accursed.>”

Napoleon is the Mahomet of the West and is worshipped as the personification of equality.”

one is the quality that elevantes [Napoleon], the other is the equality that degrades [Robespierre]; one brings a king within reach of the guillotine, the other elevates the people to a level with the throne.”

9 Termidor: degolação de Robespierre, num 27/7

4/4/14 – Queda de Napoleão

<Oh, M. de Villefort,>, cried a beautiful young creature, daughter to the Comte de Salvieux, and the cherished friend of Mademoiselle de Saint-Meran, <do try and get up some famous trial while we are at Marseilles. I never was in a law-cout; I am told it is so very amusing!>

<Amusing, certainly,> replied the young man, <inasmuch as, instead of shedding tears as at a theatre, you behold in a law-court a case of real and genuine distress – a drama of life. The prisoner whom you there see pale, agitated, and alarmed, instead of – as is the case when a curtain falls on a tragedy – going home to sup peacefully with his family, and then retiring to rest, that he may recommence his mimic woes on the morrow, – is reconducted to his prison and delivered up to the executioner. I leave you to judge how far your nerves are calculated to bear you through such a scene. Of this, however, be assured, that sould any favorable apportunity present itself, I will not fail to offer you the choice of being present.>

I would not choose to see the man against whom I pleaded smile, as though in mockery of my words. No; my pride is to see the accused pale, agitated and as though beaten out of all composure by the fire of my eloquence.”

Why, that is the very worst offence they could possibly commit, for, don’t you see, Renée, the king is the father of his people, and he who shall plot or contrive aught against the life and safety of the parent of 32 millions of souls, is a parricide upon a fearfully great scale.>”

It was, as we have said, the 1st of March, and the prisoner was soon buried in darkness.” 01/03/16

But remorse is not thus banished; like Virgil’s wounded hero, he carried the arrow in his wound, and, arrived at the salon, Villefort uttered a sigh that was almost a sob, and sank into a chair.”

Danglars was one of those men born with a pen behind the ear, and an inkstand in place of a heart. Everything with him was multiplication or subtraction. The life of a man was to him of far less value than a numeral, especially when, by taking it away, he could increase the sum total of his own desires. He went to bed at his usual hour, and slept in peace.”

A BARCA DO INFERNO QUE ARCA COM AS CONSEQÜÊNCIAS DO PE(S)CADO

desejos desejados no mar infinito

despojos desejosos de ser entregues aos derrotados

de consolo

que nojo

dessa raça

em desgraça

perpétua

que a maré a leve

para o fundo

do abismo

pesadâncora

pesadume

pesado cardume

proa perdeu o lume

popa nasceu sem gume

mastro adubado de petróleo

fóssil agora

apagado e insolente

eu sou experiente, experimente!

um louco que está sempre no lucro

das questões eu chego ao fulcro

por mais que não seja inteligente,

seja só uma compulsão demente

ser verdadeiro

se ver como herdeiro

de uma civilização

legada ao esquecimento

divino

o trem metafísico e seu lote de vagãos pagãos

levando à conclusão

de que o choque é elétrico

e anafilático

nada de milagre nada de intangível

só cobramos e debitamos o crível

(02/03/16)

said Louis XVIII, laughing; <the greatest captains of antiquity amused themselves by casting pebbles [seixos] into the ocean – see Plutarch’s Scipio Africanus.>”

<So then,> he exclaimed, turning pale with anger, <seven conjoined and allied armies overthrew that man. A miracle of heaven replaced me on the throne of my fathers after five-and-twenty years of exile. I have, during those 5-&-20 years, spared no pains to understand the people of France and the interests which were confided to me; and now when I see the fruition of my wishes almost within reach, the power I hold in my hands bursts, and shatters me to atoms!>”

Really impossible for a minister who has an office, agents, spies, and fifteen hundred thousand [1,5 million] francs for secret service money, to know what is going on at 60 leagues from the coast of France!”

Why, my dear boy, when a man has been proscribed by the mountaineers, has escaped from Paris in a hay-cart, been hunted over the plains of Bordeaux by Robespierre’s bloodhounds, he becomes accustomed to most things.”

<Come, come,> said he, <will the Restoration adopt imperial methods so promptly? Shot, my dear boy? What an idea! Where is the letter you speak of? I know you too well to suppose you would allow such a thing to pass you.>”

Quando a polícia está em débito, ela declara que está na pista; e o governo pacientemente aguarda o dia em que ela vem para dizer, com um ar fugitivo, que perdeu a pista.”

The king! I thought he was philosopher enough to allow that there was no murder in politics. In politics, my dear fellow, you know, as well as I do, there are no men, but ideas – no feelings, but interests; in politics we do not kill a man, we only remove an obstacle, that is all. Would you like to know how matters have progressed? Well, I will tell you. It was thought reliance might be placed in General Quesnel; he was recommended to us from the Island of Elba; one of us went to him, and visited him to the Rue Saint-Jacques, where he would find some friends. He came there, and the plan was unfolded to him for leaving Elba, the projected landing, etc. When he had heard and comprehended all to the fullest extent, he replied that he was a royalist. Then all looked at each other, – he was made to take an oath, and did so, but with such an ill grace that it was really tempting Providence to swear him, and yet, in spite of that, the general allowed to depart free – perfectly free. Yet he did not return home. What could that mean? why, my dear fellow, that on leaving us he lost his way, that’s all. A murder? really, Villefort, you surprise me.”

<The people will rise.>

<Yes, to go and meet him.>

Ring, then, if you please, for a second knife, fork, and plate, and we will dine together.”

<Eh? the thing is simple enough. You who are in power have only the means that money produces – we who are in expectation, have those which devotion prompts.>

<Devotion!> said Villefort, with a sneer.

<Yes, devotion; for that is, I believe, the phrase for hopeful ambition.>

And Villefort’s father extended his hand to the bell-rope to summon the servant whom his son had not called.”

Say this to him: <Sire, you are deceived as to the feeling in France, as to the opinions of the towns, and the prejudices of the army; he whom in Paris you call the Corsican ogre, who at Nevers is styled the usurper, is already saluted as Bonaparte at Lyons, and emperor at Grenoble. You think he is tracked, pursued, captured; he is advancing as rapidly as his own eagles. The soldiers you believe to be dying with hunger, worn out with fatigue, ready to desert, gather like atoms of snow about the rolling ball as it hastens onward. Sire, go, leave France to its real master, to him who acquired it, not by purchase, but by right of conquest; go, sire, not that you incur any risk, for your adversary is powerful enough to show you mercy, but because it would be humiliating for a grandson of Saint Louis to owe his life to the man of Arcola Marengo, Austerlitz.> Tell him this, Gerard; or, rather, tell him nothing. Keep your journey a secret; do not boast of what you have come to Paris to do, or have done; return with all speed; enter Marseilles at night, and your house by the back-door, and there remain quiet, submissive, secret, and, above all, inoffensive”

Every one knows the history of the famous return from Elba, a return which was unprecedented in the past, and will probably remain without a counterpart in the future.”

Napoleon would, doubtless, have deprived Villefort of his office had it not been for Noirtier, who was all powerful at court, and thus the Girondin of ‘93 and the Senator of 1806 protected him who so lately had been his protector.” “Villefort retained his place, but his marriage was put off until a more favorable opportunity.” “He made Morrel wait in the antechamber, although he had no one with him, for the simple sreason that the king’s procureur always makes every one wait, and after passing a quarter of an hour in reading the papers, he ordered M. Morrel to be admitted.”

<Edmond Dantes.>

Villefort would probably have rather stood opposite the muzzle of a pistol at five-and-twenty paces than have heard this name spoken; but he did not blanch.”

<Monsieur,> returned Villefort, <I was then a royalist, because I believed the Bourbons not only the heirs to the throne, but the chosen of the nation. The miraculous return of Napoleon has conquered me, the legitimate monarch is he who is loved by his people.>”

<There has been no arrest.>

<How?>

<It is sometimes essential to government to cause a man’s disappearance without leaving any traces, so that no written forms or documents may defeat their wishes.>

<It might be so under the Bourbons, but at present>-

<It has always been so, my dear Morrel, since the reign of Louis XIV. The emperor is more strict in prison discipline than even Louis himself>”

As for Villefort, instead of sending to Paris, he carefully preserved the petition that so fearfully compromised Dantes, in the hopes of an event that seemed not unlikely, – that is, a 2nd restoration. Dantes remained a prisoner, and heard not the noise of the fall of Louis XVIII’s throne, or the still more tragic destruction of the empire.” “At last there was Waterloo, and Morrel came no more; he had done all that was in his power, and any fresh attempt would only compromise himself uselessly.”

But Fernand was mistaken; a man of his disposition never kills himself, for he constantly hopes.”

Old Dantes, who was only sustained by hope, lost all hope at Napoleon’s downfall. Five months after he had been separated from his son, and almost at the hour of his arrest, he breathed his last in Mercedes’ arms.”

The inspector listened attentively; then, turning to the governor, observed, <He will become religious – he is already more gentle; he is afraid, and retreated before the bayonets – madmen are not afraid of anything; I made some curious observations on this at Charenton.> Then, turning to the prisoner, <What is it you want?> said he.”

<My information dates from the day on which I was arrested,> returned the Abbé Faria; <and as the emperor had created the kingdom of Rome for his infant son, I presume that he has realized the dream of Machiavelli and Caesar Borgia, which was to make Italy a united kingdom.>

<Monsieur,> returned the inspector, <providence has changed this gigantic plan you advocate so warmly.>

<It is the only means of rendering Italy strong, happy, and independent.>

<Very possibly; only I am not come to discuss politics, but to inquire if you have anything to ask or to complain of.>

<The food is the same as in other prisons, – that is, very bad, the lodging is very unhealthful, but, on the whole, passable for a dungeon; but it is not that which I wish to speak of, but a secret I have to reveal of the greatest importance.>

<It is for that reason I am delighted to see you,> continued the abbé, <although you have disturbed me in a most important calculation, which, if it succeded, would possibly change Newton’s system. Could you allow me a few words in private.>”

<On my word,> said the inspector in a low tone, <had I not been told beforehand that this man was mad, I should believe what he says.>”

A new governor arrived; it would have been too tedious to acquire the names of the prisoners; he learned their numbers instead. This horrible place contained 50 cells; their inhabitants were designated by the numbers of their cell, and the unhappy young man was no longer called Edmond Dantes – he was now number 34.”

Prisioneiros de segurança máxima não devem adoecer – que bactéria ou vírus cosmopolita os visitaria? Que mudança que fosse mais forte e sensível que o supertédio?

he addressed his supplications, not to God, but to man. God is always the last resource. Unfortunates, who ought to begin with God, do not have any hope in him till they have exhausted all other means of deliverance.”

Dantes spoke for the sake of hearing his own voice; he had tried to speak when alone, but the sound of his voice terrified him.”

in prosperity prayers seem but a mere medley of words, until misfortune comes and the unhappy sufferer first understands the meaning of the sublime language in which he invokes the pity of heaven!”

<Yes, yes,> continued he, <’Twill be the same as it was in England. After Charles I, Cromwell; after Cromwell, Charles II, and then James II, and then some son-in-law or relation, some Prince of Orange, a stadtholder¹ who becomes a king. Then new concessions to the people, then a constitution, then liberty. Ah, my friend!> said the abbé, turning towards Dantes, and surveying him with the kindling gaze of a prophet, <you are young, you will see all this come to pass.>”

¹ Magistrado de província holandesa

<But wherefore are you here?>

<Because in 1807 I dreamed of the very plan Napoleon tried to realize in 1811; because, like Napoleon, I desired to alter the political face of Italy, and instead of allowing it to be split up into a quantity of petty principalities, each held by some weak or tyrannical ruler, I sought to form one large, compact and powerful empire; and lastly, because I fancied I had found Caesar Borgia in a crowned simpleton, who feigned to enter into my views only to betray me. It was the plan of Alexander VI, but it will never succeed now, for they attempted it fruitlessly, and Napoleon was unable to complete his work. Italy seems fated to misfortune.> And the old man bowed his head.

Dantes could not understand a man risking his life for such matters. Napoleon certainly he knew something of, inasmuch as he had seen and spoken with him; but of Clement VII and Alexander VI he knew nothing.

<Are you not,> he asked, <the priest who here in the Chateau d’If is generally thought to be – ill?>

<Mad, you mean, don’t you?>

<I did not like to say so,> answered D., smiling.”

In the 1st place, I was 4 years making the tools I possess, and have been 2 years scraping and digging out earth, hard as granite itself; then what toil and fatigue has it not been to remove huge stones I should once have deemed impossible to loosen.”

Another, other and less stronger than he, had attempted what he had not had sufficient resolution to undertake, and had failed only because of an error in calculation.”

<When you pay me a visit in my cell, my young friend,> said he, <I will show you an entire work, the fruits of the thoughts and reflections of my whole life; many of them meditated over in the Colosseum at Rome, at the foot of St. Mark’s columm at Venice, little imagining at the time that they would be arranged in order within the walls of the Chateau d’If. The work I speak is called ‘A Treatise on the Possibility of a General Monarchy in Italy,’ and will make one large quarto volume.>”

I had nearly 5.000 volumes in my library at Rome; but after reading them over many times, I found out that with 150 well-chosen books a man possesses if not a complete summary of all human knowledge, at least all that a man need really know. I devoted 3 years of my life to reading and studying these 150 volumes, till I knew them nearly by heart; so that since I have been in prison, a very slight effort of memory has enabled me to recall their contents as readily as though the pages were open before me. I could recite you the whole of Thucidides, Xenophon, Plutarch, Titus Livius, Tacitus, Strada, Jornandes [Jordanes], Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Machiavelli, and Bossuet.”

Yes, I speak 5 of the modern tongues – that is to say, German, French, Italian, English and Spanish; by the aid of ancient Greek I learned modern Greek – I don’t speak so well asI could wish, but I am still trying to improve myself.” “Improve yourself!” repeated Dantes; “why, how can you manage to do so?”

This last explanation was wholly lost upon Dantes, who had always imagined, from seeing the sun rise from behind the mountains and set in the Mediterranean, that it moved, and not the earth. A double movement of the globo he inhabited, and of which he could feel nothing, appeared to him perfectly impossible.”

Should I ever get out of prison and find in all Italy a printer courageous enough to publish what I have composed, my literary reputation is forever secured.”

What would you not have accomplished if you had been free?”

Possibly nothing at all; the overflow of my brain would probably, in a state of freedom, have evaporated in a 1,000 follies; misfortune is needed to bring to light the treasure of the human intellect. Compression is needed to explode gunpowder. Captivity has brought my mental faculties to a focus”

<if you visit to discover the author of any bad action, seek first to discover the person to whom the perpetration of that bad action could be in any way advantageous. Now, to apply it in your case, – to whom could your disappearance have been serviceable?>

<To no one, by heaven! I was a very insignificant person.>

<Do not speak thus, for your reply evinces neither logic nor philosophy; everything is relative, my dear young friend, from the king who stands in the way of his successor, to the employee who keeps his rival out of a place. Now, in the event of the king’s death, his successor inherits a crown, – when the employee dies, the supernumerary steps into his shoes, and receives his salary of 12.000 livres. Well, these 12.000 livres are his civil list, and are as essential to him as 12.000.000 of a king. Every one, from the highest to the lowest degree, has his place on the social ladder, and is beset by stormy passions and conflicting interests, as in Descartes’ theory of pressure and impulsion.” efeito borboleta parte I “But these forces increase as we go higher, so that we have a spiral which in defiance of reason rests upon the apex and not on the base.”

<Simply because that accusation had been written with the left hand, and I have noticed that> –

<What?>

<That while the writing of different persons done with the right hand varies, that performed with the left hand is invariably uniform.>”

That is in strict accordance with the Spanish character; an assassination they will unhesitatingly commit, but an act of cowardice never.”

Pray ask me whatever questions you please; for, in good truth, you see more clearly into my life than I do myself.”

<About six or seven and twenty years of age, I should say.>

<So,> anwered the abbé. <Old enough to be ambitious, but too young to be corrupt. And how did he treat you?>”

<That alters the case. Tis man might, after all, be a greater scoundrel than you have thought possible>

<Upon my word,> said Dantes, <you make me shudder. Is the world filled with tigers and crocodiles?>

<Yes; and remember that two-legged tigers and crocodiles are more dangerous than the others.>

Had a thunderbolt fallen at the feet of D., or hell opened its yawining gulf before him, he could not have been more completely transfixed with horror than he was at the sound of these unexpected words. Starting up he clasped his hands around his head as though to prevent his very brain from bursting, and exclaimed, <His father! his father!>”

D. was at lenght roused from his revery by the voice of Faria, who, having also been visited by his jailer, had come to invite his fellow-sufferer to share his supper. The reputation of being out of his mind though harmlessly and even amusingly so, had procured for the abbé unusual privileges. He was supplied with bread of a finer whiter quality than the usual prison fare, and even regaled each Sunday with a small quantity of wine.”

The elder prisoner was one of those persons whose conversation, like that of all who have experienced many trials, contained many usefel and important hints as well as sound information; but it was never egotistical, for the unfortunate man never alluded to his own sorrows. D. listened with admiring attention to all he said; some of his remarks corresponded with what he already knew, or applied to the sort of knowledge his nautical life had enabled him to acquire.”

I can well believe that so learned a person as yourself would prefer absolute solitude to being tormented with the company of one as ignorant and uninformed as myself.”

The abbé smiled: <Alas, my boy,> said he, <human knowledge is confined within very narrow limits; and when I have taught you mathematics, physics, history, and the 3 or 4 modern languages with which I am acquainted, you will know as much as I do myself. Now, it will scarcely require 2 years for me to communicate to you the stock of learnings I possess.>”

<Not their application, certainly, but their principles you may; to learn is not to know; there are the learners and the learned. Memory makes the one, philosophy the other.>

<But cannot one learn philosophy?>

<Philosophy cannot be taught; it is the application of the sciences to truth; it is like the golden cloud in which the Messiah went up into heaven.>”

An that very evening the prisoners sketched a plan of education, to be entered upon the following day. D. possessed a prodigious memory, combined with an astonishing quickness and readiness of conception; the mathematicla turn of his mind rendered him apt at al all kinds of calculation, while his naturally poetical feelings threw a light and pleasing veil over the dry reality of arithmetical computation, or the rigid severity of geometry. He already knew Italian, and had also picked up a little of the Romaic dialect during voyages to the East; and by the aid of these 2 languages he easily comprehended the construction of all the others, so that at the end of 6 months he began to speak Spanish, English, and German. In strict accordance with the promise made to the abbé, D. spoke no more of escape. Perhaps the delight his studies afforded him left no room for such thoughts; perhaps the recollection that he had pledged his word (on which his sense of honor was keen) kept him from referring in any way to the possibilities of flight. Days, even months, passed by unheeded in one rapid and instructive course. At the end of a year D. was a new man. D. observed, however, that Faria, in spite of the relief his society afforded, daily grew sadder; one thought seemed incessantly to harass and distract his mind. Sometimes he would fall into long reveries, sigh heavily and involuntarily, then suddenly rise, and, with folded arms, begin pacing the confined space of his dungeon. One day he stopped all at once, and exclaimed, <Ah, if there were no sentinel!>”

Esse tesouro, que deve corresponder a dois… de coroas romanas no mais afastado a… da segunda abertura co… declara pertencer a ele som… herdeiro. <25 de Abril, 149-”

Eu ouvi freqüentemente a frase <Tão rico como um Spada.>” “Ali, no 20º capítulo de a Vida do Papa Alexandre VI, constavam as seguintes linhas, que jamais poderei esquecer: – <As grandes guerras da Romagna terminaram; César Bórgia, que completou suas conquistas, precisava de dinheiro para adquirir a Itália inteira. O papa também precisava de dinheiro para liquidar seus problemas com Luís XII, Rei da França, que ainda era formidável a despeito de seus recentes reveses; e era necessário, portanto, recorrer a algum esquema rentável, o que era um problema de grande dificuldade nas condições de pauperização de uma exausta Itália. Sua santidade teve uma idéia. Ele resolveu fazer dois cardeais.

Ao escolher duas das maiores personagens de Roma, homens especialmente ricos – esse era o retorno pelo qual o pai santíssimo esperava. Primeiramente, ele poderia vender as grandes posições e esplêndidos ofícios que os cardeais já possuíam; e depois ele teria ainda dois chapéus para vender. Havia um terceiro ponto em vista, que logo aparecerá na narrativa. O papa e César Bórgia primeiro acharam os dois futuros cardeais; eles eram Giovanni Rospigliosi, que portava 4 das mais altas dignidades da Santa Sé; e César Spada, um dos mais nobres e ricos da nobreza romana; ambos sentiram a alta honraria de tal favor do papa. Eles eram ambiciosos, e César Bórgia logo encontrou compradores para suas posições. O resultado foi que Rospigliosi e Spada pagaram para ser cardeais, e 8 outras pessoas pagaram pelos ofícios que os cardeais tinham ante sua elevação; destarte 800.000 coroas entraram nos cofres dos especuladores.

É tempo agora de proceder à última parte da especulação. O papa encheu Rospigliosi e Spada de atenções, conferiu-lhes a insígnia do cardinalato, e os induziu a organizar seus negócios de forma a se mudarem para Roma. É aí que o papa e César Bórgia convidam os dois cardeais para jantar. Esse era um problema de disputa entre o santo pai e seu filho. César pensava que eles poderiam se utilizar de um dos meios que ele sempre tinha preparado para os amigos, i.e., em primeiro lugar, a famosa chave que era dada a certas pessoas com o pedido de que fossem e abrissem o armário equivalente. Essa chave era dotada de uma pequena ponta de ferro, – uma negligência da parte do chaveiro. Quando ela era pressionada a fim de abrir-se o armário, do qual a fechadura era complicada, a pessoa era picada por essa pontinha, e morria no dia seguinte. Havia também o anel com a cabeça de leão, que César usava quando queria cumprimentar seus amigos com um aperto de mão. O leão mordia a mão do assim favorecido, e ao cabo de 24h, a mordida se mostrava mortal. César propôs ao seu pai, que ou eles deveriam pedir aos cardeais para abrir o armário, ou apertar suas mãos; mas Alexandre VI respondeu: <Quanto aos valongos cardeais, Spada e Rospigliosi, convidemo-los para jantar, algo me diz que conseguiremos esse dinheiro de volta. Além disso, esquece-te, ó César, que uma indigestão se declara imediatamente, enquanto uma picada ou uma mordida ocasionam um atraso de um dia ou dois.> César recuou de tão convincente raciocínio, e os cardeais foram conseqüentemente chamados para jantar.

A mesa foi servida num vinhedo pertencente ao papa, perto de San Pierdarena, um retiro encantador que os cardeais conheciam de ouvir falar. Rospigliosi, bem disposto graças a suas novas dignidades, chegou com um bom apetite e suas maneiras mais obsequiosas. Spada, um homem prudente, e muito apegado a seu único sobrinho, um jovem capitão da mais alta promessa, pegou papel e caneta, e redigiu seu testamento. E depois mandou avisar o seu sobrinho para esperá-lo próximo ao vinhedo; mas aparentemente o servo não foi capaz de encontrá-lo.

Spada sabia o que esses convites significavam; desde a Cristandade, tão eminentemente civilizada, se alastrou por toda Roma, não era mais um centurião que vinha da parte do tirano com uma mensagem, <César quer que você morra.> mas era um núncio apostólico a latere, que vinha com um sorriso nos lábios para dizer, pelo papa, que <Sua santidade solicita sua presença num jantar.>

Spada se dirigiu lá pelas 2 a San Pierdarena. O papa o esperava. A primeira imagem a atrair a atenção de Spada foi a do seu sobrinho, todo paramentado, e César Bórgia cativando-o com as atenções mais marcadas. Spada empalideceu quando César o fitou com ar irônico, o que provava que ele havia antecipado tudo, e que a armadilha já estava em funcionamento.

Eles começaram a jantar e Spada foi capaz de indagar, somente, de seu sobrinho se ele tinha recebido sua mensagem. O sobrinho respondeu que não; compreendendo perfeitamente o significado da pergunta. Era tarde demais, já que ele já tinha tomado um copo de um excelente vinho, selecionado para ele expressamente pelo copeiro do papa. Spada testemunhou ao mesmo tempo outra garrafa, vindo a si, que ele foi premido a provar. Uma hora depois um médico declarou que ambos estavam envenenados por comer cogumelos. Spada morreu no limiar do vinhedo; o sobrinho expirou na sua própria porta, fazendo sinais que sua mulher não pôde compreender.

A seguir César e o papa se apressaram para botar as mãos na herança, sob o disfarce de estarem à procura de papéis do homem morto. Mas a herança consistia disso somente, um pedaço de papel em que Spada escreveu: -<Eu lego a meu amado sobrinho meus cofres, meus livros, e, entre outros, meu breviário com orelhas de ouro, que eu espero que ele preserve em consideração de seu querido tio.>

Os herdeiros procuraram em todo lugar, admiraram o breviário, se apropriaram dos móveis, e se espantaram grandemente de que Spada, o homem rico, era de fato o mais miserável dos tios – nenhum tesouro – e não ser que fossem os da ciência, contidos na biblioteca e laboratórios. Isso era tudo. César e seu pai procuraram, examinaram, escrutinaram, mas nada acharam, ou pelo menos muito pouco; nada que excedesse alguns milhares de coroas em prata, e aproximadamente o mesmo em dinheiro corrente; mas o sobrinho teve tempo de dizer a sua esposa, antes de morrer: <Procure direito entre os papéis do meu tio; há um testamento.>

Eles procuraram até mais meticulosamente do que os augustos herdeiros o fizeram, mas foi infrutífero. Havia dois palácios e um vinhedo atrás da Colina Palatina; mas nesses dias a propriedade da terra não tinha assim tanto valor, e os 2 palácios e o vinhedo continuaram com a família já que estavam abaixo da rapacidade do papa e seu filho. Meses e anos se passaram. Alexandre VI morreu, envenenado, – você sabe por qual erro. César, envenenado também, escapou desfolhando sua pele como a de uma cobra; mas a pele de baixo ficou marcada pelo veneno até se parecer com a de um tigre. Então, compelido a deixar Roma, ele acabou morto obscuramente numa escaramuça noturna; quase sem registros históricos. Depois da morte do papa e do exílio de seu filho, supôs-se que a família Spada voltaria ao esplendor dos tempos anteriores aos do cardeal; mas não foi o caso. Os Spada permaneceram em um conforto duvidoso, um mistério seguiu pairando sobre esse tema escuso, e o rumor público era que César, um político mais talentoso que seu pai, havia retirado do papa a fortuna dos 2 cardeais. Eu digo dos 2, porque o Cardeal Rospigliosi, que não tomara nenhuma precaução, foi completamente espoliado.”

Eu estava então quase certo de que a herança não ficara nem para os Bórgias nem para a família, mas se mantivera sem dono como os tesouros das 1001 Noites, que dormiam no seio da terra sob os olhos do gênio.”

esses caracteres foram traçados numa tinta misteriosa e simpática, que só aparecia ao ser exposta ao fogo; aproximadamente 1/3 do papel foi consumido pelas chamas.”

<2 milhões de coroas romanas; quase 13 milhões, no nosso dinheiro.” [*]

[*] $2.600.000 em 1894.”

Then an invincible and extreme terror seized upon him, and he dared not again press the hand that hung out of bed, he dared no longer to gaze on those fixed and vacant eyes, which he tried many times to close, but in vain – they opened again as soon as shut.”

<They say every year adds half a pound to the weight of the bones,> said another, lifting the feet.”

The sea is the cemetery of the Chateau d’If.”

It was 14 years day for day since Dantes’ arrest.”

At this period it was not the fashion to wear so large a beard and hair so long; now a barber would only be surprised if a man gifted with such advantages should consent voluntarily to deprive himself of them.”

The oval face was lengthened, his smiling mouth had assumed the firm and marked lines which betoken resolution; his eyebrows were arched beneath a brow furrowed with thought; his eyes were full of melancholy, and from their depths ocasionally sparkled gloomy fires of misanthropy and hatred; his complexion, so long kept from the sun, had now that pale color which produces, when the features are encircled with black hair, the aristocratic beauty of the man of the north; the profound learning he had acquired had besided diffused over his features a refined intellectual expression; and he had also acquired, being naturally of a goodly stature, that vigor which a frame possesses which has so long concentrated all its force within himself.”

Moreover, from being so long in twilight or darkness, his eyes had acquired the faculty of distinguishing objects in the night, common to the hyena and the wolf.”

it was impossible that his best friend – if, indeed, he had any friend left – could recognize him; he could not recognize himself.”

Fortunately, D. had learned how to wait; he had waited 14 years for his liberty, and now he was free he could wait at least 6 months or a year for wealth. Would he not have accepted liberty without riches if it had been offered him? Besides, were not those riches chimerical? – offspring of the brain of the poor Abbé Faria, had they not died with him?”

The patron of The Young Amelia proposed as a place of landing the Island of Monte Cristo, which being completely deserted, and having neither soldiers nor revenue officers, seemed to have been placed in the midst of the ocean since the time of the heathen Olympus by Mercury, the god of merchants and robbers, classes of mankind which we in modern times have separated if not made distinct, but which antiquity appears to have included in the same category” Tal pai, tal filho: vejo que um Dumas citou o outro, cf. o destino me comandou saber, por estar lendo A Dama das Camélias em simultaneidade – Jr. dissera a dado ponto, também inicial, de sua narrativa que era bom e inteligente que ladrões e comerciantes possuíssem antigamente o mesmo Deus, e que isso não era simples contingência histórica… Até aí, pensava tratar-se de Mammon, comentando o espúrio estilo de vida judio.

e qual solidão é mais completa, ou mais poética, que a de um navio flutuando isolado sobre as águas do mar enquanto reina a obscuridade da noite, no silêncio da imensidão, e sob o olhar dos Céus?”

Nunca um viciado em jogo, cuja fortuna esteja em jogo num lance de dados, chegou a experimentar a angústia que sentiu Edmundo em meio a seus paroxismos de esperança.”

<Em 2h,> ele disse, <essas pessoas vão partir mais ricas em 50 piastres cada, dispostas a arriscar novamente suas vidas só para conseguir outros 50; então retornarão com uma fortuna de 600 francos e desperdiçarão esse tesouro nalgum vilarejo, com aquele orgulho dos sultões e a insolência dos nababos.”

a providência, que, ao limitar os poderes do homem, gratifica-o ao mesmo tempo com desejos insaciáveis.”

<E agora,> ele exclamou, relembrando o conto do pescador árabe, que Faria relatou, <agora, abre-te sésamo!>”

o pavor – aquele pavor da luz do dia que mesmo no deserto nos faz temer estarmos sendo vigiados e observados.”

dentes brancos como os de um animal carnívoro”

seu marido mantinha sua tocaia diária na porta – uma obrigação que ele executava com tanta mais vontade, já que o salvava de ter de escutar os murmúrios e lamentos da companheira, que nunca o viu sem dirigir amargas invectivas contra o destino”

<And you followed the business of a tailor?>

<True, I was a tailor, till the trade fell off. It is so hot at Marseilles, that really I believe that the respectable inhabitants will in time go without any clothing whatever. But talking of heat, is there nothing I can offer you by way of refreshment?>”

<Too true, too true!> ejaculated Caderousse, almost suffocated by the contending passions which assailed him, <the poor old man did die.>”

Os próprios cães que perambulam sem abrigo e sem casa pelas ruas encontram mãos piedosas que oferecem uma mancheia de pão; e esse homem, um cristão, deviam permitir perecer de fome no meio de outros homens que se autodenominam cristãos? é terrível demais para acreditar. Ah, é impossível – definitivamente impossível!”

Eu não consigo evitar ter mais medo da maldição dos mortos que do ódio dos vivos.”

Hold your tongue, woman; it is the will of God.”

Happiness or unhappiness is the secret known but to one’s self and the walls – walls have ears but no tongue”

<Com isso então,> disse o abade, com um sorriso amargo, <isso então dá 18 meses no total. O que mais o mais devoto dos amantes poderia desejar?> Então ele murmurou as palavras do poeta inglês, <Volubilidade, seu nome é mulher.>

<no doubt fortune and honors have comforted her; she is rich, a countess, and yet–> Caderousse paused.”

Maneiras, maneiras de dizer asneiras…

Memorial de Buenos Aires

O aras à beira…

Bonaire de mademoiselle

Gastão amável que me acende o fogo!

ENCICLOPÉDIA DE UM FUTURO REMOTO

 

(…)

 

V

 

(…)

 

VANIGRACISMO [s.m., origem desconhecida; suspeita-se que guarde relação com vanitas, do latim <vaidade>]: espécie de atavismo do mal; inclinação ou tendência à reprise na crença de dogmas ultrapassados, como a pregação extremada do amor de Cristo ou o apego a regimes e práticas totalitários de forma geral. Duas faces do mesmo fenômeno. Nostalgia do Líder Supremo ou de coletivismos tornados impossíveis ou inexistentes nas democracias de massa, capitalismo avançado ou fase agônica do Ocidente.

        Adeptos são identificados sob a alcunha de vanigra.

Ex:

        Os vanigras brasileiros da década de 10 desejavam a conclamação de Bolsonaro como o Pai Nacional.

        O vanigra praguejou seu semelhante com a condenação ao Inferno no seu pós-vida, graças a suas condutas imorais.

 

vanigger – Corruptela de vanigra, utilizada para designar negros conservadores que insultavam a memória e o passado histórico de seus ancestrais escravos, ao professarem  credos como os supracitados (cristianismo, fascismo, etc.), invenções do homem branco europeu.

* * *

In business, sir, said he, one has no friends, only correspondents”

the tenacity peculiar to prophets of bad news”

It was said at this moment that Danglars was worth from 6 to 8 millions of francs, and had unlimited credit.”

Her innocence had kept her in ignorance of the dangers that might assail a young girl of her age.”

And now, said the unknown, farewell kindness, humanity and gratitude! Farewell to all the feelings that expand the heart! I have been heaven’s substitute to recompense the good – now the god of vengeance yields me his power to punish the wicked!”

in 5 minutes nothing but the eye of God can see the vessel where she lies at the bottom of the sea.”

He was one of those men who do not rashly court danger, but if danger presents itself, combat it with the most unalterable coolness.”

The Italian s’accommodi is untranslatable; it means at once <Como, enter, you are welcome; make yourself at home; you are the master.>”

he was condemned by the by to have his tongue cut out, and his hand and head cut off; the tongue the 1st day, the hand the 2nd, and the head the 3rd. I always had a desire to have a mute in my service, so learning the day his tongue was cut out, I went to the bey [governador otomano], and proposed to give him for Ali a splendid double-barreled gun which I knew he was very desirous of having.”

I? – I live the happiest life possible, the real life of a pasha. I am king of all creation. I am pleased with one place, and stay there; I get tired of it, and leave it; I am free as a bird and have wings like one; my attendants obey my slightest wish.”

What these happy persons took for reality was but a dream; but it was a dream so soft, so voluptuous, so enthralling, that they sold themselves body and soul to him who have it to them, and obedient to his orders as to those of a deity, struck down the designated victim, died in torture without a murmur, believing that the death they underwent was but a quick transtion to that life of delights of which the holy herb, now before you, had given them a slight foretaste.”

<Then,> cried Franz, <it is hashish! I know that – by name at least.>

<That it is precisely, Signor Aladdin; it is hashish – the purest and most unadulterated hashish of Alexandria, – the hashish of Abou-Gor, the celebrated maker, the only man, the man to whom there should be built a palace, inscribed with these words, <A grateful world to the dealer in happiness.>

Nature subdued must yield in the combat, the dream must succeed [suck-seed] to reality, and then the dream reigns supreme, then the dream becomes life, and life becomes the dream.”

When you return to this mundane sphere from your visionary world, you would seem to leave a Neapolitan spring for a Lapland winter – to quit paradise for earth – heaven for hell! Taste the hashish, guest of mine – taste the hashish.”

Tell me, the 1st time you tasted oysters, tea, porter, truffles, and sundry other dainties which you now adore, did you like them? Could you comprehend how the Romans stuffed their pheasants [faisões] with assafoetida (sic – asafoetida) [planta fétida, mas saborosa], and the Chinese eat swallow’s nests? [ninhos de andorinhas] Eh? no! Well, it is the same with hashish; only eat for a week, and nothing in the world will seem to you equal the delicacy of its flavor, which now appears to you flat and distasteful.”

there was no need to smoke the same pipe twice.”

that mute revery, into which we always sink when smoking excellent tobacco, which seems to remove with its fume all the troubles of the mind, and to give the smoker in exchange all the visions of the soul. Ali brought in the coffee. <How do you take it?> inquired the unknown; <in the French or Turkish style, strong or weak, sugar or none, coal or boiling? As you please; it is ready in all ways.>”

it shows you have a tendency for an Oriental life. Ah, those Orientals; they are the only men who know how to live. As for me, he added, with one of those singular smiles which did not escape the young man, when I have completed my affairs in Paris, I shall go and die in the East; and should you wish to see me again, you must seek me at Cairo, Bagdad, or Ispahan.”

Well, unfurl your wings, and fly into superhuman regions; fear nothing, there is a watch over you; and if your wings, like those of Icarus, melt before the sun, we are here to ease your fall.”

o tempo é testemunha

1001 Noites

The Count of Sinbad Cristo

Oh, ele não teme nem Deus nem Satã, dizem, e percorreria 50 ligas fora de seu curso só para prestar um favor a qualquer pobre diabo.”

em Roma há 4 grandes eventos todos os anos, – o Carnaval, a Semana Santa, Corpus Christi, o Festival de São Pedro. Durante todo o resto do ano a idade está naquele estado de apatia profunda, entre a vida e a morte, que a deixa parecida com uma estação entre esse mundo e o próximo”

<Para São Pedro primeiro, e depois o Coliseu,> retorquiu Albert. Mas Albrto não sabia que leva um dia para ver [a Basílica de] S. Pedro, e um mês para estudá-la. O dia foi todo passado lá.”

Quando mostramos a um amigo uma cidade que já visitamos, sentimos o mesmo orgulho de quando apontamos na rua uma mulher da qual fomos o amante.”

mulher amantizada”, aliás (livro de Dumas Filho) é o melhor eufemismo de todos os tempos!

<em Roma as coisas podem ou não podem ser feitas; quando se diz que algo não pode ser feito, acaba ali>

<É muito mais conveniente em Paris, – quando qualquer coisa não pode ser feita, você paga o dobro, e logo ela está feita.>

<É o que todo francês fala,> devolveu o Signor Pastrini, que acusou o golpe; <por essa razão, não entendo por que eles viajam.> (…)

<Homens em seu juízo perfeito não deixam seu hotel na Rue du Helder, suas caminhadas no Boulevard de Grand, e Café de Paris.>”

<Mas se vossa excelência contesta minha veracidade> – <Signor Pastrini,> atalhou Franz, <você é mais suscetível que Cassandra, que era uma profetisa, e ainda assim ninguém acreditava nela; enquanto que você, pelo menos, está seguro do crédito de metade de sua audiência [a metade de 2 é 1]. Venha, sente-se, e conte-nos tudo que sabe sobre esse Signor Vampa.>”

<O que acha disso, Albert? – aos 2-e-20 ser tão famoso?>

<Pois é, e olha que nessa idade Alexandre, César e Napoleão, que, todos, fizeram algum barulho no mundo, estavam bem detrás dele.>”

Em todo país em que a independência tomou o lugar da liberdade, o primeiro desejo dum coração varonil é possuir uma arma, que de uma só vez torna seu dono capaz de se defender e atacar, e, transformando-o em alguém terrível, com freqüência o torna temido.”

O homem de habilidades superiores sempre acha admiradores, vá onde for.”

MÁFIA: SEQÜESTRO, ESTUPRO, MORTE & A SUCESSÃO DO CLÃ

As leis dos bandidos [dos fora-da-lei] são positivas; uma jovem donzela pertence ao primeiro que levá-la, então o restante do bando deve tirar a sorte, no que ela é abandonada a sua brutalidade até a morte encerrar seus sofrimentos. Quando seus pais são suficientemente ricos para pagar um resgate, um mensageiro é enviado para negociar; o prisioneiro é refém pela segurança do mensageiro; se o resgate for recusado, o refém está irrevogavelmente perdido.”

Os mensageiros naturais dos bandidos são os pastores que habitam entre a cidade e as montanhas, entre a vida civilizada e a selvagem.”

<Tiremos a sorte! Tiremos a sorte!> berraram todos os criminosos ao verem o chefe. Sua demanda era justa e o chefe reclinou a cabeça em sinal de aprovação. Os olhos de todos brilharam terrivelmente, e a luz vermelha da fogueira só os fazia parecer uns demônios. O nome de cada um incluído o de Carlini, foi colocado num chapéu, e o mais jovem do bando retirou um papel; e ele trazia o nome de Diovolaccio¹. Foi ele quem propôs a Carlini o brinde ao chefe, e a quem Carlini reagiu quebrando o copo na sua cara. Uma ferida enorme, da testa à boca, sangrava em profusão. Diovolaccio, sentindo-se favorecido pela fortuna, explodiu em uma gargalhada. <Capitão,> disse, <ainda agora Carlini não quis beber à vossa saúde quando eu propus; proponha a minha a ele, e veremos se ele será mais condescendente consigo que comigo.> Todos aguardavam uma explosão da parte de Carlini; mas para a surpresa de todos ele pegou um copo numa mão e o frasco na outra e, enchendo o primeiro, – <A sua saúde, Diavolaccio²,> pronunciou calmamente, e ele entornou tudo, sem que sua mão sequer tremesse. (…) Carlini comeu e bebeu como se nada tivesse acontecido. (…) Uma faca foi plantada até o cabo no peito esquerdo de Rita. Todos olharam para Carlini; a bainha em seu cinto estava vazia. <Ah, ah,> disse o chefe, <agora entendo por que Carlini ficou para trás.> Todas as naturezas selvagens apreciam uma ação desesperada. Nenhum outro dos bandidos, talvez, fizesse o mesmo; mas todos entenderam o que Carlini fez. <Agora, então,> berrou Carlini, levantando-se por sua vez, aproximando-se do cadáver, sua mão na coronha de uma de suas pistolas, <alguém disputa a posse dessa mulher comigo?> – <Não,> respondeu o chefe, <ela é tua.>”

¹ Corruptela de demônio em Italiano

² Aqui o interlocutor, seu inimigo desde o sorteio, pronuncia o nome como o substantivo correto: diabo, demônio.

<Cucumetto violentou sua filha,> disse o bandido; <eu a amava, destarte matei-a; pois ela serviria para entreter a quadrilha inteira.> O velho não disse nada mas empalideceu como a morte. <Então,> continuou, <se fiz mal, vingue-a;>”

Mas Carlini não deixou a floresta sem saber o paradeiro do pai de Rita. Foi até o lugar onde o deixara na noite anterior. E encontrou o homem suspenso por um dos galhos, do mesmo carvalho que ensombreava o túmulo de sua filha. Então ele fez um amargo juramento de vingança sobre o corpo morto de uma e debaixo do corpo do outro. No entanto, Carlini não pôde cumprir sua promessa, porque 2 dias depois, num encontro com carabineiros romanos, Carlini foi assassinado. (…) Na manhã da partida da floresta de Frosinone Cucumetto seguiu Carlini na escuridão, escutou o juramento cheio de ódio, e, como um homem sábio, se antecipou a ele. A gente contou outras dez histórias desse líder de bando, cada uma mais singular que a anterior. Assim, de Fondi a Perusia, todo mundo treme ao ouvir o nome de Cucumetto.”

Cucumetto era um canalha inveterado, que assumiu a forma de um bandido ao invés de uma cobra nesta vida terrana. Como tal, ele adivinhou no olhar de Teresa o signo de uma autêntica filha de Eva, retornando à floresta, interrompendo-se inúmeras vezes sob pretexto de saudar seus protetores. Vários dias se passaram e nenhum sinal de Cucumetto. Chegava a época do Carnaval.”

4 jovens das mais ricas e nobres famílias de Roma acompanhavam as 3 damas com aquela liberdade italiana que não tem paralelo em nenhum outro país.”

Luigi sentia ciúmes! Ele sentiu que, influenciada pela sua disposição ambiciosa e coquete, Teresa poderia escapar-lhe.”

Por que, ela não sabia, mas ela não sentia minimamente que as censuras de seu amado fossem merecidas.”

<Teresa, o que você estava pensando enquanto dançava de frente para a jovem Condessa de San-Felice?> – <Eu estava pensando,> redargüiu a jovem, com toda a franqueza que lhe era natural, <que daria metade da minha vida por um vestido como o dela.>

<Luigi Vampa,> respondeu o pastor, com o mesmo ar daquele que se apresentasse Alexandre, Rei da Macedônia.

<E o seu?> – <Eu,> disse o viajante, <sou chamado Sinbad, o Marinheiro.>

Franz d’Espinay fitou surpreso.”

Sim, mas eu vim pedir mais do que ser vosso companheiro.> – <E o que poderia ser isso?> inquiriram os bandidos, estupefatos. – <Venho solicitar ser vosso capitão,> disse o jovem. Os bandidos fizeram uma arruaça de risadas. <E o que você fez para aspirar a essa honra?> perguntou o tenente. – <Matei seu chefe, Cucumetto, cujo traje agora visto; e queimei a fazenda San-Felice para pegar o vestido-de-noiva da minha prometida.> Uma hora depois Luigi Vampa era escolhido capitão, vice o finado Cucumetto.”

* * *

Minha casa não seria tão boa se o mundo lá fora não fosse tão ruim.

A vingança tem de começar nalgum lugar: a minha começa no cyberrealm, aqui.

nem é possível, em Roma, evitar essa abundante disposição de guias; além do ordinário cicerone, que cola em você assim que pisa no hotel, e jamais o deixa enquanto permanecer na cidade, há ainda o cicerone especial pertencente a cada monumento – não, praticamente a cada parte de um monumento.”

só os guias estão autorizados a visitar esses monumentos com tochas nas mãos.”

Eu disse, meu bom companheiro, que eu faria mais com um punhado de ouro numa das mãos que você e toda sua tropa poderiam produzir com suas adagas, pistolas, carabinas e canhões incluídos.”

E o que tem isso? Não está um dia dividido em 24h, cada hora em 60 minutos, e todo minuto em 60 segundos? Em 86.400 segundos muita coisa pode acontecer.”

Albert nunca foi capaz de suportar os teatros italianos, com suas orquestras, de onde é impossível ver, e a ausência de balcões, ou camarotes abertos; todos esses defeitos pesavam para um homem que tinha tido sua cabine nos Bouffes, e usufruído de um camarote baixo na Opera.”

Albert deixou Paris com plena convicção de que ele teria apenas de se mostrar na Itáia para ter todos a seus pés, e que em seu retorno ele espantaria o mundo parisiano com a recitação de seus numerosos casos. Ai dele, pobre Albert!”

e tudo que ele ganhou foi a convicção dolorosa de que as madames da Itália têm essa vantagem sobre as da França, a de que são fiéis até em sua infidelidade.”

mas hoje em dia ão é preciso ir tão longe quanto a Noé ao traçar uma linhagem, e uma árvore genealógica é igualmente estimada, date ela de 1399 ou apenas 1815”

A verdade era que os tão aguardados prazeres do Carnaval, com a <semana santa> que o sucederia, enchia cada peito de tal forma que impedia que se prestasse a menor atenção aos negócios no palco. Os atores entravam e saíam despercebidos e ignorados; em determinados momentos convencionais, os expectadores paravam repentinamente suas conversas, ou interrompiam seus divertimentos, para ouvir alguma performance brilhante de Moriani, um recitativo bem-executado por Coselli, ou para aplaudir em efusão os maravilhosos talentos de La Specchia”

<Oh, she is perfectly lovely – what a complexion! And such magnificent hair! Is she French?>

<No, Venetian.>

<And her name is–>

<Countess G——.>

<Ah, I know her by name!> exclaimed Albert; <she is said to possess as much wit and cleverness as beauty. I was to have been presented to her when I met her at Madame Villefort’s ball.>”

believe me, nothing is more fallacious than to form any estimate of the degree of intimacy you may suppose existing among persons by the familiar terms they seem upon”

Por mais que o balé pudesse atrair sua atenção, Franz estava profundamente ocupado com a bela grega para se permitir distrações”

Graças ao judicioso plano de dividir os dois atos da ópera com um balé, a pausa entre as performances é muito curta, tendo os cantores tempo de repousar e trocar de figurino, quando necessário, enquanto os dançarinos executam suas piruetas e exibem seus passos graciosos.”

Maioria dos leitores está ciente [!] de que o 2º ato de <Parisina> abre com um celebrado e efetivo dueto em que Parisina, enquanto dorme, se trai e confessa a Azzo o segredo de seu amor por Ugo. O marido injuriado passa por todos os paroxismos do ciúme, até a firmeza prevalecer em sua mente, e então, num rompante de fúria e indignação, ele acordar sua esposa culpada para contar-lhe que ele sabe de seus sentimentos, e assim infligir-lhe sua vingança. Esse dueto é um dos mais lindos, expressivos e terríveis de que jamais se ouviu emanar da pena de Donizetti. Franz ouvia-o agora pela 3ª vez.”

<Talvez você jamais tenha prestado atenção nele?>

<Que pergunta – tão francesa! Não sabe você que nós italianas só temos olhos para o homem que amamos?>

<É verdade,> respondeu Franz.”

<he looks more like a corpse permitted by some friendly grave-digger to quit his tomb for a while, and revisit this earth of ours, than anything human. How ghastly pale he is!>

<Oh, he is always as colorless as you now see him,> said Franz.

<Then you know him?> almost screamed the countess. <Oh, pray do, for heaven’s sake, tell us all about – is he a vampire, or a ressuscitated corpse, or what?>

<I fancy I have seen him before, and I even think he recognizes me.>”

Vou dizer-lhe, respondeu a condessa. Byron tinha a mais sincera crença na existência de vampiros, e até assegurou a mim que os tinha visto. A descrição que ele me fez corresponde perfeitamente com a aparência e a personalidade daquele homem na nossa frente. Oh, ele é a exata personificação do que eu poderia esperar. O cabelo cor-de-carvão, olhos grandes, claros e faiscantes, em que fogo selvagem, extraterreno parece queimar, — a mesma palidez fantasmal. Observe ainda que a mulher consigo é diferente de qualquer uma do seu sexo. Ela é uma estrangeira – uma estranha. Ninguém sabe quem é, ou de onde ela vem. Sem dúvida ela pertence à mesma raça que ele, e é, como ele, uma praticante das artes mágicas.”

Pela minha alma, essas mulheres confundiriam o próprio Diabo que quisesse desvendá-las. Porque, aqui – elas lhe dão sua mão – elas apertam a sua em correspondência – elas mantêm conversas em sussurros – permitem que você as acompanhe até em casa. Ora, se uma parisiense condescendesse com ¼ dessas coqueterias, sua reputação estaria para sempre perdida.”

Ele era talvez bem pálido, decerto; mas, você sabe, palidez é sempre vista como uma forte prova de descendência aristocrática e casamentos distintos.”

e, a não ser que seu vizinho de porta e quase-amigo, o Conde de Monte Cristo, tivesse o anel de Gyges, e pelo seu poder pudesse ficar invisível, agora era certo que ele não poderia escapar dessa vez.”

O Conde de Monte Cristo é sempre um levantado cedo da cama; e eu posso assegurar que ele já está de pé há duas horas.”

You are thus deprived of seeing a man guillotined; but the mazzuola still remains, which is a very curious punishment when seen for the 1st time, and even the 2nd, while the other, as your must know, is very simple.” [Ver glossário acima.]

do not tell me of European punishments, they are in the infancy, or rather the old age, of cruelty.”

As for myself, I can assure you of one thing, — the more men you see die, the easier it becomes to die yourself” opinion opium onion

do you think the reparation that society gives you is sufficient when it interposes the knife of the guillotine between the base of the occiput and the trapezal muscles of the murderer, and allows him who has caused us years of moral sufferings to escape with a few moments of physical pain?”

Dr. Guillotin got the idea of his famous machine from witnessing an execution in Italy.”

We ought to die together. I was promissed he should die with me. You have no right to put me to death alone. I will not die alone – I will not!”

Oh, man – race of crocodiles, cried the count, extending his clinched hands towards the crowd, how well do I recognize you there, and that at all times you are worthy of yourselves! Lead two sheep to the butcher’s, 2 oxen to the slaughterhouse, and make one of them understand that his companion will not die; the sheep will bleat for pleasure, the ox will bellow with joy. But man – man, whom God has laid his first, his sole commandment, to love his neighbor – man, to whom God has given a voice to express his thoughts – what is his first cry when he hears his fellowman is saved? A blasphemy. Honor to man, this masterpiece of nature, this king of creation! And the count burst into a laugh; a terrible laugh, that showed he must have suffered horribly to be able thus to laugh.”

The bell of Monte Citorio, which only sounds on the pope’s decease and the opening of the Carnival, was ringing a joyous peal.”

On my word, said Franz, you are wise as Nestor and prudent as Ulysses, and your fair Circe must be very skilful or very powerful if she succeed in changing you into a beast of any kind.”

Come, observed the countess, smiling, I see my vampire is only some millionaire, who has taken the appearance of Lara in order to avoid being confounded with M. de Rothschild; and you have seen her?”

without a single accident, a single dispute, or a single fight. The fêtes are veritable pleasure days to the Italians. The author of this history, who has resided 5 or 6 years in Italy, does not recollect to have ever seen a ceremony interrupted by one of those events so common in other countries.”

Se alle sei della mattina le quattro mile piastre non sono nelle mie mani, alla sette il conte Alberto avra cessato di vivere.

Luigi Vampa.

There were in all 6.000 piastres, but of these 6.000 Albert had already expended 3.000. As to Franz, he had no better of credit, as he lived at Florence, and had only come to Rome to pass 7 or 8 days; he had brought but a 100 louis, and of these he had not more than 50 left.”

Well, what good wind blows you hither at this hour?”

I did, indeed.”

Be it so. It is a lovely night, and a walk without Rome will do us both good.”

<Excellency, the Frenchman’s carriage passed several times the one in which was Teresa.>

<The chief’s mistress?>

<Yes. The Frenchman threw her a bouquet; Teresa returned it – all this with the consent of the chief, who was in the carriage.>

<What?> cried Franz, <was Luigi Vampa in the carriage with the Roman peasants?>”

Well, then, the Frenchman took off his mask; Teresa, with the chief’s consent, did the same. The Frenchman asked for a rendez-vous; Teresa gave him one – only, instead of Teresa, it was Beppo who was on the steps of the church of San Giacomo.”

<do you know the catacombs of St. Sebastian?>

<I was never in them; but I have often resolved to visit them.>

<Well, here is an opportunity made to your hand, and it would be difficult to contrive a better.>”

remember, for the future, Napoleon’s maxim, <Never awaken me but for bad news;> if you had let me sleep on, I should have finished my galop [dança de salão], and have been grateful to you all my life.”

<Has your excellency anything to ask me?> said Vampa with a smile.

<Yes, I have,> replied Franz; <I am curious to know what work you were perusing with so much attention as we entered.>

<Caesar’s ‘Commentaries,’> said the bandit, <it is my favorite work.>”

não há nação como a francesa que possa sorrir mesmo na cara da terrível Morte em pessoa.”

Apenas pergunte a si mesmo, meu bom amigo, se não acontece com muitas pessoas de nosso estrato que assumam nomes de terras e propriedades em que nunca foram senhores?”

a vista do que está acontecendo é necessária aos homens jovens, que sempre estão dispostos a ver o mundo atravessar seus horizontes, mesmo se esse horizonte é só uma via pública.”

foils, boxing-gloves, broadswords, and single-sticks – for following the example of the fashionable young men of the time, Albert de Morcerf cultivated, with far more perseverance than music and drawing, the 3 arts that complete a dandy’s education, i.e., fencing [esgrima], boxing, and single-stick”

In the centre of the room was a Roller and Blanchet <baby grand> piano in rosewood, but holding the potentialities of an orchestra in its narrow and sonorous cavity, and groaning beneath the weight of the chefs-d’oeuvre of Beethoven, Weber, Mozart, Haydn, Gretry, and Porpora.”

There on a table, surrounded at some distance by a large and luxurious divan, every species of tobacco known, – from the yellow tobacco of Petersburg to the black of Sinai, and so on along the scale from Maryland and Porto-Rico, to Latakia, – was exposed in pots of crackled earthenware [cerâmica] of which the Dutch are so fond; beside them, in boxes of fragrant wood, were ranged, according to their size and quality, pueros, regalias, havanas, and manillas; and, in an open cabinet, a collection of German pipes, of chibouques [cachimbo turco], with their amber mouth-pieces ornamented with coral, and of narghilés, with their long tubes of morocco, awaiting the caprice of the sympathy of the smokers.”

after coffee, the guests at a breakfast of modern days love to contemplate through the vapor that escapes from their mouths, and ascends in long and fanficul wreaths to the ceiling.”

A única diferença entre Jesus Cristo e eu é que uma cruz o carregava – eu é que carrego a minha cruz.

<Are you hungry?>

<Humiliating as such a confession is, I am. But I dined at M. de Villefort’s, and lawyers always give you very bad dinners. You would think they felt some remorse; did you ever remark that?>

<Ah, depreciate other persons’ dinners; you ministers give such splendid ones.>”

<Willingly. Your Spanish wine is excellent. You see we were quite right to pacify that country.>

<Yes, but Don Carlos?>

<Well, Don Carlos will drink Bordeaux, and in years we will marry his son to the little queen.>”

Recollect that Parisian gossip has spoken of a marriage between myself and Mlle. Eugenie Danglars”

<The king has made him a baron, and can make him a peer [cavalheiro], but he cannot make him a gentleman, and the Count of Morcerf is too aristocratic to consent, for the paltry sum of 2 million francs to a mesalliance [‘desaliança’, casamento com um malnascido]. The Viscount of Morcerf can only wed a marchioness.>

<But 2 million francs make a nice little sum,> replied Morcerf.”

<Nevermind what he says, Morcerf,> said Debray, <do you marry her. You marry a money-bag label, it is true; well but what does that matter? It is better to have a blazon less and a figure more on it. You have seven martlets on your arms; give 3 to your wife, and you will still have 4; that is 1 more than M. de Guise had, who so nearly became King of France, and whose cousin was emperor of Germany.>”

além do mais, todo milionário é tão nobre quanto um bastardo – i.e., ele pode ser.”

<M. de Chateau-Renaud – M. Maximilian Morrel,> said the servant, announcing 2 fresh guests.”

a vida não merece ser falada! – isso é um pouco filosófico demais, minha palavra, Morrel. Fica bem para você, que arrisca sua vida todo dia, mas para mim, que só o fez uma vez—“

<No, his horse; of which we each of us ate a slice with a hearty appetite. It was very hard.>

<The horse?> said Morcerf, laughing.

<No, the sacrifice,> returned Chateau-Renaud; <ask Debray if he would sacrifice his English steed for a stranger?>

<Not for a stranger,> said Debray, <but for a friend I might, perhaps.>”

hoje vamos encher nossos estômagos, e não nossas memórias.”

<Ah, this gentleman is a Hercules killing Cacus, a Perseus freeing Andromeda.>

<No, he is a man about my own size.>

<Armed to the teeth?>

<He had not even a knitting-needle [agulha de tricô].>”

He comes possibly from the Holy Land, and one of his ancestors possessed Calvary, as the Mortemarts(*) did the Dead Sea.”

(*) Wiki: “Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart (1847-1933), duchess of Uzès, held one of the biggest fortunes in Europe, spending a large part of it on financing general Boulanger’s political career in 1890. A great lady of the world, she wrote a dozen novels and was the 1st French woman to possess a driving licence.”

Motto: “Avant que la mer fût au monde, Rochechouart portait les ondes”

<he has purchased the title of count somewhere in Tuscany?>

<He is rich, then?>

<Have you read the ‘Arabian Nights’?>

<What a question!>”

he calls himself Sinbad the Sailor, and has a cave filled with gold.”

<Pardieu, every one exists.>

<Doubtless, but in the same way; every one has not black salves, a princely retinue, an arsenal of weapons that would do credit to an Arabian fortress, horses that cost 6.000 francs apiece, and Greek mistresses.>”

<Did he not conduct you to the ruins of the Colosseum and suck your blood?> asked Beauchamp.

<Or, having delivered you, make you sign a flaming parchment, surrendering your soul to him as Esau did his birth-right?>”

The count appeared, dressed with the greatest simplicity, but the most fastidious dandy could have found nothing to cavil [escarnecer] at in his toilet. Every article of dress – hat, coat, gloves, and boots – was from the 1st makers. He seemed scarcely five-and-thirty. But what struck everybody was his extreme resemblance to the portrait Debray had drawn.”

Punctuality,> said M. Cristo, <is the politeness of kings, according to one of your sovereings, I think; but it is not the same with travellers. However, I hope you will excuse the 2 or 3 seconds I am behindhand; 500 leagues are not to be accomplished without some trouble, and especially in France, where, it seems, it is forbidden to beat the postilions [cocheiros].”

a traveller like myself, who has successively lived on maccaroni at Naples, polenta at Milan, olla podrida¹ at Valencia, pilau at Constantinople, karrick in India, and swallow’s nests in China. I eat everywhere, and of everything, only I eat but little”

¹ olla podrida: cozido com presunto, aves e embutidos.a

a embutido: carne de tripa

<But you can sleep when you please, monsieur?> said Morrel.

<Yes>

<You have a recipe for it?>

<An infallible one.>

(…)

<Oh, yes, returned M.C.; I make no secret of it. It is a mixture of excellent opium, which I fetched myself from Canton in order to have it pure, and the best hashish which grows in the East – that is, between the Tigris and the Euphrates.>”

he spoke with so much simplicity that it was evident he spoke the truth, or that he was mad.”

<Perhaps what I am about to say may seem strange to you, who are socialists, and vaunt humanity and your duty to your neighbor, but I never seek to protect a society which does not protect me, and which I will even say, generally occupies itself about me only to injure me; and thus by giving them a low place in my steem, and preserving a neutrality towards them, it is society and my neighbor who are indebted to me.>

(…) <you are the 1st man I ever met sufficiently courageous to preach egotism. Bravo, count, bravo!>” “vocês assumem os vícios que não têm, e escondem as virtudes que possuem.”

France is so prosaic, and Paris so civilized a city, that you will not find in its 85 departments – I say 85, because I do not include Corsica – you will not find, then, in these 85 departments a single hill on which there is not a telegraph, or a grotto in which the comissary of polie has not put up a gaslamp.”

<But how could you charge a Nubian to purchase a house, and a mute to furnish it? – he will do everything wrong.>

<Undeceive yourself, monsieur,> replied M.C.; <I am quite sure, that o the contrary, he will choose everything as I wish. He knows my tastes, my caprices, my wants. He has been here a week, with the instinct of a hound, hunting by himself. He will arrange everything for me. He knew, that I should arrive to-day at 10 o’clock; he was waiting for me at 9 at the Barrière de Fontainebleau. He gave me this paper; it contains the number of my new abode; read it yourself,> and M.C. passed a paper to Albert. <Ah, that is really original.> said Beauchamp.”

The young men looked at each other; they did not know if it was a comedy M.C. was playing, but every word he uttered had such an air of simplicity, that it was impossible to suppose what he said was false – besides, why whould he tell a falsehood?”

<Eu, em minha qualidade de jornalista, abro-lhe todos os teatros.>

<Obrigado, senhor,> respondeu M.C., <meu mordomo tem ordens para comprar um camarote em cada teatro.>

<O seu mordomo é também um núbio?> perguntou Debray.

<Não, ele é um homem do campo europeu, se um córsico for considerado europeu. Mas você o conhece, M. de Morcerf.>

<Seria aquele excepcional Sr. Bertuccio, que entende de reservar janelas tão bem?>

<Sim, você o viu o dia que eu tive a honra de recebê-lo; ele tem sido soldado, bandido – de fato, tudo. Eu não teria tanta certeza de que nesse meio-tempo ele não teve problemas com a polícia por alguma briguinha qualquer – uma punhalada com uma faca, p.ex.>”

Eu tenho algo melhor que isso; tenho uma escrava. Vocês procuram suas mulheres em óperas, o Vaudeville, ou as Variedades; eu comprei a minha em Constantinopla; me custa mais, mas não tenho do que reclamar.”

It was the portrait of a young woman of 5-or-6-and-20, with a dark complexion, and light and lustrous eyes, veiled beneath long lashes. She wore the picturesque costume of the Catalan fisher-women, a red and black bodice and golden pins in her hair. She was looking at the sea, and her form was outlined on the blue ocean and sky. The light was so faint in the room that Albert did not perceive the pallor that spread itself over the count’s visage, or the nervous heaving of his chest and shoulders. Silence prevailed for an instant, during which M.C. gazed intently on the picture. § <You have there a most charming mistress, viscount,> said the count in a perfectly calm tone”

Ah, monsieur, returned Albert, You do not know my mother; she it is whom you see here. She had her portrait painted thus 6 or 8 years ago. This costume is a fancy one, it appears, and the resemblance is so great that I think I still see my mother the same as she was in 1830. The countess had this portrait painted during the count’s absence.”

The picture seems to have a malign influence, for my mother rarely comes here without looking at it, weeping. This disagreement is the only one that has ever taken place between the count and countess, who are still as much united, although married more than 20 years, as on the 1st day of their wedding.”

Your are somewhat blasé. I know, and family scenes have not much effect on Sinbad the Sailor, who has seen so much many others.”

These are our arms, that is, those of my father, but they are, as you see, joined to another shield, which has gules, a silver tower, which are my mother’s. By her side I am Spanish, but the family of Morcerf is French, and, I have heard, one of the oldest of the south of France.”

<Yes, you are at once from Provence and Spain; that explains, if the portrait you showed me be like, the dark hue I so much admired on the visage of the noble Catalan.> It would have required the penetration of Oedipus or the Sphinx to have divined the irony the count concealed beneath these words, apparently uttered with the greatest politeness.”

A gentleman of high birth, possessor of an ample fortune, you have consented to gain your promotion as an obscure soldier, step by step – this is uncommon; then become general, peer of France, commander of the Legion of Honor, you consent to again commence a 2nd apprenticeship, without any other hope or any other desire than that of one day becoming useful to your fellow-creatures”

Precisely, monsieur, replied M.C. with ne of those smiles that a painter could never represent or a physiologist analyze.”

He was even paler than Mercedes.”

<And what do you suppose is the coun’s age?> inquired Mercedes, evidently attaching great importance to this question.

<35 or 36, mother.>

<So young, – it is impossible>”

The young man, standing up before her, gazed upon her with that filial affection which is so tender and endearing with children whose mothers are still young and handsome.”

I confess, I am not very desirous of a visit from the commisary of police, for, in Italy, justice is only paid when silent – in France she is paid only when she speaks.”

he has smitten with the sword, and he has perished by the sword”

while he stamped with his feet to remove all traces of his occupation, I rushed on him and plunged my knife into his breast, exclaiming, – <I am Giovanni Bertuccio; thy death for my brother’s; thy treasure for his widow; thou seest that my vengeance is more complete than I had hoped.> I know not if he heard these words; I think he did not for he fell without a cry.”

that relaxation of the laws which always follows a revolution.”

he who is about to commit an assassination fancies that he hears low cries perpetually ringing in his ears. 2 hours passed thus, during which I imagined I heard moans repeatedly.”

too great care we take of our bodies is the only obstacle to the success of those projects which require rapid decision, and vigorous and determined execution.”

No, no; but philosophy at half-past ten at night is somewhat late; yet I have no other observation to make, for what you say is correct, which is more than can be said for all philosophy.”

<heaven will bless you.>

<This, said M.C., is less correct than your philosophy, – it is only faith.>”

red is either altogether good or altogether bad.”

I do not like open doors when it thunders.”

the ocean called eterny”

For all evils there are 2 remedies – time and silence.”

Eu não tenho medo de fantasmas, e nunca ouvi falar de mortos terem causado tanto dano em 6 mil anos quanto os vivos num só dia.”

<It seems, sir steward,> said he <that you have yet to learn that all things are to be sold to such as care to pay the price.>

<His excellency is not, perhaps, aware that M. Danglars gave 16.000 francs for his horses?>

<Very well. Then offer him double that sum; a banker never loses an opportunity of doubling his capital.>”

you have been in my service 1 year, the time I generally give myself to judge of the merits or demerits of those about me.”

I am rich enough to know whatever I desire to know, and I can promise you I am not wanting in curiosity.”

<I assure your excellency,> said he, <that at least it shall be my study to merit your approbation in all things, and I will take M. Ali as my model.>

<By no means,> replied the count in the most frigid tones; <Ali has many faults mixed with most excellent qualities. He cannot possibly serve you as a pattern for your conduct, not being, as you are, a paid servant, but a mere slave – a dog, who, should he fail in his duty towards me, I should not discharge from my service, but kill.> Baptistin opened his eyes with astonishment.”

<Does the sum you have for them make the animals less beautiful,> inquired the count, shrugging his shoulders.”

I see; to your domestics you are <my lord,> the journalists style you <monsieur,> while your constituents call you <citizen>. These are distinctions very suitable under a constitutional government. I understand perfectly.”

I have acquired the bad habit of calling peorsons by their titles from living in a country where barons are still barons by right of birth.”

<My dear sir, if a trifle [ninharia] like that could suffice me, I should never have given myself the trouble of opening an account. A million? Excuse my smiling when you speak of a sum I am in the habit of carrying in my pocket-book or dressing-case.> And with these words M.C. took from his pocket a small case cantaining his visiting-cards and drew forth 2 orders on the treasury for 500.000 francs each, payable at sight to the bearer.”

I must confess to you, count, said Danglars, that I have hitherto imagined myself acquainted with the degree of all the great fortunes of Europe, and still wealth such as yours has been wholly unknown t me. May I presume to ask whether you have long possessed it?”

I have passed a considerable part of my life in the East, madame, and you are doubtless aware that the Orientals value only two things – the fine breeding of their horses and the beauty of their women.”

a woman will often, from mere wilfulness, prefer that which is dangerous to that which is safe. Therefore, in my opinion, my dear baron, the best and easiest way is to leave them to their fancies, and allow them to act as they please, and then, if any mischief follows, why, at least, they have no one to blame but themselves.”


“Debray, who perceived the gathering clouds, and felt no desire to witness the explosion of Madame Danglars’ rage, suddenly recollected an appointment, which compelled him to take his leave”

How grateful will M. de Villefort be for all your goodness; how thanfully will he acknowledge that to you alone he owes the existence of his wife and child!”

hated by many, but warmly supported by others, without being really liked by anybody, M. de Villefort held a high position in the magistracy, and maintened his eminence like a Harley or a Mole.” “A freezing politeness, a strict fidelity to government principles, a profound comtempt for theories and theorists, a deep-seated hatred of ideality, – these were the elements of private and public life displayed by M. de Villefort.”

<Finja pensar bem de si mesmo, e o mundo pensará bem de você,> um axioma 100x mais útil na sociedade hoje que aquele dos gregos, <Conhece-te a ti mesmo,> uma sabedoria que, em nosso dias, nós substituímos pela ciência menos complicada e mais vantajosa de conhecer os outros.”

4 revoluções sucessivas construíram e cimentaram o pedestal sobre o qual sua fortuna se baseia”

Ele deu bailes todos os anos, nos quais não aparecia por mais que ¼ de hora, – ou seja, 45min a menos do que o rei é visível em seus bailes. Nunca fôra visto em teatros, em concertos ou em qualquer lugar público de divertimento. Ocasionalmente, aliás raramente, chegava a jogar Whist, e ainda assim cuidado era tomado para selecionar os jogadores corretos – certas vezes se tratavam de embaixadores, outras, arcebispos; ou quem sabe um príncipe, ou um presidente, talvez alguma duquesa pensionista.”

From being slender he had now become meagre; once pale he was now yellow; his deep-set eyes were hollow, and the gold spectacles shielding his eyes seemed to be an integral portion of his face.”

<well sir, really, if, like you, I had nothing else to do, I should seek a more amusing occupation.>

<man is but an ugly caterpillar for him who studies him through a solar microscope; but you said, I think, that I had nothing else to do. Now, really, let me ask, sir, have you? – do you believe you have anything to do? or to speak in plain terms, do you really think that what you do deserves being called anything?>

It was a long time since the magisrate had heard a paradox so strong, or rather, to say the truth more exactly, it was the 1st time he had ever heard of it.”

it is with the justice of all countries especially that I have occupied myself – it is with the criminal procedure of all nations that I have compared natural justice, and I must say, sir, that it is the law of primitive nations, that is, the law of retaliation, that I have most frequently found to be according to the law of God.” “The English, Turkish, Japanese, Hindu laws, are as familiar to me as the French laws, and thus I was right, when I said to you, that relatively (you know that everything is relative, sir) – that relatively to what I have done, you have very little to do; but that relatively to all I have learned, you have yet a great deal to learn.”

I see that in spite of the reputation which you have acquired as a superior man, you look at everything from the material and vulgar view of society, beginning with man, and ending with man – that is to say, in the most restricted, most narrow view which it is possible for human understanding to embrace.”

Tobias took the angel who restored him to light for an ordinary young man. The nations took Attila, who was doomed to destroy them, for a conqueror similar to other conquerors, and it was necessary for both to reveal their missions, that they might be known and acknowledged”

It is not usual with us corrupted wretches of civilization to find gentlemen like yourself, possessors, as you are, of immense fortune – at least, so it is said – and I beg you to observe that I do not inquire, I merely repeat; – it is not usual, I say, for such privileged and wealthy beings to waste their time in speculations on the state of society, in philosophical reveries, intended at best to console those whom fate has disinherited from the goods of this world.”

The domination of kings are limited either by mountains or rivers, or a change of manners, or an alteration of language. My kingdom is bounded only by the world, for I am not an Italian, or a Frenchman, or a Hindu, or an American, or a Spaniard – I am a cosmopolite. No country can say it saw my birth. God alone knows what country will see me die. I adopt all customs, speak all languages. You believe me to be a Frenchman, for I speak French with the same facility and purity as yourself. Well, Ali, my Nubian, believes me to be an Arab; Bertuccio, my steward, takes me for a Roman; Haidée, my slave, thinks me a Greek. You may, therefore, comprehend, that being of no country, asking no protection from any government, acknowledging no man as my brother, not one of the scruples that arrest the powerful, or the obstacles which paralyze the weak, paralyzes or arrests me. I have only 2 adversaries – I will not say 2 conquerors, for with perseverance I subdue even them, – they are time and distance. There is a 3rd, and the most terrible – that is my condition asa mortal being, this alone can stop me in my onward career, before I have attained the goal at which I aim, for all the rest I have reduced to mathematical terms. What men call the chances of fate – namey, ruin, change, circumstances – I have fully anticipated, and if any of these should overtake me, yet it will not overwhelm me. Unless I die, I shall always be what I am, and therefore it is that I utter the things you have never heard, even from the mouths of kings – for kings have need, and oher persons have fear of you. For who is there who does not say to himself, in a society as incongruously organized as ours, <Perhaps some day I shall have to do with the king’s attorney>?”

we no longer talk, we rise to dissertation.” Engraçada inversão de sentido em relação ao Prefácio da Enciclopédia francesa, que vê nisso o fato de um monólogo cego, nada nobre.

Eu desejo ser a Providência eu mesmo, porque eu sinto que a coisa mais bela, nobre, mais sublime de todas no mundo, é recompensar e punir.”

o filho de Deus é tão invisível quanto o pai.”

<(…) Tudo o que eu posso fazer por você é torná-lo um dos agentes dessa Providência.> A barganha estava concluída. Devo sacrificar minh’alma, mas que importa afinal? Se fosse para fazer tudo de novo, faria de novo.” Villefort olhou o Conde de Monte Cristo admiradíssimo. “Conde, você tem parentes?”

Não, senhor, estou só no mundo.”

Oh, tanto pior.”

há algo que temer além da morte, da velhice e da loucura. P.ex., existe a apoplexia – aquele raio que atinge-o mas sem destruir, mas que de certo modo leva tudo a um fim.” “a ruptura de uma veia no lobo cerebral destruiu tudo isso, não num dia, não numa hora, mas num segundo. Noirtier, que, na noite anterior, era o velho jacobino, o velho senador, o velho Carbonaro, gargalhando à guilhotina, ao canhão, e à adaga – este Noirtier, jogando com revoluções – Monsieur Noirtier, para quem a França era um vasto tabuleiro de xadrez, de onde peões, bispos, cavaleiros e rainhas eram contìnuamente varridos, até o xeque-mate do rei – M.N., o formidável, era, na manhã seguinte, <o pobre N.,> o velho frágil, sob os ternos cuidados da mais fraca das criaturas da casa, i.e., sua neta, Valentina” Nunca chame uma mulher de fraca antes d’a vingança estar completada!

Cem escriores desde Sócrates, Sêneca, St. Agostinho,e Gall, fizeram, em verso e prosa, a comparação que você fez, e ainda assim eu posso mui bem deduzir que os sofrimentos paternos devem causar grandes transformações na mente de um filho.”

Valentina, a filha do meu primeiro casamento – com senhorita Renée de St.-Meran – e Eduardo, o garoto que você hoje salvou.”

<Meu palpite é,> respondeu V., <que meu pai, conduzido por suas paixões; cometeu algumas faltas desconhecidas para a justiça humana, mas marcadas na justiça de Deus. Esse Deus, desejoso em sua misericórdia de punir uma pessoa e mais ninguém, fez justiça nele tão-somente.> O Conde de Monte Cristo, com um sorriso nos lábios, emitiu, das profundezas de sua alma, um grunhido que teria feito V. voar se ao menos tivesse escutado.”

Sua atitude, embora natural para uma mulher oriental, seria, numa européia, confundida com algo emanando luxúria demais.” “E, para completar o quadro, Haidée se encontrava em plena primavera e no auge dos charmes da juventude – ela ainda não tinha ultrapassado os 20 verões.”

Nunca vi ninguém que eu preferisse a você, e nunca amei qualquer um, exceto você e meu pai.”

não é a árvore que abandona a flor – é a flor que cai da árvore.”

Meu pai tinha uma grande barba branca, mas eu o amava; ele tinha 60, mas para mim era mais bonito que qualquer jovem que já tivesse contemplado.”

Acredite: quando 3 grandes paixões, tristeza, amor e gratidão, preenchem o coração, ennui não tem lugar.”

Juventude é a flor da qual amor é o fruto; feliz é aquele que, depois de assistir seu silencioso crescimento, é o felizardo a pegar o fruto e chamá-lo seu.” Píndaro

Havia um estúdio para Emmanuel, que nunca estudava, e uma sala de concertos para Júlia, que nunca tocava.”

Morrel, ao morrer, deixou 500 mil francos, que foram partilhados entre mim e minha irmã, seus únicos descendentes.”

Oh, it was touching superstition, monsieur, and although I did not myself believe it, I would not for the world have destroyed my father’s faith. How often did he muse over it and pronounce the name of a dear friend – a friend lost to him forever; and on his death-bed, when the near approach of eternity seemed to have illumined his mind with supernatural light, this thought, which had until then been but a doubt, became a conviction and his last words were, <Maximilian, it was Edmond Dantes!> At these words the count’s paleness, which had for some time been increasing, became alarming; he could not speak”

M. Franz is not expected to return home for a year to come, I am told; in that time many favorable and unforeseen chances may befriend us.”

Valentine, while reproaching me with selfishness, think a little what you have been to me – the beautiful but cold resemblance of a marble Venus. What promise of future reward have you made me for all the submission and obedience I have evinced? – none whatever.”

The general remark is, <Oh, it cannot be excepcted that one of so stern a character as M. Villefort could lavish the tenderness some fathers do on their daughters. What though she has lost her own mother at a tender age, she has had tha happiness to find a 2nd mother in Madame de Ville.” “my father abandons me from utter indifference, while my mother-in-law detests me with a hatred so much the more terrible because it is veiled beneath a continual smile.”

I do not know; but, though unwilling to introduce money matters into our present conversation, I will just say this much – that her extreme dislike to me has its origin there; and I much fear she envies me the fortime I enjoy in right of my mother, and wich will be more than doubled at the death of M. and Mme. de Saint-Meran, whose sole heiress I am.”

no one could oppose him; he is all-powerful even with the king; he would crush you at a word.”

I am, for many reasons, not altogether so much beneath your alliance. The days when such distinctions were so nicely weighed and considered no longer exist in France, and the 1st families of the monarchy have intermarried with those of the empire. The aristocracy of the lance has allied itself with the nobility of the cannon.”

Don’t speak of Marseilles, I beg of your, Maximilian; that one word brings back my mother to my recollection – my angel mother, who died too soon for myself, and all who knew her.”

<Tell me truly, Maximilian, wether in former days, when our fathers dwelt at Marseilles, there was ever any misunderstanding between them?>

<Not that I am aware of,> replied the young man, <unless; indeed, any ill-feeling might have arisen from their being of opposite parties – your father was, as you know, a zealous partisan of the Bourbons, while mine was wholly devoted to the emperor>”

How singular, murmured Maximilian; your father hates me, while your grandfather, on the contrary – What strange feelings are aroused by politics.”

<And Monsieur de Monte Cristo, King of China, Emperor of Cochin-China,> said the young im[p][ertinent]”

And that is the case, observed Count of Monte Cristo. I have seen Russians devour, without being visibly inconvenienced, vegetable substances which would infallibly have killed a Neapolitan or an Arab.”

Well, supose that this poison was brucine, and you were to take a milligramme the 1st day, 2mg the 2nd, and so on. Well, at the end of 10 days you would have taken a centigramme [+40mg, cumulativamente], at the end of 20 days, increasing another mg, you would have taken 300 centigrammes [?]; that is to say, a dose which you would support without inconvenience, and which would be very dangerous for any other person who had not taken the same precautions as yourself. Well, then, at the end of a month, when drinking water from the same carafe, you would kill the person who drank with you, without your perceiving, otherwise than from slight inconvenience, that there was any poisonous substance mingles with this water.”

<I have often read, and read again, the history of Mithridates,> said Mme. de Villefort in a tone of reflection, <and had always considered it a fable.>

<No, madame, contrary to most history, it is true (…)>

<True, sir. The 2 favorite studies of my youth were botany and mineralogy, and subsequently when I learned the use of simple frequency explained the whole history of a people, and the entire life of individuals in the East, as flowers betoken and symbolize a love affair, I have regretted, that I was not a man, that I might have been a Flamel¹, a Fontana², or a Cabanis³.>

<And the more, madame,> said Counf of Monte Cristo, <as the Orientals do not confine themselves, as did Mithridates, to make a cuirass [escudo; proteção; couraça] of the poisons, but they also made them a dagger.>”

¹ Alquimista dos séc. XIV-XV.

² Médico italiano do séc. XVIII, autor, nas décadas 60, 70 e 80, de tratados pioneiros em toxicologia, como Ricerche fisiche sopra il veleno della vipera.

³ Médico e filósofo francês, contemporâneo de Fontana. De saúde frágil, era um médico que pesquisava muito e não clinicava, sendo portanto quase um metafísico da fisiologia. Suas idéias podem ser consideradas de uma amplitude tal que é, ainda, um psicólogo pré-Psicologia. Seu conceito de Vontade vital influenciaria fortemente Schopenhauer. Magnum opus: Lettre sur les causes premières (1824).

With opium, belladonna, brucaea, snake-wood¹, and the cherry-laurel², they put to sleep all who stand in their way. There is not one of those women, Egyptian, Turkish, or Greek, whom here you call <good women>, who do not know how, by means of chemistry, to stupefy a doctor, and in psychology to amaze a confessor.”

¹ Planta do gênero acácia comum em desertos do Oriente Médio e Austrália.

² Planta originária da vegetação costeira do Mar Morto.

the secret dramas of the East begin with a love philtre and end with a death potion – begin with paradise and end with – hell. There are as many elixirs of every kind as there are caprices and peculiarities in the physical and moral nature of humanity”

A man can easily be put out of the way there, then; it is, indeed, The Bagdad and Bassora of the <Thousand and One Nights>.”

at your theatres, by what at least I could judge by reading the pieces they play, they see persons swallow the contents of a phial, or suck the button of a ring, and fall dead instantly. 5 minutes afterwards the curtain falls, and the spectators depart. They are ignorant of the consequences of the murder; they see neither the police commissary with his badge of office, nor the corporal with his 4 men; and so the poor fools believe that the whole thing is as easy as lying. But go a little way from France – go either to Aleppo or Cairo, or only to Naples or Rome, and you will see people passing by you in the streets – people erect, smiling, and fresh-colored, of whom Asmodeus, if you were holding on by the skirt of his mantle, would say, <That man was poisoned 3 weeks ago; he will be a dead man in a month.>”

Ah, but madame, does mankind ever lose anything? The arts change about and make a tour of the world; things take a different name, and the vulgar do not follow them (…) Poisons at particularly on some organ or another – one on the stomach, another on the brain, another on the intestines. Well, the poison brings on a cough, the cough an inflammation of the lungs, or some other complaint catalogued in the book of science, which, however, by no means precludes it from being decidedly mortal; and if it were not, would be sure to become so, thanks to the remedies applied by foolish doctors, who are generally bad chemists, and which will act in favor of or against the malady, as you please; and then there is a human being killed according to all the rules of art and skill, and of whom justice learns nothing, as was said by a terrible chemist of my acquaintance, the worthy Abbé Adelmonte of Taormina, in Sicily, who has studied these national phenomena very profoundly.”

I thought, I must confess, that these tales, were inventions of the Middle Ages.”

What procureur has ever ventured to draw up an accusation against M. Magendie or M. Flourens², in consequence of the rabbits, cats, and guinea-pigs they have killed? – not one. So, then, the rabbit dies, and justice takes no notice. This rabbit dead, the Abbé Adelmonte has its entrails taken out by his cook and thrown on the dunghill; on this dunghill is a hen, who, pecking these intestines, is in her turn taken ill, and dies next day. At the moment when she is struggling in the convulsions of death, a vulture [espécie de urubu ou abutre] is flying by (there are a good many vultures in Adelmonte’s country); this bird darts on the dead fowl, and carries it away to a rock, where it dines off its prey. Three days afterwards, this poor vulture, which has been very much indisposed since that dinner, suddenly feels very giddly while flying aloft in the clouds, and falls heavily into a fish-pond. The pike, eels, and carp eat greedily always, as everybody knows – well, they feast on the vulture. Now suppose that next day, one of these eels, or pike, or carp, poisoned the fourth remove, is served up at your table. Well, then, your guest will be poisoned at fifth remove, and die, at the end of 8 or 10 days, of pains in the intestines, sickness, or abscess of the pylorus [piloro; músculo entre o estômago e o duodeno]. The doctors open the body and say with an air of profound learning, <The subject has died of a tumor on the liver, or of typhoid fever!>”

¹ Médico do XIX, vivisseccionista célebre pela radicalidade de seus experimentos, que chocaram até mesmo a comunidade científica de um período ainda não tão eticamente regulamentado quanto hoje.

² Médico do XIX especialista em anestesia; diferente de Gall, seu precursor em frenologia, utilizou animais como cobaias para fazer detalhadas comprovações.

But, she exclaimed, suddenly, arsenic is indelible, indestructible; in whatsoever way it is absorbed it will be found again in the body of the victim from the moment when it has been taken in sufficient quantity to cause death.”

<The fowl has not been poisoned – she had died of apoplexy. Apoplexy is a rare disease among fowls, I believe, but very commong among men.> Madame de Villefort appeared more and more thoughtful.

<It is very fortunate,> she observed, <that such substances could only be prepared by chemists; otherwise, all the world would be poisoning each other.>

<By chemists and persons who have a taste for chemistry,> said the Count of Monte Cristo caressly.”

The Orientals are stronger than we are in cases of conscience, and, very prudently, have no hell – that is the point.”

O lado ruim do pensamento humano vai ser sempre definido pelo paradoxo de Jean Jacques Rousseau – você deve saber, – o mandarim que é morto a 200km de distância por erguer a ponta do dedo. A vida inteira o homem passa fazendo essas coisas, e seu intelecto se exaure refletindo sobre elas. Você achará pouquíssimas pessoas que irão e enfiarão uma faca brutalmente no coração de seu companheiro ou irmão, ou que administrariam nele, para fazê-lo sumir da face da terra tão animada de vida, essa quantidade de arsênico de que falamos agora há pouco. Uma coisa dessas está realmente fora do normal – é excêntrico ou estúpido. Para chegar a esse ponto, o sangue deve ferver a 36º, o pulso deve estar, pelo menos, a 90, e os sentimentos, excitados além do limite ordinário.”

Thus Richard III, for instance, was marvellously served by his conscience after the putting away of the 2 children of Edward IV; in fact, he could say, <These 2 children of a cruel and persecuting king, who have inherited the vices of their father, which I alone could perceive in their juvenile propensities – these 2 children are impediments in my way of promoting the happiness of the English people, whose unhappiness they (the children) would infallibly have caused.> Thus was Lady Macbeth served by her conscience, when she sought to give her son, and not her husband (whatever Shakespeare may say), a throne. Ah, maternal love is a great virtue, a powerful motive – so powerful that it excuses a multitude of things, even if, after Duncan’s death, Lady Macbeth had been at all pricked by her conscience.”

Madame de Villefort listened with avidity to these appaling maxims and horrible paradoxes, delivered by the count with that ironical simplicity which was peculiar to him.”

As for me, so nervous, and so subject to fainting fits, I should require a Dr. Adelmonte to invent for me some means of breathing freely and tranquilizing my mind, in the fear I have of dying some fine day of suffocation.”

Only remember 1 thing – a small dose is a remedy, a large one is poison. 1 drop will restore life, as you have seen; 5 or 6 will inevitably kill, and in a way the more terrible inasmuch as, poured into a glass of wine, it would not in the slightest degree affect its flavor.”

He is a very strange man, and in my opinion is himself the Adelmonte he talks about.”

* * *

To no class of persons is the presentation of a gratuitous opera-box more acceptable than to the wealthy millionaire, who still hugs economy while boasting of carrying a king’s ransom in his waistcoat pocket.”

No, for that very ressemblance affrights me; I should have liked something more in the manner of the Venus of Milo or Capua; but this chase-loving Diana continually surrounded by her nymphs gives me a sort of alarm lest she should some day bring on me the fate of Acteon.” “she was beautiful, but her beauty was of too marked and decided a character to please a fastidious taste; her hair was raven black, but its natural waves seemed somewhat rebellious; her eyes of the same color as her hair, were surmounted by well-arched bows, whose great defect, however, consisted in an almost habitual frown, while her whole physiognomy wore that expression of firmness and decision so little in accordance with the gentler attributes of her sex”

But that which completed the almost masculine look Morcerf found so little to his taste, was a dark mole, of much larger dimensions than these freaks of nature generally are, placed just at the corner of her mouth” “She was a perfect linguist, a 1st-rate artist, wrote poetry, professed to be entirely devoted, following it with an indefatigable perseverance, assisted by a schoolfellow” “It was rumored that she was an object of almost paternal interest to one of the principal composers of the day, who excited her to spare no pains in the cultivation of her voice, which might hereafter prove a source of wealth and independence.”

Why, said Albert, he was talked about for a week; then the coronation of the queen of England took place, followed by the theft of Mademoiselle Mars’ diamonds; and so people talked of something else.”

He seems to have a mania for diamonds, and I verily believe that, like Potenkin, he keeps his pockets filled, for the sake of strewing them along the road, as Tom Thumb did his flint stones.”

No, no! exclaimed Debray; that girl is not his wife: he told us himself she was his slave. Do you not recollect, Morcerf, his telling us so at your breakfast?”

Ah, essa música, como produção humana, cantada por bípedes sem penas, está boa o bastante, para citar o velho Diógenes”

<quando eu desejo ouvir sons mais requintadamente consoantes com a melodia do que o ouvido mortal seria capaz de escutar, eu vou dormir.>

<Então durma aqui, meu querido conde. As condições são favoráveis; para o que mais inventaram a ópera?>

<Não, obrigado. Sua orquestra é muito barulhenta. Para dormir da maneira de que falo, calma e silêncio absolutos são precisos, e ainda certa preparação>–

<Eu sei – o famoso haxixe!>

<Precisamente. Destarte, meu querido visconde, sempre que quiser ser regalado com música de verdade, venha e jante comigo.>”

Haidée, cujo espírito parecia centrado nos negócios do palco, como todas as naturezas sem sofisticação, se deliciava com qualquer coisa que se insinuasse aos olhos ou aos ouvidos.”

Você observou, disse a Condessa G—— a Albert, que voltou para o seu lado, esse homem não faz nada como as outras pessoas; ele escuta com grande devoção o 3º ato de <Robert le Diable>, e quando começa o 4º ato, sai de contínuo.”

desinteresse é o raio mais rilhante em que uma espada nobre pode refletir.”

Ah, Haitians, – that is quite another thing! Haitians are the écarte of French stock-jobbing. We may like bouillote, delight in whist, be enraptured with boston, and yet grow tired of them all; but we always come back to écarte – it’s not only a game, it is a hors-d’oeuvre! M. Danglars sold yesterday at 405, and pockets 300.000 francs. Had he but waited till to-day, the price would have fallen to 205, and instead of gaining 300.000 francs, he would have lost 20 or 25.000.”

Você sabe que com banqueiros nada a não ser um documento escrito será válido.”

é cansativo bancar sempre o Manfredo. Eu desejo que minha vida seja livre e aberta.”

Você ouviu – Major Bartolomeo Cavalcanti – um homem que figura entre os nobres mais antigos de Itália, cujo nome foi celebrado no 10º canto do <Inferno> por Dante”

The acquaintances one makes in travelling have a sort of claim on one, they everywhere expect to receive the attention which you once paid them by chance, as though the civilities of a passing hour were likely to awaken any lasting interest in favor of the man in whose society you may happen to be thrown in the course of your journey.”

<Yes, he is to marry Mademoiselle de Villefort.>

<Indeed?>

<And you know I am to marry Mademoiselle Danglars,> said Albert, laughing.

<You smile.>

<Yes.>

<Why do you do so?>

<I smile because there appears to me to be about as much inclination for the consummation of the engagement in question as there is for my own. But really, my dear count, We are talking as much of women as they do of us; it is unpardonable>”

My servants seem to imitate those you sometimes see in a play, who, because they have only a word to say, aquit themselves in the most awkward manner possible.”

I should like you 100x better if, by your intervention, I could manage to remain a bachelor, even were it only for 10 years.”

Lucullus dines with Lucullus” ou o banquete-para-um.

Você deve saber que na França são muito particulares nesses pontos; não é o bastante, como na Itália, ir até o padre e dizer <Nós amamos 1 ao outro, e queremos que você nos case.> Casamento é um negócio civil na França, e a fim de se casar da maneira ortodoxa você precisa de papéis que estabeleçam inegavelmente sua identidade.”

<But what shall I wear?>

<What you find in your trunks.>

<In my trunks? I have but one portmanteau [mala].>

<I dare say you have nothing else with you. What is the use of losing one’s self with so many things? Besides an old soldier always likes to march with as little baggage as possible.>”

<Exactly so. Now, as I have never known any Sinbad, with the exception of the one celebrated in the ‘1001 Nights’>–

<Well, it is one of his descendants, and a great friend of mine; he is a very rich Englishman, eccentric almost to insanity, and his real name is Lord Wilmore.>”

I have, therefore, received a very good education, and have been treated by those kidnappers very much as the slaves were treated in Asia Minor, whose masters made them grammarians, doctors, and philosophers, in order that they might fetch a higher price in the Roman market.”

Você não pode controlar as circunstâncias, meu caro; <o homem propõe, e Deus dispõe>.”

<Does Mademoiselle Danglars object to this marriage with Monsieur de Morcerf on account of loving another?>

<I told you I was not on terms of strict intimacy with Eugenie.>

<Yes, but girls tell each other secrets without being particularly intimate; own, now, that you did question her on the subject. Ah, I see you are smiling.>”

She told me that she loved no one, said Valentine; that she disliked the idea of being married; that she would infinitely prefer leading an independent and unfettered life; and that she almost wished her father might lose his fortune; that she might become an artist, like her friend, Mademoiselle Louise d’Armilly.”

I never saw more simple tastes united to greater magnificence. His smile is so sweet when he addresses me, that I forget it ever can be bitter to others. Ah, Valentine, tell me, if he ever looked on you with one of those sweet smiles?”

Has the sun done anything for me? No, he warms me with his rays, and it is by his light that I see you – nothing more. Has such and such a perfume done anything for me? No; its odors charms one of my senses – that is all I can say when I am asked why I praise it. My friendship for him is as strange and unaccountable as his for me.”

A man who accustoms himself to live in such a world of poetry and imagination must find far too little excitement in a common, every-day sort of attachment such as ours.”

O que você está me dizendo? 900 mil francos? Essa é uma soma que poderia ser lamentada mesmo por um filósofo!”

Flora, a jovial e sorridente deusa dos jardineiros”

O Conde de Monte Cristo tinha visto o bastante. Todo homem tem uma paixão arrebatadora em seu coração, como cada fruta tem seu verme; a do homem-do-telégrafo era a horticultura.”

these Italians are well-named and badly dressed.”

I have only heard that an emperor of China had an oven built expressly, and that in this oven 12 jars like this were successively baked. 2 broke, from the heat of the fire; the other 10 were sunk 300 fathoms deep into the sea. The sea, knowing what was required of her, threw over them her weeds, encircled them with coral, and encrusted them with shells; the whole was cemented by 200 years beneath these almost impervious depths, for a revolution carried away the emperor who wished to make the trial, and only left the documents proving the manufacture of the jars and their descent into the sea. At the end of 200 years the documents were found, and they thought of bringing up the jars. Divers descended in machines, made expressly on the discovery, into the bay where they were thrown; but of 10 3 only remained, the rest having been broken by the waves.”

<Stop! You are in a shocking hurry to be off – you forget one of my guests. Lean a little to the left. Stay! look at M. Andrea Cavalcanti, the young man in a black coat, looking at Murillo’s Madonna; now he is turning.> This time Bertuccio would have uttered an exclamation had not a look from the Count of Monte Cristo silenced him. <Benedetto?> he muttered; <fatality!>”

you will admit that, when arrived at a certain degree of fortune, the superfluities of life are all that can be desired; and the ladies will allow that, after having risen to a certain eminence of position, the ideal alone can be more exalted.”

For example, you see these 2 fish; 1 brought from 50 leagues beyond St. Petersburg, the other 4 leagues from Naples. Is it not amusing to see them both on the same table?”

<Exactly: 1 comes from the Volga, and the other from Lake Fusaro.>

<Impossible!> cried all the guests simultaneously.

<Well, this is just what amuses me,> said the Count of Monte Cristo. <I am like Nero – cupitor impossibilium; and that is what is amusing you at this moment. This fish which seems so exquisite to you is very likely no better than perch or salmon; but it seemed impossible to procure it, and here it is.>”

<Pliny relates that they sent slaves from Ostia to Rome, who carried on their heads fish which he calls the muslus, and which, from the description, must probably be the goldfish. It was also considered a luxury to have them alive, it being an amusing sight to see them die, for, when dying, they chance color 3 or 4 times, and like the rainbow when it disappears, pass through all the prismatic shades, after which they were sent to the kitchen. Their agony formed part of their merit – if they were not seen alive, they were despised when dead.>

<Yes,> said Debray, <but then Ostia is only a few leagues from Rome.>

<True,> said the Count of Monte Cristo; <but what would be the use of living 18×100 years after Lucullus, if we can do no better than he could?>”

Elisabeth de Rossan, Marquise de Ganges, was one of the famous women of the court of Louis XIV where she was known as <La Belle Provençale>. She was the widow of the Marquise de Castellane when she married de Ganges, and having the misfortune to excite the enmity of her new brothers-in-law, was forced by them to take poison; and they finished her off with pistol and dagger.”

<Can you imagine>, said the Count of Monte Crisato, <some Othello or Abbé de Ganges, one stormy night, descending these stairs step by step, carrying a load, which he wishes to hide from the sight of man, if not from God?> Madame Danglars half fainted on the arm of Villefort, who was obliged to support himself against the wall.”

<What is done to infanticides in this country?> asked Major Cavalcanti innocently.

<Oh, their heads are soon cut off>, said Danglars.

<Ah, indeed?> said Cavalcanti.

<I think so, am I not right, M. de Villefort?> asked the Count of Monte Cristo.

<Yes, count>, replied Villefort, in a voice now scarcely human.”

Simpleton symptons

Melancholy in a capitalist, like the appearance of a comet, presages some misfortune to the world.”

She dreamed Don Carlos had returned to Spain; she believes in dreams. It is magnetism, she says, and when she dreams a thing it is sure to happen, she assures me.”

I make three assortments in fortune—first-rate, second-rate, and third-rate fortunes. I call those first-rate which are composed of treasures one possesses under one’s hand, such as mines, lands, and funded property, in such states as France, Austria, and England, provided these treasures and property form a total of about a hundred millions; I call those second-rate fortunes, that are gained by manufacturing enterprises, joint-stock companies, viceroyalties, and principalities, not drawing more than 1,500,000 francs, the whole forming a capital of about fifty millions; finally, I call those third-rate fortunes, which are composed of a fluctuating capital, dependent upon the will of others, or upon chances which a bankruptcy involves or a false telegram shakes, such as banks, speculations of the day—in fact, all operations under the influence of greater or less mischances, the whole bringing in a real or fictitious capital of about fifteen millions. I think this is about your position, is it not?”

We have our clothes, some more splendid than others,—this is our credit; but when a man dies he has only his skin; in the same way, on retiring from business, you have nothing but your real principal of about five or six millions, at the most; for third-rate fortunes are never more than a fourth of what they appear to be, like the locomotive on a railway, the size of which is magnified by the smoke and steam surrounding it. Well, out of the five or six millions which form your real capital, you have just lost nearly two millions, which must, of course, in the same degree diminish your credit and fictitious fortune; to follow out my s[i]mile, your skin has been opened by bleeding, and this if repeated three or four times will cause death—so pay attention to it, my dear Monsieur Danglars. Do you want money? Do you wish me to lend you some?

I have made up the loss of blood by nutrition. I lost a battle in Spain, I have been defeated in Trieste, but my naval army in India will have taken some galleons, and my Mexican pioneers will have discovered some mine.”

to involve me, three governments must crumble to dust.”

Well, such things have been.”

That there should be a famine!”

Recollect the seven fat and the seven lean kine.”

Or, that the sea should become dry, as in the days of Pharaoh, and even then my vessels would become caravans.”

So much the better. I congratulate you, my dear M. Danglars,” said Monte Cristo; “I see I was deceived, and that you belong to the class of second-rate fortunes.”

the sickly moons which bad artists are so fond of daubing into their pictures of ruins.”

But all the Italians are the same; they are like old Jews when they are not glittering in Oriental splendor.”

my opinion, I say, is, that they have buried their millions in corners, the secret of which they have transmitted only to their eldest sons, who have done the same from generation to generation; and the proof of this is seen in their yellow and dry appearance, like the florins of the republic, which, from being constantly gazed upon, have become reflected in them.”

Oh, that depends upon circumstances. I know an Italian prince, rich as a gold mine, one of the noblest families in Tuscany, who, when his sons married according to his wish, gave them millions; and when they married against his consent, merely allowed them thirty crowns a month. Should Andrea marry according to his father’s views, he will, perhaps, give him one, two, or three millions. For example, supposing it were the daughter of a banker, he might take an interest in the house of the father-in-law of his son; then again, if he disliked his choice, the major takes the key, double-locks his coffer, and Master Andrea would be obliged to live like the sons of a Parisian family, by shuffling cards or rattling the dice.”

Well, when I was a clerk, Morcerf was a mere fisherman.”

And then he was called——”

Fernand.”

Only Fernand?”

Fernand Mondego.”

You are sure?”

Pardieu! I have bought enough fish of him to know his name.”

Then, why did you think of giving your daughter to him?”

Because Fernand and Danglars, being both parvenus, both having become noble, both rich, are about equal in worth, excepting that there have been certain things mentioned of him that were never said of me.”

What?”

Oh, nothing!”

Ah, yes; what you tell me recalls to mind something about the name of Fernand Mondego. I have heard that name in Greece.”

In conjunction with the affairs of Ali Pasha?”

Exactly so.”

This is the mystery,” said Danglars. “I acknowledge I would have given anything to find it out.”

It would be very easy if you much wished it?”

How so?”

Probably you have some correspondent in Greece?”

I should think so.”

At Yanina?”

Everywhere.”

Well, write to your correspondent in Yanina, and ask him what part was played by a Frenchman named Fernand Mondego in the catastrophe of Ali Tepelini.”

You are right,” exclaimed Danglars, rising quickly, “I will write today.”

business-like persons pay very little attention to women, and Madame Danglars crossed the hall without exciting any more attention than any other woman calling upon her lawyer.”

it is true that every step in our lives is like the course of an insect on the sands;—it leaves its track! Alas, to many the path is traced by tears.”

 “Besides the pleasure, there is always remorse from the indulgence of our passions, and, after all, what have you men to fear from all this? the world excuses, and notoriety ennobles you.”

It is generally the case that what we most ardently desire is as ardently withheld from us by those who wish to obtain it, or from whom we attempt to snatch it. Thus, the greater number of a man’s errors come before him disguised under the specious form of necessity; then, after error has been committed in a moment of excitement, of delirium, or of fear, we see that we might have avoided and escaped it. The means we might have used, which we in our blindness could not see, then seem simple and easy, and we say, <Why did I not do this, instead of that?> Women, on the contrary, are rarely tormented with remorse; for the decision does not come from you,—your misfortunes are generally imposed upon you, and your faults the results of others’ crimes.

Chance?” replied Villefort; “No, no, madame, there is no such thing as chance.”

Oh, the wickedness of man is very great,” said Villefort, “since it surpasses the goodness of God. Did you observe that man’s eyes while he was speaking to us?”

No.”

But have you ever watched him carefully?”

did you ever reveal to anyone our connection?”

Never, to anyone.”

You understand me,” replied Villefort, affectionately; “when I say anyone,—pardon my urgency,—to anyone living I mean?”

Yes, yes, I understand very well,” ejaculated the baroness; “never, I swear to you.”

Were you ever in the habit of writing in the evening what had transpired in the morning? Do you keep a journal?”

No, my life has been passed in frivolity; I wish to forget it myself.”

Do you talk in your sleep?”

I sleep soundly, like a child; do you not remember?” The color mounted to the baroness’s face, and Villefort turned awfully pale.

It is true,” said he, in so low a tone that he could hardly be heard.

It was a strange thing that no one ever appeared to advance a step in that man’s favor. Those who would, as it were, force a passage to his heart, found an impassable barrier.”

And what is the news?”

You should not ask a stranger, a foreigner, for news.”

One may forsake a mistress, but a wife,—good heavens! There she must always be”

You are difficult to please, viscount.”

Yes, for I often wish for what is impossible.”

What is that?”

To find such a wife as my father found.” Monte Cristo turned pale, and looked at Albert, while playing with some magnificent pistols.

For any other son to have stayed with his mother for four days at Tréport, it would have been a condescension or a martyrdom, while I return, more contented, more peaceful—shall I say more poetic!—than if I had taken Queen Mab or Titania as my companion.”

That is what I call devoted friendship, to recommend to another one whom you would not marry yourself.”

I love everyone as God commands us to love our neighbor, as Christians; but I thoroughly hate but a few. Let us return to M. Franz d’Epinay. Did you say he was coming?”

those who remain in Paris in July must be true Parisians.”

That is very well before one is over forty. No, I do not dance, but I like to see others do so.”

One of his peculiarities was never to speak a word of French, which he however wrote with great facility.”

I am told it is a delightful place?”

It is a rock.”

And why has the count bought a rock?”

For the sake of being a count. In Italy one must have territorial possessions to be a count.”

Are you not his confessor?”

No, sir; I believe he is a Lutheran.”

He is a Quaker then?”

Exactly, he is a Quaker, with the exception of the peculiar dress.”

Has he any friends?”

Yes, everyone who knows him is his friend.”

But has he any enemies?”

One only.”

What is his name?”

Lord Wilmore.”

A investigação circular de Monsieur Villefaible…

Now, sir, I have but one question more to ask, and I charge you, in the name of honor, of humanity, and of religion, to answer me candidly.”

What is it, sir?”

Do you know with what design M. de Monte Cristo purchased a house at Auteuil?”

Certainly, for he told me.”

What is it, sir?”

To make a lunatic asylum of it, similar to that founded by the Count of Pisani at Palermo. Do you know about that institution?”

As the envoy of the prefect of police arrived ten minutes before ten, he was told that Lord Wilmore, who was precision and punctuality personified, was not yet come in, but that he would be sure to return as the clock struck.” (*) [VIDE MARCA POUCO ALÉM]

But as Lord Wilmore, in the character of the count’s enemy, was less restrained in his answers, they were more numerous; he described the youth of Monte Cristo, who he said, at ten years of age, entered the service of one of the petty sovereigns of India who make war on the English. It was there Wilmore had first met him and fought against him; and in that war Zaccone had been taken prisoner, sent to England, and consigned to the hulks, whence he had escaped by swimming. Then began his travels, his duels, his caprices; then the insurrection in Greece broke out, and he had served in the Grecian ranks. While in that service he had discovered a silver mine in the mountains of Thessaly, but he had been careful to conceal it from everyone. After the battle of Navarino, when the Greek government was consolidated, he asked of King Otho a mining grant for that district, which was given him. Hence that immense fortune, which, in Lord Wilmore’s opinion, possibly amounted to one or two millions per annum,—a precarious fortune, which might be momentarily lost by the failure of the mine.”

Hatred evidently inspired the Englishman, who, knowing no other reproach to bring on the count, accused him of avarice. “Do you know his house at Auteuil?”

Certainly.”

What do you know respecting it?”

Do you wish to know why he bought it?”

Yes.”

The count is a speculator, who will certainly ruin himself in experiments. He supposes there is in the neighborhood of the house he has bought a mineral spring equal to those at Bagnères, Luchon, and Cauterets. He is going to turn his house into a Badhaus, as the Germans term it. He has already dug up all the garden two or three times to find the famous spring, and, being unsuccessful, he will soon purchase all the contiguous houses. Now, as I dislike him, and hope his railway, his electric telegraph, or his search for baths, will ruin him, I am watching for his discomfiture, which must soon take place.”

I have already fought three duels with him,” said the Englishman, “the first with the pistol, the second with the sword, and the third with the sabre.”

Lord Wilmore, having heard the door close after him, returned to his bedroom, where with one hand he pulled off his light hair, his red whiskers, his false jaw, and his wound, to resume the black hair, dark complexion, and pearly teeth of the Count of Monte Cristo. It was M. de Villefort, and not the prefect, who returned to the house of M. de Villefort. (*) [???] He himself was the <envoy> [solução do miséterio], although the prefect was no more than an envoy of the King’s Attorney… Champsfort, consequently, continued his circularity with perfection & avidity…

You know that he has another name besides Monte Cristo?”

No, I did not know it.”

Monte Cristo is the name of an island, and he has a family name.”

I never heard it.”

Well, then, I am better informed than you; his name is Zaccone.”

It is possible.”

He is a Maltese.”

That is also possible.”

The son of a shipowner.”

Many men might have been handsomer, but certainly there could be none whose appearance was more significant, if the expression may be used. (…) Yet the Parisian world is so strange, that even all this might not have won attention had there not been connected with it a mysterious story gilded by an immense fortune.”

Albert,” she asked, “did you notice that?”

What, mother?”

That the count has never been willing to partake of food under the roof of M. de Morcerf.”

Yes; but then he breakfasted with me—indeed, he made his first appearance in the world on that occasion.”

But your house is not M. de Morcerf’s,” murmured Mercédès

Count,” added Mercédès with a supplicating glance, “there is a beautiful Arabian custom, which makes eternal friends of those who have together eaten bread and salt under the same roof.”

I know it, madame,” replied the count; “but we are in France, and not in Arabia, and in France eternal friendships are as rare as the custom of dividing bread and salt with one another.”

How can you exist thus without anyone to attach you to life?”

It is not my fault, madame. At Malta, I loved a young girl, was on the point of marrying her, when war came and carried me away. I thought she loved me well enough to wait for me, and even to remain faithful to my memory. When I returned she was married. This is the history of most men who have passed twenty years of age. Perhaps my heart was weaker than the hearts of most men, and I suffered more than they would have done in my place; that is all.” The countess stopped for a moment, as if gasping for breath. “Yes,” she said, “and you have still preserved this love in your heart—one can only love once—and did you ever see her again?”

MÍNIMA LISTA

Countless countesses

M. Count Comtempt

Countemporaneous

Aunt C.

instead of plunging into the mass of documents piled before him, M. Villefort opened the drawer of his desk, touched a spring, and drew out a parcel of cherished memoranda, amongst which he had carefully arranged, in characters only known to himself, the names of all those who, either in his political career, in money matters, at the bar, or in his mysterious love affairs, had become his enemies. § Their number was formidable, now that he had begun to fear, and yet these names, powerful though they were, had often caused him to smile with the same kind of satisfaction experienced by a traveller who from the summit of a mountain beholds at his feet the craggy eminences, the almost impassable paths, and the fearful chasms, through which he has so perilously climbed. When he had run over all these names in his memory, again read and studied them, commenting meanwhile upon his lists, he shook his head.

No,” he murmured, “none of my enemies would have waited so patiently and laboriously for so long a space of time, that they might now come and crush me with this secret. Sometimes, as Hamlet says—

Foul deeds will rise,

Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes;’

Sujos feitos erguer-se-ão,

Muito embora toda a terra os soterre,

aos olhos dos homens

Hamlet

“—he cared little for that mene, mene, tekel upharsin, which appeared suddenly in letters of blood upon the wall;—but what he was really anxious for was to discover whose hand had traced them.” Referência bíblica. Segue explicação:

(source: Wiki)

Daniel reads the words, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN, and interprets them for the king: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed and found wanting; and PERES, the kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. <Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made … that he should rank third in the kingdom; [and] that very night Belshazzar the Chaldean (Babylonian) king was killed, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom.> (…) As Aramaic was written with consonants alone, they may have lacked any context in which to make sense of them. Daniel supplies vowels in two different ways, first reading the letters as nouns, then interpreting them as verbs. § The words Daniel reads are monetary weights: a mena, equivalent to a Jewish mina or 60 shekels, (several ancient versions have only one mena instead of two), a tekel, equivalent to a shekel, and parsin, meaning <half-pieces>. The last involves a word-play on the name of the Persians, suggesting not only that they are to inherit Belshazzar’s kingdom, but that they are two peoples, Medes and Persians. § Having read the words as nouns Daniel then interprets them as verbs, based on their roots: mina is interpreted as meaning <numbered>, tekel, from a root meaning to weigh, as meaning <weighed> (and found wanting), and peres, the singular form of dual parsin, from a root meaning to divide, as meaning the kingdom is to be <divided> and given to the Medes and Persians. (A curious point is that the various weights — a mina or sixty shekels, another shekel, and two half-shekels — add up to 62, which is noted in the last verse as the age of Darius the Mede).” RESUMO: “Seus dias estão contados…”

I cannot cry; at my age they say that we have no more tears,—still I think that when one is in trouble one should have the power of weeping.”

nothing frightens old people so much as when death relaxes its vigilance over them for a moment in order to strike some other old person.”

A stepmother is never a mother, sir. But this is not to the purpose,—our business concerns Valentine, let us leave the dead in peace.”

that theatrical formality invented to heighten the effect of a comedy called the signature of the contract”

It is an every-day occurrence for a gambler to lose not only what he possesses but also what he has not.”

I will, then, wait until the last moment, and when my misery is certain, irremediable, hopeless, I will write a confidential letter to my brother-in-law, another to the prefect of police, to acquaint them with my intention, and at the corner of some wood, on the brink of some abyss, on the bank of some river, I will put an end to my existence, as certainly as I am the son of the most honest man who ever lived in France.”

He shut himself in his room, and tried to read, but his eye glanced over the page without understanding a word, and he threw away the book, and for the second time sat down to sketch his plan (…) The garden became darker still, but in the darkness he looked in vain for the white dress, and in the silence he vainly listened for the sound of footsteps. The house, which was discernible through the trees, remained in darkness, and gave no indication that so important an event as the signature of a marriage-contract was going on. Morrel looked at his watch, which wanted a quarter to ten; but soon the same clock he had already heard strike two or three times rectified the error by striking half-past nine. § This was already half an hour past the time Valentine had fixed. It was a terrible moment for the young man. The slightest rustling of the foliage, the least whistling of the wind, attracted his attention, and drew the perspiration to his brow; then he tremblingly fixed his ladder, and, not to lose a moment, placed his foot on the first step. Amidst all these alternations of hope and fear, the clock struck ten. <It is impossible,> said Maximilian, <that the signing of a contract should occupy so long a time without unexpected interruptions. I have weighed all the chances, calculated the time required for all the forms; something must have happened.> And then he walked rapidly to and fro, and pressed his burning forehead against the fence. Had Valentine fainted? or had she been discovered and stopped in her flight? These were the only obstacles which appeared possible to the young man. (…) He even thought he could perceive something on the ground at a distance; he ventured to call, and it seemed to him that the wind wafted back an almost inarticulate sigh. (…) A light moved rapidly from time to time past three windows of the second floor. These three windows were in Madame de Saint-Méran’s room. Another remained motionless behind some red curtains which were in Madame de Villefort’s bedroom. Morrel guessed all this. So many times, in order to follow Valentine in thought at every hour in the day, had he made her describe the whole house, that without having seen it he knew it all.”

grief may kill, although it rarely does, and never in a day, never in an hour, never in ten minutes.”

Did you notice the symptoms of the disease to which Madame de Saint-Méran has fallen a victim?”

I did. Madame de Saint-Méran had three successive attacks, at intervals of some minutes, each one more serious than the former. When you arrived, Madame de Saint-Méran had already been panting for breath some minutes; she then had a fit, which I took to be simply a nervous attack, and it was only when I saw her raise herself in the bed, and her limbs and neck appear stiffened, that I became really alarmed. Then I understood from your countenance there was more to fear than I had thought. This crisis past, I endeavored to catch your eye, but could not. You held her hand—you were feeling her pulse—and the second fit came on before you had turned towards me. This was more terrible than the first; the same nervous movements were repeated, and the mouth contracted and turned purple.”

And at the third she expired.”

At the end of the first attack I discovered symptoms of tetanus; you confirmed my opinion.”

Yes, before others,” replied the doctor; “but now we are alone——“

What are you going to say? Oh, spare me!”

That the symptoms of tetanus and poisoning by vegetable substances are the same.” M. de Villefort started from his seat, then in a moment fell down again, silent and motionless.

Madame de Saint-Méran succumbed to a powerful dose of brucine or of strychnine, which by some mistake, perhaps, has been given to her.”

But how could a dose prepared for M. Noirtier poison Madame de Saint-Méran?”

Nothing is more simple. You know poisons become remedies in certain diseases, of which paralysis is one. For instance, having tried every other remedy to restore movement and speech to M. Noirtier, I resolved to try one last means, and for three months I have been giving him brucine; so that in the last dose I ordered for him there were six grains. This quantity, which is perfectly safe to administer to the paralyzed frame of M. Noirtier, which has become gradually accustomed to it, would be sufficient to kill another person.”

were you a priest I should not dare tell you that, but you are a man, and you know mankind.”

It cannot be wondered at that his mind, generally so courageous, but now disturbed by the two strongest human passions, love and fear, was weakened even to the indulgence of superstitious thoughts. Although it was impossible that Valentine should see him, hidden as he was, he thought he heard the shadow at the window call him; his disturbed mind told him so. This double error became an irresistible reality, and by one of the incomprehensible transports of youth, he bounded from his hiding-place, and with two strides, at the risk of being seen, at the risk of alarming Valentine, at the risk of being discovered by some exclamation which might escape the young girl, he crossed the flower-garden, which by the light of the moon resembled a large white lake, and having passed the rows of orange-trees which extended in front of the house, he reached the step, ran quickly up and pushed the door, which opened without offering any resistance. Valentine had not seen him. Her eyes, raised towards heaven, were watching a silvery cloud gliding over the azure, its form that of a shadow mounting towards heaven. Her poetic and excited mind pictured it as the soul of her grandmother. (…) Morrel was mad.”

A heart overwhelmed with one great grief is insensible to minor emotions.”

The weak man talks of burdens he can raise, the timid of giants he can confront, the poor of treasures he spends, the most humble peasant, in the height of his pride, calls himself Jupiter.”

It is said to have been a congestion of the brain, or apoplexy, which is the same thing, is it not?”

Nearly.”

You bend because your empire is a young stem, weakened by rapid growth. Take the Republic for a tutor; let us return with renewed strength to the battle-field, and I promise you 500,000 soldiers, another Marengo, and a second Austerlitz. Ideas do not become extinct, sire; they slumber sometimes, but only revive the stronger before they sleep entirely.” M. Noirtier a Napoleão

But tell me, said Beauchamp, what is life? Is it not a halt in Death’s anteroom?”

A moment later, Madame de Villefort entered the drawing-room with her little Edward. It was evident that she had shared the grief of the family, for she was pale and looked fatigued. She sat down, took Edward on her knees, and from time to time pressed this child, on whom her affections appeared centred, almost convulsively to her bosom.”

Old age is selfish, sir, and Mademoiselle de Villefort has been a faithful companion to M. Noirtier, which she cannot be when she becomes the Baroness d’Epinay. My father’s melancholy state prevents our speaking to him on any subjects, which the weakness of his mind would incapacitate him from understanding, and I am perfectly convinced that at the present time, although, he knows that his granddaughter is going to be married, M. Noirtier has even forgotten the name of his intended grandson.”

He was then informed of the contents of the letter from the Island of Elba, in which he was recommended to the club as a man who would be likely to advance the interests of their party. One paragraph spoke of the return of Bonaparte and promised another letter and further details, on the arrival of the Pharaon belonging to the shipbuilder Morrel, of Marseilles, whose captain was entirely devoted to the emperor.”

there was something awful in hearing the son read aloud in trembling pallor these details of his father’s death, which had hitherto been a mystery. Valentine clasped her hands as if in prayer. Noirtier looked at Villefort with an almost sublime expression of contempt and pride.”

The general fell, then, in a loyal duel, and not in ambush as it might have been reported. In proof of this we have signed this paper to establish the truth of the facts, lest the moment should arrive when either of the actors in this terrible scene should be accused of premeditated murder or of infringement of the laws of honor.”

<tell me the name of the president of the club, that I may at least know who killed my father.> Villefort mechanically felt for the handle of the door; Valentine, who understood sooner than anyone her grandfather’s answer, and who had often seen two scars upon his right arm, drew back a few steps. <Mademoiselle,> said Franz, turning towards Valentine, <unite your efforts with mine to find out the name of the man who made me an orphan at two years of age.> Valentine remained dumb and motionless.”

M, repeated Franz. The young man’s finger, glided over the words, but at each one Noirtier answered by a negative sign. Valentine hid her head between her hands. At length, Franz arrived at the word MYSELF.”

what is required of a young man in Paris? To speak its language tolerably, to make a good appearance, to be a good gamester, and to pay in cash.”

As for his wife, he bowed to her, as some husbands do to their wives, but in a way that bachelors will never comprehend, until a very extensive code is published on conjugal life.”

The two young ladies were seen seated on the same chair, at the piano, accompanying themselves, each with one hand, a fancy to which they had accustomed themselves, and performed admirably. Mademoiselle d’Armilly, whom they then perceived through the open doorway, formed with Eugénie one of the tableaux vivants of which the Germans are so fond. She was somewhat beautiful, and exquisitely formed—a little fairy-like figure, with large curls falling on her neck, which was rather too long, as Perugino sometimes makes his Virgins, and her eyes dull from fatigue. She was said to have a weak chest, and like Antonia in the Cremona Violin, she would die one day while singing. Monte Cristo cast one rapid and curious glance round this sanctum; it was the first time he had ever seen Mademoiselle d’Armilly, of whom he had heard much. <Well,> said the banker to his daughter, <are we then all to be excluded?> He then led the young man into the study, and either by chance or manœuvre the door was partially closed after Andrea, so that from the place where they sat neither the Count nor the baroness could see anything; but as the banker had accompanied Andrea, Madame Danglars appeared to take no notice of it.”

<Then you are wrong, madame. Fortune is precarious; and if I were a woman and fate had made me a banker’s wife, whatever might be my confidence in my husband’s good fortune, still in speculation you know there is great risk. Well, I would secure for myself a fortune independent of him, even if I acquired it by placing my interests in hands unknown to him.> Madame Danglars blushed, in spite of all her efforts. <Stay,> said Monte Cristo, as though he had not observed her confusion, <I have heard of a lucky hit that was made yesterday on the Neapolitan bonds.>”

<Yes,> said Monte Cristo, <I have heard that; but, as Claudius said to Hamlet, ‘it is a law of nature; their fathers died before them, and they mourned their loss; they will die before their children, who will, in their turn, grieve for them.’>”

How extraordinary! And how does M. de Villefort bear it?”

As usual. Like a philosopher.” Danglars returned at this moment alone. “Well,” said the baroness, “do you leave M. Cavalcanti with your daughter?”

And Mademoiselle d’Armilly,” said the banker; “do you consider her no one?” Then, turning to Monte Cristo, he said, “Prince Cavalcanti is a charming young man, is he not? But is he really a prince?”

HIERARQUIA DOS TÍTULOS DA NOBREZA-BURGUESIA OU CALEIDOSCÓPIO DA CLASSE ARISTOPLUTOCRÁTICA EUROPÉIA DOS “SÉCULOS DE OURO”:

Conde > Visconde > Duque > Barão > Baronete

OBS: A acepção Latina de <barão> é depreciativa.

it is so delightful to hear music in the distance, when the musicians are unrestrained by observation.”

He is a musician.”

So are all Italians.”

Come, count, you do not do that young man justice.”

Well, I acknowledge it annoys me, knowing your connection with the Morcerf family, to see him throw himself in the way.” Danglars burst out laughing.

What a Puritan you are!” said he; “that happens every day.”

But you cannot break it off in this way; the Morcerfs are depending on this union.”

Oh, my dear count, husbands are pretty much the same everywhere; an individual husband of any country is a pretty fair specimen of the whole race.”

Haydée—what an adorable name! Are there, then, really women who bear the name of Haydée anywhere but in Byron’s poems?”

Certainly there are. Haydée is a very uncommon name in France, but is common enough in Albania and Epirus; it is as if you said, for example, Chastity, Modesty, Innocence,—it is a kind of baptismal name, as you Parisians call it.”

Oh, that is charming,” said Albert, “how I should like to hear my countrywomen called Mademoiselle Goodness, Mademoiselle Silence, Mademoiselle Christian Charity! Only think, then, if Mademoiselle Danglars, instead of being called Claire-Marie-Eugénie, had been named Mademoiselle Chastity-Modesty-Innocence Danglars; what a fine effect that would have produced on the announcement of her marriage!”

How was it that Dionysius the Tyrant became a schoolmaster? The fortune of war, my dear viscount,—the caprice of fortune; that is the way in which these things are to be accounted for.”

Monte Cristo turned to Albert. <Do you know modern Greek,> asked he.

<Alas! no,> said Albert; <nor even ancient Greek, my dear count; never had Homer or Plato a more unworthy scholar than myself.>

Monte Cristo turned to Haydée, and with an expression of countenance which commanded her to pay the most implicit attention to his words, he said in Greek,—<Tell us the fate of your father; but neither the name of the traitor nor the treason.> Haydée sighed deeply, and a shade of sadness clouded her beautiful brow.”

that unsophisticated innocence of childhood which throws a charm round objects insignificant in themselves, but which in its eyes are invested with the greatest importance.”

things which in the evening look dark and obscure, appear but too clearly in the light of morning, and sometimes the utterance of one word, or the lapse of a single day, will reveal the most cruel calumnies.”

the breaking off of a marriage contract always injures the lady more than the gentleman.”

one must never be eccentric. If one’s lot is cast among fools, it is necessary to study folly.” “alguém nunca deve ser excêntrico. Se a alguém couber a mesma sorte que a dos loucos, é preciso estudar a loucura.”

Supposing the assertion to be really true?”

A son ought not to submit to such a stain on his father’s honor.”

Ma foi! we live in times when there is much to which we must submit.”

That is precisely the fault of the age.”

And do you undertake to reform it?”

Yes, as far as I am personally concerned.”

Well, you are indeed exacting, my dear fellow!”

Ah, but the friends of today are the enemies of tomorrow”

When you wish to obtain some concession from a man’s self-love, you must avoid even the appearance of wishing to wound it.”

It was a gloomy, dusty-looking apartment, such as journalists’ offices have always been from time immemorial.

I have heard it said that hearts inflamed by obstacles to their desire grew cold in time of security”

People die very suddenly in your house, M. de Villefort.”

Well, sir, you have in your establishment, or in your family, perhaps, one of the frightful monstrosities of which each century produces only one. Locusta and Agrippina, living at the same time, were an exception, and proved the determination of Providence to effect the entire ruin of the Roman empire, sullied by so many crimes. Brunhilda and Fredegund were the results of the painful struggle of civilization in its infancy, when man was learning to control mind, were it even by an emissary from the realms of darkness. All these women had been, or were, beautiful. The same flower of innocence had flourished, or was still flourishing, on their brow, that is seen on the brow of the culprit in your house.”

<Seek whom the crime will profit,> says an axiom of jurisprudence.”

Doctor,” cried Villefort, “alas, doctor, how often has man’s justice been deceived by those fatal words.

<Oh, man,> murmured d’Avrigny, <the most selfish of all animals, the most personal of all creatures, who believes the earth turns, the sun shines, and death strikes for him alone,—an ant cursing God from the top of a blade of grass!>

no one knows, not even the assassin, that, for the last twelve months, I have given M. Noirtier brucine for his paralytic affection, while the assassin is not ignorant, for he has proved that brucine is a violent poison.”

for when crime enters a dwelling, it is like death—it does not come alone.  (…) What does it signify to you if I am murdered? Are you my friend? Are you a man? Have you a heart? No, you are a physician!”

Ah, Caderousse,” said Andrea, “how covetous you are! Two months ago you were dying with hunger.”

The appetite grows by what it feeds on,” said Caderousse, grinning and showing his teeth, like a monkey laughing or a tiger growling.

That Count of Monte Cristo is an original, who loves to look at the sky even at night.”

those thieves of jewellers imitate so well that it is no longer worthwhile to rob a jeweller’s shop—it is another branch of industry paralyzed.”

From his past life, from his resolution to shrink from nothing, the count had acquired an inconceivable relish for the contests in which he had engaged, sometimes against nature, that is to say, against God, and sometimes against the world, that is, against the devil.”

The count felt his heart beat more rapidly. Inured as men may be to danger, forewarned as they may be of peril, they understand, by the fluttering of the heart and the shuddering of the frame, the enormous difference between a dream and a reality, between the project and the execution.” “and one might distinguish by the glimmering through the open panel that he wore a pliant tunic of steel mail, of which the last in France, where daggers are no longer dreaded, was worn by King Louis XVI, who feared the dagger at his breast, and whose head was cleft with a hatchet.”

So you would rob the Count of Monte Cristo?” continued the false abbé.

Reverend sir, I am impelled——”

Every criminal says the same thing.”

Poverty——”

Pshaw!” said Busoni disdainfully; “poverty may make a man beg, steal a loaf of bread at a baker’s door, but not cause him to open a secretary desk in a house supposed to be inhabited.”

Ah, reverend sir,” cried Caderousse, clasping his hands, and drawing nearer to Monte Cristo, “I may indeed say you are my deliverer!”

You mean to say you have been freed from confinement?”

Yes, that is true, reverend sir.”

Who was your liberator?”

An Englishman.”

What was his name?”

Lord Wilmore.”

I know him; I shall know if you lie.”

Ah, reverend sir, I tell you the simple truth.”

Was this Englishman protecting you?”

No, not me, but a young Corsican, my companion.”

What was this young Corsican’s name?”

Benedetto.”

Is that his Christian name?”

He had no other; he was a foundling.”

Then this young man escaped with you?”

He did.”

In what way?”

We were working at Saint-Mandrier, near Toulon. Do you know Saint-Mandrier?”

I do.”

In the hour of rest, between noon and one o’clock——”

Galley-slaves having a nap after dinner! We may well pity the poor fellows!” said the abbé.

Nay,” said Caderousse, “one can’t always work—one is not a dog.”

So much the better for the dogs,” said Monte Cristo.

While the rest slept, then, we went away a short distance; we severed our fetters with a file the Englishman had given us, and swam away.”

And what is become of this Benedetto?”

I don’t know.”

You ought to know.”

No, in truth; we parted at Hyères.” And, to give more weight to his protestation, Caderousse advanced another step towards the abbé, who remained motionless in his place, as calm as ever, and pursuing his interrogation. “You lie,” said the Abbé Busoni, with a tone of irresistible authority.

Reverend sir!”

You lie! This man is still your friend, and you, perhaps, make use of him as your accomplice.”

Oh, reverend sir!”

Since you left Toulon what have you lived on? Answer me!”

On what I could get.”

You lie,” repeated the abbé a third time, with a still more imperative tone. Caderousse, terrified, looked at the count. “You have lived on the money he has given you.”

True,” said Caderousse; “Benedetto has become the son of a great lord.”

How can he be the son of a great lord?”

A natural son.”

And what is that great lord’s name?”

The Count of Monte Cristo, the very same in whose house we are.”

Benedetto the count’s son?” replied Monte Cristo, astonished in his turn.

Well, I should think so, since the count has found him a false father—since the count gives him 4.000 francs a month, and leaves him 500.000 francs in his will.”

Ah, yes,” said the factitious abbé, who began to understand; “and what name does the young man bear meanwhile?”

Andrea Cavalcanti.”

Is it, then, that young man whom my friend the Count of Monte Cristo has received into his house, and who is going to marry Mademoiselle Danglars?”

Exactly.”

And you suffer that, you wretch—you, who know his life and his crime?”

Why should I stand in a comrade’s way?” said Caderousse.

You are right; it is not you who should apprise M. Danglars, it is I.”

Do not do so, reverend sir.”

Why not?”

Because you would bring us to ruin.”

And you think that to save such villains as you I will become an abettor of their plot, an accomplice in their crimes?”

Reverend sir,” said Caderousse, drawing still nearer.

I will expose all.”

To whom?”

To M. Danglars.”

By heaven!” cried Caderousse, drawing from his waistcoat an open knife, and striking the count in the breast, “you shall disclose nothing, reverend sir!” To Caderousse’s great astonishment, the knife, instead of piercing the count’s breast, flew back blunted. At the same moment the count seized with his left hand the assassin’s wrist, and wrung it with such strength that the knife fell from his stiffened fingers, and Caderousse uttered a cry of pain. But the count, disregarding his cry, continued to wring the bandit’s wrist, until, his arm being dislocated, he fell first on his knees, then flat on the floor. The count then placed his foot on his head, saying, “I know not what restrains me from crushing thy skull, rascal.”

Ah, mercy—mercy!” cried Caderousse. The count withdrew his foot. “Rise!” said he. Caderousse rose.

What a wrist you have, reverend sir!” said Caderousse, stroking his arm, all bruised by the fleshy pincers which had held it; “what a wrist!”

Silence! God gives me strength to overcome a wild beast like you; in the name of that God I act,—remember that, wretch,—and to spare thee at this moment is still serving him.”

Oh!” said Caderousse, groaning with pain.

Take this pen and paper, and write what I dictate.”

I don’t know how to write, reverend sir.”

You lie! Take this pen, and write!” Caderousse, awed by the superior power of the abbé, sat down and wrote:—

Sir,—The man whom you are receiving at your house, and to whom you intend to marry your daughter, is a felon who escaped with me from confinement at Toulon. He was Nº 59, and I Nº 58. He was called Benedetto, but he is ignorant of his real name, having never known his parents.

Sign it!” continued the count.

But would you ruin me?”

If I sought your ruin, fool, I should drag you to the first guard-house; besides, when that note is delivered, in all probability you will have no more to fear. Sign it, then!”

Caderousse signed it.

And you did not warn me!” cried Caderousse, raising himself on his elbows. “You knew I should be killed on leaving this house, and did not warn me!”

No; for I saw God’s justice placed in the hands of Benedetto, and should have thought it sacrilege to oppose the designs of Providence.”

God is merciful to all, as he has been to you; he is first a father, then a judge.”

Do you then believe in God?” said Caderousse.

Had I been so unhappy as not to believe in him until now,” said Monte Cristo, “I must believe on seeing you.” Caderousse raised his clenched hands towards heaven.

Help!” cried Caderousse; “I require a surgeon, not a priest; perhaps I am not mortally wounded—I may not die; perhaps they can yet save my life.”

Your wounds are so far mortal that, without the three drops I gave you, you would now be dead. Listen, then.”

Ah,” murmured Caderousse, “what a strange priest you are; you drive the dying to despair, instead of consoling them.”

I do not believe there is a God,” howled Caderousse; “you do not believe it; you lie—you lie!”

No,” said Caderousse, “no; I will not repent. There is no God; there is no Providence—all comes by chance.—”

Monte Cristo took off the wig which disfigured him, and let fall his black hair, which added so much to the beauty of his pallid features. <Oh?> said Caderousse, thunderstruck, <but for that black hair, I should say you were the Englishman, Lord Wilmore.>

<I am neither the Abbé Busoni nor Lord Wilmore,> said Monte Cristo; <think again,—do you not recollect me?> There was a magic effect in the count’s words, which once more revived the exhausted powers of the miserable man. <Yes, indeed,> said he; <I think I have seen you and known you formerly.>

<Yes, Caderousse, you have seen me; you knew me once.>

<Who, then, are you? and why, if you knew me, do you let me die?>

<Because nothing can save you; your wounds are mortal. Had it been possible to save you, I should have considered it another proof of God’s mercy, and I would again have endeavored to restore you, I swear by my father’s tomb.>

<By your father’s tomb!> said Caderousse, supported by a supernatural power, and half-raising himself to see more distinctly the man who had just taken the oath which all men hold sacred; <who, then, are you?> The count had watched the approach of death. He knew this was the last struggle. He approached the dying man, and, leaning over him with a calm and melancholy look, he whispered, <I am—I am——>

And his almost closed lips uttered a name so low that the count himself appeared afraid to hear it. Caderousse, who had raised himself on his knees, and stretched out his arm, tried to draw back, then clasping his hands, and raising them with a desperate effort, <O my God, my God!> said he, <pardon me for having denied thee; thou dost exist, thou art indeed man’s father in heaven, and his judge on earth. My God, my Lord, I have long despised thee!>”

<One!> said the count mysteriously, his eyes fixed on the corpse, disfigured by so awful a death.”

Bertuccio alone turned pale whenever Benedetto’s name was mentioned in his presence, but there was no reason why anyone should notice his doing so.”

the attempted robbery and the murder of the robber by his comrade were almost forgotten in anticipation of the approaching marriage of Mademoiselle Danglars to the Count Andrea Cavalcanti.”

some persons had warned the young man of the circumstances of his future father-in-law, who had of late sustained repeated losses; but with sublime disinterestedness and confidence the young man refused to listen, or to express a single doubt to the baron.”

With an instinctive hatred of matrimony, she suffered Andrea’s attentions in order to get rid of Morcerf; but when Andrea urged his suit, she betrayed an entire dislike to him. The baron might possibly have perceived it, but, attributing it to a caprice, feigned ignorance.”

in this changing age, the faults of a father cannot revert upon his children. Few have passed through this revolutionary period, in the midst of which we were born, without some stain of infamy or blood to soil the uniform of the soldier, or the gown of the magistrate. Now I have these proofs, Albert, and I am in your confidence, no human power can force me to a duel which your own conscience would reproach you with as criminal, but I come to offer you what you can no longer demand of me. Do you wish these proofs, these attestations, which I alone possess, to be destroyed? Do you wish this frightful secret to remain with us?”

he never interrogates, and in my opinion those who ask no questions are the best comforters.”

My papers, thank God, no,—my papers are all in capital order, because I have none”

do you come from the end of the world?” said Monte Cristo; “you, a journalist, the husband of renown? It is the talk of all Paris.”

Silence, purveyor of gossip”

Mademoiselle Eugénie, who appears but little charmed with the thoughts of matrimony, and who, seeing how little I was disposed to persuade her to renounce her dear liberty, retains any affection for me.”

I have told you, where the air is pure, where every sound soothes, where one is sure to be humbled, however proud may be his nature. I love that humiliation, I, who am master of the universe, as was Augustus.”

But where are you really going?”

To sea, viscount; you know I am a sailor. I was rocked when an infant in the arms of old Ocean, and on the bosom of the beautiful Amphitrite” “I love the sea as a mistress, and pine if I do not often see her.”

<Woman is fickle.> said Francis I; <woman is like a wave of the sea,> said Shakespeare; both the great king and the great poet ought to have known woman’s nature well.”

Woman’s, yes; my mother is not woman, but a woman.”

my mother is not quick to give her confidence, but when she does she never changes.”

You are certainly a prodigy; you will soon not only surpass the railway, which would not be very difficult in France, but even the telegraph.”

Precisely,” said the count; “six years since I bought a horse in Hungary remarkable for its swiftness. The 32 that we shall use tonight are its progeny; they are all entirely black, with the exception of a star upon the forehead.”

M. Albert. Tell me, why does a steward rob his master?”

Because, I suppose, it is his nature to do so, for the love of robbing.”

You are mistaken; it is because he has a wife and family, and ambitious desires for himself and them. Also because he is not sure of always retaining his situation, and wishes to provide for the future. Now, M. Bertuccio is alone in the world; he uses my property without accounting for the use he makes of it; he is sure never to leave my service.”

Why?”

Because I should never get a better.”

Probabilities are deceptive.”

But I deal in certainties; he is the best servant over whom one has the power of life and death.”

Do you possess that right over Bertuccio?”

Yes.”

There are words which close a conversation with an iron door; such was the count’s “yes.”

There, as in every spot where Monte Cristo stopped, if but for two days, luxury abounded and life went on with the utmost ease.”

Poor young man,” said Monte Cristo in a low voice; “it is then true that the sin of the father shall fall on the children to the third and fourth generation.”

Five minutes had sufficed to make a complete transformation in his appearance. His voice had become rough and hoarse; his face was furrowed with wrinkles; his eyes burned under the blue-veined lids, and he tottered like a drunken man. <Count,> said he, <I thank you for your hospitality, which I would gladly have enjoyed longer; but I must return to Paris.>

<What has happened?>

<A great misfortune, more important to me than life. Don’t question me, I beg of you, but lend me a horse.>

<My stables are at your command, viscount; but you will kill yourself by riding on horseback. Take a post-chaise or a carriage.>”

The Count of Morcerf was no favorite with his colleagues. Like all upstarts, he had had recourse to a great deal of haughtiness to maintain his position. The true nobility laughed at him, the talented repelled him, and the honorable instinctively despised him. He was, in fact, in the unhappy position of the victim marked for sacrifice; the finger of God once pointed at him, everyone was prepared to raise the hue and cry.”

Moral wounds have this peculiarity,—they may be hidden, but they never close; always painful, always ready to bleed when touched, they remain fresh and open in the heart.”

He thought himself strong enough, for he mistook fever for energy.”

I, El-Kobbir, a slave-merchant, and purveyor of the harem of his highness, acknowledge having received for transmission to the sublime emperor, from the French lord, the Count of Monte Cristo, an emerald valued at 800.000 francs; as the ransom of a young Christian slave of 11 years of age, named Haydée, the acknowledged daughter of the late lord Ali Tepelini, pasha of Yanina, and of Vasiliki, his favorite; she having been sold to me 7 years previously, with her mother, who had died on arriving at Constantinople, by a French colonel in the service of the Vizier Ali Tepelini, named Fernand Mondego. The above-mentioned purchase was made on his highness’s account, whose mandate I had, for the sum of 400.000 francs.

Given at Constantinople, by authority of his highness, in the year 1247 of the Hegira.

Signed El-Kobbir.

I am ignorant of nothing which passes in the world. I learn all in the silence of my apartments,—for instance, I see all the newspapers, every periodical, as well as every new piece of music; and by thus watching the course of the life of others, I learned what had transpired this morning in the House of Peers, and what was to take place this evening; then I wrote.”

Then,” remarked the president, “the Count of Monte Cristo knows nothing of your present proceedings?”—“He is quite unaware of them, and I have but one fear, which is that he should disapprove of what I have done. But it is a glorious day for me,” continued the young girl, raising her ardent gaze to heaven, “that on which I find at last an opportunity of avenging my father!”

Gentlemen,” said the president, when silence was restored, “is the Count of Morcerf convicted of felony, treason, and conduct unbecoming a member of this House?”—“Yes,” replied all the members of the committee of inquiry with a unanimous voice.

leave Paris—all is soon forgotten in this great Babylon of excitement and changing tastes. You will return after 3 or years with a Russian princess for a bride, and no one will think more of what occurred yesterday than if it had happened 16 years ago.”

Yes; M. Danglars is a money-lover, and those who love money, you know, think too much of what they risk to be easily induced to fight a duel. The other is, on the contrary, to all appearance a true nobleman; but do you not fear to find him a bully?”

I only fear one thing; namely, to find a man who will not fight.”

The count had, indeed, just arrived, but he was in his bath, and had forbidden that anyone should be admitted. “But after his bath?” asked Morcerf.

My master will go to dinner.”

And after dinner?”

He will sleep an hour.”

Then?”

He is going to the Opera.”

You know, mother, M. de Monte Cristo is almost an Oriental, and it is customary with the Orientals to secure full liberty for revenge by not eating or drinking in the houses of their enemies.”

Well,” cried he, with that benevolent politeness which distinguished his salutation from the common civilities of the world, “my cavalier has attained his object. Good-evening, M. de Morcerf.” 

Display is not becoming to everyone, M. de Morcerf.”

Wild, almost unconscious, and with eyes inflamed, Albert stepped back, and Morrel closed the door. Monte Cristo took up his glass again as if nothing had happened; his face was like marble, and his heart was like bronze. Morrel whispered, <What have you done to him?>”

listen how adorably Duprez is singing that line,—

<O Mathilde! idole de mon âme!>

I was the first to discover Duprez at Naples, and the first to applaud him. Bravo, bravo!” Morrel saw it was useless to say more, and refrained.

Doubtless you wish to make me appear a very eccentric character. I am, in your opinion, a Lara, a Manfred, a Lord Ruthven; then, just as I am arriving at the climax, you defeat your own end, and seek to make an ordinary man of me. You bring me down to your own level, and demand explanations! Indeed, M. Beauchamp, it is quite laughable.”

the Count of Monte Cristo bows to none but the Count of Monte Cristo himself. Say no more, I entreat you. I do what I please, M. Beauchamp, and it is always well done.”

It is quite immaterial to me,” said Monte Cristo, “and it was very unnecessary to disturb me at the Opera for such a trifle. In France people fight with the sword or pistol, in the colonies with the carbine, in Arabia with the dagger. Tell your client that, although I am the insulted party, in order to carry out my eccentricity, I leave him the choice of arms, and will accept without discussion, without dispute, anything, even combat by drawing lots, which is always stupid, but with me different from other people, as I am sure to gain.”

the music of William Tell¹ is so sweet.”

¹ Herói lendário, ligado à formação da Suíça. Está mais para um Robin Hood que para um Aquiles, no entanto.

Monte Cristo waited, according to his usual custom, until Duprez had sung his famous <Suivez-moi!> then he rose and went out.”

Edmond, you will not kill my son?” The count retreated a step, uttered a slight exclamation, and let fall the pistol he held.

Fernand, do you mean?” replied Monte Cristo, with bitter irony; “since we are recalling names, let us remember them all.”

Listen to me, my son has also guessed who you are,—he attributes his father’s misfortunes to you.”

Madame, you are mistaken, they are not misfortunes,—it is a punishment.”

What are Yanina and its vizier to you, Edmond? What injury has Fernand Mondego done you in betraying Ali Tepelini?”

Ah, sir!” cried the countess, “how terrible a vengeance for a fault which fatality made me commit!—for I am the only culprit, Edmond, and if you owe revenge to anyone, it is to me, who had not fortitude to bear your absence and my solitude.”

But,” exclaimed Monte Cristo, “why was I absent? And why were you alone?”

Because you had been arrested, Edmond, and were a prisoner.”

And why was I arrested? Why was I a prisoner?”

I do not know,” said Mercédès.

You do not, madame; at least, I hope not. But I will tell you. I was arrested and became a prisoner because, under the arbor of La Réserve, the day before I was to marry you, a man named Danglars wrote this letter, which the fisherman Fernand himself posted.”

Monte Cristo went to a secretary desk, opened a drawer by a spring, from which he took a paper which had lost its original color, and the ink of which had become of a rusty hue—this he placed in the hands of Mercédès. It was Danglars’ letter to the king’s attorney, which the Count of Monte Cristo, disguised as a clerk from the house of Thomson & French, had taken from the file against Edmond Dantes, on the day he had paid the two hundred thousand francs to M. de Boville. Mercédès read with terror the following lines:—

The king”s attorney is informed by a friend to the throne and religion that one Edmond Dantes, second in command on board the Pharaon, this day arrived from Smyrna, after having touched at Naples and Porto-Ferrajo, is the bearer of a letter from Murat to the usurper, and of another letter from the usurper to the Bonapartist club in Paris. Ample corroboration of this statement may be obtained by arresting the above-mentioned Edmond Dantès, who either carries the letter for Paris about with him, or has it at his father’s abode. Should it not be found in possession of either father or son, then it will assuredly be discovered in the cabin belonging to the said Dantes on board the Pharaon.”

You well know, madame, was my arrest; but you do not know how long that arrest lasted. You do not know that I remained for fourteen years within a quarter of a league of you, in a dungeon in the Château d’If. You do not know that every day of those fourteen years I renewed the vow of vengeance which I had made the first day; and yet I was not aware that you had married Fernand, my calumniator, and that my father had died of hunger!”

Can it be?” cried Mercédès, shuddering.

That is what I heard on leaving my prison fourteen years after I had entered it; and that is why, on account of the living Mercédès and my deceased father, I have sworn to revenge myself on Fernand, and—I have revenged myself.”

besides, that is not much more odious than that a Frenchman by adoption should pass over to the English; that a Spaniard by birth should have fought against the Spaniards; that a stipendiary of Ali should have betrayed and murdered Ali. Compared with such things, what is the letter you have just read?—a lover’s deception, which the woman who has married that man ought certainly to forgive; but not so the lover who was to have married her.” 

Not crush that accursed race?” murmured he; “abandon my purpose at the moment of its accomplishment? Impossible, madame, impossible!”

Revenge yourself, then, Edmond,” cried the poor mother; “but let your vengeance fall on the culprits,—on him, on me, but not on my son!”

It is written in the good book,” said Monte Cristo, “that the sins of the fathers shall fall upon their children to the third and fourth generation. Since God himself dictated those words to his prophet, why should I seek to make myself better than God?”

Listen; for ten years I dreamed each night the same dream. I had been told that you had endeavored to escape; that you had taken the place of another prisoner; that you had slipped into the winding sheet of a dead body; that you had been thrown alive from the top of the Château d’If, and that the cry you uttered as you dashed upon the rocks first revealed to your jailers that they were your murderers. Well, Edmond, I swear to you, by the head of that son for whom I entreat your pity,—Edmond, for ten years I saw every night every detail of that frightful tragedy, and for ten years I heard every night the cry which awoke me, shuddering and cold.”

What I most loved after you, Mercédès, was myself, my dignity, and that strength which rendered me superior to other men; that strength was my life. With one word you have crushed it, and I die.”

it is melancholy to pass one’s life without having one joy to recall, without preserving a single hope; but that proves that all is not yet over. No, it is not finished; I feel it by what remains in my heart. Oh, I repeat it, Edmond; what you have just done is beautiful—it is grand; it is sublime.”

suppose that when everything was in readiness and the moment had come for God to look upon his work and see that it was good—suppose he had snuffed out the sun and tossed the world back into eternal night—then—even then, Mercédès, you could not imagine what I lose in sacrificing my life at this moment.”

What a fool I was,” said he, “not to tear my heart out on the day when I resolved to avenge myself!”

MOMENT OF HESITATION

what? this edifice which I have been so long preparing, which I have reared with so much care and toil, is to be crushed by a single touch, a word, a breath! Yes, this self, of whom I thought so much, of whom I was so proud, who had appeared so worthless in the dungeons of the Château d’If, and whom I had succeeded in making so great, will be but a lump of clay tomorrow. Alas, it is not the death of the body I regret; for is not the destruction of the vital principle, the repose to which everything is tending, to which every unhappy being aspires,—is not this the repose of matter after which I so long sighed, and which I was seeking to attain by the painful process of starvation when Faria appeared in my dungeon? What is death for me? One step farther” But now is time to set back once again…

It is not God’s will that they should be accomplished.”

Oh, shall I then, again become a fatalist, whom fourteen years of despair and ten of hope had rendered a believer in Providence? And all this—all this, because my heart, which I thought dead, was only sleeping; because it has awakened and has begun to beat again, because I have yielded to the pain of the emotion excited in my breast by a woman’s voice.

yet, it is impossible that so noble-minded a woman should thus through selfishness consent to my death when I am in the prime of life and strength; it is impossible that she can carry to such a point maternal love, or rather delirium. There are virtues which become crimes by exaggeration. No, she must have conceived some pathetic scene; she will come and throw herself between us; and what would be sublime here will there appear ridiculous.”

I ridiculous? No, I would rather die.”

By thus exaggerating to his own mind the anticipated ill-fortune of the next day, to which he had condemned himself by promising Mercédès to spare her son, the count at last exclaimed, “Folly, folly, folly!—to carry generosity so far as to put myself up as a mark for that young man to aim at. He will never believe that my death was suicide; and yet it is important for the honor of my memory,—and this surely is not vanity, but a justifiable pride,—it is important the world should know that I have consented, by my free will, to stop my arm, already raised to strike, and that with the arm which has been so powerful against others I have struck myself. It must be; it shall be.” She remembered that she had a son, said he; and I forgot I had a daughter.

and seeing that sweet pale face, those lovely eyes closed, that beautiful form motionless and to all appearance lifeless, the idea occurred to him for the first time, that perhaps she loved him otherwise than as a daughter loves a father.”

I said to myself that justice must be on your side, or man’s countenance is no longer to be relied on.”

But what has happened, then, since last evening, count?”

The same thing that happened to Brutus the night before the battle of Philippi; I have seen a ghost.”

And that ghost——”

Told me, Morrel, that I had lived long enough.”

Do I regret life? What is it to me, who have passed twenty years between life and death? (…) I know the world is a drawing-room, from which we must retire politely and honestly; that is, with a bow, and our debts of honor paid.”

<I say, and proclaim it publicly, that you were justified in revenging yourself on my father, and I, his son, thank you for not using greater severity.>

Had a thunderbolt fallen in the midst of the spectators of this unexpected scene, it would not have surprised them more than did Albert’s declaration. As for Monte Cristo, his eyes slowly rose towards heaven with an expression of infinite gratitude. He could not understand how Albert’s fiery nature, of which he had seen so much among the Roman bandits, had suddenly stooped to this humiliation.”

Next to the merit of infallibility which you appear to possess, I rank that of candidly acknowledging a fault. But this confession concerns me only. I acted well as a man, but you have acted better than man.”

Providence still,” murmured he; “now only am I fully convinced of being the emissary of God!”

nothing induces serious duels so much as a duel forsworn.”

Mother,” said Albert with firmness. “I cannot make you share the fate I have planned for myself. I must live henceforth without rank and fortune, and to begin this hard apprenticeship I must borrow from a friend the loaf I shall eat until I have earned one. So, my dear mother, I am going at once to ask Franz to lend me the small sum I shall require to supply my present wants.”

I know that from the gulf in which their enemies have plunged them they have risen with so much vigor and glory that in their turn they have ruled their former conquerors, and have punished them.”

You had friends, Albert; break off their acquaintance. But do not despair; you have life before you, my dear Albert, for you are yet scarcely 22 years old; and as a pure heart like yours wants a spotless name, take my father’s—it was Herrera.”

Providence is not willing that the innocent should suffer for the guilty.”

Oh,” said the count, “I only know two things which destroy the appetite,—grief—and as I am happy to see you very cheerful, it is not that—and love.”

Every transport of a daughter finding a father, all the delight of a mistress seeing an adored lover, were felt by Haydée during the first moments of this meeting, which she had so eagerly expected. Doubtless, although less evident, Monte Cristo’s joy was not less intense. Joy to hearts which have suffered long is like the dew on the ground after a long drought; both the heart and the ground absorb that beneficent moisture falling on them, and nothing is outwardly apparent.

Monte Cristo was beginning to think, what he had not for a long time dared to believe, that there were two Mercédès in the world, and he might yet be happy.

We must explain this visit, which although expected by Monte Cristo, is unexpected to our readers.”

you know the guilty do not like to find themselves convicted.”

You call yourself, in Paris, the Count of Monte Cristo; in Italy, Sinbad the Sailor; in Malta, I forget what. But it is your real name I want to know, in the midst of your hundred names, that I may pronounce it when we meet to fight, at the moment when I plunge my sword through your heart.”

he uttered the most dreadful sob which ever escaped from the bosom of a father abandoned at the same time by his wife and son.”

Do you then really suffer?” asked Morrel quickly.

Oh, it must not be called suffering; I feel a general uneasiness, that is all. I have lost my appetite, and my stomach feels as if it were struggling to get accustomed to something.” Noirtier did not lose a word of what Valentine said. “And what treatment do you adopt for this singular complaint?”

A very simple one,” said Valentine. “I swallow every morning a spoonful of the mixture prepared for my grandfather. When I say one spoonful, I began by one—now I take four. Grandpapa says it is a panacea.” Valentine smiled, but it was evident that she suffered.

Maximilian, in his devotedness, gazed silently at her. She was very beautiful, but her usual pallor had increased; her eyes were more brilliant than ever, and her hands, which were generally white like mother-of-pearl, now more resembled wax, to which time was adding a yellowish hue.

Noirtier raised his eyes to heaven, as a gambler does who stakes his all on one stroke.”

since I am to be married whether I will or not, I ought to be thankful to Providence for having released me from my engagement with M. Albert de Morcerf, or I should this day have been the wife of a dishonored man.”

D’Avrigny’s look implied, “I told you it would be so.” Then he slowly uttered these words, “Who is now dying in your house? What new victim is going to accuse you of weakness before God?” A mournful sob burst from Villefort’s heart; he approached the doctor, and seizing his arm,—“Valentine,” said he, “it is Valentine’s turn!”

Your daughter!” cried d’Avrigny with grief and surprise.

a dead father or husband is better than a dishonored one,—blood washes out shame.”

You say an exterminating angel appears to have devoted that house to God’s anger—well, who says your supposition is not reality?”

Conscience, what hast thou to do with me?” as Sterne said.

See,” said he, “my dear friend, how God punishes the most thoughtless and unfeeling men for their indifference, by presenting dreadful scenes to their view. (…) I, who like a wicked angel was laughing at the evil men committed protected by secrecy (a secret is easily kept by the rich and powerful), I am in my turn bitten by the serpent whose tortuous course I was watching, and bitten to the heart!”

What does the angel of light or the angel of darkness say to that mind, at once implacable and generous? God only knows.”

Oh, count, you overwhelm me with that coolness. Have you, then, power against death? Are you superhuman? Are you an angel?”

To the world and to his servants Danglars assumed the character of the good-natured man and the indulgent father. This was one of his parts in the popular comedy he was performing,—a make-up he had adopted and which suited him about as well as the masks worn on the classic stage by paternal actors, who seen from one side, were the image of geniality, and from the other showed lips drawn down in chronic ill-temper. Let us hasten to say that in private the genial side descended to the level of the other, so that generally the indulgent man disappeared to give place to the brutal husband and domineering father.”

Cavalcanti may appear to those who look at men’s faces and figures as a very good specimen of his kind. It is not, either, that my heart is less touched by him than any other; that would be a schoolgirl’s reason, which I consider quite beneath me. I actually love no one, sir; you know it, do you not? I do not then see why, without real necessity, I should encumber my life with a perpetual companion. Has not some sage said, <Nothing too much>? and another, <I carry all my effects with me>? I have been taught these two aphorisms in Latin and in Greek; one is, I believe, from Phædrus, and the other from Bias. (…) life is an eternal shipwreck of our hopes”

The world calls me beautiful. It is something to be well received. I like a favorable reception; it expands the countenance, and those around me do not then appear so ugly. I possess a share of wit, and a certain relative sensibility, which enables me to draw from life in general, for the support of mine, all I meet with that is good, like the monkey who cracks the nut to get at its contents. I am rich, for you have one of the first fortunes in France. I am your only daughter, and you are not so exacting as the fathers of the Porte Saint-Martin and Gaîté, who disinherit their daughters for not giving them grandchildren. Besides, the provident law has deprived you of the power to disinherit me, at least entirely, as it has also of the power to compel me to marry Monsieur This or Monsieur That. And so—being, beautiful, witty, somewhat talented, as the comic operas say, and rich—and that is happiness, sir—why do you call me unhappy?”

Eugénie looked at Danglars, much surprised that one flower of her crown of pride, with which she had so superbly decked herself, should be disputed.”

I do not willingly enter into arithmetical explanations with an artist like you, who fears to enter my study lest she should imbibe disagreeable or anti-poetic impressions and sensations.”

the credit of a banker is his physical and moral life; that credit sustains him as breath animates the body”

as credit sinks, the body becomes a corpse, and this is what must happen very soon to the banker who is proud to own so good a logician as you for his daughter.” But Eugénie, instead of stooping, drew herself up under the blow. “Ruined?” said she.

Yes, ruined! Now it is revealed, this secret so full of horror, as the tragic poet says. Now, my daughter, learn from my lips how you may alleviate this misfortune, so far as it will affect you.””

Oh,” cried Eugénie, “you are a bad physiognomist, if you imagine I deplore on my own account the catastrophe of which you warn me. I ruined? and what will that signify to me? Have I not my talent left? Can I not, like Pasta¹, Malibran², Grisi³, acquire for myself what you would never have given me, whatever might have been your fortune, 100 or 150.000 livres per annum, for which I shall be indebted to no one but myself; and which, instead of being given as you gave me those poor 12.000 francs, with sour looks and reproaches for my prodigality, will be accompanied with acclamations, with bravos, and with flowers? And if I do not possess that talent, which your smiles prove to me you doubt, should I not still have that ardent love of independence, which will be a substitute for wealth, and which in my mind supersedes even the instinct of self-preservation? No, I grieve not on my own account, I shall always find a resource; my books, my pencils, my piano, all the things which cost but little, and which I shall be able to procure, will remain my own.

¹ Giuditta Pasta, soprano italiana do século XIX.

² Maria Malibran, mezzo-soprano espanhola, foi contemporânea de G. Pasta, mas só viveu 28 anos.

³ Outra mezzo-soprano de família abastada e freqüente nas óperas de Rossini. Na verdade, a dúvida é se se trata de Giuditta ou Giulia, a caçula, ambas muito talentosas.

From my earliest recollections, I have been beloved by no one—so much the worse; that has naturally led me to love no one—so much the better—now you have my profession of faith.”

I do not despise bankruptcies, believe me, but they must be those which enrich, not those which ruin.”

Five minutes afterwards the piano resounded to the touch of Mademoiselle d’Armilly’s fingers, and Mademoiselle Danglars was singing Brabantio’s malediction on Desdemona¹.

¹ Ou “Brabanzio”. Trata-se de uma cena do Otelo de Shakespeare.

Without reckoning,” added Monte Cristo, “that he is on the eve of entering into a sort of speculation already in vogue in the United States and in England, but quite novel in France.”

Yes, yes, I know what you mean,—the railway, of which he has obtained the grant, is it not?”

Precisely; it is generally believed he will gain ten millions by that affair.”

Ten millions! Do you think so? It is magnificent!” said Cavalcanti, who was quite confounded at the metallic sound of these golden words.

Well, you must become a diplomatist; diplomacy, you know, is something that is not to be acquired; it is instinctive. Have you lost your heart?”

This calm tone and perfect ease made Andrea feel that he was, for the moment, restrained by a more muscular hand than his own, and that the restraint could not be easily broken through.”

What is it?”

Advice.”

Be careful; advice is worse than a service.”

An Academician would say that the entertainments of the fashionable world are collections of flowers which attract inconstant butterflies, famished bees, and buzzing drones.”

At the moment when the hand of the massive time-piece, representing Endymion asleep, pointed to nine on its golden face, and the hammer, the faithful type of mechanical thought, struck nine times, the name of the Count of Monte Cristo resounded in its turn, and as if by an electric shock all the assembly turned towards the door.”

Having accomplished these three social duties, Monte Cristo stopped, looking around him with that expression peculiar to a certain class, which seems to say, <I have done my duty, now let others do theirs.>”

all were eager to speak to him, as is always the case with those whose words are few and weighty.”

Mademoiselle Danglars’ charms were heightened in the opinion of the young men, and for the moment seemed to outvie the sun in splendor. As for the ladies, it is needless to say that while they coveted the millions, they thought they did not need them for themselves, as they were beautiful enough without them.”

But at the same instant the crowd of guests rushed in alarm into the principal salon as if some frightful monster had entered the apartments, quærens quem devoret [procurando quem devorar]. There was, indeed, reason to retreat, to be alarmed, and to scream. An officer was placing two soldiers at the door of each drawing-room, and was advancing towards Danglars, preceded by a commissary of police, girded with his scarf.”

What is the matter, sir?” asked Monte Cristo, advancing to meet the commissioner.

Which of you gentlemen,” asked the magistrate, without replying to the count, “answers to the name of Andrea Cavalcanti?” A cry of astonishment was heard from all parts of the room. They searched; they questioned. “But who then is Andrea Cavalcanti?” asked Danglars in amazement.

A galley-slave, escaped from confinement at Toulon.”

And what crime has he committed?”

He is accused,” said the commissary with his inflexible voice, “of having assassinated the man named Caderousse, his former companion in prison, at the moment he was making his escape from the house of the Count of Monte Cristo.” Monte Cristo cast a rapid glance around him. Andrea was gone.

Oh, do not confound the two, Eugénie.”

Hold your tongue! The men are all infamous, and I am happy to be able now to do more than detest them—I despise them.”

Oh, I am done with considering! I am tired of hearing only of market reports, of the end of the month, of the rise and fall of Spanish funds, of Haitian bonds. Instead of that, Louise—do you understand?—air, liberty, melody of birds, plains of Lombardy, Venetian canals, Roman palaces, the Bay of Naples. How much have we, Louise?”

that deep sleep which is sure to visit men of twenty years of age, even when they are torn with remorse.”

The honorable functionary had scarcely expressed himself thus, in that intonation which is peculiar to brigadiers of the gendarmerie, when a loud scream, accompanied by the violent ringing of a bell, resounded through the court of the hotel. <Ah, what is that?> cried the brigadier.

<Some traveller seems impatient,> said the host. <What number was it that rang?>

<Number 3.>”

Andrea had very cleverly managed to descend two-thirds of the chimney, but then his foot slipped, and notwithstanding his endeavors, he came into the room with more speed and noise than he intended. It would have signified little had the room been empty, but unfortunately it was occupied. Two ladies, sleeping in one bed, were awakened by the noise, and fixing their eyes upon the spot whence the sound proceeded, they saw a man. One of these ladies, the fair one, uttered those terrible shrieks which resounded through the house, while the other, rushing to the bell-rope, rang with all her strength. Andrea, as we can see, was surrounded by misfortune.

<For pity’s sake,> he cried, pale and bewildered, without seeing whom he was addressing,—<for pity’s sake do not call assistance! Save me!—I will not harm you.>

<Andrea, the murderer!> cried one of the ladies.

<Eugénie! Mademoiselle Danglars!> exclaimed Andrea, stupefied.”

The baroness had looked forward to this marriage as a means of ridding her of a guardianship which, over a girl of Eugénie’s character, could not fail to be rather a troublesome undertaking; for in the tacit relations which maintain the bond of family union, the mother, to maintain her ascendancy over her daughter, must never fail to be a model of wisdom and a type of perfection.”

Sir, I do not deny the justice of your correction, but the more severely you arm yourself against that unfortunate man, the more deeply will you strike our family. Come, forget him for a moment, and instead of pursuing him, let him go.”

Listen; this is his description: <Benedetto, condemned, at the age of 16, for 5 years to the galleys for forgery.> He promised well, as you see—first a runaway, then an assassin.”

And who is this wretch?”

Who can tell?—a vagabond, a Corsican.”

Has no one owned him?”

No one; his parents are unknown.”

But who was the man who brought him from Lucca?”

for heaven’s sake, do not ask pardon of me for a guilty wretch! What am I?—the law. Has the law any eyes to witness your grief? Has the law ears to be melted by your sweet voice? Has the law a memory for all those soft recollections you endeavor to recall?” “Has mankind treated me as a brother? Have men loved me? Have they spared me? Has anyone shown the mercy towards me that you now ask at my hands? No, madame, they struck me, always struck me!”

Alas, alas, alas; all the world is wicked; let us therefore strike at wickedness!”

While working night and day, I sometimes lose all recollection of the past, and then I experience the same sort of happiness I can imagine the dead feel; still, it is better than suffering.”

Valentine, the hand which now threatens you will pursue you everywhere; your servants will be seduced with gold, and death will be offered to you disguised in every shape. You will find it in the water you drink from the spring, in the fruit you pluck from the tree.”

But did you not say that my kind grandfather’s precaution had neutralized the poison?”

Yes, but not against a strong dose; the poison will be changed, and the quantity increased.” He took the glass and raised it to his lips. “It is already done,” he said; “brucine is no longer employed, but a simple narcotic! I can recognize the flavor of the alcohol in which it has been dissolved. If you had taken what Madame de Villefort has poured into your glass, Valentine—Valentine—you would have been doomed!”

But,” exclaimed the young girl, “why am I thus pursued?”

Why?—are you so kind—so good—so unsuspicious of ill, that you cannot understand, Valentine?”

No, I have never injured her.”

But you are rich, Valentine; you have 200.000 livres a year, and you prevent her son from enjoying these 200.000 livres.”

Edward? Poor child! Are all these crimes committed on his account?”

Ah, then you at length understand?”

And is it possible that this frightful combination of crimes has been invented by a woman?”

Valentine, would you rather denounce your stepmother?”

I would rather die a hundred times—oh, yes, die!”

She tried to replace the arm, but it moved with a frightful rigidity which could not deceive a sick-nurse.”

For some temperaments work is a remedy for all afflictions.”

and the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré was filled with a crowd of idlers, equally pleased to witness the festivities or the mourning of the rich, and who rush with the same avidity to a funeral procession as to the marriage of a duchess.”

but the article is not mine; indeed, I doubt if it will please M. Villefort, for it says that if four successive deaths had happened anywhere else than in the house of the king’s attorney, he would have interested himself somewhat more about it.”

Do you know, count, that persons of our time of life—not that you belong to the class, you are still a young man,—but as I was saying, persons of our time of life have been very unfortunate this year. For example, look at the puritanical procureur, who has just lost his daughter, and in fact nearly all his family, in so singular a manner; Morcerf dishonored and dead; and then myself covered with ridicule through the villany of Benedetto; besides——”

Oh, how happy you must be in not having either wife or children!”

Do you think so?”

Indeed I do.”

Philosophers may well say, and practical men will always support the opinion, that money mitigates many trials; and if you admit the efficacy of this sovereign balm, you ought to be very easily consoled—you, the king of finance, the focus of immeasurable power.”

<So rich, dear sir, that your fortune resembles the pyramids; if you wished to demolish them you could not, and if it were possible, you would not dare!> Danglars smiled at the good-natured pleasantry of the count.”

It is a fine thing to have such credit; really, it is only in France these things are done. Five millions on five little scraps of paper!—it must be seen to be believed.”

If a thunderbolt had fallen at the banker’s feet, he could not have experienced greater terror.”

<I never joke with bankers,> said Monte Cristo in a freezing manner”

Ah, true, I was writing. I do sometimes, soldier though I am.”

Why do you mention my father?” stammered he; “why do you mingle a recollection of him with the affairs of today?”

Because I am he who saved your father’s life when he wished to destroy himself, as you do today—because I am the man who sent the purse to your young sister, and the Pharaon to old Morrel—because I am the Edmond Dantes who nursed you, a child, on my knees.” Morrel made another step back, staggering, breathless, crushed; then all his strength give way, and he fell prostrate at the feet of Monte Cristo. Then his admirable nature underwent a complete and sudden revulsion; he arose, rushed out of the room and to the stairs, exclaiming energetically, “Julie, Julie—Emmanuel, Emmanuel!”

<Live—the day will come when you will be happy, and will bless life!>—no matter whose voice had spoken, we should have heard him with the smile of doubt, or the anguish of incredulity,—and yet how many times has your father blessed life while embracing you—how often have I myself——”

Ah,” exclaimed Morrel, interrupting the count, “you had only lost your liberty, my father had only lost his fortune, but I have lost Valentine.”

in grief, as in life, there is always something to look forward to beyond (…) one day you will thank me for having preserved your life.”

Come—do you know of what the Count of Monte Cristo is capable? do you know that he holds terrestrial beings under his control?”

I do not know whether you remember that this is the 5th of September; it is 10 years today since I saved your father’s life, who wished to die.”

Asmodeus—that diabolical personage, who would have been created by every fertile imagination if Le Sage had not acquired the priority in his great masterpiece—would have enjoyed a singular spectacle, if he had lifted up the roof of the little house in the Rue Saint-Germain-des-Prés, while Debray was casting up his figures.”

Amongst the Catalans, Mercédès wished for a thousand things, but still she never really wanted any. So long as the nets were good, they caught fish; and so long as they sold their fish, they were able to buy twine for new nets.”

Now I think we are rich, since instead of the 114 francs we require for the journey we find ourselves in possession of 250.”

Silence,—be silent!” said Andrea, who knew the delicate sense of hearing possessed by the walls; “for heaven’s sake, do not speak so loud!”

But I have always observed that poisoners were cowards. Can you be a coward,—you who have had the courage to witness the death of two old men and a young girl murdered by you?”

What I require is, that justice be done. I am on the earth to punish, madame,” he added, with a flaming glance; “any other woman, were it the queen herself, I would send to the executioner; but to you I shall be merciful. To you I will say, <Have you not, madame, put aside some of the surest, deadliest, most speedy poison?>”

Oh, pardon me, sir; let me live!”

She is cowardly,” said Villefort.

and one of the softest and most brilliant days of September shone forth in all its splendor.”

Well, do you know why they die so multitudinously at M. de Villefort’s?”

<Multitudinously> is good,” said Château-Renaud.

My good fellow, you’ll find the word in Saint-Simon.”

But the thing itself is at M. de Villefort’s; but let’s get back to the subject.”

Talking of that,” said Debray, “Madame was making inquiries about that house, which for the last three months has been hung with black.”

Who is Madame?” asked Château-Renaud.

The minister’s wife, pardieu!

No, my dear fellow, it is not at all incredible. You saw the child pass through the Rue Richelieu last year, who amused himself with killing his brothers and sisters by sticking pins in their ears while they slept. The generation who follow us are very precocious.”

I am 21 years old, or rather I shall be in a few days, as I was born the night of the 27th of September, 1817.” M. de Villefort, who was busy taking down some notes, raised his head at the mention of this date.

<At Auteuil, near Paris.>” M. de Villefort a second time raised his head, looked at Benedetto as if he had been gazing at the head of Medusa, and became livid. As for Benedetto, he gracefully wiped his lips with a fine cambric pocket-handkerchief.”

This is, indeed, the reason why I begged you to alter the order of the questions.” The public astonishment had reached its height. There was no longer any deceit or bravado in the manner of the accused. The audience felt that a startling revelation was to follow this ominous prelude.

Well,” said the president; “your name?”

I cannot tell you my name, since I do not know it; but I know my father’s, and can tell it to you.”

A painful giddiness overwhelmed Villefort; great drops of acrid sweat fell from his face upon the papers which he held in his convulsed hand.

Repeat your father’s name,” said the president. Not a whisper, not a breath, was heard in that vast assembly; everyone waited anxiously.

My father is king’s attorney,’ replied Andrea calmly.

King’s attorney?” said the president, stupefied, and without noticing the agitation which spread over the face of M. de Villefort; ‘king’s attorney?”

Yes; and if you wish to know his name, I will tell it,—he is named Villefort.” The explosion, which had been so long restrained from a feeling of respect to the court of justice, now burst forth like thunder from the breasts of all present; the court itself did not seek to restrain the feelings of the audience. The exclamations, the insults addressed to Benedetto, who remained perfectly unconcerned, the energetic gestures, the movement of the gendarmes, the sneers of the scum of the crowd always sure to rise to the surface in case of any disturbance—all this lasted five minutes, before the door-keepers and magistrates were able to restore silence.

the procureur, who sat as motionless as though a thunderbolt had changed him into a corpse.”

I was born in No. 28, Rue de la Fontaine, in a room hung with red damask; my father took me in his arms, telling my mother I was dead, wrapped me in a napkin marked with an H and an N, and carried me into a garden, where he buried me alive.”

A shudder ran through the assembly when they saw that the confidence of the prisoner increased in proportion to the terror of M. de Villefort. “But how have you become acquainted with all these details?” asked the president.

The man carried me to the foundling asylum, where I was registered under the number 37. Three months afterwards, a woman travelled from Rogliano to Paris to fetch me, and having claimed me as her son, carried me away. Thus, you see, though born in Paris, I was brought up in Corsica.” “my perverse disposition prevailed over the virtues which my adopted mother endeavored to instil into my heart. I increased in wickedness till I committed crime.”

<Do not blaspheme, unhappy child, the crime is that of your father, not yours,—of your father, who consigned you to hell if you died, and to misery if a miracle preserved you alive.> After that I ceased to blaspheme, but I cursed my father. That is why I have uttered the words for which you blame me; that is why I have filled this whole assembly with horror. If I have committed an additional crime, punish me, but if you will allow that ever since the day of my birth my fate has been sad, bitter, and lamentable, then pity me.”

<My mother thought me dead; she is not guilty. I did not even wish to know her name, nor do I know it.>” Just then a piercing cry, ending in a sob, burst from the centre of the crowd, who encircled the lady who had before fainted, and who now fell into a violent fit of hysterics. She was carried out of the hall, the thick veil which concealed her face dropped off, and Madame Danglars was recognized.”

Well, then, look at M. de Villefort, and then ask me for proofs.”

Everyone turned towards the procureur, who, unable to bear the universal gaze now riveted on him alone, advanced staggering into the midst of the tribunal, with his hair dishevelled and his face indented with the mark of his nails. The whole assembly uttered a long murmur of astonishment.

Father,” said Benedetto, “I am asked for proofs, do you wish me to give them?”

No, no, it is useless,” stammered M. de Villefort in a hoarse voice; “no, it is useless!”

How useless?” cried the president, “what do you mean?”

I mean that I feel it impossible to struggle against this deadly weight which crushes me. Gentlemen, I know I am in the hands of an avenging God! We need no proofs; everything relating to this young man is true.”

A dull, gloomy silence, like that which precedes some awful phenomenon of nature, pervaded the assembly, who shuddered in dismay.

What, M. de Villefort,” cried the president, “do you yield to an hallucination? What, are you no longer in possession of your senses? This strange, unexpected, terrible accusation has disordered your reason. Come, recover.”

The procureur dropped his head; his teeth chattered like those of a man under a violent attack of fever, and yet he was deadly pale.

I am in possession of all my senses, sir,” he said; “my body alone suffers, as you may suppose. I acknowledge myself guilty of all the young man has brought against me, and from this hour hold myself under the authority of the procureur who will succeed me.”

And as he spoke these words with a hoarse, choking voice, he staggered towards the door, which was mechanically opened by a door-keeper.

Well,” said Beauchamp, “let them now say that drama is unnatural!”

Ma foi!” said Château-Renaud, “I would rather end my career like M. de Morcerf; a pistol-shot seems quite delightful compared with this catastrophe.”

And moreover, it kills,” said Beauchamp.

And to think that I had an idea of marrying his daughter,” said Debray. “She did well to die, poor girl!”

Many people have been assassinated in a tumult, but even criminals have rarely been insulted during trial.”

Those who hear the bitter cry are as much impressed as if they listened to an entire poem, and when the sufferer is sincere they are right in regarding his outburst as sublime.

It would be difficult to describe the state of stupor in which Villefort left the Palais. Every pulse beat with feverish excitement, every nerve was strained, every vein swollen, and every part of his body seemed to suffer distinctly from the rest, thus multiplying his agony a thousand-fold.”

The weight of his fallen fortunes seemed suddenly to crush him; he could not foresee the consequences; he could not contemplate the future with the indifference of the hardened criminal who merely faces a contingency already familiar.

God was still in his heart. <God,> he murmured, not knowing what he said,—<God—God!> Behind the event that had overwhelmed him he saw the hand of God.”

During the last hour his own crime had alone been presented to his mind; now another object, not less terrible, suddenly presented itself. His wife! He had just acted the inexorable judge with her, he had condemned her to death, and she, crushed by remorse, struck with terror, covered with the shame inspired by the eloquence of his irreproachable virtue,—she, a poor, weak woman, without help or the power of defending herself against his absolute and supreme will,—she might at that very moment, perhaps, be preparing to die!” “Ah,” he exclaimed, “that woman became criminal only from associating with me! I carried the infection of crime with me, and she has caught it as she would the typhus fever, the cholera, the plague! And yet I have punished her—I have dared to tell her—I have—<Repent and die!> But no, she must not die; she shall live, and with me. We will flee from Paris and go as far as the earth reaches. I told her of the scaffold; oh, heavens, I forgot that it awaits me also! How could I pronounce that word? Yes, we will fly (…) Oh, what an alliance—the tiger and the serpent; worthy wife of such as I am!” “She loves him; it was for his sake she has committed these crimes. We ought never to despair of softening the heart of a mother who loves her child.” “she will live and may yet be happy, since her child, in whom all her love is centred, will be with her. I shall have performed a good action, and my heart will be lighter.”

anxiety carried him on further.”

Héloïse!” he cried. He fancied he heard the sound of a piece of furniture being removed. “Héloïse!” he repeated.

It is done, monsieur,” she said with a rattling noise which seemed to tear her throat. “What more do you want?” and she fell full length on the floor.

Villefort ran to her and seized her hand, which convulsively clasped a crystal bottle with a golden stopper. Madame de Villefort was dead. Villefort, maddened with horror, stepped back to the threshhold of the door, fixing his eyes on the corpse: “My son!” he exclaimed suddenly, “where is my son?—Edward, Edward!” and he rushed out of the room, still crying, “Edward, Edward!”

his thoughts flew about madly in his brain like the wheels of a disordered watch.”

The unhappy man uttered an exclamation of joy; a ray of light seemed to penetrate the abyss of despair and darkness. He had only to step over the corpse, enter the boudoir, take the child in his arms, and flee far, far away.

Villefort was no longer the civilized man; he was a tiger hurt unto death, gnashing his teeth in his wound. He no longer feared realities, but phantoms. He leaped over the corpse as if it had been a burning brazier. He took the child in his arms, embraced him, shook him, called him, but the child made no response. He pressed his burning lips to the cheeks, but they were icy cold and pale; he felt the stiffened limbs; he pressed his hand upon the heart, but it no longer beat,—the child was dead.

A folded paper fell from Edward’s breast. Villefort, thunderstruck, fell upon his knees; the child dropped from his arms, and rolled on the floor by the side of its mother. He picked up the paper, and, recognizing his wife’s writing, ran his eyes rapidly over its contents; it ran as follows:—

You know that I was a good mother, since it was for my son’s sake I became criminal. A good mother cannot depart without her son.”

Villefort could not believe his eyes,—he could not believe his reason; he dragged himself towards the child’s body, and examined it as a lioness contemplates its dead cub. Then a piercing cry escaped from his breast, and he cried,

Still the hand of God.”

The presence of the two victims alarmed him; he could not bear solitude shared only by two corpses. Until then he had been sustained by rage, by his strength of mind, by despair, by the supreme agony which led the Titans to scale the heavens, and Ajax to defy the gods. He now arose, his head bowed beneath the weight of grief, and, shaking his damp, dishevelled hair, he who had never felt compassion for anyone determined to seek his father, that he might have someone to whom he could relate his misfortunes,—some one by whose side he might weep.

He descended the little staircase with which we are acquainted, and entered Noirtier’s room. The old man appeared to be listening attentively and as affectionately as his infirmities would allow to the Abbé Busoni, who looked cold and calm, as usual. Villefort, perceiving the abbé, passed his hand across his brow.

He recollected the call he had made upon him after the dinner at Auteuil, and then the visit the abbé had himself paid to his house on the day of Valentine’s death. “You here, sir!” he exclaimed; “do you, then, never appear but to act as an escort to death?”

Busoni turned around, and, perceiving the excitement depicted on the magistrate’s face, the savage lustre of his eyes, he understood that the revelation had been made at the assizes; but beyond this he was ignorant.

I came to pray over the body of your daughter.”

And now why are you here?”

I come to tell you that you have sufficiently repaid your debt, and that from this moment I will pray to God to forgive you, as I do.”

Good heavens!” exclaimed Villefort, stepping back fearfully, “surely that is not the voice of the Abbé Busoni!”

No!” The abbé threw off his wig, shook his head, and his hair, no longer confined, fell in black masses around his manly face.

It is the face of the Count of Monte Cristo!” exclaimed the procureur, with a haggard expression.

You are not exactly right, M. Procureur; you must go farther back.”

That voice, that voice!—where did I first hear it?”

You heard it for the first time at Marseilles, 23 years ago, the day of your marriage with Mademoiselle de Saint-Méran. Refer to your papers.”

You are not Busoni?—you are not Monte Cristo? Oh, heavens—you are, then, some secret, implacable, and mortal enemy! I must have wronged you in some way at Marseilles. Oh, woe to me!”

Yes; you are now on the right path,” said the count, crossing his arms over his broad chest; “search—search!”

But what have I done to you?” exclaimed Villefort, whose mind was balancing between reason and insanity, in that cloud which is neither a dream nor reality; “what have I done to you? Tell me, then! Speak!”

You condemned me to a horrible, tedious death; you killed my father; you deprived me of liberty, of love, and happiness.”

Who are you, then? Who are you?”

I am the spectre of a wretch you buried in the dungeons of the Château d’If. God gave that spectre the form of the Count of Monte Cristo when he at length issued from his tomb, enriched him with gold and diamonds, and led him to you!”

Ah, I recognize you—I recognize you!” exclaimed the king’s attorney; “you are——”

Monte Cristo became pale at this horrible sight; he felt that he had passed beyond the bounds of vengeance, and that he could no longer say, “God is for and with me.” With an expression of indescribable anguish he threw himself upon the body of the child, reopened its eyes, felt its pulse, and then rushed with him into Valentine’s room, of which he double-locked the door. “My child,” cried Villefort, “he carries away the body of my child! Oh, curses, woe, death to you!”

In his arms he held the child, whom no skill had been able to recall to life. Bending on one knee, he placed it reverently by the side of its mother, with its head upon her breast.” 

you may pretend he is not here, but I will find him, though I dig forever!” Monte Cristo drew back in horror.

Oh,” he said, “he is mad!” And as though he feared that the walls of the accursed house would crumble around him, he rushed into the street, for the first time doubting whether he had the right to do as he had done. “Oh, enough of this,—enough of this,” he cried; “let me save the last.”

Indeed,” said Julie, “might we not almost fancy, Emmanuel, that those people, so rich, so happy but yesterday, had forgotten in their prosperity that an evil genius—like the wicked fairies in Perrault’s stories who present themselves unbidden at a wedding or baptism—hovered over them, and appeared all at once to revenge himself for their fatal neglect?”

If the Supreme Being has directed the fatal blow,” said Emmanuel, “it must be that he in his great goodness has perceived nothing in the past lives of these people to merit mitigation of their awful punishment.”

Do you not form a very rash judgment, Emmanuel?” said Julie.

When he had fixed his piercing look on this modern Babylon, which equally engages the contemplation of the religious enthusiast, the materialist, and the scoffer,—

Great city,” murmured he, inclining his head, and joining his hands as if in prayer, “less than 6 months have elapsed since first I entered thy gates. I believe that the Spirit of God led my steps to thee and that he also enables me to quit thee in triumph; the secret cause of my presence within thy walls I have confided alone to him who only has had the power to read my heart. God only knows that I retire from thee without pride or hatred, but not without many regrets; he only knows that the power confided to me has never been made subservient to my personal good or to any useless cause. Oh, great city, it is in thy palpitating bosom that I have found that which I sought; like a patient miner, I have dug deep into thy very entrails to root out evil thence. Now my work is accomplished, my mission is terminated, now thou canst neither afford me pain nor pleasure. Adieu, Paris, adieu!”

Maximilian,” said the count, “the friends that we have lost do not repose in the bosom of the earth, but are buried deep in our hearts, and it has been thus ordained that we may always be accompanied by them. I have two friends, who in this way never depart from me; the one who gave me being, and the other who conferred knowledge and intelligence on me.” 

It is the way of weakened minds to see everything through a black cloud. The soul forms its own horizons; your soul is darkened, and consequently the sky of the future appears stormy and unpromising.”

Morrel was not insensible to that sensation of delight which is generally experienced in passing rapidly through the air, and the wind which occasionally raised the hair from his forehead seemed on the point of dispelling momentarily the clouds collected there.

As the distance increased between the travellers and Paris, almost superhuman serenity appeared to surround the count; he might have been taken for an exile about to revisit his native land.—Marseilles, white, fervid, full of life and energy,—Marseilles, the younger sister of Tyre and Carthage, the successor to them in the empire of the Mediterranean,—Marseilles, old, yet always young.

Oh, heavens!” exclaimed Morrel, “I do not deceive myself—that young man who is waving his hat, that youth in the uniform of a lieutenant, is Albert de Morcerf!”

Yes,” said Monte Cristo, “I recognized him.”

How so?—you were looking the other way.”

The Count smiled, as he was in the habit of doing when he did not want to make any reply, and he again turned towards the veiled woman, who soon disappeared at the corner of the street. Turning to his friend,—“Dear Maximilian,” said the count, “have you nothing to do in this land?”

See” (and she exposed her face completely to view)—“see, misfortune has silvered my hair, my eyes have shed so many tears that they are encircled by a rim of purple, and my brow is wrinkled. You, Edmond, on the contrary,—you are still young, handsome, dignified; it is because you have had faith; because you have had strength, because you have had trust in God, and God has sustained you.” “It often happens,” continued she, “that a first fault destroys the prospects of a whole life.” 

Why, having recognized you, and I the only one to do so—why was I able to save my son alone? Ought I not also to have rescued the man that I had accepted for a husband, guilty though he were? Yet I let him die! What do I say? Oh, merciful heavens, was I not accessory to his death by my supine insensibility, by my contempt for him, not remembering, or not willing to remember, that it was for my sake he had become a traitor and a perjurer? (…) like all renegades I am of evil omen to those who surround me!”

God needed me, and I lived. Examine the past and the present, and endeavor to dive into futurity, and then say whether I am not a divine instrument. The most dreadful misfortunes, the most frightful sufferings, the abandonment of all those who loved me, the persecution of those who did not know me, formed the trials of my youth; when suddenly, from captivity, solitude, misery, I was restored to light and liberty, and became the possessor of a fortune so brilliant, so unbounded, so unheard-of, that I must have been blind not to be conscious that God had endowed me with it to work out his own great designs.  (…) Not a thought was given to a life which you once, Mercédès, had the power to render blissful; not one hour of peaceful calm was mine; but I felt myself driven on like an exterminating angel.

I collected every means of attack and defence; I inured my body to the most violent exercises, my soul to the bitterest trials; I taught my arm to slay, my eyes to behold excruciating sufferings, and my mouth to smile at the most horrid spectacles. Good-natured, confiding, and forgiving as I had been, I became revengeful, cunning, and wicked, or rather, immovable as fate.”

Like the gulf between me and the past, there is an abyss between you, Edmond, and the rest of mankind; and I tell you freely that the comparison I draw between you and other men will ever be one of my greatest tortures. No, there is nothing in the world to resemble you in worth and goodness!”

Before I leave you, Mercédès, have you no request to make?” said the count.

I desire but one thing in this world, Edmond,—the happiness of my son.”

I approve of the deed, but I must pray for the dead.”

I have no will, unless it be the will never to decide.”

A man of the count’s temperament could not long indulge in that melancholy which can exist in common minds, but which destroys superior ones. He thought he must have made an error in his calculations if he now found cause to blame himself.”

can I have been following a false path?—can the end which I proposed be a mistaken end?—can one hour have sufficed to prove to an architect that the work upon which he founded all his hopes was an impossible, if not a sacrilegious, undertaking? I cannot reconcile myself to this idea—it would madden me. The reason why I am now dissatisfied is that I have not a clear appreciation of the past. The past, like the country through which we walk, becomes indistinct as we advance. My position is like that of a person wounded in a dream”

There had been no prisoners confined in the Château d’If since the revolution of July; it was only inhabited by a guard, kept there for the prevention of smuggling [tráfico]. A concierge waited at the door to exhibit to visitors this monument of curiosity, once a scene of terror. The count inquired whether any of the ancient jailers were still there; but they had all been pensioned, or had passed on to some other employment. The concierge who attended him had only been there since 1830. He visited his own dungeon. He again beheld the dull light vainly endeavoring to penetrate the narrow opening. His eyes rested upon the spot where had stood his bed, since then removed, and behind the bed the new stones indicated where the breach made by the Abbé Faria had been. Monte Cristo felt his limbs tremble; he seated himself upon a log of wood.

<Are there any stories connected with this prison besides the one relating to the poisoning of Mirabeau?> asked the count; <are there any traditions respecting these dismal abodes,—in which it is difficult to believe men can ever have imprisoned their fellow-creatures?>

<Yes, sir; indeed, the jailer Antoine told me one connected with this very dungeon.>

Monte Cristo shuddered; Antoine had been his jailer. He had almost forgotten his name and face, but at the mention of the name he recalled his person as he used to see it, the face encircled by a beard, wearing the brown jacket, the bunch of keys, the jingling of which he still seemed to hear.”

he felt afraid of hearing his own history.”

And which of them made this passage?”

Oh, it must have been the young man, certainly, for he was strong and industrious, while the abbé was aged and weak; besides, his mind was too vacillating to allow him to carry out an idea.”

Blind fools!” murmured the count.

However, be that as it may, the young man made a tunnel, how or by what means no one knows; but he made it, and there is the evidence yet remaining of his work. Do you see it?”

The result was that the two men communicated with one another; how long they did so, nobody knows. One day the old man fell ill and died. Now guess what the young one did?”

Tell me.”

Now this was his project. He fancied that they buried the dead at the Château d’If, and imagining they would not expend much labor on the grave of a prisoner, he calculated on raising the earth with his shoulders, but unfortunately their arrangements at the Château frustrated his projects. They never buried the dead; they merely attached a heavy cannon-ball to the feet, and then threw them into the sea. This is what was done. The young man was thrown from the top of the rock; the corpse was found on the bed next day, and the whole truth was guessed, for the men who performed the office then mentioned what they had not dared to speak of before, that at the moment the corpse was thrown into the deep, they heard a shriek, which was almost immediately stifled by the water in which it disappeared.” The count breathed with difficulty; the cold drops ran down his forehead, and his heart was full of anguish.

No,” he muttered, “the doubt I felt was but the commencement of forgetfulness; but here the wound reopens, and the heart again thirsts for vengeance. And the prisoner,” he continued aloud, “was he ever heard of afterwards?”

Oh, no; of course not.

Then you pity him?” said the count.

Ma foi, yes; though he was in his own element.”

What do you mean?”

The report was that he had been a naval officer, who had been confined for plotting with the Bonapartists.”

Great is truth,” muttered the count, “fire cannot burn, nor water drown it! Thus the poor sailor lives in the recollection of those who narrate his history; his terrible story is recited in the chimney-corner, and a shudder is felt at the description of his transit through the air to be swallowed by the deep.” Then, the count added aloud, “Was his name ever known?”

Oh, yes; but only as No. 34.” #SugestãodeTítulodeLivro

Oh, Villefort, Villefort,” murmured the count, “this scene must often have haunted thy sleepless hours!”

Ah—No. 27.”

Yes; No. 27.” repeated the count, who seemed to hear the voice of the abbé answering him in those very words through the wall when asked his name.

Come, sir.”

I will leave you the torch, sir.”

No, take it away; I can see in the dark.”

Why, you are like No. 34. They said he was so accustomed to darkness that he could see a pin in the darkest corner of his dungeon.”

He spent 14 years to arrive at that,” muttered the count.

The guide carried away the torch.

O God! he read, preserve my memory!

Oh, yes,” he cried, “that was my only prayer at last; I no longer begged for liberty, but memory; I dreaded to become mad and forgetful. O God, thou hast preserved my memory; I thank thee, I thank thee!” 

Listen,” said the guide; “I said to myself, <Something is always left in a cell inhabited by one prisoner for 15 years,> so I began to sound the wall.”

Ah,” cried Monte Cristo, remembering the abbé’s 2 hiding-places.

After some search, I found that the floor gave a hollow sound near the head of the bed, and at the hearth.”

Yes,” said the count, “yes.”

I raised the stones, and found——”

A rope-ladder and some tools?”

How do you know that?” asked the guide in astonishment.

I do not know—I only guess it, because that sort of thing is generally found in prisoners’ cells.”

Yes, sir, a rope-ladder and tools.”

And have you them yet?”

No, sir; I sold them to visitors, who considered them great curiosities; but I have still something left.”

What is it?” asked the count, impatiently.

A sort of book, written upon strips of cloth.”

Go and fetch it, my good fellow; and if it be what I hope, you will do well.”

I will run for it, sir;” and the guide went out. Then the count knelt down by the side of the bed, which death had converted into an altar. “Oh, second father,” he exclaimed, “thou who hast given me liberty, knowledge, riches; thou who, like beings of a superior order to ourselves, couldst understand the science of good and evil”

Remove from me the remains of doubt, which, if it change not to conviction, must become remorse!” The count bowed his head, and clasped his hands together.

The manuscript was the great work by the Abbé Faria upon the kingdoms of Italy. The count seized it hastily, his eyes immediately fell upon the epigraph, and he read, <Thou shalt tear out the dragons’ teeth, and shall trample the lions under foot, saith the Lord.>

Ah,” he exclaimed, “here is my answer. Thanks, father, thanks.”

The name he pronounced, in a voice of tenderness, amounting almost to love, was that of Haydée.”

Alas,” said Monte Cristo, “it is the infirmity of our nature always to believe ourselves much more unhappy than those who groan by our sides!”

I knew a man who like you had fixed all his hopes of happiness upon a woman. He was young, he had an old father whom he loved, a betrothed bride whom he adored. He was about to marry her, when one of the caprices of fate,—which would almost make us doubt the goodness of Providence, if that Providence did not afterwards reveal itself by proving that all is but a means of conducting to an end,—one of those caprices deprived him of his mistress, of the future of which he had dreamed (for in his blindness he forgot he could only read the present), and cast him into a dungeon.”

Fourteen years!” he muttered—“Fourteen years!” repeated the count. “During that time he had many moments of despair. He also, Morrel, like you, considered himself the unhappiest of men.”

She was dead?”

Worse than that, she was faithless, and had married one of the persecutors of her betrothed. You see, then, Morrel, that he was a more unhappy lover than you.”

And has he found consolation?”

He has at least found peace.”

And does he ever expect to be happy?”

He hopes so, Maximilian.” The young man’s head fell on his breast.

Another proof that he was a native of the universal country was apparent in the fact of his knowing no other Italian words than the terms used in music, and which like the <goddam> of Figaro, served all possible linguistic requirements. <Allegro!> he called out to the postilions at every ascent. <Moderato!> he cried as they descended. And heaven knows there are hills enough between Rome and Florence by the way of Aquapendente! These two words greatly amused the men to whom they were addressed.

What subject of meditation could present itself to the banker, so fortunately become bankrupt?

Danglars thought for ten minutes about his wife in Paris; another ten minutes about his daughter travelling with Mademoiselle d’Armilly; the same period was given to his creditors, and the manner in which he intended spending their money; and then, having no subject left for contemplation, he shut his eyes, and fell asleep.”

where are we going?”

Dentro la testa! answered a solemn and imperious voice, accompanied by a menacing gesture. Danglars thought dentro la testa meant, “Put in your head!” He was making rapid progress in Italian. He obeyed, not without some uneasiness, which, momentarily increasing, caused his mind, instead of being as unoccupied as it was when he began his journey, to fill with ideas which were very likely to keep a traveller awake, more especially one in such a situation as Danglars. His eyes acquired that quality which in the first moment of strong emotion enables them to see distinctly, and which afterwards fails from being too much taxed. Before we are alarmed, we see correctly; when we are alarmed, we see double; and when we have been alarmed, we see nothing but trouble.

His hair stood on end. He remembered those interesting stories, so little believed in Paris, respecting Roman bandits; he remembered the adventures that Albert de Morcerf had related when it was intended that he should marry Mademoiselle Eugénie.”

Is this the man?” asked the captain, who was attentively reading Plutarch’s Life of Alexander.

Himself, captain—himself.”

The man is tired,” said the captain, “conduct him to his bed.”

Oh,” murmured Danglars, “that bed is probably one of the coffins hollowed in the wall, and the sleep I shall enjoy will be death from one of the poniards I see glistening in the darkness.”

From their beds of dried leaves or wolf-skins at the back of the chamber now arose the companions of the man who had been found by Albert de Morcerf reading Cæsar’s Commentaries, and by Danglars studying the Life of Alexander. The banker uttered a groan and followed his guide; he neither supplicated nor exclaimed. He no longer possessed strength, will, power, or feeling; he followed where they led him. At length he found himself at the foot of a staircase, and he mechanically lifted his foot five or six times. Then a low door was opened before him, and bending his head to avoid striking his forehead he entered a small room cut out of the rock. The cell was clean, though empty, and dry, though situated at an immeasurable distance under the earth.

Oh, God be praised,” he said; “it is a real bed!”

Ecco! said the guide, and pushing Danglars into the cell, he closed the door upon him. A bolt grated and Danglars was a prisoner. If there had been no bolt, it would have been impossible for him to pass through the midst of the garrison who held the catacombs of St. Sebastian, encamped round a master whom our readers must have recognized as the famous Luigi Vampa.

Since the bandits had not despatched him at once, he felt that they would not kill him at all. They had arrested him for the purpose of robbery, and as he had only a few louis about him, he doubted not he would be ransomed. He remembered that Morcerf had been taxed at 4.000 crowns, and as he considered himself of much greater importance than Morcerf he fixed his own price at 8.000 crowns. Eight thousand crowns amounted to 48.000 livres; he would then have about 5.050.000 francs left. With this sum he could manage to keep out of difficulties.”

His first idea was to breathe, that he might know whether he was wounded. He borrowed this from Don Quixote, the only book he had ever read, but which he still slightly remembered.”

Two millions?—three?—four? Come, four? I will give them to you on condition that you let me go.”

Why do you offer me 4.000.000 for what is worth 5.000.000? This is a kind of usury, banker, that I do not understand.”

Take all, then—take all, I tell you, and kill me!”

Come, come, calm yourself. You will excite your blood, and that would produce an appetite it would require a million a day to satisfy. Be more economical.”

(…)

But you say you do not wish to kill me?”

No.”

And yet you will let me perish with hunger?”

Ah, that is a different thing.”

For the first time in his life, Danglars contemplated death with a mixture of dread and desire; the time had come when the implacable spectre, which exists in the mind of every human creature, arrested his attention and called out with every pulsation of his heart, <Thou shalt die!>”

he who had just abandoned 5.000.000 endeavored to save the 50.000 francs he had left, and sooner than give them up he resolved to enter again upon a life of privation—he was deluded by the hopefulness that is a premonition of madness. He who for so long a time had forgotten God, began to think that miracles were possible