We are in a great night of the world. The thing is to know if we shall wake up to-morrow. We have only one succor we know of what the night is made. But shall we be able to impart our lucid faith, seeing that the heralds of warning are everywhere few, and that the greatest victims hate the only ideal which is not one, and call it utopian?
Truth is simple. They who say that truth is complicated deceive themselves, and the truth is not in them.
Only the idolatrous and the weak have need of illusion as of a remedy. The rest only need see and speak. She smiles, vague as an angel, hovering in the purity of the evening between light and darkness. I am so near to her that I must kneel to be nearer still. I kiss her wet face and soft lips, holding her hand in both of mine. Yes, there is a Divinity, one from which we must never turn aside for the guidance of our huge inward life and of the share we have as well in the life of all men. It is called the truth.
To live is to be happy to live. The usefulness of life ah! its expansion has not the mystic shapes we vainly dreamed of when we were paralyzed by youth. Rather has it a shape of anxiety, of shuddering, of pain and glory. Our heart is not made for the abstract formula of happiness, since the truth of things is not made for it either. It beats for emotion and not for peace. Such is the gravity of the truth.
To understand life, and love it to its depths in a living being, that is the being's task, and that his masterpiece; and each of us can hardly occupy his time so greatly as with one other; we have only one true neighbor down here.
It seems to me that truth has taken its place again in our little room, and become incarnate; that the greatest bond which can bind two beings together is being confessed, the great bond we did not know of, though it is the whole of salvation: "Before, I loved you for my own sake; to-day, I love you for yours."
All my strength has come back to me. I am no longer wounded or ill. I carry her in my arms. It is difficult work to carry in your arms a being equal to yourself. Strong as you may be, you hardly suffice for it. And what I say as I look at her and see her, I say because I am strong and not because I am weak: "You're everything for me because you are you, and I love all of you."
This hunger for novelty which makes sensuous love equally changeful and rapacious, which makes us seek the same emotion in other bodies which we cast off as fast as they fall turns life into an infernal succession of disenchantments, spites and scorn; and it is chiefly that hunger for novelty which leaves us a prey to unrealizable hope and irrevocable regret. Those lovers who persist in remaining together execute themselves; the name of their common death, which at first was Absence, becomes Presence.
All that we can remember is almost nothing. Memory is greater than we are, but memory is living and mortal as well.
That society is badly arranged which forces nearly all women to be servants. Marie, who is as good as I am, will have spent her life in cleaning, in stooping amid dust and hot fumes, over head and ears in the great artificial darkness of the house. I used to find it all natural. Now I think it is all anti-natural.
I proclaim the inevitable advent of the universal republic. Not the transient backslidings, nor the darkness and the dread, nor the tragic difficulty of uplifting the world everywhere at once will prevent the fulfillment of international truth.
I believe, in spite of all, in truth's victory. I believe in the momentous value, hereafter inviolable, of those few truly fraternal men in all the countries of the world, who, in the oscillation of national egoisms let loose, stand up and stand out, steadfast as the glorious statues of Right and Duty.
To accomplish the majestically practical work, to shape the whole architecture like a statue, base nothing on impossible modifications of human nature; await nothing from pity.
Let everything be remade on simple lines. There is only one people, there is only one people!
Each country will be a moral force, and no longer a brutal force; while all brutal forces clash with themselves, all moral forces make mighty harmony together.