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The Middle Wall, 

Sdward Hanhall 

The Daughter of a Magnate, ' 

Frank B. Qptwrman 

The Soldier of the Valley, 
A Lost Eden, 

. M. E. Braddon 

The Shadow of a Throne, 

jhrederiek W. Haii§a 



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tj L 



\ 









THE DISCIPLE 



aj. 



i. 






■♦ SliS"'"^ SSSKT"^* 



THE DISCIPLE 



BY 



PAUL BOURGET 



TORONTO 
I^ANGTON & HA1.I. UMlTfiD 



'905 






I t 



CONTEXTS 



I- A MODCRN PHILOaOMlER 

• • • • 

W. The Ghmlos Akkair . 

IJI. Simple Ohief . 

' • • • t 

IV. C«Nr.„,„, „, ^ y„„,„ j,^, ^^ ^__^ ^_^_^__ 

!• My Heredities 
U. The Medium of Ideas 
in. Transplantation 
IV. The First Crisis 
V. The Second Crisis 
VL The Third Crisis 
VII, Conclusion . 

V. Torment of Ideas . 

VI. Count Andr£ . 



18 
43 
00 



. 00 
04 
. 120 
144 
170 
230 
255 
280 

204 

817 



TO A YOUNQ MAN. 



1 DEDICAni this book to you, n,y youig couatry- 
man w.th whom I am so well acquainted, although 
I may not know your place of birth, your name 
your parents your fortune or your ambitions-! 
nothing but that you are over eighteen and under 
wenty-five years of age, and that you will search 
in our books for the answers to the questions which 

wUl find depend a little upon your moral lif;, a 
little upon your own soul, for your moral life is the 

T^^; yeat fr^r "— - ^ ^' '^ -' 
wJin iT- "°'' y"" »°^ yo" brothers 

conntv Vr """"^ "-^ ''^^"''^ <" «"« -^-^n" 
country, which is our common mother-you will be 

Xw i"^'^ ^° """' °* '«"«''' J'-'^^r insig. 

^bim;"^ '^' ""' «'•-"' *---'« "' ''e 

Tou will find in " The Disciple' ' the study of one of 
a e responsibUities. May you find herl a proof 

merit « tl ™*^^ *'^^« ""^ 1- '''e 

n-eril If he possesses no other, of believing pro- 
foundly m the seiiou^ess of Us ait. M^y j™ 



Vlll 



INTRODUCTION. 



also find that he thinks of you with great concern, 
les. he has thought of you ever since the days when 
you were learning to read, when we who are now 
approaching our fortieth year were scribbling our 
first verses to the noise of the cannon which roared 
over Paris. We, in our study chambers, were not 
gay at that period. The oldest of us had just gone 
to the war. and those of us who were obliged to 
remain at college already felt the duty of our 
country's rehabilitation press heavily upon us. 
We often thought of you in that fatal year. 1871. 
O young Frenchmen of to-day~all of us who were 
intending to devote ourselves to literahire, my 

^7^^ ^°. i "'^^^^^ *^^ '^^"^i^^l ^e«es of 
Theodore de Banville : 

Yc in whom I hail the light. 

All ye who will love me, 
O young men of the coming fight, 

O holy battalions I 

We wished this dawn of light to be as bright as 
ours had been gloomy and misty with a vapor of 
blood. We wished to be worthy of your love, in 
leaving to you that which we valued more than we 
valued ourselves. We said that our work was to 
make of you and for you, by our public and private 
acts, by our words, by our fervor, and by our 
example, a new France, a France redeemed from 
defeat a France reconstructed in its external and in 
Its internal life. Young as we were then we knew 



INTRODUCTION. 



iX 



because we had learned it from our masters, and 
this was their best teaching-that triumphs and 
defeats from without interpreted the qualities and 
insufficiencies within; we knew that the resurrec 
tion of Germany at the beginning of the century 
had been above all a work of soul, and we recog- 
nized that the soul of France had been terribly 
hurt in 1870. and that it must be helped, healed 
and cured. We were not the only ones to compre- 
hend in the generous ingenuousness of our youth 
that the moral crisis was then as it always is, the 
great crisis of this country; for in 1873 the most 
valiant of our leaders. Alexandre Dumas, said in the 
preface to "La Femme de Claude, " addressing the 
Frenchmen of his age as I am adressing you, my 
younger brother: "Take care, you are passing 
through troublous times. You have just paid death 
and are not through paying for your earlier faults 
It IS no time to be a wit, a trifler, a libertine a 
scoflfer, a skeptic, or a wanton; we have had enough 
of these for a time at least. God, nature, work 
marriage, love, children, all these are serious, very 
serious things, and rise up before you. All these 
must live or you will die.'" 

I cannot say of the generation to which I belong 
and which kindled the noble hope of reconstructing 
France, that it has succeeded, or that it has even 
been sufficiently devoted to its work. But I do 
know that it has labored, and labored hard. We 



INTRODUCTION. 
We plodded away without B,„ch method alasl 

lor us, how much we have been ]«ff * 

which Tri.o««« 1-11 valiant bourgeoisie 

a«e.ts What e,:£Ulr r ho^" 

anothe. would W Shed. " "" • ^ ^11^ 
cause this young W,e<„«ehas .adVever; sacri" 
ficeiu order to serve the country. I, has seen he Ta " 
ters of a day Proscribe its most cherished beH„r 
Rename of liberty, chance poHtici::' p„J^ '.t ! 

a" t^uZrT" "■r"*""'^ -Wch to'rule lud 
«steU their lying mediocrity in the highest places 
This universal suffrage has undergone iL 1 I 

monstrous and themostiniquitousorrrUt;: 
the force of numbers is the most brutal o^tec " 
possessing neither talent nor audaci^v T. 
young bourgeoisie has resigned itself to everVthinr 

has accepted everything in order to have the r 2 
to do the necessary "vort Tf ^„ u- ^ * 

CO if fn..i ^*'^^'''^^- -f^oursoldiers come and 
go, If foreign powers hold us in respect, if our 



INTRODUCTION. „ 

hi«her educalion is being developed, if our artawd 
ourhtera toe continue to assert the national genius 
we owe .t to the Wye«.ie. It is true tha h fa 

for Tr ° '°"?f '"^° "' ""^ "" •"« -o "C 

form of government, or solve the formidable prob- 
lems of foreign politics and of socialism. However 
young man of to-da.v, do not despise it. Lea™ I 
render justice to your elders. It is through them 
that France has lived I «" mem 

,hfrT"i'''*"™ """"Khyou is the question 
which at the present time troubles aU those who 

France. You have not to see the Prussian cavalry 
galloping victoriously among the poplars of your 
uative land to sustain you. And of the horrible dvU 
war, you have only the picturesque ruins of the 
Cour des Comptes, or tie frees putting forth luii- 
riant vegetation among the scorched stones which 
lend poetic attraction to (he old palaces. We have 
never been able to conclude that the peace of 71 his 
setaed everything for all time. How I should it 
to know If you think as we do. How I should like 
o be sure that you are not ready to renounce the 
secret dream, the consolatory hope which each one 
of us had, even of those of us who never spoke of 
It ! But I am sure that you feel sad whenever you 
pass the Arc de Triomphe where others have 
passed, even on those beautiful summer evenings 



IM 



INTRODUCTION. 



m company with the one yon lore. Ton wonld 

rih ''T/?!«"»"y '''■'"O"- to go to the front if 
•t Bhonld be necessary, I am snre of it. But it is 
not enough to know how to die. Have yon resolved 

^eCmor'^f *•' J"""" ^- '<"""'* '""Arc 
lt,3^ 7 "^ *^* '^^ of the Grande 

Ann^ do you regret that you did not feel the 
heroic breath of the conscripts of that time? When 

Bomantic sm, do you eTperience nostalgia at not 

TT.^". f"^ °' ^«""«"' " «'»' literary 
standard to defend? Do you feel, when yon mee^ 

one of the masters pf to-day-a Dumas, a Taine a 
I^conte de L.sle-that you are in the presence of 
one of the depositaries of the genius of your race? 
When you read such books as must be written when 
.t.s necessary to depict the criminal passions and 
their martyrdom, do you wish to love more wisely 
than the authors of these books have lo- ,1? Have 
you, my brotter, more of the Ideal than we have- 
have you mo™ laith than we have-more hope than 

^kyor ■ '"" "■*""" "'"«' ""^ '«' - 
But suppose you have not? There are two types 
of young men that I see before me, and before you 
also, hke two forms of temptation, equally formid- 
able and fatal One is cynical and usual^S 
He IS about hventy years of age, he appraises IHe 
at a discount, and his religion consists in en! 



INTRODUCTION. xjij 

ioying U^elf .hich may be translated by .uo- 

ness, with literature or art, engaged in sport or in 
industry let hin. be officer, diplomat or advocaleT 
h|B on^y God is himself; he is his only pZipie 
his only object He has borrowed from the nalll 
ph Jc«ophy of the times the great law of vital Z 
currence and he applies it to the advancement of 
his fortune with an ardor of positivism which 

r^v ri.T"""' '""»"'«" "'o ""ostdrget 

we 1 how to describe him, has christened him the 

cess, and m success nothing but money. He is 
convinced when he reads this-for he reads what I 
^.te as he reads everything eUe, if only to be in 
hecurrent-that I am laughing at the public n 
teacing this portrait, but that I myself am like him. 

that tie Ideal appears to him like a comedy for 
example when he judges it proper to lie to the 
people to secure their votes. Is not this young 
man a monster? For one is a monster who is only 
twenty-five years old and has for a soul a calcnlaf 

AnMr\l '' '""''™'"' "" y""' a"""""* than I 

do the other one who possesses all the aristocracies 
of nerves and mind, and who is an intellectual and 
refined epicurean as the former is a brutal and 



XIV 



INTRODUCTION. 



«.ent.flo one How dreadful to encounter this 
dainty nibiliet, and yet how he abounds I At 
twenty-five he has mn the gamut of all ideas. His 
critical mmd. precociously awake, has compre- 
hended the final results of the most subUe philoso- 
Phies of the age. Do not speak to him of impiety 
or of materialism. He knows that the word "mat- 
ter has no precise meaning, and beside he is too 
intelligent not to admit that all religions have been 
egitimate in their time. Only, he has never be- 
heved and he never wiU believe in them, any more 
th^ he will ever believe in anything whatever, except 
u, the amusing play of his mind which he has 
transformed into a tool of elegant perversity. The 
good and the bad, beauty and deformity, vices and 
Tirtues are to him simply objects of curiosity. The 
human soul so far as he is concerned is a skillful 
piece of mechanism in the dissection of which he is 
interested as a matter of experience. To him 
notting .8 tone, nothing is false, nothing is moral, 
nothing ,s immoral. He is • subtle and refined 
ego ist whose whole ambition, as that remarkable 
analyst, Maurice Barr^, has said in his beautiful 
romance of "L'Homme Libre-'-that ohef-d^o^u^ore 
of irony which lacks only conclusion-consists "in 
adoring himself " and to a«iuire neW sensations. 
The religious life of humanity is to him only a 
pretext for these sensations, as are also the intel- 
lectual and the sentimental life. His corruption is 



I 



INTRODUCTION. 



XT 

Otherwise as profound as thaft f^i ii. 

name of diUetantism with »i.;„kT^^' ^ "■**"* 
ceala its cold ZCi^til^Z "* ''°''- 
Ah! we know thie youLg tai ?^we,^™T'• 
all wished to be in his nl^^^ f T ' ® '*^® 

oWmed b. the pTiiX^Crrt^;" «> 
we all have befin l,'ir« i,- ^ *»*o<luent teachers: 

have writMs ^'™I' """" 'T ^"^ '"' ^ 

'i'^e hH ,o„ oCiK twe^r/e:::: toT "^r 
ferrett:rpSe:r:Lrti'r?d' 

neither the pride ofli^' .ft "'"' '^"'''K- I*' 

of you . e.„^f r/ a' ;;;f : ° ;r r ""^^ 

one reality which you canuot doub "oryou^'"'" 
•t, you (eel it, you eee it every momeuITr'''' 
own soul. Among the thoughts °S ■ ''°" 

are those which render vonf i ■ ^'' ^°"' 
joving. less capabCordes " 7i st S'l: "' 

,«-^nedbythema;icT.tTr:Srdrr 



XVI 



INTRODUCTION. 



^t and onltiyaie iheM two gn.t yirtuet, the«, 
two energiM. without which only blight ad final 
•gony «n,n6-LoTe M,d WiU. The .inoer. ud 

.*! „^'""" "' *°-*'y "«<«»«»«• »h«* th. realm 
of the Unknowable extend* beyond the limit of it. 
«u»ly.i.. The venerable Littr^ who w«i a «int. 
hw, mapoflcently spoken of thi. ooe«, of my.tery 
which beat, against onr shore, which we see 
stretching before ns, and for which we have neither 
bark nor sail. Have the courage to respond to 
those who will teU you that beyond this Lm i, 
emptiness, an abyss of darkness and death ; "Tou 
do not know that" And since you know since 
you f^l that there is a soul with'in you, Ub^^t 
keep It alive leet it die before you. I a.;ure yoT 
my boy Prance has need that you should think 
thus, and may this book help you so to think. Do 
not look here for allusions to recent events, for you 
will not find them. The phm was marked out Ld 
l^ «■« book written before two tn«edies, the 
one Rench, the other European, occurred, to attest 
that the same trouble of ideas and of sentiment, 
agitates both high and humble destinies at Z 
present time. Do me the honor to believe that Ihave 
not speouUted on the dramas in which too many 
persons have suffered, and still suffer. The moral- 
«t, whose business it is to seek for causes, some- 

fw !rT " ""''°«''" °' "'" '«°° 'Wch attest 
tl>8t they have seen correctly. They would rather 



INTRODUCTION. j^^ 

ttlh ^M"^*'*^- ^ '»^'*"' '°' •'"-pie, would 
wwh that there never had bMn i« — i i* 

Pwrii, June 6. 1889. ^^VL BoUBOET. 



r 



THE DISCIPLE. 



A MOOBRH PHIL080PHK8. 

Ji.a that d«r.„„,. ,'f\ *^"»">«»"'P»r. Beiwon" 

"y. 1887. .Un the^ «w J ourto^T""" '" "''""'■ 

WeKan, ..J^ ,7^1 r": '''"■' ""' ^*"^"- 
"ot to mention that h. "^ ''" '" '''» '"''"»■ 

".'.CUhor^nehit::""'"''-"*'-'-^^- 




II 



14 



THE DISCIPLE. 



This Bue Guy de la Brosse, which leads from the 
Bue . de Jussieu to the Bue Linne, formfi part of a 
veritable little province bounded by the Jardin des 
Plar^ 3, the Hopital de la Pitie, the wine warehouse 
and txe first rise of Sainte-Genevieve. That is to say, 
that it permits those familiar inquisitions of glance 
impossible in the larger districts where the come-and- 
go of existence ceaselessly renews the tide of carriages 
and of people. Only persons of small incomes live 
here, modest professors, employees of the museum, 
students who wish to study, all young literary people 
who dread the temptations of the Latin Quarter. 
The shops are patronized by this clientele, which is 
.J r'^gular as that of a suburb. The butcher, the 
baker, the grocer, the washerwoman, the apothecary, 
are all spoken of in the singular by the domestics who 
make the purchases. 

There is little room for competition in this square, 
which is ornamented by a fountain capriciously encum- 
bered with figures of animals in honor of the Jardin 
des Plantes. Visit rs to the garden seldom enter by 
the gate, which is opposite the hospital; so that even 
on fine spring days when crowds of people gather 
under the trees of the park, which is a favorite resort 
of the military and of nursemaids, the Bue Linne is 
as quiet as usual, and so also are the adjacent streets. 
If occasionally there is an unusual flow of people into 






^1- 






THE DISCIPLE. jj 

thi,oorn„of P„i,, it i, „hen the doora of the ho,- 
pitol are opened to vieiton, «,d then » line of sad «,d 
humble igures etretohea .long the eidewalke. These 
Pilgrms of poverty oome furnished with dainties for 
the„ f^end. who are suffering behind the gr«r old 
wall, of the hospital, «.d the inhabit«.ts of ground- 
floors lodge., and diops are not interested in them. 
They hardly notice these sporadic promenaders, and 
the»ent«e attention is reserved for the persons who 
go by every day at the same hour. There are for 
.hopkeepera and om,cierge>, as for sportsmen in the 
conntor, unfailing indications of the time and of the 
weather, ttat there will be in this quarter, where 
resound the savage calls of some beast in the neigh- 
bonng menagerie; of an ara that cries, and elephant 
that trumpets, an eagle that screams, or a tiger that 
mews. When they see the free professor iogging 
along with his old green leather case under his arm! 
».bbhng at a penny bun which he haa bought on hia 
W, these apiea know that it ia about to atrike eight. 
When the restaurant boy passes with hia covered 
dishes they know that it ia eleven o'clock, as^ that 
the retired captain of battalion is soon to have his 
breakfast, and thus in succession for every hour of 
the d^v. A change in the toilette of the women who 
here d,apla.v their fi„er.v, ia noted and critically 
mterpreted by twenty babbling and not overindulgen^ 



-fy^~ T 



■■m^m^^-T^^>. 



16 



THE DISCIPLE. 






tongues. In fine, to use a very picturesque ezpres- 
sion common in central France, the most trifling 
movements of the frequenters of these four or five 
streets are at the end of the tongues, and those of M. 
Adrien Sixte even more than those of many others. 
This will be readily understood by a simple sketch 
of the person. And beside, the details of the life led 
by this man will furnish to students of human nature 
an authentic document upon a rare species— that of 
philosopher by profession. Some examples have been 
given to us by the ancients, and more recently by 
Golerus, in reference to Spinoza, and by Darwin and 
John Stuart Mill in reference to themselves. But 
Spinoza was a Hollander of the eighteenth century, 
Darwin and Mill grew up among the wealthy and 
active English middle class, whereas M. Sixte lived in 
the heart of Paris at the end of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. In my youth, when studies of this kind inter- 
ested me, I knew several individuals just as entirely 
given up to abstract speculations. I have, however, 
never met one who has made me comprehend so well 
the existence of a Descartes— in his little room in the 
depth of the Netherlands, or that of the thinker of 
the Ethics, who, as we know, had no other distraction 
from his reveries than smoking a pipe and fighting 
spiders. 

It was fourteen years after the war when M. Sixte 



1 1 






THE DISCIPLE. jy 

came to live in the Bue Guy de la BroBse. where every 
denizen knows him to-day. He was at that time a 
man thirty-four years of age, in whom all physiog- 
nomy of youth had been destroyed by the absorption 
of his mind in ideas, so that his smoothly-shaven face 
indicated neither age nor profession. Some physi- 
Clans, some priests, and some actors offer to our 
regard, for different reasons, faces at once cold 
smooth, intent and inexpressive. A forehead high 
and tapering, a mouth promine.. and obstinate, with 
thm hps, a bilious complexion, eyes affected by too 
much reading and hidden behind dark spectacles, a 
slim, big boned body, always clothed in a shaggy 
cloth overcoat in winter, and in some thin material in 
summer. His shoes tied with strings, his hair long 
Mid prematurely gra,- and very fine, under one of 
those hats called gibus, which fold up mechanically 
-such was the appearance presented by this savant 
whose every action was as scrupulously regulated as 
those of an ecclesiastic. He occupied an apartment 
at a rent of seven hundred francs on the fourth floor 
wh,ch consisted of a bedroom, a study, a dining-room 
about as large as the cabin of a wherry, a kitchen and 
a servant's room, the whole commanding a very ex- 
tensive view. The philosopher could see from his 
windows the Jardin des Plantes with the hills of Pere- 
la-Chaise in the distance; beyond, to the left, a kind 



f fl , IXiU-LlBS 



18 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I ! 






of hollow which marked the course of the Seine. 
The Orleans station and the dome of La Salpetriere 
rose directly in front; and, to the right, the mass of 
cedars looked black against the green or bare trees of 
the labyrinth. The smoke of factories wreathed up- 
ward on a clear or gray sky from every corner of the 
wide landscape, from which arose a sound like the 
roar of a distant ocean, broken by the whistlings of 
steam engines. In choosing this Thebais, M. Sizte 
had no doubt yielded to a general though inexplicable 
law of meditative nature. Are not nearly all cloisters 
built in places which permit an extended view ? Per- 
haps these unlimited and confused prospects favor 
concentration of the mind, which might otherwise be 
distracted by details too near and circumstantial? 
Perhaps recluses find the pleasure of contrast be- 
tween their dreamy inaction and the breadth of the 
field in which the activity of other men is developed ? 
Whatever may be the solution of this little problem 
so closely related to another which is too little 
studied, namely, the animal sensibility of intellectual 
men — it is certain that the melancholy landscape had, 
for fifteen years, been the companion with whom the 
quiet worker i ,d most frequently conversed. His 
house was kept by one of those servants who are the 
ideals of all old bachelors, who never suspect that 
the perfection of certain services implies a correspond- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



19 



ing regularity of existence on the part of the master 
On his arrival, the philosopher had simply asked the 
cm<^ge to find some one to keep his rooms in order, 
and to recommend a restaurant from which he could 
order his meals. By this request he risked obtaining 
a service decidedly bad and a very uncertain sort of 
nourishment. It resulted, however, in unexpectedly 
introducing into the home of Adrien Sixte precisely 
the person who realized his most chimerical wishes 
if an extractor of quintessences, as Babelais calls this 
•ort of dreamer, e U preserves the leisure to form 
wishes. 

This conc-fer^e-acoording to the use and custom of 
all such functionaries in small apartment houses- 
increased iJie revenue of his lodgings by working at a 
trade. He was a shoemaker, "in new and old " as a 
Placard read which was pasted on a window toward 
the street. Among his customers, old man Carbonnet 
-this was his name-counted a priest who lived in 
the Rue Cuvier. This aged priest had a servant. 
Mile. Mariette Trapenard, a woman nearly forty years 
old, who had been accustomed for some years to rule 
in her master's house while still remaining a true 
peasant woman, with no ambition to play the lady 
faithful in her work, but unwilling to enter at any 
price a house where she would be subject to feminine 
authority. The old priest died quite suddenly the 



10 



THE DISCIPLE. 



!i ! 



week preceding the installaf )n of the philosopher in 
the Rue Guy de la BroHse. Old Carbonuet, in whose 
register the newcomer had simply signed himself 
rentier, had no trouble in recognizing the class to 
which this M. Sixte belonged, first from the number 
of books which composed his library, and also through 
the account of a servant belonging to a professor of 
the College of France, who lived on the first floor. 

In these phalansteries of the Parisian bourgeois 
everything becomes an event. The maid told her 
mistress the name of her future neighbor; the mis- 
tress told her husband; she spoke o* M. Sixte at table 
in such a way that the maid comprehended enough to 
surmise that the new lodger was "in books like mon- 
sieur." Carbonnet would not have been worthy of 
drawing the cord in a Parisian lodging-house, if his 
wife and he had not immediately felt the necessity of 
bringing M. Adrien Sixte and Mile. Trapenard to- 
gether. They felt this the more because Mme. Car- 
bonnet, who was old and almost disabled, had already 
too much to do to take care of three households, to 
undertake this one. The taste for intrigue which 
flourishes in lodging-houses like fuchsias, geraniums, 
and basils induced this couple to assure the savant 
that the cooking at the eating-houses was wretched, 
that there was not a single housekeeper whom they 
could recommend in the whole neighborhood, and that 



THE DISCIPLE. jj 

the «rT«,t of th. l,te M. I'AbM V«y„ier wm . 
pe«l" of dieoretion, order, eoonon^, „d onlin^y 
iA.U. Fmally, the philowpher consented to «e thi. 
model ho««,koep.r. The Tieible honesty of the 
won.,u. pleued him and aleo the reflection that this 
arrangement would aimplify hi, „i,i,^^^ ^^ „,j^^_ 
mg h,m from the odiou. taak of giving a certain num- 
ber of positive orders. Mile. Trapenard entered the 
service of this master for fifty francs a month, which 
was soon increased to sixty. The «.vant gave her 
fifty francs « New-Te^- gifts beside. He never ex- 
ammed his accounts, but settled them every Sunday 

l°Tf 7JT' '•""""■'- " '" ™«- Tr.Pcn.rd 
"ho did the business with all the tradesmen without 
any interference on the part of M. Sizto 

In a word she reigned absolute mispress, a situa- 
tion, as may be imagined, which excited the univer«J 
»vy of the lit«e world incessantly going up and 
down tte common staircase so zealously scrubbed 
every Monday. 

"I say. M«n-»lle Mariette, you have drawn the 
hicly number," said Carbonnet as the houseieeper 
^PPed a minute to chat with her benefactor, who was 
now much older. 

He wore spectacles on his square nose, and it was 
with some difficuliy that he adjusted the blows of his 
hammer to the heads of the nails which he drove into 



lip 



2d 



THE DISCIPLE. 



the boot-heela closely pressed between >s legs. For 
■ome years he had taken oare of a cook named Ferdi- 
nand— why, no one knew. This creature wandered 
about among the bits of leather, exciting the admira- 
tion of all visitors by his eagerness to peck at the 
buttons of the boots. In his moments of fright this pet 
cock would take refuge with his master, plunge one of 
his feet into the pocket of the cobbler's vest and hide 
his head under the arm of the old concierge: "Come, 
Ferdinand, say good-day to Mam'zelle Mariette," 
resumed Carbonnet. And the cook gently pecked the 
woman's hand, while his master continued: 

"I always say, 'Never despair at one bad year, two 
good ones are bound to come immediately after.* " 

"There we agree, " responded Mariette, "for mon- 
sieur is a good man, though as to religion he is a 
regular pagan; he has not been to mass these fifteen 
years." 

"There are plenty who do go," replied Carbonnet, 
"who are sad dogs, and lead anything but a quiet life 
between four and midnight—without your knowing 
anything about it." 

This fragment of conversation perhaps shows the 
type of opinion which Mariette held in regard to her 
master; but this opinion would be unintelligible if 
we did not recall here the works of the philosopher, 
and the trend of his thought. 



THE DISCIPLE. || 

Born In 1889 at Nancy, where his father kept a 
litUe watchmaker's shop, and remarkable for the 
precocity of his inteUect. Adrien Sixte left amon^ his 
comrades the remembrance of a child thin and taci- 
turn, endowed with a strength of moral resistance 
whi h always discouraged familiarity. At first he 
was Tery brilliant in his studies, then mediocre, until 
in the class in philosophy which then bore the name 
of Logic, he distinguished himself by his exceptional 
aptitude. His professor, struck by his metaphysical 
talent, wished him to prepare for the normal school 
exmination. Adrien refused and declared beside to 
his father that, taking one trade with another, he 
preferred manual labor. "I will be a watchmdcer 
like you," was his sole answer to the objurgations of 
his father, who, like the innumerable artisans, or 
French merchants whose lildren attend college, 
chenshed the dream that his son might be a civil 
officer. 

M. and Mme. Sixte could not reproach this son, 
who did not smoke, never went to the cafe, was never 
seen with a girl, in fine, who was their pride, and to 
whose wishes they resigned themselves with a broken 
heart. They rencanoed a career for him, but they 
would not consent to putting him to an apprentice- 
ship, hence, the young man lived at home with no 
other occupation than to study as suited his fancy. 



84 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I 



He •aployed ten year, in perfecting himwlf in the 
•tudy of Englieh end German philcHK,phy, in the 
Mtuiul wience. and eepeoially in the phyaiology of 
the brain and in the matheaatioal .oience. ; flmUly 
he gare himaelf. a. one of the great thinker, of ou^ 
•pooh ha. «id of himwlf, that "violent inHammation 
of the brain," that kind of apoplexy of poaitive 
knowledge which wa. the proce.. of education of 
C«rlyle and of Mill, of Taine and Renan. and of nearly 
•U the maater. of modem philowphy. In 1868, the 
-on of the watchmaker of Nancy, then twenty-five 
year, of age, published a large volume of five hundred 
page. entiUed: "Psychology of God," which he did 
not wnd to more than fifteen persons, but which had 
toe unexpected fortune of causing a scandalous echo, 
mi,, book, written in the solitude of the most honest 
thought, presented the double character of a critical 
analysis, keen to severity, and an ardor in negation 
exalted to fanaticism. Less poetic than M. Taine 
incapable of writing the magnificent preface to the "In- 
telligence." and the essay upon universal phenomena- 
less dry than M. Ribot, who already preluded by hii 
"English Psychologists" the beautiful series of hi. 
studies, the "Psychology of God." combined the 
eloquence of one with the pentration of the other, and 
It had the chance, unsought, of directly attacking the 
most exciting problem of metaphysics. A pamphlet 



THE DISCIPLK. ^5 

hy « well-known biihop, an unworthy aUuiion of a 
oiu-dintl in • diioourw to thewntte. a oruihing artiol* 
by the most brilliant critical ipiritualiat in a cele- 
brated reyiew. eufflced to point out the work to the 
ourioiity of the youth over whom paMed a revolutionary 
wind, the herald of future overthrow. The theiia of 
the author consigtod in demongtrating the neoeeaary 
production of "the hypothegig-God," by the action 
of some pgychologio lawg, which are themeelvea con- 
nected with some cerebral modiflcafciong of an entirely 
Physical order, and this thegig v.ag egtablighed. gup. 
ported, and developed with an acrimony of atheigm 
which recalled the fury of Lucretiug againgt the be- 
liefs of hig time. It happened then to the hermit of 
Nancy, that hig work, which was conceived and writ- 
ten as if in the solitude of a .ell. was at once in the 
midst of the noige of the ba.tle of contemporaneous 
Ideas. For years there had not been seen such power 
of general ideas wedded to such amplitude of erudi- 
tion, nor go rich an abundance of points of view 
united to go audacious a nihilism. But while the 
name of the author was becoming celebrated in Paris 
hjs parents were bowed to the earth by his success! 
Some articles in the Catholic journals filled Mme 
Sixte with despair. The old watchmaker trembled 
lest he should lose his customers among the aris- 
tocracy of Nancy. 



m 



•• THE DISCIPLB. 

AH the BittH«t of tb« proTinot eniah«d ib« philot- 
oph«r, who WM about to 1..t# hi. home, whtn tb. 
0«to«» inYMion .nd th« feMrftU national riiipwrwk 
turnea the attention of bia countryman away from 
him. Hiaparantadiadiatbaapringofmi. In tba 
■ummar of tba aama year, ba loat an aunt, and ao in 
the autumn of 1872 baring aettJed bi. affaira, ba cam. 
to aatabliab bim«,lf in Pari.. Hi. reaouro«i, tbank. 
to tbe inbaritanoe of bi. parenta and of bia aun\ oon- 
•i-tad in aigbt tbouwnd franca income inraated in a 
life-intereai He bad reaolved nerer to marry, nerer 
to go into aocietj'. never to be ambitiou. of bonor of 
Place nor of reputation. Tbe wbole formula of bia 
life waa oonUined in tbe word.; To think/ 

In order to better define tbi. man of a quality ao 
rwre tbat tbia aketcb after nature wiU ride appearing 
untrutbful to tbe reader wbo i. unfamiliar witb tba 
biograpbiea of tbe great manipulator, of idea, it i. 
necewary to give a rapid glance at K>me of tbe daya 
of tbi. powerful tbinker. 

Summer and wnter, M. Sixte aat down to bia work 
at 81Z o'clock in tbe morning, refredied by a aingle 
cup of black coffee. At ten o'clock be took bi. break- 
fast, a summary operation whicb permitted bim to be 
at tbe gate of the Jardin des Plante. at balf-paat ten 
He walked in tbe garden until noon, sometimes e«- 



THE DISCIPLE. 27 

On. 0/ hi. f„„ri,. p,,„„„, ^^^^^^ ^^ 

.<«c.. n ,«at o, th. ..„. o, ,ho .„„„i.„ .„., .J 

l«te.. of »h. .I.pl„„u. Th. childr.„ .„d «rv„u 
who „, „ i,„,h, ,„,, „j ,.,^^^j^_ ^^ ^|_^ ^^^_ _^.^,^^ 

"d cyn.o,.„.of tho baboon, a„,l oui.iiti., „„v„ .u^ 
pected th. «,i,anthropic thought, which thi. ,p«t.ol, 
brought to th. mind of th. ..v„„t who comp„.d i„ 
h.m..lfth. human to th. .in.i.n comedy, „ he «,„. 
P.r,d our h.bitu.1 folly with th. wi.dom of th. nob], 
nim.1 th.t. b,for« u., wm king of th. earth 
Toward noon M. Siit. returned to hi. home and 

work.d again until four o'clock. Prom four to ,ix h. 

received three time, a week, vi.itor. who w.r. n.arly 

.t«d... a. him,.lf, or foraigner. attracted by a rcputa- 
t.on which to^ay i. European. Thre, oth.r day. h. 
went out to make «,me indi.pensabl. vi.if. At .it 
o clock h« dined and then w.nt out again, thi. tim. 
going th. l.ngth of the cloeed garden to tho Orle.na 
-tation. At eight o'clock h. returned, regulated hi. 
corr..pond.nc. or read. At ten o'clock the light, 
were extinguished in hi. house. 

This monastic existence had its weekly restonMon- 
day, the philosopher having observed that Sunday 
emptied an obstructing tide of pleasure seekers into 



88 



THE DISCIPLE. 



J 

I 



the country. On these days, he went out very earl, 
in the morning, boarded a suburban train, and did not 
return until evening. 

Not once in fifteen years had he departed from this 
absolute regularity. Not once had he accepted an 
invitation to dine nor taken a stall in a theater. He 
never read a newspaper, relying on his publisher for 
marked copies pertaining to his own works. 

His indiflference to politics was so complete that he 
had never drawn Lis elector's card. It is proper to 
add, in order to lix the principal features of this 
singular being, that he had broken off all connection 
with his family, and that this rupture was founded 
like the smallest act of his life, upon a theory. He 
had written in the preface to his second book 
"Anatomy of the Will," this significant sentence': 
"The social attachments should be reduced to their 
minimum for the man who wishes to know and speak 
the truth in the domain of the psychologic sciences." 
From a similar motive this man, who was so gentle 
that he had not given three commands to his servant 
in fifteen years, systematically forbade himself all 
charity. On this point he agreed with Spinoza who 
has written in the fourth book of the Ethics : "Pity 
for a wise man who lives according to reason, is bad 
and useless." This Saint Lais, as he might have 
been called as justly as the venerable Emile Littre, 



^^^"f.^-^W^ 



riii^^a. 



•KsSftt-'S^-^^!^'" 



THE DISCIPLE. 39 

hated in Christianity the excessive fondness for 
humanity. He gave these two reasons for if first 
that the hypothesis of a Heavenly Father and of -.,- 
nal happiness had developed to excess the uistfsie for 
the real and had diminished the power to ace ... the 
laws of nature; second, in establishing the social order 
upon love, that is. upon sensibility, this religion had 
opened the way to all the caprices of the most per- 
sonal doctrines. 

He did Bot .aspect that his faithful servant had 
sewed consecrated medals into all his vests, and his 
.nd,fferenoe with regard to the external world was so 
oomplete that he went without meat on Fridays and 
on other days prescribed by the Church, without per- 
oe.ving this effort on the part of the old maid to 
assure the salvation of a master of whom she some- 
t.mes SMd, repeating unconsciously a celebrated 
saying : 

''The good God would not be the good God. if he 
iiad the heart to damn him. " 

These years of continuous labor in this hermitage 
of the Hue Guy de la Brosse had produced, beside the 
Anatomy of the Will," a "Theory of the Passions, " 
in hree volumes, whose publication would have been 
Bhll more scandalous than that of the "Psychology of 
Ood, ,f the extreme liberty of the press for ten years 
had not ac astomed readers to audacities of descrip- 



'mMi^'f^^sm^iisim. 



30 



THE DISCIPLE. 



0' * 



•«ain here, in som. of U " ' 'V/-™"^ '» take up 
col eohool sprung from ir„„i *! ^ ' ""« <"•'«- 

:rrherr--"---r 

developed iu their priucipal Col " """"" ""^ 

Tie two original characteristic of M «■ . . 

<J».»e, are found elsewhere The I , *"'" ' ■- 

-egative analysis o, what Herb'r ""'" '"' » 

CnknowabJe. Weknowt^ f7v '"^""^'"oUb the 

"dmits that an r.lt I t """ "^^''^ ""'"'« 

" "- -possible to ;:ra? "''" " ''■■"' ^'"'- ""■'"' 

«- to use the for:: : r;Lr:"-'--' ■•' --- 

ij^icnte, to comprehend thig 



'^,iji" 



THE DISCIPLE. 31 

Fiist Cause {arri^re-Jonds) hb incompreh nsible; but 
aa the beginning of the "First Principles" strongly 
attests this Unknowable is real to Mr. Spencer. It 
exists since we derive our existence from it. From 
this there is only a step to apprehend that this First 
Cause of all reality involves a mind and a soul since 
one finds their source in it. Many excellent minds 
foresee a probable reconciliation between science and 
religion on this ground of the Unknowable. For M. 
Sixte this is a last form of metaphysical illusion which 
he is rabid to destroy with an energy of argument 
that has not been seen to this degree since Kant. 

His second title of honor as psychologist consists 
in an expose, quite novel and very ingenious, of the 
animal origin of human sensibility. 

Thanks to an exhaustive reading and a minute 
knowledge of the natural sciences, he has been able to 
attempt for the genesis of human thought the work 
which Darwin attempted for the genesis of the forms of 
life. Applying the law of evolution to all the facts 
which constitute the human heart, he has claimed to 
show that, our most refined sensations, our most sub- 
tile moral delicacies as well as our most shameful fail- 
ures, are the latest development, the supreme meta- 
morphosis of very simple instincts, which are them- 
selves transformations of the primitive cellule; so that 
the moral universe exactly reproduces the physical. 



32 



THE DISCIPLE. 



!ii 



are so audaoiouB as to Iw. r "''*' "''"'> 

8i"a us . theory^' ,• ^•"'"»<" Spinoza hi„.ei, 

doss not Sch„pe„l,aLr rivJcri;^ ""'"" ^"'^ 
»i- tirade, against won-eT^^ "'* " ""' '"''" <" 

It is almost unnecessary to add th.t .1, 
Plete positivism Pervades ties" b.,1' " '"°" ~- 
«>« o< W. We owe to M Si,, " °"" ""' '° 

«Press with extrem^elt """"'"'"'"'''"^ 
-e^thinginthemind rrre!^^"" '"""''"'°'' *'" 
«l«aion that we are free "E ''"'°'"^' *"" *"« 

«0" To say he is frl • * "^ """ " """^ ■» "^di- 
*ot.I«.ore I. C isTthT""' r* ^'^"■o 
y » .s absurd in Ps;^"^^ /iUs ""^ """• 
A»d again: "D we could '^ "'*""' «"«'»«tio. " 

Po»ition 0/ aU the Zl^:2T' '"^ "'»'"« 
-tual universe, we could Tl I;' ""''''"'^ '"" 
Ji". a certainty e,ual to ttrortlT'' "'"'"^ 
^. the hour, the minute whenlgUnd t"""' '"" 
will evaont ta India or p ^S'*"". for example. 

*•' " ^"°w will have burned her 



'*■ Wi"^-B-' 



THE DISCIPT.T?. 



83 



iMt piece of coal, or such a criminal, still unborn, 
will assassinate his father, or such a ')oem, not yet 
conceived will be written. The future is contained 
in the present as all the properties of the triangle are 
contained in its definition." Mohammedan fatalism 
itself is not expressed with more absolute pre- 
cision. 

With speculations of this order, only the most 
frightful aridity of imagination would seem to com- 
port. Thus that which M. Sixte so often suid of 
himself: "I take life on its poetic side," appeared to 
those who heard it the most absurd of paradoxes. And 
yet nothing is truer with regard to the special nature 
of the minds of philosophers. What essentially dis- 
tinguishes the born philosopher from other men is 
that ideas instead of being formulas of the mind more 
or less exact, are to him real and living Ihings. 
Sensibility, with him, models itself upon the thought 
instead of establishing a divorce more or less com- 
plete, between the heart and the brain, as with the 
rest of us. 

A Christian preacher has admirably shown the 
nature of this divorce when he uttered this strange 
and profound sentence: "We know well that we shall 
die, but we do not believe it." 

The philosopher, when he is one by passion and 
by constitution, does not conceive this d 



ity, tb 



IS 



34 



THE DISCIPLE. 






i 



life divided between contradictory sensations and re- 
flections. 

This univejsal necessity, this indefinite and con- 
stant metamorphosis of phenomena, this colossal work 
of nature ceaselessly making and unmaking itself, 
with no point of departure, no point of arrival, by 
the play of the primitive cells alone, this parallel work 
of the human mind reproducing under the form of 
thoughts and volitions the movement of physiological 
hfe, was not for M. Sixte a simple object of specula- 
tion. 

He plunged into the contemplation of these ideas 
with a kind of vertigo, he felt them with all his being, 
so that this simple man seated at his table, waited 
upon by hi. old housekeeper, in a study whose shelves 
were laden with books, this man of poor appearance, 
with his feet in a carriage boot {diamemre) to keep 
them warm, and his body wrapped in a shabby great- 
coat, participated in imagination in the labor of the 
universe. 

He lived the life of every creature. He slept with 
the mineral, vegetated with the plant, moved with the 
rudimentary beasts, confounded himself with the 
superior organisms, and at last expanded into the 
fullness of a mind capable of reflecting the vast 
universe. 

These are the delights of general ideas, analogous 



THE DISCIPLE. 



35 






to those of opium, which render these dreamers in- 
different to the small accidents of the external world, 
and also, why shall we not say it? almost absolute 
strangers to the ordinary affections of life. 

We become attached to that which we feel to be 
very real; now to these singular minds, it is abstrac- 
tion which is reality, and the daily reality is only a 
shadow, only a gross and degraded impression of the 
invisible laws. Perhaps M. Sixte had loved his 
mother, but surely this was the limit of his senti- 
mental existence. 

If he was gentle and indulgent to all. it was from 
the same instinct which made him take hold of a chair 
gently, when he wished to move it out of his way; 
but he had never felt the need of a warm and lovinj 
tenderness, of family, of devotior of love, nor even 
of friendship. He sometimes conversed with some 
savants with whom he was associated, but always pro- 
fessionally on chemistry with one, on the higher 
mathematics with another, and on the diseases of the 
nervous system with a third. Whether these men 
were married, occupied in rearing families, anxious 
to make a career for themselves or not, was of no 
interest to Lim in his relations with them ; but how- 
ever strange such a conclusion must appear after such 
a sketch, he was happy. 

Given such a man, such a home and such a life, let 



i 



3G 



THK DISCIPLE. 



^ ■ 



US imagine the effect produced in this study in the 
Rue Guy de la Brosse by two events which occurred 
one after th^ other in the same afternoon: first, a 
summons addressed to M. Adrien Sixte, to appear at 
the office of M. Valette, Judge of Instruction, for the 
purpose of being questioned, "upon certain facts and 
circumstances of which he would be informed;" 
second, a card bearing the name of Mme. Greslon 
and asking M. Sixte to receive her the next day 
toward four o'clock, "to talk with him about the 
crime of which her son was falsely accused." 

I have said that the philosopher never read a news- 
paper. If by chance he had opened one a fortnight 
before he would have found allusions to this history 
of the young Greslon which more recent trials have 
caused to be forgotten. For want of this information 
the summons and the note of the mother had no 
definite meaning for him. However, by the relation 
between them he concluded that they were probably 
connected, and he thought they concerned a certain 
Robert Greslon, whom he had known the preceding 
year, in quite simple circumstances. But these cir- 
cumstances contrasted too strongly with the idea of a 
criminal process, to guide the conjectures of the 
savant, and he remained a long time looking at the 
summons turn by turn with the card, a prey to that 
almost painful anxiety which the least event of en 



Jim: 



W-? 



THE DISCIPLE. |^ 

unexpected nature doe. inflict on men of fixed 

Robert Greelon? M Sixte Lad read f his name for 
the first time two years before, at the bottom of » 
note accompanying a manuscript. This manuscript 
bore the titie: "Contribution to the Study of the Mul- 
^Plication ofSelf/'and the note modesUy expressed 
the wish that the celebrated writer would glance at 
the &:st essay of a very young man. The author had 
•dded to his signature: "Veteran pupil of philosophy 
at the Clermont-Ferrand Lyceum." 

This work of almost sixty pages rerealed an intel- 
lect so prematurely subtle, an acquaintance so exact 
with the most recent theories of contemporaneous 
psychology, and finally such ingenuity of analysis, 
that M. Sixte had believed it a duty to respond by a 
long letter. 

A note of thanks had come back immediately, in 
which the young man announced that, being obliged 
to go to Paris for the oral examination of the normal 
school he would have the honor to present himself to 
the master. 

The latter had then seen enter his study one after- 
noon, a young man of about twenty years with fine 
black eyes, lively and changeable, which lighted up a 
courtenance which was almost too palo. This was 
the only detail of physiognomy which remained in 



THE WSCII-LE. 
th. „.„„,3. of .h. „hilo.oph.r. Like „, „a„ .^^„. 

«.. «..b., world „d h. „uined but . rZSZ^, 
- «.». « thi. i„p„„io«. Hi. „.„or. 0, IZ 
*«, however, .»n>ri.i»g, „d i, „o^,,j ^ U, 
deta.1 b,. oonye„.tion with Bobert Gretlon 

to h,o, none h.d «toBi.hed him „ore by .ho t™iy 
.xtr«,d.„„y p„oocity of hi. erudition nni hil 
re«on.»,^ No doubt there floated iu the mi„d o 
th.. youth much of the efferveeeenoe of miud which 
-.n..l.te. too ,uickly ...t ,„„„,;„ „, ^.^^ 

The savaut could »e him «e.ticul.ti„« . muo „„ 
2'-.: "No. u.„u.ieur, you do uot k„„w „bat you 
«e to us „or what we feel in reading your book.. 
You «o the one who accept, the whole truth, the one 
m whom we can believe. Why, the an.ly.i. of love 
«.your .Theory of the Pa»ion." i. our brevi^ 
The book I. forbidden at the lorceum. I had it It 
home and two of my comrade, copied certain chapter, 
during the holiday.. " 

A. there i. the author', vanity hidden in the «,al 
of every man who ha. had hi. pro.e printed, be he 
even .o ab.olutely .incere a. M. Adrien Sixte cert^nly 



THE DISCIPLE. 



89 



»«, thi. worship of , group „, .oh„I^, .„ ,„„„„. 
ou.l^ .xp,.«d by o«. of U.,„, h «, p„.i „,„'/;" 
»o"d the philo»pher. """imy flat. 

BoUrt Ore.lon h.d «>li«iua the honor of , „„„„,, 
»...t,«d U.e. while oo„fe«i„, . f.il„,e .t ^"2 

iewned th.t the young m«i. w„ the only .on of .n 

ih.t h.. n,„.her had «.«,« „„, „„ia„,. ;„ J »"^ 

educate h.„.. -Bu. I will a„„ept no more •'Id 
Bobert -it i. „, i„^,„,,<,^ ^ J^JJ' ^d 

year, then I shall aak fnr . i, • . * 

■ome college Jd r i / " "' "'"'"'""''y » 
. ' * ■ """ ^ "'" "nte an extended work on 

subn..tted to you ia the embryo." And the eye. of 

lormulated this programme cf lite. 

These two visits dated from ' August 1885 ♦», 
second was in February 1887 a ' ^ 

SiTfn I, A . ^^^' ^^^^' and since then. M 

Sixte had received five or h,t u** # , 

disciple Th« 1 . ^" ''^'^ ^^« yo"»g 

arsTon as '"\'*^"°"^-^ '^^ -trance of Robert 

Pa?s ng the '""' ^'^ "*° ^ "^^'^^ ^^^^^^ *^at was 
passing the summer months in a chateau near one of 

^e Prett. laies of the Auvergne Mountains^L .e 



40 



THE niSCIPI.K. 



r 1 



A limplo detail will sire the meMure of the pre- 
occupation into which M. Sizte waa thrown by the 
ooinoidenoo between the letter from the office of the 
judge and the note of Mme. Gre»lon. Although 
there were upon his table, the proof* of a long article 
for the PhUonophical Review to correct, he began 
■earching for the correepondence with the young man. 
He found it readily in the box in which he carefMlly 
arranged his smallest papers. It was classed with 
others of the same kind, under the head: "Doctrines 
contemporaneous on the formation of mind. " 

It made nearly thirty pages, which the savant read 
again with special care, without finding anything but 
reflections of an entirely intellectual order, various 
questions upon some readings, and the statements of 
certain projects for memories. 

What thread could connect such preoccupations 
with the criminal process of which the mother spoke? 
Was this process the cause rt ^e summons otherwise 
inexplicable? This boy whom he had seen only twice 
must have made a strong impression on the philoso- 
pher, fox- the thought that the mystery hidden behind 
ihis cnll from the Palais de Justice was the same as 
that which caused the sudden visit of this despairing 
mother kept him awake a part of the night. 

For the first time in all these years he was sharp 
with Mile. Trapenard because of some slight negli- 




St^ai' 



--,-^,,- 



I'V-P 



THE DISCIPLE. 



41 



f«no«, and when he p«Me<i in front of the lodge »t 
one o'clock in the afternoon hie face, uaually lo calm, 
•xpreieed anxiety so plainly that Father Carbonnet. 
already prepared by the letter of citation which had 
arrived unsealed. aocordiuR to a barbaroui ouatom, 
and which he had read, and as was right confided to 
his wife— it was now the talk of the whole quarter— 
aaid: 

**I am not inquisitive about other people's business, 
but I would give years of my life as landlord to know 
what justice can want of poor M. Sixte that he should 
oome down at this time of day. " 

"Why, M. Sixte has changed his hour for walking," 
said the baker's daughter to her mother, as she sat 
behind the counter in the shop, "it seems that he is 
going to have a lawsuit over an inheritance." 

"Strike me if that isn't old Sixte going by, the old 
zebra I It appears that justice is after him, " said one 
of the two pupils in pharmacy to his comrade; "these 
old fellows look very innocent, but at bottom they are 
all rogues." 

"He is more of a bear than usual, he will not even 
speak to us." This was said by the wife of the pro- 
fessor of the College of France who lived in the same 
house with the philosopher and who had just met him. 
"So much the better, and they say he is going to be 
prosecuted for writing such books. I am not sorry 
for that." 



49 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Thus we see how the most modest men, and those 
who believe themselves to be the least noticed, can 
not stir a step without incurring the comments of 
innumerable tongues, even though they live in what 
Parisians are pleased to call a quiet quarter. Let us 
add that M. Sixte would have cared as little for this 
curiosity, even if he had suspected it, as he cared for 
a volume of official philosophy. This was for him an 
expression of extreme contempt 



THE DISCIPLE. 



48 



n. 

THE ORE8LON AFFAIR. 

Thk celebrated philosopher was in everything 
methodically punctual. Among the maxims which he 
had adopted at the beginning, in imitation of Descartes 
was this: "Order enfranchises the mind." 

He arrived, therefore, at the Palais de Justice fiv* 
minutes before the time appointed. He had to wait a 
half-hour in the corridor before the judge called 
him. In this long passage, with its long, bare, white 
walls, and furnished with a few chairs and tables for 
the use of the messengers, all voices were lowered, as 
18 usual in all official antechambers. 

There were six or seven other persons. The savants 
companions were an honest bourgeois and his wife 
Bome shopkeepers of the neighborhood who were very 
much out of their element. The sight of this person 
with his smoothly-shaven face, his eyes hidden behind 
the dark, round glasses of his spectacles, with his 
long redingote and his inexplicable physiognomy 
made these people so uneasy that they left the place 
where they were whispering together: 



'?^'^.3ft.J^- 



44 



THE DISCIPLE. 



•'He is a detective, "whispered the husband to his 
Wife. 

"Do you think so?" asked the woman regarding the 
enigmatic and immovable figure in terror. "Di^u! 
but he has a false lookl" 

While this profoundly oo»i„ ,„e« „„ being acted, 
without the profeedoual observer „£ the human heart 
suspecting for a moment the effect he waa producing 
nor even noticing that there waa any one beaide him 
awaiting audience, the Judge of Instruction waa tak- 
ing with a friend in a small room adjoining his office. 
Adorned with the autographs and portrait, of some 
famous criminals, this apartment aeryed M. Valette 
for toilet-room, smoking-room, and also a place of 
'etreatwhen he wished to chat out of the inevitable 
presence of his clerk. 

The judge was a man lees than forty years of ag«L 
with a handsome profile, clothes out in the Utest 
fashion and with rings on his fingers, in fact, a „,g. 
.strata of the new school. He held in hia hand the 
paper on which the savant had written hia name in . 
cIo«r, running hand «id passed it to his friend a 
simple man of leisure, with one of those physiogno- 
mies at once nervous and expreasionle^ which are 
only seen in P«^s. Would you try to read their 
tastes habits, or character? It is impossible, so 
manifold and contradictory are the sensations which 



THE DISCIPLE. 45 

have passed ever the countenance. This viveur was 
one of those men who are always present at first 
representations, who visit painters' studios, who attend 
sensational trials, and who pride themselves on being 
an courant with the affairs of the day. "in the swim " 
as they say to-daj'. * 

After reading the name of Adrien Sixte, he ex- 
claimed : 

'•Well, old fellow, have you the chance of talking 
with that man ! You remember his chapter on love in 
some old book or other. Ahl he's a lascarwho knows 
all about the women. But what the devil are you 
going to question him about?" 

"About this Greslon case." replied the judge- "the 
young man has often been to his house, an J the de- 
fense has summoned him as witness for the prisoner 
A commission of examination has been issued, nothing 
more.'* * 

•'I wish I could see him," said the other. 

"Would it give you pleasure? Nothing easier I 
am going to have him called. You will go out as he 
comes in. Well, it is settled «iat we will meet at 

"Of course. Do you know Gladys' latest? We 
were reproaching Christine in her presence for de- 
ceiving Jacques, when she said: 



46 



I 



THE DISCIPLE. 



But she must have two lovers for «», 
one year twice whaf ««.k ^® *P®°^« »» 

•Paith," said Valoft^ «'t i. i- 

-r,d »a i. .he ae„- ;„;,! Lr.r'' '"* ""'*' » "■<> 

The two friends laughed gavlv *!,«« ♦!, • ^ 
tbe order to C. the pBilosoi"^;;^:;.*'^' '^«" 
whne .h..i», ha^de with Vi JJL::^^""^:' 
by till evening, precisely at eight o'oTook .'• wf^^" 

irrrtirr T -"^^ ""- ^" - ^' 

The appearance of the' good man o* 

«oned, who was outlined in the i iL * 

the m«..about.town «,d tl. "'"«■»»"<"'. th«t 

loot of astonishlenr A ir "'"'"''^'"' " 

«.ei^ «PS. but on,, fort Zlr^r'''^' '" 
already gone. The other motio" d to 1 T ™ 
take a seat in one of the greenTelw ! """' '° 

which the room was furnll V ! """ °'""" ""'" 
in the adn-inistrZ :::';; "^"^ -■"''■»''^. 
-pet and a .ahogan. wri ^g^l/^f""^": 
the judge had resumed its gravit °' 



THE DISCIPLE. ^^ 

The.9 ohMge, from one attitude to another, are 
»uch more ainoere than thoae imagine „ho obaerye 
theae oontraata of bearing between the private man 
.nd the functionary. The perfect social comedian, who 
holda h.a profeaaion in perfect contempt, i, happily 
.very rare monster. Wo have not thia atrength of 

wTt^ Tv'? ""■ '""" "' "" Wcriaiea. The 
wUty M Valette, so popular in the demi-monde, the 
faend of sporting men, emulated by joumaliata in 
».tt.c.sms, and who had just now commented gayly 
upon theremarl of a bold woman wi.U whom he should 
dine m the evening, found no trouble to give place to 
tte severe and coolly skillful magistrate whose business 
•t was to find out the huth in the name of the law 
H his eye became suddenly acute it was that he 
«.ght penetrate to the bottom of the consciousness of 
tae newcomer. 

In these first moments of conversation with one 
^hom it is their purpose to make talk, even against 
his own will, bom magistrates experience a kind of 
awakening of their militant nature, like fencers who 
try the play of an unknown adversary. 

The philosopher found that his presentiments had 

not deeenred him, for he saw, written in large letters 

on the bundle of papers which M. Valette took up 

these words : "Greslon Case." 

SUenoe reigned in the room broken only by the 



i 



48 



'*: « 



THE DISCIPLE. 



-chi^e in tie *.„. „ ,„,,^./^^ "^J J"* o, 
them 18 as much lite Ann*k °® *'"*'® *<> 

otW to a. e.pIoJee 07:^ U^^I^ ^ ^^ ^l'^ ^ 
li^e anotW to a hospital atteJir ' " °"^ '"^^^^ 

last -rr? "^'"^ '^ousie^r s.ia the Judge at 
iast, the usual questions. There iir« »« 

Bome men o/ which w« '"' '^*'"** «»^ 

wnion we are not Derm if f«^ i ^ 
Ignorant." pennitted to be 

the judge ^Zl, ■ '° "" world," thought 

"I -e to the f'lhth rr-'' r "'°'' '^°"^- 

Which ,o„.gG„.on-:LuI;.'"'"' *"' '"''"« °' 

-rr:i:r":rhrhr.T--- 



yS s ' zijj^ T— *--. 



THE DISCIPLE. ^^ 

"P^don mo^ieur," „id the philosopher .g.i„ 
I never read the papers. " ' 

Ahl „ ,h.ch there .a, „,ore ir„„.v th.„ „e„„i,^. 

rr . r *~''' *''°"'^" ''«■ "'o- -•»* to com- 
pel me to state the oaae, wait a little " Th 

c«^n irritation i„ his voice ashe lid: """"' 

Very well, monsieur, I win ,„„ „p tj,, „„„„.. 
n . few words. re„ettin. that you are notttt" t 
fanned of an ailair which may very serioudy .fl I" 

r„hT f •"" ^°" '^^---Ponsibility .' hI 
th Ph.lo.opher raised his head with an anxLy wh"h 
delighted the judge's heart. "Ca».h* 

-."«idhetohimse..and.o"r.*^„rycr 

:ir:;.r:n;irr:eTrT''-^ 

Ju«at Eandon I We\ ^^ "' "■" *'"^""' 

«„„• / ™ '*" "^""K these papers 

atTc:L"™'^''"'"' """■'' -- "''*--' ""» 

at the chateau, and which testify that you were_h„w 
shall I express itf-the intellectual guide of V 
accused." The philosopher again m.l ! 
the head -T .1, n , ^® * ""''o" "f 

head. I shall ask you presently to tell me if 



■■(J' 

.Ft 



ft 



V I 



I 



66 



THE blSCIt>LE. 



thw young man ever Bpoke to you of the domestic life 
of the family and in ^hat terma. I give you no in- 
formation probably when I tell you that the family 
wa. composed of a father, mother, a son who is a cap- 
tain of dragoons now in garrison at Luneville. a second 
«on who was Greslon's pupil, and a young girl of 
nineteen. Mile. Charlotte. 

"The daughter was betrothed to the Baron de 
Plane, an officer in the same company as her brother. 
The marriage had been delayed some months for 
family reasons which have nothing to do with the 
affair. It had been definitely fixed for the fifteenth 
of last December. 

••Now, one .„oraing of the week which preceded 
the «r.„U of the Jhnce and of Count Andrf. the 
brother of Mle. de Ju»at. the maid entering the roon> 
of her young mistreee at the uaual hour found her 
dead in her bed. " 

The magistrate made a pause, and while continuing 
to turn over the papers in his packet, looked with 
half-closed eyes at the witness. The stupor which 
was depicted on the face of the philosopher, showed 
such sincerity that the iudge himself was astonished. 
^ He knew nothing about it," said he to himself, 
that IS very strange." 

He studied anew, without changing his preoccupied 
«d .ndiffereut air, the countenance of the celebrated 






jr^ea'at- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



u 



man; but he lacked the gifts which would have ren- 
dered this abitracted person intelligible, this union of 
a brain all-powerful in the realm of ideas with an in- 
genuousness, a timidity almost comical in the domain 
of facts. He could understand nothing of it, and he 
resumed his recital. 

"Though the physician who was hastily summoned 
was only a modest, country practitioner, he did not 
hesitate a minute in recognizing that the appearance 
of the body contradicted all idea of a natural death. 
The face was livid, the teeth set, the pupils extraor- 
dinarily dilated, and the body, bent in an arch, rested 
on the nape of the neck and on the heels. In brief, 
these were the signs of poisoning by strychnine. 

*'k glass upon the night-table contained the last 
drops of a potion which Mile, de Jussat must have 
taken during the night, as was her custom, for in- 
somnia. She had been suffering for nearly a year 
from a nervous malady. The doctor analyzed these 
drops and found traces of nux vomica. This, as you 
know, is one of the forms in which the terrible poison 
is sold as medicine. A small bottle without any 
label, containing some drops of a dark color, was 
picked up by a gardener under the window of the 
room. This had been thrown from the window that 
it might be broken, but it had fallen on the soft earth 



St 



tn 



\i 



Tin: DISCIPLE. 



of. f^i, d„, a„,„.,,, j^^ 

wor« >1«> drop, of nux vomicfc 

Wrn^'..- j " <>,a,o„t„ted .t th. ..top,,, 

aotiT.h«ithi.you«/.ir^Kr "'""'•• ""' 

"L«l.T«' 7; "'"""" • '"''•' "■""•"on. 
w.U.o«t, letter of f„,„d, ,„ t,, p„,^^ ' 

•low had the procured the poi»n f 

.^th . • '"'•°''"- ^'■"S <.ue.tio».d, lh° 

.potheoery of the village depoeed th.t .ix week. Z 
for. the tutor .t the chateau had bought .Z?„' 
T0».« to take for a di«.rder of the .to»..h. " 

Tmtmg hi. ,,ck mother, on the very day of th. Hi. 
-«. of the dead body. haWug been allied ^ 
i. «.d by a telegraphic deapatoh. It ... .t„,° .t" 

mght of the onme a servant had geen liim « • 
o^MUe. de W.room, «.! rtr^r: 
PO.»n which h«, been bought at the druggiaV .Vj 
wa. found again in the roon. of the young mani Zl 
been p^y «.d and then refilled with water. 

Other witn«..e, reported th.t Robert Grealon had 
been very a-iduou. in hi. attenUon. to the young 



THE DISCIPLE. 

«irl. without the knowledge of her parenta. A letter 
wa. even dieoovered which he had written to her and 
dated eleven month, before, but which might be in- 
terpreted a. a skillful attempt at a beginning of court- 
Hhip. The aervants and even the young lad who waa 
luH pupil teatified that, for the paat eight day«. the 
relatione between Mile, de Jussat and the tutor had 
been strained. She would scarcely respond to hia 
salutations. From these facts the following hypothe- 
sis was deduced : 

"Robert Greslon, being in love with this young girl 
had courted her in v.in and then poisoned her to pre^ 
vont her marriage with another. This hypothesis was 
strengthened by the lies of which the young man had 
been guilty when he was questioned. He denied 
that he had ever written to Mile, de Jussat; the letter 
was shown him, and even half of an envelope, wiU, his 
handwriting upon it, was found among the remains 
of burned papers in the fireplace of the victim's 
room. He denied going cut of Mile. Charlotte's room 
on the night in question, and he was brought face to 
face with the footman who had seen him, and who 
supported his assertion with the greater energy tho* 
he confessed that he had gone to keep an appointment 
with one of the maids ^^ith whom he was in love, at 
the same hour. 

"Beside, Greslon could not explain why he had 
bought the nux vomica. 



M 



Li I' 



•€#■ 






THE DISCIPLE. 



« «iy .toin,„h troubl.. He oould Mith„ ,„..;„ 

ti..»T,nti„„of«.. di.p.t.U.hi U,uLZl 

nor bii friKhtfnl Miutinn .• .1. "'PaMure, 

•rr 0/ th. •«'*•'""> •» tt» now. of U,, diwov. 

•7 <•' _""> ix-oning. Be.ide, no otte, „o.i« «.„ 
• low'. «««.„„ w„ ,d»i„ible from .r • , 

ta».„dWb„d.b.„.on.„k„,.i„J,''-'"" 
Thi. „ the »v it w« pr..an„bly done- OMrio„ 
entered Mile, de Ju„.f. room, iuowin/ th.?^! 
-1^ .iept until t«o o-e,oc..;L:r .:it 

Te r , •°.°""">''« "" «-l that .he had o.^ 

.e;?dro:trr::u:-r:r/~-^ 

aireeU..bo.eth.to,Mli:rMjteTw 
bo le he h.a refilled with w.tor by one of .ho« 1 

la br.ef, G„.,„„ ;, „„^ ^^^^^^ 
B^om end will .ppe„ .t the -u«i^e, „, that oi^ i^ 
Febru«y or e„l. i„ M„oh. .„„„.ed of poi^'J! 
Mile, de JusBct Bandon. J-^Mooing 

"The charge agaiuet him i. made more overwhelm. 



THE nrsciPLE. ^ 

ne«d to defend himMlf H. i.. < , 

« »..Ut«of « ^™,o„„d n..I..u.h„ly th.t w. ,„„«t 

b.l.«, that h. i. k.„t.a i,y . ..„ib,. ,.„„,«. 

H. re..I. .„d write. . „e.t de„l. but what «.„. 
r.^ .tr„g,, .ud .h„,. tu„ „„„^,^ ,, ,^^ ^^___ 
w.thth..,ouugu.„ „, ,„e„,^.h, „.,.„j 
only on .„b,ect. „, p„„ „hil„.„„hy, „„ d„„bt ^ 

ne".«d .1.0 to prove hi, entire freedom of „ind. 
The nature of the pri«,„er-. occupation. le,d. n.e, 
m«n..eur .fterthi,proIon«,d eUtement. to the re«on 
or wh.ch your evidence i. d«ired in thi. o^. by 
the mother of the young n..n. who naturally rebeU 

« unable to overcome her «n-. .il.nce. You, book.. 
Tn! ""r" °' "r" ^'""''* •>'^'='«"»«»''. "e the only 

hat your book, were found on the .helve, of hi. 
W.r.ry, .„ , „o„diti„n which .how that they have 
been mo.ta..iduou.ly read. «.d between the printed 
Uavee there ar« other leave, filled with conLente. 
^motune. more developed than the te,t it»lf. Y„^ 
Shall judge for yourself. " 



S6 



Jii 



\n 



i| 



II 



H- 



THH DISCIPLE. 



Wh.le speaking M. V.lo«, h»ded the philoaophe, 

opened ».eoh„i„„„^. He eould .ee .t e.oh p, 2j 
P..e .„„„eep„„di„„eaf covered with writij t' 
lar to h.e own, but ..ore c„.,„aed .nd nervou, 

wo„ d have d.eoovered « tendency to easy discourage- 

Ph loeopher for the first tin.e. and gave hin. a .inju 
«ly Pa»ful sensation. He closed the book and rL 
turning ,t to the judge said : 

"lam painfully s„,^ri«,d, ^^ 
t.ons you have iust made to n.e; but I confess 1 do no 
understand what sort of relation exists JwL^: 
cnme .nd my books or n,y pe„,on, nor what can be the 
nature of the testimony I can be ^«I1.J 7 

••Ti,.. • -i can Be called upon to give." 

_ m..t .s very «..ple. however," replied the iudge 

m^Ttte?™/'" """-'"'«"■"" BobertGreslon 
W be they rest upon certain hypotheses. The« 

«e tomble presumptions against him, but the« " 

no absolute certain*.. «„ " 

■* oertaintj. So you see, monsieur, to use 

the language of the science in which you excel th.t^ 
auestion Of psychology will rule the con est wla 
were the thoughts, what was the character of t^ 

2-^d.n abstract studies the chances of his guil 



THE DISCIPLE. jy 

While n^akiug this assertion, in which the .avant 
did not suspect a snare Valfl*f« o j 
indifferent H« .r' I '"^^ '"^'^ '^^^ *"*>'« 

■•Question «ae :„o.sieur," «»p„„aed the „v»t. 

What c.™u„.st«.ces .„d at .hat date did Z 
«.^e the .oq„a,„tance of Eobert Grealon?" 

work o7.T T" "" "* "'""'• "- ">•«'»' to » 
work of a purely speculative kiud upon hv » p * 

»on.l.»y, which he came to submit to a,e. " 

"Did you see him often?" 

"Twice only." 

;;_Wh.t impression did he make on youf" 
-".at of a young man admirably endowed fo, 
PByohological work." replied the philosophri" 

Zed r'' " r '"' '''''' '»" oonvi^ced r»t 
lowed el I'rV"' ""■ *"""= "~ -" - 

^••He did not conve.™ with you about hi. private 

"Very little," said the Philosopher; "he only told 



58 



THE DISCIPLE. 



m 



me that he lived with his mother, and that he in- 
tended to make teaching his profession and at the 
same time work at some books." 

"Indeed," replied the judge, "that was one of the 
articles laid down in a sort of programme of life 
which was found among the prisoner's papers, among 
those that are left. For it is one of the charges 
against him that, between his examination and his 
written attestation, he destroyed the most of them. 
Gould you," he added, "give any explanation of one 
sentence of this programme which is very obscure to 
the profane who are not conversant with modem 
philosophy? Here is the sentence," taking a sheet 
from among the others: "'Multiply to the utmost 
psychological experiences.' What do you think 
Robert Greslon understands by that?" 

"I am very much puzzled to answer you, monsieur, " 
said M. Sixte after a silence; but the judge began to 
see that it was useless to use artifice with a man so 
simple, and he understood that his silence simply 
showed that he was seeking an exact expression for 
his thoughts. "I only know the meaning which I 
myself should attach to this formula, and probably 
this young man was too well instructed in works 
of psychology not to think the same. It is evident 
that in the other sciences of observation, such as 
physios or chemistry, the counter-verification of 



THE DISCIPLE. 



59 



any law whateTer exacts a poeitive fkud concrete ap- 
plication of that law. 'When I have decomposed 
water, for example, into its elements, I ought to be 
able, all conditions being equal, to reconstruct water 
out of these same elements. That is an experience of 
the most ordinary kind, but which suffices to sum- 
marize the method of the modem sciences. To know 
by an experimental knowledge is to be able to 
reproduce at will such or such a phenomenon, by 
reproducing its conditions." 

"Is such a procedure admissible with moral phenom- 
ena? I, for my part, believe that it is, and definitely 
this that we call education is nothing more than a 
psychological experience more or less wall established, 
since it sums up thus : having given such a phenom- 
enon — which sometimes is called a virtue, such as 
patience, prudence, sincerity; sometimes an intellec- 
tual aptitude, such as a dead or a living language, 
orthography, calculation — to find the conditions in 
which this phenomenon produces itself the most 
easily. But this field is very limited, for if I wished, 
for instance, the exact conditions of the birth of such 
passion being once known, to produce at will this 
passion in a subject, I should immediately come up 
against insoluble difficulties of law and morals. There 
will come a time perhaps, when such experiments will 
be possible. 



eo 



THE DISCIPLE. 



"My opinion in that, for the present, we psycholo- 
gists must keep to the experiences established by law 
and by accident. With memoirs, with works of litera- 
ture or art with statistics, with law reports, with 
notes on forensic medicine, we have a world of facts 
at ou*" service. 

"Robert Greslon had, in fact, discussed this de- 
(rideratm of our science with me. I recoUeot, he 
regretted chat those condemned to death could not be 
placed in special conditions, which would permit of 
experimenting upon them certain moral phenomena. 
This was simply a hypothetical opinion, of a very 
young mind, who did not consider that, to wo.k use- 
fully in this order of ideas, it is necessary to study 
one case for a very long time. It would be best to 
experiment on children, but how could we make any 
one believe that it would be useful to science to pro- 
duce in them certain defects Oi certain vices for 
example?" 

"VicesI" exclaimed the judge astounded by the 
tranquillity with which the philosopher pronounced 
this phrase. 

"I speak as a psychologist, " responded the savant 
who smiled in his turn at the exclamation of the 
judge; "that is just why, monsieur, our science is 
not susceptible of certain progress. Your exclama- 
tion proves tJiat if I had needed any proof. Society 



THE DISCIPLE. 



«1 



cannot get boyond the theory of the good and the bad 
which for ub has no other meaning than to mark a 
collection of conventions sometimes useful, sometimes 
puerile." 

"You admit, however, that there are good actions 
and bad actions," said M. Valette; then the magis- 
trate asserting himself and turning this general dis- 
cussion to the profit of his inquiry: "This poisoning 
of Mile, de Jussat," he insinuated, "for example, you 
will admit that this is a crime?" 

"From the social point of view, without doubt," 
responded M. Sixte. "But for philosophy there is 
neither crime nor virtue. Our volitions are facts of 
a certain order governed by certain laws, that is all. 
But, monsieur," and here the naive vanity of the 
writer showed itself, "you will find a demonstration 
of these theories, which I venture to think conclusive, 
in my 'Anatomy of the Will.' " 

"Did you sometimes approach these subjects with 
Bobert Greslon?" asked the judge, "and do you be- 
lieve that he shared your views?" 

"Very probably," said the philosopher. 

"Do know, monsieur, " asked the magistrate, 

unmasking bis batteries, "that you come very near 
justifying the accusations of monsieur the Marquis de 
Jussat, who claims that the doctrines of contemporary 
materialists have destroyed all moral sense in this 



6$ 



THE DISCIPLE. 



young roan, and have made him capable of thia 
murder?" 

"I do not know what matter is," said M. Sixte, "so 
I am not a materialist. As to throwing upon a doc- 
trine the responsibility of the absurd interpretation 
which a badly balanced brain gives to it, that is al- 
most as bad as to reproach the chemist who discov- 
ered dynamite for the crimes in which this substance 
is employed. That is an argument which has no 
force." 

The tone in which the philosopher pronounced 
these words revealed the invincible strength of 
spiritual resistance which profound faith gives, as 
a timidity almo«t infantile, in the midst of the stir of 
material life, was revealed in the accent with which 
he suddenly asked : 

"Do you believe that I shall be obliged to go to 
Biom to testify?" 

"I think not, monsieur/' said the judge who could 
not help noticing with new astonishment the contrast 
between the firmness of thought in the first part of 
bis discourse and the anxiety with which this last 
sentence had been uttered, "for I see that your inter- 
views with the prisoner have been mora superficial 
than his mother believed, if indeed they were limited 
to those two visits and to a correspondence which 
appears to have been exclusively philosophical. But 



THE DISCIPLE. 



63 



hftTe you nerer reoeired any oonfldenoeB relating to 
bit life with the Jussata?" 

"Never; beside he ceased to write to me almost 
immediately after he entered that family, said M. 
Sixte." 

"In bis last letters was there no trace of new aspira- 
tions, of inquietude of a curiosity of unknown sensa- 
tions?" 

"I have not noticed any," said the philosopher. 

"Well, monsieur," replied M. Valette after a brief 
silence, during which he studied anew this singular 
witness, "I will not detain you any longer. Your 
time is too precious. Permit me to go over the few 
responses you have made, to my clerk. He is not 
accustomed to examinations that bear upon matters so 
elevated. You will sign afterward." 

While the magistrate was dictating to his clerk 
what he thought would be of interest to justice in 
the deposition of the savant, the latter, who was evi- 
dently confused by the horrible revelation of the 
crime of Robert Greslon and by his conversation with 
the judge, listened without making any remarks, 
almost without comprehending what was being said. 
He signed his name without looking, after M. Valletta 
had read aloud to him the pages on which his answers 
were recorded, and once more before taking leave he 
said: 



64 



THE DISCIPLE. 



"Then I can be very sure that I shall not have to go 
down there?" 

"I hope not," said the judge, conducting him to 
the door; and he added: "in any case it would only 
be for a day or two," feeling a secret pleasure at the 
childish anguish depicted on the good man's face. 
Then when M. Sixte had left his office. "There are 
some fools that it would be well to shut up," said he 
to his clerk, who assented by a nod. "It is through 
ideas like those of this fellow upon crime that young 
people are ruined. He seems to be sincere. He 
would be less dangerous if he were a scoundrel. Do 
you know that he might easily out oflf his disciple's 
head with his paradoxes? But that appears to be all 
right. He is only anxious to know if he will have to 
go to Riom. What a maniaol" And the judge and 
his clerk shrugged their shoulders and laughed. 
Then the former after a reverie of some minutes, in 
which he went over the various impressions he had 
received in regard to this being absolutely enigmati- 
cal to him, added : 

"Faith, little did I ever suspect the famous Adrien 
Sixte was anything like that. It is inconceivable. " 



THE DISCIPLE. 



66 



m. 



BIMPLK 0RIX7. 

Thi epithet by which the Judge of Instruction con- 
demned the impassibility of the savant would have 
been more energetic still, if he could have followed 
M. Sizte and read the philosopher's thoughts during 
the short time which separated this examination from 
the rendezvous fixed by the unhappy mother of Robert 
Greslon. 

Having arrived in the great court of the Palais de 
Justice, he whom M. Yilette at that very moment was 
calling a maniac looked first at the clock, as became 
a worker so minutely regular. 

"Quarter-past two," he thought, "I shall not be 
home before three. Madame Greslon ought to be 
there at four. I shall not be able to do any work. 
That is very disagreeable." And he resolved on the 
spot to take his daily walk, the more readily that he 
could reach the Jardin des Flantes along the river 
and through the city, whose old physiognomy and 
quiet peacefulness he loved. 

The sky was blue with the clear blue of frosty days. 



66 



THE DISCIPLE. 



▼•gaely iinted with violet at the horizon. The Seine 
flowed under the bridgee green and geyly Uborioue, 
with ite loaded boato on which unoked the ohimneya 
of ttnaU wooden housea whoae window^ were adorned 
with familiar planta. The horeea trotted ewiftly orer 
the dry pavement 

If the philoiiopher saw all theee deUila in the time' 
that he took to reach the lidewalk of the quay, with 
the precaution of a provincial afraid of the carriages, 
it waa for him a lensation even more unconscious 
than usual. He continued to think of the surprising 
revelation which the judge had just made to him; but 
a philosopher's head is a machine so peculiar that 
events do not produce the direct and simple impres- 
aion which seems natural to other persons. This 
one was composed of three individuals fitted into one; 
there was the simple-minded. Sixte, an old bachelor, a 
Blave to the scrupulous care of his servant and anxious 
first of all for his material tranquillity. Then there was 
the philosophical polemic, the author, animated, un- 
known to himself, by a ferocious selMove common to 
all writers. And last, the great psychologist, passion- 
ately attached to the problem, of the inner life; and 
in order that an idea should accomplish its full action 
upon this mind, it was necessary for it to pass 
through these three compartments. 
From the Palais de Justice to the first step on the 



m 



THE DISCIPLE. 



67 



border of the Seine, it was the lK,urgeois who rea- 
soned: "Yes," said be to himself, repeating the 
worda which the aight of the olook had called forth, 
••that ia tery diaagreeable. A whole day loat, and 
whyt I wonder what I have to do with all that story 
of araaaaination, and what information my teitimony 
haa brought to the examination!" 

He did not auspect that, iu the hands of a skillful 
advocate, hia theory of crime and responsibility might 
become the most formidable of weapoaa fxrainst 
Oreslon. 

•It was not worth the trouble to disturb me," con- 
tinued he. "But these people have no idea of the 
life of a man who writes. What a stupid that judge 
waa with his imbecile questions! I hope I shall not 
have to go to Riom to appear before some others of 
the same sort!" 

He saw the picture of his departure painted afresh 
in hii imagination in characters of odious confusion 
which a derangement of this kind represents to a 
man of study whom action unsettles and for whom 
physical ennui becomes a positive unhappiness. 
Great abstract intellects suflfer from these puerilities. 
The philosopher saw in a flash of anguish his trunk 
open, his linen packed, the papers necessary to hia 
work placed near his shirts, his getting into a cab, 
the tumult of the station, the railway carriage, and the 



.? 



•• THE DISCIPLE. 

cowrie fMiiliftrily of proxlmi^, ib« arriTil in an qb- 
known town. th« uiMriM of the hotel ohamber with- 
out th« o«re of mi: TmpwiMd, who h«d beoom* 
naoMMry to him, although he wm m ignorant of it aa 
a child. 

Thia thinker, ao heroically independent that he 
would bare marched to martyrdom for hia convictions, 
with the firronesa of a Bruno or a Vanini, waa aeised 
by a aort of vertigo at the picture of an event ao 
ordinary. 

He aaw himself in the Hall of Assizes, constrained 
to anawer questions, in the presence of an attentive 
crowd, and that without an idea to BupiK)rt him 
against his native timidity. 

"I will never receive a young man again," he con- 
cluded, "yes, I will shut my door henceforth. But I 
will not anticipate. Perhaps I ahall not hove to go 
through this unpleasant task and all is ended. 
Ended?" And already the home-keeping citizen 
gave place in this inward monologue to the second 
person hidden within the philosopher, namely, the 
writer of books which were discussed with passion by 
the public. "Ended?" Yes, for him who comes and 
goes, who lives in the Rue Guy de la Brosse and who 
would be very much annoyed if he had to go to 
Auvergne in the winter, it may be. But what about 
my books and my ideas? What a strange thing ia 



THE DISCIPLI. H 

tbitf iniiinoii?* h«U of ».b« ignorant for ib« vaUam 
whiob th«y cannot aTen comprehend. 

"A JMloua young man murdara a young girl to pra- 
▼ant her marrying another. Thia young man haa 
been in correapondence with a pbiloaopher wboie 
worka be atudiea. It ia the pbiloaopher who ia guilty. 
And I am a materialiot foraootb. I who bavo proved 
the noneziitence of matter I" 

He abrugged hie abouldere. then a new image 
oroaaed his memory, the image of Mariua Dumoulin, 
the young aubatitute at the CoUetre of Prance, the 
man whom be moit deteeted in the world. He eaw, at 
if they were there before his eyes, some of the forniulaj 
ao dear to thia defender of apiritualism : "Fatal doo- 
trinea. Intellectual poison distilled from pens which 
one would like to believe are unconscious. Scanda- 
loua exposure of a psychology of corruption." "Yes," 
aaid Adrien Sixte to himself with bitterness, "if some 
one does not catch up this chance which makes an 
assassin of one of my pupils, it will not be bet Psy- 
chology will have done it all." 

It is propel to state that, Dumoulin bad, on the 
appearance of the "Anatomy of the Will, " pointed out 
a grave error. Adrien Sixte had based one of bis 
most ingenious chapters upon a so-called discovery of a 
German physician, which was proved to be incorrect. 
Perhaps Dumoulin dwelt on this inadvertence of the 



ro 



THE DISCIPLE. 



great analyst with a Bcverity of iroDy far too disre- 
■peotful. 

M. Sixte, who rarely noticed criticiamg, had re- 
plied to this one. While confessing the error, he 
proved without any trouble, that this point of detail 
did not affect the thesis as a whole. But he cher- 
iihed an unpardonable rancor against the spiritualist. 
"It is as if I heard him I thought Sixte. "What he 
may say of my books is nothing but psychology? 
Psychology! This is the science on which depends 
the future of our beloved France." 

As we see, the philosopher, like all other systema- 
tica, had reached the point where he made his doc- 
trines the pivot of the universe. He reasoned about 
like this: Given a historic fact, what is the chief 
cause of it? The general condition of mind. This 
condition is derived from the current ideas. The 
French Revolution, for example, proceeded entirely 
from a false conception of man which springs from 
the Cartesian philosophy and from the "Discourse on 
Method." 

He concluded that to modify the march of events, 
it was necessary to modify the received notions upon 
the human mind, and to install in woir place some 
precise notions whence would result a new education 
and nolitics. So in his indignation against Dumoulin 
he sincerely believed that he was indignant at as 
obstacle to the public good. 



^'>^.. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



n 



He hftd Bome unpleasant moments while thus figur- 
ing to himself this detested adversary, taking as a 
text the death of Mile, de Jussat for a vigorous sortie 
against the modem science of the mind. 

"Shall I have to answer him again?" asked Sixte, 
who already was sure of the attack of his rival, such 
power have the passions to consider real that which 
they only imagine. "Yes," he insisted, and then 
aloud, "I will reply in my best manner!" 

He was by this time behind the apsis of Notre 
Dame and he stopped to survey the architecture of the 
cathedral. This ancient edifice symbolized to him 
the complex character of the German intellect which 
he contrasted in thought with the simplicity of the 
Hellenic mind, reproduced for him in a photograph of 
the Parthenon, which he had often contemplated in the 
Library of Nancy. The remembrance of Germany 
changed the current of his thoughts for a moment. 
He recalled, almost unconsciously, Hegel, then the 
doctrine of the indentity of contrarieties, then the 
theory of evolution which grew out of it. This last 
idea, joined itself to those which had already agitated 
him, and resuming his walk, he began to argue against 
the anticipated objections of Dumoulin in the case of 
young Greslon. 

For the first time the drama of the Chateau Jussat- 
Bandon appeared real to his mind, for he was thinking 



Tt 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Of it %.,th the most real part of his nature, his psycho- 
logic faculty. He forgot Dumoulin as well as the 
inconyenieijoes of the possible journey to Kiom. and 
his mind WAS completely absorbed by the moral prob- 
lem which the crime presented. 

The first question would naturally have been: **Did 
Kobert Greslon really assassinate Ulla. de Jussat?" 
But the philosopher did not think of that, yielding to 
this defect of generalizing minds, that never more 
than half verify the ideas upon which they speculate. 
Facts are, to them, only matter for theoretic using, 
and they distort them wilfully the better to build up 
their systems. The philosopher again took up the 
formula by which he summed up this drama: "A 
young man who becomes jealous and commits a mur- 
der, this is one more proof in support of my theory 
that the instinct of destruction and that of love awake 
at the same time in the male." He had used this 
principle to write a chapter of extraordinary boldness 
on the aberrations of the generative faculty in his 
'Theory of the Passions. ' 

The reappearance of fierce animality among the 
civilized would alone suffice to explain this act. It 
would be necessary also to study the personal heredi- 
ty of the assassin. He forced himself to see Bobert 
Greslon without any other traits than those which 
confirmed the hypothesis already outlined in his mind. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



73 



"Those Tery brilliant black eyes, those too yiva- 
flioM gestures, that brusque manner of entering into 
Mlations with me. that enthusiasm in speaking to me. 
there was nenrous derangement in this fellow. The 
father died young V If it could be proved that there 
was alcoholism in the family, then there would be a 
beautiful case of what Legrand Du Saulle calls 
ipUep^ie larvee. In this way his silence may be 
explained, and his denials may be sincere. This is 
the essential diflference between an epileptic and the 
deranged. The la.t remembers his act, the epileptic 
forgets them. Would this then be a larval epileptic?" 
At this point of his reverie the philosopher experi- 
enced a moment of real joy. He had just constructed 
a building of ideas which he called an explanation, 
following the habit so dear to his race. He considered 
this hpyothesis from different points, recalling sev- 
eral examples cited by his author in his beautiful 
treatise on forensic medicine, until he arrived at the 
Jardin des Plantes, which he entered by the large gate 
of the Quay Saint Bernard. 

He turned to the right into an avenue planted with 
old trees whose distorted trunks were inclosed in iron 
and coated with whitewash. There floated in the air 
a musty smell emanating from the tawny beasts which 
moved around in their barred cages nearby. The 
philosopher was distracted from his meditations by this 



74 



THE DISCIPLE. 



odor, and he turned to look at a large, old wild-boar 
with an enormous head, which, standing on his slender 
feet, held his mobile and eager snout between the 
bars. 

"And," thought the savant, "we know ourselves 
but little better than this animal knows himself. 
What we call our person is a consciousness so vague, 
BO disturbed by operations which are going on within 
us," and returning to Robert Greslon: "Who knows? 
This young man who was so preoccupied by the mul- 
tiplicity of the self? Did he not have an obscure 
feeling that there were in himself two distinct condi- 
tions, a primary and secondary condition as it were— 
two beings in fact, one, lucid, intelligent, honest, 
loving works of the intellect, the one whom I knew'; 
and another, gloomy, cruel, impulsive, the one who 
has committed murder. Evidently this is a case. I 
am very happy to have come across it." He forgot 
that on leaving the Palais de Justice he had deplored 
his relations with the accused. "It will be a fortu- 
nate thing to study the mother now. She will furnish 
me with facts about the ancestors. That is what is 
lacking to our psychology; good monographs made 
de viau upon the mental structure of great men and of 
criminals. I will try to write out this one." 

All sincere passion is egoistic, the intellectual 
as well as t^e others. Thus the philosopher, who 



THE DISCIPLE. 



75 



would not have barmed a fly walked with a more 
rapid Btep in going toward the gate at the Bue Cuvier 
whence he would reach the Bue Jussieu, then the Bue 
Guy de la Brosse— he waa about to have an interview 
with a despairing mother who was coming, without 
doubt, to entreat him to aid her in saving the head of 
a son who was perhaps innocent! But the possible 
innocence of the prisoner, the grief of the mother, the 
part which he himself would be called ti» play in this 
novel scene, all were eflPaced by the fixed idea of the 
notes to be taken, of the little insignificfint facts to 
be collected. 

Four o'clock struck when this singular dreamer, 

who no more suspected his own ferocity than does a 

physician who is charmed by a beautiful autopsy, 

arrived in front of his house. On the threshold of 

the jxrrte coch^re were two men: Father Carbonnet 

and the ctymminHionaire usually stationed at the corner 

of the street. With their back turned to the side 

from which Adrien Sixte came, they were laughing at 

the stumblings of a drunken man on the opposite 

walk, and saying such things as a spectacle of that 

character suggests to the common people. The cock 

Ferdinand, brown and lustrous, hopped about their 

feet and picked between the stones of the pavement. 

"That fellow has taken a drop too much for sure," 
■aid the commuitnonaire. 



n 



THE DISCIPLE. 



\ 



"What if I should tell you, " responded Carbon- 
net, "that he has not drunk enough? For if he had 
drunk more, he would have fallen down at the wine- 
•eller'g. Good! see him stumble up against the 
lady in black. 

The two speakers, who had not seen the philosopher, 
oontinu, d to bar the way. The last, with the custom- 
ary amenity of his manners, hesitated to disturb 
them. 

Mechanically he turned his eyes in the direction of 
the drunken man. He was an unfortunate fellow in 
rags; his head was covered with a high hat weakened 
by innumerabla falls; bis feet danced in his womout 
boots. He had just knocked against a person in deep 
mourning who waa standing at the angle it the Bue 
Gu de la Brosse and the Rue Linne. Wthout doubt 
she was looking at some one on the side of this latter 
street, some one in whom uhe was interested, for she 
did not turn at once. 

The man in rags, with the persistency of drunken 
people, was excusing himself to this woman, who then 
first became aware of his presence. She drew back 
with a gesture of disgust. The drunken man became 
angry, and supporting himself against the wall, hurled 
at her some oflfensive language; a crowd of children 
soon collected around him. The commimonaire be- 
gan to laugh, and so did Carbonnet. Then turning 



THE DISCIPLE. 77 

around to look for the cook, muttering: - Where hM 
he gone to crow, the runaway?" he saw Adrien Sixte 
behind whom Ferdinand had taken refuge, and who 
wa. also regarding the soene between the drunken 
man and the unknown lady. 

"Ah I Monsieur Sixte," said the concierge, that 
lady m black has been twice to ask for you in the last 
quarter of an hour. She said that you were expect- 
mgher." 

"Bring her here," responded the savant. "It is the 
mother, " thought he. His first impulse was to go in 
at once, then a kind of timidity came over him, and 
he remained at the door while the concierge, followed 
by the cock, went over to the group collected on the 
comer of the street. 

The woman no sooner heard Carbonnefs words 
than she turned toward the philosopher's house, leav- 
lug Ferdinand's master to scold the drunkard. 

The philosopher, instinctively continuing his 

reasoning, instantly noticed a singular resemblance 

between the mysterious person and the young man 

about whom he had been questioned. There were the 

same bright eyes, in a very pale face, and the same 

east of features. There was not the least doubt, and 

immediately the implacable psychologist, curious 

only about a case to be studied, gave place to the 

awkward, simple-minded man, unskillful in practical 



78 



THE DISCIPLE. 



:i 



life, embftiTMMd by hii long body and not knowing 
how to My the fint word. Hme. Gredon, for it wm 
she, relieved him by Mying: "I am, monsieur, the 
person who wrote to you yesterday." 

"Very much honored, madame," stammered the 
philospher, "I regret that I was not at home 
earlier. But your letter said four o'clock. And then 
I have just come from the Judge of Instruction, where 
I was summoned to testify in the case of this unhappy 
child." 

"Ah I monsieur," said the mother, touching M. 
Sixte upon the arm to call his attention to the com- 
mimomire who stood in the angle of the door to 
listen. 

"I beg your pardon," said the savant, who compre- 
hended the cruelty of his abstraction. "Permit me 
to pass before you to show you the way." 

He proceeded to mount the stairs which began to 
be dark at this time of a winter's day. He went up 
slowly to suit the lassitude of his companion, who held 
by the rail, as if she had scarcely energy enough to 
ascend the four flights. Her short breath which could 
be heard in the provincial silence of this empty 
house, betrayed the feebleness of the unhappy woman. 

As little sensitive as was the philosopher to the 
outer world, he was 611ed with pity when, entering 
his study with its closed shutters which the fire and 



THE DISCIPLE. 



79 



the Ump ftlmdy lighted by hie Mrrant eoftly iUua- 
ined, he uw hii Tuitor faoe to faoe. The wrinkle 
plowed from the oornen of the month to the ala of 
the noee, the lipe ioorohed by fever, the eyebrows 
contracted, the darkncM about the eyelida, the 
nerrouaneie of the hands in their black gloTM, in 
which ahe held a roU of paper, without doubt aome 
juatifying memoir— aU theae deUila revealed the tor- 
ture of a fixed idea; and scarcely had ahe fallen into 
a chair when ahe aaid in a broken voice : 

"My God I my God I I am then too late. I wiahed 
to apeak to you, monaieur, bef-re your conversaUon 
with the judge. But you defended him, did you not? 
You said that it waa not possible; that he had not 
done what they accuse him of? You do not believe 
him guiltj-, monsieur, you whom he called his mas- 
ter, you whom he loved so much?" 

"I did not have to defend him, madame," said the 
philosopher; "I was asked what had been my rela- 
tione with him, and as I had seen him only twice, and 

he spoke only of his studies ■" 

"Ah I" interrupted the mother with an accent of 
profound anguish; and she repeated: "I have come 
too late. But no, " she continued, clasping her trem- 
bling hands. "You will go before the Court of Assizes 
to testify that he cannot be guilty, that you know he 
cannot be? One does not become an assassin, a 



mm 






W THR DISCIPLE. 

voiaonw, in a dny. Th« yonth of erimioftlt |»r«p«rM 
ih« wv for th«ir orimM. Th^ art bad p«noni, 
gftmbltn, frM|Q«DUn of tb« mUoooi. Bat b« bM 
•Iwajri bMn witb bii booki, lik« bit poor f*tb«r. I 
u«od to My to bim : 'Com*, Robert run out, you miMt 
tAk« tbe air, you muit amuM yourwlf. ' If you oould 
b«T« Men wbat a quiet litUe life we lead, be and I. 
before be went into tbia aoourMd family. And it wm 
for my take tbat be abould not ooat me anytbing more 
tbat be went into it, and tbat be migbt go on witb bia 
■tudiM. 

•*He would bare been admitted in tbrM or four 
yeara and tben perbape bave taken a poeition in a 
lyoeum at Clermont. I ibould bate bad bim marry. 
I baye aeen a good parti for bim. I abould bare re- 
mained witb bim, in some comer, to take care of lig 
cbildren. Abl monsieur!" and abe eougbt in tbe 
pbiloeopber'a eyes, a reapouM in barmony witb ber 
paMionate desire; "tell me, if it is poHible for a son 
wbo bad auob idcM to do what tbey say be bM done? 
It ia infamous; is it not infamous, monsieur t" 

"Be calm, madame, be calm. " TbeM were the ouiy 
worda which Adrien Sixte oould find to My to this 
mother who wept over the ruin of her most cherished 
hoi>es. Beside, being still under the imprcMion of 
his conversation with the judpre, she seemed to him 
to be 80 wildly beyond the truth, a prey to illusions 



I 



•'*|j.;\«''_ 



THE DISCIPLE. 



tt 



io blind thai h« wai aiupefied, aad alio, why not con- 
faat it? the renewed proapeot of the journey to Riom 
frightened him aa much aa the grief of the mother 
afljcted him. 

Theec different impreaaiona ahowed themaeWea in 
hia manner by an uncertainty, an abeenoe of warmth 
which did not deceive the mother. Extreme Buffering 
haa infallible intuitiona of inatinct. Thia woman 
underatood that the philoaopber did not believe in 
the innocence of her aon, and with a goatare of ex- 
treme depreaaiou, recoiling from him with horror, ahe 
moaned: 

"Monaieur, you too, you are with hia enemies. 
You — you?" 

"No, madame, no," gently roHponded Adrian Sixte, 
I am not an enemy. I aak nothing better than to 
believe what you believe. But you will permit me 
to apeak frankly ? Facta are facta, and they are ter- 
ribly against him. The poison bought clandestinely, 
the bottle thrown out of the window, the other bottle 
half emptied then refilled with water, the going out 
of the girl'a room on the night of her death ; the false 
dispatch, hia sudden departure, those burned letters, 
and then hia denial of it all. " 

"But, monsieur, there is no proof in all that," in- 
terrupted the mother, "no proof at all. What of his 
sudden departure? He had been wishing for more 



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812 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I • 



than a month to get away from the place, I have a 
letter in which he speaks of his plan, and beside his 
engagement was almost at an end. He fancied that 
they wished to retain him and he was tired of the life 
of a tutor, and then, as he is so timid, he gave a false 
pretext and invented this unfortunate dispatch that is 
all. And as to the poison he did not buy it secretly. 
He has suffered for years from a stomach trouble. 
He has studied too hard immediately after his meals. 
Who saw him go out of that room? A servant I 
What if the real murderer paid this servant to accuse 
my son? Do we know anything about this girl's in- 
trigues and who were interested in killing her? 

"Do you not see that all these and the letters and 
the bottle are parts of the plan for making suspicion 
fall on him? How? Why ? That will be found out 
some day. But what I do know is that my son is not 
guilty. I swear it by the memory of his father. 
Ah! do you believe I would defend him like this if I 
felt him to be a criminal? I would ask for pity, I 
would weep, I would pray, but now I cry for justice, 
justice! No, these people have no right to accuse 
him, to throw him into prison, to dishonor our name, 
for nothing, for nothing. You see, monsieur, I have 
shown you that they have not a single proof." 

"If he is innocent, why this obstinacy in keeping 
silent?" asked the philosopher, who thought that the 



THE DISCIPLE. 



88 



poor woman had shown nothing except her despera- 
tion in struggling against the evidence. 

"Ah I if he were guilty he would talk," cried Mme. 
Greslon, "he would defend himself, he would lie! 
No," added she in a hollow voice, "there is some 
mystery. He knows something, that I am sure of, 
something which he does not wish to tell. He has 
some reason for not speaking. Perhaps he does not 
wish to dishonor this young girl, for they claim that 
he loved her. Oh I monsieur, I have wanted to see 
you at any risk, for you are the only one who can 
make him speak, who can make him tell what he has 
resolved not to tell. You must promise me to write 
to him, to go to him. You owe this to me," she in- 
sisted in a hard tone. "You have made me suffer so 
much." 

"I?" exclaimed the philosopher. 

"Yes, you," replied she bitterly, and as she spoke 
her face betrayed the strength of old grudges; 
"whose fault is it that he has lost faith? Yours, 
monsieur, through your books. My God I How I 
did hate you then I I can still see his face when he 
told me he would not commune on All-Soul's day, be- 
cause he had doubts. 'And thy father?' said I to 
him, *All-Soul's day!' said he: 'Leave me alone, I do 
not believe in that any longer, that is done with.' 
He was sitting at his table and he had a volume be- 



84 



THE DISCIPLE. 



^t-MjlF 



11 i 






; 



fore him which he closed while he was talking to me. 
I remember. I read the name of the author mechani- 
cally. It was yours, monsieur. 

"I did not argue with him that day; he was a great 
savant already, and I a poor, ignorant woman. But 
the next day, while he was at college I took M. the 
Abbe Martel, who had educated him, into his room to 
show him the library. I had a presentiment that it 
was the reading which had corrupted my son. Your 
book, monsieur, was still on the table. The abbe 
took it up and said to me: 'This is the worst of them 
all.' 

"Monsieur, pardon me, if I wound you, but do you 
see, if my son were still a Christian, I would go and 
pray his confessor to command him to speak. You 
have taken away his faith, monsieur, I do not re- 
proach you any more ; but what I would have asked 
of the priest, I have come to ask of you. If you had 
heard him when he came back from Paris! He said to 
me, speaking of you : 'If you knew him maman, you 
would venerate him, for he is a saint. ' Ah ! promise 
me to make him speak. Let him speak for me, for 
his father, for those who love him, for you, monsieur, 
who cannot have had an assassin for a pupil. For 
he is your pupil, you are his master; he owes it to 
you to defend himself, as much as to me his mother." 
"Madame," said the savant with deep seriousness, 
"I promise you to do all that I can." 



THE DISCIPLE. 



85 



This was the second time to-day that this responsi- 
bility of master and pupil had been thrust upon him. 
Once by the judge, repelled by the resistance of the 
thinker who repels with disdain a senseless reproach. 
The words of this good woman, quivering with this 
human grief to which he was so little accustomed, 
touched other fibres than those of pride. He was 
still more strangely affected when Mme. Greslon, seiz- 
ing his hand with a gentleness which contradicted the 
bitterness of her last words, said : 

"He spoke the truth when he said you w^re good. 
I came too," she continued drying her tears, "to re- 
quite myself of a commission with which the poor child 
charged me. And see if there is not in it a proof that he 
is innocent. In his prison during these two months, he 
has written a long work on philosophy. He considers 
it by far his best work and I am charged to piand it 
to you. " She gave the savant the roll of paper which 
she had held on her lap. "It ia just as he gave it to 
me. They let him write as much as he likes, every- 
body loves him. They do not allow me to speak to 
him except in the frightful parlor where there is al- 
ways the guard between us. Will you look?" she in- 
sisted, ana in an altered tone: "He has never lied to 
me, and I believe whatever he has told me. If, however, 
he had only thought to write to you what he will not 
confide to any one else?" 



•^ 



86 



THE DISCIPLE. 



"Iwill see immediately, " said Adrien Sixte, who 
unfolded the roll. He threw his eyes over the first 
page of tlie manuscript and he saw the words: 
"Modem Psychology," then on the second sheet 
another title, "Memoir upon Myself," and underneath 
were the following lines: "I write to my dear master. 
Monsieur Adrien Sixte, and engage his word to keep to 
himself the pages which fcilow. If he do not agree 
to make this engagement with his unhappy pupil, I 
ask him to destroy this manuscript, confiding in his 
honor not to tieliver it to any one whomsoever, even 
to save my life." And the young man had simply 
signed his initials. 

"Well?" asked the mother as the philosopher con- 
tinued to turn over the leaves, a prey to profound 
anxiety. 

"Well!" responded he, closing the manuscript and 
holding the first page before the curious eyes of Mme. 
Greslon, "this is only a work on philosophy, as he told 
you. See." 

The mother had a question on her lips, and suspi- 
cion in her eyes while she was reading the technical 
foi-mula which was unintelligible to her poor mind. 
She had observed Adrien Sixte 's hesitation. But 
she did not dare to ask, and she rose saying : 

"You will excuse me for having kept you so long, 
monsieur. I have placed my last hope upon you, and 



THE DISCIPLE. 



87 



you will not deceive a mothor's heart. I carry your 
promise with me." 

"All that it will be possible for me to do that the 
truth may be known," said the philosopher gravely, 
"I will do, madame, I promise you again." 

When he had conducted the unhappy woman to the 
door, and was again alone in his study Adrien Sixte re- 
mained for a long time plunged in reflection. Taking 
up the manuscript, he read and reread \.he sentence 
written by the young man, and pushing away the 
tempting manuscript, he paced the floor. Twice he 
seized the sheeta and approached the fire, but he did 
not throw them into the flames. A combat was going 
on in his mind between a devouring curiosity, and 
apprehensions of very diflferent kinds. To contract 
the engagement which this reading would impose on 
him, and to learn what could be learned from these 
pages would throw him, perhaps, into a horrible situ- 
tion. If he were going to hold in his hands the 
proof of the young man's innocence without the right 
to use it, or what he suspected still more, the proof 
of his guilt, what then? Without being conscious of 
it he trembled in his inmost nature, lest he find in 
this memoir if there were crime, the trace of his own 
influence, and the cruel accusations already twice 
formulated, that his books were mixed up with this 
sinister history. On the other hand, the uncon- 



88 



THE DISCIPLE. 



soiouB egoism of studious men who have a horror of 
all confusion, forbad> him to enter any further into a 
drama with which he had definitely nothing to do. 

"No," he concluded, "I will not read this memoir; 
I will write to this boy as I have promised the mother 
to do, then it will be ended." 

However, his dinner had corje in the midst of his 
reflections. He ate alone, as always, seated in the 
corner by a porcelain stove, the weather being very 
chilly, the heat was his only comfort, and before a little 
round table, covered with a piece of oilcloth. The 
lamp which served for his work lighted his frugal 
repast, consisting, as uaujU, of soup and one dish of 
vegetables with some raisins for dessert, and for drink 
water alone. 

Or'^anarily he took one of the books which had been 
exiled from the too-crowded study, or he listened 
while Mile. Trapenard exposed the details of the house- 
keeping. On this evening he did not look for a book, 
and his housekeeper tried in vain to discover if the 
lady's visit and the summons had any connection. 
The wind rose, a winter's witd whose plaint from 
across the empty space died gently against the shut- 
ters. Seated in his armchair after his dinner, with 
Eobert Greslon's manuscript before him, the savant 
listened for a long time to this monotonous but sad 
music. His hesitation returned. Then psychology 



THE DISCIPLE. 39 

drove awior all scruples, and when later Mariette cawe 
to announce that his bed was ready, he told her to 
retire. Two o'clock struck and he was still reading 
the strange piece of self-analysis which Robert Gres- 
Ion called a memoir upon himself, but whose correct 
title should have been 
"Confession of a Young Man of the Period." 



90 



THE DISCIPLE. 



IV. 



covn/aion op a toumo man of the period. 



"The Jail at Riom, January, 1887. 

"I WRITE to you, monsieur, this memoir of myself 
which I have refused to the counsel in spite of my 
mother's entreaties. I write it to you, who in reality 
know so little of me, and at what a moment of my life 1 
for the same reason that led me to bring my first work 
to you. There is my illustrious master, between you 
and myself, your i)upil accused of a most infamous 
crime, a bond which men could not understand, and of 
which you yourself are ignorant, but which I feel to 
be as %.iOse as it is indissoluble. I have lived with 
your thought, and by your thought so passionately, 
so entirely at the most decisive period of my life! 
Now in the distress of my mental agony, I turn to the 
only being of whom I can expect hope, implore aid. 

"Ah! do not misunderstand me, venerated master, 
and believe that the terrible trouble with which I am 
struggling is caused by the vain forms of justice 
which surround me. I should not be worthy the 
name of philosopher if I had not, long ago, learned to 
consider my thought as the only reality, and the ex- 
ternal world an indifferent and fatal succession of 
appearances. From my seventeenth year, I have 



THE DISCIPLE. 



SI 



"Jdopted u . rule to be repeated in the hour, of »mM 
or great .uuo,.nc... the forn^ul. of our de„ S, ,„" » 

limted. .nd that of external c«u.e.. infinitely .urp„. 

"I ehall be condemned to d«ath .a »ix weeks for a 
cnn,. of which I am innocent, and from wh ch lean 

.ng read the.6 p«ge_and I shall go to the ecaffold 
without trembhng. I .hall .up„ort thi. event with 
the«me effort at composure .. if a physician afer 
having auscultated me, should diagnose an Xanc^ 
disease of the heart. CondemnedS .h^Tl 1™ to 
conquer fir.t the revolt of the animal nature and then 
tosupport myself against the despair of my mother 

■uoh feelings, and in opposing to the image of ,T 
preaching death the sentiment of inevitable necessity, 
and ,n d minishing the vision of my mother's grief by 
the recollection of the psychological law. which gov' 

this that ^ T"""'' -' ^°"'"'"' "•"»"'»' 

this, tha , for example, in the fifth chapter of the 

TZt tZt '"'" """""- "' '"« ^^"•" ""'^ 

Jl'I''^ >"">«Ml interweaving of phenomena causes 
each to bear the weight of all the other,, in the same way 

mav r. "T'^f "" '"''''™' ""I »' "->■ -o-^eT 
Tf an thir "'","%' "''"•"' °' «" *>"" J"-' been 
sense that it": »"<> "' «» t^at will be. It i. iu thi 
sense hat t is permissible to say that the world is 
eternal in it. detail as well as in its whole. • 



93 



THE DISCIPLE. 



J 



"What A sentence, and how it envelopii, aa well aa 
affirniB and domonNtrutea the idea that ererythins ia 
neoeMftary in and around ua ainoe we too are a parcel 
and a moniout of this eternal world I Alas! why ia it 
that this idea which is so lucid when I reason, as one 
ought to reason, with my mind, and in which I ac- 
quiesce with all the atrength of my being, cannot 
overcome in me a species of suffering so peculiar, 
which invades my heart when I recall certain aotiona 
which I have willed, and others of which I am the 
author, although indirectly, in the drama through 
which I have passed? 

"To teh you all in a few T7ords, my dear maater, 
though once more I say that I did not kill Mile, de 
Jussat, I have been connected in the closest manner 
with the drama of her poisoning, and I feel remorse, 
ilthough the doctrines in which I believe, the truths 
which I know, and the convictions which form the 
essence of my intellect, make me consider remorse the 
most silly of human illusions. 

"These convictions are powerless to procure me 
the peace of certainty, which once was mine. I 
doubt with my heart that which my mind recognizes 
as truth. I do not think that for a man whose youth 
was consumed by intellectual passions, there can be a 
worse punishment than this. But why try to inter- 
pret by literary phrases a mental condition which I 
wish to expose to you in detail — to you the great 
connoisseur in maladier of the mind — in order that 
you may give me the only aid which can do me any 
good ; some word which shall explain me to myself, 
which shall attest to me that I am not a monster. 



THE DISCIPI.B. f, 

wl..ch .bll p„„ to mo th.t I u™ not U«„ dec. v„a 
U>« eneric of a ninoore boinit. 

.ddr«. „,.«,„. i, „„t .„ ^„„_ .incoI»UouldI.t ,o 
t!t?t^ f -'''""iWo to any one „„» ,.„°i"J 

w,|i the p,.veholo«y ■„ which I h»™ boon od„c.t J 

Since oounng to thiV. p,i,on, two month, .ko the 
moment I re.olvod to writo to you h« been the only 
on. .n wh.ch I have been what I waa before the ^ 
temble event, occurred. I had tried to become 
.b«,rbed .n .ome work of an entirely abetraot orTr 
but found mywlf unable to ina«tor it 

"I have considered only thi. for four day,, and 
thank, to you, the power of thought ha. returned I 
have found «,methin« of the plea.ure which wa. mine 
when 1 wrote my flr.t e..ay.. i„ re»uming, for thi! 

I wrote r"."':""^ """' -ethod-your method 
I wrote out yeaterday a plan of thi. monograph of my 
actud «lf, in praetieing the divi.ion by paragraph^ 
which you have adopted in your work. I We 
proved the persistent vigor of my reflection in recon- 
»teuct.n« my life from it. origin, a. I would resolve a 
problem of geometry by synthesis. 

"leeediatiuctlyatthepreseu time that the crisis 
from which I suffer has for its factors, first my hercd ! 
ties then the medium of ideas in which I was educated 
final y the medium of facts into which I was trant 

Planted bymy introduction a„,ongtheJussat.Bandons 
The crisis Itself and the questions which it raises 7n 



94 



THE DISCIPLE. 




my mind shall be the last fragments of a stud}- which 
I shall strip of insignificant recollections, to reduce it 
to what a master of our time calls generatrices. At 
least I shall have furnished you an '^xact document 
upon the modes of feeling which I formerly believed 
to be very precious and very rare, and I shall have 
proved to you in two ways, first by my confidence in 
your absolute discretion, and second by my appeal for 
your philosophical support, what you have been to 
him who writes these lines, and who asks your pardon 
for this long preamble and begins at once his dissec- 
tion." 

§ I. MY HEREDITIES. 

As far back as I can remember, I find that my 
dominant faculty, the one that has been present in 
every crisis of my life, great or small, and which is 
present to-day, has boen the faculty, I mean the 
power and the need of duplication. There have always 
been in me, as it were, two distinct persons ; one who 
went, came, acted, felt, and another who looked at the 
first go, come, act, and feel with an impassable 
curiosity. 

At this very hour and knowing that I am in prison, 
accused of a capital crime, blasted in honor, and over- 
whelmed in sadness, knowing that it is this very I, 
Eobert Greslon, born at Clermont the 5th of Septem- 
ber, 1865, and not another, I think of this situation 
as a spectacle at which lama stranger. Is it even exact 
to say I? Evidently not. For my true self is, prop- 



THE DISCIPLE. ^ 

erly ,ped,i„g, neither the one who suffer, nor the 
one who look, on. It i, „.,, „, „, ,„^_ ^^ ^'j^^l;' 

w„ not then oapeble of comprehending thi. psycho- 
logical disposition exaggerated to an anomaly fro^ 
^ .^ildhood. the childh««l Which I Ztrti 
with the impartiality of a disinterested historian. 

My first recoUectionsare of the city of Clermont- 
Wd. and of a house which stood on a promenade 
now very much changed by the recent construction of 

m this cty. was built of Volvie stone, a gray stone 
-hich darkens with age. and which give, to the tor- 
tuous streets the appearance of a city of the middle 

My father, who died when I was very young was 

of I^rraine extraction. He held at aeLon'' Z 

position of engineer of roads and bridges. He was a 

fender man of feeble health, with a face almost bea^d! 

es,. and marked with a melancholy serenity which 

l"ow, Zt r:ed"th?- ''"*'' '''"^' "''- 
y oe viewed the immense plain of the 

League, with the graceful eminence of the Puy de 
^oue. ,uite near, and in the distance the darkTine 
of the mountains of Forez. 
The railway station was near our house, «.d the 



96 



THE DISCIPLE. 



MThistling of the trains was constantly heard in this 
quiet study. I used to sit on the carpet in the comer 
by the fire, playing without making any noise, and 
this strident call produced on my mind a strange im- 
pression of mystery, of distance, of the flight of time 
and of life which endures to the present. 

My father traced with his chalk upon a black- 
board enigmatic signs, geometric figures or algebraic 
formulas, with that clearness of the curves, or the 
letters which revealed the habitual method of his 
being. At other times he wrote, standing at an archi- 
tect's table which he preferred to his desk, a table 
consisting simply of a white wood board placed 
on tresties. The large books on mathematics 
arranged with the most minute care in the bookcase 
and the cold faces of savants, engraved in copperplate 
and framed under glass, were the only objects of art 
with which the walls were decorated. 

The clock which represented the globe of the world 
two astronomical maps which hung above the desk' 
and upon this desk the calculating ruler with its 
figures and its copper slide, the square, the compass 
the Trule. I recall them all, at will, the smallest de^ 
tails of this room whose whole atmosphere was 
thought, and these images aid me to comprehend hew 
from my infancy the dream of a purely ideal and con- 
templative existence became elaborated in me, favored 
by heredity. 



THE DISCIPLE. 97 

My later reaection, have shown me. in several traits 
of my character, the result transmitted under form of 
».t.nctofthe life of abstract study that my father 
led. I have, for example, alwa.vs felt a singular 
horror of action, so much so that, making a simple 
vmt caused my heart to pant and the slightest physi- 
oal e„rc.se was intolerable to me, such a, wrestling 
w.th another person ; even to discuss my most cherished 
.daas appeared to me, and still appears, almost 
impos&ible. 

This dread of action is explained by the excess of 
br^nwork which, pushed too far, isolates man in the 
m.dst of the realities which he hardly endures, be- 
cause he is not habitually in contact with them. I 
feel that this difficulty of adapting myself to facte 
comes to me from this poor father; from him also 
comes this faculty of generalization, which is the 
Pojer, but at the same time the mania of my mind- 
ed .t .s also his work that a morbid predominance of 
the nervous system has rendered my will so wild at 
certain times. 

My father, who was still young when he died, had 
never been robust. He was obliged at the growing 
age to undergo the trial of preparation for the Poly- 
techio School which is ruinous to the soundest health. 
With narrow shoulders and with limbs weakened by 
long sittings at sedentary meditations, this savant 



M 



THE DISCIPLE. 



With tr«„,p„6„t hand. .e,med to have in hi. vein, 
instead of red globule, of «en.ro„. blood. . ItZ; 
the d«,t of the ehallc .hioh he handled .„ .„„h 

U^'J T"""' "• "" ""■«"«• ""WW* o' conn. 

iTth th"r u' """"""^ °' ""^ -"-. - that 
w.th th.. faculty of abatraction, lowe to him . kind of 

un.ove„ab,e intemperance of desire. Ever^ tL 
that I have «.dentlywi.hed for anything it has been 
.mposs.ble to repress this covetousne^. Th" i. I 
hypothes.. which has often come to me when I have 
been analyzing myaelf. that abstract natures are ml 
n»pab.e than others of resisting passion, when ^r 

between action and . ..ght is broken in them. 

Fanatics would be .he most signal proof, of this 
I have seen my father, usually .„ p.tie„t ^^ g,„„; 

f..nt. In this I am aho his .on, and through him 
the defendant of a grandfather a. iU-balanced " 
sort of primitive genius, who. half-peasant, had ri;en 
by force of mechanical inventions to be a civil e"^ 
neer. and wa. then ruined by lawsuit.. 

On this side of my race there ha. alway. been a 
dangerous element, something wild, at time., by the 

ered i^h,. double nature a superior condition; the 
Pos^ble ardor of pa..ion joined with thi. conti^uou. 



THE DISCIPLE. ^ 

««rgy 0/ abntraot thought. It ,., „y dre«n to b. 
.t the game time frenzied »d lucid, the eubjeot and 
theob„ot « the Germans eay. „f my analyei,; the 
enbjeot who etudie. himwlf and find, in this study a 
means of exaltation and of eeientific development. 
AIssI Whither has thy chimera led me? But it is 
not the time to speak of effects, we are still with the 
causes. 

Among the circumstances which affected me during 
my childhood. I believe the following to be one of the 
most .mportant: Every Sunday morning, and as soon 
«s I could read, my mother took me with her to mass. 
n.s mass was celebrated at eight o'clock in the 
Church of the Capuchins recently built on a boulevard 
shaded by Plantanes which led from Sablon Court to 
I«ureau Square, along the Jardin des Plantes. 

At the door of the church, there used to sit, in 
front of a portable shop, « cake seller called Mother 
Girard, with whom I was well acquainted, for I had 
bought of her little bunches of cherries in the spring. 
Th.s was the first fruit of the season that I might 
eat. Th,s dainty, acid and fresh, was one of the 
sensualities of these days of childhood, and any one 
who had observed me. might have seen this frenzy 
of des.re of which I have spoken. I was almost in 
a fever when on my way to this shop. 
This was not the only reason why I preferred the 



100 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Church of theCapuohiDs with it. .,♦ 
architecture to ih. u! extremely plain 

"ph..a b. u e w owe; 1 *': LTcT 

chins the choir waa nln« ^ ^ ^'^P"" 

an abyss or a tomK t i i , "*« bu lar off, 

"Why doe, not P.P. „„„e to „.s, with „,?•• 
My »qu.rmg child', eycB had no trouble to .e« ,fc 
e«b.rr«»,ent into which thi, „„e,ttn ^v. 
mother. She withdr.^ » ■ '"*'''"'' *"» my 

one wrtDdrew from t, however h„ 

«..wer „.,ogo„, to hundred, o othe« whr." 
worn.. «, e,«ntially en«nored of feed J , " 
•»d of obedience h«,,ince given ml '"'"'""" 

bil tr.n*°d TT r ' "' "■ '"'" ""o" -'" 
„kM ° ^ ''"™ »'"«ay told you th.* 

children ought never to adc why their n . . 
or that. •• PMont, do this 

All the difference of min.1 -i.- i 



THE DISCIPLE. ig^ 

;u.der the ^ee. of S.bl„„ Court. I can ^ L now 
» her peWi«, he, h.„a. in her .,.« Hned wTtI 
brown e.lk fron. which her book „an.e haifwa,- o t 
ad the e.nce„,v of her face even in her piou^falee: 
^ood. I can .ee her eyee, which ao many times aince 
have regarded me with a looi: which did not com"! 
lend me, and at thia period she did not auapect that 

ready to «,k. always and in relation to everything ■ 
why? Yes, why had my mother deceived me? F» i 

:rd!dr:o::r''''"'*"-''"^»'--- 

While the grave and sad voices of the conoeried 
monks were .ntoning the responses of the mass, I waa 
absorbed in this question. I knew without belg 
aWe to apprecate the reasons of the superiority that 
»r father was accounted among the first of the city. 
How many fmes in walking were we stopped by 

fa Jl:!;;."'*"''^''^"'' »"-'"'=« «"> 

men my mother took his advice, she listened with 
tbe greatest respect. She thought it natural that he 
d.d not perform certain duties which, for us were 
obhgatory. Wehadnotthesameduti's. Thi'sZ 
was not formulated then in my childish brain with 



108 



THE DISCIPLE. 



this positive distinctness, but it developed there the 
germ of that which later became one of the convic- 
tions of my youth-to know that the same rules do 
not govern intellectual minds that control other men 

It was there in that little church, quietly bending 
over my prayer book, that the great principle of my 
life had birth, not to consider as a law for thinking 
men that which is and ought to be a law for others- 
just as I received from the conversations with my 
father, during our excursions, the first germs of my 
scientific view of the world. 

The country around Clermont is marvelous, and al- 
though I am the reverse of poetical, a man for whom 
the external world means very litUe. I have always 
retained in my memory the pictures of the landscapes 
which surrounded these walks. While the city on 
one side looks toward the plain of the Limagne. on 
the other it slnnds on the foothills of the Dome 
Mountains. The slop, of the extinct craters, the 
undulations caused b> old eruptions and the streams 
of hardened lava give to the outlines of these volcanic 
mountains a resemblance to the landscapes in the 
moon as discovered by the telescope in that dead 
planet. 

On one side is the savage and sublime memorial of 
the most terrible convulsions of the globe, and on the 
other the prettiest rusticity of stony roads among the 



THE DISCIPLE. 



103 



Tia«y«rds, of murmuring brooks under the willows 
and ohestnuta. The great pleasures of my childhood 
were the interminable wanderings with my father in 
all the paths which lead from the Puy de Crouel to 
Oergovie, from Royat to Durtol, from Beaumont to 
Oravenoire. 

Simply in writing these names, my memory rejuve- 
nates my heart. I see myself again the little boy, 
whom a portrait represents with long hair, with his 
legs in cloth leggings, who walks along holding his 
father's hand. Whence came this love for the fields 
to him, the learned mathematician, the man of study 
and of reflection? I have often thought of it since, 
and I believe I have discovered a law of the develop- 
ment of mind;— our youthful tastes persist even when 
we are developed in a sense contrary to them, and we 
continue to exercise these tastes while justifying them 
by intellectual reasons which would exclude such 
things. 

I will explain. My father naturally loved the coun- 
try because he was brought up in a village, and when 
he was small had passed whole days on the banks of 
the brooks among the insects and the flowers. In- 
stead of yielding to these tastes in a simple manner, 
he mingled them with his present occupations. He 
would not have pardoned himself for going to the 
mountains without studying there the formation of 



104 



THE DISCIPLE. 







the land; for looking at a flower without detoraining 
ita ohaiaoter and diaooverine ita name ; for taking up 
an inaeoi without recalling ita family and ita habiU. 

Thanka to the rigor of hia method in all work he 
arrived at a very complete knowledge of the country; 
and, when we walked together, this knowledge waa 
the Bole aubject of our oonvereation. The landscape 
of the mountaina became a pretext for explaining to 
me the revolutions of the earth; he passed from that 
with a clearness of speech which made such ideas in- 
telligible to me, to the hypothesis of Laplace upon 
nebula, and I saw distinctly in my imagination the 
planetary protuberances flying off from the burning 
nucleus, from this torrid sun in rotation. 

The heavens at night in the beautiful summer 
months became a kind of map which he deciphered 
for me, and on which I distingished the Pole Star, 
the seven stars of the Chirriot, Vega of the Lyre, 
Sirius, all those inaccessible and formidable worlds of 
which science knows the volume, the position and 
almost the very metals of which they are composed. 

It was the same with the flowers which he taught 
me to arrange in an herbarium, with the stones which 
I broke with a little iron hammer, with the insects 
which I fed or pinned up, as the case might be. 
Long before object lessons were practiced in the col- 
lege my father applied to my education first this great 



THE DISCIPLE. 



lOS 



matim: "Give a soientifio account of anything we 
may encounter." 

Thui reconciling the pleasantry of his first impres- 
sions with the precision acquired in his mathematical 
studies. I attribute to this teachinu the precocious 
spirit of analysis which was developed in me during 
my early youth, and which, without doubt, would have 
turned toward the positive studies if my father had 
lived. But he could not complete this education, 
undertaken after a prepared plan of which I have since 
found trace among his papers. 

In the course of one of our walks, .nd on one of the 
warmest days of summer, in my tenth year, we were 
overtaken by a storm which wet us to the bones. Dur- 
ing the time that it required to reach home in our 
soaked clothes my father took cold. In the evening 
he complained of a chill. Two days after an inflam- 
mation of the lungs declared itself, and the week fol- 
lowing he died. 

As I wish, in this summary indication of diverse 
causes which formed my mind, to avoid at any cost 
that which I hate most of anything in the world, the 
display of subjective sentimentality, I will not recount 
to you, my dear master, any further details of this 
death. They were heartrending, but I felt their 
sadness only in a far-oflf way, and that later. 
I recollect, though I was a large and remarkably 



106 



THE DISCIPLE. 



d«Talop«d boy, to h«T« fell mora wooder thaa •orrow. 
It it now that I truly regrtt my father-that I 
oomprthend what I loat ir loaing him. I WieTt 
you hare aeen exactly what I owe to him; the taate 
Md the facility for abetraotion. the lore of the iatel- 
leotual life, faith in «,ienee and the preoodou. 
management of method-theae for the mind; for the 
oharaoter. the flret dirination of the pride of inteUeot, 
•nd alio an element alighUy morbid, thia difficulty of 
action which has aa its conaequence the difficulty in 
reaiating the paasiona when one ia tempted. 

I wiih alio to mark diatinctly what I owe to my 
mother. And from the first I perceive thia fact that 
thii lecond influence acta upon me by reaction, whUe 
the firat had acted directly. To apeak truly, thia 
reaction only began when ahe became a widow and 
wiihed to direct my education. UntU then ihe had 
entirely given me up to my father. 

It may B«em atrange that, alone in the world, ahe 
and I, ahe so energetic, so devoted, and I so young, 
we did not live, at least during those years, in perfect 
communion of heart. There exists in fact, a rudi- 
mentary psychology for which these words-mother 
and son-are synonyms of absolute tenderness, of 
perfect agreement of soul. Perhaps it is so in the 
families of ancient b-adition. although in human 
nature I believe very little in the existence of entire 




THE niSCIPI.K. 



107 



•rmp.thy b.tw.«n p,«,o, of diff.wnt .cm „d 

In My 0U., Bodera f«,ili„ p„„,t uad.roonT«,. 

d.»or« of cornpLU nii,umler.t«diBg. «,n„ti«,„ ol 
i.t.. which »T» too W.I1 undontood when w, think of 
their origin. They oomo from the miitur. for . 
hundred ye«, of p«,Tinoe with prorinoe, nee with 
r«e, wh.oh hu oh«g.d the blood of M„ly m of u. 
with herodit„y „ppo.it.,. So p«,pl. a„d th.m«lve. 
no».„.ily of the .«». t^iiy ,bo have not . common 

tr..t either in their moriU or ment.1 .tructur..; coi... 

«<|uenUy the daily intimacy between per«>„. becomo. 

. oau« of daily confliota or of conatant di,.imulatio.. 

My mother and 1 are an example of it which I would 

Qualify a. excellent, if the pleaaur. of «ndin.r ^erv 

clear proof of a psychologic law wa. „„t accoT i 

bjr keen regret at having been ita victim. 

t2 T"'^ ^"' *°" ""'■ "• •» ""• "«••" «' the 
Polytechnic School and the .on of .civil engineer 

I have .1«, „id he wa. of Lorraine race. There i. , 
proverb which «y.: -Urraine traitor to it. king and 
even to God." Thi. epigram expre«e. in . „ni,ne 
form the idea that there i, .omething complex in the 
mind of this frontier population. 

The people of Lorraine have always lived on the 
border of two race, and of two existence., the German 



MflMMHidaiBHi 



'■'». 



108 



THE DISCIPLE. 



■hi 



II'; 

i Ml 




and the French. "What is this disposition to treach- 
ery if not the depravity of another taste, admirable 
from the intellectual point of view, that of senti- 
mental complication? For my part, I attribute to 
this atavism the power of doubling of which I epoke 
at the beginning of this analysis. I ought to add 
that, when I was a child, I often felt a strange pleas- 
ure in disinterested simulation which proceeded from 
the same principle. I recounted to my comrades all 
sorts of inexact details concerning myself, about my 
place of birth, my father's birthplace, about a walk 
which I was intending to take, and this not to boast, 
but simply to be some one else. 

I found singular pleasure later in advancing opin- 
ions the most opposed to those which I considered the 
true ones from the same bizarre motive. To play a 
role different from my true nature appeared to me 
an enrichment of my person, so strong was the in- 
stinct to resolve myself into a character, a belief, a 
passion. 

My mother is a woman of the South, absolutely 
rebellions against all complexity, to whom ideas of 
things alone are intelligible. In her imagination the 
forms of life are reproduced concrete, precise and 
simple. "When she thinks of religion, she sees her 
church, her confessional, the communion cloth, the 
few priests whom she has known, the catechism in 



rMi:my '^■\w 



THE DISCIPLE. j^g 

acroaa the city tv^ice a day in T'. ^°""' 

ter by clogs, and my bodv in « f ^ 

'-'"^aala.y. t.epeUl:;pHrt:~'aT 
sweet assurance of a pension " """' ""■ 

ool'iZyiT': "':''"''''' '- *° '-" i-ow 

whom J "■ "' ■""'^"""ion renders those 
wh«n .t gover incapable of comprehending other 
«>«le. It ,s often said of such peonln th.t .v 

80 to suit hi» 7 1 "" *'"" '""''» do -ot 



JiNAb^^ 



110 



THE DISCIPLE. 




lightened, dates from an afternoon of autumn, nearly 
four months after my father's death. 

The impression received was so strong that I recall 
it as if it had happened yesterday. We had changed 
apartments, and had rented the third floor of a house 
in the Kue Billard, a narrow lane which distorts the 
shadows of Des Petits-Abres, in front of the palace of 
the Prefecture. My mother had chosen it because there 
was a balcony in which I was playing on this beautiful 
afternoon. My play — you will here recognizu the 

scientific turn given by my father to my imagination 

consisted in taking a pebble, which represented a 
great explorer, from one end of the balcony to the 
other, and among other stones which I had taken from 
the flower pots. 

Some of these stones represented cities, others 
curious animals of which I had read descriptions. 
One of the parlor windows opened on the balcony. 
It was partly open, and my play having led me thither 
I heard my mother talking to a visitor. I could not 
help listening with that beating of the heart which 
the hearing my personality discussed has always pro- 
duced. I learned afterward that between our real 
nature and the impression produced on our relations, 
and even on our friends, there is no more similarity 
than there is between the exact color of the face and 
its reflection in a blue, green, or yellow glass. 



THE DISCIPLE. jjj 

not at all formed. " ""««er la 

••God grant that it n.^ be so, " replied roy mother, 
but I am afraid he has no hearl You canno 

death The next day even he seemed to have forgot- 

such a word as makea you feel that one i, thinking 

father, he hardly answers me. Tou would think he 
had never known the man who was so good to him. " 

..h.Id he was one day scolded by his mother and 
tten sent out of the room. He was scarcely gone 
when h.s mother burst out laughing. The child h!ard 
tt^ laugh wh.ch showed him that the irritation had 

h.. he^ wh.ch always remained. This anecdote im- 
pressed me very strongly. 

Tbo impression of the celebrated writer offered a 
stol.ng analogy with the effect which this fragment 
of 00 r,.t.„„ p.oauced upon me. It was verHrue 
that I never spoke of my father, but how false that I 
had forgotten him. On the contrary, I thought of 
hm. constancy. I never walked along the street. I 
could not look at any piece of our furniture witho;t 



112 



THE DISCIPLE. 




the remembrance of his death taking auch possession 
of me that I was almost ill. But with this was mingled 
a fearful astonishment that he had gone forever, and 
it was all confounded in a kind of anxious apprehen- 
sion, which closed my mouth when any one talked 
with me about him. 

I know now that my mother could have known 
nothing of the workings of my mind. But, at that 
time, as I heard her thus condemn my heart, I experi- 
enced a profound humiliation. It seemed to me that 
she was not acting toward me as it should be her duty 
to act. I felt that she was unjust, and because I was 
timid, being still a ydung boy and shy, I became 
irritated at her injustice, instead of trying to tell her 
how I felt. 

From that moment it became impossible for me to 
show myself to her as I was. And whenever her eyes 
sought mine to learn my emotions I felt an irresistible 
desire to conceal from her my inmost being. 

That was the first scene— if anything so insignificant 
can be dignified by so big a name— followed by a 
second which I will notice in spite of its apparent un- 
importance. Children would not be children if the 
events ' portant to their sensibility were not puerile. 

I was, at this period, already passionately fond of 
reading, and chance had put into my hands a very 
different kind of books froin those which are given as 



THE DISCIPLE. jjg 

Pmes at school. It was this way- „,.,, », 
fAfho* «- ,. "^ • although mv 

father as a mathematician knew littl« nf . 

literature, he loved a f«w » *i, , ^^"^'°^ 

in his wa^. 17 ^ ! "'^°" ^^""^ ^« understood 

not!! .1 ° "^*''™^ ^ ^^""^ «on,e of his 

notes on these authors, I ifiarnflrl f« 

degree to which the feel. Vf""^^^^^^^^^ "'''""*'^ *'^ 
irredunihi. • ^ '°"''«™'"ro is a personal, 

meducb e, ''>oo..mens«rablethi,.g_to borrow a „ord 

of aa^ll" T"' "^ '"""' °™*'' " ''''-'««''» 
*ainKing bow these volumes illustrflfp^ k 

white, sleeping form a ir;« t lowara the 

»« under the ti^rj ^f t f- t" '"""" ""' '"°«'- 
asleeD in h;. . f I '■«l'tning, a Bichard ffl. 

asleep „ h.s tent and surrounded by specters. 
J'rom the accompanying text I reaH w 

-e:::::re::r::;r----»- 
-use they were .ritte:x::r'::r:::rd' 



114 



tHE DiSClPLfi. 





admit an element of rimitive poetry, and an infantine 
exaggeration. 

I loved -these kings, who, joyous or despairing, de- 
filed past at the head of their armies, who lost or 
gained batUes in a few minutes, I enjoyed this 
■laughter accompanied by a flourish of trumpets be- 
hind the scenes, the rapid passages from one country 
to another, and the chimerical geography. In brief, 
whatever there is in these dramas and especially in 
the chronicles that is very much abridged, almost 
rudimentary, so charmed me, that when I was alone 
I played with the chairs, il ^gining them to be Lan- 
caster, Warwick, or Gloucester. 

My father, who had an extreme repugnance to the 
troublesome realities of life, relished in Shakespeare 
that which is simple and touching, the profiles of 
women so delicately drawn; Imogene and Desdemona, 
Cordelia and Rosalind pleased him, though the com- 
parison may seem strange, for the same reason that 
he enjoyed the romances of Dickens, Topffer and even 
the child's play of Florian and Berquin. 

Here we may see the contrasts which prove the in- 
coherence of artistic judgments which are founded 
upon sentimental impression. I also read all these 
books, and tL ae of Walter Scott, as well as the rural 
tales of George Sand, in an illustrated edition. It 
would certainly have been better for me not to have 



THE DISCIPLE. 115 

nourirfied my imagination on elements so incongruous 
•nd «,metime. dangerous. But at my age I could 
not understand more than a quarter of the sentences, 
and while my father was toiling at his blackboard 
combining his formulas, I believe that the lightning 
might have struck the house without his knowing it 
carried away as he was by the all-powerful demon of 
abstraction. 

My mother, to whom this demon is as much a 
stranger as the beast of the Apocalypse, did not wait 
long, after the first hours of our trouble had passed 
before she rummaged the room in which I studied • 
and under an exercise, she discovered a large, open 
book— Scott's "Ivanhoe." 

"Whft book is this?" she asked, "who permitted 
you to take it?" 

"But I have read it once already," I replied 
"And these?" she continued, in looking over the 
little library where by the side of schoolbooks, were 
beside the Shakespeare, the "Nouvelles Gdnevoises'' 
and "Nicholas Nickleby." "Bob Boy" and "La Mare 
au Diable. " "These are not suitable for a person of 
your age.' she insisted, "and you may help me carry 
all these books into the parlor, and put them in your 
father's library." 

So I carried them, three at a time, some almost 
too heavy for my small arms, into the cool room fur- 



116 



THE DISCIPLE. 



'I 



m 



■ 



oompI.,» „, her h.v.ng put , ,, ^ my liveliest 

for ihe reaaon ,he ,,,,. por .he believed it t„ be 
her duty to repeat the phrase, on the danler „ 
rom«noe., no doubt borrowed fmn. 
Diet,' »I,i«i, """owea from some manual of 

pieiy, Trnioh apDearAf) ♦« «,* ^ •« v* 

-j-.totharu^irrerrd'"'""''^''' 

tween th« i^ ^*'* '''*" '°« ^reat be- 

-:irrdtrtrti~^^^^ 

I went to walk with her now. and .he talked with 



THE DISCIPLE. „y 

».. H« «,nT.mlion w„ oonJned to »y bearing 
»y m«Be«. my Jutle comrade,, ^i jheir p„.„,: 

„t ""'"';'' """" "•" •««» "» earl, trained in tT. 
Pl.««r. of thought. f,It atifled and oppr.«,d. 

The motionie.. l.„da„ape of extinct yolcanoe. re- 
~U.dton.ethe grand convui.ion, of the terreetrial 

'h.oh I plucked my mother would hold for a few 
-note, and then let ,11 almoat without l«,l.in/.T 

oTi :r '"""'"' •" """' »•»«. aa ehe wL 
of thoee of the insect, which .he compelled me to 

ttrow down aa ,oon a, I had picled them up. «^ing 

they were unclean and venomou,. 

The road, among the vine, no longer led to the 

of the dead had invited me. They were eimply a con- 
^uafon of th. .troet, of the city and the m^^ ", 
daily care,. iBeekinvainforauitableword, to expL, 
the vague and eingular ennui of a mutilated mind, of 
a rarefied atmoaphere which theee walk, inflicted on 

of^rST""'"^'' *'^"'°" *" "P- the idea, 
of »en. The term, are lacking which correspond to 

the incomplete Perception, of children, to their 
Penu. .„of ,oul How can I tellthe suifering, which 
I did not myself compreted, of a mind in which 
""' f«m»ting high »,Hl broad conceptions, of a 



118 



THE DISCIPLE. 







brain upon the border of the great intellectual hori- 
ion, and which had to aubmit to the unoonacioua 
t>'ranny of another brain, narrow and weak, a atranger 
to all general ideas, to every view either ample or 
profound ? 

Now that I have passed through this period of re- 
pressed and thwarted youth, I interpret the smallest 
episodes by the laws of the constitution of mind, and 
I take into account that fate, in confiding the educa- 
tion of such a child as I was to the woman who was 
my mother, had associated two forms of thought as 
irreducible the one to the other as two different 
species. 

These details, in which I find the proof of this con- 
stitutive antithesis between our two natures, come to 
me by thousands. I have said enough on this point 
so that I may content myself by noting with precision 
the result of this silent collision of our minds, and to 
borrow formulas in the philosophic style, I believe, 
that by this wrong education, two germs were pre- 
pared in me : the germ of a sentiment and the germ 
of a faculty ; the sentiment was that of the solitude of 
the individual, the faculty that of internal analysis. 

I have said that in the order of sensibility as in that 
of thought, I had almost immediately felt that I could 
not show myself to my mother as I was. I thus 
learned, though I was scarcely born into the intellec- 



THE DISCI PI, K. 



no 



tual lif« thftt th«r« it in ui an obscure inoommunioiblo 
•lement. Thit was in my om6 * timidity at firai— 
then it grew into a pride. But hare not all forma of 
pride a common origin ? 

Not to dare to ahow ourselyea ia to become iaolated ; 
and to become iaolated ia very aoon to prefer one's 
self. I bare since found, in some recent philosopherH, 
M. Renan, for example, this sentiment of the solitude 
of the soul, but it was transformed into a triumphant 
and transcendental disdain; I have found it changed 
into diseaae and barrenness in the Adolphe of Ben- 
jamin Constant, aggressive and ironical in Beyle. 

In the poor little collegian of a provincial lyceum, 
who trotted through the slippery streets of his moun- 
tain town in winter, with hia cartable under his arm 
and his feet ii galoshes, it was only an obscure and 
painful instinc. ; but this instinct, after being applied 
to my mother, grew more and more applying itself 
to my comrades and to my masters. I felt that I was 
different from them with this difference : I believed 
that I understood them perfectly and that they did 
not understand me. Reflection has taught me that I 
did not understand them any better than they under- 
stood me ; but I also see now that there was really 
this difference between us, that they accepted their 
person and mine simply, purely, bravely, while I had 
already begun to complicate myself by thirking too 



190 



THK M8CIPLB. 




much of royiolf. If I bftd very early felt tb«t, con- 
trary to tbo word of Chriat, I bad no neigbbor, it was 
beoauae I bad begun very early to exaaporate tbe oon- 
aciouinoM of my own aoul, and consequently to make 
of myself an exemplaire, witbout analogy, of ezoeaaiTe 
individual aenaibility. 

My fatber bad endowed me witb a premature 
curiosity of mind. As be wai not tbere to direct me 
toward tbe world of positive knowledge, tbia curiosity 
fell back upon myself. Tbe mind is a living creature, 
and as with all otber creatures, every power is accom- 
panied by a want. It would be necessary to reverse 
tbe old proverb and say : T • be able is to wisb. A 
faculty in us always leads to the wish to exercise it. 

Mental hereditary and my early education made an 
intellectual being of me before my time. I continued 
to be such a being, but all my intellect was applied 
to my own emotions. I became an absolute egoist 
with an extraordinary energy of disdain with regard 
to everyone else. These traits of my character ap- 
peared later under the influence of the crises of ideas 
thoufe:i which I have passed and of which I owe you 
the history. 

§ n .THE MEDIUM OF IDEAS. 

The diverse influences which I have just rather 
abstractly summarized, but in terms which you will 
understand, my dear master, had first this unexpected 



THE DISCIPLE. 



in 



rMttlt, to make of me a T«ry pious child, btlwMii my 
tleventb and my fifteenUi year. If I Ti%d been placed 
in the college ae a boarder, I ihould have grown like 
my comradee whom I have eince studied and for 
whom there hae never been a religious crisis. 

At the period of which I am writing, and which 
marked the definite advent of the democratic party in 
France, a groat wave of free thought rolled from 
Paris into all the provinces; but I was the son of a 
Tcry devout woman, and I was subjected to all the 
obserrances of religion. I find a proof of what I have 
told you of my precocious taste for analysis in the 
fact that unlike all my young companions, I was de- 
lighted with the confessional. I can say that, during 
the four years of the mystic crisis of youth, from 1876 
to 1880, the great events of my life were these long 
seances in the narrow wooden box in the churoL Les 
Minimes, which was our parish church, where I went 
every fortnight to kneel down and speak in a low 
voice, with a beating heart, of what was passing 
within me. 

The approach of my first communion marked the 
birth of this feeling for the confessional, mixed with 
contradictory elements. I believed, consequently, my 
little sins appeared to me to be veritable crimes, and 
to confess them made me ashamed. I repented, and I 
had the certainty that I rose pardoned, with the de- 



132 



THE DISCIPLE. 



"^fr .i 



If 



light of a ooQBoience washed from every stain. I 
was an imaginative and nervous child, and there was 
for me in the scenery of the sacrament, in the cold 
silence of the church, in the odor of vault and incense 
which filled it, in the stammering of my own voice 
saying, "My father," and in the whispering of the 
priest ^responding, "my son," from behind the grat- 
ing, a poetry of mystery which I felt without under- 
standing. 

United yrvii this, there was a singular impression 
of fear, which was derived from the teaching of Abbe 
Martel, the priest who prepared us for our first com- 
munion. He was a small, short man, with an apoplectic 
face, and a grave, hard blue eye, a man who had been 
educated in a provincial seminary still penetrated 
with Jansenism. His eyes, when from the pulpit of 
Des Minimes he was talking to us of hell, saw visions 
of terror, and this sensation he communicated to us. 

I rejoice that he is dead, for if he were living I 
might see him enter my prison, and who knows what 
might happen then? Perhaps I should suffer a recur- 
rence of those emotions of terror which his presence 
used to inflict. The constant themes of his discourse 
were the small number of the elect and the divine 
vengeance. 

"Who could hinder God," said the priest, "since 
he is all-powerful, from forcing the soul of the man 



"Ml 



r>m' 



THE DISCIPLE. 



133 



who has committed murder to remain near the body 
from which it is separated? The soul would be there, 
in the mortuary chamber, hearw.^ ILo sobs, seeing 
the tears of the friends, and : )t forbi Jdc ), to console 
them. It would be imprisonen i . the wi iding-sheet, 
and there during days and days and nights and nightsjit 
would be present at the corruption of the flesh, which 
was once its own, there among the worms and the rot." 
Such images and such ferocity of invention 
abounded in his bitter mouth ; they followed me into 
my sleep; the fear of hell was excited in me almost to 
madness. The Abbe Martel employed the same 
eloquence in presenting the decisive importance to 
our salvation which the approach to the communion 
table would have, and so my fear of eternal punish- 
ment led to a scrupulous examination of my con- 
science. 

Soon these close meditations, this looking as 
through a magnifying glass at my slightest deviations, 
this continuous scrutiny of my inmost self, interested 
me to such a degree that no sport had any attraction 
for me in comparison. I had found, for the first time 
since the death of my father, an employment for this 
power of analysis which was already definitive and 
almost constitutive in me. 

The development thus given to my acute sense of 
the inner life ought to have produced an amelioration 



124 



THE DISCIPLE. 






of my moral being. On the contrary, it resulted in a 
Bubtility whioh, in itself alone, was a corruption, at 
least from the point of view of strict Catholic dis- 
cipline. I became, in the course of these examina- 
tions of conscience, into which entered more of 
pleasure than of repentance, extremely ingenious, and 
discovering peculiar motives behind my most simple 
actions. The Abbe Martel was not a psychologist 
sufficiently acute to discern this shadow and to com- 
prehend that to cut the soul to pieces in this way 
would lead me to prefer the fleeting complexities of 
sin to the simplicity of virtue. He recognized only 
the zeal of a very fervent child. For example, on the 
morning of my first communion I went in tears to 
confess to him once more. 

In turning over and over again the soil and the 
subsoil of my memory, I had discovered a singular sin, 
the fear of man. Six weeks before, I had heard two 
boys, my comrades, at the door of the Lyceum, mock- 
ing an old lady who was entering the church Des 
Garmes, just opposite. I had laughed at their words 
instead of reproving them. 

The old lady was going to mass; to ridicule her 
was to ridicule a pious action. I had laughed, why? 
from false shame. Then I had participated in it. 
Was it not my duty to find the two mockers and to 
show them their impiety, and make them promise 



THE DISCIPLE. 



125 



repent? I had not done bo. Why? From false 
shame; from respect for man, according to the defini- 
tion of the catechism. I passed the whole night pre- 
ceding the great day of the first communion in 
wondering if I could see the Abbe Martel early enough 
the next day to confess this sin. I recall the smile 
with which he tapped my cheek after having given me 
absolution in order to quiet me. I hear the tone of 
his voice which had grown very sweet as he said to me : 
"May you always be what you are now." 
He did not suspect that this puerile scruple was the 
sign of an exaggeratedly unhealthy reflection, nor that 
this reflection would poison the delights of the 
Eucharist for which I had so ardently wished. I had 
not been satisfied, in the course of the preceding 
weeks, to analyze the conscience to its most delicate 
fibres, I had abandoned myself to the imagination of 
sentiment which is the forced consequence of thip 
spirit of analysis. I had anticipated with extreme 
precision the sentiments which I should experience 
in receiving the host upon my lips, in my imagina- 
tion I advanced toward the rail of the altar which was 
draped in a white cloth, with a tension of my whole 
being which I have never since experienced, and I 
felt, in communing, a kind of chilling deception, an 
ecstatic exhaustion of which I cannot describe the 
discomfort. I have since spoken of this impression 



126 



THE DISCIPLE. 



to a friend who was still a Christian and he said: 
"You were not simple enough. " His piety had given 
to him the insight of a professional observer. It was 
too true. But what could I do? 

The great event of my youth, which was the loss of 
my faith, did not, however, date from this deception. 
The causes which determined this loss were very 
numerous, and I have never clearly comprehended 
them until now. They were slow and progressive at 
first, and acted upon my mind as the worm upon the 
fruit, devouring the interior without any other sign 
of this ravage than a small speck, almost invisible, on 
the beautiful pu-ple rind. The first was, it seems to 
me, the application to my confessor of this terrible 
critical spirit, a faculty destructive of all confidence, 
which, from my infancy, had so separated me from 
my mother. 

I pushed my examinations of conscience to the most 
subtle delicacy and still the Abb^ Martel did not per- 
ceive this work of secret torture which completely 
anatomatized my soul. My scruples appeared to him, 
as they were, childish; but they were the childishness 
of a very complex boy, and one who could not be 
directed unless he might feel that he was understood. 

In my conversations with this rude and primitive 
priest I soon experienced the contrary feeling. This 
was enough to deprive this director of my youth of all 



', ::X^ 



THE DISCIPLE. jjj 

.uthority over u^ „i„a. At the ^ ttae. ^, thi. 

taew that the young p,„,e™„„, „,„„ ^^^ 
he«dthe .bbe pronounce these word, with conoen- 

«,«!-, prayers m the silence of the cerfi- 

C'fll : °""' "" ""« -i-o, displaced n. 

been Lghted .n the heads that bowed with so submi! 

«.ve a fervor at the elevation of the host 

I d.d not at that time formulate this' contrast with 
""' "-'-'"«'». but I recalled the picture o tho e 
young masters as they emerged from thTt 
t^H.. With each other in Invll^ons w^^i 

"x:: seir "'^ '"^ -' -^ '»«'- '"'-«"« 

Bmanest sentence was charffed wifi, 

„ • -i . v<uargea With science* an^ <> 



_t'; li 



128 



THE D1SCII»LE. 



S^ 



This distrust was fed by a kind of naive ambition 
which made me desire with an incredible ardor to be 
as intelligent as the most intelligent and not to vege- 
tate among those of second rank. I confess that a 
good deal of pride was mingled with this desire, but 
I do not blush at this avowal. It was a purely intel- 
lectual pride, completely foreign to any desire for 
outward success. And, if I hold myself erect at this 
moment, and in this fearful drama, I owe it first of all 
to this pride — it is this which permits me to describe 
my past with this cold lucidity, instead of running 
away like an ordinary suspect, from the noisy events 
of this drama. I can see so clearly that the first 
scenes of this tragedy began with the college youth in 
whom was acting the young man of to-day. 

The third of the causes which concurred in this 
slow disintegration of my Christian faith was the dis- 
covery of contemporaneous literature, which dates 
from my fourteenth year. I have told you that my 
mother, shortly after my father's death, suppressed 
certain books. This severity hr<.d not relaxed with 
time, and the key of the paternal bookcase continued 
to click on the steel ring between that of the pantry 
and of the cellar. The most evident result of this 
prohibition was, to heighten the charm of the remem- 
brance which these books had left of the half-compre- 
hended pieces from Shakespeare, and the half -forgotten 
romances of George Sand. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



120 



Chance willed that, at the commencement of my 
thirteenth year, I should come across some examples 
of modern poetry in the book of French authors which 
served for the year's recitations. There were frag- 
ments of Laraartine, a dozen of Hugo's pieces, the 
"Stances k la Malibran' of Alfred de Musset, some bits 
of Sainte-Beuve, and of Leconte de Lisle. 

These pages were sufSoient to make me appreciate 
the absolute difference of inspiration between the 
modem and the ancient masters, as one can appreciate 
the difference of aroma between a bouquet of roses 
and a bouquet of lilacs, with his eyes shut. This 
difference, which I divine by an unreasoning in- 
stinct, resides in the fact that, until the Revolution, 
writers had never taken sensibility as the subject and 
the only rule "f their works. It has been the contrary 
since eighty-nine. From this there results among the 
new writers a certain painful, ungovernable some- 
thing, a search after moral and physical emotion 
which has become almost morbid, and which attracted 
me immediately. 

The mystical sensuality of the "Stances du Lac" and 
of the "Crucifix," the changing splendors of several 
"Orientales," fascinat'^d me; but above all I was 
charmed at something culpable which breathes in the 
eloquence of "L'Espoir en Dieu" and in some frag- 
ments of the "Consolations. " I began to feel for the 



130 



THE DISCIPLE. 



4 




rest of the works of these uautera that strong and almost 
insane curiosity which marks the middle period of 
adolescence. One is then on the border of life, and 
he hears without seeing, as it were, the murmur of a 
waterfall through a cluster of trees, and how this 
sound intoxicates him withexpe tationi A friendship 
with a comrade who lived on the first floor of our 
house exasperated this curiosity still more. 

This friend, who died young, and who was named 
Emile, was also an inveterate reader, but more fortu- 
nate than I, he suffered from no surveillance. His 
father and mother, who were already old, lived on a 
small income and passed the long hours of the day in 
playing, in front of the window which opened on the 
Rue de Billard, interminable games of bezique, with 
cards bought in a cafe and still smelling of tobacco. 
Emile alone in his room, could abandon himself to all 
his fancies in reading. 

As we were in the same class, and as we went io 
and from the Lyceum together, my mother willingly 
permitted me to pass whole hours with this charming 
lad, who soon shared my taste for the verses which I 
BO much admired, and my desire to know more of 
their authors. 

On our way to the college, we took the narrow 
streets of the old town and passed the stall of an old 
bookseller of whom we had bought some second-hand 



THE DISCIPLE. 



131 



olMsiof. We diMoyered here a copy of the poetry of 
MuMet in rather a bad condition, which would cost 
fort. aouB. At first Wfi contented ourselves with occa- 
sional readings at the stall, but soon we felt that it 
was impossible to do without it. By putting together 
our spending money for two weeks, we were able to 
buy it, and then, in Emile'" little room, he on his bed 
and I on a chair, we read Don Paez, the Marrons du 
feu, Portia, Mardoche and Rolla. I trembled as if I 
were committing a great fault, and we imbibed this 
poetry as if it had been wine, slowly, sweetly, pas- 
sionately. 

I read afterward in this same room, and also in my 
own, thanks to the ruses of a lover in danger, many 
clandestine volumes which I very much enjoyed, from 
the "Peau de chagrin," of Balzac, to the "Fleurs du 
mal,"of Beaudlaire, not to mention the poems of 
Henrich Heine and the romances of Stendhal. 

I have never felt an emotion comparable to that of 
my first encounter with the genius of the author of 
*'Rolla. " I was neither an artist nor a historian. Was 
I therefore indifferent to their value more or less real 
or their meaning more or less actual? Not at all. 
This was an elder brother who had come to reveal to 
me the dangerous world of sentimental experience. 

The intellectual iuferiority of piety to impiety 
which I had obscurely telt appeared now in a strangely 



Hit 



THfi DISCIPLE. 



new light. All the virtues that had been preached to 

me in my childhood seemed poor and mean ind 

humble, and meaner beside the opulence and the 

frenzy of certain vices. The devotees who were my 

mother's friends, sadly old and shriveled, represented 

faith. Impiety was a handsome young man who 

awakes and looks at the crimson aurora, and in a 

glance discovers the whole horizon of history and 

legends, and then again lays his head on the bosom of 

a girl as beautiful as his most beautiful dream. 

Chastity and marriage were the bourgeois whom I 

knew who went to hear the music in the Jardin des 

Plantes, every Thursday and Sunday, and who said 

the same things in the same way. My imagination 

painted, in the chimerical colors of tiie most burning 

poetry, the faces of the libertines of the Contes 

d'Espagne and of the fragments which follow. There 

was Dalti murdeiing the husband of Portia, then 

wandering with his mistress over the dark waters of 

the lagoon among the stairways of the antique 

palaces. There were Don Paez assassinating Juana 

after folding her to himself in a fond embrace; Frank 

and his Belcolore, Hassan and his Namouna, I'Abbe 

Gassio and his Luzon. 

I was not competent to criticize the romantic falsity 
of all this fine setting, nor to separate the sincere 
from the literary portion of these poems. The com- 




THE DISCIPLE. 



133 



plete profligMr of loul appeared to me through theae 
linea, and it tempted me; it excited in my mind, al- 
ready eager for new sensations, the faculty of analysis 
already too much aroused. 

The other works which I hare cited were the pre- 
text for a temptation which was similar but not so 
strong. 

In the contemplation of the sores of the human 
heart which they exposed with so much complaisance, 
I was like those saints of the middle ages who were 
h^'pnotized by contemplation of the wounds of the 
Saviour. The strength of their piety caused the 
miraculous stigmata to appear on their hands and the 
ardor of my imagination, at the age of holy igno- 
rances and immaculate purities, opened in my soul 
the stigmata of moral ulcers which are draining the 
life blood of all the great modern invalids. 

Yes, in the years when I was only the collegian, 
the friend of little Emile, I assimilated in thought the 
emotions which the timid teachings of my masters 
indicated as the most criminal. My mind was tainted 
with the most dangerous poisons, while, thanks to my 
power of duplication, I continued to play the part of 
a very good child, very assiduous at my tasks, very 
submissive to my mother, and very pious. But no. 
However strange this must appear to you,I did not play 
that role. I was pious, with a spontaneous contra- 



134 



THE DISCII'LE. 



diction which, perhtpi, has directed my thought to 
the pnychological work to which I consecrated my 
first efforts. 

When I read in your work on the will those sugges- 
tive indications on the theory of the multiplicity of 
self, I seized upon them immediately, after having 
POHsod through such epochs as I am describing to you 
to-day and in which I have really been several dis- 
tinct beings. 

This crisis of imaginative sensibility had continued 
the attack upon my religious faith by offering the 
temptation of subtile sin and also that of painful 
scepticism. The sensuality crisis which r^sultod from 
it failed to revive this faith in my heart. 1 ceased to 
be pure when I was seventeen years old, and this hap- 
pened as usual, in very dull and prosaic circumstances. 
From that time, beside the two persons who already 
existed 'n me, between the youth who was still 
fervent, .ular, pious, and the youth romantically 
imagiuHtive, a third individual was born and grew, a 
sensual being, tormented by the basest desires. 
However, the taste for the intellectual life was so 
strong, so definite, that although suffering from this 
singular condition. I felt a sensation of superiority in 
recognizing and studying it. 

What was more strange, I did not yield to this last 
disposition more than I did to the others, with a 



-*• 1 ir.*' 



THK DISCITLE. 



13fi 



oImt tad luoid eonMioaaoMt. I reniftiued « youth 
through all thme troubles, that it to say a heiuy: utill 
uncertain and inoompleto. a beinie in whom could be 
''iaoemed the lineamenta of the aoul to oomo. 

I did not assert my mysticism, for at bottom I was 
ashamed to belieTc. aa if to believe were Bomethim? 
inferior; nor my sentimental imsKinations, for I con- 
sidered them aa simple sports of literature ; nor my 
sensuality for I was disgusted with it. And beside, 
I had neither the theory nor the audacity of my 
curiosity in regard to my faults. 

Emile, who died the following winter, of disease of 
the lungs, was very ill at th * time and did not go out 
of the house. He listened to my confidences with a 
frightened interest which flattered my self-love by 
making me think that I was diflferent from others. 
This did not prevent my being afraid, as on the even- 
ing before my first communion, at the look which 
I'Abbe Martel gave me when he met me. He had 
without doubt spoken to my mother-so far as the 
secrecy of the confessional permitted, for slio watched 
my goings out but without the power to hinder them 
entirely, and above all without suspecting any other 
than the possible causes of temptation, so well did I 
envelop myself in hypocrisy. 

The illness of my best friend, the surveillance of 
my mother, the apprehension of the priest's eyes 



rv.^. -'-atf 



w . m 



JW' 'SCk T«9r.'^ 






: ill 



l« (> 



136 



THE DISCIPLE. 



enervated me, and perhaps the more that it seemed in 
this volcanic country- as if the summer's heal drew 
from the sun a more ardent and intoxicating vapor. 
I knew at that time, days literally maddening, so made 
up were they of contradictory hours, days in which 
I arose a more fervent Christian than ever. I read a 
little in the "Imitation, " I prayed, I went to my class 
with the firm determination to be perfectly regular 
and good. As soon as I returned I prepared my 
lessons, then I went down to Emile's room. We gave 
ourselves up to the reading of some exciting book. 
His father and mother, who knew that he could not 
live, humored him in everything and allowed him to 
take from the library any work that he pleased. 

We now had in hand the most modem writers, 
whose books having recently come from Paris, ex- 
haled an odor of new paper and fresh ink. In this 
way we brought upon ourselves a chill of the brain 
which accompanied me all the afternoon after Ire- 
turned to my classroom. There, in the stifling heat 
of the day, I could see through the open door, the 
short shadows of the trees in the yard, and hear the 
far-oflf voices of some professor dictating the lessons; 
I could see the figure of Marianne, and then began a 
temptation which at first was vague and remote, but 
which grew and continued to grow. I resisted it, 
while knowing that I should succumb, as if the strug- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



137 



gle against my obscure desire made me the more feel 
its strength and aouteness. 

I went home. I hurried through my duties with a 
kind of diabolical verve, finding some power in the 
disorder of my too susceptible nerves. After dinner I 
went downstairs under pretext of se-sing Emile and 
hastened toward Marianne's. On my return I passed 
some hours at my window, looking at the stars of the 
vast sky of summer, recalling my dead father, and 
what he had said to me of these far-off worlds. Then 
an extraordinary impression of th j mystery of nature 
would seize me, of the mystery of my own soul, living 
in the midst of nature, and I do not know which I ad- 
mired more, the depths of the taciturn heavens, or the 
abysses which a day thus employed revealed in my 
heart. 

Such were the habits of my inner life, my dear 
master, when I entered the class which would decide 
my development— the class of philosophy. My en- 
chantment began in the first week of the course. 
What a course, however, and how crammed with the 
rubbish of the classic psychology! No matter, inex- 
act and incomplete official and conventional as it was, 
this psychology enamored me. The method em- 
ployed, the personal reflection and the minute analysis: 
the object 'to be studied, the human "I," considered 
in his faculties and passions; the result sought, a 



138 



THE DISCIPLE. 




bmf f„™„,„ . ,.,t Pi,, „, Phenomena; .11 ^ thi. 
new...e.ce, h„m„„i.ed too well with the .pedes of 

Z ""'t T'*"'''*^' -"^ «^»'»«o». »d my own 
tendenoies had fashioned in me. 

I forgot even my f.vorite reading and plunged into 
these works of an order until now unknown with^ 
n.or. frenzy that the death of n,y only friend wh eh 
oceurred at this time imposed on my mind wh oh 
was naturally so meditative, this problem of del;' 

,^.h I ^already felt myself powerless to solve hymy^ 

JlTrr ■" "™'^ **"" '°°" I w«. no longer 
..tasfied to follow the course. I .ought other boSs 

wh.oh would complete the teaohingof the masters'^ 
u.th.sw^,I„ued.yoame upon the "Psychology de 
Weu It .mpressed me so profoundly that I imme- 

d-ate^obtamedthe-TheoryofthePassions-andZ 
Anatomy o the Will. '• Tt.,, „„, ,„ ^^ '^ 

pure thought, the same thunderbolt as were the wrr^s 
Of De Musset in the realm of delir.o„s sensa« ^ 
The ve.l fell. The darkness of the «temal J" 
^e animal world became light. I had found my 
way. I was your pupil. ^ 

In order to explain to you in a very clear n,anner 

how your bought penetrated mine, permit me to pass 

immediately to the result of ihi ^- ^ ^ ^^^^ 

Mie result of this reading, and the 



THE DISCIPLE. 



139 



meditations which followed. You will see how I waa 
able to draw from your works a complete system of 
ethics, and which properly arranged in a marvelous 
manner the scattered elements which were floating 
about within me. 

I found in the first of these three works, the "Psy- 
chology of God, " a definite alleviation of the relig- 
ious anguish in which I had continued to live, in spite 
of temptation and of doubts. Certainly, objections 
to the dogmas had not been lacking, as I had read so 
many books which manifested the most audacious 
irreligion, and I had been drawn toward skepticism, 
as I have told you, because I found in it the double 
character of intellectual superiority and of sentimental 
novelty. 

I had felt, among other influences, that of the 
author of the "Life of Jesus. " The exquisite magic of 
his style, the sovereign grace of his dilettanteism, the 
languorous poetry of his pious impiety had affected 
me deeply, but it was not for nothing that I was the 
son of a geometrician, and I had not been satisfied 
with what there was of uncertainty, of shadow in this 
incomparable artist. 

It was the mathematical rigor of your book which 
at once took possession of my mind. You demon- 
strated with irresistible dialectics, that any hypothesis 
upon the first cause is nonsense, even the idea of this 



140 



THE DISCIPLE. 




Id th'T' 7- """^' ""««"«'"» «>« »o„«„„ 
»d h., absurdity „e „ „ece,«.:y to our m»d „ i. 

^ >r ?"'''™ °' ' '"" '-"'■■"^"oundthe 
earth although we know that the sun is immovable 
and that the e«.h itsel, is in motion. The .ll-po:"^ 
11 hT"?^ o, this reasoning charmed my intellect, 
wh.ch doclely yielded to your vision of the lucid «.d 
rafonal world. I perceived the universe as it is 
Pour.ng out without beginning, and without end. the' 
t.de of .nexhaustible phenomena. The care which 
you have ..ken to found all your arguments upon fact, 
taken from sc.ence coixesponded too well with the 
teaching of my fathdr not to have subdued me 

them"' '"" Tr °™' *"" °™' "'"''• --"".arized 
them, commented upon them, applied them with the 

«-dor of a neophyte, in order to «,simil.te aU the sub- 
stance The inteUectual pride which I had felt from 
my childhood became exalted in the young man who 
earned from you the renunciations of the sweetest, of 
the most comforting topics. 

Ahl how shall I tell you of the fervor of an initia- 
tion wh.ch was like a first love in the delights of its 
enthusiasm. Ifelt ita physical ioy to overthrow, with 
your books in my hand, the entire edifice of beliefs in 

fdicity which Lucretius has celebrated, that of the 



THE DISCIPLE. 



141 



This hymn to science, of which each of your pages 
is a strophe, I listened to with a delight as much more 
intense as the faculty of analysis, the principal reason 
of my piety, had found, thanks to you, another way 
to exercise itself than at the confessional, and that 
your two great treatises had enlightened me as to my 
inner being, at the same time that your "Psychology 
of God" enlightened me in regard to the external uni- 
verse, with a light which, even to-day, is my last, my 
inextinguishable beacon in the midst of the tempest. 

How you explained to me all the incoherences of 
my youth I This moral solitude in which I had 
suflfered so much with my mother, with the Abbe 
Martel, with my comrades, with everyone, even Emile 
—I now understood. Have you not demonstrated, in 
your "Theory of the Passion..," that we are powerless 
to get away from Self, and that all relation between 
two beings reposes, like everything else, upon 
illusion? 

Tour "Anatomy of the Will" revealed to me the 
necessary motives, the inevitable logic of the yielding to 
the temptations of the senses for which I had suflfered 
remorse so severe. The complications with which I 
reproached myself as a lack of frankness, you showed 
to be the very law of existence imposed by heredity. 
I found also, that, in searching the romancers and 
poets of the century for culpable and morbid oondi- 



U2 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I 

^1 



I Hi 

i ill 



UOB. o, «,„l, I h.a, without .„.p.cti„ H, followed 
tl«jJ,o,n To«.Uo„ of pvchologi.t. H.Tey.„not 

"All «„1. m„,t b, ooBridered by the My«holo,i,t 
» e,per.eaoM i»,til«ted by nature. A»ong tt,« 
expenenoe.. some «e ueefu] to .ociety «d «e oiled 
T.rta„; others .re injuriou. .nd .re oiled «c«.or 
«noe.. Theae l«,t „e however, the »ore ««„«„.„». 
«.d there would l«k .„ ea«»ti1 element to the 
acence of the mind, if Nero, for e..n.ple, or «,me 
It1.«. tyrant of the iifteenth century h«l not exiated?" 
On thc»e w«m aummer daya, I wlked out, with 
one of theae booka in n^ pocket, and, when lone in 
the country, I re«l ,ome of theae aentenoea and be- 
came .baorbed in meditation on their meaning I 
apphed to «.e county which aurrounded me the 
Ph loaoph.c1 «.terpret.tion of what we agree to ell 

I J'*^"""' «■« -PtionB which h«, riaed 

tte d,«n of the Domea, at whoae feet I w.nder«l, 

had deputed with burning l.v. the neighboring 

Pl«n »d deatroyed living beinga, but they had p^ 

duced th.a magnificence of acenery which char^^^ 

me, when my eyec contemplated the graceful group of 

the Par.ou. the Puy de Dome .nd aU the line of th J 

noble mountaina. " 

The road waa verd«,t with euphorbiaa in bloom 
whoae atema I broke to aee the milk-white poi»„n „° j! 



THE DISCIPLE. 



143 



tog from them. But these poiaonoug plants nourished 
the beautiful tithymal caterpiUv, green with dark 
■pots, from which a butterfly would be bom, a sphirx 
with colored wings of the finest tint. 

Sometimes a viper glided among the stones of these 
dusty roads, which 1 watched as it moved away, gray 
against the puzzuolana red, with his flat head and the 
suppleness of his spotted body. The dangerous rep- 
tile appeared to me a proof of the indifference of 
nature whose only care is to multiply life, beneficent 
or murderous, with the same inexhaustible prodi- 
gality. 

I learned then, with inexpressible force, the same 
lesson which I learned from your works, to know that 
we have nothing for our own but ourselves, that the 
"I** alone is real, that nature ignores us, as do men, 
that from her as from them we have nothing to ask if 
not some pretexts for feeling or for thinking. My 
old beliefs, in a God, the father and judge, seemed 
like the dreams of a sick child, and I expanded to the 
extreme limits of the vast landscape, to the depths of 
the immense void heaven, in thinking that as a 
youth I had already reflected enough to understand of 
this world what none of the countrymen whom I saw 
pass could ever comprehend. 

They came from the mountains, leading their oxen 
harnessed to their large carts, and saluted the cross 



lU 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I|! 



devouUy. With what d,light I „orned th.ir ,.«, 
.op.r.tition. th.« „d th. AbW Murter. ^tZ 

Z ■ "'°""' ^ •""* "»' «'•«*'>•'» »o deolar. ^ 
•the.™ fore«eing too pWaly wh.t ,«»« thi. 

d«d«.tion would p«,™kel But thew .oene, ,r..f 
no more i»port.aoe, wd I come now to th. e:rp„^ of 
. dram, which would h.ve hi^ no mewing if I b»d 
not tot «toitt«l you int. th. intin«oy of By ,ui.„, 
•nd Its formation. 

{ m. TBUSPUIITATIOII. 

By too dos. attention to rtudy during thie yw 
I brought on quite a aeriou. aine». which forced me 
to uitenupt my preparation for th. Normal School. 
When I had recovered I doubled my Jeaeon. ia 
ph.lo«>phy, at the aame time foUowing . part of th. 
rhetorical course. 

I presented myself at Uie school about the time in 
which I had the honor of being received by you 
You are acquainted with the events which followed I 
failed at the examination. My compositions lacked 
that literary brilliancy which is acquired only at the 
Ijj'ceums of Paris. 

,In November, 1886, I accepted the position of pre- 
ceptor in the Jussat-Randon family. I ^rote to you 
then that I renounced my independence in order that 
I might not be any further expense to my mother 



THE DISCIPLE. 



145 



Joined with tbii reason there was the secret hope that 
the MTings realized in this preoeptorate would permit 
me. my licentiate once passed, to prepare for my 
fellowship examination in Paris. A residence in that 
city attracted me, my dear master, by the prospect of 
liring near the Rue Guy de la Brosse. 

My visit to your hermitage had made a profound 
impression. You appeared to me as a kind of modem 
Spinoza, so completely identical with your books by 
the nobility of a life entirely consecrated to thought 
I created beforehand a romance of felicity at the idea 
that I should know the hours of your walks, that I 
should form the habit of meeting you in the old 
Jardin des Plantes, which undulates under your 
windows, that you would consent to direct me, that 
aided and sustained by you, I could also make my 
place in science; in fine you were for me the living 
certainty, the master, what Faust is for Wagner in 
the psychologic symphony of Goethe. Beside, the 
conditions which this preoeptorate offered were par- 
ticularly easy. I was above all to be the companion 
of a child twelve years of age, the second son of the 
Marquis de Jussat. 

I learned afterward why this family had retired for 
the whole winter to this chateau, near Lake Aydat, 
where they usually passed the autumn months only. 
M. de Jussat, who is originally from Auvergne, and 



146 



THE UISCIFLE. 



Who ha« heia th. office of mini.tor plenipotentiary 
under the emperor, bad just lo«t a large sum on the 
BouriNV His property being bypotheoat.d. and bi. 
mcome greatly diminished, be bad let bis bouse on 
the Cbamps-Elysiies furnished at a very high rent 

He had arrived at bis Jussat estate a little earlier 
expecting to go directly to bis villa at Cannes. An 
advantageous chance to let this villa also offered 
The desire to free bis property bad tempted him. the 
more as an increasing bypocondria made it easier to 
face the prospect of an entire year passed in solitude. 
He bad been surprised by the sudden departure of bis 
Bon Lucien's preceptor, who without doubt did not 
care to bury himself in the countiy for so many 
months, and so he had come to Clermont. He bad 
studied bis mathematics there thirty-five years before 
under M. Limasset. the old professor who was my 
father's friend. The idea bad come to him to ask 
his old master to recommend an intelligent young 
man, capable of taking charge of Lucien's studies for 
the wbolo year. M. Limasset naturally thought of me 
and I consented, for the reasons which I have given' 
to be presented to the marquis as a candidate for the 
place. 

In the parlor of one of the hotels on the Place de 
Jande, I found a man quite tall, very bald, with clear 
gray eyes in a very red face, who did not even take 



liU. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



147 



the trouble to examine me. He begun at once to 
talk, and he talkod all the time, intermingling the de- 
tails of his health— he was one of the imaginary in- 
valids—with the most lively criticisms on modern 
education. I can hear him now using pellmell 
phrases which revealed in a way the different phases of 
his character. 

"Well, my poor Limasset, when are you coming 
down to see us? The air is excellent down there. 
That is what I need. I cannot breathe in Paris. We 
never breathe enough. I hope, monsieur," and he 
turned to me, "that you are not an advocate of these 
new methods of teaching. Science, nothing but 
science; and my God, gentlemen scholars, what do 
you make of it?" Then returning to M. Limasset: 
"In my day, in our day, I may say, everybody had a 
respect for authority and for duty. Education was 
not absolutely neglected for instruction. You remem- 
ber our chaplain, the Abbe Habert, and how he 
eould talk? "What health he had I How he could 
walk in all sorts of weather without an overcoat I But 
you, Limasset, how old are you? Sixty-five, hey? 
Sixty-five, and not an ache! not one? Do you not 
think I am better since I have lived among the moun- 
tains? I am never very ill, but there is always some 
little thing the matter with me. Indeed, I would 
rather be really ill. At leawt I bbould get well then." 



149 



THE DISCIPLE. 



'1^ 



J '. 



uS'oTL"""" "'"°''""" -'J.. « tUy ecu,, 
»*>« fo my memory, my d«i, auUr it i. «„. .1. ! 

^no, M mjr mother has told m- u . 

t-d With wu. /«ii.,.T.;;t^ r ? '"" ""'•"• 

-:.rz^t.\irmr.: it r; t 

Durint, *K. ,• « «*» wiia Him m his landsu. 

by «»: eir u^T'''' ~-'-'' ^■"•-p*^ 
a....t.,aiajr:i:r;;rL^rr 

w«e exoeUenthouMlteeper.- thel 1, . m . ' 

^a.. w« Home ,0, ."^Tor^rrr x'^ .t 

"d that hi. re.tor.tion to heiUth wa. th. ™„ . • 
Portmt thin, 0/ ,Jl Th.„ ., ' "" °""' ""- 

-^ «a. .t„ ;„ hivir ::z:: 

br the heen ir LlT'nTof fZ' "" """"* 
i- .on.er„, the earn!; ""'"'"•'""""'"P 

thiitllt'""': "'""' ' '°"""> ">"■■• '-" '«>» 
th.. tormentor, who wa. already the obieot of my 



THE DISCIPLE. 



149 



contempt, I looked at the beautifal country through 
rrhioh we were paaeintc between mountain ravine* and 
woodi. now turning yellow in the autumn, with the 
Puy de U Vache at the urizon, with the hollow of ita 
crater all plowed up, and quite red with volcanic 
duat. 

What I had already aeen of the marquia, and what 
he had told me of hia family, had oonrinced me that I 
waa about to be exiled among people whom I called 
barbariana. I had giren thia name to thoae peraona 
whom I judge to be irreparable atrangen to the intel- 
lectual life. 

The proapect of thia exile did not alarm me. The 
doctrine by which I should regulate my existence waa 
■o clear to my mind! I waa so reeolved to live only 
in myself, to defend myself against all intrusion from 
without. The ch&teau to which I waa going, and the 
people who inhabited it would be only aubjectafor the 
most profitable study. 

My programme was made out: during the twelve or 
fourteen months that I should live there I would em- 
ploy my leisure in studying German, and in mas- 
tering the contents of "Beaunais' Physiology," which 
was in my small trunk, bound behind the carriage, 
together with your works, my dear master, m^ 
"Ethics, " several volumes of M. Ribot, of M. Taine, of 
Herbert Spencer, some analytical romances and Le 



150 



THE DISCIPLE. 



.-.-3[ 



promised m,^ u> Uk, ZmL ^ ^"^ 

wheel, and I W bought t^thi ' "'"' ""^ 

elo«d hy , look „d Cl^l 1/7°"' • '~°''' 
X. J ^ ' upon the fly-lsAf /^# »i. • v » 

h«d written thi. „nteaoe fron. the "Z 7 ^' ' 

Will." "Offlthe Anatomy of the 

"Spinoza boasts of havinir rf.,j- j i 

»«•*« as the m.the„.r ^ '""""' '»«- 

» uie mathematician studiaa hi. 

figures; modern mv,.i,„i 8«ometrio 

-.1,. • . wychology must study th.„ 

chemical ocmbination. elaborated in a «■ ? .^ 
reeretting that this retort may not be ..T '" """• 
«^« manageable a. those o/thelb^^l^T-""" 

I «oU you this childishness to pro,e thT ^' 
«»y .iaoerity, and to show how HtU.! '^ " 

poor and «»bitiousyoungm» a. . """"'• «» 
have described. "*°"" ""' '""""y romance. 

With my taste for duplication, I „me,„h. . 
have remarked this difference with """""^ *» 

c.lledJu,ienSorelof..Bouretrr.w"' '"■ 
hou«,of M. dcB^nal, the Lp^, oTZ"""-' 
- Balzac, in front of the house of th 1" ?"' 

— the revolt reJICT^::!;^'-^- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



161 



There is always a surprise in passing from one 
■ociety to another, but there was not a trace of envv 
or maliciousness in me. I looked at the marquis as 
he slept, wrapped, on this cool November afternoon, 
in a furred coat whose turned-up collar half-concealed 
his face. A robe of dark soft wool covered his legs. 
Dark embroidered skin gloves protected his hands. 
His hat of felt as fine as silk was pulled down over 
his eyes. I only felt that these details represented a 
kind of existence very different from ours with the 
poor and petty economy of our home which only my 
mother's scrupulous neatnesF nved from meanness. 

I rejoiced that I did not leel any envy, not the 
least atom, at the sight of these signs of prosperous 
fortune, neither envy nor embarrassment. I had my- 
self completely under control, and was steeled against 
•U vulgar prejudice by my doctrine, your doctrine, and 
by the sovereign superiority of my ideas. I will have 
traced a perfect portrait of my mind at this time if 
I add that I had resolved to erase love from the pro- 
gramme of my life. I had had, since my adventure 
with Marianne, another little experience, with the wife 
of a professor at the Lyceum, so absolutely silly and 
withal so ridiculously pretentious that I came out of 
it strengthened in my contempt for tha "Dame, " speak- 
ing after Schopenhauer, and also in my disgust for 
sensuality. 



U2 



THE DISCIPLE. 



i 



I attribute to the profound influences of Catholic 
discipline this repulsion from the flesh which has 
survived the dogmas of spirituality. I know verj' 
well, from an experience too often repeated, that this 
repulsion was insufficient to hinder profound relapses, 
but I depended upon the silence of the chateau to 
free me from all temptation and to practice in its full 
rigor the great maxim of the ancient sage: "Force all 
your /-ex to mount to the brain." Ahl this idolatry 
of the brain, of my thinking Self, it has been so 
strong in me that I have thought seriously of study- 
ing the monastic rules that I might apply them to the 
culture of my mind. Yes, I have contemplated mak- 
ing my meditations every day, like the monks, upon 
the articles of my philosophic credo, of celebrating 
every day, like the monks, the fete of one of my 
saints, of Spinoza, of Hobbes, of Stendhal, of Stuart 
Mill, of you, my dear master, in evoking the image 
and the doctrines of the initiative thus chosen, and 
impregnating myself with his example. 

I know that all this was very youthful and very 
naive, but, you see, I was not such a man as this 
family stigmatizes to-day, the intriguing plebeian who 
was dreaming of a fine marriage, and the idea con- 
necting my life with that of Mile, de Jussat was im- 
planted, inspired, so to speak, by circumstances. 

I do not write to you to paint myself in a roman- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



153 






tio light, and I do not know why I should oonoeal 
from you that, among the oiroumstanoes which urged 
me toward this enterprise so far from my thought on 
my arrival, th«) first was the impression produced on 
me by Count Andro the brother of the poor dead girl, 
whose remembrance, now that I am approaching the 
drama, becomes almost a torture; but let us go back 
to this arrival. 

It is almost five o'clock. The landau moves 
rapidly along. The marquis is awake. He points 
out the frozen bosom of the little lake, all rosy under 
a setting sun, which empurples the dried foliage of 
the beeches and oaks; and, beyond the chateau, a 
large building of modern construction, white, with its 
slender towers and its pepper-box roof, grows nearer 
at every turn of the gray road. 

The steeple of <& village, rather of a hamlet, raises 
its slates above some houses with thatched roofs. It 
is passed. We are now in the avenue of trees which 
leads to the chateau, then before the perran and im- 
mediately in the vestibule. 

We entered the salon. How peaceful it was, 
lighted by lamps with large shades, with the fire 
burning gayly in the chimney. The Marquise de 
Jussat with her daughter, was working at some knit- 
ting for the poor; my future pupil was looking over a 
book of engravings, as he stood against the open 



154 



THE DISCIPLE. 



ii 



iW- 



piano; Mile. Charlotte's governess and a religieuse 
were seated, farther oflP, sewing. Count Andr^ was 
reading a paper, which he put down at the moment of 
our arrival. 

"Yes. this was a peaceful place, and who could 
have told that my entrance would be the end of all 
peace for these persons who in an instant were im- 
pressed on my memory with the distinctness of 
portraits? 

I noticed first the face of the marquise, a tall and 
strong woman with features slightly gross, so differ, 
ent from what my imagination had conceived of a 
great lady. She v^&b truly the model housekeeper 
whom the marquis had described, but a housekeeper 
with a finished education, and who put me at once at 
my ease simply by speaking of the beautiful day that 
we had had for our journey. 

I perceived the inexpressive face of Mile. Eliza 
Largeyx. the governess, with its ever-approving smiJe; 
she was the innocent type of happy servility, of a life' 
all complaisance and of material happiness. 

"There was sister Anaclet with her peasant's eyes 
and her thin mouth. She lived permanently at the 
chateau that she might serve as nurse for the marquis 
who was always apprehensive of a possible attack. 

Theve was iittle Lucien with the fat cheeks of the 
idle child. There, too, was the young girl, who is no 



THE DISCIPLE. 



165 



more, with her beautiful form in its light drebs, her 
gentle gray eyes, her chestnut hair, and the delicate 
outline of her oval face. I can still see the gesture 
with which she oflfered her hand to her father and a 
cup of tea to me. I hear her voice saying to the 
marquis : 

"Father, did you see how rosy the little lake was 
this evening?" 

And the voice of M. de Jussat responding be- 
tween two swallows of his grog : 

*'I saw that there was some fog in the meadows 
and some rheumatism in the air." 

And the voice of Count Andre : • 

"Yes, but what fine shooting to-morrow I" then 
turning to me: "Do you shoot. Monsieur Greslon?" 

"No, monsieur," I answered. 

"Do you ride;" he asked again. 

"I do not." 

"I pity you," said he, laughing; "after war, these 
are the twc greatest pleasures that I know of." 

This in nothing, this bit of dialogue, and. thus 
transcribed, it will not explain why these simple 
phrases were the cause of my regarding Andre de 
Jussat as a being apart from any I had known until 
then; why. when I had gone to my room, where a 
servant commenced to unpack my trunk, I thought 
more of him than of his fragile and graceful sister; 



i * 



156 



i! 



THE DISCIPLE. 



nor why, at dinner and all the evening, I had eyes 
only for him. 

My naire astonishment in the presence of this 
proud and manly fellow was derived, however, from a 
very simple fact; I had grown up in a purely intel- 
lectual medium in which the only estimable forms of 
life were the intellectual. I had had for comrades 
the first of my class, all as delicate and fraU as I was 
myself, without condescending ever to notice those 
who excelled in the exercises of the body, and who 
beside only found in these exercises an excuse for 
brutality. 

All my masters whom I liked best, and the few old 
friends of my father, were also able men. When I 
had pictured the heroes of romance, they were always 
mental machines more or less complicated; but I had 
never imagined their physical condition. 

If I had ever thought of the superiority which the 
beautiful and firm animal energy of man represente 
It was in an abstract manner, but I had never felt it' 
Count Andre, who was thirty years old, presented an 
admirable example of this superiority. Figure to 
yourself a man of medium size, but lusty as an athlete, 
wi^^h broad shoulders and a slender waist, gestures 
which betrayed strength and suppleness-gestures in 
which one felt that the movement was distributed 
with that perfection which gives adroit and precise 



THE DISCIPLE. ^^y 

agility-hands and feet nervous, showing race, with 
• martial countenance, one of those bistre complexions 
behind which the blood flows, rich in iron and in 
globules; a square forehead under bushy black hair a 
mustache of the same color over a firm and tightly 
closed mouth, brown eyes, very near to a nose which 
was slightly arched, which gives to the profile a 
Tague suggestion of a bird of prey. Last a bold chin 
Bquarely cut. completed the physiognomy of a char' 
acter of invincible will. And the will is the whole 
person ; action made man. 

It weoed M if there were in thie officer, broken to 
.U bodily exercieee. ready for all exploita, no rupture 
of equilibrium between thought ,nd .otion, «,d 
that hi. whole being p.,sed entire into hi, ,n„lleet 
seatures. 

Ih.Te«enhio mount a horse so « to realize the 
«.o.ent fable of the Centaur, put ten ball, in ,„c„e,. 
aion at thirty pace, into a playing card, leap ditohe, 
w.th the lightne,, of a profe„ional gymnaat, and 
«.mebme,, to an.u,o hi, young brother, leap over a 
table, only touching it with hi, hand,. 

I knew that, during the war and though only six 
teen year, old, he had enlisted and n..de the cam- 
paign of the Loire, bearing all fatigue, and inspiring 
even the yeteran, with courage. A, I ,aw him at 
dinner this first evening, eating steadily, with that 



158 



THE DISCIPLE. 



fine humor of appetite which reTeale the fall life; 
■peaking little, but with a commanding Toice, I felt 
in a surprising degree the impression that I was in 
the presence of a creature different from myself, but 
finished and complete of bis kind. 

It seems to me as though this scene dates from 
yesterday, and that I am there, while the marquis 
plays bezique with his daughter, talking with the 
marquise, and stealthily watching Gount Andre play 
at billiards alone. I saw him through the open door, 
supple and robust in his evening dress of some light 
material, a cigar in the comer of his mouth, pushing 
the balls about with a precision so perfect thai it was 
beautiful; and I, your pupil, I, so proud of the ampli- 
tude of my mind, followed with open mouth the 
slightest gestures of this young man who was ab- 
sorbed in a sport so vulgar, with the kind of envious 
admiration which a learned monk of the middle ages, 
unskillful in all muscular games, must have felt in 
presence of a knight in armor. 

When I use the word envy I beg you to under- 
stand me, and not to attribute to me a baneness which 
was never mine. Neither this evening nor during 
the days which followed was I ever jealous of the 
name of Count Andre, nor of his fortune, nor of any 
of the social advantages which he possessed, and of 
which I was so deprived. Neither have I felt that 



I 



THE DISCIPLE. 



169 



■trtnge hat« of the male for the male, very finely 
noted by you in your page* on love. 

My mother had had the weakness to tell me often 
in my childhood that I was a pretty boy. Without 
being a coxcomb, I may say that there was nothing 
displeasing in me, neither in my face nor in my 
figure. I say this to you, not from vanity, but to 
prore that there was not an atom of vanity in the sort 
of sudden rivalry which made me an adversary, al- 
most an enemy, of Count Andre from this first even- 
ing. There was as much admiration as envy in this 
antipathy. Upon reflection, I find in the sentiment 
which I have tried to define the probable trace of an 
unconscious avatism. 

I questioned the marquis later, whose aristocratic 
pride I thus flattered, upon the genealogy of the 
Jussat-Randons, and I believe that they are of a pure 
and conquering race, while in the veins of the de- 
scendant of the Lorraine farmers who writes these 
lines to you flows the blood of ancestors who had 
been slaves of the soil for centuries. Certainly, be- 
tween my brain and that of Count Andre there is the 
same diflference as there is between mine and yours, 
greater, since I can comprehend you and I defy him 
to follow my reasonings, even that which I am pursu- 
ing now, upon our relations. 
To speak frankly, I am a civilized being, he is 



100 



THE DISCIPLE. 



il 



li 

I ! 

ft 



only a barbarian. But I felt immediately the aenia- 
tion that my refinement was leHs ariatooratio than hie 
barbariam. I felt where, at once, and in the depths of 
tbia initinot of life, into which the mind deaoenda 
with much difficulty, the revelation of this precedence 
of race which modem acienoe affirms of all nature and 
which, by consequence, must be true also ot man. 

Why even use this word envy, which serves as the 
label of irrational hostilities like those with which the 
count immediately inspired me? Why should not 
this hostility be inherited like the rest? Any human 
acquisition whatever, that for example of character 
and of active eneripr, implies that, during centuries 
and centuries, files of individuals of which one is the 
supreme addition, have acted and willed. During 
this long succession of years, an antipathy, sometimes 
clear and sometimes obscure, has rendered the indi- 
viduals of the first group odious to individuals of the 
second, and when two representatives of this sover- 
eign labor of ages, also typical each in his kind an 
were the count and myself, meet, why not stand up 
the one in face of the other, like two beasts of differ- 
ent species? 

The horse that has never been near a lion trembles 
with fright when his bed is made of the straw upon 
which one of these creatures has slept. Then 
fear is inherited, and is not fear one form of hate? 



i| 



ii II 



THE DISCIPLE. 



161 



Whr it not all hate inherited? And in hundreds of 
casea enty would be, aa it aurely waa in mine, only 
the echo c. hatea formally felt by those whose sons we 
are, and who continue to pursue, through ua, the 
<K>mbBta of heart begun centuries ago. 

There ia a current proverb that antipathies are 
mutual, and if it is admitted my hypothesis upon the 
secular origin of antipathies becomes very simple. It 
happens, however, that this antipathy does not mani- 
feat itself in the two beings at o. je. Thia is the case 
when one of the two does not deign to notice the 
other, and also when the other dissimulates. 

I do not believe that Count Andre experienced at 
first the aversion that he would have felt if he had 
read to the bottom of my soul. In the beginning he 
paid very little attention to a young man of Clermunt 
who had come to the chateau to be tutor ; then I had 
decided on a constant dissimulation of my real Self, 
imprisoned among strangers. I felt no more re- 
pugnance for this defensive hpyocrisy than the 
gardener would have had in putting straw around the 
cun-?nt bushes to preserve their fruit against unows 
and frosts. The falseness of attitude corrtaponded 
too well with my intellectual pride to jirevent me 
from giving myself up to it with delight. 

On the other hand Count Andre had no motive 
for concealing his character from me, and on this same 



169 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Hi 



•▼•ninK, »t tha hour o/ r«tirinif, lie ankeil me to come 
into bi. .tucly to talk • little. He had hardly looked 
•t me. and I underitood plainly that hia intention 
waa not to put any more familiarity between ui. but 
to gire me bit opiniona on my role m preceptor. 

He oooupied a auite of three rooma in a wing of 
the cb&teau. a bedroom, a dreaaing-room and the 
amoking.room in which we now found ouraelvea. A 
large upholatered divan, aeveral armobaira and a maa- 
■ire deak, oonati uted the furniture of tbia room. 

On the walla glittered arma of all kinds, guna of 
Tangiera, aabrea and musketii of the first empire, and 
a Pruaaian helmet, which the count pointed out to me 
•Imoat aa aoon as we had entered. He had lighted a 
abort brierwood pipe, prepared two glasses of brandy 
mixed with seltzer water, and lamp in hand, be 
abowed me the helmet saying: 

"I am Tery sure that I knocked that fellow over. 
You do not know anything about the aensation of 
holding an enemy at the point of your gun. of taking 
aim, of seeing him fall, and thinking : Another one 
gone? It happened in a Tillage not far from Orleans. 
I was on guard at daybreak, in a comer of the ceme- 
tery. I saw a head above tho wall, it looked over, 
then the shoulders followed. It was this inquisitive 
fellow who wanted to see what we were doing. He 
did not go back to tell." 



THE DrSCIPLB. 



168 



He put down the lamp, and, after laughing a 
little at thii remembrance, he became aerioua. I had 
felt obliged, for the aake of politeneea, to moiiten my 
lipa in the mixture of gaaeoua water and alcohol, aud 
the count continued : 

"I wiahed to talk with you about Luoien, moo- 
aieur, to explain hie character and in what . yy he ia 
to be directed. Hia old tutor waa an e> rll" tt *nf»«. 
but Tery weak, very indolent. I haT'i n< tu\w,u>\ 
your coming because you area yo'in.- »ji.i, ai..1 a 
young man ia more auitable forLu«^nu. '^'ot'V.in^ 
monsieur, ia worae than nothing, aoiutinit . vn,n it 
falsifiea ideas. The great thing in thin hfe, i oxiph' 
almost say the only thing, is character." 

He made a pause as if to ask my opinion, I an- 
awered with some banal phrase which supported his 
view. 

"Very well," he continued, "we understand one 
another. At present, for a man of our name, tL- "*« is 
in France only one profession, that of a soldier. &. 
long as our country is in the hands of the canaille and 
80 long aa we haye the Germans to fight, our duty is 
in the only place that remains to us— the army. 
Thank God my father and my mother uhare these 
opinions. Luoien will be a soldier, and a soldier has 
no need of knowing all that the people prate about 
to-day. Having honor, sangfroid, uiuscles and loving 



164 



THE DISCIPLE. 



France, everythini? in right. I Im.l all the trouble in 
the world to take my degree. This year muht be for 
Luoien, above ererything else, a year of outdoor life; 
and, for atudiea, these must be conversations only. It 
ia to your talks with him that I wish to call your 
attention. You must insist on the practical, on the 
positive, and on principles. He has some faults 
which must be corrected. You will find him very 
good, but very soft; he must learn to endure. 

"Insist, for example, upon his going out in all 
aorta of weather, that he walk two or three hours 
every day. He ia very inexact, and I insist that he 
shall become as punctual as a chronometer. He also 
is untruthful. I think this the most horrible of vicea. 
I can pard. n everything, yes, many, many follies. I 
never forgive a falsehood. We have had, from my 
father's old master, such good recommendation of you, 
of your life with your mother, of your dignity, of your 
H.rictness, that we depend very much on your in- 
fluence. Your age permits you to be as much a com- 
panion as a preceptor for Lucien. Example, you see, 
is the best kind of te-.ching. Tell a conscript that it 
is a noble and fine thing to march up to the fire, and 
he will listen to you without understanding you. 
March in front of him. swaggering, and he becomes 
more of a blusterer than you are. 

"As for me, I rejoin my regiment in a few days, 





THE DISCIPLE. 



16ff 



but absent or present, you can depend on my support; 
if it should ever be a question what to do, that this 
child become what he ought to become, a man who 
can serre his country bravely, and, if God permit, bis 
king." 

This discourse, which I believe I have faithfully 
reproduced, did not at all astonish me. It was quite 
natural in a house in which the father was an old 
monomaniac, the mother a simple housekeeper, the 
sister young and timid, that the oldest brother should 
hold a directing place, and talk with the new precep- 
tor. It was also quite natural that a soldier and a 
gentleman educated in the ideas of his class and of 
his profession should speak as a soldier and a gentle- 
man. 

You, my dear master, with your universal com- 
prehension of natures, with your facility in disen- 
tangling the line which unites the temperament and 
the medium of ideas, you would have seen in Count 
Andre a very definite and significant case. And for 
what had I prepared my locked notebook if not to 
coUect documents of this kind upon human nature? 
And was there not here everything new in the person 
of this officer, so single and so simple, who manifested 
a mode of thought evidently identical with his mode 
of being, breathing, moving, smoking and eating? 
Ah I I see too well that my philosophy was not as 



166 



THE LISCIPLE. 



t'l J6 i 
i; S 1 



r 1: 



I . ■'" 



d.«>our« „d the conviction, it „pr«.«J. in.t..d of 
Plea..n, n.. by thi. «„ .acourter of lo,i., only »- 
!«««! the wound of „tip.thy which hi.d be.n Jrcdy 
opened, I knew not where, in my .elf-loTe perhep. 
tor I w« wed and fr.ii in the p««ence of the .trong 
—surely in my inmost sensibility. 
None of the count". ide» hsd the 1,,^. y^„, ;„ 

Z T, T"' "'" "" "■" •""" "»"""—. -d 

•nstesdof d,.pi.ing this foolishness. «I.houldh„e 
dMP«ed It in .ny other CMe. I be«.n to h.to it in hi. 

A tidier-, profcMion? I con.idered it « 
wretched. bec.u« of it, brut.1 as«H,i.tions „d the 
t.»e lost. th.t I w„ gl«, thst I was the «,nof . 
widow that I might escape the barbarity of the b^ 
rack, and the miseries of its discipline 

The hatred of Germ«,y? 1 h^ j,;^ ^ ^^ 
irtroy It in myself, as the worst of prejudices, from 
disgust of the imbecile comrades whom I saw exalt it 
into an ignorant patriotism, and al«, from admiration 
for the people to whom psychology owes Kant and 
Schopenhauer, Lotze and Fechaer. Helmholz and 

Political faith? I pr„fe,,ed an cqul disdain for 
the gross hypotheses which, under the name of legit- 
"», republicanism, C«sarism. pretended to go,- 




THE DISCIPLE. 



167 



era a oountry a priori. I dreamed with the author of 
ihe "Diaiogues Philouophiques, " of an oligarchy of 
aaTanta, a deapotism of psyohologiats and economists, 
of phyaiologista and historians. 

Practical life? This was a diminished life for me. 
who aaw in the external world only a field of experi- 
ences in which an enfranchised soul Tentures with 
prudence, just far enough to collect emotions. Fin- 
ally this contempt for falsehood which the count pro- 
fessed struck me as an affront, at the same time that 
his absolute confidence in my morality, based upon a 
false impression of me, embarrassed me, chilled me, 
hurt me. 

Certainly the contradiction was piquant; I consid- 
ered the portrait which my father's old friend had 
drawn; it pleased me in a certain way that they 
should believe it like me, and I felt irritated that he. 
Count Andre, did not distrust me. But what does 
that prove, if not that we never thoroughly know 
ourselves? You have magnificently said, my dear 
master: "Our states of consciousness are like islands 
upon an ocean of darkness whose foundations are for- 
ever being removed. It is the work of the psycholo- 
gist to divine by soundings the ground which makes 
of these isles the visible summits of a mountain chain, 
invisible and immovable under the moving mass of 
waters." 



168 



THE DISCIPLE. 



H i 




I have not described this first eyening at the 
chateau because it had any immediate consequences, 
for I retired after assuring Count Andre that I was 
entirely of his opinion in regard to his young brother, 
and, having reached my room, I confined myself to 
consigning these words to my notebook, with com- 
ments more or less disdainful; but these first impres- 
sions will help you to understand some analogous 
impressions which followed, and the unexpected 
crisis which resulted from them. 

It is one of those submarine chains of which you 
speak, and which I find to-day when I throw the 
sound to the very bottom of my heart. Under the 
influence of your books, and of your example, I be- 
came more and more intelleciualized, and I believed 
that I had definitely renounced the morbid curiosity 
of the passions which had made me find exquisite 
pleasure in my guilty readings. Thus we retain por- 
tions of the soul which were very much alive, and 
which we believe to be dead, but which are only 
drowsing. 

And so little by little, after an aequaintance of 
only fifteen days with this man, my elder by nine or 
ten years, and who was, all reality, all energy, this 
purely speculative existence of which I had so sin- 
cerely dreamed, began to seem — how shall I express 
it? Inferior? Oh, no, for I would not have con- 



-■ .V.', 



,.-^jT 



THE DISCIPLE. 



160 



■anted, at the price of an empire, to become Count 
Andre, even vith his name, his fortune, his physical 
■uperiority. and his ideas. Discolored? Not even 
that. The word incomplete appears to me the only 
one which expresses the singular disfavor which the 
■udden comparison between the count and myself 
diffused over my own convictions. 

It is in this feeling of incompleteness that the 
principal temptation of which I was tb« victim re- 
aides. There is nothing very original. I believe, in 
the state of mind of a man who, having cultivated to 
excess the faculty of thought, meets another man 
having cultivated to the same degree the faculty trf 
action and who feels himself tormented with nostalgia 
in presence of this action, however despised. 

Goethe has drawn the whole of his Faust from 
this nostalgia. I was not a Faust. I had not, like 
the old doctor, drained the cup of Science; and yet, 
I must believe that my studies of thehe last years, by 
overexciting me in one direction, had left in me un- 
employed powers, which trembled with emulation at 
the approach of this representative of another race 
of men. 

While admiring him, envying and despising him 
at the same time, during the days which followed, I 
could not prevent my mind from thinking. And I 
thought: "That man who would value him for his 



fr.r^ 



170 



THE DISCIPLE. 



■'■ I 



i« 
1? 



4, 






•otivity and me for my thought, would truly be the 
■uperior man that I have desired to become." 

But do not action and thought exclude one an- 
other? They were not incompatible at the Renais- 
«anoe and later, Qoethe has incarnated in himself the 
double destiny of Faust, by turns philosopher and 
courtier, poet and minister; Stendahl was romancer 
and lieutenant of dragoons; Constant was the author 
of "Adolphe" and a fiery orator, as well as duelist, 
actor and libertine. 

This finished culture of the *%" which I had 
made the final result, the supreme end of my doc- 
trines, was it without this double play of tho faculties, 
this parallelism of the life lived and the life thought?' 
Probably my first rep et at feeling myself thus 
dispossessed of a whole world, that of fact, was only 
pride. But with me. and by the essentially philo- 
sophic nature of my bemg, nsationsare immediately 
transformed into ideas. 

The smallest accidents appear in my mind to state 
general problems. Every event of my destiny leads 
me to some theory on the destiny of all. Here, where 
another man would have said: "It is a pity that fate 
should have permitted a single kind of development, " 
I took it on myself to ask if I were not deceived in 
the law of all development. 
Since I had, thanks to your admirable books, freed 






THE DISCIPLE. 



171 



my loul and oast to earth my vain roligious terrori, I 
had reUined only one of my old, pious practices, the 
habit of daily examining my conscience, under the 
form of a journal, and from time to time I made what 
I called an orison. I transported, with a singular 
enjoyment, the terms of religion into the realm of my 
personal sensibility. I called that again the liturgy 
of the*'I." 

One evening of the second week of my stay at the 
chateau, I employed several hours in writing out a 
general confession, that is to say, in drawing a pic- 
ture of my diverse instincts since the first awakening 
of my consciousness. I arrived at this conclusion, 
that the essential trait of my nature, the characteris- 
tic of my inmost being, had always been the faculty 
of duplication. That means that I had always felt a 
tendency to be at once passionate and reflective, to 
live and to see myself live. But by imprisoning my- 
self, as I wished, in pure reflection, by neglecting to 
live and to have only one eye open upon life, did I 
not risk resembling that Amiel whose dolorous journal 
appeared at that time, and sterilizing myself by the 
abuse of analsyis to emptiness? 

In vain did your image return to me to reinforce 
me in my resolution to live an abstract existence. I 
recall the phrases on love in the "Theory of the Vm- 
sion," and I saw you, at my age, abandoning yourself 



■ > W 1 



nt 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Hi 






to the culpable experienoet wbioh ulnmdy obaoiurs}/ 
tempted me. I do not know if thie ohemiitry of 
soul, so 'Tery complex snd rery sincere, will seem 
sufficiently lucid. The work by which an emotion is 
elaborated in us, and ends by resoWing itself into an 
idea, remains so obscure that the idea is, sometimes, 
exactly contrary to that which simple reason oould 
hare foreseen 1 

Would it not hare been natural, for example, that 
the kind of admiring antipathy roused in me by my 
encounter with Count Andre should have ended either 
in a declared repulsion, or in a definite admiration ? In 
the first case, I should hare thrown myself more into 
science, and in the other, have desired a more active 
morality, a more practical virility in my actions. 
But the natural for each one, is his own nature. 
Mine willed that the admiring antipathy for the count 
should become a principle of criticism, in regard to 
myself, that this criticism should produce a new 
theory of life, that this theory should reveal my native 
diHposition for passional curiosity, that the whole 
should dissolve itself into a nostalgia of sentimental 
experiences and that, just at this moment, a young 
girl should enter into my life whose presence alone 
would have sufficed to provoke the desire to please in 
any young man of my age. 

But I was too intellectual for this desire to be bom 



m 



THE DISCIPLE. 



173 



in my heart without paiuiiiiK through my head. At 
leaat. if I felt the oharm of grace and delicacy which 
•manated from thie child of twenty yearn, I felt it 
while believing that I reasoned about it. There are 
timee when I ask myself if it was so, times when aU 
my history appears more simple, and I say : 

"I was honestly in love with Charlotte, because she 
was pretty, refined and tender, and I was young; 
then I gave some pretexts of the brain because I was a 
man proud of ideas and did not wish to love like other 
men." 

Ah I what acoinf t when I persuade myself to 
speak in this way I I can pity myself instead of being 
a horror to myself, as happens when I recall the cold 
resolution, which I cherished in ray mind, consigned 
to my notebook, and verified alas! by the event, the 
resolution, to injure this girl without loving her, 
from motives of purely psychological curiosity, from 
the pleasure of acting, of governing a living soul, of 
contemplating at will and directly this mechanism of 
passion which I had until then only studied in books, 
from the vanity of enriching my mind by a new 
experience. 

But it is well, I could not have wished otherwise, 
impelled as I was by my heredities an.! my education,' 
removed into the new medium where I was thrown by 
chance, and bitten, as I was by tLia ferocious spirit 



I! 





it 



174 



THE DISCIPLE. 



of riralry against the insolent young man who waa 
my oppoaita? 

But tUia pura and tender girl waa worthy of meet- 
ing a man who waa not a oold and murderous oalou- 
lating machine. Only to think of her melts and 
renda my heart. 

I did not notioe at first sight that perfection of the 
linea of the face« that brilliance of complexion, that 
royalty of bearing which distinguishes the rery beau- 
tiful woman. Everything in her physiognomy waa a 
delicate demi-tint, from the shade of her chestnut 
hair to the misty gray of her eyes and to her com- 
plexion which was neither pale nor rosy. One thought 
of modesty when studying her expression, and of 
fragility when remarking her feet, and hands, and 
the almost too minute grace of her movements. 

Although she was rather short, she appeared tall 
because of the noble way in which her head was set 
on her slender neck. If Count Andre reproduced one 
of their common ancestors by an evident avatism, she 
resembled her father, but with so charming an ideality 
of linoa that one could not admit the resemblance 
unless they were side by side. It was easy, however, 
to recognize in her the nervous c'-stpoeition which 
produced hypohcnndria in her father. 

Charlotte bad a sensibility which was almost mor- 
bid, which was revealed at times by a ulii^bt tremu- 



■^^l*!"?^* 



THE DISCIPLE. 



170 



Unun%m of handi and lipt. thoM beautiful ainnottt 
lipi whara dwelt a goodneaa almoat dirine. Her finn 
ohia ahowed a rare atrength o£ will in ao frail an 
•ntelope, and I now understand that the depth of her 
ayea, aometimee motionleaa aa if fixed on aome objeut 
▼iaible to heraelf alone, betrayed a fatal tendano/ to a 
fixed idea. 

The first trait that I apeoially obaerred waa her 
extreme kindness, and thia waa brought to my notice 
by little Lucien. The child told me that hia aistor 
had aereral times wished him to ask me if there was 
anything lacking in my room. 

Thia ia a very puerile detail, but it touched me be- 
oama I felt very lonely in this great house where no 
person, since my arrival, had seemed to pay the least 
attention to me. The marquis appeared only at din- 
ner, wrapped in a robe-de-chamhre and groaning over 
hia health or politics. The marquise was occupied in 
making the chateau comfortable, and held long con- 
ferencea with an upholsterer from Clermont. Count 
Andre rode in the morning, hunted in the afternoon, 
and, in the evening, smoked his cigars without ever 
addressing a word to me. The governess and the 
religieuite looked at one another and looked at me 
with a discretion which froze me. 

My pupil was an idle and dull boy, who had the 
redeeming quality of being very simple, very confid- 



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17(3 



THE DISCIPLE. 



ing, and of telling me all that I wished to know of 
himself and the rest of his family. I learned in this 
way that their stay in the country this year was the 
work of Count Andre, which did not astonish me in 
the least, for I felt more and more that he was the 
real head of the family; I learned that the year pre- 
ceding he had wished to marry his sister to one of 
his comrades, a M. de Plane, whom Charlotte had 
refused, and who had gone to Tonquin. 

In our two daily classes, one in the morning from 
eight o'clock to h^lf-past nine, the other in the after- 
noon from three o'clock until half-past four, I had a 
great deal of trouble to fix the attention of the little 
idler. Seated on his chair, opposite me on the other 
side of the table, and rolling his tongue against his 
cheek, while he covered the paper with his big awk- 
ward writing, he would now and then glance up at 
me. 

He noticed on my face the least sign of abstraction. 
With the animal and sure instinct of children, he soon 
saw that I would make him go on with his lessons 
less quickly when he talked to me of his brother or 
sister, and so this innocent mouth revealed to me that 
there was, in this cold, strange house, some one who 
thought of me and of my comfort. 

My mother had failed so much in this regard, al- 
though I might not wish to confess it I And it waa 



THE DISCIPLE. 



177 



this act of Bimple politeness which made me regard 
Mile, de Jussat with more attentiou. 

The second trait that I discovered in her was a 
taste for the romantic, not that she had read many 
romances, but as I have already told you, her sensi- 
bility was extreme, and this had given her an appre- 
hension of the real. 

"Without herself suspecting it she was very differ- 
ent from her father, her mother and her brothers ; 
and she could neither show herself to them in the 
truth of her nature, nor see them in the truth of theirs 
without suffering. So she did show herself, and she 
forced herself not to see them. She formed, spon- 
taneously and ingenuously, opinions of those she 
loved which were in harmony with her own heart and 
so directly contrary to the evidence that they would 
have seemed false or flattering in the eyes of a 
malevolent observer. She would say to her mother, 
who was so ordinary and material: "Mamma, you are 
so quick to see;" to her father so cruelly egotistical: 
"You are so kind, papa," and to her brother who was 
so positive, so self-suflScient : "You understand every- 
thing," and she believed it. But the delusion in 
which this gentle creature imprisoned herself, left 
her a prey to the most complete moral solitude, and 
deprived her, to a very dangerous degree, of all judg- 
ment of character. 



178 



THE DISCIPLE. 



She was as ignorant of herself as of others. She 
languished, unknown to herself, for the society of 
some one who should have sentiments in harmony 
with her own. For example, I observed in the first 
walks that we took together, that she was the only 
one who could really feel the beauty of the landscape 
formed by the lake, the woods that surround it, the 
distant volcanoes and the autumn aky, often more 
blue than the sky of summer because of the contrast 
of its azure with the gold of the leaves, and which was 
sometimes so veiled, so sadly vaporous and distant. 

She would fall into silence without any apparent 
reason, but really because her whole being became 
dissolved into the charm of things about her. She 
possessed in the state of pure instinct and unconscious 
sensation the faculty which makes the great poets and 
the great lovers, namely, the faculty of forgetting one- 
self, of dispelling oneself, of losing oneself entirely 
in whatever touches the heait, whether it be a veiled 
horizon, a silent and yellow-tinted forest, a piece of 
music or a touching story. 

I did not, at the beginning of our acquaintance, 
formulate the contrast between that combative animal 
her brother and this creature of sweetness and grace 
who ran up the stone staircases of the chateau with a 
step so light that it seemed scarcely poised, and whose 
smile was so welcoming and yet so timid. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



179 



I will dare to tell all, since I repeat it, I am not 
writing in order to paint myself in beautiful colors, 
but to show myself as I am. I will not say that the 
desire to make myself beloved by this adorable child, 
in whose atmosphere I began to feel so much pleasure, 
was not caused by this contrast between her and her 
brother. 

Perhaps the soul of this young girl became as a 
field of battle for the secret, the obscure antipathy 
whi'^h two weeks had transformed into hate? Per- 
haps there was concealed the cruel pleasure of humili- 
ating the soldier, the gentleman, by outraging him 
in what he held most precious? I know that this is 
horrible, but I should not be worthy of being your 
pupil if I did not disclose the lowest depth of my 
heart. And, after all, this odious cloud of sensations 
may be only a necessary phenomenon, like the others, 
like the romantic grace of Charlotte, like the simple 
energy of her brother, and like my own complexities 
— so obscure even to myself. 



§ rV. THE FIRST CRISIS. 

I remember very distinctly the day on which the 
project of winning the love of the sister of Count 
Andre presented itself to me, no longer as a romantic- 
ally visionary idea, but as a precise possibility, near, 
almost immediate. 



180 



THE DISCIPLE. 



i 



After I had been nt the chateau two months I went 
to Clermont to pass the New-Year holidays with my 
mother, and I had been back a week. The snow had 
been falling for forty-eight hours. The winters in 
our mountains are so severe that nothing but the mar- 
quis' monomania can explain his obstinacy in re- 
maning in this savage lone waste, which is indefinitely 
swept by sudden and violent gusts of wind. 

It is proper to state that the marquise watched over 
the comforfc of the household with a marvelous adjust- 
ment of daily resources, and although Aydat is con- 
sidered isolated by the inhabitants of Saint-Saturnin 
and Saint-Amand-Tallende, the communication with 
Clermont remains open even in the worst rigor of the 
season. Then the season offers sudden and radiant 
changes, mornings of storm are suddenly succeeded by 
evenings of incomyarable azure in which the country 
beams as if transformed by the enchantment of light. 
This was the case on the day my fatal resolution 
became fixed and took form. I can see the lake now, 
covered with a thin sheet of ice, under which the 
supple shivering of the water could be discerned. I 
see the vast slope of the Cheyre, white with snow, its 
whiteness broken by dark spots of lava ; and perfectly 
white, without a spot, rises the circle of mountains, 
the Puy de Dome, the Puy de la Vache, that of 
Vichatal, that of De la Eodde, that of Mont Redon, 



THE DISCIPLE. 



181 



while the forest of Rouillet stands out against the 
background of snow and azure. 

Some minute details rise again before my eyes 
which were then scarcely noticed and have remained 
concealed, one knows not in what hiding-place of the 
memory. I see a cluster of birches whose despoiled 
branches are tinted with rose. I see the crystals 
which sparkle at the end of a tuft of broom which, 
thin and still green, marks the tracks of a fox on the 
immaculate carpet, and the flight of a magpie which 
cries out in the middle of the road, and this sharp cry 
renders the silence of this immense horizon almost 
perceptible. I see some yellow and brown sheep 
which are driven by a shepherd clothed in a blue 
blouse, wearing a large, low, round hat, and accom- 
panied by a red and shaggy dog with shining yellow 
eyes, very near together. 

Yes, I can see all this landscape, and the four per- 
sons who are walking on the road which leads toward 
Fontfrede: Mile. Iiargeyx, Mile, de Jussat, my 
pupil and myself. Charlotte wore an Astrakhan 
jacket; a fur boa was wrapped around her neck mak- 
ing her head appear still more petite and graceful 
under its Astrakhan toque. After the long imprison- 
ment in the chateau the keen air seemed to intoxicate 
her. Her cheeks were red, her small feet plunged 
raliantly into the snow, where they left their slight 



189 



THE DISCIPLE. 



trace, and her eyes sparkled with delight at the beauty 
of nature— a privilege of simple hearts which is never 
felt when the soul has become desiccated by force of 
reasoning, abstract theories and certain kinds of 
reading. 

I walked beside her and so rapidly that we were 
soon far ahead of Mile. Largeyx, whose clogs slipped 
on the road. The child, sometimes in front, sometimes 
behind, stopped or ran on with the vivacity of a young 
animal. In the company of these two gay creatures 
I grew gloomy and taciturn. Was this the nervous 
irritation which makes us at certain times antipa- 
thetic to the joy which we see around us without shar- 
ing it? Was it the half-unconscious outline of my 
future plan, and did I wish to force the young girl to 
notice me by a kind of hostility against her pleasure? 
During the whole of this walk, I, who had formed 
the habit of talking a great deal with her, scarcely 
responded by monosyllables to the admiring remarks 
which she addressed to me, as if she wished me to 
share in the pleasure of her emotions. 

By brusque replies, and by silence, my bad humor 
became so evident that Mile, de Jussat, in spite of her 
enthusiasm, could not fail to notico it. She glanced 
at me two or three times, with a question on her lips 
which she did not dare to formulate, then her face 
became sad. Her gayety fell little by little at con- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



183 



tact with my gulkineas, and I could trace upon her 
transparent face the iJaaaage, by which she ceased to 
be sensible to the beauty of things and was conscious 
only of my sadness. 

The moment came when she could no longer control 
the impression which this sadness made upon her, 
and, in a voice which timidity rendered a little stifled, 
she asked : 

"Are you suffering. Monsieur Greslon?" 

"No, mademoiselle," I replied with a brusquerie 
which must have wounded her, for her voice trembled 
as she said : 

"Then some one has done something to you? You 
are not as you usually are. " 

"No one has done anything to me," I answered, 
shaking my head; "but it is true," I added, "that I 
have reasons for being sad, very sad, to-day. It is 
the anniversary of a great grief, which I cannot tell 
you." 

She looked at me again, and I could follow in her 
eyes the movements which agitated her, as one follows 
the movements of a watch through a glass case. I had 
seen her so uneasy at my attitude that she lost her 
feeling for the divine landscape. I saw her now, 
comforted that I had no cause for grief against her, 
but touched by my melancholy, curious to know the 
cause, and not daring to ask me. She only sal a : 



184 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Then she was 



"Pardon me for quostioning you." 
■ilent. • 

TheBe few minuteii sufficed to show me the place 
which I already occupied in her thoughts. Ah I be- 
fore the proof of this delicate and noble interest. I 
-hould have been ashamed of my falsehood, for so' it 
was, this mi-dimnt recollection of a great grief— a 
gratuitous and instantaneous falsehood whose sudden 
invention has often astonished myself. 

Why had I suddenly thought to clothe myself in 
the poetry of a great grief. I whose life, since the 
death of my father, had been so quiet, so free from 
any sacrifices? Had I yielded to the innate taste for 
duplicating myself always so strong? This romantic 
aflfectation. did it show the hysteria of vanity which 
urges some children to lie. without reason and with 
BO much unexpectedness? Did a vague intuition 
cause me to see in this play of deception and melan- 
choly the surest means of interesting the Count's 
sister? 

I cannot tell the precise motives which governed 
me at that moment. Assuredly I did not foresee 
either the effect of my assumed sadness or of my 
falsehood, but I remember that as soon as the effect 
was known a resolution was formed in my mind to 
go on to the end and see what impression I could pro- 
duce on the soul of this young girl, by continuing, 



THE DISCIPLE. 



18A 



with consoiouHnefls and calculation, the comedy half- 
initiuctivoly begun in this luminous afternoon of 
January in presence of a magnificent landscape, which 
should have served as a frame for other dreams. 

Now that the irreparable is accomplished, and by a 
retrospective penetration, horribly painful—for it 
convicts me of ignorniico aud of cruelty— I under- 
stand that I had already inspired Charlotte with the 
truest and the tenderent feelings. All the diplomatic 
psychology which I employed wos only the odious 
and ridiculous work of a scholor in the science of the 
heart. I understand that I did not know how to in- 
hale the flowers which bloomed naturally for me in 
this soul. I had only to let myself know and enjoy 
the emotions which presented themselves, to live a 
sentimental life as exalted oud extended as that of my 
intellect. 

Instead, I paralyzed my heart by ideas. I wished 
to conquer a soul already conquered, to play a game 
of chess, where I needed only to be simple, and I 
have not even the proud consolation of saying to my- 
self that I have, at least, directed the ama of my 
destiny as I pleased, that I have combined the scenes, 
provoked the episodes, conducted the intrigue. 

It was played entirely in her, and without my com- 
prehending it in the least, this drama in which Death 
and Love, the two faithful workers of implacable 



IfiO 



THE DISCIPLE. 



if 



nature, acted without my order is,. lie mocking at the 
coroplioationa of my analyiiia. 

Charlotte loved me for reaaona quite different from 
thoae which my ingenioua psychology had arranged. 
She died in despair, when by the light of a tragic 
explanation ahe saw me in my true nature. Then I 
waa ao horrible to her that ahe thua gave me irrefuta- 
ble proof that my subtle refleotiona were nothing to 
her. 

I believed I could solve in this amour a problem of 
mental mechanism. Alas I I had simply met. without 
feeling its charm, a sincere and profound tenderness. 
Why did I not then divine what I see to-day with the 
clearness of the most cruel evidence? 

Misled by the romantic side of her character, it waa 
natural that this child should be deceived in me. My 
long studies had given me the appearance of not being 
quite well, which alwaj-s interests a woman who is 
truly feminine. Having been brought up by my 
mother, my manners were gentle, my voice and ges- 
tures refined, and I was scrupulously careful of my 
person. 

I had been introduced by the old master who 
recommended me, as a person of irreproachable nobil- 
ity of ideas ana character. This was enough to cause 
a very sensitive young girl to become interested in 
me in a very particular manner. Ah, well! I had no 



THE nisciii.E. 



187 



•oonor rMOffniiAd tliii interoMt than I thought 1 ow 
to tbuM it inHteaa of being touched by it. 

Any one who had soon me in my room on the evon- 
inic which followed thia afternoon, aeated at my table 
•nd writing, with a big book of analynia near me, 
would never have believed that thiH was a young maii 
of aoarcely twenty-two yeara. meditating on the aen- 
timenta which he inspired or winhed to inspire in a 
young girl of twenty. 

The chateau wag asleej). I could hear only the steps 
of the footman as he extinguiwhed the lamps on the 
staircase and in the corridors. The wind enveloped 
the vast building in its groanings. now plaintive, now 
soothing. The west wind is terrible on these heights, 
where, sometimes, it carries away in a single breath 
all the slates of a roof. 

This lamentation of the wind has always increased 
in me the feeling of internal solitude. My fire burned 
gently, and I scribbled in my notebook, which I 
burned before my arrest, the occurrences of the day 
and the programme of the experience which I pro- 
posed to attempt upon the mind of Mile, de Jussat. I 
had copied the passage on pity which is found in 
your "Theory of the Passions;" you remember it, my 
dear master, it begins : 

"There is in the phenomenon of pity a physical 
element, and which, especially in women, is confined 
to the sexual emotion." 



188 



THE DISCIPLE. 



' iJ: 



It was through pity then, that I proposed to act 
first upon Charlotte. I would profit by the first false- 
hood by which I had already moved her, combining 
vfith it a succession of others, and thus make her love 
me by making her pity me. There was, in this use of 
the most respected of human sentiments for the profit 
of my curious fancy, something particularly contrary 
to the general prejudice, which flattered my pride 
most exquisitely. 

While I wrote out this plan with philosophical text 
to support it, I imagined what Count Andre would 
think, if he could, as in the old legends, from the 
depths of his garrison town decipher the words which 
I had traced with my pen. 

At the same time, the idea alone of directing at will 
the subtle movements of a woman's brain, all this 
sentimental and intellectual clockwork so complicated 
and so tennous, made me compare myself to Claude 
Bernard, to Pasteur and to their pupils. These 
savants vivisected animals. Was not I going to 
vivisect at length, a human soul? 

In order to draw from this pity which had been 
surprised rather than provoked, all the result de- 
manded, it must first be prolonged. To this end, I 
resolved to keep up the comedy of sadness by preparing 
for the day of an explanatory conversation, more or less 
distant, a long, touching romance of false confidences. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



189 



I devoted myself, during the week following our 
walk, to feigning a melancholy more or less absorb- 
ing, and to feigning it. not only in the presence of 
Charlotte, but also during the hours in which I was 
alone with my pupil, sure that the child would report 
to his sister the impressions of our tete-a-tete. 

You see here, my dear master, the proof of the use- 
less machinery I was preparing to employ. Was 
there any need of involving this boy, who had been 
confided to me, in this sad intrigue, and why should 
I join this ruse with the others, when Mile, de Jussat 
did not for a moment doubt my sincerity? 

We had our lessons, Lucien and I, in a large room 
dignified by the name of library, because of the 
shelves which furnished one side of the wall. There 
behind the gratings lined with green linen, were in- 
numerable volumes bound in sheepskin, notably all 
the volumes of the Encyclopedia. This was a legacy 
from the founder of the chateau, a great philosopher 
who had built this habitation among the mountains 
for the purpose of bringing up his children in the 
midst of nature and after the precepts of Emile. 

The portrait of this gentleman free-thinker a 
mediocre painting in the taste of the period, with 
Its powder, and a smile both sceptical and sensible 
adorned one side of the door; on the other side wa^ 
that of his wife, quite coquettish under a high coiffure 
and with patches on her cheeks. 



190 



THE DISCIPLE. 



In looking at these two paintings, while Lucien 
translated a bit from Ovid or from Titus Livius, I 
asked myself what my ancestors were doing for me 
during the century in which these two persons lived 
who were represented in these portraits. I imagined, 
these rustics from whom I am descended pushing the 
plow, pruning the vine, harrowing the ground in the 
foggy plains of Lorraine, like the peasants who passed 
on the road in front of the chateau, in all weathers, 
and who with boots to their knees, dragged a metal- 
tipped stick fastened to the wrist by a strap. 

This mental picture gave the charm of a kind of lawful 
vengeance to the care I took to compose my physiog- 
nomy. It is a singular thing, that although I might 
detest in theory the doctrines of the Bevolution and 
the mediocre spiritualism which they conceal, I be- 
came again a plebeian in my profound joy in thinking 
that I, the great-grandson of these farmers, should 
perhaps by the force of my mind alone bring to dis- 
grace the great-granddaughter of this great lord and 
this great lady. 

I leaned my chin upon my hand, I forced my brow 
and my eyes to look sad, knowing that Lucien was 
watching the expression of my face, in the hope of 
interrupting his task by a talk. When he had several 
times observed that he did not see the welcoming 
smile, nor the indulgent look, he himself became ver^- 



» ■ 



THE DISCIPLE. 



191 



anxious. As is natural, the poor boy took my sadness 
for severity, my silence for displeasure One morn- 
ing he ventured to ask : 

"Are you angry with me, monsieur?" 
"No, my child," I replied, patting his fresh cheek 
with my hand; and I continued to preserve my 
troubled look, while contemplating the snow which 
beat against the panes. It fell now from morning 
till evening in large whirling stars, covering and put- 
ting to sleep the whole country, and in the warm 
rooms of the chateau there was the silent charm of 
intimacy, a distant death of all the noises of the 
mountains; while through the window panes, covered 
with frost on the outside and a vapor within, the light 
sifted languorously. 

This gave a background of mystery to the figure of 
melancholy which I made, and which I imposed on 
the observation of Charlotte whenever we met. "When 
the breakfast bell reunited us in the dining-room, I 
surprised in the eyes with which she received me the 
same timid and compassionate curiosity which I had 
noticed during our walk, whence dated what I called 
in rs^y journal my entrance into my laboratory. 

She regarded me with the same look when we were 
all again together, in the salon at tea, under the light 
of the early lamps, then at the dinner table and again 
in the long solitude of the evening, unless, under pre- 



192 



THE DISCIPLE. 



r;t--r 



J 



text of haTing work to finish, I retired to my 
room. . 

The monotony of life and of conversation ^as so 
complete that there was nothing to help her to shake 
oflf the impre«Hon of mournful mystery which I had 
inflicted upon her. 

The marquis, a prey to the contrasts of his char- 
acter, cursed his fatal resolution to remain in this 
isolation. He announced for the next clear day a 
departure which he knew would be impossible. It 
would cost too much now, and beside, where could 
he go? He calculated the chances of seeing his Cler- 
mont friends who had several times breakfasted with 
him, but it was before the four hours between Aydat 
and the city had been doubled by the bad weather. 

Then he installed himself at the card table, while 
the marquise, the governess and the religieuse ap- 
plied themselves to their unending work. 

It was my duty to look after Lucien who turned the 
leaves of a book of engravings or played at patience. 
I placed myself so that when she raised her eyes from 
the cards which she held in her hands while playing 
with her father, the young girl was obliged to see me. 
I had been interested in hypnotism, and I had in par- 
ticular studied in all its details, in your "Anatomy of 
the Will," the chapter devoted to the singular phe- 
nomena of certain moral denominations, which you 



THE DISCIPLE. 



193 



haveentitied: "Some demi-Buggestions. " I depended 
on taking possession of this unoccupied mind, until the 
propitious moment in which, to complete this work of 
daily intercourse, I should decide to relate to her my 
story which, justifying my sadness, should end by 
engrossing her imagination. 

This story I had manufactured upon two principles 
which you lay down, my dear master, in your beauti- 
ful chapter on Love. This chapter, the theories of tho 
Ethics on the passions, and M. Eibot's book on the 
"Maladies of the Will," had become my breviaries. 
Permit me to recall these two principles, at least in 
their essence. 

The first is that the majority of beings have senti- 
ment only by imitation; abandoned to simple nature, 
love, for example, would be for them as for the ani' 
luals, only a sensual instinct, dissipated as soon as 
satiated. 

The second is that jealously may exist before love- 
consequently it may sometimes create it, and may 
often survive it. Much struck by th^ justness of this 
double remark, I argued that the aance which I 
should relate to Mile, de Jussat ought to excite her 
imagination and irritate her vanity. I had succeeded 
in touching the cord of pity, I wished to touch that 
of sentimental emulation and that of self-love. 
I had then, founc-ed my story on this idea, that 



104 



THE DISCIPLE. 



every woman interested in a man, is wounded in her 
vanity, if this man shows that he is thinking of an- 
other woman. But twenty pages would be necessary 
to show you how I studied over the problem of the 
invention of this fable. 

The occasion to relate it to her was furnished by 
the victim herself, fifteen days after I had begun to 
put at work what I proudly called my experience. 
The marquis had been told that one volume of the 
Encyclopedia was devoted to cards. He wished to 
find there how to play some old games such as Im- 
periale, Ombre, and Manilla. This brillant idea had 
come to him after breakfast, on seeing in a journal a 
report of a new game called Poker, apropos of which 
the journalist gave a list of old-fashioned games. 

When this maniac had conceived a fancy he could 
not wait, and his daughter was obliged to go at once 
to the library, where I was occupied in taking notes. 
I laid aside Helv^tius upon the "Mind," which I had 
discovered among some other books of the eighteenth 
century. I placed myself at the disposition of Mile, 
de Jussat to take down the volume which she desired, 
and, when she took it from my hands, she said with 
her habitual grace : 

"I hope that we shall find here some game in which 
you can take a hand with us. We are so afraid that 
you do not feel at borne here, you are always so sad '' 



THE DISCIPLE. 



105 



!/ 



She said theso words as if asking pardon for an in- 
delicacy, which had impressed me before, and escap- 
ing the familiarity of her remark by a "we" which I 
too well knew to be untruthful. Her voice was so 
gentle, we were so alone that the time seemed to have 
come to explain ray feigned sadness. 

"Ah I mademoiselle, "I answered, "if you only know 
my history." 

If Charlotte had not been the credulous creature, 
the romantic child that she was, in spite of her two or 
three seasons in Paris, she would have seen that I was 
beginning a tale prepared beforehand, by this in- 
troduction, by the turn of the sentences with which I 
continued. I was too clumsy, too awkwardly affected. 
I told her then that I had been betrothed at Cler- 
mont to a young girl, but secretly. I thought to 
make this adventure more poetical in her eyes by 
insinuating that this girl was a foreigner, a Russian 
visiting one of her relations. I added that this girl 
had allowed me to tell her that I loved her, and she 
had also told me that she loved me. We had ex- 
changed vows, then she had gone away. A rich mar- 
riage offered, and she had betrayed me for money. 

I was careful to insist on my poverty, and let her 
understand that my mother lived almost entirely on 
what I earned. This was a detail invented on the 
spot, for hypocrisy doubles itself in expression. In 



196- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



-) i 



truth this was a scene of a childish and rascally 
comedy., which I ployed with very little skill. But 
the reasons which determined me to lie in this fashion 
were so special that they exacted an extraordinary 
penetration to be comprehended, a total attention of 
my mind, almost your «enius, my dear master. The 
visible embarrnssment of my position could go easily 
be attributed to the trouble inseparable from such 
remembrances. Ae I was perfectly cool while I was tel- 
ling this fable, I could observe Charlotte. She listened 
without any sign of emotion, her eyes lowered on the 
big book which supported her hand. She took the book 
when I had finished, and replied in a blank voice, as 
they say, one of those voices which betrays no senti- 
ment of the speaker : 

"I do not understand how you could have had any 
confidence in this young girl, since she listened to 
you without the knowltuge of her parents." 

And she went away with a simple inclination of her 
graceful head, carrying the book with her. How 
pretty she was in her dress of fine, light cloth, with 
her slender form, her small waist, her face quite long 
and lighted up by her thoughtful gray eyes I She 
was like a Madonna engraved after Memling, whose 
profile I had formerly so much admired, fervent, 
lovely and mournful, on the first page of a large copy 
of the "Imitation," belonging to the Abbe Martel. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



197 



£Izplain to me ibis other enigma of the heart, you, 
±e great psyohologist ; never have I felt more the 
3harm of this pure and gentle being than at the mo- 
ment when I had just lied to her, and lied so uselessly 
as I imagined from her response. 

Yes, I took this response literally, which, on the 
contrary, should have encouraged me td hope. I did 
not guess that to have only listened to a confidence 
so intimate was for a being so proud and so reserved, 
BO far above me, a proof of a very powerful sym- 
pathy. I did not consider that this almost 
severe remark was dictated in part by the secret 
jealousy wh'iCh I had desired to arouse in her, in part 
by a need to strengthen herself in her own principles 
so as to justify to herself her excessive familiarity. 

As she had not been able to read the falsehood in 
my story, so I had not seen the truth behind her 
reply. 

I felt all the hopes which I had been building up for 
the past fortnight crumble before me. No. She 
was not interested in me with a genuine interest 
which I could transform into passion. I drew up the 
balance sheet of our relations. "What proof had I of 
this interest? The delicacy of the material cares with 
which she had surrounded me? This was a simple 
effect of her goodness. Her attempt to find out the 
cause of my melancholy? Ah, well! she had been 



198 



THE DISCIPLE. 



ouriou.. th»t wa. all. The timid accent of her roice 
when *he questioned me? I had been a fool not to 
recognize the habitual mode.ty of a delicate girl 
Conclusion: my comedy of these two weeks, my grim- 
aces a la Chatterton, the falsehood of my so-called 
drama, so many ridiculous maneuvers, had not ad- 
vanced me a line in the heart I wished to conquer. 

I turned again to my book, but I was no longer 
capable of fixing my attention on the abstract text of 
HelTdtius. I recall this childishness, my dear master 
that you may th better perceive what a strange mix- 
ture of innocence and depravity was elaborated in my 
mind. 

Whot did this unexpected deception prove, if not 
that I had imagined I could direct the thought of 
Charlotte, by applying to her the laws of psychology 
borrowed from the philosophers, as absolutely as her 
brother directed the billiard balls? The white 
touches the red a little to the left, goes on the cush- 
ions, and returns to the other white. That U out- 
lined by the hand on the paper, that is explained by 
a formula, that is foreseen and is done ten times 
twenty times, a hundred times, ten thousand times. ' 
In spite of my enormous reading, perhaps because 
of 1 . I saw the play of the passions in this state of 
Ideal simplicity. I did not comprehend till later how 
much I was deceived. In order to define the phenom- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



109 



ena ot the hoart we muHt go to the vojfotable, and 
not to the mochatiical world for analoirieH, and to 
direct these iikeiiuiiieua we luuat employ the motboda 
of the botanist, patient graftings, long waiting, care- 
ful training. 

A sentiment is born, grows, expands, withers like 
a plant, by an evolution sometimes retarded, some- 
times rapid, but always unconscious. The germ of 
pity, of jealousy, and of dangerous example planted by 
my ruse in the soul of Charlotte must develop its 
action, but only after days and days, and this action 
.vould be the more irresistible as she believed me to 
be in love with another •ind that in consequence she 
would not think to defenU herself against me. 

But to account in advance for this work ond to ui 
count the hope of it, one would hove to be o Ribot, a 
Horwicz, an Adrien Sixte, that is, a connoisseur of 
souls, instead of one like me, ignorant that the plain 
over which he is walking will be covered with grain 
and not suspecting the approaching harvest. 

The conviction that I had definitely failed in my 
first eflfort increased during the days which followed 
this false confidence. For Charlotte scarcely spoke 
to me. 

I know now, from her own confession, that she con- 
cealed under this coldness a growing agitation which 
disconcerted her by its novelty, its force and its 



4 



200 



THE DISCIPLE. 



H 



depth. In the meantime .he appeared absorbed in 
the game of backgammon which the marquia bad 
diaooveretl in the Enoyoloptcdia. 

ReoolJecting that thin had boon the favorite paatima 
of hia grandfather, tho emigre, he had given up aJl 
other game.. A merchant of Qermont had boon able 
to lend him the necosaary articloa with which to 
■atiafy thia caprice. 

The backgammon table waa inatalled in the salon 
and father and daughter passed their evening, in 
throwing the dice, which made a dry noi«e again.t 
the wooden Icdgo. The cabaliatic term, of little 
table, big table, outer table, double ace. double 
threes, two fives, were intermingled now with tho 
words of the marquise and her two companions 

Sometimes the cur^ of Aydat, tho Abb^ Parthomeuf 
an old priest who said ,uu«s in the chapel of the 
chateau on Thursdays when the weather was very 
severe, would relieve Charlotte by playing with the 
marquis. Although the marquis treated me with irre- 
proaehable politeness, he had never asked me if I 
wished to learn to play. The diflference which he 
established between the abbd and myself humiliated 
me, by the otldest contradiction, for I much preferred 
to remain in my low chair reading a book, or observ- 
ing the character of the different persons from their 
physiognomies. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



301 



!■ it not A.wA3rt BO whon on© {• in a rotitlon which 
iathoutfht to be inferior? Any inequality of treat- 
ment woundii the leU-lovo. I took my revenge iu 
oUervinif the ridioulouHnoHM of the abbt-, who pro- 
feMed. for the chateau in gentral antl the n.arciuia iu 
particular, an almoMt idolatrouii ailmiratiou. Hia face 
which was always rod b<.ca«je aiK>plectio whon betook 
hia neat opposite the uiarquis, and the proBi)ect of 
winning the silver coins designed to mal-jthe game 
more interesting made the dice-cup tremble in his 
hand at the decisive throws. 

This observation did not occupy me lonw, and I 
turned to follow the young girl, who seated horsoif at 
her work near hor mother. 

The failure of my attempt to wiu hor love lad made 
me more cruel, in proportion to the admiration I had 
before U ' »r the innocent grace of this child. To 
confess . ' bepaa to feel, in her atmosphere, emo- 
tions of an order more sensual than psychological. 
I was a young man, and I had in my flesh, in spite of 
my philosophical resolutions, the memory of sex of 
which you have so authoritatively analyz( d the per- 
sistent fatality and the invincible reviviscence. 

How long this period of inertia at one impassioned 
and discouraged, might have lasted, I . o not know. 
We were. Mile, de Jussat and I, in a very peculiar 
litufttion, impelled one toward the other, she by a 



f 



302 



THE DISCIPLE. 



n 



budding love of ,hi„i. a,e w« ignorant, I by .n U.. 
.0. used reason, .hioh 1 have analyzed. ' '"^ *" "» 

test the latent conditions of the sonl ii * 

wool ^ „ between these four white- 

washed walls, seeing only the en.pty sky itroa^lt^ 
openings at the edge of tli« ,„„» ■ 
-rching again into .y h ^ , ' " T^"" "•" 
-.«elf if our fate createa^outl';:;^; tt f'" 
mind which creates onr *». ""' °"'" 

V °" '"*»• "^o o">- external destiny f 
It happened one evening that th. „ "estiny,' 

with his back to the fire 1 h ?.""' "**''' 
which he sometimes wore all dav T *'""''^' 
HU Wife Of an arti.e ^Z llCp^: I'Tw" 

^aodtinr^-Lr'trmttrrr"' 

-olent. His tone alone wasTlr^cr:: 



THE DISCIPLE. 203 

I obeyed however, and began to read this chronicle, 
more finely written than such articles usually are, and 
in which were revived all the picturesqueness and 
coloring of a fancy ball, with a curious mixture of 
reporting and poetry. 

During the reading the marquis regarded me in 
astonishment. I must tell you, my dear master, that 
at the time of my friendship with Emile, I had 
acquired a real talent for diction. During his illness 
my little comrade had no greater pleasure than to 
hear me read. 

"You read very well, very well!" cried M. de Jussat 
when I had finished. 

His astonishment madr his eulogy a new wound to 
my self-esteem. It was too plain that he did not ex- 
pect to find much talent in a silent and timid young 
man of Clermont, who had come to the chateau on the 
recommendation of old Limasset, to be a valet de 
lettres. Then, following as usual, the impulse of his 
caprice, he continued : 

"That is an idea. You shall read for us in the 
evening. That will amuse us a little better than this 
tnctrac. Little Jan, big Jan, it is always the same 
thing, and then the noise of the dice sets my teeth on 
edge. This beastly country I If the snow ever stops 
again, we will not stay here eight days. And what 
book are you going to begin with?" 



m^. 



204 



I 



THE DISCIPLE. 



brought iMo the aolon so„eo/»^b„"^'tw j "."t! 
-tud. a ,m,e Without .e.vin« LueL""^ '^ ',^1 
/or.„„„e.t think of evadi., this ta* R^' T' 
brusqueneB, of the marquis had brought „., 

t""* r"""""""^ '"" Char,!: te ^rth"""" 

Klanoe, by which a woman knows hoJ t , 
'orthee„or of some one .Z'Z ^.^ C"" 
new project took form in my mi^j „ i * ' 

tek be utilized to theprom ^f th '!'^''""" '"' 
-ced. .bandied, au/^" th^r T^JT 
Jusaa made me think was sti„ possible^ " " 

-rrnrwi^:\re^rr-~ 

tie Puy du Dome a kite „Tl' ^°^°'"«'"' »«« 

poor little bird. *" """'"' ""» ""»" • 

Was not this an opportunity to tnr hv *,. 

dear master, that we owe the stron Lrpa^e"!:: 
J' iuma, upon this unconscious modelini^ 



9- 1 



THE DISCIPLE. 



205 



I saw in this then, a means of acting upon Charlotte 
which I reproached myself for not having thought of 
before. But how was I to find a romance which was 
passionate enough to excite her, and outwardly cor- 
rect enough to be read before the assembled family? 
I literally ransacked the library. Its incoherent and 
contrasted composition, reflected the residence of its 
successive masters and the chances of their taste. 

There were all the principal works of the eight- 
eenth century of which I have spoken—then a hiatus. 
During the emigration the chateau had remained un- 
occupied. Then a lot of romantic books in their first 
editions attested the literary aspirations of the father 
of the marquis, who had been the friend of Lamartine. 
Then came the worst of contemporaneous romances, 
those which are bought on the railway, half-bound, 
out sometimes with the finger, or a page lost, and 
some treatises oi. political econc ny, ar abandoned 
hobby of M. de Jussat. 

At last I discovered amid all this rubbish a 
"Eugenie Grandet," which appeared to me .ofill the 
conditions desired. There is nothing more attrac- 
tive to a fresh imagination than these idyls at once 
chaste and fervid in which innocence envelops passion 
in a penumbra of poesy. But the marquis must have 
known this celebrated romance by heart, and I appre- 
hended that he would refuse to listen *■- it. 



206 



THE DISCIPLE. 



l! 



i 



h.m, «..t „ oue of the bool, that o„e re.d, onoo. 
talks .bout .l«,«ys and entirely teget,. I ^„ „,/ 
Bakao once in Pari,, .j tte C.etries. It i, „ore than 
forty years ago. I was a youngster then. But I 
ren.en,ber him well, fat, short and stubby, noisy, in.- 
Portsnt, with beautiful bright eyes and a con.n.on 
Air* 

jn.e fact is that after the first pages, he fell asleep, 
wh.le the n>ar,uise. Mile. Largey, .„<, th, „,^,^ J 
kn.t, and Lucien, who had recently con,e into posses- 
su,n of a bo, of colors conscientiously illuminated the 
lUustratjons of a large volume. 

While reading I observed Charlotte, and it was not 
d-ffiou t to see that this time my calculation had been 
correct, and that she vibrated under the phrases of 
the romance as a violin under a skillful bow. Every- 
thing was prepared to receive this impression, from 
her feehngs already stirred to her nerves strained by 
an .nfluenoe of a physical kind. One cannot live 

that of the chateau, always warm, nearly stifling 

From that evening, this child hung on my lips «« 
the .ngenuous loves of Eugenie and her cousin Charles 
d sclosed the.r touching episodes. The same instinct 
of comedy which had guided me in my false confi- 
dence made me throw into every phrase the intona- 
t.on which I thought ^ould pleasj her most 



*-~J 



THE DISCIPLE. 



207 



I certain y enjoyed this took, although I prefe„ed 

ten other of Ha^ac's .ork,, su.h, f„, «,„p„^ ^ ^^^ 

'Cu«S de Toun.," which are veritahle literary compen- 

drnms. each phrase of which contains more philosophy 

than a echolium of Spinoza. 

I forced myself to appear touched by the misfor- 
tune, of the miser'a daughter, in my „ost secret 
fibres; and my voice grew pitiful over the sweet re- 
cluse of Saumur. 

Here, as before, I gave myself useless trouble. 
There was do need of an art so complicated. In the 
cris,8 of imaginative sensibility through which Char- 
lotte was passing, any romance of love was a peril. 

If the father and mother had possessed, even in a 
feeble degree, that spirit of observation which parents 
ought to exercise without ceasing, they would have 
divined this peril of their daughter, more and more 
captivated during the three evenings that this reading 
lasted. The marquise simply remarked that characters 
so black as father Grandet and the cousin did not 
exist As for the marquis, he knew too much of the 
world to proffer any such opinion, he formulated the 
cause of his ennui during the reading. 

"It is decidedly overdrawn. These unfinished 
descnptions, these analyses, these numerical calcula- 
tions! They are all very good, I do not say they are 
not. But when I read a romance I wish to be 
amused." 



208 



THE DISCIPLE. 




And he concluded that he must send to the Library 
0/ Clermont immediately for the comedies of Labiohe. 
I was in despair at this new fancy. I would again be 
powerless to act upon the imagination of the young 
girl, just at the moment when I could feel success 
probable. This showed that I did not know the need 
which this soul, already touched, felt, unknown to 
herself, the need of drawing near to me, of compre- 
hending me and making herself comprehended by 
me, of living in contact with my mind. 

The next day after that on which the marquis had 
issued the deeree of proscription against analytical 
romances, Mile, de Jussat entered the library at the 
hour I was there with her brother. She came to re- 
place the volume of the Encyclopedia; and with a 
half-embarrassed smile : 

"I would like to ask a favor of you," she said 
timidly. -I have a great deal of time here, with 
which I do not know very yfell what to do. I 
would like to have your advice in regard to my read- 
ing. The book which you chose the other day gave 
me a great deal of pleasure. " She added : "Ordinarily 
romances weary me, but that one was very interest- 
ing." 

I felt, at bearing her speak in that way, the joy 
which Count Andre must have tasted when he saw the 
enemy whom be killed during the war put his in- 



'4^ 



THE DISCIPLE. 



209 



quisitive head above the wall. It seemed to me as if 
I, too, held my human game at the end of my gun. 

The response to this request appeared to me so im- 
portant that I feigned to be very much embarrassed. 
In thanking her for her confidence I said to her that 
she had charged me with a very delicate mission for 
which I felt myself incapable. In brief, I made be- 
lieve to decline a favor, which I was charmed to in- 
toxication to have obtained. She insisted, and I 
promised to give her the next day a list of books. 

I passed the evening and a part of the night in 
taking and rejecting in my mind hundreds of 
volumes. At last I repeated aloud my father's favor- 
ite formula: "Let us proceed methodically," and I 
asked myself how books had acted on my imagina- 
tion, in my adolesence, and what books? 

I stated that I had been attracted most of all 
toward literature by the unknown of sentimental ex- 
perience. It was the desire to assimilate unexperi- 
enced emotions which had bewitched me. I con- 
cluded that this was the general law of literary 
intoxication. I must then choose for this girl some 
books which should awake in her the same ideas while 
taking into account the diflference of our characters 

Charlotte was refined, i ire and tender. She must 
be led into the dangerous road of romantic curiosity 
by descriptions of sentiments analogous to her own 



no 



TWE DISCICLE. 



r'm 



^r^.j!"^"^ *'""''« "Domi-iiu." of Pro»,.»«., 
tt. P»,nce«e d, Clive.." "V.U.Srie." "Juli. di 

Wder of H«„e, certain coaedie. of M«.«t, >« p„. 

poetry of SuUy Prudh„„„e „d «..t of Yi^y, J„y 
bert Mrre my purpose. 

I took the trouble to write out thU li.t. .„c„„p„,. 
^* .t w.th a tempting con^mentary, in which I indl 
~ted » my best manner the .h«le of deliccy proper 
to e.ch of these writers. Th.t i. the letter which the 
poor child had kept. .„d of which the magistrate! 
«.d .t seemed like the beginning of courtshir^ 
the strange courtship, and so different from the 
-lg«: ambition of the ma.Ti.ge with which thl 
gross m.nde ha™ stupidly reproached mel BIhJ 

which I w 11 g,ve you at the end of this memoir I 

of which not one would be able to comprehend „^ 
.chon dictated by pure reason. If they had on" 
».ae you, my dear master, and the other prince, of 
modern thought, my iudge.. Then I would spe^ L 
I am .peaking now to you. 

The works thns designated arrived tom Qermont 
They were the obiect of no remark on the part of the 
-r^u... It i. nece^ary to have another re. h „ 



THE DISCIPLE. 



til 



mind than that of this poor man to comprehend that 
there are no bad books. There are bad momenU in 
which to read the beut of books. You have a com- 
parison so just in your chapter on ««r/ftmo litt^raire," 
when you liken the sore opened in certain imagina- 
tions by certain readings to the well-known phenom- 
enon produced on the body poisoned by diabetes. 
The most inoflfensive prick becomes envenomed with 
gangrene. 

If there were need of a proof of this theory of "the 
preliminary state," as you say again, I should find it 
in the fact that Mile, de Jussat sought in these books 
for things so diverse, for information about me, my 
manner of feeling, of thinking, of understanding life 
and character. 

Every chapter, every page of these dangerous vol- 
umes became an occasion for questioning me long, 
passionately, and ingenuously. I am certain that she 
was sincere, and that she did not imagine she was 
doing anything wrong when she came to talk with me 
apropos of such or such a phrase about Dominique or 
Julia, F^lix de Vaudeuesse or Perdican. I remember 
the horror which she felt for the young man, the most 
captivating and the most guilty of Musset's heroes, 
and the heat with which I stigmatized his duplicity 
of heart between Camille and Rosette. 

Now, there was no personage in any book, who 



213 



THE DISCIPLE. 



11 



i 



Pl«-.d „e to th. .^. d.„„„ .hi.,o,„„ 
»«.toro«. „a .i„.e„, di.,„,^ „d Win,, ''Z 
•Ad rourf. who achieTed, io hi. w« hi. .„ ' ! 

oou.i„. '""° '•'• """^ «"> P'ood 

.iv.'Zf ,""" :"r"' '"°"' *'"■'- °«'-. to 

.«r.tld V '" "hich wo wero «, .trangely 

The „„,u« „„ the „.r,«i.e h.d formed from the 
fl"t -» '-«e -tircly different from my rel „.t«„ 
Tbey t^k no p.i„. to verify whether thi. flr.t im 
preBsion were ezaot or false 

The «ood Mile. Lar«ey,. i„,uiled in the comfo ' of 
her compl«,ent paraeitiam, wa, much too innooen L 
.uapectth thought. „f depravity perfectiHriier 
tual which were revolving in my mind. 

«.eret rtvl' ^"""°°'- "" ^iater Anaelet. whom . 

of pleaaing the master and mistress of th. .v-* 

;^e priest for the .ene« Of hllTnlrr;: 
reftsrieKse for that of her order. 

Lucien was too young, and, a. for the domestics I 

had not yet ioamed what periidy wa, veUed under tLe 



THE DISCIPLE. 



tl8 



impAMibility of their smootli facet and the irro- 
proaobable appearance of their brown livery with its 
gold buttona. 

We were then free, Charlotte and I, to talk the whole 
day. She appeared first in the morning, in the 
dining-room where my pupil and I took our tea, and 
there, under the pretext of breakfaatim? together, we 
talked at one corner of the table, she in all the per- 
fumed freshnesa of her bath, with her hair hanging 
down in a heavy plait, and the aupplenesa of her 
lovely form visible under the material of her half- 
fitting morning dress. 

I aaw her again in the library where she always had 
some excuse for coming ; and by this time her hair 
was dressed, ond she had assumed the toilette of the 
dty. We met again in the drowing-room before the 
second breakfast and still again ; and she waited upon 
U8 with her customarj- grace, distributing the coffee 
a little hurriedly that she might linger near me whom 
she served last, which permitted us to talk in an angle 
of the window. 

When the weather would permit we went out, the 
governess, Charlotte, my pupil, and I, in the after- 
noon. At five-o'clock tea we were again together, 
then at dinner, when I sat near her, and in the even- 
ing we conversed almost as if wo were really alone. 

I mentally compared the phenomena which were 



9U 



TffK DfSCrPI.B. 



*^ing Plwe Jo thi. Klrl. to that which I h.^ u 
-vrd time, in t«ni«« ani^.,. *, ' '""^ °*^'^«^ 
wi'ittan «,«« chJiZ '**"• ""»• ^ »»•<« 

"I rwe merit .nd whom you know ..ii nr 

fewmWaaoe T I,. . '' '* '"""ded on 

luuiuoe. I h»ve oonoluded that /«, . 
tame „ .nio^, ,„ ^^. ™. "'«» '« • »«. to 

tho« movement. , „: L t, rj""' ""*' -"' 
U..t i. to reeemble him °" "'^''"-' 

<.o..,i;,r;T:d-:7t:'""""^'^" 

">.t Mile, de Ju«i«t "r ^ """ "" «■« "KO 
d«y-th,t we Z^!Z ,""""" • "'"• '•»«' each 

'- o, crrorr reTrr- 

.cceating my word. „ .he didT "^ "'"" 

^■^ W .e..„.e Which rriti'riTl 
became . part of hor life wi.h„ . T °*' ^ 

- careful w„ I „,» ^ .' J 't. '^ "'"""'"r H. 

•>» takeu by. word ttat Cld"°" '■"" ""'^ *" 
danger. ""''' "'""e W to feel her 

"■"■ "'" " '"'""•" O'-o-^., eo Which I w.. 



:il 



THE DISCIPLE. 



tl6 



condemned during nearly two mouiLi tb«l tliAM .im- 
Ply intellectual relaUona lasted, did not |>aim without 
almoat daily internal itruKglot. To intircHt tliia 
mind, to inrade this imagination little by liitlo. wna 
not all of my programme. I wiiihod to bo loved, and 
I knew that thia moral interest wuh only the begin- 
ning of puasion. Thia beginning ought to lead in 
order not to remain uaeleHa to aomething more than a 
aentimeutul intimacy. 

There ia in your "Thoory of the PonHionH," my dear 
maater, a note which I read ho m jch at that time that 
I know the text by heart: "A well-prepared atudy of 
the Uvea of profeaaional libortinea," aay you. "would 
throw a definite light upon the problem of the birth 
of lore. But the documenta are lacking. Theae men 
have nearly all been men of action, and who. in con- 
Hoquonoe. die] aot know how to relate. However, aome 
worka of a auperior paychologiool interest, the "Mc- 
moirea" of Caaanova, the "Private Life of Marahal de 
Kiohlieu." the chapter of Saint-Simon on Lauzun, 
authorize ua to aay that nineteen timea out of twenty 
audacitj' and phyaical familiarity are the aureatmeana 
of creating love. Thia hypotheaia confirma our 
doctrine on the animal origin of thia passion." 

Sometimes when we were alone together, and she 
moved, and her feet approach .1 mine, and when she 
breathed and I felt that she wts. a living creature, the 



216 



THE DISCIPLE. 







feverish W.VO „f intoxication r.n through n,y v«n, 
.na I was obii«ed to turn n.y e,e. .„.,, ',„, ^r,";: 

when I w« away from her. it seemed to n,e tnat 
aud-ty would be much more eaey ae it would ^ 
-re complete. I «aoived then to clasp her in ^ 
a^s^ to pre. my iipa to hers. I saw her feeling 
badly at my caress, overcome, confounded by this 
reve^afon of my ardor. What would happen th^n 
My heart beat at this idea. It was not the fear o 
being dn™n from the chateau that held me back It 
was more shameful to my pride not to dare. And" 
d^d not dare. The inability to act i«. trait of my 
character, but only when I am not sustained by^ 
.dea. Ut the idea be there and it infuses «. LfncT 

bter^Yot^r^'r ^»-'»-^-".wra 

be eaay. You wall see that, if I am condemned. No 
what paral,,zed me near Mile, de Jusaat as by . mag! 
.ejc .nfluence was ker purUy, At least I have feU 
w.th s.n.u ar force, this recoil before innocence 

cZ2 7 ' '"" "" '"""■"« »""'« ""'ween 
Chariotte and myself, I have recalled the legends of 

guardian angels, and comprehended the birth of this 
poetic conceit of Catholicism. 

Eeduced to reality by analysis, this phenomenon 
|..mply proves that in the relations between two 
beings, there is a reciprocity of action of one upon 



^-'^'&-^'W^f'^ '* 



THE DISCIPLE. 



217 



the Other unknown to either. If by calculation I 
forced myself to resemble this girl in order to tame 
her, I experienced without calculation the species of 
sacral suggestion which all true character imposes 
upo. us. The extreme simplicity of her mind 
tnuuphed at times over my ideas, my remembrances, 
and my desires. 

Finally, although judging this weakness to be un- 
worthy of a brain like mine, I respected her, as if I 
had not known the value of this word respect, and 
that It represents the most stupid of all our igno- 
ranees. Do we respect the player who ten times in 
succession strikes the rouge or the noir? Well in 
this hazardous lottery of the universe, virtue and vice 
are the rouge and noir. An honest woman and a 
lucky player have equal merit. 

The spring arrived in the midst of these agitating 
alternations of audacious projects, stupid timidity 
contradictory reasonings, wise combinations and in- 
genuous ardors. AndsuchaspringI One must have 
experienced the severity of winter among these moun- 
tains, then the sudden sweetness of the renewal of 
nature, to appreciate the charm of life which floats in 
this atmosphere when April and May bring back the 
sacred season. 

It comes first across the meadows in an awaking of 
the water which shudders under the thin ice; it bursts 



SI8 



THE DISCIPLE. 



i! ,1 



j'; 
I 



a. 




through «>a then run, singing „„, light, tr„,p„ent 

•It come, through the wood, in « continuou. „„,. 
mur of ,now which det.che, it,elf pie„« by piece ^i 
fall, upon the evergreen branohe, of the pine, and 
the yellow and dried leave, of the oak,. The Me 
freed from it, i„e take, to shivering under the wind 
wh.oh ,weep, away the cloud,, «,d the azure appear, 
the «ure of a mountain sky, clearer, deeper than th«; 
of the plam; and in some days the uniform color of 
the landscape i, tinted with colors tender and young 
The delicate bud, begin to appear on the naked 
branches. The greeni,h aments of hazel, alternate 
Tv.th the yell„wi,h catkin, of the willows. Even the 
black lava of the Cheyre appear, to be animated. 
The velvetv fructification, of the mosses mingle with 
the whitening spots of the lichens. The craters of 
the Puy de la Vache and of the Puy de Lassolas dis- 
clo,e httle by little the splendor of their red gravel. 
The silvery trunk, of the birche, and the changeable 
trunk, of the beeches shine in the sun with a lively 
aplendor ^ 

In the thickets, the beautiful flowers which I had 

form«ly picked with my father, and whose corollas 

ooked at me as if they were eyes, and whose aroma 

followed me like a breath, began to bloom. The 

periwinkle, the primrow, and the violet appeared 



THE DISCIPLE. 



2V.i 



first, then in succession the cuckoo-flower with its 
shade of lilac, the daphne which bears its pink flowers 
before it has any leaves, the white anemone, the two- 
leaved harebell, with its odor of hyacinth, Solomon's 
seal with its white bells and its mysterious root which 
walks under the ground, the lily-of-tho-valley in the 
hollows, and the eglantine along the hedges. 

The breeze which came from the white domes of 
the mountain passed over these flowers. It brought 
with it perfumes something of the sun and the snow 
so caressing and so fresh, that only to breathe was to 
be intoxicated with youth, was to participate in the 
renewal of the vast world; and I, fixed as I was in my 
doctrines and my theories, felt the puberty of all 
nature. The ice of abstract ideas in which my soul 
was imprisoned melted. 

When I read over the pages of my journal, now 
destroyed, in which I had noted my sensations, I am 
astonished to see wi.u what force the sources of in- 
genuousness were reopened in me under this influence 
and with what a rushing flood they inundated my 
heart. I am vexed with myself for thinking of it 
m this cowardly spirit. However, I experience a 
pleasure in remembering that at this period I sin- 
cerely loved her who is now no more. I repeat it 
with a real relief, that at least on the day that I dared 
to tell her of my love-fatal day which marked the 



220 



THE DISCIPLE. 



! :;!|li 



' m 



!! 

if 

i 
f 



beginning of our separation-I wag the sincere dupe 
of my own words. 

The declaration on which I had deliberated so 
much was, however, simply, the eflfect of chance. It 
was the 12th of May. Ah! it is less than a year ago! 
In the morning the weather had been even more than 
usually fine, and in the afternoon Mile. Largeyx 
Lucien, Charlotte and I started to go to the village of 
Samt-Saturnin through a wood of oaks, of birches and 
hazels which separated this village from the ruined 
chateau of Montredon, and which is called the Pradat 
wood. We had taken the little English cart which 
could hold four if necessary 

Never was a day more warm, a sky more blue 
never was the odor of spring borne by the wind more 
exhilarating. 

We had not walked a league when Mile. Largeyx 
fatigued by the sun, took her seat in the cart which 
was driven by the second coachman. The rogue has 
sworn cruelly against me, and has recalled all that he 
knew or guessed of what I myself am going to relate 
to you. Lucien also soon declared himself tired, and 
joined the governess, so that I was left to walk alone 
with Mile, de Jussat. 

She had taken it into her head to make a bouquet 
of hhes-of-the-valley, and I helped her in this work. 
We were busy under the branches, which were cov- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



221 



ered with a sort of delicate green cloud of the scarcely 
opened foliage. She walked ahead, drawn far from the 
edge of the wood in her search for the flowers. We 
found ourselves at last in a clearing, and so far away 
that we could not see the group made by the cart and 
the three persons. Charlotte first perceired our soli- 
tude. She listened, and not hearing the noise of the 
horse's feet on the road, she cried out with the laugh- 
ter of a child : 

"We are lost. Fortunately the road is not hard to 
remhouraer, as poor Sister Anaclet says. Will you 
wait until I arrange my bouquet? It would be a pity 
to have these beautiful flowers spoil." 

She sat down on a rock which was bathed in sun- 
light, and spread the flowers on her lap, taking up 
the sprays of lilies one by one. I inhaled the musky 
perfume of these pale racemes, seated on the other 
extremity of the stone. Never had this creature, 
toward whom all my thoughts had tended for months' 
appeared so adorably delicate and refined as at this 
moment with her face daintily colored by the fresh 
air. with the deep red of her lips which were bent in 
a half-smile, with the clear limpidity of her gray 
eyes, with the symmetry of her entire being. 

She harmonized in a manner almost supernatural 
with the country about us by the charm of youth 
which emanated from her person. The longer I 



222 



iji ''I 



■I'll 



■I :if 






-I 



THE DISCIPLE. 



looked at her the ™o« I w„ e„.vmoed that if I did 
not eejze th.s occasion to tell her «hat I had wiri.ed 
todeelare for .o long a time, I should never again 
find another opportunity so propitious. 

This idea grew in my n,i„d, mingled with the re- 

morse of seeing her, so confident, so unsuspicious of 

he pafent work by which, .busing our daily in- 

:rsrfr:r*''*'-*''*'---''---- 

My heart beat violently. The magic of her pres- 

tTrned't '"r '"'"" "''"«• ^"'"'"-tely she 
turned toward me for a moment, to show me the 
bouquet which was nearly finished. No doubt she 
saw ,n my face the trace of the emotion which my 
Pnde of thought raised in me. for her face which had 
been so joyous, so frank, suddenly grew anxious. I 
ought to say that during our conversations of theue 
wo montho we had avoided, she from delicacy, I 
from shrewdness, any allusion to the romance of de- 
cept,on by which I had tried to excite her pity I 
understood how thoroughly she had believed in this 
romance and that she had not ceased to think of i 
when she said with an involuntary melancholy in her 

"Why do you spoil this beautiful day by sad re- 



lit ■ :; i 



THE DISCIPLE. 



228 



"No!" 
me sad. 



I responded ; **you do not know what makes 
Ah! it is not remembrances. You refer to 
my former griefs. You are mistaken. There is no 
more place in my mind for memories than there is on 
these branches for lust year's leaves. " 

I heard my voice as if it had been that of some one 
else, at the same time I read in her eyes that, in spite 
of the poetical comparison by which I had concealed 
the direct meaning of this phrase, she understood me. 
How was it that what had been so impossible now 
seemed easy? How was it that I dared to do what I 
had believed I should never dare to do? I took her 
hand which trembled in mine as if the child were 
seized with a frightful terror. She rose to go away, 
but her knees trembled so that I had no difficulty in 
constraining her to sit down again. I was so over- 
come by my own audacity that 1 could not control 
myself, and I began to tell her my feelings for her in 
words which I cannot recall now. 

All the emotions through which I had passed, since 
my arrival at the chateau, yes all, even from the most 
detestable, those of my envy of Count Andr^, to the 
best, my remorse at abusing the confidence of a young 
girl, were dissolved in an adoration almost mysticaJ, 
and half-mad, for this trembling, agitated, and beau^ 
tiful creature. I saw her while I was speaking grow 
as pale as the flowers which were scattered in her lap. 






224 



THE DISCIPLE. 



h r- 




I r.».mb.r that word. cm. to m, which w.r. „.!,«, 
to «.dn.„, wild to ia.prud..c,. „d th.t I ead«i b, 
repeating : ' 

"How I lore you I Ah I How I lore yon I" 
ClMpin, her h„d in »ine .„d dr.wi», her «e„.r 
.nd ae«er to me. I p„.ed „^ ^^ ^ 

w...t without ,«n Uiiuiiug. in „^ owu .,i..ti„; „ 
k.«..« her. Thi. geeture, by ...rming her, «„ W 
tbe energy to ri« „d di.eng.g, ber.:!, ^ 
moaned rather than said ; 

"Leave me, leave me. " 

And .tepping baokw„d, her h«,d. held out in front 
of her „ u to defend hereelf. she went to the trunk o 

tion't.^".. r "' '""«■''»'«■"»« with en.0- 
^o^ while the big te«e rolled down her cheek.. 

te^ .op.inf„Urevulaion, in the tremuIo„.ne„ of 
her half^pe„ Up., a^t I rea>^^ where I w„ 
muttering : 
"Pardon." 

hair """'" ■^'' ""' °"'"* ' '»""»'' ''"> "« 

We remained thu. opposite one another and .ilent 
for a time which must h.™ been very short, but which 
..emed an eternity to me. All at once a cry crosaed 
^e wood, at first distant, then nearer, that of a ™ice 
mutating the cy of the cuckoo. They had grown 



THE DISCIPLE. 



ISA 



uneasy at our abaenoe, and it waa Lucien \?lio gave 
the uaual signal for rallying. 

At this simple reminder of reality Charlotte shiv- 
ered. The blood came back to her cheeks. She 
looked at me with eyes in which pride had driven 
away fear. She looked like one who had just awaked 
from a horrible sleep. She looked at her hands, 
which still shook, and, without another word, she 
took up her gloves and her flowers, and began to run, 
yes, to run like a pursued animal, in the direction of the 
voice. Ten minutes after we were again on the road. 
"I do not feel very well," she said to her governess, 
as if to anticipate the question which her disturbed 
face would provoke ; will you give me a place in the 
carriage ? We are going home. ' ' 

"It is the heat which has made you feel badly, " 
replied the old demoiselle. 

"And M. Greslon ?" asked Lucien when his sister 
had taken her seat and he was in behind. 
"I will walk," I answered. 

The cart moved lightly on, in spite of its quadruple 
burden, while Lucien waved me an adieu. I could 
see the hat of Mile, de Jussat immovable by the side 
of the shoulder of the coachman, who gave a "pull 
up" to his horse, then the carriage disappeared and I 
walked along alone, under the same blue sky, and be- 
tween the same trees covered with an impalpalle 



Uiit 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Terdure. B.,t an extraordinary anguish had replaced 
the cheerfulne«i and the happy ardor of the begin- 
ning of the walk. 

Thi. time the die had been thrown. I had given 
battle, I had lost; I ahould be «,nt away from the 
chateau ignobly. It wa. less thia prospect which 
overcame me than a strange mingling of regret and 
of shame. 

Behold whither my learned psychology had led me( 
Behold the result of this siege en rhjle undertaken 
against the heart of this young girl! Not a word on 
her part in response to the most impassioned declara- 
tion, and I, at the moment for action, what had I 
found to do but recite some romantic phrases? And 
8h., by a simple gesture, had fixed me to my place I 

I aaw in imagination the face of Count Andre. I 
saw in a flash the expression of contempt when they 
ahould tell him of this scene. Finally, I was no 
longer the subtle psychologist or the excited young 
man, I was a self-love humiliated to the dust by the 
time I reached the gate of the chateau. 

In recognizing the lake, the line of the mountains 
the front of the house, pride gave place to a frightful 
apprehension of what I was going to suffer, and the 
project crossed my mind to flee, to go back directly 
to Clermont, rather than experience anew the disdain 
of Mile, de Jussat, and the affront which her father 



THE DISCITLE. 



S27 



would inflict upnn me. Ik waH too Into, the raarquiH 
himiel/ oaioe to meet me, in the principal avenue, 
Aooompanied by Luoien who called me. Thin cry of 
the child had the customary intonation of familiarity, 
and the reception of the father proved that I had beeu 
wrong to feel myself lost so aoon. 

"They abandoned you," said he, "and did not even 
think of Bonding the carriage back for you. You 
must have walked a good stretch!" Ho consulted his 
watch. "I am afraid that Charlotte has taken cold," 
he added, "she went to bed as soon as she came in. 
These spring suns are so treacherous." 

So Charlotte had said nothing yet. She is suffer- 
ing this evening. That will be for to-morrow," 
thought I, and I began that evening to pack my 
papers. I held to them with so ingenuous a confi- 
dence in my talent as a philosopher! 

The next day arrived. Nothing yet. I was again 
with Charlotte at the breakfast table; she was pale, as 
if she had passed through a crisis of violent pain. I 
saw that the sound of my voice made her tremble 
slightly. Then this was all. Ah ! what a strange week I 
passed, expecting each morning that she had spoken, 
crucified by this expectation and incapable of taking 
the first step myself or of going away from the 
chateau! This was not alone for want of a pretext to 
give. A burning curiosity held me there. I had 



TIIK DISCIPLK. 



Wdlt I WM liv. 



wished to Htq m inaoh m to think, 
ing, and in what a fererl 

At l.^it, the eighth day, the marquie aaked me to 
eome into hie itudj*. 

"Thie time," eaid I to myae]/, "the hour haa 
atruok. I like this better. " 

I expected to see a terrible countenance, and to 
hear some almost insulting words. I found, on the 
contrary, the hypochondriac smiling, his eyes bright, 
his manner young again. 

"My daughter," said he, "continues to be rery un- 
well. Nothing very serious, but some odd nerrous 
symptoms. She wishes positively to consult a Paris 
physician. You know she hns been very ill and was 
cured by a physician in whom she has confidence. I 
shall not be sorry to consult him also for myself. I 
am going with her the day after to-morrow. It is 
possible that we shall take a little journey to amuse 
her. I desired to give you some particular directions 
in regard to Lucien during my absence, though I am 
yery well pleased with you, my dear Monsieur Gres- 
lon, very well pleased. I wrote so to Limasset yes- 
terday. It is a good thing for me that you are here. " 
You will judge my dear master, by what I have 
shown you of my character, that these compliments 
must have flattered me as evidence of the perfection 
with which I had filled my role, and by reassuring 




■• '•-."1 



it.#» N 



THE DISCIPLB. 



n9 



m% AflMT my fean of the loat dnyu. 1 mw ibii Tory 
clear and ixwitive fact : Charlotte had not wiihed to 
tell of my declaration, and I aaked at once: Why? 
Inatead of interpreting tbie lilence in a eense favora- 
ble to me, I saw in it thie idea: ihe did not wiah 
through pity to take away my meani of making a Ht- 
ing, but it waa not the kind of pity which I had 
withed to proToke. 

I had no sooner imagined this explanation than it 
became evident and insupportable 

**No/' said I, ''that shall not be, I will not accept 
the alms of this outraging indulgence. When Mile, 
de Jussat returns, she will not find me here. She 
showi me what I ought to do, what I will do. I have 
desiied to interest her, I have not even excited her 
anger. I will leave at least some other remembrance 
than that of a vulgar pedant who keeps his place in 
spite of the worst affronts. " 

I was so baffled in my projects; the hope which 
had sustained me all winter was so dead that I wrote 
out, on the night following this conversation, a letter 
in the place of the one in which I had thought to 
make her love me, again asking for pardon. 

I comprehend, said I, that any relation is impossi- 
ble between us, and I added that on her return she 
would not have to endure the odiousness of my pres- 
ence. The next morning in the confusion of depart- 



,pr2'*vMr^" 



230 



THE DISCIPLE. 



if:' 






V .i 






ure, I found a moment when her mother having 
called her. I could slip into her room. I hastened to 
put my letter on her bureau. There, among the books 
ready to be put into her trunk, was her blotting case. 
I opened it and found an envelope upon which were 
the words; May 12, 1886. This was the day of the 
fatal declaration. I opened this envelope. It con- 
tained some sprigs of dried lilies-of-the-valley, and I 
remember to have given her, in this last walk, some 
sprigs more beautiful than the others and she had put 
them in her corsage. She had preserved them then. 
She had kept them in spite of what I had said to her 
—because of what I had said to her. 

I do not believe that I ever experienced an emotion 
comparable to that which seized me there, before this 
simple envelope, to the flood of pride which suddenly 
inundated my heart. Yes. Charlotte had repulsed 
me. Yes, she had fled from me. But she loved mel 
I closed the case, I went up to my room in haste, for 
fear that she would surprise me, without leaving my 
letter, which I instantly destroyed. Ah I there was 
no question of my going away now. 

I must wait until she should return, and, this time, 
1 would act, I would conquer. She loved mel 

§ V. THE SECOND CRISIS. 

She loved me. The experience instituted by u>y 
pride and my curiosity had succeeded. This evidence 



m i 



THE DISCIPLE. 



231 



—for I did not for a moment doubt the proof, ren- 
dered the departure of the young girl not only sup- 
portable, but almost sweet. Her flight was explained 
by a fear of her own emotions which proved to me 
their depth. And then, by going away for a few 
weeks, she relieved me from a cruel embarrassment. 

How should I act? By what politic safeguard 
should I push on to success from this unhoped-for 
point? I was about to have leisure to think of this 
during her absence, which could not last long, since 
the Jussats had now no house except in Auvergne. 

Deferring then until later the formation of a new 
plan, I gave myself up to the intoxication of trium- 
phant self-love which I witnessed in the departure of 
Charlotte and of her father. I had taken leave of 
them in the drawing-room in order not to embarrass 
the final adieus, and returned to my room. The 
warm, cordial hand-shake of the marquis, proved once 
more how strongly I was anchored in the house, and I 
had divined behind the cool farewell of the girl the 
palpitation of a heart which did not wish to yield. 

I inhabited in the second story a corner room with 
a window on the front of the chateau I placed my- 
self behind the curtain so that I could see them as 
they entered the carriage. It was a victoria encum- 
bered with wraps and drawn by the same light bay 
horse that had drawn the English cart. There was 



233 



THE DISCIPLE. 



also the same coachman on the seat, ,vhip in hand, 

and with the same immobility of countenance. 

The marquis appeared, then Charlotte. Under the 
veil and from such a height, I could not distinguish 
her features, and when she raised the veil to dry her 
eyes, I could not have told whether it were the last 
kisses of her mother and her brother which caused 
this access of nervous emotion or despair at a too 
painful resolution. But, when the carriage turned 
away toward the gate, I saw her turn her head; and as 
the family had already gone in what could she be 
looking at so long, i^ not at the window from whose 
shelter I was regarding her? Then a clump of trees 
hid the carriage, which reappeared at the border of 
the lake to disappear again and plunge into the road 
which crosses the wood of Pradat— that road where a 
souvenir awaited her, which I was certain would 
make her heart beat more quickly— that troubled, 
conquered heart. 

This sentiment of pride satisfied me for an entire 
month, without a minute's interruption, and— proof 
that I was still entirely intellectual and psychological 
in my relations with this young girl, my mind was 
never more clear, more supple, more skillful in the 
handling of ideas than at this period. 

I wrote then my best pages, a treatise on the work- 
ing of the will during sleep. I put into it, with the 



THE DISCIPLE. 



233 



delight of a savant which you will understand, all the 
details which I had noted, for some months, on the 
goings and comings, the heights and depths of my 
resolutions. I had kept, as I have told you, a most 
precise journal, analyzing, in the evening before 
going to sleep, and in the morning, as soon as I was 
awake, the least shades of every state of mind. 

Yes, these were days of a singular fullness. I was 
very free. Mile. Largeyx and Sister Anaclet kept the 
marquise company. My pupil and I took advantage 
of the beautiful and mild days for walking. Under 
the pretext of teaching I had cultivated in him a love 
of butterflies. Armed with a long cane and a net of 
green gauze, he constantly ran after the Auroras 
with wings bordered with orange, the blue Arguses, 
the brown Morio's, the mottled Vulcans and the gold- 
colored Citrons. He left me alone with my thoughts. 

Sometimes we took the Pradat road which was now 
adorned with all the verdure of spring, sometimes we 
went toward Verneuge, toward the valley of Saint- 
Genes-Champanelle, which is as gracefully pretty as 
its name. I would seat myself upon a block of lava, 
some small fragment of the enormous stream poured 
out by the Puy de la Vacbe, and thera, without 
troubling my head about Lucien, I abandoned myself 
to this strange disposition which has always appeared 
to me in the midst of this savage nature, as a striking 



234 



THE DISCIPLE. 



'I 
} d 



symbol of my doctrines, a type of implacable fatality, 
a council pt absolute indifference to good or ill. 

I looked at the leaves of the treed as they unfolded 
in the sunlight, and I recalled the known laws of 
vegetable respiration, and how, by a simple modifica- 
tion of light, the life of the plant can be changed. In 
the same way, one ought to be able at will to direct 
the life of the soul, if he could exactly know its laws. 

I had already succeeded in creating the commence- 
ment of a passion in the soul of a young girl, sepa- 
rated from me by an abyss. What new procedures 
applied with rigor W9uld permit me to increase the 
intensity of this passion? 

I forgot the magnificence of the heavens, the fresh- 
ness of the wood, the majesty of the volcanoes, the 
vast landscape spread out before me, in seeing only 
the formulas of moral algebra. I hesitated between 
diverse solutions for the next day on which I should 
have Mile, de Jussat face to face with me in the soli- 
tude of the chateau. 

Ought I on her return to feign indifference, to dis- 
concert her, to subdue her, first by astonishment and 
then by self-love and grief? Should I pique her 
jealousy by insinuating that the foreigner of my soi- 
disant romance had returned to Clermont and had 
written to me? Should I, on the contrary, continue 
the burning declarations, the audacities which sur- 
round, the follies which intoxicate? 



THE DISCIPLE. 



235 



I replaced these hypotheses successively by stiU 
others. I pleased myself by saying that I was not in 
love, that the philosopher ruled the lover, that myself, 
this dear self of whom I had constituted myself the 
priest, remained superior and lucid. I branded as 
unworthy weaknesses the reveries which at other 
times replaced these subtle calculations. 

It was in the house that these reveries took hold 
upon me, when I looked at the portraits of Charlotte 
which were scattered about everywhe on the walls 
of the salon, on the tables and in Lucien's room. 
Photographs of all sizes represented her at six years, 
at ten years, at fifteen, and I could trace the growth 
of her beauty from the mignonne grace of her first 
years to the delicate charm of to-day. 

The features of these photographs changed, but the 
eApression never. It was the same in the eyes of the 
child and in those of the young girl, with something 
of seriousness, of tenderness and of fixedness which 
revealed profound sens, jiiity. It was impressed upon 
me, and the remembrance of it agitates me with a 
confused emotion. Ah I Why did I not give myself 
up to it entirely. 

But why was Charlotte, in so many of these por- 
traits by the side of her brother Andr^? What secret 
fibre of hate had this man, by his existence alone, 
touched in my heart, that simply to see his image 



236 



THE DISCIPLE. 



M 



I: 



I 



near that of his sister dried up my tenderness and 
left in me only one wish? 

I dared to formulate it, now that I believed I had 
taken this heart in my snare. Tes, I wished to be 
Charlotte's lover. And after? After? I forced my- 
self not to think of that, as I forced myself to destroy 
the instinctive scruples of violated hospitality. I 
collected the most masculine energies of my mind 
and I plunged more deeply into my theories upon the 
cultivation of self. 

I would go out of this experience enriched by 
emotions and remembrances. Such would be the 
moral issue of the adventure. The material issue 
would be the return to my mother's house when my 
preceptorate was ended. 

When scruples became aroused, and a voice said: 
"And Charlotte? Have you the right to treat her as a 
simple obj act of experience? ' I took my Spinoza, and 
I read there the theorem in which it is written that 
our right is only limited by our power. 

I took your "Theory of the Passions" and I studied 
there your phrases on the duel between the sexes in 
love. 

"It is the law of the world," I reasoned, "that all 
existence should be a conquest, executed and main- 
tained by the strongest at the expense of the feeblest. 
That is as true of the moral universe as of the physi- 



.Jl 



THE DISCIPLE. 



38; 



«al. There are some souls of „ruy a, there are wolves 
tigers and hawks. ' ' 

This formula seemed to me strong, new and just 
I applied it to myself, f.nd J repeated; 

"I am a soul of prey, a soul of prey," with a 
furious attack of what the mystics call the pride of 
life, among the fresh verdure, under the blue sky on 
the bank of the clear river which flows from 'the 
mountains to the lake. This exhilaration at my vic- 
torious pride was dissipated by a very simple fact 
The marquis wrote that he would return, but alone 
Mile, de Jussat. who was still unwell, would remain 
with a sister of her mother. When the marquise 
communicated this news to us we were at table. I 
felt a spasm of anger so violent that it astonished 
myself, and on the plea of sudden indisposition I left 
the dinner table. 

I should like to have cried out, broken something 
or manifested in some foolish way the rage which 
shook my soul. In the fever of vanity which had 
exalted me since the departure of Charlotte, I had 
foreseen everything, except that this girl would have 
character enough not to return to Aydat. The way 
which she had found to escape from her sentiment 
was so simple, but so sovereign, so complete. 

The marvelous tactics of my psychology became as 
vam as the mechanism of the best cannon against an 
enemy out of reach of its shot. 



nn 



THE DISCIPLE. 



H ! 






P 



What could I do if she were not there ? The vision 
of my weakness rose up so strong, so painful, that it 
excited my nervous system so profoundly that I 
neither ate nor slept until the arrival of the marquis. 
I should then learn if this resolution excluded all 
hope of a counter order — if there were any chance that 
the young girl would return by the end of July, or in 
August, or in September. My engagement would 
last uii Ai the middle of Ootobar. 

My heart beat, my throat was choked while we 
walked, Lucien and I, in the railroad station of Cler- 
mont, waiting for the train from Paris. In the excess 
of my impatience I had obtained permission to come 
to meet the father. The locomotive entered the 
station. M. de Jussat put his head through a door- 
way. I said at the risk of revealing my feelings : 

"And Mile. Charlotte?" 

"Thank you, thank you, "he answered, pressing my 
hand with feeling, "the physician says that she has a 
very serious nervous trouble. It seems that the 
mountains are not good for her. And I am well only 
high up I Ah I This is painful, very painful. We 
shall try for a time, the cold-water cure at Paris, and 
then at Neris perhaps." 

She would not return! 

If ever I have regretted, my dear master, the note- 
book which I burned, it is assuredly now, and this 



THE DISCIPLE. 



2d» 



adly record of my thought from the eTening on 
iirhioh the marquis thus announced the definite ab- 
■ence of his daughter. This record continued until 
October, when a circuiubtanoe brusquely changed the 
probable course of things. 

You would have found there, as in an aUas of moral 
anatomy, an illustration of your beautiful analysis of 
love, desire, regret, jealousy, and hate. Yes, during 
those four months I went through all these phases. 
It was an insane attempt, but quite natural, persuaded 
aa I was that Charlotte's absence only proved her 
passion. 

I Terote to her. In that letter, deliberately com- 
posed, I began by asking her pardon for my audacity 
in the Pradat wood, and I renewed this audacity in a 
worse manner, by drawing a burning picture of my 
despair away from her. 

This letter was a wilder declaration than the other 
and so bold that once the envelope had disappeared in 
the box at the village postoffice whither I had carried 
it myself, my fears were renewed. Two daj'S, three 
days, and there was no reply. The letter at least was 
not returned, as 1 had feared, without even being 
opened. 

At this time the marquise had finished ber prepara- 
tions to join her daughter. Her sister occupied at 
Paris in the Bue de Chanaleilles, a house large 



uo 



THE DISCIPLE. 






» 



enough to gire to these ladies all the rooms they 
needed. Hotel de Sennoises, Rue de Chanaleilles, 
Paris, what emotious I have had in writing this 
address, not only once, but five or six times. 

I calculated that the aunt would not watch the 
correspondence of the young girl very strictly, while 
the mother would watch her. It was necessary to 
take advantage of the time the latter still remained at 
Aydat, to strengthen the impression certainly pro- 
duced by my letter. I wrote every day, until the 
departure of the marquise, letters like the first, and I 
found no trouble in playing the lover. 

My passionate desire to have Charlotte return was 
sincere— as sincere as unreasonable. I have known 
since that, at every arrival of these dangerous mis- 
sives, she struggled for hours against the tempta- 
tion to open the envelope. At last she opened it 
She read and reread the pages and their poison 
acted surely. As she was ignorant of the discovery I 
had made of her secret, she did not think to defend 
herself against the opinion that I could have con- 
ceived of her. 

These letters affected her so much that she pre- 
served them. The ashes were found in the chimney 
of her room where she had burned them the night of 
her death. I much suspected the troubling effect of 
these pages which I scratched off in the night, excited 



THE DISCIFLE. 



<41 



by the thought that I was firing my lant cartridge^ 
which resembled .hot. in a fog. .ince no .ign gave 
notice that every time I aimed I .truck right into her 
heart. 

Thi. absolute uncertainty I at first interpreted to 
my advantage; then, when the mother had left the 
chateau and I saw the impossibiUity of writing I 
found in Charlotte', silence the mo.t evident proof 
not that she loved me. bu« that she was using her 
whole will to conquer thi. love and that .he would 
succeed. 

"Ah. well!" I thought, "I shall have to give her up 
since 1 cannot reach her. and all is over." I pro^ 
nounced these words aloud alone in my room as I 
heard the carriage which took the marquise roll away 
M. de Jussat and Lucien accompanied her as far a. 
Martris-de-Veyre. where she went to take the train. 
Yes." I repeated, "all is ended. What difference 
does It make since I do not love her?" 

At the moment this thought left me relatively tran- 
quil and with no other trouble than a vague feeling of 
uneasiness in the chest, as happens when we are 
annoyed. I went out for the purpose of shaking off 
even th,8 uneasiness, and, in one of those fits of 
bravado, by which I waB pleased to prove my strength 
I went to the place in which I had dared to speak t^ 
Charlotte of my love. 



Uft 



THE DrsciPLE. 



M 



ji 



In order the better to attest my liberty of »oul, I 
had Uken under ray arm a new book which I had jiiat 
received, a trnnalation of Darwin '« letten. 

The day waa mi.ty, but aliuoiit acorching. A kind 
of aimooQ of wind from the south parched the 
branohea of the trees with iU breath. As I wont on 
this wind affected my nervea. I desired to attribute 
to its influence the increase of my unoiwinesa. After 
■ome fruitless search in the wood of Pradat, I at last 
found the clearing where we had been-the stone 
—the birch. 

It trembled constantly in the breath of the wind 
with iU dentated folfage which was now much 
thicker. I had intended to read my book here. I 
sat down and opened the book. I could not get be- 
yond a half page. The memories overcame me, took 
possession of me, showing me this «irl upon this same 
■tone, arranging the sprays of her lilies, then stand- 
ing, leaning against this tree, then frightened and 
fleeing over the grass of the path. 

An indefinable grief took possession of me, oppress- 
ing my heart, stifling my respiration, filling my eyes 
with scalding tears, and I felt, with terror, that 
through so any complications of analysis and of sub- 
tleties. I was desperately in love with the child who 
was not there, who would never be there attain. 
This discovery, so strangely unexpected, and of a 



THE DISCIPLE. 343 

Mntiment «, contrary to the programme I had 
•rranged, wm accomp «i„o.t immediately by a 

reTul.,onagain.t thi..ent.i.ei»t and again.t the image 
of her ^ho had cauaed me thi. pain. There wa. not 
• day during the long week, that followed that I did 
not atniggle again.t the ahame of having been taken 
m my own anare and without feeling a bitter apite 
againat the absent one. 

I recognized the depth of hi. apite at the infamous 
joy which filled my heart when the marqui. received 

• letter from Paris, which he read with a frown and 
•ighed a. he aaid : "Charlotte is still unwell. " I felt 

• consolation, a miserable one. but a consolation all 
the same, in saj-ing to myself that I had wounded her 
with a poi«)nou. wound and one which would be slow 
to heal. It seemed to me that this would be my true 
revenge, if she should continue to suflfer. and I should 
be the first to cure her. 

I appealed to the philosopher that I was so proud 
of being to drive out the lover. I resumed my old 
reasoning. "There are laws of life and of mind and 
I know them. I cannot apply them to Charlotte, since 
she has fled from me. Shall I be incapable of apply, 
mg them to myself?" And I meditated on this new 
question: "Arc there remedies agam«t love? Yes, 
there are, and I Imve found tbem. " 

My qua«i-nmther ticai habits of analysis were at 



jiS^f. 



S44 



THE DISCIPLE. 



my service in my project of healing, and I resolved 
the problem into its elements, after the manner of 
geometricians. 

I reduced this question to this other: "What is 
love?" to which I answered brutally by your defini- 
tion: 'Love is the obsession of sex. " Now, how is 
th,s combated? By physical fatigue, which sus- 
Pends, or at least lessens, the action of the mind 

I compelled myself and I compelled my pupil to 
take long walks. The days on which he had no les- 
sons, Sundays and Thursdays. I went out alone at the 
break of day. after having arranged the hour and the 
Place in which Lucien should join me with the car- 
nage. I awoke at two o'clock. I went out from the 
chateau, in the cold of the half-twilight which pre- 
cedes the dawn. 

I went straight before me, frantically, choosing the 
worst paths, ascending the nearest peaks by the most 
abrupt and almost inaccessible sides. I risked break- 
ing my limbs in descending the yielding sand of the 
craters, or upon the crests of basalt. No matter. 

The orange line of the aurora gained the border of 
the sky. The wind of the new day beat against my 
face. The stars like precious stones melted away 
drowned in the flood of azure, now pale, now darker' 
The sun lighted up, on the flowers, the trees and the 
grass a flashing of sparkling dew. 



THE DISCIPLE. 246 

Persuaded aa I am. of the laws of prehistoric 
avatism, I aroused in myself, by the sensation of the 
forced march and of the heights, the rudimentary 
mind of the ancestral brute, of the man of the caves 
from whom I. as well as the rest of mankind, am 
descended. 

I attained in this way a sort of savage delirium, but 
It was neither ^he dreamed-of joy nor peace, and it 
was interrupted by the smallest reminiscence of my 
relations with Charlotte. The turn of a road which 
we had followed together, the blue bosom of the lake 
Been from .ome height, the outline of the slated roofs 
of the ch&teau. less than that, even the trembling 
foha^^e of a birch and its silvery trunk, tho name of a 
village of which she had spoken, on an advertisement 
was sufficient, and this factitious frenzy gave place t<i 
the keen regret that she was not near me. 

I heard her say in her finely-toned voice : "Look 
then-" as she would say when we wandered together 
through this same region, which was then covered 
with ice and snow-but the flower of her beauly was 
then in bloom, now it was adorned with verdure, but 
the living flower was gone. 

And this sensation became more intolerable stiU 
when I met Lucien, who never failed to talk of her 
He loved her. he admired her so lovingly, and in his 
ingenuousness he gave me so many proofs that she 



246 



THE DISCIPLE. 



m 



»» worthy of being loved and admired. Then physi- 
«al wearinee. reeolyed itaelf into . wor« enemtion, 
«d n.ghta foUowed in whicn I euffered from an excited 
.nBomma. m which I would weep .loud, oiling her 
name like one deranged. 

"It i. through the mind that I aufler." I «ud after 
haying >n ™in «,«ght the remedy in great fatigue. 
I will attack mind through mind. " 
I undertook that study the most completely opposed 
to aU feminine preoccupation. I despoiled in less 
ttan. fortnight, pen in hand, two hundred pages of 
that Physiology" of Beaunis which I had brought 
» my trunk and the hardest for me, those which treat 
of the chemistry of living bodies. 

My efforts to understand and to sum up these 
«.«lyse, which demand the laboratory, were supremely 
•n vain. I only succeeded in stupefying my intellect 
Md m making myself less capable of resisting a fixed 
idea. 

I saw that I had again taken the wrong road. Was 
not the true method rather that which Goethe pro- 
fessed-to apply the mind to that from which we wish 
to be dehvered? This great mind, who knew how to 
1.™ thus put in practice the theory set up in the fifth 
book of Spinoza, and which consists in evolving f^om 
the accidents of our personal life the law which unites 
us to the great life of the universe. 



THE DISCIPLE. 247 

M. Taine. in his eloquent pages on Byron, advises 
the same, "the light of the „,ind produces in us 
serenity of the heart." And you. my dear master, 
what else say you in the preface to your "Theory of 
the Passions. " "To consider one's own destiny as a 
. corollary in this living geometry of nature, and as 
an inevitable consequence of this eternal axiom whoso 
infinite development is prolonged through time and 
space, IS the only principle of enfranchisement " 

And what else am I doing, at this hour, in writing 
out this memoir, but conforming to these maxims? 
Can they serve me now any better than they did 
then? I t^iedat that time to resume in a kind of 
new autobiography the history of my feelings for 
Charlotte. I supposed-see how chance sometimes 
sb-angely realizes our dreams-a great psychologist to 
be consulted by a young man; and. toward the last 
the psychologist wrote out for the use of the moral 
invalid a passional diagnosis with indication of causes 
I wrote this piece during the month of August and 
under the exhausting influence of the most torrid 
he.t. I devoted to it about fifteen seances, lasting 
from ten o'clock in the evening to one o'clock in the 
morning, all the windows open, with the space 
around my lamp brightened by large night-moths, by 
these large velvet butterflies which bear on their 
bodies the imprint of a death's head. 



248 



THE DISCIPLE. 



The moon rose, inundating with its bluish light the 
lake over which ran the pearly reflections ; the woods 
whose mystery grew more profound, and the line of 
the extinct volcanoes. I put down my pen to lose 
myself, in presence of this mute landscape, in one of 
those cosmogonio reveries to which I was accustomed 
As at the time in which the words of my poor father 
revealed to me the history of the world, I saw again 
the primitive neubulousness, then the earth detached 
from it, and the moon thrown oflf from the earth. 

That moon was dead, and the earth would die also 
She was becoming chilled second by second; and the 
imperceptible conseqiience of these seconds, added 
together during millions of years, had already ex- 
tinguished the fire of the volcanoes from which for- 
xnerly flowed the burning and devastating lava on 
which the chateau now stood. 

In cooling this lava had raised a barrier to the 
course of the water which spread into a lake, and the 
water of this lake was being evaporated as the atmos- 
Phere diminished-these forty poor kilometers of re- 
spirable air which surround the planet. 

I closed my eyes, and I felt this . cal globe roll 
through the infinite space, unconscious of the little 
worlds that come and go upon it, as the immensitv of 
space is unconscious of the suns, the moons and the 
earths. The planet will roll on when it will be only 



THE DISCIPLE. g^P 

.b.n without .ir .nd without w.to,, ,„„ ^Woh »„ 
».« d.„ppe„ed. „ well „ „i„^, ^^ ^^^^ 

Pl.t.o». th.. v,„„„ threw »e b«k „p„„ „, ,„„j 
».de .e feel with terror the co„«iou,nea. oLy Zl 

low long? Scarcely » poiut aud a momeiitl 

Then .„ thie i„eparable flight of thing., thi. p„i„t 
»d th« „o«ent of our c„nsciousne.s remai™ our 

»ten,.ty of en.oti„n Charlotte alone could gi™ n>eTf 
.be were ,n this room, seated in this chair, unuLg 
her condemned soul to my e„„d,„„,, ^^^ ""^ 

to^e, ^ the separate force, of my being, the inteW 

freiy If''^' ™"'° "' *"* """-" -' ^-"ene-J the 
'"»yof the personal life instead of culn,ing it r 

..d to my.elf that without doubt I had been Wed 
>nbehev.ng myself . Purely abstract and intei.ectuj 

tirl h rr. y "°''*'' '" "■•»"»'«'» "-n en 
t.rely chaste had I not lived contr«^ to my nature? 

Under pretext of some family busine™ to regulate 
I obta.ned of the marauis . vacation of eight d^s ^ 



aao 



THE DISCIPLE. 



went lo Cleraontand «,ught for M»ri,nne. I,oon 
found her. She was no longer the .i„,ple working- 
woman. • A country proprietor had aettled her, dre«,ed 
her ,n fine olothee, and coming to the city only one 
day in eight, left her a «,rt of liberty. Thi. re- 
entrance into the world affected me „ a renewal of 
.nit.at.on. I wa» deairou, of knowing to what degree 
tte nemory of Charlotte gangrened n,y aoul. Ah! 
how the image of Mile, de Jnsaat presented itself at 
that moment with her Madonna-like profile and the 
dehcacy of her whole being. It waa impoeeible for 
me to return to these base idols. I passed the day, 
which remained to me in walking with my mother 
who seeing me so melancholy became uneasy and in- 
creased my sadness by her questions. 

I saw the time of my return to the chateau ap- 
proach with pleasure. At least I could live there 
among my memories. But a terrible blow awaited 
me wh.ch was given me by the marquis on my 
arrival. ^ 

"Good news," said he «i soon as he saw me. 
Charlotte .s better. And there is more just «, good. 
She .s go.ng to be married. Yes, she accepts M de 
Plane. It is true, you do not know him, a friend of 
Andre whom .he refused once, and now she is will- 
ing. And he continued, going back to himself as 
«sual: "Yes, it is very good news, for, you see. I 



II 



THE DISCIPLE. 261 

hare not much longer to live T « u . 

much broken." ^ ""* ^'^^^«"> ^^'^ 

rl" If T'*' "■" """ *''™«'" ■""■"' <" the 

^e^ can a.v,„e what amarting p<,i«,„ ^hi, new' 
poured mto my wound. 

May, June, July, August, September-nearly fi.e 
months since Charlotte had ijone anH ,w ! 

in^eaa Of .eaHng haa beoor;;:; X::: 

d.d not have the cruel consolation that my suffering 

r^lTf?"""''^^''™^^'''"'-'^- 
waa cured of her .cntiment for me, while I waa 
agonized bjr mine for her. e i was 

lov" W I ""^ "t"""**' "' *"" ""'"«'■' ""at this 
wl a^ ^r ""'""'«» '""• ""> i-t at the moment I 
was about to be able to develop it in its f„„„e,s a 

Pans, where M. de Plane was passing his leave of 
absence, receiving her Jianc, in the partial me^^ 



S59 



THE DISCIPLE. 




With a familiarity permitted under the iadulgeat ayea 
of the marquiw. They were for thie man now. thaM 
■mUe. at 6noe proud and timid, these tender and 
anxious looks, these passages of paleness and modest 
red OTer her delicate faoe. these gestures of a grace 
always a little wild. 

Finally she loved him. since she was willing to 
marry him. And he seemed to me like Count Andre 
whose detestable influence I found even here, and 
whom I again hated in the Mnci of his sister con- 
founding these two gentlemen, these two ilders. these 
two ofSoers. in the same furious antipathy. Vain and 
puerile auger which I took with me into the wood 
already redothed with those vaguo tints which would 
soon change to russet. 

The swaUows were assembling for their departure. 
As the hunting season had begun there was firing all 
around them, and frightened, they rose in a flight 
such as that by which the wild bird had escaped 
which I had thought to bring down some day. 

Toward Saint-Satumin. the hills were planted with 
^Ines whose grapes would soon be ripe for the vint- 
age. I saw the stinks widowed of fruit, those which 
the hailstorms of the spring had destroyed in their 
flower. Thus had died on the spot, before being ripe, 
my vintage, vintage of intoxicating emotions, of sweet 
felicities, of burning ecstasies. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



253 



I felt m gloomy and indefinable pleasure in aeeking 
•rerywhere in the country some symbol of my senti- 
ment, since I was. for a short Ume, purified from aU 
calculation by the alchemy of grief. 

If I waa ever a true lover and giren up to regrets 
memories and despairs, it was in those days which 
must be the last of my stay at Aydat. In fact, the 
marquis announced his intention to hasten his de- 
parture. He had abdicated his hypochondria, and 
he cheerfully said to me: 

*'I adore my future son-in-law. I wish that 
you could know him. He is loyal, he is brave, he is 
good, he is proud. True gentlemanly blood in his 
veins. Do you understand the women? Here is one 
who is no sillier than the rest, is it not so? Two 
years ago he offered himself to her. She said no. 
Then my boy goes away to come back half-dead. 
And then it is yes. Do you know. I have always 
thought that there was some love-affair in her nervous 
malady. I knew it. I said to myself: she is in love 
with some one. It was he. And what if he had not 
wanted her, all the same?" 

No. it was not M. de Plane whom Charlotte had 
loved that winter; but she had loved, that was certain. 
Our existences had crossed at one point, like the two 
roads which I saw from my window, the one which 
descends the mountains and goes toward the fatal 



254 



THE DISCIPLE. 



wood of Pradat. the other which leads toward the 
Pay de la Rodde. 

I happened to lee, at the oIom of the day the oar- 
riagea following these two roads. After almost taut- 
ing each other, they were lost in opposite directions. 
Thus were our destinies separated forever. The Baro- 
ness de la Plane would lire in the world, at Paris, and 
that represented to me a whirlpool of unknown and 
fascinating sensations. 

I knew too well my future life. In thought, I 
awoke again in the little room of the Hue du Billard. 
In thought I followed the three streets which it is 
necessary to take sto go from there to the Faculty. I 
entered the palace of the Academy, built in red brick, 
and I reached the «a/fe des con/4rence8 with its bara 
walls garnished with blackboards. I listened to the 
professor analyzing some author on license or admis- 
sion. That lasted an hour and a half, then I returner^, 
my aerviette under my arm. through the cold streyts 
of the old town, for it was necessary for me to pass 
still another year, as I had not studied hard enough 
to submit to my examination with success. 

I should continue to go and come among tLese dark 
houses, with this horizon of snowy mountains, to see 
the father and mother of Emile sitting at their win- 
dow and playing at cards, the old Limadset reading 
his paper in the comer of the Cafe de Paris, the 
omnibuses of Royat at the corner of Jarde. 



.J 



THE DISCIPLE. 



W 



Tm, I oome down to thot, my dear niMter. to this 
miwry of mindi without psycholojity whioh atUch 
ihemselTei to the external form of life without pene- 
trating it* eMenoe. I diwegarded my old faith in the 
■uperiority of aoienoe, to which only three aquare 
metrea of room are neoeiaary in order that a Spinoza 
or an Adrien Sixte m«y there posaesa the immenae 
univerae. 

Ah! I was very mediocre in that period of power- 
less desires and conquered lore I I detested, and 
with what injustice, that life of abstract atudy which 
I was about to resume! And how I wish to-day that 
this might be my fate, and that I might awake a poor 
student near the Faculty of Clermont, tenant of the 
father of Emile, pupil of old Limasset. the morose 
traveler through those black streets—but an innocent 
man! an innocent man! And not the man who haa 
gone through what I have gone through, and which 
he finds it a necessity to tell. 

§ VI. THIBD OBISIS. 

Toward the end of this severe month of September, 
Lucien complained of not being quite well, which the 
doctor attributed at first to a Rimple cold. Two days 
after tlio symptoms becauie a^jgravated. Two physi- 
cians of Clermont, called iu haste, diagnosed scarlet 
fever, but of a mild character. 



456 



THE DISCIPLE. 



limy mind had not been entirely ebeorbed by tbe 
ilied ide» which miMleo/ me at thi. period • teriUble 
monomania, I lAould h.Te found material enough to 
fill my noUbook. I had only to foUow the evolution. 
of the mind of the marqui. and the .truggle in hi. 
beaH between hypochondria and paternal lore 

Sometime., in .pite of the reawuring word, of the 
doctor., he became mo uneav about hi. wn that he 
P»««d the night in watching him. Sometime, he 
wa. wixed with the fear of contagion; he went to 
bed. complained of imaginary pain., and counted the 
hour, until the Ti«i of the phy.ician. Sometime. 
•o grare did hi..ymptom. wem to himwlf. that the 
m-Mni. mu.t hare the fir.t vi.it. Then he would be 
aiOiamed of hi. panic. He arow. he chaatiwd himwlf 
for hi. terror, with bitter phra.e. on the feeble- 
new which age bring., and returned to the bed.ide of 
hii ion. Hi. fir.t intention wa. to conceal from the 
marquiw and Charlotte and Andr^ the iUnew of the 
child; but after two week., these alternation, of .eal 
•nd of terror having exhausted hi. energy, he felt the 
need of having hi. wife with him to .u.tain him. and 
the incoherence of hi. idea. wa. .o great that he con- 
.ulted me : 

"Do you not think it i. my duty?" 
There are «,me lying souls, my dear maeter. who 
excel in oxcuaing by fine motives their most vUlainou. 



lU 



TUB DISCIPLE. 



U7 



MiioM. If I were of thii number I oouM nrnko a 
merit of luiTtng intiited tbet the uartiuii Hbould not 
reoell hie wife. Surely I knew the full import of my 
reeponee end of the reeolution that M. do JuHvat wai 
about to take. I knew that, if L > iufurmod the mar- 
qniee, the would arrive by the fimt train, and I alno 
knew Charlotte well enough to be assured that she 
would ro'Lu >ath her mother. I should see her aKain. 
Iaho;)d ' Rvo ? 'iui^qme opr>ortuuity to reawaken in 
her il '. In.f. « f w'u.b ^. had lurprised tho proof. I 
ooui'1 tt> vUai, it vfti loyalty on my part, the advice 
tc louve M'x.« . '^o ''s*. .t in Paris. I should have the 
aA^pearancc o/ ioyalty. Why? If I were not con- 
vinotid thrtf tL«: ii no effect without a cause and no 
loyalty >^ *' ut ». htoret egoism, I should recognize a 
horror in using to the profit of a culpable passion the 
noblest of sentiments, that of a sister for a brother. 

Here is the naked truth : in trying to dissuade M. 
de Jussat, I was convinced that all effort to regain the 
heart of Charlotte would be useless. I foresaw in 
this return only certain humiliation. Worn out by 
these long months of internal struggle, I no longer 
felt the strength to maneuver. There was then no 
virtue in representing to the marquis the inconven- 
iences, the dangers even, of the stay of these two 
women in the chateau, near an invalid who might 
communicate to them his disease. 



258 



THE DISCIPLE. 



((. 



"And how about me?" responded he ingenuou.ly, 
•am I not exposed every day? But you are right for 
Charlotte ; I will write that I do not want her. " 

"Ah I Greslon," said he two days after, on the 
receipt of a telegram, "see what they do-read. " He 
handed me the dispatch which announced the arrival 
of Mile, de Jussat and her mother. "Naturally " 
moaned the hypochondriac, "she wanted to come, with- 
out thinking that I should be spared such emotions. " 
The marquis spoke to me in this way at two o'clock 
m the afternoon. I knew that the train left Paris at 
nine o'clock in the evening and arrived at Clermont 
toward five in the morning. Mme. de Jussat and 
Charlotte would be at the chateau before ten o'clock. 
I passed a fearful evening and night, deprived now of 
that philosophic tension, outside of which I float a 
creature without energy, the sport of nervouH and 
irresistible impressions. 

Good sense, however, indicated a very simple solu- 
tion. My engagement would end the 15th of October 
It was now the 6th. The child was convalescent.' 
He had his mother and his sister with him. I could 
return home without any scruple and under any pre- 
text. I could do it and I must-for the sake of my 
dignity as well as for my repose. 

In the morning. I had taken this resolution and I 
was going to speak about it to the marquis imme- 






THE DISCIPLE. 



ass) 



diately; he did not let me say a word, he was so 
agitated by the airival of his daughter : ' * Very well, " 
Mid he, "by and by, I have no head for anything 
now. This willfulness 1 That is why I have grown 
old so fast. Always new shocks 1" 

Who knows? my destiny may have entirely de- 
pended on the humor by which this old fool refused 
to hear me. If I had spoken to him at that moment, 
and if we had fixed my departure, I should have l>een 
obliged to have gone; instead, the sole presence of 
Charlotte changed the project of going into a project 
of remaining, as a lamp carried into a room imme- 
diately changes this darkness into light. I repeat it, 
I was convinced that she had absolutely ceased to 
be interested in me on the one hand, and, on the other, 
that I was passing through a crisis, not of genuine 
love, but of wounded vanity, and of morbid brooding. 
Ah, well! To see her descend from the carriage 
before the perron, to see that my presence overcame 
her, as hers affected me, I understood two things: 
first, that it would be physically impossible for me to 
leave the chateau while she should be there; then that 
she had passed through trouble similar to mine, if 
not worse. She must have fled from me with the 
most sincere courage, not to have replied to my 
letters, not to have read them, to have become be- 
trothed in order to place an insurmountable barrier 



260 



THE DISCIPLE. 



iff 

w 



M 



b.tw«,n u., to h.Te beliwed «en th.t .h, „o IoBg„ 
0T«1 n,., „d to h.y, „ta«ed to the chut«.u with 
tbi8 persuasion. 
She loTed met 

I had no need of a detailed unMlyniB Hire those in 
which I was too complaisant and in which 1 was so 
much deceired. to recognize this fact. It was an 
mtmtion, sudden, unreasoning, invincible, one to 
make me believe that the theories on the double life 
•o Liuch discussed by Science, are absolutely true ' 
I read it. this unhoped for love, in th<, troubled 
eyes of this chUd, as your read the words by which I 
an, teymg to reproduce here the li.^Ltning and the 
thunderbolt of this evidence. 

She w«i before me in her traveling costume, and 
white, white as this sheet of paper. I should have 
explained this pallor by the fatigue of the night 
passed in the carriage, and by her uneasiness at her 
brcHher . illness. Her eyes, in meeting mine, trem- 
bled with emotion. That might be offended modesty? 
She had fallen away, and when she took off her cloak 
I -aw that her dress, a dress which I recognized, wa. 
wrinkled around the shoulders. 

Ah! I. who had believed so steongly in the method, 
the inductions, and the complications of reasoning, 
bow I felt the omnipotence of instinct against which 
nothing could provide. 



,t'>.: 



THE DISCIPLE. 



261 



She had loved me all the time. She lored me more 
than ever. What matter that she had not given me 
her hand at our first meeting; that she had scarcely 
■poken to me in the vestibule; that she went up the 
grand stairoase with her mother without turning her 
head? 

She loved me. This certainty, after so long a 
period of doubt and anxiety, inundated my heart with 
a flood of joy, so that I was almost overcome, there, 
on the carpet of the stairoase which I must also climb 
to go to my room. What was I to do? With my 
elbows on the table and pressing my hands against 
my forehead to repress the throbbing of my temples 
I put this question without finding any other answer 
than that I coild not go away; that absence and 
silence could not end all between Charlotte and my- 
self; finally that we were approaching an hour in 
which so many reciprocal efforts, hidden struggles, 
combated desires on the part of both, was precipitat- 
ing us toward a supreme scene, and this, I could feel 
was near, tragic, decisive, inevitable. 

At first Charlotte was constrained to submit to my 
presence. We must meet at the bedside of her 
brother, and the very morning of her arrival, when it 
was my turn to keep the invalid company, toward 
eleven o'clock, I found her there talking with him, 
while the marquise questioned Sister Anaclet, both 



f! 




263 



THE DISCIPLE. 



.poking ia ,0, toa« „d .taadin, „„ ji, ,;„. 

«.t.r h«l been oonoealed, riiowed in hi. f.oe iu.d in 
h.. JE^ture. the excited .nd Imoet feverid. joy 
which .. .e.n in conyale.cent.; he ..luted n,e with 

iilrT* "'"''■ ""* *'*"'' "^ '"■'■' •^'' *» »"» 

"If you only knew how good M. Qrdon h« been 
to me all thnse days!" 

She did not reply, but I «w th.t her h«d, which 
1.J- on tte p,llow ne„ her brother', cheek, rtook » 
w. h . ch.ll. She made .n effort to look .t n.e with 
out betr,„,„g her«lf. Without doubt u,y f«« „. 
pre««d an emotion that touched her. She felt that 
to le.ve unnoticed the innocent remark of her brother 
would make me feel badly. „d. in the voice of p..t 
da,-., her .weet and living ™ice, d« «.id, „ith„„t 
addressing me directly: 

,K "I'l ^ '"'°'' " ""* ^ *''•"' '"» '« "• We .11 
CDank him very much." 

She did not .dd another word. I am euro that if I 

^n^T, '"" ■" "«>t-oment .he would have 
f..«ted before me, she wa, eo moved by thi. .imple 
conversation. 

naJurT""""' \ "'" """""'■■ "'» " """« 
«.«turai, or «meth.ng «milar. I wae not very col- 



m i 



*^ '^ **^i 



THE DISCIPLE. 



S68 



lected myself. Lucien, however, who had noticed 
neither the altered tone of his sister, nor my em- 
barrassment, continued: 
"And isn't Andre coming to see me?" 

"You know he has gone back to his regiment, " said 
she. 

"And Maxime?" insisted the child. I knew that 
this was the namp of the fiance of Mile, de Jussat. 
These two syllables had no sooner left the lips of her 
brolker than the paleness of her face gave way to a 
sudden wave of blood. There was an interval of 
filence duriug which I could hear the murmuring of 
Sister Anaclet, the crackling of the fire in the chim- 
ney, the swinging of the pendulum, and the child 
himself astonished at this silence. 

"Yes, Maxime, is not he coming either?" 
"M. de Plane has also gone back to his regiment," 
■aid Charlotte. 

"Are yon going away already, M. Greslon?" asked 
Lucien as I rose brusquely. 

"I am coming back," I replied; "I have forgotten 
a letter on my table. " And I went out, leaving Lucien 
with a smile on his fact,, and Charlotte with her eyes 
oast down. 

Ah I my dear master, you must believe what I am 
telling you; in spite of the incoherencies of a heart 
almost unintelligible to itself, you must not doubt my 



364 



THE DISCIPLE. 




■inoerity in that momeni I hare lo great need not 
to doubt it myself; need to say to myself that I was 
not lying then. 

There was not an atom of voluntary comedy in the 
■udden movement by which I rose at the simple men- 
tion of the name of the man to whom Charlotte ought 
to belong, to whom she did belong. There was no 
comedy in the tears which burst from my eyes, as 
soon as I passed the threshold of the door, nor in 
those which I wept during the night which followed, 
in despair at this double and frightful certainty that 
we loved one another, and that never, never, could 
we be anything qne to the other; no comedy in the 
■tarts of pain which her presence inflicted on me dur- 
ing the days which followed. Her pale face, her 
emaciated profile, her suffering eyes wore there to 
disturb me, and this pallor rent my soul, and this 
spare ouUine of her body made me love her more, and 
those eyes besought me. 

"Do not speak. I know that you are unhappy too. 
It would be cruel to reproach me, to complain, to 
show your hurt." 

Tell me, if I had not been sincere in those days, 
wou d I hove let them pass without acting, when their 
hours were counted? But I do not recaU a single 
reflection, a sinRle combination. I do recall confusing 
sensations, something burning, frantic, intolerable, a 



THE DISCIPLE. 



965 



profltrating neiiralgia of my inmost being, a laooina- 
tion continuous, snd growing, growing always, the 
dream of putting an end to it, a project of suicide. 

You see that I truly loved, since all my subtleties 
were melted in the flume of this passion, as lead in a 
furnace ; since I did not find material for analysis in 
what was a real alienation, an abdication of my old 
self in this martyrdom. This thought of death came 
from the inmost depths of my being, this obscure 
appetite for the grave of which I was possessed as of 
physical thirst and hunger, in which, my dear master, 
you will recognize a necessary consequence of this 
disease of love, so admirably studied by you. 

This instinct of destruction, of which you point out 
the mysterious awaking at the same time as that of 
sex, was turned against myself. This was shown first 
by an infinite lassitude, the lassitude of feeling much 
but never expressing anything. For the anguish in 
Charlotte's eyes, when they met mine, defended her 
better than all words could have done. 

Beside, we were never alone, except sometimes for 
a few minutes in the salon, by chance, and these 
minutes passed in a silence which we could not break. 
To speak at such times is as impossible as for a para- 
lytic to move his feet. A superhuman effort would 
not BuflSce. One experiences how emotion, to a cer- 
tain degree of intensity, becomes incommunicable. 



266 



THE DISCIPLE. 



! !l 



One feela himself imprisoned, walled up in his self, 
and he would like to set away from this unhappy 
•eW^ to plunge, to lose himself in the coldness of 
death is whore all ended. 

That continued with a kind of delirious desire to 
make on the heart of Charlotte an imprint which could 
not be effaced, with an insane desire to give her 
some proof of love, against which neither the tender- 
ness of her future husband nor the magnificence of 
her social surroundings, could ever prevail. 

"If I die of despair at being separated from her 
forever, she must remember the simple preceptor, the 
poor provincial, capable of sentiments so powerful I" 
It seems to me that I formulated these reflections. 
You notice that I say: "It seems tome." For in 
truth, I did not comprehend myself at that period. I 
did not recognize myself in the fever of violence and 
of tragedy by which I was consumed. Scarcely do I 
discern in this ungovernable oome-and-go of my 
thoughts a kind of auto-suggestion, as you say. I 
was hypnotized, and it was as a somnambulist that I 
determined to kill myself at such a day. at such an 
hour, as I wad going to the druggist to procure the 
fatal bottle of nux vomica. 

During all these preparations and under the in- 
fluence of this resolution, I hoped for nothing, I cal- 
culated nothing. A force entirely foreign to my own 



THE DISCIPLE. 



a«7 



eonioiouuieM wm aoting on me. At no tim« wm 
I the speoUtor of my gestures, my thoughU and my 
actions, with an exterior of the acting "I" in relation 
to the thinking "I. " But I hare written a note upon 
this point, which you wiU find on the fly leaf, in my 
exemplaireot the book of Briere de Boismont on 
suicide. 

I experienced in these preparations an indefinable 
sensation of a waking dream, of lucid automatism. I 
attribute these strange phenomena to a nervous dis- 
order, almost a madness, caused by the ravages of a 
fixed idea. It was only on the morning of the day 
chosen for the execution of my project that I thought 
of making a last attempt to win Charlotte. 

I sat down at my table to write her a letter of fare- 
well. I saw her reading this letter, and this question 
suddenly presented itself to me: "What would she 
do?'* Was it possible that she might not be moved 

by this announcement of my intended suicide? 

Would she hasten to prevent it? Yes, she would run 

to my room and find me dead. At least, should I 

not wait for the effect of this last proof? 

Here I am very sure that I saw myself clearly. I 

know that hope was born in me exactly in this way and 

precisely at this point of my project. "Ah, welll" 

said I, "I will try." 
I resolved that if, at midnight, she had not come, I 



I 



■«.. 



268 



THE DISCIPLE. 



i\ 



I 

t ! 



would drink the poison. I had ttodied th« •fleoii of 
it, and hoped I should not suffer rery long. 

It is strange that all that day was pawed is a 
singular serenity. I was s if reliered of a weight, as 
if really detached from myself, and my anxiety eom- 
meuoed only toward ten o'clock, when, bating retired 
first, I had placed the letter on the table in the room 
of the young girl. 

At half-past ten I heard through my partly-open 
door the marquis, the marquise and Charlotte ascend- 
ing the stairs. They stopped to talk a few minutes in 
the passage, then there were the customary good- 
nights, and each entered a separate chamber. 

Eleven o'clock — a quarter-past eleven. 

Still nothing. 

I looked at my watch, placed in front of me, near 
three letters prepared foi M. de Jussat, for my mother, 
and for you, my dear master. 

My heart beat as if it would burst; but I wish you to 
note that my will was firm and cool. I had told lille. 
de JuBsat that she would not see me the next day. I 
was sure of not failing my word if — I did not dare to 
strengthen what hope this "if" contained. 

I watched the second-hand go round and I made a 
mechanical calculation, an exact multiplication: "at 
sixty seconds a minute, I shall see the hand go round 
so many times, for at midnight I shall kill myself." 



I^TV'-- • 



^r 



THE DISCIPLE. j^jj) 

A noiM of furiire ukd light iteiM on Ui« •Uira, 
which I perceived with lupreme emotion, intorruj.ted 
my calouktion. ThaM ttepa •pi.ro«ohe.l. They 
■topped be/ora my door. Suddenly the door wm 
optned. Charlotte waa before me. I aroee. 

We reated thua face to faoo. both etauding. Her 
face waa distorted by the ehock of her own action, 
Tery pale, and her eyes ahone with an extraordinary 
brUliancy. nearly black, so dilated was the pupil by 
•motion, almost covering the iris. 

I noticed this detail becouHe it transformed her 
physiognomy. Ordinarily so rtnerved. her face be- 
trayed the wildnesa of a being ruled by a passion 
atronger than her will. She must hare lain down, 
then arose again, for her hair was braided in a large 
plait instead of being knotted on her head. A white 
robe-de-chambre, fastened by a cord and tassel was 
folded around her form, and in her haste she had 
■lipped her bare feet into her slippers .without 
thinking. 

Evidently an insupportable anguish had precipi- 
tated her from her chamber into my room. She did 
not care what I might think of her nor what I might 
be tempted to say. She had read my letter, and she 
came, n prey to an excitement so intense that she did 
not tremble. 

**Ah!" said she in a broken voice after the silence 



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270 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Ii! ' 
ih 



! 



It' ■ 



of the first minute. "God be praised, I am not too 
late. Dead ! I believed you were dead ! Ah I that is 
horrible! But that is all over, is it not? Say that 
you will obey me, say that you will not kill yourself. 
Ah! swear, swear it to me." 

She took my hand in hers with a supplicating ges- 
ture. Her fingers were like ice. There was some- 
thing so decisive in this entrance, such a proof of 
love in a moment in which I was so excited that I did 
not reflect, and, without replying to her, I took her 
in my arms, weeping, my lips sought her lips, and 
through the most scalding tears I gave her the most 
loving, the most sincere kisses ; that was a moment of 
infinite ecstasy, of supreme felicity, and as she drew 
away from me, with the shame at what she had per- 
mitted depicted on her face, always wild. 

"Wretched creature that I am!" said she, "Ah! I 
must go away I Let me go away 1 Do not come near 
me. 

"You see that I must die," I responded, "for you 
do not love me, you are going to be the wife of an- 
other, we shall be separated, and forever." 

I took the dark vial from the table and showed it 
to her by the light of the lamp. 

"Only a fourth of this flask," I continued, and it is 
the remedy for much suffering. In five minutes it 
will be ended," and gently and without making a 




THE DISCIPLE. 



271 



single gesture that would force her to defend herself: 
Go away now, and I thank you for havinj,' come. Be- 
fore a quarter of an hour I shall have ceased to feel 
what I am feeling now, this intolerable privation of 
you for so many months. Come, adieu, do not take 
away my courage." 

She had trembled when the flame had lighted up 
the black liquid. She extended her hand and 
snatched the flask away, saying: "No I No!" She 
looked at it, read the inscription on the red label and 
trembled. Her countenance became still more 
changed. A wrinkle hollowed itself between her 
eyebrows. Her lips trembled. Her eyes expressed 
the agony of a last anxiety, then, in a voice almost 
harsh, jerking her words as if they were drawn from 
her by a torturing and irresistible power. 

"I, too," said she, "I have suffered much, I have 
struggled hard. No," she continued, advancing 
toward me and taking me by the arm, "you must not 
go alone, not alone. We will die together. After 
what I have done, it is all that is left. " She put the 
vial to her lips, but I took it away from her, and 
with a smile almost insane she continued : "To die, 
yes, to die here, near you, with you," and she ap^ 
proached again, laying her head on my shoulder, so 
that I felt her soft hair against my cheek. "So I Ah ! 
it is a long time that I have loved you, so long I can 



273 



THE DISCIPLE. 




■ft 

l! 



tell you the truth now, since I shall pay for it with 
my li/e. You will take me with you, we will go away 
toKether, both of us." 

"Yes! yes," I answered, "we will die together. I 
swear it to you. But not immediately. Ah! leave 
me time to feel that you love me." Our lips were 
again united, but this time she returned my kisses. 
Ah! Those were kisses in which the ecstasy of the 
senses and of the soul were deliciously confounded, in 
which the past, the present, the future were abolished 
to give place to love alone, to the painful, the intoxi- 
cating madness ol love. This frail body, this living 
statuette of Tanagra was mine in its grace and inno- 
cence, and it seemed to me that this hour was not real, 
it so far surpassed my hopes, almost my desire. 

In the softened light of the lamp and of the half- 
extinguished fire, the delicacy of her features, her 
consummate pallor, her disordered hair, made her 
seem an apparition, and it was with a phantom's 
voice, a voice beyond life, that she spoke to me, relat- 
ing the long history of her sentiments for me. 

She said that she had loved at the first look and 
without suspecting it; then how she had suffered at 
my sadness and at my confidence; how she had 
dreamed of being my friend, a friend who would gen- 
tly console me; then the fearful light which my 
declaration in the forest had suddenly thrown upon 



THE DISCIPLE. 



27:i 



her heart, and that she had sworn to put an abyss be- 
tween us. 

She recounted her struggles when she received my 
letters, and her vain resolutions not to read them, 
and the folly of her engagement in order that all 
might be irremediable, and her return, and the rest. 
She found, to reveal to me the secret and cruel 
romance of her tenderness, phrases modest and impas- 
sioned, which fell from the mysterious brim of the 
soul as tears fall from the brim of the eyes. She said : 
"I could not if I wished efface these griefs, so much 
do I need to feel that I have lived for you." She 
said: "You will let me die first, that I may not see 
you suffer." And she wrapped me in her hair, and 
upon her face which I had known so controlled was a 
kind of ecstasy of martyrdom, a supernatural joy 
mingled with a profound grief, an exaltation mingled 
with remorse. 

"When she was silent, clasped in my arms, absorbed 
in me, we could hear the wind which moaned outside 
the closed windows, and this sleeping chateau, in its 
peaceful silence, was already the tomb, the tomb 
toward which we were going, drawn out of life by the 
ardor of love which had thus thrown us heart to heart. 

It is here, my dear master, where comes the most 
singular episode of this adventure, the one which 
men will call the most shameful; but for you and me 



an 



THE DISCIPLE. 



4t4> 

i 



m 




these words have no meaning, and I will have the 
courage to tell you all. 

I had been sincere, and sincere without the shadow 
of calculation, in the resolution of suicide which 
caused me to buy the nux vomica, and then to write 
to Charlotte. When she had come, when she had 
fallen into my arms and ried: "Let us die to- 
gether!" I responded: "L.t us die together, " with 
the most perfect good faith. It had appeared so sim- 
ple, so natural, so easy for us :to go away together. 
You, who have written some strong pages upon the 
vapor of illusion, created ir us by physical causes, 
which is like that intoxication produced by wine, you 
will not judge me a monster for havirg felt this vapor 
dissipate, this intoxication disappear with possession. 
Charlotte had placed her head on my breast and she 
fell asleep, exhausted by the excess of her emotions. 
I looked at her and I felt, without knowing how, that 
I fell back from my state before this happiness, to the 
reflective, philosophic, and lucid one which had been 
mine, and which a sorcery had metamorphosed into 
another. 

I looked at Charlotte, and thought that in a few 
hours this adorable body, animated at this moment by 
all the ardors of life, would be immovable, cold, dead 
—dead, this mouth which trembled still with my kiss, 
dead these beautiful eyes shaded under their trem- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



276 



bling lids, dead this mind filled with me, intoxicated 
of me! 

I repeated mentally several times this word: "Dead, 
dead, dead," and what it represents of a sudden fall- 
ing into the night, of an irreparable fall into the 
darkness, the cold, the emptiness, oppressed my heart. 
This entrance into the gulf without bottom of an- 
nihilation which had seemed, not only easy, but pro- 
foundly desirable when the fury of unfortunate love 
dominated me— suddenly, and this fury once appeased, 
appeared to me the most formidable cf actions, the 
most foolish, the most impossible of execution. Char- 
lotte continued to keep her eyes closed. The emacia- 
tion of her poor face, rendered more perceptible by 
the way in which the softened light revealed her 
features, told too plainly what she had felt for days. 
And I was going to kill her, or at least, to assist her 
to destroy herself. We were about to kill ourselves. 

A shudder ran through me at the thought, and I 
was afraid. For her? For myself? For both? I 
do not know. I was afraid, afraid of feeling to grow 
numb in my most secret being, the soul of my soul, 
the indefinable center of all our energy. And sud- 
denly by a sudden facing about of ideas like to that 
of the dying who throw a last look upon their exist- 
ence, and who perceive, in the mirage of a secret 
regret, the joys known or coveted, the vision was 



276 






m 



51 
I' 




THE DISCIPLE. 



evoked Of that life, all thought of which I had turn by 
turn desired and abjured. 

I saw you in your little cell, my dear master, in 
meditation, and the universe of intelligence developed 
before me the splendor of its horizons. My personal 
works, this brain of which I had been so proud, this 
Self cultivated so complaisantly. I was about to sacri- 
fioe all these treasures. 

*'To your pledged word," ought I to have re- 
sponded? -To a caprice of excitement,"! did re- 
spond. Strictly, this suicide had a signification 
when to be forever separated from Charlotte filled me 
with despair. But now? We love each other we 
belong to each other. Who can prevent us. young 
and free, from fleeing together, if on the next day we 
cannot endure separation? This hypothesis of an 
elopement brought before my mind the image of 
Count Andr^. Why not make a note of this also? 
An exhilarating titillation of self-love ran through 
my heart at this souvenir. 

I looked at Charlotte again, and I felt filled with 
the most ferocious pride. The rivalry instituted by 
my secret envy between her brother and myself 
awoke again in a start of triumph. There is a cele- 
brated proverb which says that all animals are sad 
after pleasure: "Omne animal." It was not sadness 
that I felt then, but an absolute drying up of my ten- 



THE DISCIPLE. 



277 



derness, a rapid return—rapid as the actiou of a 
chemical precipitation— to a state of mind anterior. 

I do not believe that this displacement of sensibility 
could have taken more than half an hour. I con- 
tinued to regard Charlotte, while abandoninj,' myself 
to these passage of ideas with the delight of a recon- 
quered liberty. 

The fullness of the voluntary and reflective life 
flowed in me now, as the water of a river whose dam 
has been raised. The passion for this absent child 
had raised up a barrier against which the flood of my 
old sentiment was dammed up. Thiy barrier thrown 
down, I became myself again. She was sleeping. I 
heard her light, equal breath, then suddenly a great 
sob, and she awoke : 

"Ah!" said she, pressing me to her in a convulsive 
fashion, "you are here, you are here. I had lost 
consciousness. I dreamed. Ah! what a dream! I 
saw my brother come toward you. Oh ! the horrible 
dream!" 

She kissed me again, and, as her mouth was 
pressed to mine, the clock struck. She listened and 
counted the strokes. 

"Four o'clock," said she, "it id time — farewell, my 
love, farewell." 

She embraced me again. Her face had become 
calm in her exaltation, almost smiling. 



278 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I- . 
li i 



t ! 




••Give me the po-gon," said she in a firm voice. 

I remained immovable without answering. 

••You are afraid for me/'alie resumed; "I shall 
know how to die. Give it to me." I rose, still with- 
out replying. She sat up and olaiped her handa 
without looking at me. Was she praying ? Was this 
the last effort of this soul to extract the love of life 
which pushes its roots so deeply in a creature of 
twenty years? 

My resolution to prevent this double suicide was 
now absolute. I had the coolness to seize the brown 
vial from the table and carry it to a wardrobe 
and lock it. These preparations of which she took no 
notice no doubt seemed long to Charlotte, for she 
turned toward me : 

••I am ready," said she. 

She saw my empty hands. The ecstatic expression 
changed to one of extreme anguish, and her voice 
grew harsh as she said : 

"ThepoisonI Give me the poison!" Then as if 
responding to a thought which suddenly came to her 
mind, she added feverishly: "No, it is not possible." 
"No," cried I, falling on my knees before her, and 
seizing her hands. "No, you are right, it is not pos- 
Bible. I cannot let you die before me, for I should be 
your assassin. I pray you, Charlotte, do not ask me 
to realize this fatal project. When I bought the 



THE niSCIPI.K. 



279 






poison I WM mad, I thouitbt that you did not love 
me. I wished to kill myself. Oh! how sincerely! 
But now that you do love me, that I know it, that you 
have given yourself to me, no I car*' t, I will not. 
Let UB live, my love, let us live, consent d live. We 
will go away together, if you will. And if you will 
not, if you repent of this confession of your regard, 
well! I will suffer the martyrdom; but, I swear to 
you, this shall be as if it had never been — I will not 
trouble your life. But to help you to die, to kill 
yourself, you so young, so fair, oh no, no, do not ask 
me to do it." 

How many times I spoke thus to her, I do not 
know. I saw on her face a sweet emotion, a woman's 
feebleness, the "yes" of the look which gives the lie 
to the "no" of the mouth. She was silent, then she 
fixed her eyes on me, and now they were bright with a 
tragic fire. She had withdrawn her hands from mine, 
crossed her arms upon her breast, and with her hair 
falling all around her, as if withdrawn from me by an 
invincible horror, she said, when I had ceased to sup- 
plicate her : 

"So you will lot keep your word?" 

"No," I stammered, "I cannot. I cannot. I did 
not know what I said." 

"Ah!" said she with a cruel disdain on her beauti- 
ful lips, "but tell me then that you are afraid! Give 



» 



280 



THE i>Fsrir:.E. 



t§l I 



me the poiion. I will tfivo you Imck your word. I 
will die alone. But to have drawn me thus into the 
«nare, you coward ! coward I coward I" 

Why did I not upriinc up under thia outraKo. why 
did I not tftko the botUe of poison, why did I not put 
it to my lips there before her and say : "See if I am a 
coward?" I do not understand why I did not when 
I think of it, when I remember the implacable con- 
tempt printed on her face. It must be that I was 
afraid. I who would now go to the scaffold without 
trembling. I who have had the courage to be silent 
for three months, thus risking my life. But now an 
idea sustains me. coldly, intellectually conceived while 
during that frightful scene there was a confusion of 
all the forces of my mind, between my surcharged 
sensations of the last months and those of the present 
hour, and, sitting down on the carpet, as if I had no 
longer energy enough to hold myself up, I shook my 
head, and said: "No. no." 

This time it was she who did not respond. I saw 
her mass her beautiful hair and twist it into a knot; 
put her feet into her slippers, and wrap her white' 
robe around her. She sought with her eyes for the 
dark flask with the red label, and, seeing it no longer 
on the table, she walked toward the door, then, with- 
out even turning her head, she disappeared after dart- 
ing at me the terrible word : 



THE DLSCIPI.E. 



Ml 



"Coward I coward!" 

I remained there a long time. Suddenly a frightful 
uneaainoMH Heized my heart. II Charlotte, exasperated 
aa she wan, Mhould attempt her life! A prey to the 
terrerM of this now anguish, I dared to croKa the cor- 
ridors and Ko down the stairs to her room, and then, 
putting my ear against the door, I heard a noise, a 
mooning, a sign of what drama was being acted be- 
hind this thin rampart of wood which I could have 
burat open with my shoulder quickly enough to bring 
help. 

The first noises of the chateau wore rising from the 
basement. The servants were getting up. I must go 
back to my room. At six o'clock I was in the garden 
under the young girl's window. 

My imagination had shown me Charlotte, throwing 
herself from the window, and lying dead on the 
ground with her limbs broken. I saw her shutters 
closed, and below, the plat-band in order with its line 
of rose bushes on which bloomed the last roses of the 
autumn. 

She had told me, this night, of the charm which 
she tasted, in her hours of distress, when she loved 
me in silence, in leaning above this bed of roses and 
inhaling the aroma of these sweet flowers, spread on 
the breeze. 

I picked one,and its perfume almost mac'o me faint. 



282 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Ill r' 



To deceive an anxiety which each moment made 
more intense, I walked straight on, into the country 
bathed in vapor, in this gray morning of November. 
I went very far, since I passed the village of Saulzet- 
le-Froid, and yet, at eight o'clock, I was back taking 
my breakfast, or seeming to do so, in the diaing- 
room of the chateau. 

This was the time, I knew, for the maid to go into 
Mile, de Jussafs room. If anything had happened 
this girl would call out immediately. With what in- 
expressible comfort I saw her come down and go 
toward the kitchen with the salver prepared for the 
teal 

Charlotte had not taken her life. 
Hope returned to me then. Upon reflection, and 
her first feeling of anger passed, perhaps she would 
interpret as a proof of love my refusal to die and to 
let her die. I should know that also. It would be 
sufficient to wait for her in her brother's room The 
little invalid was at the end of his convalesence, and 
though deprived of walks, he displayed the gayety of 
a child about to be born again into life. 

He received me with all sorts of pretty ways, and 
his gracious humor redoubled my hope. He would 
break the ice between his sister and me. The hands 
of a young man and of a young girl join so easily 
when they touch around an iniocent and curly head. 



i 



THE DISCIPLE. 



283 



But when Charlotte appeared, so white in a dress 
which brought out her paleness still more, pretending 
a headache to avoid the pranks of Lucien, the eyes 
burning with fever, I understood that I had believed 
too readily in a possible reconciliation. 

I saluted her. She found a way to not even re- 
spond to my salutation. I had known three persons 
in her already; the creature tender, delicate, compas- 
sionate, the young girl easily startled, the lover im- 
passioned almost to ecstasy. I saw now upon this 
noble visage the coldest, the most impenetrable mark 
of contempt. 

ALl the old and banal formula: the patrician 
pride— I was able to account for it and that certain 
silences kill as surely as the headman's ax. This 
impression was so bitter that I could not resign my- 
self to it. This very day I watched to have a word 
with her, and, at the moment when she was going to 
her room toward the close of the afternoon, to dress 
herself for dinner, I went to her on the stairs. She 
put me by with a gesture so haughty, with so cruel a 
"Monsieur, I do not know you any longer!" upon 
her trembling lips, a look so indignant in her eyes 
that I could not find a word to say to her. 

She had judged me and I was condemned. Yes, 
condemned. She despised me for my fear of death ; 
and it was true, I had felt that cowardly chill before 



284 



THE DISCIPLE. 



the black hole, while she dared face the worst. I 
certainly had the right to say to myself that this alone 
would not have arrested me before the suicide of both 
If Pity for her had not been joined with it and my 
ambition as a thinker. No matter. She had given 
herself to me under one condition, and to this tragic 
condition I had responded "yes" before, and "no" 
after. Ah, well. She scorned me, but she had been 
mine. I had held her in my arms, the.e arms, and I 
was the first to kiss those lips. 

Yes, I suflFered cruelly between this night and my 
definite departure from the house. However, it was 
not the arid an^ conquered despair of the summer 
the total abdication in distress. 

I retained at the bottom of my heart, I cannot say 
a happiness, but a something of satisfaction which sus- 
tamed me in this crisis. When Charlotte passed me 
without noticing me any more than some object for- 
gotten there by a servant, I contemplated her response 
to my declaration of love. For another experience of 
that happiness, perhaps, I would have accepted anew 
the fatal compact, with the cold resolve to keep it 
But this happiness had none the less been true. 

And was this love really, irremediably ended? In 
doing as she had done Mile, de Jussat had proved a 
very deep passion. Was it possiblo that nothing re- 
mamed of it in this romantic heart? 



■ 11 



m 



THE DISCiri.K. 



ys.j 



To-day and in the light of the tragedy which ended 
this lamentable adventure, I comprehend that it was 
precisely this romantic character which prevented any 
return of love into this heart. She had loved in me a 
mirage, a being absolutely different from myself, and 
the sudden vision of my true nature having at a blow 
dispelled her illusions, she hated me with all the 
power of her old love. 

Alas ! with all my pretentions to the learned pyschol- 
ogist, I did not see the evolution of this mind, then I 
I did not even suspect that she would seek at any 
price the means of knowing me better, and that she 
would go, in the distraction of her actual disgust, so 
far as to treat me as judges treat the accused; in fine 
that she would read my papers and would not recoil 
before any scruple. 

I did not even know enough to guess that she was 
not the girl to survive such a shock as the revelation of 
my cold-blooded resolutions written in my notebook 
brought upon her, and I did not think to destroy the 
bottle of poison which I had refused to give her. 

I believed myself to be a great observer because I 
reflected a great deal. The quibbles of my analysis 
concealed from me its falsity. It was not necessary 
to reflect at this period, but to observe. Instead, 
deceived by this reasoning which I have just goni 
over to you, and persuaded that Charlotte loved me 



;^86 



THE DISCIPLE. 



i 



still in spite of he^ contempt, I tried to recall this 
love by the most simple means, the most ineffective at 
that moment. 
I wrote to her. 

I found my letter on my bureau the same day un- 
opened. I went to her door at night and called to 
her. This door was locked and no one replied. I 
tried to stop her again. She waved me off with more 
authority than the first time, without looking at me 

Finally, the heartbreak of this continuous insult 
was stronger than the ardors of passion which had be- 
gun to kindle in me. On the evening of the day in 
which she had thus repulsed me. I wept much, then I 
resolved upon a dt . :e course. A little of my old 
energy had returned, for it was needed for this part 
which I had undertaken. 

The next week M. de Plane and Count Andre were 
coming. This would have decided me if I had still 
hesitated. Their presence, in this double and sinis- 
ter disaster of my love and of my pride, no, I would 
not, I could not endure it. 

This, then, is what I had decided: The marquis had 
asked me to prolong my stay until the 15th of Novem- 
ber. It was now the 3d. I announced, on the morn- 
mg of this fatal 3d of November, that I had just re- 
ceiyed from my mother a letter which made me a 
little uneasy; then in the forenoon, I said that a 



• V 



THE DISCIPLE. 



JJSf' 



dispatch had still further increased my anxiety. I 
asked then of M. de Jussat permission to go to Cler- 
mont early the next day, adding that if I did not 
return, would he be so good as to box the articles I 
had left and send them to me. I held this conversa- 
tion in the presence of Charlotte, assured that she 
would interpret it in its true significance; "He is 
going away not to return. " I expected that the news 
of this separation would move her, and, wishing to 
profit by this emotion, I had the audacity to write to 
her another note, these two lines only : 

'*0n the point of leaving you forever, I have the 
right to ask a last interview. I will come to you at 
eleven o'clock." 

It was necessary that she should not return this 
note without reading it. I placed it open upon her 
table, at the risk of losing all if the chambermaid 
should see it. Ah! how my heart beat, when at five 
minutes to eleven o'clock, I took my way to her room 
and tried the door. 

It was not bolted. She was waiting for me. I saw 
at the first glance that the struggle would be hard. 
Her somber countenance showed too plainly that she 
had not permitted me to come that she might forgive 
me. She wore a dark silk dress, and never had her 
eyes been more fixed, more implacably fixed and cold. 

"Monsieur," said she as soon as I had shut the 



1 ,1 



288 



THE DISCIPLE. 



i 



% 



door, "I am ignorant of what you intend to say to 
me-I am ignorant of it and I do not wish to know. 
It is not to listen to you that I have allowed you to 
come. I swear to you, and I know how to keep my 
word-if you take a step toward me and if you try to 
Bpeak to me without my permission, I will call and 
you shall be thrown from the window like a thief." 

While speaking she had put her finger on the but- 
ton of the electric bell. Her brow, her mouth, her 
gestures, her voice showed such resolution that I did 
not dare to speak. She continued: "You have, 
monsieur, caused me to commit very unworthy actions.' 
The first has for excuse that I did not believe you 
capable of the infamy you have employed. Beside 
I should have known how to expiate it, " she added, 
as if speaking to herself. "The second. I do not 
look for any excuse." And b^r face became purple 
with shame. "It was too insupportable to think that 
you Lad acted thus. I wished to be sure of what you 
are. I wished to know. You had told me that you 
kept a journal. I desired to read it and I have done 
so. I went into your room when you were not there, 
and forced the lock of your notebook. Yes, yes, 1 
did that I I have been punished, since I have reld 
your infamous plans. The third, in telling you I 
acquit the debt which I have contracted with you by 
the second. The third," and she hesitated, in my 



TJIE DISCIPLE. 



2H9 



indignation, I wrote to my brother. He kuowe every- 
thing!" 

"Ah!" cried I, "then you are lost." 

"You know what I have sworn," she interrupted; 
and she put her finger again on the bell. "Be quiet. 
Nothing worse can befall me than has already hap- 
pened," she continued, "and no one will do anything 
more for or against me. My brother will know that 
also, and what I have resolved. The letter will reach 
him to-morrow morning. I ought to warn you since 
you hold your life so dear. And now, go away. " 

"Charlotte," I implored. 

"If in one minute you have not gone out, "said she, 
looking at the clock, "I will call." 

§ VII. CONCLUSION. 

And I obeyed I 

The next day, at six o'clock I left the chateau, a 
prey to the most sinister presentiments, trying in 
vain to persuade myself that this scene would not be 
followed by some terrible effect; that Count Andre 
would arrive soon enough to save her from a desperate 
resolution; that she would hesitate at the last mo- 
ment ; that some unexpected thing would happen. 

As to fleeing from the possible vengeance of the 
brother, I did not for a moment think of it. This 
time, I had resumed my character bucause I had an 



;^9o 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Idea to sustain me, that of allowing no person to 
humiliate me any further. Yes. although I bad fal- 
tered before a loving girl and in the .veakness of 
happy love, I would not do so before the threat of 
a man. 

I arrived at Clermont, devoured by an anxiety 
which did not last very long, for I learned of the 
suicide of Mile, de Jussat and was arrested at the same 
moment. 

From the first words of the Judge of Instruction I 
reconstructed all the details of the suicide: Char- 
lotte had taken from the flask which I had bought as 
much as she thought suflScient to cause her death 
She had done that on the very day she had read my 
journal, whose lock I found had been forced. I Lad 
not noticed it because my mind was so filled with 
other things than these sterile notes. 

She had been careful.in order to turn away my suspi- 
cions, to replace with water the quantity of nux 
vomica thus taken. Sl had thrown the flask out of 
the window because she did not wish her father and 
mother to learn of her suicide excepting through her 
brother. And I, who know the whole truth of this 
horrible drama, who could at least give my journal as 
a presumption of my innocence, destroyed this journal 
after my first examination; I have refused to speak 
to defend myself-because of this brother 1 I have 



THE DISCII'LK. 



20i 



told you. I have drained to the bottom the oup of 
humiliation and I will do no more. 

This man whom I so much envied from the first 
day. this man who represents death to me now. and 
who. knowing the whole truth, must connider me the 
lowest of the low. I do not wish that he should have 
the right to quite despise me. and he has not the 
right. He does not because we both are silent. But 
this for me. is to risk my life in order to save the 
honor of the dead, and for him to sacrifice an inno- 
cent person to this honor. 

Of us two. of me who will not defend myself by 
taking shelter behind the dead body of Charlotte, and 
of him who. having the letter which proves her 
suicide, keeps it, to avenge himself on the lover of his 
sister by allowing him to be condemned as an assas- 
sin. which is the brave man? Which is the gentle- 
man ? All the shame of my weakness— if there be any 
shame, I wipe out by not defending myself, and I feel 
a proud pleasure, as a revenge for those terrible last 
days, at not having killed myself, at not asking of 
death the oblivion of so many tortures. 

Count Andre must also reach the bottom of his 
infamy. If I am condemned, he knowing me to be 
innocent, he having the proof of it. he keeping silent, 
ah well! the Jussat-Randons will have nothing with 
which to reproach me— we will be quits. 



2\i2 



TIIK DISCII'LE. 



m 




However, I have told all to you, luy venerated, my 
dewr miHter ; I have opened my uoul to you, and in 
confiding this secret to your honor, I know too well 
whom I am addressing even to insist upon the promise 
I have tak' n the liberty to exact on the first page of 
this memoir. 

But, you see, I am stifled by this silence; I stifle 
with the weight which is always, always upon me. 
To say all in a word, and applied to my sensation, it 
is legitimate, I stifle with remorse. I want to be 
understood, consoled, loved ; I want some one to pity 
me and say words to me which shall dissipate the 
phantoms, the evil spirits, the torturing phantoms. 

I made out, when I began these pages, a list of 
questions which I wished to ask you at the end. I 
flattered myself that I could recount to you my his- 
tory as you state your problems in psychology in 
your books which I have read so much, and now I 
find nothing to say to you only the word of despair: 
* * De profundis! ' ' 

"Write to me, my dear master, direct me. Strengthen 
me in the doctrine which was, which is still mine, in 
the conviction of universal necessity which wills that 
even our most detestable actions, even this cold enter- 
prise in which I embarked in the interest of science, 
even my weakness before tht, compact of death, are a 
part of the laws of this immense universe. 




THE DISCII'LE. 



293 



TeU me that I am not a moDHtor, that there are no 
monsters, that you will, if I emerge from this supreme 
criaig, have me for your diaciple, your friend. If you 
were a phywcian, and a sick man came to you, you 
would heal him for humanity', eake. You are a 
physician, a great physician of souls. Ah! mine is 
badly hurt and bleeding. I pray you for a word to 
comfort me. a word, a single word, and you will be for- 
ever blessed by your faithful 

BofiXBT QusLoif. 



:^U4 



THE DISCI I'LE. 



■ 



V. 

TORMUfT or IDIAfl. 

A MONTH had pawed linoo the mother of Robert 
Greidon had brought into the hermitage of the Rue 
Guy de la Broate the atrange manuacript which 
Adrien Sizte had hesitated to read. And the philoao- 
Pher, after these four weeks, was still the slave of the 
trouble inflicted by the reading, to such an extent 
that even his humble neighbors noticed it. 

There were continual consultations between Mile. 
Trapenard and the Carbonneta, in the lodging filled 
with its odor of leather, where the faithful servant 
and the judioious concierges discussed the cause of 
the strange «L nge in the manners of the celebrated 
analyst. 

The admirable, automatic regularity of his goings 
out and comings in. which had made him a living 
chronometer for the whole quarter, had been sud- 
denly transformed into a febrile and inexplicable 
anxiety. 

The philosopher, since the visit of Mme. Greslon 
went and came, like one who cannot stay in any 



Wl 



THE DISCirLR. 



995 



place, who. M loon m be soee out tbinki be will re- 
turn, and M soon M be boa come in, ounuot endure 
bie room. In tbe etreet, instead of walking alonu 
witb tbe metbodioal itep wbich reveali a nervoue 
maobine perfectly balanced, bo burried on, bo 
■topped, be geitioulated, as it disputing witb bimsolf. 
Tbia enenration waa betrayed by aigna atiU n.oro 
■trange. Mile. Trapenard bad told to tbe Carbonneta 
tbat ber maater did not go to bed now, before two or 
three o'clock in the morning: 

"And it ia not because he ia writing," inaiated the 
good woman, "for be walka and walka. Tbe first 
time I thought be waa ill. I got up to ask him if be 
wiabed aome infusion. He. who is always so polite, 
80 gentle, that you would not suspect him to be a man 
who knows so much, be sent me away in p mtal 
manner. " 

"And I who aaw him the other day, " resp.^ded 
Mother Carbonnet, "as I was returning from a 
oourae at the cqfif I would not believe my eyes. He 
was there, behind the window reading a paper. If I 
had not known him I should have been afraid. You 
ought to have seen him-tbat knit brow and that 
mouth." 

"At the caf^f" cried Mile. Trapenard. "For the 
fifteen years I have been with him I have never seen 
him open a paper but once." 



I 

I 



?96 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I 



lit 



'That man," concluded Father Oarbonnet, "has 
some trouble which overheats his blood. And trouble 
you see. Mile. Mariette, is, so to speak, like the tun of 
Adelaide, it has no bottom. For a fact, it commenced 
with the summons of the judge and the visit of the lady 
in black. And do you know what I think ? Perhaps it 
is about a son of his who is doing badly." 

"Mon Dieuf" exclaimed Mariette, "he have a son?" 
"And why not?" continued the concierge, winking 
one eye behind his spectacles ; "don't you think he gal- 
livanted around like other folks when he was young?" 
Then he communicated to Mile. Trapenard the 
frightful reports which were going about in the rez- 
de-chaussees concerning poor M. Sixte, since his 
visible change of habits. All the malicious tongues 
agreed in attributing the trouble of the philosopher 
to the citation of the judge. The washerwoman pre- 
tended to have it frv m a countryman of M. Sixte, that 
his fortune proceeded from a trust which his father 
had abused, and that he would have to return it. 
The butcher told those who would listen that the 
savant was married, and that his wife had made a 
terrible scene and was going to bring a suit against 
him. The coal merchant had insinuated, that the 
worthy man was the brother of an assassin whose exe- 
cution under the false name of Campi still tormented 
thti popular mind. 



THE DISCIPLE. 297 

"I Will never go to their houses again," moaned 
Mile. Trapenard; "is it possible to imagine such 
horrors!" 

And the poor girl left the lodge completely heart- 
broken. This great creature, high in color, strong as 
an ox m spite of her fifty-five years, with her big 
shoulders, her blue wool stockings which she had 
herself knit, and her cap fitting closely over her com- 
pact chignon, felt a strong affection for her master be- 
cause all the different elements of her frank and 
■imple nature were involved in it. 

She respected the gentleman, the educated man who 
was often mentioned in the papers. She cherished, in 
the old bachelor who never examined his accounts 
and left her mistress of the house, an assured source 
of comfort for her old age. Finally, this solid and 
robust creature protocted the man, feeble in body and 
so simplet, as she said, that a child ten years old might 
have cheated him. 

Such words mortified her pride at the same time 
that the sudden change of humor of the philosopher 
rendered their residence together uncomfortable 
From genuine affection she became anxious because her 
master did not eat or sleep. She saw that he was 
sad, anxious, and ill, but she could do nothing to 
make him cheerful, nor even guess the cause of his 
melancholy and agitation. 



298 



THE DISCIPLE. 






.i! 




What did she think when, one afternoon in the 
month of March, M. Sixte came in about five o'clock 
after having had his breakfast outside, and said U> 
her : "Is the valise in good order, Mariette ? ' ' 

"I do not know, monsieur. Monsieur has not used 
it since I came into the house. ' ' 

"Go and get it, " said the philosopher. Mariette 
obeyed. She brought from a loft which served as 
lumber-room and woodhouse together a small, dusty 
leather trunk, with rusty locks and keys ct^fcirely 
lacking. 

"Very well," said M. Sixte, -you may go and buy 
a httle one lite that, immediately, and you may put 
into it whatever is necessary for a journej'." 
''Is monsieur going away?" asked Mariette. 
"Yes," said the philosopher, "for a few days." 
"But monsieur has nothing that he needs " in- 
sisted the old servant, "monsieur cannot go away 

like that, without any traveling rugs, without " 

"Procure what is needed," interrupted the philoso- 
pher, "and hasten-I take the train at nine o'clock." 
"And is it necessarj' that I accompany monsieur." 
"No, that is useless," said M. Sixte, "come, you 
have no time to lose." 

"Oh I if he only does not think of killing himself " 
said Carbonnet when Mariette had told of this new 
move, almost as extraordinary in this little corner of 




THE DISCIPLE. 



299 



the world as if the philosopher had announced his 
marriage. 

"Ahl" said the servant, following up his idea, *'if 
he only would take me with himl If I have to' pay 
out of my own pocket, I will go." 

This sublime cry, in the mouth of a creature who 
had come from Peaugres in Ardeohe, to be a servant 
and who carried economy so far as to make her home 
dresses from the old redingotes of the savant, will 
demonstrate bette. than any analysis what uneasiness 
the metamorphosis of this man who was passing 
through a moral crisis, which was terrible for him, 
inspired in these humble people. 

Not realizing that he was observed, he showed the 
intensity of it in his slightest gestures as well as in 
the features of his face. Since the death of his 
mother he had not known such unhappy hours, and 
the suflfering inflicted by the irreparable separation 
was entirely sentimental; but the reading of Bobert 
Greslon's memoir had attacked him in the center of 
his being, his intellectual life, his sole reason for 
living. 

At the moment he gave Mariette the order to pre- 
pare his valise, he was as much overcome by fright 
as on the night he turned over the pages of the note- 
book of confidences. This fright began from the first 
pages of this narrative in which a criminal aberration 



300 



THE DISCIPLE. 



il 



Of mind was studied, as if spread out for displaj-, 
with such a mixture of pride and of shame, of oyni- 
cism and of candor, of infamy and of superiority. 

At meeting the phrase in which Robert Greslon had 
declared himself united to him by a cord as close as 
it was unbreakable, the great physchologist had trem- 
bled, and he had trembled at every repetition of his 
name in this singular analysis, at every citation of 
one of his works, which proved the right of this 
abominable libertine to call himself his pupil. 

A fascination made up of horror and curiosity had 
constrained him to go straight through to the end of 
this fragment bf biography in which his ideas, his 
cherished ideas, his science, his beloved science,' ap- 
peared united with acts so shameful. 

Ah! if they had been united 1 But no, these ideas, 
this science, the accused claimed them as the excuse,' 
as the cause of the most monstrous, the most com- 
plaisant depravity! As he advanced into the manu- 
script he felt that a little of his inmost person became 
soiled, corrupted, gangrened; he found so much of 
himself in this young man, but a "himself" made up 
of sentiments which he detested the most in the 
world For in this illustrious philosopher the holy 
virginities of conscience remained intact, and, behind 
the bold nihilism of mind, the noble heart of an in- 
genuous man was hidden. 



THE DIRCIPr,E. 



801 



It was in this inviolate conscience, in this irre- 
proachable honesty, that the master of this felon pre- 
ceptor felt himself suddenly lacerated. This sinister 
history of a love aflfair, so basely carried on, of a 
treason so black, of a suicide so melancholy, brought 
him face to face with the most frightful vision ; that 
of his mind acting and corrupting, his, who had lived 
in voluntary renunciation, in daily purity. 

The whole adventure of Robert Greslon showed to 
him the complexities of a hideous pride and of an 
abje' ' sensuality, to him who had labored only to 
serve psychology, to him a modest worker in a labor 
which he believed beneficent, and in the most severe 
asceticism, in order that the enemies of his doctrines 
could not argue from his example against his 
principles. 

This impression was the more violent as it was un- 
expected. A physician of large heart would experi- 
ence an anguish of an analogous order if, having 
established the theory of a remedy, he learned that 
one of his assistants had tried the application of it, 
and that all in one ward of the hospital were in agony 
from its effects. To do wrong, knowing it and will- 
ing it, is very bitter to a man who is better than his 
deeds. But to have devoted thirty years to a work, 
to have believed this work useful, to have pursued it 
sincerely, simply, to have repelled as insulting the 



802 



THE DISCIPLE. 



■ 



accusations of ?' morality thrown at him by his angry 
adversaries, and, suddenly, by the light of a frightful 
revelation, to hold an indisputable proof, a proof real 
as life itself, that this work has poisoned a mind, that 
it carries in it a principle of death, that it is spread- 
ing this principle to all the corners of the earth—ah ! 
what a cruel shock, what a savage wound to receive, 
if the shock should last only an hour, and the wound 
be closed at once! 

All revolutionary thinkers have known such hours 
of anguish. But most pass quickly through them, 
and for this reason it i rare for a man to be thrust 
into the battle of ideas without his becoming soon the 
comedian of his first sincerities. He sustains his 
role. He has partisans, and more than all he soon 
comes, by friction with life, to that conception of the 
ct peu pr^s almost, which makes him admit, as inevita- 
ble, a certain falling away from his ideal. He says to 
himself that one does evil here, right elsewhere, and 
sometimes, that after all, the world and the people will 
always go the same. 

With Adrien Sixte sincerity was too complete for 
any such reasoning to be possible. He had neither 
role to play nor faithful adherents to manage. He 
was alone. His philosophy, and he made only one, 
and the compromises by which all great fame is 
accompanied, had in no way impaired his fierce and 
proud mind. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



303 



We must add that he hud found the means, thanks 
to his perfect good faith, of passing through society 
without ever seeing it. The passions which he had 
depicted, the crimes which he had studied, he saw as 
persons who designate medical observation, 'A, thirty- 
five years, such profession, unmarried." And the ex- 
position of the case is developed without a detail which 
gives to the reader the sensation of the individual. 

Always the rigorous theorizer on the passions, the 
minute anatomist of the will, he had never fairly seen 
face to face a creature of flesh and blood ; so that the 
memoir of Robert Greslon did not speak only to his 
consciousness as an honest man. So, during the 
eight days which followed the first reading, there was 
a continual obsession, and this increased the moral pain 
by uniting it with a sort of physical uneasiness. 

The pscyhologist saw his ill-fated disciple as he 
had looked upon him here in this same room, with 
his feet on the same carpet, leaning his arms on this 
same table, breathing, moving. 

Behind the words on the paper he heard that voice 
a little dull which pronounced the terrible phrase: "I 
have 1 ved with your mind and of your mind, so 
passionately, so completely;" and the words of the 
confession, instead of being simple characters written 
with cold ink upon inert paper, became animated into 
words behind which he felt a living being : 



304 



THE DISCIPLE. 



<i 



•Ahl" thought ho when this image became too 
stroiig. "why did the mother bring this notebook to 
me?" 

It would have been so natural /or the unhappy 
woman, a prey to mad anxiety, to prove the innocence 
of her son by violating this trust. But no, Robert 
had without doubt deceived her with the hypocrisy of 
which he so boasted, the miserable fellow, as if it were 
a psychological conquest. 

The haunting hallucination of the face of the young 
man would have sufficed to overcome Adrien Sixte 
When the mother had cried: "You have corrupted my 
son," his learned serenity had been scarcely d'-> 
turbed. In like manner, he had opposed only con- 
tempt to the accusation of the elder Jussat, repeated 
by the judge, and to the remarks of the latter on 
moral responsibility. 

How tranquil he had gone out of the Palais de 
Justice! And now there was no more 'jontempt in him; 
that serenity was conquered, and he, the negator of 
ail liberty, he the fatalist who decomposed virtue and 
vice with the brutality of a chemist studying a gas, 
he the bold prophet of universal mechanism, and who 
until then had always experienced the perfect har- 
mony of mind and heart, suffered with a suffering in 
contradiction to all his doctrines-he felt remorse, 
he felt himself responsible! 



m 



THE DISCIPLE. 



305 



It was only after these eight dayB of the firbt uhock, 
during which the memoir had been read and reren.l! 
Bo that he could repeat all the phrases of it, that this 
conflict of heart and mind became clear to Adrieu 
Sixte, and the philosopher tried to recover himself. 

He walked to the Jardin des Plautes, one afternoon 
toward the end of February, an afternoon as mild as 
spring. He sat down on a bench in his favorite 
walk, that which runs along the Rue de Buffon, and 
at the foot of a Virginia acacia, propped up with 
crutches, adorned with plaster like a wall, and with 
knotty brances like the fingers of a gouty giant. 

The author of the "Psychology of God" loved this 
old trunk whose sap was all dried up because of the 
date inscribed on the placard and which constituted the 
civil status of the poor tree. "Planted in 1632." 
The year of the birth of Spinoza. 

The sun oi the early afternoon was very soft and 
this impression relaxed the nerves of the promenader. 
He looked around him absently, and was pleased to 
follow the movements of two children who were play- 
ing near their mother. They were collecting sand 
with little wooden shovels with which to build an 
imaginary house. Suddenly one of them rose up 
brr iquely and struck his bead against the bench which 
was behind him. He must have hurt himself, for hia 
face contracted into a gri-uace of pain, and, before 



!)u6 



THE DISCIPLE. 



!1 ! 



bursting into teaw, there were the few .ecoud. «f 
■uffoottted Bilenoe which precede the sobs of children. 
Then, in a fit of furioui rage, he turned to the bench 
•nd itruck it furiously with hie fist. 

"Are you stupid, my poor Constant," said his 
mother to him. shaking him and drying his eyes; 
"come, let me wipe your nose." and she wiped it; "it 
will do you much good to be angry at a piece of 
wood." 

This scene diverted the philosopher. When he 
rose to continue his walk under this pleasant sun, he 
thought of it for a long time. 

"I am like that little boy," said he to himself: "In 
his childishness, he gives life to an iuanimate object 
he makes it responsible. And what else have I been 
doing for more than a week?" 

For the first time since the reading of the memoir, 
he dared to formulate his thought with the clearnesi 
which was the proper characteristic of his mind and 
of his works: "I have believed myself responsible for 
a part in this frightful adventure. Besponsible? 
There is no sense in that word." 

While passing toward the gate of the garden, then 
in the direction of the isle Saint Louis and toward 
Notre Dame, he took up the detail of the reasoning 
against this notion of responsibility in the "Anatomy 
of the Will, ' above all his critique of the idea of cause 



THE DISCI ri.E. 



807 



H« had alw«yi particularly bold tu thii pieoa. "That 
ia eTideut," he ooncludad. 

Then, after he waa onoe more aiaured of the cer- 
tainty of hie own intellect, he oonitrained himself to 
think of the Robert Qretlon, now a priioner in cell 
number aeyen in the jail of Riom, acd of the Robert 
Grealon formerly a young student of Clermont lean- 
ing over the pages of the "Theory of the Pansions" 
and of the "Psychology of God." 

He felt anew an insupportable sensation that biit 
books should have been thus handled, meditated upon, 
loved by this child. 

"But we are doublet" thought he, "and why this 
powerlessness to conquer illusions which we know to 
be false?" 

All at one a phrase of the memoir came to his 
mind: "I ht e remorse, when the doctrines which 
form the very essence of my intelligence make me 
consider remorse as the most foolish of human illu- 
sions." 

The identity between his moral condition and that 
of his pupil appeared bo hateful to him that he tried 
to get rid of it by new reasoning. 

"Ah, well!" said he to himself, "let us imitate 
the geometrician, let us admit to be true what we 
know to be false. Let us proceed by absurdity. 
Yes, man is an agent and a free agent. Then he is 



SOS 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I ;i 



i . /: 



I «t.d Udl^, Why do I U« ,«..^ b«,^,, 
thi.«oundr.l» Wb.t i. tty /,„it, 

H. r.tun„d, r«K>l».,l to «»i,w hi. whole li/,. H. 
Mw him^U.iuu. .hild. worku., .t hi. ...k. „(„. . 
ain„l.„.„of .oB«i.„»io„.«„w„,u.y o/ hi. /.tl,cr 

wh.t hmT'T "■*" "'*'' '"' ^ '»«•"' *» "-iuk, 
m 1. ''•""••''"* '"'' »■• "•k' TJ" truth. 
Wh« h. h.d Uken th. pen, ,hy c'id he write, to 

«r«wh.t .,„«,« not th.to/ truth? To the truth 
h^ ,•""«;«« ""^-ttin,, fortune, pl..e, /«uily. 
he^tt, love /,.end.hip. A»d wh.t did even Chri.! 

!Z .» ' * ^'^"" '"• »°" •"""•fJ by 
.de« differeut fron, hi. ownf '•Pe.c. oa earth to 

men of good wiU, " th.t i. to tho« who h.,e «ught for 

whi h"h '"" ' '''■ "•" " "■"" » "' "■•' P..t 
wh.,h he .cr„tUi„d with the force of the »o.t .ub! 

«.»oe h.dhef«led in the ideal programme of hi, 
,o«th formulated in thi. noble .nd modeat device 

ZZ- " """""• *" -^ °"'- "■"" "« 

"Thi. i. duty, for thoae who believe in duty." «Ud 
he. "and I have fulfiUed it. " '• «ua 

The night after this oourageou. meditation, thi. 
great. hone.t man dept at la.t and with a ,loe„ that 
the remcmbr«.ce of Bobert Gredon did not trouble 



THE DISCIPLE. 



309 



On Awaking, Adrien Sixta wm Mtill c»lm. He wm 
too well aooustotned to •tudy btroiiolf f.ot to nook for » 
oauM for this faoing about of bin itupreMiont, and 
tooiinoere not to reoogniro tbe roaMon. Tbia momen- 
tary lull of remorae must arise from tbo simple fact ot 
having admitted as true some ideas upon tbe moral 
life which his reason ooudemD<>d. 

"There are then beneficent ideas, and malevolent 
ideas/' he concluded. "But what! Does tbe malevo- 
lence of an idea prove its falsity? Let us suppose 
that the death of Charlotte be concealed from tbe 
Marquis de Jusaat, be is quieted by the idea that bis 
daughter is living. Tbe idea would be salutary to 
him. Would it be true for that reason? And in- 
versely." 

Adrien Sixte had always considered as a sophism, 
as cowardly, the argument directed by ociUin 
spiritualistic philosophers against tbe fatal conse- 
quences of new doctrines, and generalizing the prob- 
lem, he said again : "As is the mind so is the doc- 
trine. Tbe proof of it is that Bobert Greslon has 
transformed religious practices into an instrument of 
bis own perversity." 

He again took up tbe memoir to find the pages 
consecrated by the accused to bis sentiments for the 
church, then he became a»?aiu fascinated and reread 
this long piece of analysis, but giving particular at- 



"»»» ^ 



310 



THE DISCIPLE. 



I 



11 11 






! Ill I 



|i P 



tention this time to each parage i„ ,hioh h;, „,„ 
name, hia theorie,, hia works were mentioned 

He applied all the strength of hia mind to pro™ to 
h.m«l/ that eveiy phr.«, eited by Qreslon had been 
ustifled by acts absolutely contrary to those whioh 
the morbid young man had justified by them 

-This reperusal, attentive and minute, had the effeot 
of throwing him into a new attack of his trouble 

With his matnifioent ainoerity, the philosopher 
recognized th.t the chu-aoter of Robert Greslon dan- 
gerous bym.t,.re. had met in his doctrines, as it were, 
a land where were developed his worst instincts, and 
that Adrien Sixti found himself radically powerless 
to respond to the supreme appeal made to him by his 
disciple from the depths of his dungeon. 

Of aU the memoir, the last lines touched the deep- 
est chord. Although the word debt had not been 
pronounced, he felt that this unfortunate had a claim 
on him. Greslon aaid truly: a master is united to 
the mind that he has directed, even if he has not 
willed this direction, even if this mind has not rightly 
interpreted the teaching, by . sort of mystic cord 
and one which does not permit of casting it to certain 
moral agony with the indifferent gesture of PonUus 
niate Here was a second crisis, more cruel perhaps 
than the first. When ha had been fully impressed by 
the ravages produced by his works, the savant became 



ll^i,'^\W^3'^^'^^ 



THE DISCIPLE. 



311 



panic-stricken. Now that he was calm, he measured, 
with frightful precision the rowerlessness of his psy- 
chology, however learned it might be, to handle the 
strange mechanism of the hr.ma soul. 

How many times he began le' ersto Rob rt Greslon 
which he was unable to finish I Wliat ? ouJd he say to 
this miserable child? Must he accept the inevitable 
in the internal as well as in the external world— accept 
his mind as one accepts his body? Yes, was the re- 
sult of all his philosophy. But in this inevitable 
there was the most hideous corruption in the past and 
in the present. 

To advise this man to accept himself, with all the 
profligacy of such a nature, was to make himself an 
accomplice in this profligacy. But to blame him? 
In the name of what principle had he done it, after 
having professed that virtue and vice are additions, 
good and evil, social labels without value; finally 
that everything is of necessity in each detail of our 
being as well as in the whole of the universe. 

What counsel could he give him for the future? 
By what counsel prevent this brain of twenty-two 
years from being ravaged by pride and sensuality, by 
unhealthy curiosity and depraving paradoxes? 
Would one prove to a viper, if it could comprehend 
reasoning, that it ought not to secrete venom? "Why 
am I a viper?" it would respond. 



312 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Seeking to state his thought with precision, Adrien 
Sixte compared the mental mechanism taken to 
pieces by Robert Greslon, with the watches which he 
had seen in his father's establishment. A spring 
goes, a movement follows, then another, and another 
The hands move. If a single part were touched the 
whole would stop. 

To change anything in the mind would be to stop 
life. Ah I If the mechanism could only modify its 
own wheels and their movement! But if the watch- 
maker take the watch to pieces and make it over 
again I 

There are persons who turn from the evil to the 
good, who fall and rise again, who are cast down and 
are again built up in their morality. Yes, but there 
IS the fallacy of repentance which presupposes the 
delusion of liberty and of a judge, of a Heavenly 
Father. Could he, Adrien Sixte, write to this young 
man: "Repent: cease to believe that which I have 
shown you to be true?'* 

And yet it was frightful to see a soul die without 
trying to do something fo save it. At this point of 
his meditation the thinker was brought to a stand by 
the insoluble problem of the unexplained life of the 
soul, as desperate for the psychologist as is the unex- 
plained life of the body for the physiologist. 
The author of the book upon God and who had 






THE DISCIPLE. 



313 



Tvritten this sentence: "There is no mystery; there 
are only ignorances, " refused the contemplation of 
the beyond, which, showing an abyss behind all real- 
ity, loads science to bow before the enigma and say : 
"I do not know, I shall never know," and which per- 
mits religion to interpose. 

He felt his incapacity for doing anything for this 
young soul in distress, and who had need of super- 
natural aid. But to only speak of such a formula, with 
his ideas, was as foolish as to talk of squaring the 
circle, or of giving three right angles to a triangle. 

A very simple event rendered this struggle more 
tragic by imposing the necessity for immediate 
action. An anonymous hand sent him a paper which 
contained an article of extreme violence against him- 
self and his influence in regard to Robert Greslon. 
The writer, evidently inspired by some relation or 
some friend of the Jussats, branded modern philoso- 
phy and its doctrines, incarnated in Adrien Sixte and 
in several other savants. 

Then he called up an example. In a final para- 
graph, improvised in the modem style, with the 
realism of imagery which is the rhetoric of to-day, as 
the poesy of the metaphor was that of the past, he 
showed the assassin of Mile, de Jussat mounting the 
scaffold, and a whole generation of young decadents 
cured of their pessimism by this example. 



• :*m-7Kf'- 



314 



THE DISCIPLE. 



H 



In any other circumstances the great psyohologigt 
would have smiled at this declaration. He would 
have bought that the envoi came from his enemy 
Dumoulin, and resumed his work with the tranquillity 
of Archimedes tracing his geometrical figures on the 
sand during the sack of the city. But in reading this 
choronicle, scribbled without doubt on the corner of a 
table in the Tortoni ca/e by a moralist of the boule- 
vard, he perceived one fact of which he had not 
thought, so much had the folly of abstraction with- 
drawn him from the social world; that this moral 
drama was becoming a real drama. 

In a few weeks, perhaps in a few days, he of whose 
innocence he held the proof, would be judged. Now 
according to the justice of men, the supposed assassin 
of Mile, de Jussat was innocent; and if this memoir 
did not constitute a decisive proof, it offered an in- 
disputable character of veracity which was sufficient 
to save a life. 

Would he allow this head to fall, he, the confidant 
of the misery, the shame, the perfidy of the young 
man, but who also knew that this intellectual scoun- 
drel was not an actual murderer? 

Without doubt he was bound by the tacit engage- 
ment contracted in opening the manuscript; but was 
i^is engagement valid in the presence of death? 
There was, in this solitary being assailed for a month 



THE DISCIPLE. 



815 



by moral torment, euch a need of escaping from the in- 
effectual and sterile corrosion of his thoughts by a 
positive volition, that he felt it a relief when he had 
at last decided on a part. 

From other journals which he anxiously consulted, 
he learned that the Greslon case would come before 
the assizes of Biom, on Friday. March 11th. 

On the 10th he gave Mariette the order to prepare 
his valise, and the same evening he took the train 
after posting a letter addressed to M. the Count 
Andre de Jussat. Captain of Dragoons in garrison 
at LuneviUe. This letter, not signed, simply con- 
tained the lines : 

''Monsieur, Count de Jussat has in his hai ds a 
letter from his sister which contains the proof of the 
innocence of Bobert Greslon. Will he permit an in- 
nocent man to be condemned?" 

The nihilistic psychologist had not been able to 
write the words Hght and duty. But his resolution 
was taken. He would wait until the trial was ended, 
and if M. de Jussat were still silent, if Greslon were 
condemned, he would place the memoir in the hands 
of the president. 

"He took his ticket for Biom." said Mile. Trape- 
nard to Father Carbonnet on returning from the 
station whither she had accompanied her master, 
almost in spite of himself, "but the idea of his going 



i I 



II 



816 



THE DISCIPLE. 



away off there, alone, and in this cold, when ho is so 
comfortable here!" 

"Be easy, Mile. Mariette, " said the astute porter. 
"We shall know .vll some day. But nothing will make 
me think that there is not an illegitimate son in it 
somewhere." 



li L 



•. .<fr^:> 



THE DISCIPLE. 



817 



"Vt 



OOUKT ANDRl. 



At the moment when the note which had been put 
into the box by Adrieu Sixte arrived at Luneville, 
Count Andre was himself at Biom. Chance willed that 
these two men should not meet, for the celebrated 
writer, on leaving the train, took his place at a ven- 
ture in the omnibus for the Hdtel du Commerce, 
while the count had his apartment at the H6tel de 
rUnivers. 

There in a parlor furnished with old furniture, hung 
with a faded paper, with worn curtains and a patched 
carpet, and on the morning of this Friday, March 11, 
1887, on which the Greslon trial opened, the brother 
of poor Charlotte was walking up and down. Noon 
was about to strike from the clock of ornamented 
copper, which decorated the chimney-piece. 

Outside, the sky was covered with clouds, one of 
those Auvergne skies which brings the icy wind of 
the mountains. 

The count's orderly, a dragoon with a jovial : hysiog- 
nomy, had brought a little military order into this 



Ir- 



518 



THE DISCIPLE. 




salon, and, after having wound the olook stirred up 
the fire he began to set the table for two. From time 
to time he watched his captain, who, stroking his 
mustache with one hand, biting his lips, wrinkling 
his brow, wore the expression of the most painful 
anxiety. But Joseph Fcurat, this was the orderly's 
name, simply thought that the count was scarcely 
master of himself, while they were trying the assassin 
of his sister. For him, as for all who were in any 
way connected with the Jussat-Randons and who had 
known Charlotte, there was no doubt of Robert Gres- 
lon's guilt. ) What the faithful soldier less under- 
stood, knowing the energy of his officer, was that he 
had allowed the old marquis to go to the trial alone. 

"That will do very well," said the count, and 
Fourat, who placed the plates and forks after having 
wiped them, a necessary preliminary, thought in pres- 
ence of the visible agony of his master : 

"He has a good heart all the same, if he is a little 
brusque. How much he loved her!" 

Andre de Jussat did not seem to even suspect there 
was any one in the room beside himself. His brown 
eyes close to his nose, which had astonished, almost 
disturbed Robert Greslon, by their resemblance to 
those of a bird of prey, no longer shot forth that 
proud look which goes straight to an object, and takes 
hold of it. No, there was a species of shrinking 



THE DISCIPLE. 



SIO 



back, almott a shame, like a fear of ihowinghit inmoat 
■uffering. They were the eyes of a man whom a fixed 
idea posscases and whom the sting of an intolerable 
pain constantly touches in the most sensitire part of 
his soul. 

This pain dated from the df^y on which he had 
received his sister's letter r. scaling her terrible proj- 
ect of suicide. A dispatch had arrived almost at the 
same moment, announcing the death of Charlotte, and 
he had taken the train for Auvergne precipitately, 
without knowing how to inform his father of the fear- 
ful truth, but decided to have a just revenge on Gres- 
lon. And the marquis had received him with these 
words: "You received my dispatch? We have the 
assassin." 

The count had said nothing, comprehending that 
there must be a misunderstanding ; and the marquis 
had stated the suspicions against the preceptor, also 
the fact that he had just been arrested. 

Immediately this idea imposed itself upon the 
brother, who was mad with grief, that destiny offered 
him this vengeance, the only object of his thought 
since he had read the confession of the dead and the 
detail of her misery, of her errors, her resistances her 
atrocious deception, of her fatal resolution. 

He had only not to iUide the letter, and the cowardly 
moral assassin of the young girl would be accused. 



ij; 



820 



TllR DISCIPLE. 



impriioned, no doubt oondemned. The honor of 
Oharlotte would be MTed, for Robert Oreelon could 
not proTe hit relatione with the girl. The marquie 
and the marquise, the father and the mother, ao oon- 
flding 8o penetrated by the truest love for the memory 
of their poor child, would at least be ignorant of the 
fault of this dear one which would be to them a new 
despair greater than the girl's tragic death. 

And Ck>unt Andre was silunt Not, however, without 
a violent effort over hiroRolf. This courageous man 
who possessed by nature aud by will the true virtues 
of a soldier, detested perfidy, compromises of con- 
science, all expedients and all dostardliness. 

He had felt that it was his uut/ to speak, not to 
allow an innocent person to be accused. He had in 
vain said to himself that this Qreslon was the moral 
assassin of Charlotte, and that this assassination 
merited a punishment as well as the other; this soph- 
ism of his hate had not quite controlled the other 
voice, that which forbids us to become accomplices in 
an iniquity, and the condemnation of Qreslon as a 
poisoner was certainly iniquitous. 

An unexpected and to him an almost monstrous 
circumstance had completely overwhelmed Andre de 
Jussat ; the silence of the accused. 

If Greslon had spoken, recounted his amours, de- 
fending his life at the price of the honor of his vie- 



•Jt'^awq^uK^ :^.:rjim 



THE DISCIPLE. 



321 



tim, the count could not have de«piged him enough. 
By a contrast of character which must appear itill 
more inexplicable to a simple mind, this infamous 
man suddenly disploj'cd the generosity of a gentle- 
man in not speaking a nord which could soil the 
memory of one whom he had drawn into so detestable 
an ambuscade. 

This scoundrel was brave in the presence of justice, 
almost heroic in his way. In any caHo he ceased to be 
worthy of disgust only. Audre said to himself that 
this might be the tactics of the court of assizou, a 
proceeding to obtain an acquittal in the absenco of 
proofs. But, on the other hand, he knew by the 
letter of his sister of the existence of the journal in 
which the details of the scientific experiment had 
been consigned hour by hour. This journal singu- 
larly diminished the chances of conviction, and Gres- 
lon did not produce it. 

The oflScer could not have explained why this dig- 
nity of attitude on the part of his enemy so angered 
him, that he had a frantic desire to rush to the magis- 
trate, in order that the truth might be brought to 
light, and the dead should owe nothing, not an atom 
of her posthumous honor to this scoundrel who had 
won her love. 

"When he thought of his sister, the sweet creature 
whom he had loved, with so virile and noble an aflfec- 



mmrrm^Y'^ 



889 



THE ^ "CIPLE. 



tion, tbftt of an alder brother for « frail reilned child, 
in the poieeeeion of thie clown, this ohenoe preceptor! 
hitn who had inflicted on hie race an outrage ao abject 
he could hare roared with fury, ae when, during the 
war, it had been neoowiary to aaaiit at the capitulaUon 
of Hets and to gire up hie arras. 

He felt then a solace in thinking that the bench of 
infamy on which were seoted burglars, swindlers, and 
murderers was waiting for this man, and then the 
scaffold or the galleys. And he stifled the Toice 
which said : "You ought to speak. " 

My God! what agony for him in these three 
months, during which there had not been five minutes 
in which he had not struggled agaiLst those oontra- 
diotor^' sentiments. 

On the field of drill, for he had returned to service; 
on horseback, galloping over the roads of Lorraine ;' 
in his room thinking, over this question: "What was 
he to > " 

Weekb had pasHed without any answer, but the 
moment had come when it was necessary to act and to 
decide, for in two days— the trial must occupy four 
aessions— Greslon would be judged and condemned. 
There would be still some time after the conviction ; 
but what of it! The same debate ^ould only have to' 
be gone over again. He had not decided to be silent 
until the last. He refrained from speaking, but he 



« « . 



THE DISCI PLR. 



tst 



b«d not Towed to himaelf that be would refrain from 
■peaking. This wm the reMon it hiwl been pbysioally 
impoeaible for bim to aooompany bie father to the 
Palaii de Juatioe during this firet aeeaion, of which 
be abould aoon hear the account, as twelve waa atrik- 
ing, twelve very harab atrokea followed by a carillon 
in the ateeple of a neighboring church. 

"My captain, here ia M. the Marquis," Raid the 
orderly, who had beard the rolling of a carriat^e, then 
its stop before the hotel, after which be took a look 
out of the window. 

"Ah, well, my father?" asked Andru onxiously aa 
soon as the marquis had entcied. 

"Ah, well! the jury is for us," responded M. de 
Jussat. He wos no longer the broken down mono- 
maniac whom Greslon bad so bitterly mocked in his 
memoir. His eyes were brilliant and there was 
youth in bis voice and gestures. The passion for 
vengeance, instead of breaking him down, sustained 
him. He bad forgotten his hypochondria, and bis 
speech was quick, impetuous, and clear. "They were 
drawn this morning. Among the twelve jurors, there 
are three farmers, two retired officers, a physician, 
two shopkeepers, two proprietors, a manufacturer, 
and a professor, all good men, men of family, and 
who would wish to make an example. The procureru- 
general is sure of a conviction. Ah I the scoundrel ! 



r^.-ffijir. . 



824 



THE DISCIPLE. 



but I was happy, the only time in three months, when 
I saw him between two grendarmesl But what 
audacity I He looked around the hall. I was on the 
first bench. Ho saw me. Would you believe it, he 
did not turn away his eyes? He looked at me fixedly 
as if he wished to brave me. Ahl we must have his 
head, and we will have it." 

The old man had spoken with a savage accent and 
he had not noticed the painful expression that his 
words had brought to the face of the count. This 
last, at the picture of his enemy, thus conquered by 
public force, seized by the gendarmes, as if caught 
in the gear of tWat anonymous and invincible machine 
of justice, trembled with a chill of shame, the shame 
of a man who has employed bravos in a work of death. 
These gendarmes, and these magistrates, were 
really the bravos employed in doing what he would so 
much have liked to do himself, with his own hands 
and upon his own responsibility. Decidedly, it was 
cowardly not to have spoken. 

Then the look thrown by Qreslon at the Marquis de 
Jussat, what did it mean? Did he know that Char- 
lotte had written her letter of confession the evening 
before her suicide? And if he knew it, what did he 
think? The idea alone that this young man could 
suspect the truth and despise them for their silence 
lighted a fever in the blood of the count. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



325 



"No," said he to himself when the marquis had 
gone back for the afternoon session after a dinner 
eaten in haste, "I cannot keep silent. I ivill speak, 
or I will write." 

He seated himself and began to trace meohanioally 
these words at the head of a sheet : 

"Monsieur the President:" 

The night fell while this unhappy man was still in 
the same place, his brow in his hand, and not having 
written the first line of this letter. He waited for the 
news of the second session, and it was with a shock 
that he heard his father recount the details of it. 

"Ahl my dear Andre! You were right not to 
come I What infamy I Ah I what infamy I Qreslon 
was questioned. He continues his system and refuses 
to say anything. That is nothing. The experts re- 
ported the results of their analyses. Our good doctor 
first. His voice trembled, the dear man, when he 
described his impression at seeing our poor Charlotte, 
you know, in her room. And then Professor Armand ; 
you could not have endured this horrible thing, this 
autopsy of our angel in that room in which there were 
certainly five hundred persons. And then the Paris 
chemist. If there could be any doubt after that I 
The bottle which that monster used, was on the table. 
I saw it. And then — how did he dare? His lawyer, 
an official advocate, however, and who has not even 



i If 



826 



THE DISCIPLE. 




the excuse of being the friend of hie client. His 
advocate. But how shall I tell you? He asked if 
Charlotte had had a lover. There was a murmur of 
disgust in the hall, of indignation from everybody. 
She, my child, so pure, so noble, a saint I I could 
have choked the man. Even the assassin was moved, 
he whom nothing touches. I saw him. At that mo- 
ment he put his head in his hands and wept. Answer 
ought it not to be forbidden by law, to speak in that 
way of a victim in open court? What did this rogue 
believe then, that she had a lover? A loverl She a 
lover I" 

The old man's indignation was so strong that he 
suddenly burst into tears. The son, in presence of 
this touching grief felt his heart melt and the tears 
fill his eyes, and the two men embraced one another 
without a word. 

"You see," resumed the father when he was able to 
speak, "this is the dreadful side of these trials, the 
public discussion of the most private matters. I have 
told you before that I was sure she was unhappy all 
winter because Maxime was absent. She loved him 
but was not willing that it should be seen. It wal 
this that aroused Greslon's jealousy when he came to 
the house and found her so gracious, so unpretentious 
he believed that he could win her. How could she 
have suspected such a thing, when I who have had so 



THE DISCIPLE. 



327 



much experienoe of men, never saw or guessed any 
thing?" 

Once started on this subject the marquis talked all 
through the dinner, then during the whole evening. 
He enjoyed the consolation, the only one possible in 
certain crises, of recollecting aloud. And the religious 
worship which the unhappy father preserved for the 
dead was for the son, who listened without respond- 
ing, something tragical at this moment when he was 
preparing to do what? Was he really about to bring 
this terrible blow on the old man? In his own room, 
with the great silence of a provincial city around him, 
he took up his sister's letter and read it again, al- 
though he knew by heart every phrase in it. There 
arose from these pages traced by the hand forever still, 
a sigh so profound, a breath of agony so sad and so 
heartrending 1 The illusion of the girl had been so 
mad, her struggles so sincere, her awakening so bit- 
ter, that the count felt again the tears flow down his 
cheeks. This was the second time that he had wept 
that day, he who, since the death of Charlotte, had 
kept his eyes dry and burning with hate. 

He said: "Greslou has deserved — " He remained 
moticnless some minutes, and, walking toward the 
chimney in which the fire was just extinguished, he 
placed on the half-consumed log the leaves of the letter. 
He struck a match and slipped it under the paper. He 



828 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Baw the line of flame develop all around, then again 
the frail writing, then transform this only proof ol 
the miserable amour and suicide into a blackish mass. 
The brother finished by mixing this debris with the 
ashes. He lay down saying aloud: "It is done," 
and he slept, as on the night after his first battle, the 
exhausted sleep which succeeds with men of action, 
great expenditure of will, and he did not open his 
eyes until nine o'clock the next day. 

"Monsieur, the marquis forbade me to wake you,'* 
said Pourat when, called by his master, he opened 
the shutters. The sunlight entered, the bright sun- 
light instead of the sad and lowering sky of the even- 
ing before. "He has been gone an hour. My cap- 
tain knows that to-day they are going to take the 
accused by the subterranean passage, everybody is so 
excited against him." 
"What subterranean passage?" asked Andre. 
"That one which goes from the jail to the Palais de 
Justice. They use it for great criminals, those who 
might be torn to pieces by the public. Faith, cap- 
tain, if I saw that fellow go by, I believe I should feel 
like knocking him over on the spot. Those enraged 
dogs do not judge, they kill. But," he continued, "I 
have forgotten the morning's letters in the salon." 

He returned in a minute, having in his hand three 
envelopes. Andre, who threw a glance at the first 



THE DISCIPLE. 



329 



two, saw at once from whom they came. The third 
was in an unknown hand. It had been addressed to 
Luneville, from Paris, then sent on to Riom. The 
count opened it, and read the three lines which Sixte 
had written before taking the train for Riom. The 
hands of this brave oflScer who did not know the 
meaning of tLe word fear, began to tremble. He 
became as pale as the paper which he held in his 
trembling hands, so pale that Pourat said to him with 
fear: 

"My captain ib ill." 

"Leave me," said the count brusquely. "I will 
dress myself alone. " 

He had need to recover from the sudden blow which 
had just struck him. There was some one in the 
world who knew the terrible secret, some one who 
knew the mystery of Charlotte's death and who was 
not Robert Oreslon, for he had seen some of the 
young man's writing and this was quite unlike it. 

This was a shook of terror such as the most courage- 
ous might feel before a fact so absolutely unexpected 
that it takes on a supernatural character. If the 
brother of CharloHe had seen his sister, alive there 
before him, he could not have been more prostrated 
with astonishment. 

Some one knew of the suicide of the young girl, 
and_of the letter written by her before her death, and 



580 



THE DISCIPLE. 



poMibly all the rest. And this some one, thii myi- 
teriouB witness of the truth, what did he think of 
him? The question with which the note ended told 
plainly enough. 

Suddenly the count remembered what he had dared 
to do. He remembered the letter thrown into the 
fire, and [the purple of shame rushed to his cheeks. 
The resolution, taken the evening before, could not 
be kept. That any man should have the right to say : 
"The Count de Jussat has committed a cowardly act," 
was more than this gentleman so proud of his honor, 
was able to endure. The trouble of the night before, 
that he had believed ended, revived, and was rendered 
more intolerable by the return of his father who said : 

"They have heard all the witnesses. I have de- 
posed. But what was very hard was to find myself 
in the small hall with Greslon's mother. It is a 
chance if she does not come down here. SHe is at 
the Hotel du Commerce, where she has begged ne to 
oome to talk with her. Ah I what a scene I She has 
a face not to be forgotten, a severe face, with black 
•yes vhich have, as it were, a fire in their tears. She 
walked up to me and spoke to me. She adjured me 
to say that her son was innocent, that I knew it, thai 
I had no right to depose against him. Yes, it was a 
terrible scene, and the gendarme interrupted it. The 
unhappy woman 1 I cannot feel hard toward her. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



831 



He is her eon. What a strange thing that a rascal 
like him can stiU have in the world a heart that loves 
him, even as I loved Charlotte, as I love you I Alasl" 
continued the old man. "It is one o'clock. The 
attorney-general is going to speak. Then the defense. 
Between five and six o'clock we shall have the ver- 
dict. Ah, but that will satisfy the heart to see him 
when the sentence is pronounced I It is only just. 
He has committed murder. He ought to die. " 

When the count was again alone, he began to walk 
up and down, as the evening before, while Pourat 
with the valet of M. de Jussat, cleared away the table. 
These two men have since declared that their master 
had never seemed so violenUy uneasy, as during the 
thirty minutes that they were busy in the room. 
Their astonishment was very great when he asked to 
have his uniform got ready. 

In a quarter of an hour he was dressed and left the 
hotel. One detail made the brave Pourat shiver. He 
stated that the officer took his revolver with him 
which had been placed for two nights on the night- 
stand. The soldier communicated his fears to his 
companion. 

"If this Greslon is acquitted, " said he, "the cap- 
tain is the man to blow his brains out on the spot." 

"We ought to follow him, perhaps?" responded the 
vcU^-de-chambre. 






w 



iJ 



332 



THE DISCIPLE. 



While the ttvo servants were deliberating, the count 
followed the moin street which led to the Palais di 
Justice. He knew it, for he had often been to Riom 
in his childhood. This old parliamentary city, with 
its large hotels with the high windows, built in black 
Volvic stone, seemed more empty, more silent, more 
dead than usual as the brother of Charlotte walked 
toward the court 

Near the approaches to Palais there was a dense 
crowd which filled the narrow Rue Saint-Louis by 
which one reaches the hall of assize. The Oreslon 
case had attracted all who had an hour to spare. 
Andre could scarcely force his way through the mass 
of people, composed of countrymen and small shop- 
keepers who were conversing with passionate anima- 
tion. 

He arrived at the stei , wliich lead to the vestibule. 
Two soldiers guarded the door, charged to keep back 
the crowd. The count seemed to hesitate, then, in- 
stead of entering; he pushed on to the end of the 
■treet. He reached a terrace, which, situated between 
the sinister walls of the central building and the dark 
mass of the Palais, gave a view of the immense plain 
of the Limagne. 

A fountain charmed the silence of this spot, and 
the sound of its murmuring could be heard even above 
the noise of the crowd in the neighboring street. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



333 



Andf* Mt down on a bench near the fountain. He 
wa. never able to tell why he remained there more 
than half an hour, nor the exact reason why he arose 
walked toward the Palais, wrote his name and some 
words on a card, and gave this card to a soldier to be 
carried by the bailiff to the president 

He had the very distinct feeling that he must act. 
almost in spite of himself, and as in a dream. Hi^ 
resolution nevertheless was taken and he felt that he 
should not weaken again, although he apprehended 
with horrible anguish the meeting with his father, 
who was over there, beyond those people whose headii 
were bent forward, thi r shoulders curved. 

He felt in his agony the only solace he could ex- 
perience when the bailiff came for him. For. instead 
of introducing him at once into the hall, this man led 
him through a passage to a small room which was. 
without doubt, the office of the persident. Some 
packets were lying on the table. An overcoat and a 
hat hung on a peg. Arrived there, his guide said to 
him : 

"Monsieur the president will come to you as soon 
as the attorney-general has finished." What unex- 
pected consolation in his pain I The punishment of 
deposing in public and before his father would be 
spared himl This hope was of short duration. The 
officer had not been ten minutes in the office of the 





8.U 



THE DISCIPLE. 



priMideDt when the latter entered: « large old ««,. 
with A faoe yellow from bile and with gray hair, whoni 
the contrast of his red robe made look greeniah. Attn 
the firit words and before the affirmation of the 
count that he brought proof of the innocence of the 
aoouflttd : 

"On these conditions, monsieur, " said the presi- 
dent, *'I cannot receive your confidences. The audi- 
ence is to be resumed and you will be heard as a wit- 
ness, provided neither the prosecution nor the defense 
object." 

Thus none of the stations toward his Calvary oouM 
the brother of Charlotte avoid. He was about to 
come in contact with this impassible machinery of 
justice, which does not stop, which cannot stop on 
account of human sensibility. He must seat himself 
in the witness chamber, and recall the scene which 
had passed there between his father and the mother 
of Greslon, then enter the hall of assize. He could 
see the bare wall with the image of the crucified which 
overlooked this hall, the heads turned toward him in 
supreme attention, the president among his judges 
and the attorney-general, all in their red robes; the 
jurors on the left of the court. Robert Greslon was 
on the right on the prisoner's bench, his arms folded 
livid but impassible, and everybody crowded eveiy- 
where, behind the magistrates, in the tribunes. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



33A 



On Um witneM bench Andr^ rtoognisad bii faUiar 
•nd hit white bftin. Ah I how this eight out him to 
the heMTt^the heart which did not falter howerer. 
when the preeident. after uking the oounael and at- 
tomey-general if they did not object to hearing the 
witneas, aaked him to aUte his name and tiUe and 
take oath according to the formula. The magistrates 
who assisted at this scene are unanimous in declar- 
ing that they nerer experienced an emotion in oourt 
at aU comparable to that which seized the audience 
and themselves when this man, whose heroic past aU 
were acquainted with through [the [articles published 
in the journals, began in a firm voice, but one which 
betrayed excruciating grief; 

"Gentlemen of the jury: I have only a few words 
to say. My sister was not assassinated, she killed 
herself. The night before her death she wrote me a 
letter in which she announced her resolution to die, 
and why. Gentiemen, I believe that I had the right 
to conceal this suicide, I burned this letter. If the 
man whom you have before you," and he indicated 
Greslon with his left hand-"did not give the poison, 
he has done worse. But this is not for your justice 
to consider, and he ought not to be convicted as an 
assassin. He is innocent. In default of material 
proof which I can no longer give, I bring you my 
word." 



THt l>ISCIPLt. 






fc 






Th«M MnUnoM fall on* by oii«, amid th« Miffnith 
of ihe whol« AudiMM. Thtr* wm a ory toUowd by 

"He it m»d." Mid A Toioe. "h« ia mad, do not 
liaianiohim." 

"No, my Fathar." rapliad Count Andti, who neog. 
nisad (ba Toioa of tha marquia, and who turned 
toward tha old man, who lay back, oruahed, on hia 
bench. "I am not mad. I hare done what honor 
compelled. I hope, monaieur the preaident, that I 
may be epared from laying any more." 

There waa entreaty in hia Toioe, the Toice of thia 
proud man, aa he uttered thia laat aentence, and it so 
affected the hearera that a murmur ran through tha 
crowd when the preaident replied : 

"To my great regret, monaieur, I cannot grant 
what you aak. The extreme importance of ihe depo- 
aition which you have juat made doea not permit 
juatioe to reat upon the information which ia our 
duty— a Tery painful duty— to aak you to atate 
precisely." 

"That ia well, monaieur, I alao will do my duty to 
the end." 

There waa in the accent with which the witneaa 
uttered thia aentence auch resolution that the murmur 
of the crowd gave way auddenly to ailence, and ihe 
preaident waa heard saying: 



r.l 

hi 



THB DISCIPLE. 



187 



"Ton ipok* of ft l6tt«r, monsieur, which your >tti' 
hftd written to you. Permit me to tey that it it at 
leeat extraordinary 'hat your flrat idea was not to 
enlighten juatioe by communicating it at once." 

"It contained," aaid the count, "a aeoret which I 
would hare been willing to conceal at the price of my 
blood." 

He has tinoe told the friend who remained ao true 
to the end of thia drama. Maxima de Plane, that thia 
waa the moet terrible moment of hia Mcrifice— but hia 
emotion waa auppreaaed by ita very excMa. He waa 
obliged to gire all the details of the letter—and re- 
count hia own aenaationa, and confeaa all his agonies. 
As to what followed, he has declared that he could 
recall only a few material details — and those the most 
unexpected — the coldness to his hand of an iron 
column againat which he waa leaning when he ought 
to have been sitting on the witness bench from which 
some one came to take him to his father who had 
fainted at the last words of his deposition. He 
noticed also the drawling Lorraine accent of the pro- 
oureur-g^n^ral who had risen to abandon the prosecu- 
tion. 

How much time elapsed between the speeches of 
the procureur and of Greslon's counsel, the retiring 
of the jury and its re-entrance with a negative ^dict, 
he never knew. He has never known how he em- 



■ 



) ^. 



if 



dd8 



THE DISCIPLE. 



ployed his evening, after the doorkeeper had invited 
himto leave. He remembers to have walked a great 
distance. Some citizens of Combronde met him on 
the road to this village. He went to an inn where he 
wrote some letters, addressed, one to his father, one to 
his mother and a third to his colonel, and a last to 
Maxime de Plane. At nine o'clock he knocked at the 
door of the Hfitel du Commerce, where his father had 
told him the mother of Greslon had gone, and he 
Mked the concierge if M. Greslon was there. This 
fellow had heard of the dramatic scene. He guessed 
from the uniform of the captain who he was, and had 
the good sense to reply that M. Robert Gresxon had 
not appeared. Unfortunately he thought it right to 
inform the young man, who was at that moment with 
his mother and M. Adrien Sixte. This last could not 
resist the supplications of the widow who, having met 
him in the corridor of the hotel, had conjured him to 
aid her in comforting her son. 

"Monsieur," said the concierge to Robert after 
having asked permission to speak to him apart, "be 
careful, M. de Jussat is looking for you." 
"Where is he ?" asked Greslon feverishly. 
"He cannot have left the street," responded the 
c(mcierge, "but I told him that you were not here." 

"You did wrong," replied Greslon. And taking 
his hat, he rushed toward the staiza. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



339 



""Where are you going?" implored his mother. 
The young man did not answer. Perhaps he did not 
even hear this cry, he was in such haste to go down 
the stairs. The idea that Count Andre believed him 
cowardly enough to hide himself maddened him. He 
had not long to look for his enemy. The count was 
on the opposite side of the street, watching the door. 
Bobert saw him and walked straight up to him. 

"You have something to say to me, monsieur?" he 
asked proudly. 

"Yes," said the count. 

"I am at your servi' " continued Greslon, "for 
whatever reparation that it may please you to exact. 
I will not leave Biom, I give you my word." 

"No, monsieur," responded Andre de Jussat, **one 
does not fight with such men as you, one executes 
them." 

He drew his revolver from his pocket, and as the 

other, instead of fleeing, remained standing before 

him and seemed to say: "I dare you," he lodged a 

bullet in his head. The noise of the report, and a cry 

of agony were heard at the same time at the hotel, 

and when they ran to see the cause, they found Count 

Andre stauiing against the wall, who, throwing down 

his pistol and, folding his arms said simply, pointing to 

the body of his sister's lover at his feet : 

"I have executed justice." 



840 



THE DISCIPLE. 



Durin, the night which followed thi. t«gic «e«, 
meo^°"7^ ; *'• "'■""^'"""^^ «' "oO" •' «" 
W.U, would have been «toni.hed if they could h.ye 
««n what was pa«i„g in „„„ No. 3 of the Hotel du 
Con.=.erce. and in the aind of their iaplacable and 
2«'-in.-ter. At the foot of the bed on which^ 

\ .T' '"'' '•'" ''"'' '"""'•S'-'. b-elt the 
mother of Eobert Greelon. 

lie great nega&r, seated on . chair, looked at thi. 
won.«. pr^.ng. and at the dead aan who h«l been 
h.. d.«„ple, deeping the deep which Charlotte d. 
Ju«^t wae deo sleeping; and, for the flrat ti»e, M- 
»g h» n.,nd powerles. to au,t«« him, this «.al„t 
ahnost .nhuaan by force of logic, bowed hefo« tit 
impenetrable mystery of destiny. The word, of the 
only pr^er he remembered: "Our Father who art in 
Wen, -came to his mind. Surely he did not p J 

Bounce ttem. Perhaps heneverwm pronounce them. 
But ,f he .x.rt then the only father toward whom 
ttey could turn in their hour, of di.tre«. and in whom 
was the,r only resource, was their hearenly father. 

^d .f th.s heavenly father did only exist, d,o„ld we 
t.y. lh« hunger and not insist for him in such hour. 



THE DISCIPLE. 



341 



as this? "Thou wouldst not sent me if thou hadst 
not found me!" At that very moment, thanks to the 
lucidity of mind which accompanies the scholar into 
all crises. Adrien Sixte recalled this admirable sentence 
of Pascal in his "Myst^rie de J^sus," and when the 
mother arose from her knees the philosopher was 
also weeping. 



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