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tor has wings and will not stay long. The resignation which comes from despair has a kind of melancholy sweetness. It looks at life as a man sees it from his death-bed, and judges it without bitterness and without vain regrets.
I no longer hope to get well, or to be useful, or to be happy. I hope that those who have loved me will love me to the end ; I should wish to have done them some good, and to leave them a tender memory of myself. I wish to die without rebellion and without weakness; that is about all. Is this relic of hope and of desire still too much ? Let all be as God will. I resign myself into His hands.
220 January 1875 (Hyères). — The French mind, according to Gioberti, apprehends only the outward form of truth, and exaggerates it by isolating it, so that it acts as a solvent upon the realities with which it works. It takes the shadow for the substance, the word for the thing, appearance for reality, and abstract formula for truth. It lives in a world of intellectual assignats. If you talk to a Frenchman of art, of language, of religion, of the state, of duty, of the family, you feel in his way of speaking
that his thought remains outside the subject, that he never penetrates into its substance, its inmost core. He is not striving to understand it in its essence, but only to say something plausible about it. On his lips the noblest words become thin and empty; for example, — mind, idea, religion. The French mind is superficial and yet not comprehensive; it has an extraordinarily fine edge, and yet no penetrating power. Its desire is to enjoy its own resources by the help of things, but it has none of the respect, the disinterestedness, the patience, and the self-forgetfulness, which are indispensable if we wish to see things as they
Far from being the philosophic mind, it is a mere counterfeit of it, for it does not enable a man to solve any problem whatever, and remains incapable of understand. ing all that is living, complex, and concrete. Abstraction is its original sin, presumption its incurable defect, and plausibility its fatal limit.
The French language has no power of expressing truths of birth and germination ; it paints effects, results, the caput mortuum, but not the cause, the motive power, the native force, the development of any phenomenon whatever. It is analytic and
descriptive, but it explains nothing, for it avoids all beginnings and processes of formation. With it crystallisation is not the mysterious act itself by which a substance passes from the fluid state to the solid state. It is the product of that act.
The thirst for truth is not a French passion. In everything appearance is preferred to reality, the outside to the inside, the fashion to the material, that which shines to that which profits, opinion to conscience. That is to say, the Frenchman's centre of gravity is always outside him, he is always thinking of others, playing to the gallery. To him individuals are so many zeros; the unit which turns them into a number must be added from outside ; it may be royalty, the writer of the day, the favourite newspaper, or any other temporary master of fashion. — All this is probably the result of an exaggerated sociability, which weakens the soul's forces of resistance, destroys its capacity for investigation and personal conviction, and kills in it the worship of the ideal.
27th January 1875 (Hyères). — The whole atmosphere has a luminous serenity, a limpid clearness. The islands are like swans swimming in a golden stream. Peace, splendour, boundless space! ... And I meanwhile look quietly on while the soft hours glide away. I long to catch the wild bird, happiness, and tame it. Above all, I long to share it with others. These delicious mornings impress me indescribably. They intoxicate me, they carry me away. I feel beguiled out of myself, dissolved in sunbeams, breezes, perfumes, and sudden impulses of joy. And yet all the time I pine for I know not what intangible Eden.
Lamartine in the Préludes has admirably described this oppressive effect of happiness on fragile human nature. I suspect that the reason for it is that the finite creature feels itself invaded by the infinite, and the invasion produces dizziness, a kind of vertigo, a longing to fling oneself into the great gulf of being. To feel life too intensely is to yearn for death ; and for man, to die means to become like unto the gods
to be initiated into the great mystery. Pathetic and beautiful illusion.
Ten o'clock in the evening. — From one end to the other the day has been perfect, and my walk this afternoon to Beau Vallon was one long delight. It was like an expedition into Arcadia. Here was a wild and woodland corner, which would have made a fit setting for a dance of nymphs, and there an ilex overshadowing a rock, which reminded me of an ode of Horace or a drawing of Tibur. I felt a kind of certainty that the landscape had much that was Greek in it. And what made the sense of resemblance the more striking was the sea, which one feels to be always near, though one may not see it, and which any turn of the valley may bring intɔ view. We found out a little tower with an overgrown garden, of which the owner might have been taken for a husbandman of the Odyssey. He could scarcely speak any French, but was not without a certain grave dignity. I translated to him the inscription on his sun-dial, • Hora est benefaciendi,' which is beautiful, and pleased him greatly. It would be an inspiring place to write a novel in. Only I do not know whether the little den would have a decent room, and one would certainly have to live upon eggs, milk, and figs, like Philemon.