The First Man

And for all his life it would be kindness and love that made him cry, never pain or persecution, which on the contrary only reinforced his spirit and his resolution.

And the wave of tenderness and pity that at once filled his heart was not the stirring of the soul that leads the son to the memory of the vanished father, but the overwhelming compassion that a grown man feels for an unjustly murdered child – something here was not in the natural order and, in truth, there was no order but only madness and chaos when the son was older than the father. The course of time itself was shattering around him while he remained motionless among those tombs he now no longer saw, and the years no longer kept to their places in the great river that flows to its end. They were no more than waves and surf and eddies where Jacques Cormery was not struggling in the grip of anguish and pity. He looked at the other inscriptions in that section and realized from the dates that this soil was strewn with children who had been the fathers of graying men who thought they were living in this present time. For he too believed he was living, he alone had created himself, he knew his own strength, his vigor, he could cope and he had himself well in hand. But, in the strange dizziness of that moment, the statue every man eventually erects and that hardens in the fire of the years, into which he then creeps and there awaits its final crumbling – that statue was rapidly cracking, it was already collapsing. All that was left was this anguished heart, eager to live, rebelling against the deadly order of the world that had been with him for forty years, and still struggling against the wall that separated him from the secret of all life, wanting to go farther, to go beyond, and to discover, discover before dying, discover at last in order to be, just once to be, for a single second, but forever.

At the age of 40, having ordered meat very rare in restaurants all his life, he realized he actually liked it medium and not at all rare.

Because,' Cormery went on, 'when I was very young, very foolish, and very much alone ... you paid attention to me and, without seeming to, you opened for me the door to everything I love in the world.

comment faire comprendre d'ailleurs qu'un enfant pauvre puisse avoir parfois honte sans jamais rien envier ?

Elle l'embrassait , et puis , après l'avoir lâché , le regardait et le reprenais pour l'embrasser encore une fois , comme si , ayant mesuré en elle-même tout l'amour qu'elle pouvait lui porter ou lui exprimer, elle avait décidé qu'une mesure manquait encore .

Even the most gifted person needs someone to initiate him. The one that life puts in your path one day, that person must be loved and respected for ever, even if he's not responsible. That is my faith!

For the worst of it was not the lies that after all he was unable to utter, ready as he always was to lie for pleasure but incapable of doing so out of necessity, the worst of it was the delights he had lost, the season’s light and the time off that had been taken away from him, and now the year consisted of nothing but a series of hasty awakenings and hurried dismal days. He had to lose what was royal in his life of poverty, the irreplaceable riches that he so greatly and gluttonously enjoyed, to earn a little bit of money that would not buy one-millionth of those treasures.

He had loved is mother and his child, everything that it was not up to him to choose. And after all he, who had challenged everything, questioned everything, he had never loved anything except what was inevitable. The people fate had imposed on him, the world as it appeared to him, everything in his life he had not been able to avoid, his illness, his vocation, fame or poverty--in a word, his star. For the rest, for everything he had to choose, he made himself love, which is not the same thing. No doubt he had known the feeling of wonderment, passion, and even moments of tenderness. But each moment had sent him on to other moments, each person to others, and he had loved nothing he had chosen, except what was little by little imposed on him by circumstance, had lasted as much by accident as by intention, and finally became necessary: Jessica. The heart, the heart above all is not free. It is inevitability and the recognition of the inevitable. And he, in truth, had never wholeheartedly loved other than the inevitable. All that was left for him was to love his own death.

He had never loved anything except what was inevitable. The people fate had imposed on him, the world as it appeared to him, everything in his life he had not been able to avoid...For the rest, for everything he had to choose, he made himself love, which is not the same thing. No doubt he had known the feeling of wonderment, passion, and even moments of tenderness. But each moment had sent him on to other moments, each person to others, and he had loved nothing he had chosen, except what was little by little imposed on him by circumstance, had lasted as much by accident as by intention, and finally became necessary: Jessica.

Mais les traditions familiales n'ont souvent pas de fondement plus solide , et les ethnologues me font bien rire qui cherchent la raison de tant de rites mystérieux .
Le vrai mystère dans beaucoup de cas , c'est qu'il n'y a pas de raison du tout .

Men like us are good and proud and strong...if we had a faith, a God, nothing could undermine us. But we had nothing, we had to learn everything, and living for honor alone has its weaknesses...

Mind you, do not think that my affection for you is blind. You have great, very great faults, at least in my eyes.

No, he would never know his father, who would continue to sleep over there, his face for ever lost in the ashes. There was a mystery about that man, a mystery he had wanted to penetrate. But after all there was only the mystery of poverty that creates beings without names and without a past, that sends them into the vast throng of the nameless dead who made the world while they themselves were destroyed for ever. For it was just that that his father had in common with the men of the Labrador. The Mahon people of the Sahel, the Alsatians on the high plateaus, with this immense island between sand and sea, which the enormous silence was now beginning to envelop: the silence of anonymity; it enveloped blood and courage and work and instinct, it was at once cruel and compassionate. And he who had wanted to escape from the country without name, from the crowd and from a family without a name, but in whom something had gone on craving darkness and anonymity - he too was a member of the tribe, marching blindly into the night near the old doctor who was panting at his right, listening to the gusts of music coming from the square, seeing once more the hard inscrutable faces of the Arabs around the bandstands, Veillard's laughter and his stubborn face - also seeing with a sweetness and a sorrow that wrung his heart the deathly look on his mother's face at the time of the bombing - wandering though the night of the years in the land of oblivion where each one is the first man, where he had to bring himself up, without a father, having never known those moments when a father would call his son, after waiting for him to reach the age of listening, to tell him the family's secret, or a sorrow of long ago, or the experience of his life, those moments when even the ridiculous and hateful Polonius all of a sudden becomes great when he is speaking to Laertes; and he was sixteen, then he was twenty, and no one had spoken to him, and he had to learn by himself, to grow alone, in fortitude, in strength, find his own morality and truth, at last to be born as a man and then to be born in a harder childbirth, which consists of being born in relation to others, to women, like all the men born in this country who, one by one, try to learn without roots and without faith, and today all of them are threatened with eternal anonymity and the loss of the only consecrated traces of their passage on this earth, the illegible slabs in the cemetery that the night has now covered over; they had to learn how to live in relation to others, to the immense host of the conquerors, now dispossessed, who had preceded them on this land and in whom they now had to recognise the brotherhood of race and destiny.

Oh no, oh no,' she said through her tears, 'I'm so in love with love,' and, intelligent and outstanding in so many ways, perhaps just because she truly was intelligent and outstanding, she rejected the world as it was.

P. and J. did not like books set in large type with wide margins, such as pleased readers of more refined tastes, but rather pages set in small type stretching all the way across tightly justified lines, filled to the brim with words and sentences, like those enormous rustic dishes you can eat at long and heartily without every emptying them, and are all that can satisfy some gigantic appetites.

Poverty is a fortress without drawbridges.

Remembrance of things past is just for the rich. For the poor it only marks the faint traces on the path to death.

So,' said Cornery, 'we never know anyone.

Squeezed against each other in the heavy heat, they were silent...looking toward the home that was expecting them--quiet, perspiring, resigned to this existence divided among a soulless job, long trips coming and going in an uncomfortable trolley, and at the end an abrupt sleep. On some evenings it would sadden Jacques to look at them. Until then he had only known the riches and the joys of poverty. But now heat and boredom and fatigue were showing him their curse, the curse of work so stupid you could weep and so interminably monotonous that it made the days too long and, at the same time, life too short.

There are people who vindicate the world, who help others live just by their presence.

There is a terrible emptiness in me, an indifference that hurts.

There's always been war," said Veillard. "But people quickly get accustomed to peace. So they think it's normal. No, war is what's normal.

They hurt each other without wanting to, just because each represented to the others the cruel and demanding necessity of their lives.

They went on living in poverty, though they were no longer in need, but they were set in their ways, and they looked on life with a resigned suspicion; they loved it as animals do, but they knew from experience that it would regularly give birth to disaster without even showing any sign that it was carrying it.

To begin with, poor people´s memory is less nourished than that of a rich; it has fewer landmarks in space because they seldom leave the place where they live, and fewer reference points in time throughtout lives that are grey and featureless.

...today he felt life, youth, people slipping away from him, without being able to hold on to any of them, left with the blind hope that this obscure force that for so many years had raised him above the daily routine, nourished him unstintingly, and been equal to the most difficult circumstances--that, as it had with endless generosity given him reason to live, it would also give him reason to grow old and die without rebellion.

When I was young I asked more of people than they could give: everlasting friendship, endless feeling.

Now I know to ask less of them than they can give: a straightforward companionship. And their feelings, their friendship, their generous actions seem in my eyes to be wholly miraculous: a consequence of grace alone.

When the soul suffers too much, it develops a taste for misfortune.

You alone will know why I killed myself. You know my principles. I hate those who commit suicide. Besause of what they do TO OTHERS. If you have to do it, you must disguise it. Out of kindness.