People of education are not called poets or mathematicians, etc.; but they are all these, and judges of all these. No one guesses what they are. When they come into society, they talk on matters about which the rest are talking. We do not observe in them one quality rather than another, save when they have to make use of it. But then we remember it, for it is characteristic of such persons that we do not say of them that they are fine speakers, when it is not a question of oratory, and that we say of them that they are fine speakers, when it is such a question.
They dig at their minds! They dilate them! They tyrannize them! . . . All around them there’s nothing left but a foul slumgullion of organic debris, a marmalade of madness and symptoms that drip and ooze from every part of them . . . The remains of the mind are all over our hands, and there we are, sticky, grotesque, contemptuous, fetid. Everything’s going to collapse, Ferdinand, everything is collapsing, I, old man Baryton, am telling you, and it won’t be long now! . . . You’ll see the end, Ferdinand, the great debacle! Because you’re still young! You’ll see it! Oh, you’ll enjoy it, I can promise you!
Et je te creuse ! Et je te la dilate la jugeote ! Et je te me la tyrannise !… Et ce n’est plus, autour d’eux, qu’une ragouillasse dégueulasse de débris organiques, une marmelade de symptômes de délires en compote qui leur suintent et leur dégoulinent de partout… On en a plein les mains de ce qui reste de l’esprit, on en est tout englué, grotesque, méprisant, puant. Tout va s’écrouler, Ferdinand, tout s’écroule, je vous le prédis, moi le vieux Baryton, et pour dans pas longtemps encore !… Et vous verrez cela vous Ferdinand, l’immense débandade ! Parce que vous êtes jeune encore ! Vous la verrez !… Ah ! je vous en promets des réjouissances !
I hadn’t conceived even one good, sound idea, like his idea of getting himself bumped off … That idea was bigger than my big head, bigger than all the fear that was in it, a fine, a magnificent idea to die with . . . How many lives would I need to make myself an idea more powerful than anything in the world? No saying. A flop! My ideas went rattling around in my head with lots of space between them. They were like faint, flickering little candles, trembling throughout a lifetime in the middle of a ghostly, abominable universe.
How gorgeous was Paris toward the end of September
Each night became a vine whose leaves
Spread brightness over the city above
Ripe stars nibbled by the drunken birds
Of my fame awaited dawn’s harvest
Days and days passed, my health picked up, but, as my fever and delirium abated in those comfortable surroundings, my craving for adventure and daring exploits revived and became imperious. At ninety-eight point six everything is boring.
Then I fell sick, I was delirious, driven mad by fear, they said at the hospital. Maybe so. The best thing to do when you’re in this world, don’t you agree, is to get out of it. Crazy or not, scared or not.