Là-bas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about L-bas.

“Evidently all is not rosy in that line of work,” said Durtal.  “But it is only spirits of Evil that can be evoked?”

“Do you suppose that the Angels, who, of earth, obey only the saints, would ever consent to take orders from the first comer?”

“But there must be an intermediate order of angels, who are neither celestial nor infernal, who, for instance, commit the well-known asininities in the spiritist seances.”

“A priest told me one day that the neuter larvae inhabit an invisible, neutral territory, something like a little island, which is beseiged on all sides by the good and evil spirits.  The larvae cannot long hold out and are soon forced into one or the other camp.  Now, because it is these larvae they evoke, the occultists, who cannot, of course, draw down the angels, always get the ones who have joined the party of Evil, so unconsciously and probably involuntarily the spiritist is always diabolizing.”

“Yes, and if one admits the disgusting idea that an imbecile medium can bring back the dead, one must, in reason, recognize the stamp of Satan on these practises.”

“However viewed, Spiritism is an abomination.”

“So you don’t believe in theurgy, white magic?”

“It’s a joke.  Only a Rosicrucian who wants to hide his more repulsive essays at black magic ever hints at such a thing.  No one dare confess that he satanizes.  The Church, not duped by these hair-splitting distinctions, condemns black and white magic indifferently.”

“Well,” said Durtal, lighting a cigarette, after a silence, “this is a better topic of conversation than politics or the races, but where does it get us?  Half of these doctrines are absurd, the other half so mysterious as to produce only bewilderment.  Shall we grant Satanism?  Well, gross as it is, it seems a sure thing.  And if it is, and one is consistent, one must also grant Catholicism—­for Buddhism and the like are not big enough to be substituted for the religion of Christ.”

“All right.  Believe.”

“I can’t.  There are so many discouraging and revolting dogmas in Christianity—­”

“I am uncertain about a good many things, myself,” said Des Hermies, “and yet there are moments when I feel that the obstacles are giving way, that I almost believe.  Of one thing I am sure.  The supernatural does exist, Christian or not.  To deny it is to deny evidence—­and who wants to be a materialist, one of these silly freethinkers?”

“It is mighty tiresome to be vacillating forever.  How I envy Carhaix his robust faith!”

“You don’t want much!” said Des Hermies.  “Faith is the breakwater of the soul, affording the only haven in which dismasted man can glide along in peace.”

CHAPTER XXII

“You like that?” asked Mme. Carhaix.  “For a change I served the broth yesterday and kept the beef for tonight.  So we’ll have vermicelli soup, a salad of cold meat with pickled herring and celery, some nice mashed potatoes au gratin, and a dessert.  And then you shall taste the new cider we just got.”

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Project Gutenberg
Là-bas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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