Gerfaut — Complete eBook

Pierre-Marie-Charles de Bernard du Grail de la Villette
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 353 pages of information about Gerfaut — Complete.
love her in a strange manner; the sentiment that I feel for her has become a study of the mind as well as an emotion of the heart, and that is what gives it its despotic tenacity; for a material impression weakens and gradually dies out, but when an energetic intelligence is brought to bear upon it, it becomes desperate.  I should be wrong to complain.  Passion, a passive sentiment!  This word has a contradictory meaning for me.  I am a lover as Napoleon was an emperor:  nobody forced the crown upon him, he took it and crowned himself with his own hand.  If my crown happens to be a thorny one, whom can I accuse?  Did not my brow crave it?

“I have loved this woman of my own choosing, above all others; the choice made, I have worked at my love as I would at a cherished poem; it has been the subject of all my meditations, the fairy of all my dreams, for more than a year.  I have not had a thought in which I have not paid her homage.  I have devoted my talents to her; it seemed to me that by loving and perpetually contemplating her image, I might at last become worthy of painting it.  I was conscious of a grand future, if only she had understood me; I often thought of Raphael and his own Fornarina.  There is a throne vacant in poetry; I had dreamed of this throne in order to lay it at Clemence’s feet.  Oh! although this may never be more than a dream, this dream has given me hours of incomparable happiness!  I should be ungrateful to deny it.

“And yet this love is only a fictitious sentiment; I realize it today.  It is not with her that I am in love, it is with a woman created by my imagination, and whom I see clearly within this unfeeling marble shape.  When we have meditated for a long time, our thoughts end by taking life and walking by our side.  I can now understand the allegory of Adam taking Eve from his own substance; but flesh forms a palpitating flesh akin to itself; the mind creates only a shadow, and a shadow can not animate a dead body.  Two dead bodies can not make a living one; a body without a soul is only a cadaver—­and she has no soul.”

Gerfaut sat motionless for some time with his face buried in his hands; suddenly he raised his head and burst into harsh laughter.

“Enough of this soaring in the clouds!” he exclaimed; “let us come down to earth again.  It is permissible to think in verse, but one must act in prose, and that is what I shall do tomorrow.  This woman’s caprices, which she takes for efforts of virtue, have made of me a cruel and inexorable man; I have begged in vain for peace; if she wishes war, very well, so be it, she shall have war.”



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Gerfaut — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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