Madame De Treymes eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 56 pages of information about Madame De Treymes.

II

Whatever Madame de Malrive’s answer was to be, there could be no doubt as to her readiness to listen.  She received Durham’s words without sign of resistance, and took time to ponder them gently before she answered in a voice touched by emotion:  “You are very generous—­very unselfish; but when you fix a limit—­no matter how remote—­to my remaining here, I see how wrong it is to let myself consider for a moment such possibilities as we have been talking of.”

“Wrong?  Why should it be wrong?”

“Because I shall want to keep my boy always!  Not, of course, in the sense of living with him, or even forming an important part of his life; I am not deluded enough to think that possible.  But I do believe it possible never to pass wholly out of his life; and while there is a hope of that, how can I leave him?” She paused, and turned on him a new face, a face in which the past of which he was still so ignorant showed itself like a shadow suddenly darkening a clear pane.  “How can I make you understand?” she went on urgently.  “It is not only because of my love for him—­not only, I mean, because of my own happiness in being with him; that I can’t, in imagination, surrender even the remotest hour of his future; it is because, the moment he passes out of my influence, he passes under that other—­the influence I have been fighting against every hour since he was born!—­I don’t mean, you know,” she added, as Durham, with bent head, continued to offer the silent fixity of his attention, “I don’t mean the special personal influence—­except inasmuch as it represents something wider, more general, something that encloses and circulates through the whole world in which he belongs.  That is what I meant when I said you could never understand!  There is nothing in your experience—­in any American experience—­to correspond with that far-reaching family organization, which is itself a part of the larger system, and which encloses a young man of my son’s position in a network of accepted prejudices and opinions.  Everything is prepared in advance—­his political and religious convictions, his judgments of people, his sense of honour, his ideas of women, his whole view of life.  He is taught to see vileness and corruption in every one not of his own way of thinking, and in every idea that does not directly serve the religious and political purposes of his class.  The truth isn’t a fixed thing:  it’s not used to test actions by, it’s tested by them, and made to fit in with them.  And this forming of the mind begins with the child’s first consciousness; it’s in his nursery stories, his baby prayers, his very games with his playmates!  Already he is only half mine, because the Church has the other half, and will be reaching out for my share as soon as his education begins.  But that other half is still mine, and I mean to make it the strongest and most living half of the two, so that, when the inevitable conflict begins, the energy and the truth and the endurance shall be on my side and not on theirs!”

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Madame De Treymes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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