Full text: Secession (Number one) (1)

Certain plants remain invariable; others seem as ephe 
meral as my regard. Suddenly I feel myself ageing as 
I lift my eyelids. I should certainly make a poor 
hour-glass. . 
How I could have blundered about in time; I still 
wonder at this. I had accepted with real pleasure an 
invitation to go to Normandy and stay at the villa of a 
friend, Celeste P . . . married recently. Paris was 
thinning out, and the thought of spending a few days 
by the sea-shore where the air was so pure and re 
freshing with the nip of salt, was by no means 
unpleasant to me. It had been a superb day. The sun 
brimmed over in the fields. The dust invaded the 
railroad coaches, but nearing the sea we scented its 
delicious tang and it went right to our hearts. Getting 
off the train, I looked about me and saw that the sky 
was sky-blue. Celeste advanced toward me with her 
hand outstretched. Suddenly a fit of abstraction seized 
me, I thought of other things: once you have thought 
of other things, you are done for. Impossible to get 
back to the point of departure, and following the 
thread I reached some desert region at some indeter- 
mined epoch of the universe. At first I did not under 
stand what was happening to me. I said to myself: 
„This cannot last“. Now I do not even know whether 
it does last. 
I have come to believe that in the temporal impasse 
into which I have strayed there is no soul that lives. 
Only a companion in misfortune could help me to 
regain life. Together we could reconstitute time. Sim 
ply a matter of comparison. Alone, I lose grip on 
myself in wrestling with my identity: if I remained the 
same from one minute to another how could I experience 
the transformation announced by this movement of the 
clock-hand? I end by losing all track of the continuity 
of my thought. For in the most general sense all is 
logical to me in solitude, and, writing as I am for 
chance salvagers, for blind savages, or for the deaf 
tides that carry my bottle, I can scarcely trust that the 
language I use will ever be understood by any man 
other than myself. Why, it is impossible for me to 
read it over: I am only intelligible to myself in flashes. 
My sheet of paper all at once becomes perfectly blank

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