Full text: Secession (Number one) (1)

6 
again, or covered with ideas I have never had. The 
words themselves come invested in strange masks, or 
bare and different from each other. Bursted balloons. 
Pastimes, pleasures, leisure, salt of life, all seem strange 
customs, rites devised to hasten death along. Fire is 
what I find most mysterious of all. The novel I kept 
in my pocket during the entire journey has remained 
there and 1 reassemble in it my only memories of 
human life. Preposterous existence bounded only by 
the most elementary of questions. I take, for instance, 
from my book, the character called George, hotelkeeper. 
How the emblems of all the trades balance themselves 
unhappily in the blue city of the vision. This horrible 
limitation, the branch of holly which the man fixed 
above his door one morning condemned him to be 
nothing but an innkeeper for all eternity. Is it not true 
that in books sudden illuminations flash between the 
conventional characters one longs to resemble? The 
choice between two destinies is tragically lost in the 
disordered movements of the heart. A very beautiful 
woman, two or three singular exaltations, a moment of 
perfect happiness, the entire life of a citizen of the 
world reduces itself to a few metaphors more wretched 
and vulgar than a carpenter’s shop : the split up wood 
hardly arouses any enthusiasm. Through staring into 
space for a long time there grows in my breast the 
image of the red and blue infinite in which life pulses 
at a given speed. Adjust yourself any way you please: 
to regard the universe, or to interrogate your heart; 
it cannot be done without fatigue. All ends with a red 
lamp balanced against the wind, and later, the horses 
having delivered the parcel, trotting briskly along the 
pavement of the suburbs. 
Sun of cries without reason, mad plants, the earth 
flees we know not where and we press the tablets of 
physical law against our vest-pockets with little 
commendatory smiles. With what great ingenuity we 
bind for ourselves with ribbon-formulae a bouquet of 
marguerites and of roses, the functions of space and 
time yielding indulgently to our will! In the meantime 
1 am quite beautifully lost in duration, and my move 
ments are restricted from just here to there. But I feel 
more and more, 1 almost said with every day, the
	        

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