Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/21

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sion, Friday fasting, rest on Sunday, which once upon a time incited the racy spirit of our "philosophers" during the period when the people were free—under the kings. The new religion wanted all, was not satisfied with less; all the man complete, his body, his blood, his life and his thinking mind. Above all his blood. Since the time of the Aztecs of Mexico never was there a divinity so gorged with blood. It would be deeply unjust to say that the believers did not suffer from this. They suffered, but they believed. Alas my poor brother men, for whom suffering itself is a proof positive of the divine! . . .

Mr. and Mrs. Aubier suffered like the others, and like the others adored. But from a growing boy one could not demand such abnegation of heart, feeling and good sense. Pierre would have liked to comprehend at least what it was that oppressed him. What a lot of questions burned within which he could not utter! For the very first word of all was, "But what if I don't believe in it at all!"—a blasphemy just to start with.