Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/27

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the tracked and hunted ego vindicated its rights against human fellowship. Laughable fellowship, which made itself manifest to these adolescents only in the shape of finished murder, one undergone in common! A precocious experience had shriveled their illusions: they had seen how much those same illusions were worth in their elders and how those who did not believe in them paid for them with their lives. Even as to those of their own age and as to man in general their confidence was shaken. And besides, at such a time it cost something to confide in people! Every day one learned of some denunciation of thoughts and intimate conversations by a patriotic spy whose zeal the government honored and stimulated. So it was that these young people, through discouragement, through disdain, through prudence, through a stoical sense of their solitude in thought, gave themselves very little indeed the one to the other.

Pierre could not find among them that Horatio whom little eighteen-year-old Hamlets seek. If he had a horror of estranging