Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/150

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the terrace, to the music of the waves, or else at night in his room, he asked me to read him the poems of Victor Hugo, of Baudelaire, of Verlaine, of Mæterlinck. Often he closed his eyes, and lay motionless, with his hands folded on his breast, and I, thinking that he was asleep, stopped reading; but he smiled, and said:

"Go on, little one; I am not asleep. I can listen better so. I hear your voice better. And your voice is charming."

Sometimes it was he who interrupted me. After concentrating his thoughts, he slowly recited, with a prolongation of the rhythms, the lines that had excited in him the greatest enthusiasm, and he tried—oh! how I loved him for that!—to make me understand them, to make me feel their beauty. One day he said to me,—and I have kept these words as a relic:

"The sublimity of poetry, you see, lies in the fact that it does not take an educated person to understand it and to love it. On the contrary. The educated do not understand it, and generally they despise it, because they have too much pride. To love poetry it is enough to have a soul,—a little soul, naked, like a flower. Poets speak to the souls of the simple, of the sad, of the sick. And that is why they are eternal. Do you know that, when one has sensibility, one is always something of a poet? And you yourself, little Célestine,