I think that these are the last recollections that I shall call up. I have others, however, â€” many- others. But they all resemble each other, and it tires me to continually write the same stories, and to unroll, in a continuous and monotonous pano- rama, the same faces, the same souls, the same phantoms. And then I feel that I have no mind left for it, for I am becoming more and more dis- tracted from the ashes of this past by the new pre- occupations of my future. I could have told also of my stay in the Countess Fardin's mansion. But what is the use ? I am too weary, and also too distressed. There, amid the same social phe- nomena, there was one vanity that disgusts me more than any other, â€” literary vanity; one species of stupidity that is lower than any other, ^political stupidity.
There I knew M. Paul Bourget in all his glory; it is needless to say more. Ah! there you have the philosopher, the poet, the moralist, befitting the pretentious nullity, the intellectual hoUowness, the falsehood, of that sphere of society in which every- thing is artificial, â€” elegance, love, cooking, re- ligious feeling, patriotism, art, charity, and vice itself, which, making a pretext of politeness and literature, wraps itself in mystical tinsel and covers itself with sacred masks; that sphere of society in which there is to be f