Page:Lettres d'un innocent; the letters of Captain Dreyfus to his wife ; (IA lettresduninnoce00drey).pdf/221

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  • merged, and all that is in me is agonized, cries out in

revolt. I have told you that for a long time in my dreams I have often thought, "Ah, yes, to hold one of those miserable accomplices of the author of that crime between my hands for a few minutes—and were I compelled to tear his skin from him shred by shred, I should make him confess this vile machination against our country; but all that, sorrows and thoughts, they are only sentiments, they are only dreams, and it is the reality that we must see. And the reality is this, always the same: it is that in this horrible affair there is a double interest at stake—that of the country, our own—and one is as sacred as the other.

It is for this reason that I will not try to understand, I will not try to know, why they have made me thus fall under the weight of all these tortures. My life belongs to my country, to-day as yesterday it is hers, let her take it; but if my life belongs to her, her imprescriptible duty is to see to it that the light, full and entire, shall shine upon this horrible drama, for my honor does not belong to the country, it is the patrimony of our children, of our families.

So now, dear Lucie, I shall repeat always, to you and to all, stifle your hearts, compress your brains; as for you, you must be heroically, invincibly, at once a mother and a Frenchwoman.

Now, darling, I cannot speak to you of myself any more. If you could know all that I have been subjected to, all that I have borne, your soul would shiver with horror, and yet I am a human being who has a heart, a heart swollen to bursting, and I need, I thirst for rest. Oh, think how many appalling minutes are contained in one day of twenty-four hours, in the most