Page:Lettres d'un innocent; the letters of Captain Dreyfus to his wife ; (IA lettresduninnoce00drey).pdf/86

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restoration to honor. But oh, how my soul suffers! Tell all our family that they must work on without weakening, without resting; for all that comes to us now is appalling, tragic. Write to me soon. I embrace you as I love you.


Tuesday, 21 January, 1895, 9 o'clock in the morning.

How you must suffer! . . . The tragedy of which we are the victims is certainly the most terrible of the century. To have everything—happiness, the future, a charming home—and then, all at once, to be accused and condemned for a crime so monstrous!

Ah, the monster who has cast dishonor in our family might better have killed me; at least there would then have been only me to suffer! This is what tortures me the most; it is the thought of the infamy that is coupled with my name. If I had only physical sufferings to bear, it would be nothing. Sufferings borne for a noble cause are elevating; but to suffer because I am condemned for an infamous crime—ah, no! Cannot you see that it is too much, even for energy like mine?

Oh, why am I not dead? I have not even the right to leave this life of my own will; it would be an act of cowardice. I have not the right to die, to look for oblivion, until I shall have regained my honor. The other day when they insulted me at La Rochelle, I wished that I might escape from the hands of my guards and present myself with naked breast to those to whom I was a just object of indignation and say to them: "Do not insult me; my heart that you cannot know is pure and free from all defilement; but if you be-