Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/28

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his thought from public opinion (that public woman) he did feel the need of joining it freely with souls of his own choosing. He was too tender to be able to content himself with himself. He suffered from the universal suffering. That crushed him by the amount of its pain, which he exaggerated:—for if humanity does support it in spite of everything, that is because humanity has a harder hide than is the delicate skin of a frail boy. But what he did not exaggerate and what weighed him down much more than the suffering of the world was the imbecility of it all.

It is nothing to undergo pain, it is nothing to die, if only one can see a reason for it. Sacrifice is a good thing when one understands why it is made. But what is this why? What is the sense of this world and its harrowings for a youth? If he be sincere and sound of mind, in what way can he interest himself in the coarse medley of nations standing head to head like stupid rams on the brink of an abyss, into which all are about to tumble? And yet the road was