Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/80

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When one has done them wrong it is not merely the wrong that one has done them; there is the Wrong; the others are wrong and they themselves are right. And so, without being cruel (no, really, they are not) they would let you die near them at a slow fire rather than concede that perhaps after all they were not right. Oh, they are not the only ones! One meets with many others! . . . Say, am I mistaken? Aren't they just like that?"

Pierre pondered. He was excited. For he was thinking:

"Why, yes. That is the way they are. . . ."

Through the eyes of the little girl he saw abruptly the penury of heart, the desert-like aridity of this bourgeois class of which he formed a part. Dry and wornout earth which little by little has imbibed all the juices of life and does not renew them any more, just like those lands in Asia where the fecundating rivers, drop by drop, have disappeared under the vitreous sand. Even those whom they believe they love are loved