Where is your exile? Where is your kingdom? You might find yourself in one, yet it feels like the other. If you miss the Fall, Albert Camus has six shorter, less known stories to share with you. Coming from the former, Dante accepts the idea of neutral angels in the quarrel between God and Satan. And he puts them in Limbo, a sort of vestibule of his Hell. We are in the vestibule, cher ami. Here are some excerpts to give you a glimpse and let the rest travel with your restless summer nights.
The Adulterous Woman
“The last stars of the constellations dropped their clusters a little lower on the desert horizon and became still. Then, with unbearable gentleness, the water of the night began to fill Janine, drowned the cold, rose gradually from the hidden core of her being and overflowed her in wave after wave, rising up even to her mouth full of moans. The next moment, the whole sky stretched out over her, fallen on her back on the cold earth.”
The Renegade or a Confused Spirit
“Hail, he was the master, the only lord, whose indisputable attribute was malice, there are no good masters. For the first time, as a result of offences, my whole body crying out a single pain, I surrendered to him and approved his maleficent order, I adored in him the evil principle of the world. A prisoner of his kingdom… There are no righteous men but only evil masters who bring about the reign of relentless truth.”
The Silent Men
“They were all there, in a the silent shop, under the yellow light coming through the glass panels… Yvars now felt only fatigue and his still heart heart. He would have liked to talk. But he had nothing to say, nor had the others. In their uncommunicative faces could be read merely sorrow and sort of obstinacy. Sometimes the word ‘calamity’ took shape in him, but just barely, for it disappeared immediately – as a bubble forms and bursts simultaneously”
“In contrast with such poverty, he who lived almost like a monk in his remote schoolhouse, none the less satisfied with the little he had and with the rough life, had felt like a lord… This was the way this region was, cruel to live in, even without men – who didn’t help matters either. But Daru had been born here. Everywhere else he felt exiled”
Jonas or the Artist at Work
“‘What are you doing up there, Jonas?’
‘Yes, for the moment’
He was not painting, but he was meditating…. He still had to discover what he had not yet clearly understood, although he had always known it and had always paint it as if he knew it. He had to grasp at last the secret which was not merely the secret of art, as he could now see. That is why he didn’t light the lamp”
The Growing Stone
“The man ceased to smile and looked at D’Arrast with outright curiosity.
‘You are interested, Captain?’
‘I’m not a captain’, D’Arrast said
‘That does’t matter you, are a noble’
Not I. But my grandfather and those before him. Now there is more nobility in our country’
‘Ah, I understand; everybody is a noble’, the negro said laughing
‘No, that’ not it. There are neither nobleman nor common people’
The fellow reflected; then made up his mind.
‘No one works, no one suffers?’
‘Yes, millions of men’
‘Then that’s the common people'”