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XVIII. The Mummy

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

ON a beautiful autumn morning, Andréas and I were walking along the admirable Voltaire's embankment, whose noble charm and good taste are only apt to be appreciated by fervent Parisians. At that season, old aspens along the bank cover it with their leaves, reddened by the first frosts; the long grey silhouette of the Louvre, the dome of the Institute, the lordly mansions, the outline of the Place Dauphine all located themselves gracefully in the perspective of the delicate light. And the sun, on the right, left in far off shadow the spire of Sainte-Chapelle and the towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral. A right intellectual landscape, beautiful with aristocratic elegance, and vibrating with everything that the ages and generations have impressed upon it by their ardours, sorrows and thoughts.

Andréas smoked in silence, his eyes fixed on the pavement. Then he suddenly turned around before the window of an antiquary, facing the old house of the gentleman-painter the Marquis Desboutins.

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XXXV. The Pyramid

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

I HAVE always believed that in every epoch, no matter how many divergent doctrines are manifested in it, there will always be among those inimical sisters a common link, a secret architecture, a profound armature, in which such doctrines, in the ultimate meaning, are only discordant resonances of the same word, inaudible for the masses, but perceptible to the few.

On that evening I was seeking from Andréas, an indication which would allow me to catch an example of this secret unity, which organizes the metaphysical world. A completely impartial mind must find the resemblance between, say, Alfred Fouillée, Secrétan and Bergson, also, for example, between Taine, Péguy and M. Seilliére, and between l'Action Française, la Démocratie and Clarté. And also go beyond all the points of contact placed in that region of the penumbra where loom the classical disciplines of the intellect, romantic spirits of the passions and regimes of the will, but where gradually the Spiritual Sun appears.

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IV. A Rickety Child

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

SOMEONE called out from the street. Andréas went to see who it was, and then returned to me with the visitor. It was a simple woman carrying a sickly looking baby in her arms.

“Doctor, please look at the child and see what is wrong with it,” Andréas said to me. After examining the child I decided that it was rickety from hereditary alcoholism.

“I do not believe so,” said Andréas. “It must simply be a xiphoidan appendix.”

And actually the end of the sternum was bent inwards and quite soft. “I have something for bones, but I am not a doctor and have no right to prescribe medicines,” said Andréas.

“But I will immediately sign your order, if you wish!”

“Thank you very much Doctor, but I do not wish to involve you. Here we have something much simpler, which mamma can do as often as she wishes.”

He then placed the baby on a chair, and asked the mother to pass her forefinger along the little sternum.

“Do you feel anything?” he asked.

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XXXIII. The Inundation

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

IT was the time of the great rising of water which did so much damage in the basin of the Seine. It was completely impossible for me to see Andréas for more than fifteen days. I had to abandon my laboratory work in the hospital so as to assist with emergency cases. All beds were occupied, with stretchers in every corner, even on stair landings. The staff were overworked and supervision disorganized. Our old brick building had not seen so much activity since the year of the influenza epidemic. I ended up by putting a bed of sacking in the room of an intern, who admitted the sick at any time. But on my first free morning, although I was weary from lack of sleep, I hurriedly slipped away to the little home at Ménilmontant.

Andréas seemed anxious that morning. Usually so active, this time he was stretched out in a cane chair, slowly smoking a long earthenware pipe, that was brown and polished like those bamboo ones used for opium, when they are about fifty years old.

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XVI. In Plaisance

Sedir, Paul Aeon Books ePub

I WAS prevented from answering Andréas, as we started to cross the boulevard of St. Michel; but on reaching the Luxembourg, I immediately renewed our conversation. “I realize everything you teach me,” I said. “However, I cannot yet be convinced.”

“You are right, Doctor,” exclaimed Andréas, “we are being given a judgment, an analysis and we have to use it.”

“Let me state precisely. Here is what I cannot explain to myself. Providence is just and good, isn't that so? Why therefore does it allow men to invent methods injurious to evolution?”

“Certainly, what you now put forward is a hard problem,” answered my companion with a grave nod. “You should be decentralized mentally,” he added after a moment of deliberation.

“I don't understand,” I replied, “what is meant by to become decentralized.”

“Yes! That is true! I have a bad habit of using absurd comparisons. You know, understanding works like an algebraic system, or an epure of descriptive geometry, but then there are also differential calculus and superspace.”

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