We are, all of us, molded and remolded by those who have loved us, and though that love may pass, we remain none the less their work--a work that very likely they do not recognize, and which is never exactly what they intended.
What an odd creature you are, Bernard, with your constant fear of death! Do you never have a feeling, as I do, of utter futility? No? Doesn't it occur to you that the sort of life people like us lead is remarkably like death?
The effort of explaining, even of expressing himself, had become, with the years, more and more terrifying to him. Whether from laziness or from inability to find the right words, he had developed almost a passion for silence.
I felt at one and the same time quite close, within reach of my hand, and yet an infinite distance away, an unknown world of goodness. Often Isa had said to me: 'You, who see nothing but evil.... You, who see evil everywhere....' It was true, and it was not true.
By the time dusk fell, he was back in his room. The last of the daylight lay like fine ashes on the roof-tops. He did not light his lamp, but sat by the fireplace in the dark, seeking in the far distance of his past some vague memory of a love-affair, some recollection of a friendship, with which to soften the hard tyranny of isolation.
Death was not a person… with a devil one could talk, with the worst of monsters one could reach some sort of understanding, make some kind of bargain… Death was horrible just because it was nothing, because it had no existence, because it smothered all it touched, turned everything to emptiness.
Even the genuinely good cannot, unaided, learn to love. To penetrate beyond the absurdities, the vices, and, above all, the stupidities of human creatures, one must possess the secret of a love which the world has now forgotten. Until that secret shall have been discovered, all betterment in conditions of life will be in vain.
She [Thérèse] believed that the sublime splendour of ordinary existence was hidden from those who lived embedded in it, that for them the bread of every day must lose its savour. Only hearts like hers, fated to bear an infinite frustration, could feed on its intolerable absence.