Céder sur son désir (J. Conrad)

The Rescue336. ‘She is a representative woman and yet one of those of whom there are but very few at any time in the world. […] They are the iridescent gleams on a hard and dark surface. For the world is hard, Captain Lingard, it is hard, both in what it will remember and in what it will forget. it is for such women that people toil on the ground and under ground and artists of all sort invoke their inspiration.’

[…]

‘No, there are not many of them. And yet they are all. They decorate our life for us. They are the gracious figures on the drab wall which lies on this side of our common grave. They lead a sort of ritual dance, that most of us have agreed to take seriously. It is a very binding agreement with which sincerity and good faith and honour have nothing to do. Very binding. Woe to him or her who breaks it. Directly they leave the pageant they get lost.’

[…]

‘They get lost in a maze’, continued d’Alcacer, quietly. ‘They wander in it lamenting over themselves. I would shudder at that fate for anything I loved. Do you know, Captain Lingard, how people lost in a maze end ?’ he went on holding Lingard by a steadfast stare. ‘No ?… Il will tell you then. They end by hating their very selves, and they die in dillusion and despair.’

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