The students in my graduate seminar on 'Literature and Psychoanalysis' have, through their intelligence and enquiry, contributed greatly to the shaping of the material in this book. The staff of the libraries of the English Department, Aristotle University, and the Bodleian Library, Oxford, have been very helpful in the location of material. Many thanks, also, to Margaret Bartley of Palgrave for her encouragement and support of this project from its inception.
Closely arrayed, side by side, in the old frames which their broad shoulders filled, they startled one with the fixed gaze of their eyes, their fierce moustaches and the chests whose deep curves filled the enormous shells of their cuirasses.
These were the ancestors. There were no portraits of their descendants and a wide breach existed in the series of the faces of this race.
Only one painting served as a link to connect the past and present—a crafty, mysterious head with haggard and gaunt features, cheekbones punctuated with a comma of paint, the hair overspread with pearls, a painted neck rising stiffly from the fluted ruff.
In this representation of one of the most intimate friends of the Duc d'Epernon and the Marquis d'O, the ravages of a sluggish and impoverished constitution were already noticeable. It was obvious that the decadence of this family had followed an unvarying course.
The effemination of the males had continued with quickened tempo. As if to conclude the work of long years, the Des Esseintes had intermarried for two centuries, using up, in such consanguineous unions, such strength as remained.
There was only one living scion of this family which had once been so numerous that it had occupied all the territories of the Ile-de-France and La Brie.
The Duc Jean was a slender, nervous young man of thirty, with hollow cheeks, cold, steel-blue eyes, a straight, thin nose and delicate hands.
By a singular, atavistic reversion, the last descendant resembled the old grandsire, from whom he had inherited the pointed, remarkably fair beard and an ambiguous expression, at once weary and cunning.
His childhood had been an unhappy one. Menaced with scrofula and afflicted with relentless fevers, he yet succeeded in crossing the breakers of adolescence, thanks to fresh air and careful attention. He grew stronger, overcame the languors of chlorosis and reached his full development.
Des Esseintes was then seventeen years of age. He retained but a vague memory of his parents and felt neither affection nor gratitude for them.
He hardly knew his father, who usually resided in Paris. The husband and wife would meet on rare occasions, and he remembered those lifeless interviews when his parents sat face to face in front of a round table faintly lit by a lamp with a wide, low-hanging shade, for the duchesse could not endure light or sound without being seized with a fit of nervousness.
A few, halting words would be exchanged between them in the gloom and then the indifferent duc would depart to meet the first train back to Paris. Jean's life at the Jesuit school, where he was sent to study, was more pleasant.
At first the Fathers pampered the lad whose intelligence astonished them. But despite their efforts, they could not induce him to concentrate on studies requiring discipline. He nibbled at various books and was precociously brilliant in Latin.
On the contrary, he was absolutely incapable of construing two Greek words, showed no aptitude for living languages and promptly proved himself a dunce when obliged to master the elements of the sciences.
His family gave him little heed. Sometimes his father visited him at school. She scarcely noticed him; when she did, her gaze would rest on him for a moment with a sad smile—and that was all.
The moment after she would again become absorbed in the artificial night with which the heavily curtained windows enshrouded the room.
The servants were old and dull. Left to himself, the boy delved into books on rainy days and roamed about the countryside on pleasant afternoons. It was his supreme delight to wander down the little valley to Jutigny, a village planted at the foot of the hills, a tiny heap of cottages capped with thatch strewn with tufts of sengreen and clumps of moss.
In the open fields, under the shadow of high ricks, he would lie, listening to the hollow splashing of the mills and inhaling the fresh breeze from Voulzie. Sometimes he went as far as the peat-bogs, to the green and black hamlet of Longueville, or climbed wind-swept hillsides affording magnificent views.
There, below to one side, as far as the eye could reach, lay the Seine valley, blending in the distance with the blue sky; high up, near the horizon, on the other side, rose the churches and tower of Provins which seemed to tremble in the golden dust of the air.
Immersed in solitude, he would dream or read far into the night. By protracted contemplation of the same thoughts, his mind grew sharp, his vague, undeveloped ideas took on form.
After each vacation, Jean returned to his masters more reflective and headstrong. These changes did not escape them. Subtle and observant, accustomed by their profession to plumb souls to their depths, they were fully aware of his unresponsiveness to their teachings.
They knew that this student would never contribute to the glory of their order, and as his family was rich and apparently careless of his future, they soon renounced the idea of having him take up any of the professions their school offered.
Although he willingly discussed with them those theological doctrines which intrigued his fancy by their subtleties and hair-splittings, they did not even think of training him for the religious orders, since, in spite of their efforts, his faith remained languid.
As a last resort, through prudence and fear of the harm he might effect, they permitted him to pursue whatever studies pleased him and to neglect the others, being loath to antagonize this bold and independent spirit by the quibblings of the lay school assistants.
Thus he lived in perfect contentment, scarcely feeling the parental yoke of the priests. But soon the time came when he must quit the Jesuit institution. He attained his majority and became master of his fortune.The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Secret Agent, by Joseph Conrad This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.
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Hilario the hermit, relates that a young man of the town of Gaza in Syria, fell deeply in love with a pious virgin in the neighbourhood. He attacked her with looks, whispers, professions, caresses, and all those arguments which usually conquer yielding.
Artificial Human Beings - Technological Technique Fusing With the Human Body And Mind. the merging of man and machine is much closer than the average person is willing to believe. Devine studied his subject for a few seconds, and then spoke.
“Danny?” Then, as if trying to prevent his hands from fidgeting, he folded them together, and pressed them into his lap. It was a deeply buried very expensive experiment that never had a line item on a budget. The CIA front group called the Arc Foundation came into. It looks like you've lost connection to our server.
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