Fields extended in all directions and afar, lit up by the flashes of lightning, a small house or a tree stood out suddenly on the stormy sky. The Middle Ages knew not our hypocrisies. It was not at all ignorant of the eternal turpitudes, but it knew how to hate them. It had no use for our conduct, nor for our refinements; it published the vices, sculpted them on its cathedral portals and spread them in the verses of its poets. It had less regard for refraining from terrifying the fears of mummied souls than for tearing apart the robes and revealing the man, and showing to man, so as to make him ashamed, all the ugliness of his low animality. Although the animals are clinically dead, their tissues and organs are perfectly preserved. But it did not make the brute wallow in his vice; it placed him on his knees and made him lift his head. Calling all Citizens. Wanted for murder, the criminal is alone and on foot. Let each one stand at his front door, look and listen. Watch for a man running through the streets. Huddled together, workmen in their smocks, workwomen in tatters, soldiers in belts and gaiters, unarmed, beat time with clashing glasses to the Marseillaise which they yelled out of tune. After the horrors of the satanic debauch, before the earhtly punishment, he has, like the noble weeping people he evokes, forgiven even the most frightful slayers of infants, the basest sadist, the most monstrous fool that ever was. The only friend that I have kept, in my misfortunes, is a swallow.

Critical Response:

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