And the benevolent questioner suppresses a shrug upon noting that there are young men refractory to the usages, laws and demands of current society, and who nevertheless don't affirm a program.
"What do they hope for?"
If at least these nay-sayers without a credo had the excuse of being fanatics. And no, faith no longer wants to be blind. They discuss, they stumble, they search. Pitiful tactic! These skirmishers of the social battle, these flagless ones are so aberrant as to not proclaim that they have the formula for the universal panacea, the only one! Mangin had more wit...
"And I ask you: what are they seeking for themselves?"
Let's not even talk about it. They don't seek mandates, positions or delegations of any kind. They aren't candidates. Then what? Don't make me laugh. They are held in the appropriate disdain, a disdain mixed with commiseration.
I too suffer from that underestimation.
There are a few of us who feel that we can barely glimpse the future truths.
Nothing attaches us to the past, but the future hasn't yet become clear.
And so we carry on, as misunderstood as foreigners, and it's both here and there, it's everywhere that we are foreigners.
Because we don't want to recite new catechisms, and we especially don't want to pretend to believe in the infallibility of doctrines.
We would need to possess a vile form of complacency to admit a group of theories without reserve. And we are not that complacent. There has been no Revelation. We are keeping our enthusiasm virgin for a fervor. Will it come?
And even if the final term escapes us, we won't skimp on our work. Our era is a transitional one, and the free man has his role to play.
Authoritarian society is odious to us, and we are preparing the experiment of a libertarian society.
Uncertain of its results, we nevertheless long for the attempt, the change.
Instead of stagnating in this aging world where the air is heavy, where the ruins crumble as if to bury us, we hasten to the final demolition.
To do so is to hasten a Renaissance.
(heard) that there is a split among the anarchists.
It's on the matter of theft that opinions are divided.
Some, it is said, want to build it into a principle; others irrevocably condemn it.
Well! It would be impossible for us to take a position on such a question. This theft could seem to us good and should be approved; that one we could find violently repugnant.
There is no Absolute.
If the facts lead us today to specify such and such a way to see and be, every day, in the lively articles of our expressive collaborators, our determination has been clearly affirmed:
Neither in a party or a group.
We go our way individuals, without the Faith that saves and blinds. Our disgust with society doesn't engender in us any immutable convictions. We fight for the joy of the battle, and without any dream of a better future. What do we care about tomorrows that won't come for centuries! What do we care about our grand-nephews! We are outside of all laws, of all rules, of all theories even anarchist; it's from this instant right away that we want to surrender to our pity, our outbursts, our gentleness, our rages, our instincts with the pride of being ourselves.
Up till now nothing has revealed to us the radiant beyond. Nothing has given us a constant criterion. Life's panorama changes without ceasing, and the facts appear to us under a different light depending on the hour. We will never react against the attractions of contradictory points of view. It is simple. The echo of vibrant sensations resounds here. And if impetuosity disorients by its unexpectedness, it's because we speak of the things of our time as would primitive barbarians who have suddenly fallen among them.
It would never occur to us to pose us judges. There are thieves who displease us that's certain; and that we'd attack that's probable. But that would be for their allure rather than for the brute fact.
We will not put in play eternal Truth with a capital T.
It's a matter of impression.
A hunchback could displease me more than an amiable recidivist.
The Bourse, the Palace of Justice, and the Chamber of Deputies are buildings of which there has been much talk these past few days. These three buildings had been especially threatened by three young men who were fortunately stopped just in time.
Nothing can be hidden from messieurs journalists; they revealed the triple conspiracy, and their colleagues in the prefecture immediately apprehended the conspirators.
Once again the men of the press and the police have earned the gratitude of that part of the population that doesn't yet appreciate the picturesque charm of palaces in ruin, and the strange beauty of collapsed buildings.
The public won't be sparing in its thanks. The services rendered will be recognized with solid cash. Civic virtues must be encouraged. Secret funds will dance, and the cotillion will be led by society's saviors.
All the better! For it is edifying to note that if there are, among our adversaries, a small number of clever exploiters, the great mass of them is made up of imbeciles who push the limits of naiveté to the horizon.
How could these uncouth ones believe that the anarchists thought to blow up parliament at this moment?
At a time when the deputies are on vacation!
You have to be lower than the low to think that revolutionaries would choose such a moment.
If only for the sake of common courtesy, we would wait for everyone's return after the vacation season.
Nevertheless, the other morning the storekeepers of Paris, while straightening up their goods, said to themselves, with their robust good sense:
"There's not the least chance of error. They want to undermine the foundation of our centuries-old monuments. We are confronted with a new plot."
Come, come, brave storekeepers! You wander on the plains of the absurd. This conspiracy you speak of isn't new. If it's a question of tearing down the worm-eaten edifices of the society we hate, well, this has been in preparation for a long time.
This is what we have always plotted.
The temple of the Bourse where the faithful Catholics and the fervent Jews hold their meetings for the rites and things of petty commerce the temple of the Bourse must, in fact, disappear, and soon.
The money-handlers will in their turn be handled by the heavy caress of the crumbling stones.
Then the game of the Bourse will no longer be played; those skillful strokes that bring millions to corporations whose reason for being is to speculate on wheat and to organize famines will be no more.
Those who work behind the scenes: the brokers, all the bankers gold's priests will sleep their last sleep beneath the ruins of their temple.
In this reposeful position the financiers will be pleasing to us.
As for the magistrates, it's well known that they are never so handsome as when they march towards death.
It's a real pleasure to see them.
History is full of striking sketches in honor of prosecutors and judges who the people, from time to time, made suffer. It must be admitted these men had a decorative agony.
And what a superb spectacle it would be: a commotion at the Palace of Justice. Quesnay constrained by a column that will have broken his vertebrae, trying hard to assume the look of a Beaurepaire struck down during the Crusades; Cabot, quoting Balzac with his dying breath; and Anquetil, next to the witty Croupi, crying out:
"Nothing is lost...we lay below our positions."
The scene would have such grandeur that the good souls that we are would sincerely feel bad for the defeated. We would no longer want to remember the ignominy of the red robes dyed with the blood of the poor. We will forget that the judiciary was cowardly and cruel.
It will be the ineffable pardon.
And if Atthalin himself this specialist in political trials his head slightly cracked, were to ask to be taken to a rest home, we would gallantly accede to this sick man's wish.
In truth, it isn't indispensable to feel oneself an anarchist to be seduced by the coming demolitions.
All those who society flagellates in the very intimacy of their being instinctively want vengeance.
A thousand institutions of the old world are marked with a fatal sign.
Those affiliated with the plot have no need to hope for a distant better future; they know a sure means to pluck joy immediately: