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Mon frère, Arthur Rimbaud, Page 4
by Isabelle Rimbaud (1892); translated by Lannie Brockstein (2008).

During this adventurous transport, the majority of the traders underwent losses, often considerable ones. Money, goods, sometimes even servants and beasts of burden, became the spoils of petty thieves of the desert. My loved brother, nothing was lost to him forever; he left victorious from all the difficulties. It was with the happiest audacity that governed his companies, which, all succeeded beyond his hopes; it is that his reputation of benevolence had been spread of mountain with mountain, so that instead of seizing the richness of that whom they name "the Just", "the Saint", the Bédouin nomads acted in concert to protect each one of his caravans.

When he arrived, gold piled up, and fortunes did come. The future was assured. The enemy, i.e. poverty, the gloomy works, loneliness, all the trouble, that enemy was overcome. There is not any more but to extend the hands to applaud, the reward of so much superhuman efforts...

Always extended, suffering without respite on his bed of pain the most atrocious martyrdom, at the bottom of his small room in the hospital that was obscured by the vicinity of the stone gallery and the bulky plane trees, that lesson he gave me! In four months, I learned from him more than I had than from others in thirty years. To him, I owe my knowledge today of the world and of life, happiness and misfortune. I see what it is to live, which is to suffer, which is to die. I know also this delight which one names devotion, and, over all, I felt unutterable joy to absolutely love a being of my blood and crowned, — oh! fraternal tenderness, of pure and divine essence! — to like him during his joy, the test, misfortune, hurling my spirit and heart towards him; to like him through the suffering and the disease, by letting him go; to thank him more than anguish and death, by assisting him without weakening, and across death, by carrying out his will, his simple recommendations, and, if God wanted, while dying shortly after him, of the same death as his, to go to sleep over there, close to him, and to thus reassure his anxious heart from the fear that on this ground I do not forget him.

To forget, me! Could I forget my happiness, to forget — that which gave birth to my heart and with a divine life! Isn't he everywhere and in all of the marvelous horizons that he discovered in me, him, my angel, my saint, my elected official, my beloved, my heart! Yes, the more I considered it, the more I believed that the two of us shared the same heart. With him dead, I am not sure that I will be able to live.

I remember when I was very small, at the time of his first departure, in September 1870. It was during the evening, well late. Under the large alleys of chestnut trees, in Charleville, the crowd in tumult having pressed itself to have news of the war, and one did not speak, alas! those defeats. Suddenly, above all the rumours rose a male and solemn song, vibrating a call to the weapons of the fatherland. Never did I not know which artists had, this night, burst forth these accents so sublime. I have never heard anything before or since that was so beautiful, that was so moving. But me, small, grain of dust in a crowd, I did not apply this song to France in danger. Half of my heart was charmed, it left with him far from the hearth, of safety; and the sobs of despair escaping from my chest attested already the enormous share of myself which had fled.

Since then, I followed him everywhere throughout the world, in thought, suffering, in joy, without forcing my will there, almost in spite of myself. At the bad days, when he endured the cold, the hunger, I suffered with him. My anxious spirit could not rest anywhere. Positively, yes, I felt a share of myself in distress.

I lived in the same way during his nights of mislaying and delirium. My heart, offended, cried. I heard strange harmonies, mysterious rustles. Vague and painful visions danced in front of me. These nights, veils of snow surrounded my directions and my imagination. I could not define my impressions. I shivered and the fever burned me.

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AUTHOR: Isabelle Rimbaud (1892); translated by Lannie Brockstein (2008).
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