Mon frère, Arthur Rimbaud, Page 5|
by Isabelle Rimbaud (1892); translated by Lannie Brockstein (2008).
I was with him, in the gray fog or the pale sun of London, under the blue sky of Italy, in snows of Saint-Gothard. I followed with him the main roads. We crossed wood, meadows. One month during, we wandered into the extreme atmosphere of Java. My eyes are still full with the things and the marvelous landscape of its country. I still see the very small and yellow islanders in the dazzling light of their countryside... I was still beside him in the Cape of Good Hope, when the horrible storm prepared to absorb him. I closed my eyes of terror, my head broke: I was about to sink too.
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And returns! Ah! what delirious joys! Happiness to find him whole and perfect, after having undergone a long time the absence of the best part of oneself! Because he was quite older than me, he dominated me, like the most beautiful and noblest tree of creation would dominate the least bit of grass. But he liked me tenderly; and I had stuck to him such as a small money dust which a divine artist would have cast in the mold of a colossal gold statue.
Without to have ever read them, I knew his works. I had thought them. But myself, close friend, I could not have expressed them in his magic words. I admired and I included/understood all here.
I left childhood like he entered the virile age. We had the plentitude of our physical force and our intellectual faculties. Then destiny separated us. Thousands of kilometres lengthened between him and me.
Each one of us had, separately, to continue the good and the beautiful life, to honour the present by safeguarding the future. We had, him like man, me like woman, modest and holy aspirations, the first and youthful ambitions being themselves extinct. We wanted simply to have the right to live in full sun, in the crowned fields of the family, dignity, and duty.
For eleven consecutive years, we worked towards our end without weakening one moment, if either one of us on our side were occupied, one of us would remind the other, so that it was not for long that we were hardly speaking to each other. Nobody in the world made the effort to which we made; nobody had our perseverance, our courage. It was amazing the physical exertion that each of us endured, apart from the ordinary human possibilities. Such frightening morals under which we lived were scarcely ever undergone with courage by other mortals. Always we worked without weakness, hesitation, each of us disallowing the least distraction, the smallest relaxation. We did not taste any of the pleasures of which young people do not deprive themselves. No existence was as austere as ours. The Carmelite nuns, the Trappists have more pleasure than the small amount we were given. And it was neither by brutality, nor by avarice in which we carried out this way of life. It was because were were absorbed by the vision of the holy and noble goal, and we concentrated all of our efforts towards this goal. We were good, charitable, generous. We could not see misery and misfortune without our pity and helped them as far as our forces. We were honest. How that with which we made wrong voluntary raises and the stone throws us!
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