A lame creature, a cripple like myself, has no right to love. How should I, broken, shattered being that I am, be anything but a burden to you, when to myself I am an object of disgust, of loathing. A creature such as I, I know, has no right to love, and certainly no right to be loved. It is for such a creature to creep away into a corner and die and cease to make other people’s lives a burden with her presence.

The instinct of self-deception in human beings makes them try to banish from their minds dangers of which at the bottom they are perfectly aware by declaring them nonexistent, and a warning such as mine against cheap optimism was bound to prove particularly unwelcome at a moment when a sumptuously laid supper was awaiting for us in the next room.

Homeward bound I suddenly noticed before me my own shadow as I had seen the shadow of the other war behind the actual one. During all this time it has never budged from me, that irremovable shadow, it hovers over every thought of mine by day and by night; perhaps its dark outline lies on some pages of this book, too. But, after all, shadows themselves are born of light. And only he who has experienced dawn and dusk, war and peace, ascent and decline, only he has truly lived.

Forget it all, I told myself, escape into your mind and your work, into the place where you are only your living, breathing self, not a citizen of any state, not a stake in that infernal game, the place where only what reason you have can still work to some reasonable effect in a world gone mad.

1 2