HIPPOLYTE, who had fallen asleep during Lebedeff's discourse, now suddenl_oke up, just as though someone had jogged him in the side. He shuddered, raised himself on his arm, gazed around, and grew very pale. A look almost o_error crossed his face as he recollected.
"What! are they all off? Is it all over? Is the sun up?" He trembled, an_aught at the prince's hand. "What time is it? Tell me, quick, for goodness'
sake! How long have I slept?" he added, almost in despair, just as though h_ad overslept something upon which his whole fate depended.
"You have slept seven or perhaps eight minutes," said Evgenie Pavlovitch.
Hippolyte gazed eagerly at the latter, and mused for a few moments.
"Oh, is that all?" he said at last. "Then I—"
He drew a long, deep breath of relief, as it seemed. He realized that all wa_ot over as yet, that the sun had not risen, and that the guests had merel_one to supper. He smiled, and two hectic spots appeared on his cheeks.
"So you counted the minutes while I slept, did you, Evgenie Pavlovitch?" h_aid, ironically. "You have not taken your eyes off me all the evening—I hav_oticed that much, you see! Ah, Rogojin! I've just been dreaming about him, prince," he added, frowning. "Yes, by the by," starting up, "where's th_rator? Where's Lebedeff? Has he finished? What did he talk about? Is it true, prince, that you once declared that 'beauty would save the world'? Grea_eaven! The prince says that beauty saves the world! And I declare that h_nly has such playful ideas because he's in love! Gentlemen, the prince is i_ove. I guessed it the moment he came in. Don't blush, prince; you make m_orry for you. What beauty saves the world? Colia told me that you are _ealous Christian; is it so? Colia says you call yourself a Christian."
The prince regarded him attentively, but said nothing.
"You don't answer me; perhaps you think I am very fond of you?" adde_ippolyte, as though the words had been drawn from him.
"No, I don't think that. I know you don't love me."
"What, after yesterday? Wasn't I honest with you?"
"I knew yesterday that you didn't love me."
"Why so? why so? Because I envy you, eh? You always think that, I know. But d_ou know why I am saying all this? Look here! I must have some mor_hampagne—pour me out some, Keller, will you?"
"No, you're not to drink any more, Hippolyte. I won't let you." The princ_oved the glass away.
"Well perhaps you're right," said Hippolyte, musing. "They might say—yet, devil take them! what does it matter?—prince, what can it matter what peopl_ill say of us THEN, eh? I believe I'm half asleep. I've had such a dreadfu_ream—I've only just remembered it. Prince, I don't wish you such dreams a_hat, though sure enough, perhaps, I DON'T love you. Why wish a man evil, though you do not love him, eh? Give me your hand—let me press it sincerely.
There—you've given me your hand—you must feel that I DO press it sincerely, don't you? I don't think I shall drink any more. What time is it? Never mind, I know the time. The time has come, at all events. What! they are layin_upper over there, are they? Then this table is free? Capital, gentlemen!
I—hem! these gentlemen are not listening. Prince, I will just read over a_rticle I have here. Supper is more interesting, of course, but—"
Here Hippolyte suddenly, and most unexpectedly, pulled out of his breast- pocket a large sealed paper. This imposing-looking document he placed upon th_able before him.
The effect of this sudden action upon the company was instantaneous. Evgeni_avlovitch almost bounded off his chair in excitement. Rogojin drew nearer t_he table with a look on his face as if he knew what was coming. Gania cam_earer too; so did Lebedeff and the others—the paper seemed to be an object o_reat interest to the company in general.
"What have you got there?" asked the prince, with some anxiety.
"At the first glimpse of the rising sun, prince, I will go to bed. I told yo_ would, word of honour! You shall see!" cried Hippolyte. "You think I'm no_apable of opening this packet, do you?" He glared defiantly round at th_udience in general.
The prince observed that he was trembling all over.
"None of us ever thought such a thing!" Muishkin replied for all. "Why shoul_ou suppose it of us? And what are you going to read, Hippolyte? What is it?"
"Yes, what is it?" asked others. The packet sealed with red wax seemed t_ttract everyone, as though it were a magnet.
"I wrote this yesterday, myself, just after I saw you, prince, and told you _ould come down here. I wrote all day and all night, and finished it thi_orning early. Afterwards I had a dream."
"Hadn't we better hear it tomorrow?" asked the prince timidly.
"Tomorrow 'there will be no more time!'" laughed Hippolyte, hysterically. "Yo_eedn't be afraid; I shall get through the whole thing in forty minutes, a_ost an hour! Look how interested everybody is! Everybody has drawn near.
Look! look at them all staring at my sealed packet! If I hadn't sealed it u_t wouldn't have been half so effective! Ha, ha! that's mystery, that is! No_hen, gentlemen, shall I break the seal or not? Say the word; it's a mystery, I tell you—a secret! Prince, you know who said there would be 'no more time'?
It was the great and powerful angel in the Apocalypse."
"Better not read it now," said the prince, putting his hand on the packet.
"No, don't read it!" cried Evgenie suddenly. He appeared so strangel_isturbed that many of those present could not help wondering.
"Reading? None of your reading now!" said somebody; "it's supper-time." "Wha_ort of an article is it? For a paper? Probably it's very dull," said another.
But the prince's timid gesture had impressed even Hippolyte.
"Then I'm not to read it?" he whispered, nervously. "Am I not to read it?" h_epeated, gazing around at each face in turn. "What are you afraid of, prince?" he turned and asked the latter suddenly.
"What should I be afraid of?"
"Has anyone a coin about them? Give me a twenty-copeck piece, somebody!" An_ippolyte leapt from his chair.
"Here you are," said Lebedeff, handing him one; he thought the boy had gon_ad.
"Vera Lukianovna," said Hippolyte, "toss it, will you? Heads, I read, tails, _on't."
Vera Lebedeff tossed the coin into the air and let it fall on the table.
It was "heads."
"Then I read it," said Hippolyte, in the tone of one bowing to the fiat o_estiny. He could not have grown paler if a verdict of death had suddenly bee_resented to him.
"But after all, what is it? Is it possible that I should have just risked m_ate by tossing up?" he went on, shuddering; and looked round him again. Hi_yes had a curious expression of sincerity. "That is an astonishin_sychological fact," he cried, suddenly addressing the prince, in a tone o_he most intense surprise. "It is… it is something quite inconceivable, prince," he repeated with growing animation, like a man regainin_onsciousness. "Take note of it, prince, remember it; you collect, I am told, facts concerning capital punishment… They told me so. Ha, ha! My God, ho_bsurd!" He sat down on the sofa, put his elbows on the table, and laid hi_ead on his hands. "It is shameful—though what does it matter to me if it i_hameful?
"Gentlemen, gentlemen! I am about to break the seal," he continued, wit_etermination. "I-I—of course I don't insist upon anyone listening if they d_ot wish to."
With trembling fingers he broke the seal and drew out several sheets of paper, smoothed them out before him, and began sorting them.
"What on earth does all this mean? What's he going to read?" muttered severa_oices. Others said nothing; but one and all sat down and watched wit_uriosity. They began to think something strange might really be about t_appen. Vera stood and trembled behind her father's chair, almost in tear_ith fright; Colia was nearly as much alarmed as she was. Lebedeff jumped u_nd put a couple of candles nearer to Hippolyte, so that he might see better.
"Gentlemen, this—you'll soon see what this is," began Hippolyte, and suddenl_ommenced his reading.
"It's headed, 'A Necessary Explanation,' with the motto, 'Apres moi l_eluge!' Oh, deuce take it all! Surely I can never have seriously written suc_ silly motto as that? Look here, gentlemen, I beg to give notice that al_his is very likely terrible nonsense. It is only a few ideas of mine. If yo_hink that there is anything mysterious coming—or in a word—"
"Better read on without any more beating about the bush," said Gania.
"Affectation!" remarked someone else.
"Too much talk," said Rogojin, breaking the silence for the first time.
Hippolyte glanced at him suddenly, and when their eye, met Rogojin showed hi_eeth in a disagreeable smile, and said the following strange words: "That'_ot the way to settle this business, my friend; that's not the way at all."
Of course nobody knew what Rogojin meant by this; but his words made a dee_mpression upon all. Everyone seemed to see in a flash the same idea.
As for Hippolyte, their effect upon him was astounding. He trembled so tha_he prince was obliged to support him, and would certainly have cried out, bu_hat his voice seemed to have entirely left him for the moment. For a minut_r two he could not speak at all, but panted and stared at Rogojin. At last h_anaged to ejaculate:
"Then it was YOU who came—YOU—YOU?"
"Came where? What do you mean?" asked Rogojin, amazed. But Hippolyte, pantin_nd choking with excitement, interrupted him violently.
"YOU came to me last week, in the night, at two o'clock, the day I was wit_ou in the morning! Confess it was you!"
"Last week? In the night? Have you gone cracked, my good friend?"
Hippolyte paused and considered a moment. Then a smile of cunning—almos_riumph—crossed his lips.
"It was you," he murmured, almost in a whisper, but with absolute conviction.
"Yes, it was you who came to my room and sat silently on a chair at my windo_or a whole hour—more! It was between one and two at night; you rose and wen_ut at about three. It was you, you! Why you should have frightened me so, wh_ou should have wished to torment me like that, I cannot tell—but you it was."
There was absolute hatred in his eyes as he said this, but his look of fea_nd his trembling had not left him.
"You shall hear all this directly, gentlemen. I-I—listen!"
He seized his paper in a desperate hurry; he fidgeted with it, and tried t_ort it, but for a long while his trembling hands could not collect the sheet_ogether. "He's either mad or delirious," murmured Rogojin. At last he began.
For the first five minutes the reader's voice continued to tremble, and h_ead disconnectedly and unevenly; but gradually his voice strengthened.
Occasionally a violent fit of coughing stopped him, but his animation gre_ith the progress of the reading—as did also the disagreeable impression whic_t made upon his audience,—until it reached the highest pitch of excitement.
Here is the article.
MY NECESSARY EXPLANATION.
"Apres moi le deluge.
"Yesterday morning the prince came to see me. Among other things he asked m_o come down to his villa. I knew he would come and persuade me to this step, and that he would adduce the argument that it would be easier for me to die'
among people and green trees,'—as he expressed it. But today he did not say
'die,' he said 'live.' It is pretty much the same to me, in my position, whic_e says. When I asked him why he made such a point of his 'green trees,' h_old me, to my astonishment, that he had heard that last time I was i_avlofsk I had said that I had come 'to have a last look at the trees.'
"When I observed that it was all the same whether one died among trees or i_ront of a blank brick wall, as here, and that it was not worth making an_uss over a fortnight, he agreed at once. But he insisted that the good air a_avlofsk and the greenness would certainly cause a physical change for th_etter, and that my excitement, and my DREAMS, would be perhaps relieved. _emarked to him, with a smile, that he spoke like a materialist, and h_nswered that he had always been one. As he never tells a lie, there must b_omething in his words. His smile is a pleasant one. I have had a good look a_im. I don't know whether I like him or not; and I have no time to waste ove_he question. The hatred which I felt for him for five months has becom_onsiderably modified, I may say, during the last month. Who knows, perhaps _m going to Pavlofsk on purpose to see him! But why do I leave my chamber?
Those who are sentenced to death should not leave their cells. If I had no_ormed a final resolve, but had decided to wait until the last minute, _hould not leave my room, or accept his invitation to come and die a_avlofsk. I must be quick and finish this explanation before tomorrow. I shal_ave no time to read it over and correct it, for I must read it tomorrow t_he prince and two or three witnesses whom I shall probably find there.
"As it will be absolutely true, without a touch of falsehood, I am curious t_ee what impression it will make upon me myself at the moment when I read i_ut. This is my 'last and solemn'—but why need I call it that? There is n_uestion about the truth of it, for it is not worthwhile lying for _ortnight; a fortnight of life is not itself worth having, which is a proo_hat I write nothing here but pure truth.
("N.B.—Let me remember to consider; am I mad at this moment, or not? or rathe_t these moments? I have been told that consumptives sometimes do go out o_heir minds for a while in the last stages of the malady. I can prove thi_omorrow when I read it out, by the impression it makes upon the audience. _ust settle this question once and for all, otherwise I can't go on wit_nything.)
"I believe I have just written dreadful nonsense; but there's no time fo_orrecting, as I said before. Besides that, I have made myself a promise no_o alter a single word of what I write in this paper, even though I find tha_ am contradicting myself every five lines. I wish to verify the working o_he natural logic of my ideas tomorrow during the reading—whether I am capabl_f detecting logical errors, and whether all that I have meditated over durin_he last six months be true, or nothing but delirium.
"If two months since I had been called upon to leave my room and the view o_eyer's wall opposite, I verily believe I should have been sorry. But now _ave no such feeling, and yet I am leaving this room and Meyer's brick wal_OR EVER. So that my conclusion, that it is not worth while indulging i_rief, or any other emotion, for a fortnight, has proved stronger than my ver_ature, and has taken over the direction of my feelings. But is it so? Is i_he case that my nature is conquered entirely? If I were to be put on the rac_ow, I should certainly cry out. I should not say that it is not worth whil_o yell and feel pain because I have but a fortnight to live.
"But is it true that I have but a fortnight of life left to me? I know I tol_ome of my friends that Doctor B. had informed me that this was the case; bu_ now confess that I lied; B. has not even seen me. However, a week ago, _alled in a medical student, Kislorodoff, who is a Nationalist, an Atheist, and a Nihilist, by conviction, and that is why I had him. I needed a man wh_ould tell me the bare truth without any humbug or ceremony—and so h_id—indeed, almost with pleasure (which I thought was going a little too far).
"Well, he plumped out that I had about a month left me; it might be a littl_ore, he said, under favourable circumstances, but it might also b_onsiderably less. According to his opinion I might die quit_uddenly—tomorrow, for instance—there had been such cases. Only a day or tw_ince a young lady at Colomna who suffered from consumption, and was about o_ par with myself in the march of the disease, was going out to market to bu_rovisions, when she suddenly felt faint, lay down on the sofa, gasped once, and died.
"Kislorodoff told me all this with a sort of exaggerated devil-may-car_egligence, and as though he did me great honour by talking to me so, becaus_t showed that he considered me the same sort of exalted Nihilistic being a_imself, to whom death was a matter of no consequence whatever, either way.
"At all events, the fact remained—a month of life and no more! That he i_ight in his estimation I am absolutely persuaded.
"It puzzles me much to think how on earth the prince guessed yesterday that _ave had bad dreams. He said to me, 'Your excitement and dreams will fin_elief at Pavlofsk.' Why did he say 'dreams'? Either he is a doctor, or els_e is a man of exceptional intelligence and wonderful powers of observation.
(But that he is an 'idiot,' at bottom there can be no doubt whatever.) It s_appened that just before he arrived I had a delightful little dream; one of _ind that I have hundreds of just now. I had fallen asleep about an hou_efore he came in, and dreamed that I was in some room, not my own. It was _arge room, well furnished, with a cupboard, chest of drawers, sofa, and m_ed, a fine wide bed covered with a silken counterpane. But I observed in th_oom a dreadful-looking creature, a sort of monster. It was a little like _corpion, but was not a scorpion, but far more horrible, and especially so, because there are no creatures anything like it in nature, and because it ha_ppeared to me for a purpose, and bore some mysterious signification. I looke_t the beast well; it was brown in colour and had a shell; it was a crawlin_ind of reptile, about eight inches long, and narrowed down from the head, which was about a couple of fingers in width, to the end of the tail, whic_ame to a fine point. Out of its trunk, about a couple of inches below it_ead, came two legs at an angle of forty-five degrees, each about three inche_ong, so that the beast looked like a trident from above. It had eight har_eedle-like whiskers coming out from different parts of its body; it wen_long like a snake, bending its body about in spite of the shell it wore, an_ts motion was very quick and very horrible to look at. I was dreadfull_fraid it would sting me; somebody had told me, I thought, that it wa_enomous; but what tormented me most of all was the wondering and wondering a_o who had sent it into my room, and what was the mystery which I felt i_ontained.
"It hid itself under the cupboard and under the chest of drawers, and crawle_nto the corners. I sat on a chair and kept my legs tucked under me. Then th_east crawled quietly across the room and disappeared somewhere near my chair.
I looked about for it in terror, but I still hoped that as my feet were safel_ucked away it would not be able to touch me.
"Suddenly I heard behind me, and about on a level with my head, a sort o_attling sound. I turned sharp round and saw that the brute had crawled up th_all as high as the level of my face, and that its horrible tail, which wa_oving incredibly fast from side to side, was actually touching my hair! _umped up—and it disappeared. I did not dare lie down on my bed for fear i_hould creep under my pillow. My mother came into the room, and some friend_f hers. They began to hunt for the reptile and were more composed than I was; they did not seem to be afraid of it. But they did not understand as I did.
"Suddenly the monster reappeared; it crawled slowly across the room and mad_or the door, as though with some fixed intention, and with a slow movemen_hat was more horrible than ever.
"Then my mother opened the door and called my dog, Norma. Norma was a grea_ewfoundland, and died five years ago.
"She sprang forward and stood still in front of the reptile as if she had bee_urned to stone. The beast stopped too, but its tail and claws still move_bout. I believe animals are incapable of feeling supernatural fright—if _ave been rightly informed,—but at this moment there appeared to me to b_omething more than ordinary about Norma's terror, as though it must b_upernatural; and as though she felt, just as I did myself, that this reptil_as connected with some mysterious secret, some fatal omen.
"Norma backed slowly and carefully away from the brute, which followed her, creeping deliberately after her as though it intended to make a sudden dar_nd sting her.
"In spite of Norma's terror she looked furious, though she trembled in all he_imbs. At length she slowly bared her terrible teeth, opened her great re_aws, hesitated—took courage, and seized the beast in her mouth. It seemed t_ry to dart out of her jaws twice, but Norma caught at it and half swallowe_t as it was escaping. The shell cracked in her teeth; and the tail and leg_tuck out of her mouth and shook about in a horrible manner. Suddenly Norm_ave a piteous whine; the reptile had bitten her tongue. She opened her mout_ide with the pain, and I saw the beast lying across her tongue, and out o_ts body, which was almost bitten in two, came a hideous white-lookin_ubstance, oozing out into Norma's mouth; it was of the consistency of _rushed black-beetle just then I awoke and the prince entered the room."
"Gentlemen!" said Hippolyte, breaking off here, "I have not done yet, but i_eems to me that I have written down a great deal here that i_nnecessary,—this dream—"
"You have indeed!" said Gania.
"There is too much about myself, I know, but—" As Hippolyte said this his fac_ore a tired, pained look, and he wiped the sweat off his brow.
"Yes," said Lebedeff, "you certainly think a great deal too much abou_ourself."
"Well—gentlemen—I do not force anyone to listen! If any of you are unwillin_o sit it out, please go away, by all means!"
"He turns people out of a house that isn't his own," muttered Rogojin.
"Suppose we all go away?" said Ferdishenko suddenly.
Hippolyte clutched his manuscript, and gazing at the last speaker wit_littering eyes, said: "You don't like me at all!" A few laughed at this, bu_ot all.
"Hippolyte," said the prince, "give me the papers, and go to bed like _ensible fellow. We'll have a good talk tomorrow, but you really mustn't go o_ith this reading; it is not good for you!"
"How can I? How can I?" cried Hippolyte, looking at him in amazement.
"Gentlemen! I was a fool! I won't break off again. Listen, everyone who want_o!"
He gulped down some water out of a glass standing near, bent over the table, in order to hide his face from the audience, and recommenced.
"The idea that it is not worth while living for a few weeks took possession o_e a month ago, when I was told that I had four weeks to live, but onl_artially so at that time. The idea quite overmastered me three days since, that evening at Pavlofsk. The first time that I felt really impressed wit_his thought was on the terrace at the prince's, at the very moment when I ha_aken it into my head to make a last trial of life. I wanted to see people an_rees (I believe I said so myself), I got excited, I maintained Burdovsky'_ights, 'my neighbour!'—I dreamt that one and all would open their arms, an_mbrace me, that there would be an indescribable exchange of forgivenes_etween us all! In a word, I behaved like a fool, and then, at that very sam_nstant, I felt my 'last conviction.' I ask myself now how I could have waite_ix months for that conviction! I knew that I had a disease that spares n_ne, and I really had no illusions; but the more I realized my condition, th_ore I clung to life; I wanted to live at any price. I confess I might wel_ave resented that blind, deaf fate, which, with no apparent reason, seemed t_ave decided to crush me like a fly; but why did I not stop at resentment? Wh_id I begin to live, knowing that it was not worthwhile to begin? Why did _ttempt to do what I knew to be an impossibility? And yet I could not eve_ead a book to the end; I had given up reading. What is the good of reading, what is the good of learning anything, for just six months? That thought ha_ade me throw aside a book more than once.
"Yes, that wall of Meyer's could tell a tale if it liked. There was no spot o_ts dirty surface that I did not know by heart. Accursed wall! and yet it i_earer to me than all the Pavlofsk trees!—That is—it WOULD be dearer if i_ere not all the same to me, now!
"I remember now with what hungry interest I began to watch the lives of othe_eople—interest that I had never felt before! I used to wait for Colia'_rrival impatiently, for I was so ill myself, then, that I could not leave th_ouse. I so threw myself into every little detail of news, and took so muc_nterest in every report and rumour, that I believe I became a regular gossip!
I could not understand, among other things, how all these people—with so muc_ife in and before them—do not become RICH—and I don't understand it now. _emember being told of a poor wretch I once knew, who had died of hunger. _as almost beside myself with rage! I believe if I could have resuscitated hi_ would have done so for the sole purpose of murdering him!
"Occasionally I was so much better that I could go out; but the streets use_o put me in such a rage that I would lock myself up for days rather than g_ut, even if I were well enough to do so! I could not bear to see all thos_reoccupied, anxious-looking creatures continuously surging along the street_ast me! Why are they always anxious? What is the meaning of their eterna_are and worry? It is their wickedness, their perpetual detestabl_alice—that's what it is—they are all full of malice, malice!
"Whose fault is it that they are all miserable, that they don't know how t_ive, though they have fifty or sixty years of life before them? Why did tha_ool allow himself to die of hunger with sixty years of unlived life befor_im?
"And everyone of them shows his rags, his toil-worn hands, and yells in hi_rath: 'Here are we, working like cattle all our lives, and always as hungr_s dogs, and there are others who do not work, and are fat and rich!' Th_ternal refrain! And side by side with them trots along some wretched fello_ho has known better days, doing light porter's work from morn to night for _iving, always blubbering and saying that 'his wife died because he had n_oney to buy medicine with,' and his children dying of cold and hunger, an_is eldest daughter gone to the bad, and so on. Oh! I have no pity and n_atience for these fools of people. Why can't they be Rothschilds? Whose faul_s it that a man has not got millions of money like Rothschild? If he ha_ife, all this must be in his power! Whose fault is it that he does not kno_ow to live his life?
"Oh! it's all the same to me now—NOW! But at that time I would soak my pillo_t night with tears of mortification, and tear at my blanket in my rage an_ury. Oh, how I longed at that time to be turned out—ME, eighteen years old, poor, half-clothed, turned out into the street, quite alone, without lodging, without work, without a crust of bread, without relations, without a singl_cquaintance, in some large town—hungry, beaten (if you like), but in goo_ealth—and THEN I would show them—
"What would I show them?
"Oh, don't think that I have no sense of my own humiliation! I have suffere_lready in reading so far. Which of you all does not think me a fool at thi_oment—a young fool who knows nothing of life—forgetting that to live as _ave lived these last six months is to live longer than grey-haired old men.
Well, let them laugh, and say it is all nonsense, if they please. They may sa_t is all fairy-tales, if they like; and I have spent whole nights tellin_yself fairy-tales. I remember them all. But how can I tell fairy-tales now?
The time for them is over. They amused me when I found that there was not eve_ime for me to learn the Greek grammar, as I wanted to do. 'I shall die befor_ get to the syntax,' I thought at the first page—and threw the book under th_able. It is there still, for I forbade anyone to pick it up.
"If this 'Explanation' gets into anybody's hands, and they have patience t_ead it through, they may consider me a madman, or a schoolboy, or, mor_ikely, a man condemned to die, who thought it only natural to conclude tha_ll men, excepting himself, esteem life far too lightly, live it far to_arelessly and lazily, and are, therefore, one and all, unworthy of it. Well, I affirm that my reader is wrong again, for my convictions have nothing to d_ith my sentence of death. Ask them, ask any one of them, or all of them, wha_hey mean by happiness! Oh, you may be perfectly sure that if Columbus wa_appy, it was not after he had discovered America, but when he was discoverin_t! You may be quite sure that he reached the culminating point of hi_appiness three days before he saw the New World with his actual eyes, whe_is mutinous sailors wanted to tack about, and return to Europe! What did th_ew World matter after all? Columbus had hardly seen it when he died, and i_eality he was entirely ignorant of what he had discovered. The importan_hing is life—life and nothing else! What is any 'discovery' whatever compare_ith the incessant, eternal discovery of life?
"But what is the use of talking? I'm afraid all this is so commonplace that m_onfession will be taken for a schoolboy exercise—the work of some ambitiou_ad writing in the hope of his work 'seeing the light'; or perhaps my reader_ill say that 'I had perhaps something to say, but did not know how to expres_t.'
"Let me add to this that in every idea emanating from genius, or even in ever_erious human idea—born in the human brain—there always remains something—som_ediment—which cannot be expressed to others, though one wrote volumes an_ectured upon it for five-and-thirty years. There is always a something, _emnant, which will never come out from your brain, but will remain there wit_ou, and you alone, for ever and ever, and you will die, perhaps, withou_aving imparted what may be the very essence of your idea to a single livin_oul.
"So that if I cannot now impart all that has tormented me for the last si_onths, at all events you will understand that, having reached my 'las_onvictions,' I must have paid a very dear price for them. That is what _ished, for reasons of my own, to make a point of in this my 'Explanation.'