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datatime: 2022-09-25 12:44:30 Author:stNgUtfP

I won't go, Mother. . .

My mother came in, closed the door behind her, and told me that she must talk to me. Her whole manner was tenderness.

We had had a priest for a little while who called it pagan. But they got rid of him fast enough. The farmers of our mountains kept to their old rituals. It was to make the trees bear and the crops grow, all this. And on this occasion, more than any other, I felt I saw the kind of men and women who could burn witches.

But I told her the truth. I didn't know, and then I explained some of what had happened in the inn. I tried not to convey the horror of it, the strange logic of it. I tried not to make it so absolute.

Is it on account of my dying, what's come over you? she asked.Tell me if it is. And put your hands in mine.

I love you for it, she said.It's all too like you that you should see this in a tiny bedroom in the inn late at night when you're drinking wine. And it's entirely like you to rage against it the way you rage against everything else.

We had had a priest for a little while who called it pagan. But they got rid of him fast enough. The farmers of our mountains kept to their old rituals. It was to make the trees bear and the crops grow, all this. And on this occasion, more than any other, I felt I saw the kind of men and women who could burn witches.

I was alone in my room and the whole household had gone down to the village at twilight for the big bonfire that was the custom every year on this evening.

I'm terrified of dying, she said. Her voice went almost dry.And I swear I will go mad if I don't know you're in Paris and you're free when it finally comes.

I love you for it, she said.It's all too like you that you should see this in a tiny bedroom in the inn late at night when you're drinking wine. And it's entirely like you to rage against it the way you rage against everything else.

I'm terrified of dying, she said. Her voice went almost dry.And I swear I will go mad if I don't know you're in Paris and you're free when it finally comes.

In my present frame of mind, it struck terror. I sat by my own little fire, trying to resist the urge to go to the window and look down on the big fire that drew me as strongly as it scared me.

I know, she said,that you and Nicolas are talking of running away.

I can't I said miserably.

I didn't answer her. I can't convey to you the frame of mind. I was still raw, trembling, and we had to talk about the fact that this living, breathing woman was going to stop living and breathing and start to putrefy and rot away, that her soul would spin into an abyss, that everything she had suffered in life, including the end of it, would come to nothing at all. Her little face was like something painted on a veil.

And from the distant village came the thinnest sound of the singing villagers.

I'm terrified of dying, she said. Her voice went almost dry.And I swear I will go mad if I don't know you're in Paris and you're free when it finally comes.

I can't I said miserably.

My mother came in, closed the door behind her, and told me that she must talk to me. Her whole manner was tenderness.

I didn't answer her. I can't convey to you the frame of mind. I was still raw, trembling, and we had to talk about the fact that this living, breathing woman was going to stop living and breathing and start to putrefy and rot away, that her soul would spin into an abyss, that everything she had suffered in life, including the end of it, would come to nothing at all. Her little face was like something painted on a veil.

Is it on account of my dying, what's come over you? she asked.Tell me if it is. And put your hands in mine.

What, until I'm dead?

My mother came in, closed the door behind her, and told me that she must talk to me. Her whole manner was tenderness.

She even kissed me. She was frail in her faded dressing gown, and her hair was undone. I couldn't stand to see the streaks of gray in it. She looked starved.

I started to cry again though I knew she wasn't condemning me. And then she took out a handkerchief and opened it to reveal several gold coins.

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