Fair Use Blog

Séverine, Liberty—Equality—Fraternity

Now available thanks to Shawn P. Wilbur at Two-Gun Mutualism & the Golden Rule:


Séverine (Caroline Rémy de Guebhard)



That night, on the asphalt beach that dominates the view from my window, some human wreckage, a father, mother, and two babies, had washed up on a bench. From the heights where, much despite myself, I glide, one could distinguish nothing but a pile of gray flesh and soiled rags, from which emerged, here and there, an arm, a leg, with a movement slow and painful as a crushed crab’s leg

They slept, clutching one another, huddled in one pile, from habit, as if they would die of cold — even on this warm summer night!

Some policemen had come who circled around, sniffing and staring at them, with that hostile curiosity of guard dogs and sergeants towards the poorly dressed — not too mean, however. They tapped on the shoulder of the man, who started, rubbed his eyes, and stood up with an effort, shifting the group where the kids, awakened suddenly, had begun to cry.

From his gestures, I understood that he was telling their story; I could sense the silent tears of the woman, wiping her eyes with the corner of her apron, while the other, by recalling them, revived her pains.

Not louts, nor bohemians — but workers! Workers brought to the most extreme limits of distress; having committed everything, sold everything, and lost everything!

Only one consolation could remain for this unfortunate: that of having lived as a free man in a free century; and the flags decorating the inn of La Belle Étoile (his last home!) recalled eloquently how fortunate it was, for him and his, to have been “delivered” a century before!

He was miserable, yes — but a voter and a citizen! How very ...

Read the whole thing at Two-Gun Mutualism & the Golden Rule.

Leave a Reply