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The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

Loti, Pierre
"My mother": a lovely exposition of the madonna spirit,   pp. 209-216 PDF (2.2 MB)

Page 215

  "I would that I could speak hallowed words to the first blessed
orm that I find in the book of memory. I would it were possible that
could greet my mother with words filled with the meaning I wish
to convey. They are words which cause bountiful tears to flow, but
tears fraught with I know not how much of the sweetness of consola-
tion and joy, words that are ever, and in spite of everything, filled
with the hope of an immortal reunion.
   "And since I have touched upon this mystery that has had such
an influence upon my soul, I will here set down that my mother alone
is the only person in the world of whom I have the feeling that death
cannot separate me. With other human beings, those whom I have
loved with all my heart and soul, I have tried to imagine a hereafter,
a tomorrow in which there shall be no tomorrow; but no, I cannot I
Rather I have always had a horrible consciousness of our nothingness
-dust to dust, ashes to ashes. Because of my mother alone have I
been able to keep intact the faith of my early days. It still seems to
me that when I have finished playing my poor part in life, when I no
longer run in the overgrown paths that lead to the unattainable, when
I am through amusing humanity with my conceits and my sorrows, I
will go there where my mother, who has gone before me, is, and she
will receive me; and the smile of serenity that she now wears in my
memory will have become one of triumphant realization.
   "True, I see that distant region only dimly, and it has no more
 substance than a pale gray vision; my words, however intangible and
 elusive, give too definite a form to my dreamy conceptions. But still
 (I speak as a little child, with the child's faith), but still I
 always think of my mother as having, in that far off place, preserved
 her earthly aspect. I think of her with her dear white curls and the
 straight lines of her beautiful profile that the years may have impaired
 a little, but which I still find perfect. The thought that the face of
 my mother shall one day disappear from my eyes forever, that it is
 no more than combined elements subject to disintegration, and that
 she will be lost in the universal abyss of nothingness, not only makes
 my heart bleed, but it causes me to revolt as at something unthinkable
 and monstrous; it cannot be ! I have the feeling that there is about
 her something which death cannot touch.
    "My love for my mother (the only changeless love of my life) is
  free from all material feeling that that alone gives me an inexplicable
  hope, almost gives me a confidence in the immortality of the soul.
    "And why among the treasured playthings of my childhood has the
  tiny watering-pot taken on the value and sacred dignity of a relic?
  So much so indeed that when I am far distant on the ocean, in hours of
  danger, I think of it with tenderness, and see it in the place where it

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