Wednesday, 10 October 2012
An Anarchist by Eugene Moret.
All Saint’s Day was near. It was very cold. At five o’clock, night came. Marianne had risen slowly from her seat and gone to close the window, which she had opened for a few minutes to let some fresh air into the room. Ah! How dark and cheerless is the weather! On the pavements it must be difficult to walk, so thickly coated are they with slippery mud – mud that is everywhere, mud and standing puddles. A hard winter is commencing. The charcoal seller will want a great deal of money.
Ah, well – that is an expense that has been foreseen. The charcoal man and the baker have to be paid; and with courage and help it can be done.
The needle must be kept stitching, stitching, there must be no going to sleep over the work; but both ends could be made to meet, and that is the chief thing. Jacques Houdaille is a good workman, thirty-seven years of age, with a solid backbone, as he says. He works his full time; skulking is not in his way, he leaves that to fellows with hay in their sabots; he has youngsters, and they must be fed – that’s all he knows. Besides, the missis has her notions: she is proud of herself, she’d not have any debts in the neighbourhood.
Poor Jacques! He had not always been so reasonable, and there was a time when his life had not been so well led.
The work she was doing was wanted speedily, and she wished to finish it. It was Saturday, and there is much to be done on Sunday where there is a workman’s clothes to be mended and a family of children to be tended.
But while plying the needle she reflected. No, it was a fact, her Jacques had not always reasoned so justly. It was not that he was naturally fickle; he was an honest, hard-working man, a good workman at his trade, open-hearted, devoted to his wife, whom he had married for love, and adoring his children. But he was feeble-minded, ignorant, fond of listening to glib talkers, phrasemongers, and unable to refuse the offer of a glass; and one glass drunk, a second followed, and at the third he lost his head and gave himself up to a drinking bout.......
If you would like to read more from this remarkable short story click, An Anarchist.