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342 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1869
“One should let one’s nails grow for a fortnight. O, how sweet it is to drag brutally from his bed a child with no hair on his upper lip and with wide open eyes, make as if to touch his forehead gently with one’s hand and run one’s fingers through his beautiful hair. Then suddenly, when he is least expecting it, to dig one’s long nails into his soft breast, making sure, though, that one does not kill him; for if he died, one would not later be able to contemplate his agonies.”
“I am filthy. I am riddled with lice. Hogs, when they look at me, vomit. My skin is encrusted with the scabs and scales of leprosy, and covered with yellow pus.[…] A family of toads has taken up residence in my left armpit and, when one of them moves, it tickles. Mind one of them does not escape and come and scratch the inside of your ear with its mouth; for it would then be able to enter your brain.”
I wish that the mourning reader may at least be able to say to himself: "One must give him his due. He has greatly stupefied me. What might he not have done had he lived longer!
First of all I shall blow my nose, because I need to. And then, potently assisted by my hand, I shall again take up the pen holder that my fingers had let fall.
[I]f I let my vices soak into these pages, people will believe even more in the virtues that shine, and in the halo which I will place above those virtues, that the greatest geniuses of the future will be sincerely and recognisably grateful to me.