Je serai, tu seras, il sera, nous serons. . . . Oui, voilà la plume de ma tante. Et où se trouve, s’il vous plaît, le royaume de Dieu?
He piled books before him and, hour upon hour, day after day, he read them through. Beginning at the beginning, he read of Thales and Archimedes. He read Copernicus and Galileo and Newton and Faraday and Volta and Helmholtz and Watt. He took endless notes, filling pages with equations and formulas, until he reached the point when the shelves of the small library had nothing further to offer him.
He was alone. Alone by choice. I shall be free to possess truth, he said, in one soul and one body.
He was not even one, but a thing of fragments. Self-crucified, he had nailed himself to a cross of rejection. Self-mutilated, he had cut from himself and cast away all that had given him identity and function. He had been drunkard, dope addict, pervert. He had been damned. But at least, in his damnation, he had sung, he had dreamed. Now, no songs—no dreams—nothing. Now the desert. And the night.
“What shall it profit a man,” Christ had asked, “if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” . . . “And I ask in return: ‘What if he gain his own soul (—ah yes, that one soul in one body—) and lose the whole world?’