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Le meilleur de Serge ULESKI : société, politique, art et culture

Etre au monde, oui ! Mais sûrement pas de Ce monde ! Plus de 18 années d’édition de billets de blog sur 20-minutes, Médiapart et Nouvelobs, aujourd'hui sur Overblog... Durant toutes ces années, sachez que tout ce qui est beau, rare, difficile et courageux ne m’aura pas été étranger ; d'où le choix de mes catégories et des sujets traités. Bonne découverte à tous !

"A dying man’s confession"  : une nouvelle de Mark Twain

                Humour (noir), ironie, irrévérence, sarcasmes, anti-conformisme, férocité, réalité et fiction entremêlés… héritier de Cervantes et de Molière...

Ce dialogue à propos d’une somme de 10 000 mille dollars à remettre à un cordonnier dans le respect des dernières volontés d’un défunt (cordonnier qui ignore tout de ce défunt)… présente un des traits saillants de l’œuvre d’un Mark Twain (1835-1910) qui fera preuve, sa vie durant, d’un courage dont nombre d’auteurs européens du 19è siècle se sont montrés trop souvent exempts.




Then Rogers said dreamily:


     ‘Ten thousand dollars.’

     Adding, after a considerable pause—

     ‘Ten thousand. It is a heap of money.’

     Presently the poet inquired—

     ‘Are you going to send it to him right away?’

     ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘It is a queer question.’

     No reply. After a little, Rogers asked, hesitatingly:

     of it?—That is—I mean—’

     all of it.’

     I was going to say more, but stopped—was stopped by a train of thought which started up in me. Thompson spoke, but my mind was absent, and I did not catch what he said. But I heard Rogers answer—

     ‘Yes, it seems so to me. It ought to be quite sufficient; for I don’t see that he has done anything.’

     Presently the poet said—

     ‘When you come to look at it, it is more than sufficient. Just look at it—five thousand dollars! Why, he couldn’t spend it in a lifetime! And it would injure him, too; perhaps ruin him—you want to look at that. In a little while he would throw his last away, shut up his shop, maybe take to drinking, maltreat his motherless children, drift into other evil courses, go steadily from bad to worse—’

     ‘Yes, that’s it,’ interrupted Rogers, fervently, ‘I’ve seen it a hundred times—yes, more than a hundred. You put money into the hands of a man like that, if you want to destroy him, that’s all; just put money into his hands, it’s all you’ve got to do; and if it don’t pull him down, and take all the usefulness out of him, and all the self-respect and everything, then I don’t know human nature—ain’t that so, Thompson? And even if we were to give him a third of it; why, in less than six months—’

     ‘Less than six you’d better say!’ said I, warming up and breaking in. ‘Unless he had that three thousand dollars in safe hands where he couldn’t touch it, he would no more last you six weeks  than—’

     ‘Of course he wouldn’t,’ said Thompson; ‘I’ve edited books for that kind of people; and the moment they get their hands on the royalty—maybe it’s three thousand, maybe it’s two thousand—’

     ‘What business has that shoemaker with two thousand dollars, I should like to know?’ broke in Rogers, earnestly. ‘A man perhaps perfectly contented now, there in Mannheim, surrounded by his own class, eating his bread with the appetite which laborious industry alone can give, enjoying his humble life, honest, upright, pure in heart; and I say blest! blest above all the myriads that go in silk attire and walk the empty artificial round of social folly—but just you put that temptation before him once! just you lay fifteen hundred dollars before a man like that, and say—’

     ‘Fifteen hundred devils!’ cried I, hundred would rot his principles, paralyze his industry, drag him to the rumshop, thence to the gutter, thence to the almshouse, thence to——’

     put upon ourselves this crime, gentlemen?’ interrupted the poet earnestly and appealingly. ‘He is happy where he is, and as he is. Every sentiment of honor, every sentiment of charity, every sentiment of high and sacred benevolence warns us, beseeches us, commands us to leave him undisturbed. That is real friendship, that is true friendship. We could follow other courses that would be more showy; but none that would be so truly kind and wise, depend upon it.’

     After some further talk, it became evident that each of us, down in his heart, felt some misgivings over this settlement of the matter. It was manifest that we all felt that we ought to send the poor shoemaker There was long and thoughtful discussion of this point; and we finally decided to send him a chromo (1).


1 – chromolithography


                          Extrait de la nouvelle “A dying man’s confession » - 1883


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