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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/229

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the thoughts familiar to Socialists took on fresh shape and meaning to me.

But ironic reality, that sometimes takes delight in a juxtaposition of events as fanciful as romance, recalled me quickly to the world of vain quarrels, sharp disputes, and misunderstandings. While I was rejoicing in a free impersonal pride the pride of the human race and of Socialism, and was looking with emotion on the spectacle presented by victorious man, master of nature and of himself, a knot of curious observers had been formed. They were watching the bold attempt and were nearly all enthusiastic and sympathetic. But I recognised one of my friends, a man whose conclusions often distress me, on the outskirts of the group. He is a rather excitable but perfectly sincere journalist who, when he is telling a story, only gets confused in the matter of names and dates, or so his editor says.

He alone remained sombre and doubting as though he were carrying the burden of a bitter secret.

"How strange!" he murmured; "here is a justification of all our suspicions. He could turn from right to left and he turns from left to right, the direction of every treachery."[1]

The people who stood about were astonished.

"Will you never be able to see and understand?" he went on in a sharper tone. "After giving you all the ideas you have, must I explain

  1. The reactionary parties sit on the right in the French Parliament.