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Lightning
LIGHTNING

The work of the human race! that's the explosions that lights up my
lower depths from time to time.

"Nothing's vanity. Move ahead with science!" shouts the modern
Ecclesiastes, which is to say everybody.  And yet the corpses of the
wicked and lazy plop down on the hearts of others. . . Ah! hurry,
hurry a bit!  Out there, beyond the night, those future rewards,
everlasting. . . are we missing out on them?

--What can I do?  I know what work is.  And science is too slow.
Prayer gallops along and the light rumbles. . . I see that too.  It's
too simple, and it's too hot.  They'll do without me.  I've got my
job.  I'll take pride in it the way others do--by laying it aside.

My life's used up.  Come on! let's shirk, let's gold-brick, for 
pity's sake!  And we'll go on enjoying ourselves, dreaming up mon-
strous loves and fantastic universes, griping and criticizing the
world's disguises--acrobat, beggar, artist, outlaw--priest!  On my
hospital bed, the smell of incense came back to me, so potent:
custodian of sacred aromatics, confessor, martyr. . . .

I recognize in that the filthy education of my childhood.  So what
. . .!  Here's my twenty years, since others put in twenty 
years. . . .

No! no! I revolt right now against death!  Work looks too lightweight
to my pride: being betrayed to the world would be too brief a tor-
ture.  At the last minute, I'd attack right and left. . . .

Then--oh!--poor dear soul, wouldn't eternity be lost for us!