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There is no greater moment than experiencing a sunset on the summit with a big group of friends and new acquaintances. We made it through the night on the peak of Rundtinden. It was incredible. There was no wind which is rare and the temperatures were above freezing.

The next morning was magical - imagine waking up and drinking your morning coffee on a meter peak in the sun with no wind, the world famous Atlantic Ocean Road, if you are ever driving through Norway we would recommend taking this detour. Another tip regarding road trips through Norway is buying snacks and food at the grocery stores Rema , Kiwi and many more instead of spending 5x as much at gas stations. Once our crew finally arrived on the Island of Lofoten, we set up our camp on the top of a peak with degree views of the dramatic landscape and set off into the mountains to take our first turns into what seemed to be a never ending sunset.

Snow camping is not something everyone does, but it is something that I recommend you to do. With the right sleeping bag and pad it was possible to stay warm and comfy all night long. The experience is worth it because you are out in the elements, and the best part is waking up in the snow and just get your board and go.

The first layer will keep the cold away from you. It was a dream come true. We took some time to enjoy the exceptional location and surroundings and then we decided it was time to strap on the boards and surf the lines that the mountain had to offer.

We road lines, built quarter pipes, caught air and did long turns for hours. Once the sun had disappeared behind the clouds we decided it was time to go down. We thought there would be no better way to end the day, that started on the summit of a mountain to, than to go surfing. Lofoten gives you some of the most exotic surf locations the world has to offer, one of the most famous location is the Unstad Beach.

The crew got out of the snowboard gear and loaded up the Audi cars with surfboards and drove off to Unstad, which was about a 1. There is something surreal about walking through a snowy beach out into the water to go surfing. Once in the water we could not stop talking about how unreal of a day that had been. It was the ultimate Double Boarding day, waking up on an arctic summit and literally dropping in from the tent, to ending the day with arctic surfing.

So be sure to check it out when it drops next fall , but in the meantime just go snowboarding and create your own adventures! Anton St. Anton Am Arlberg St. Via Delle Vigne Nuove C. Ten correspondents from the biggest foreign newspapers have found themselves seats. In the kiosks in every town in France, enormous headlines are already whipping up public opinion An unbelievable organisation.

The prosecution file, pages of painstaking manuscript, covers 20, items. An overwhelming burden of proof. The police and magistrates aim to keep this affair within the narrow limits of criminal procedure. Wisely, the chief news organs have followed them in this. However, one cannot avert certain rumours racing through the crowd. To the effect that the accused are redoubtable anarchists.

Elegant ladies experience a delicious quiver at the mention of those queer romantics who schemed from the dark recesses of their offices to blow society asunder. The rentiers, though delighted to have 24 of their personal enemies brought to book here today cannot disguise their anxiety: five of the ruffians are still on the loose. What are they hatching? Such people are capable of anything. They respect nothing Nor, above all, private property, regarding which—in order to excuse their own misdeeds—they contend is theft.

The court, they hope, will show no mercy: these ruffians must be dealt with severely. To set an example. Culpable clemency would risk inciting others to swell their ranks. All things considered, the Apaches are more deserving of indulgence: at least with them, one knows what one is faced with. The accused persons are no more than their minions. The real culprits are those unscrupulous agitators hired by foreign powers to weaken the Republic, that whole shady cancer of pseudo-thinkers, assassins and Jews overrunning the country, abetted by a handful of Freemasons infected with the cholera of subversion and striving to capitalise upon the ingenuousness of the people in order to establish a dictatorship of bloodthirsty brigands.

But the workers are not so stupid. Their will. To which the minority has to defer. Anyone refusing to play by these rules constitutes a danger to the established order and is indicted by society. In this instance the authorities are displaying an excess of patience. All anarchists, all reds should be there with them.

Distrustfully, the populace teeming in its thousands towards the rue des Trois-Cailloux hears out these witch-hunters. Dress and vocabulary alike have erected a barrier between them. Instinctively, trickery is scented.

Then again, what the newspapers reiterate is too pat: if the accused are vulgar thieves, how come so many precautions? Why this deployment of men? There is something queer about this. To be sure, a thief is a malefactor. To be sure, it is normal that he should be punished. Yet one does not know what to think.

One Alexandre-Marius Jacob. The more literate mention him in the same breath as Robin Hood, Cartouche and Mandrin. But the juxtaposition of the two words, though engaging, is scarcely convincing. Lupin has not yet popularised the notion. There is a lot of gossip. It is said that Jacob attacked only the rich, that he kept back nothing for himself from the proceeds of his misdeeds, but redistributed them all among the poor. It is said that Jacob had forbidden his men to take a life.

While one might not be able to openly endorse that, the fact remains that the idea of downing a cop down some dark alley is not one that everybody finds displeasing: let he who never dreamed of it—if only he might be assured of impunity, of course—cast the first stone.

In short, this outlaw is intriguing. The women hope he will be handsome. It is known that Jacob comes from Marseilles; that he is a mere 26 years of age. They say that he has dark eyes, that he fears nothing and no one and is a sort of genius. He has friends everywhere. He will slip through their fingers. He will vanish as if by magic. Anyway, the Germinal gang await only the merest error by the guards to fly to his aid. A band of French anarchists seized upon the word, the way one passes the baton in a relay race, making it the title of a newspaper.

The Amiens police were immediately stirred by their activities. They ensconced themselves first in 69, rue Saint-Germain and then in 26, rue Saint-Roch four months ago, in November The editorial of the first issue gave clear, if moderate, expression to the underlying implications of the venture. Despite all the promises of the politicians of every colour, your lot is becoming increasingly precarious. The press says naught of the vexations of every sort visited upon you by the exploiters in their modern prisons Frankly libertarian, Germinal will not be treading the muddy byways of politics, unless to unmask the tricksters and flatterers teeming there.

The countless victims of priests, sabre-rattlers, judges, police and bosses will be able to have their cry of rebellion heard here without fear of being revealed. We have sufficient revolutionary energy to take upon ourselves full responsibility before laws that we hold sovereignly in contempt. Let each one do his duty, and Germinal will live to make the well-fed and the complacent perish of rage, while paving the way for the Social Revolution from which Freedom will come forth at last.

The paper has organised meetings, gatherings, conferences, demonstrations, on every pretext. Fear is the beginning of wisdom. From issue No. What can this matter be? Those in the know claim that it is purely and simply a question of Alexandre-Marius Jacob.

The launching of the bimonthly four months in advance of the trial and in the very town where that trial must take place is allegedly no coincidence. It was allegedly part of a two-pronged effort: to capitalise upon the audience which the Jacob affair could not fail to provide for the cause, with an eye to stepping up agitation and propaganda in the region, and to strive by every means to rescue the comrade in jeopardy. A newspaper specifically set up to defend a thief?

And indeed, it was said, the newspaper of a thief, for Jacob had allegedly managed to get money out of his prison cell to his friends on the outside: the last of his savings. Enough said. Markets are monopolised, there is speculation, there is hoarding, there is wheeling and dealing, stocks are driven down prior to purchase, driven up prior to sale: gold shapes policy, bankers declare war. This is lawful. The worker is exploited: they capitalise upon his ignorance and resignation: some are harried into insolvency and poverty, others are prompted into strike, revolt, starvation, others still into thieving, hopelessness, suicide, murder.

This, again, is lawful. The factories, prisons and barracks are breeding grounds for typhus and tuberculosis. The penniless are cast into the streets. The homeless are cast into prison. The law is the instrument of persecution. But he did not have unrestricted communication with the outside and only belatedly was he able to convey how he felt.

Small matter for the time being: the article sets the tone. Out of a population of some 40 millions, a mere 4 million men labour as toilers. And still these produce too much, as government figures themselves indicate, for there is unemployment and overproduction.

Thus if everyone capable of it were to engage in useful production, each person and we are not counting adolescents, women, or the aged would have to work only half an hour each day from the age of 20 to the age of 50, which is to say ten hour days in his whole life! Logic taken to its extremes potentially leads to such things: a fair number of us would be constrained, on pain of finding themselves unemployed again, to participate willy-nilly in the repression of others.

In any event, Jacob has not disowned these lines. All humanity is bereft. Later he had become very well acquainted with her, as with all the great names of the libertarian world who are presently signing articles in his favour in every anarchist publication Not forgetting all the others who do not have by-lines but are activists.

So, were the rentiers so very wrong to take fright? The tone of their newspapers furnishes reason to fear the worst. They are mad dogs. Early in February, Issue No. If you have not the money, steal it! Maybe Jacob himself has not himself taken a life, but he is on the same side as the raging madmen.

It is a capital offence to attack strongboxes out of idealism: his head must roll for it. As is his wont, he besmirched the name of the army, the expeditionary force covering itself in glory in the Far East, then moved on to the clergy, the police and the judiciary. Police spies posted in the hall took careful note of it. But that talk was only a pretext upon which to assemble the largest possible public gathering.

The orator was in on it. In small groups, several thousand people assembled in the rue Delambre. The Alcazar emptied. There it clashed with a strong contingent of troops happily posted at random on guard duty in front of the prison. Long live the revolution! Long live anarchy!

Straboni, a guard brought in specially from Rouen to watch over Jacob lest he manage to convert the usual screws to his own way of thinking, as he had successfully done in the past He was without doubt a glass or two the worse for drink. The demonstrators threw themselves on him: they disarmed him and rained blows on him.

The troops charged. Lemaire the manager of the Germinal newspaper and his cronies Pacaud and Ouin Needless to say, a search produced nothing. By contrast Germinal had the audacity to relate the whole episode in its 17 February issue: not content with being criminals, these people showed themselves to be boors as well. One could scarcely expect anything better of them. So on this 8 March , while the Black Marias were being awaited, the people in charge of maintaining order prepared themselves for every eventuality.

Suspected of preparing an escape for Jacob, the unfortunate fellow had been interrogated throughout the night, somewhat brutally, by some overzealous inspectors. Moreover, there was nothing to show that they were not in fact faced with an accomplice of the Robber.

They are murmuring. Getting worked up. Ready to intervene, narks monitor its changing moods. He picks out scattered anarchists distributing packets of leaflets attempting to offer a justification of Jacob. Their manes of hair, their beards and sombre faces make them readily visible from a distance. Over on the left, three of them are trying to organise a meeting. Four plain clothed inspectors immediately move in to frustrate them. A crowd gathers round.

Soon it degenerates into the most immense confusion. Five ranks of chasseurs protect the court-house, not to mention the troops held in reserve. The officials blithely step inside, mingling with the bourgeois who have come to watch the spectacle and who are holding forth on the threshold. Let us go! Disorder will not triumph this time! But the ranting floats off in the direction of the boulevards.

The rumbling of the Black Marias reverberates from the cobblestones. The escort appears, a squadron from the 30th Chasseurs Regiment headed by a general in undress. The muffled sound of a song covers everything The wagons come to a halt amid a clatter of ironwork. The infantrymen push back the huddled ranks of the crowds. The doors are opened.

Hollow cheeks, fiery looks. He is wearing a broad black bowler hat. He has on a black overcoat with astrakhan collar, a red tie and straight collar slightly crumpled at the edges. In his hand he has a huge briefcase stuffed with papers. In any case, there is nothing about him that is redolent of a lout in a peaked cap.

Nothing of the sinister-faced ogre. His dress is correct, his toilet painstaking, his moustaches crimped and almost bristling under his strong nose. Of medium build, but squat. He has the air of a civil servant, bordering on that of a teacher or savant. Two by two, his nineteen accomplices line up. He makes to raise his arms, despite the shackles,. Long live Jacob! The gendarmes step in: they jostle the prisoners, prodding them with vehemence towards the steps.

Jacob does not comply. They have to drag him by the arm. His eyes sparkle. He sings the Internationale. The cortege, the women, the public, join in. The song rises into the air and ascends towards the overcast skies.

The accused and their guards, followed by the flapping black sleeves of their lawyers, disappear beneath the archway. They vanish into the corridors. The team from Germinal tries to follow in their footsteps. The argument lasts barely a few seconds and then the anarchists give up the attempt. They vanish into the crush of people standing around in small knots waiting for God knows what. The courtroom is shabby, dim, grimy, with faded frescoes on the back wall.

Some benches and an additional platform have been arranged to accommodate the accused. The exhibits of the prosecution, a real mountain of them, overspill onto the press benches: jemmies, artistically laid out in order of size; bit-braces, drills, hacksaws, glass-cutters; some Edison lamps linked together by five metres of wiring; some oilcans, a few soapboxes. They admit to never having seen anything like them. According to them there is at least 10, francs worth of equipment here. Furthermore, the end of these keys presents a rectangular-shaped recess which makes it possible to tailor a special attachment to the instrument for opening the most complicated locks.

The malefactor also carried electric lamps, one of which, collapsible and fitted with reflectors, provided a powerful beam capable of lighting up an entire room. He also had in his possession a highly refined instrument designed to break open safes and from one of the finest companies in New York: a ladder of silk fitted at the ends with two sturdy hooks capable of gripping anywhere and other sundry accessories, all of them equally refined.

At noon, the Court makes its entrance. Councillor Wehekind, who seems ill at ease, presides. He is assisted by his assessors Job Vaselle and Thorel. The procurator-general Regnault in person occupies the chair of the public prosecutor, aided by his deputy, Monsieur Pennelier.

First item of business: the drawing of lots for jury membership. First sensation: only 5 of those whose names are called are present. The others have been detained by urgent business. Or indeed by illness: one angina attack, some renal colic complaints, some severe bronchitis.

An epidemic appears to have descended upon Amiens. Procurator Regnault appeals to a sense of civic duty, to dedication to the law: why did they come forward as volunteers only to absent themselves now? Some medical certificates, properly and duly completed, offer the only reply. To tell the truth, the jury panel members were afraid. They have no wish to get embroiled in some squalid episode. Not of anarchists.

That is too risky. Their neighbours have intimated as much to them. Their wives have pleaded with them in the name of their children. And then Thrown for a moment, court president Wehekind regains his composure: let some gendarmes be dispatched, accompanied by a doctor, to verify these excuses and summon the dodgers. The sitting is suspended. For lunch. Capitalising upon the absence of the reporters, the troops have left unmanned the approaches to the courthouse, which are now deserted.

In the clammy atmosphere about 50 soldiers are napping on the steps, belts unbuckled, rifle laid across their bellies. One would say it was the aftermath of battle. Thousands of leaflets litter the pathway. When at last the court resumes at 2 pm, the definitive jury is at last appointed Alexandre Marius, Fischer the clerk of the court calls out.

He is seated peacefully, tethered by his handcuffs to his warder guardian angel. The bowler hat is pulled down tight upon his head. He grins at the angels. You must conform to practice and show greater decorum! A parody of justice! I will show regard for you when you show some for the workers!.. The remainder of the outburst is lost amid the brouhaha.

Or I will have the court cleared. The enumeration of names, surnames, ages, professions proceeds without further incident. However, there is no article in the code capable of preventing the bandits from adopting an air of mockery.

Next, the clerk sets about the litany of the pages of the indictment sheet. The public strain to understand. Several of the accused ejaculate expressions of astonishment at the relation of certain exploits of their mastermind, of which they had been unaware. At 6 pm. When Jacob emerges, the crowd has formed again and is controlled by the cordons of chasseurs only with great difficulty.

Revolutionary songs burst forth on all sides. Scientific and practical means of limiting female fertility, by Doctor Knowlton. Translated from the English by Lennoz. Pamphlet prosecuted and acquitted by the Brabant assizes. Price 0. Apply within.

Absolute discretion, receives boarders at any stage of pregnancy. Apply to Mlle. Consultations daily from 1 pm. By 7 pm. Feverishly, they set about preparing the special edition which they have resolved to put out just as soon as possible. The judiciary, the army and the police are dumbfounded. The defenders of order have been seized by a tremendous funk that shows itself in the grotesque, not to say pointless deployment of manpower The courthouse has been turned into a barracks But disappointment among the bourgeois newspapers, the mouthpieces of middle-class mediocrity, has been great indeed!

Good Lord! Sacrosanct property has been attacked. The quivering bourgeois must have visions of looting and riot flashing before their eyes: all because the demonstrations of hate by those who own nothing against a recuperator such as Jacob have ceased.

The prejudices that underpinned the old authoritarian society have melted away. Which just goes to show that our propaganda is on the right track! How come? What, then, is the difference between the judges and the judged? It is that the thieves are not the ones that are believed to be so! For the sake of the soundness of its foundations, it was in the interest of society as a whole that some avenging spirit should stir the stupidity of the mob.

To meet the requirements of its cause, the people had to anathematise the destroyers of property. All in vain! Today, for all the tremendous obstacles placed in its way, the people are in contact with these revolutionary heroes! Miscalculation and amazement! The accused are men of mettle! He is on edge. Demonstrations of sympathy from the crowd were not enough for him. He had called a meeting of all militants in the region for today: he had been expecting a riot: they had made do with a rendition of the Internationale.

He looks for, still wishes for a reversal of opinion, a gesture, a backlash, something. One does not make revolution with demonstrations, but with bombs. Souvarine has drawn up a text which, according to him, should override all the rest. We have to believe that fear is the getting of wisdom, for this time the selection of the jury was not without complications.

Nonetheless it is an exceptional delight for twelve who own to sit in judgement of 23 dispossessed. Whereupon the thesis of a band of malefactors led by him collapses. The fiction maintained by the hireling press caves in. You have gulled the people long enough: long enough have you managed to induce them to believe the robbed the robber! Today the truth explodes for all to see!

The proletariat are awakening, they read, they listen, they reflect, they see clearly. They know that Property is theft. You have the effrontery to pose as fair-minded men! Craven hypocrites, you well know that there is nothing fair in your stinking society. Your learned men, your professors, your journalists are repeatedly forced to concede that injustice, everything most ghastly in the moral and material sense The risen people are expropriating your like in Russia. A new day has dawned at last when there will be no more judges, no more robbed and no more robbers!

Are they afraid perhaps? Do they fear lest he may go out and down one of these grasping bourgeois? Yet he is ready to do just that! And this very evening if need be. To strike terror into the others. Violence is atrocious when it serves the master. But sublime when it serves the free man! What is holding them back? But a man enters the shop, a short, bearded, eagle-eyed man with a hooked nose, dressed almost like a bourgeois alongside the rest.

He shakes himself as he removes his rain-soaked mackintosh. His name is Charles Malato. He made his acquaintance in Marseilles when he was just 17 years old. He himself is aged He is a man who carries some weight, a man that one can tell does not hesitate to lend a hand to the plough if need be. An insurrectionist anarchist. They respect him. He has been out and about making inquiries. He has contacts everywhere, known to him alone. They huddle around him. The screw who was in with us has been moved to another department.

Jacob has been moved to another cell yet again. Be that as it may, Malato has managed to get hold of a message from Jacob. Jacob thanks them for all they are doing. It would also be madness to attempt to pull something as he is being removed from the van.

It only remains to await a favourable opportunity and then to try to cobble something together One never knows In any case, Jacob prefers to be guillotined rather than be the cause of any pointless blood-letting: so, he hopes, when his head falls it will bloody the enemy.

They all bow their heads: would they show the same courage in similar circumstances? They have not many chances left to get him out of there. He has conducted himself like a free man. If die he must, he will die like a free man. And then what! At this very moment throughout France, in Paris, in Marseilles, in Lyons, in Perpignan, all of the comrades have their eyes turned to Amiens. We have to live up to expectations. Libertad sent it for you. He had prepared it in advance.

It puts things back into perspective. From our point of view, of course. They peruse it. Comment upon it. Gradually life returns and so does a diehard hope. One seems to have scored a victory: it no longer fights, it merely judges.

It has even appointed its delegates who deck themselves out in uniforms and adorn themselves with special names: gendarmes, judges, soldiers, prosecutors, jurors. But they fool nobody. In them one discerns the usual partners of the social struggle: robbers, counterfeiters, murderers, according to the circumstances.

And whenever they shake their heads, delegates and onlookers look like taking to their heels. In any event, it is not remorse that drags their enemies before them, but handcuffs instead. They did not make the bread they eat, nor build the mansions where they live, nor make the garments they wear, nor the vehicles which transport them.

Their shrewdness, their expertise, their strength and courage are questioned by no one. They began to burgle society in order to live in the That was their only fault—if fault they have committed. Before the proceedings commence, Rose, dragging her gendarme behind her, manages to hurl herself into the arms of her lover who squeezes her to himself.

Unexpectedly it is decided that the women are to be held apart from him and he is moved back to the fifth row of the accused instead of the second where he spent yesterday. Even so, he blows kisses to his mother and to Rose. The people were led to believe that it was for their own good and out of a care for social progress that schooling was made compulsory for them.

What a lie! I have my piece to say. The references from your officers are generally good. Everywhere a handful of malefactors like you exploiting millions of unfortunates. The president of the court raises his gavel. The Agitator I The family of his father, who came from Alsace, had emigrated south around into the Vaucluse first and thence to Marseilles.

Joseph Jacob had started out as a cook with a shipping company. He had had to swear never to take ship again when he began to court Marie Berthou, a girl from La Crau: a sailor as a son-in-law was out of the question. Whereupon he was able to take Marie to wife. But a pining for the South seas had begun to gnaw at him in the bakery despite his efforts to rinse it away with alcohol. The logical step would doubtless have been to go to sea again. But Joseph was a waverer.

For good or ill, a thousand considerations kept him on dry land. He could not leave Marie in the lurch. In point of fact, Marie had money. It was she who would inherit from her parents. Not that they had been very well-to-do. The rent from their holding in La Crau: a bit of a field towards Plan de Cuques: a horse for turning the soil and ferrying produce to market: that was all their earthly possessions.

But they had always worked hard, and lived meagrely. They were suspected of having put by a tidy little sum. It was all the easier for him to threaten her that he might go away for ever—and that was a threat from which he did not shrink—than to actually take that chance. As pretty as she was, she would not have had much trouble in finding herself a fancy man.

After about a dozen false starts, Joseph wallowed in bitterness and in talk about the sacrifices he had made for her and in the card schools in the corner grog-shop. She came to despise him. She was suffocating. Wed at the age of 18, she had known no other world outside of the convent, the Sunday vegetables and, from 29 September when Alexandre-Marius came into the world , nappies that needed changing and knitting for pin-money. She would never forgive him for the heroic tales of fearless and irreproachable mariners with which he won her over.

Divorce: the law as it stood ruled that out to all intents and purposes. Resignation, passivity, stagnation: these were impossible. He had pulled the wool over her eyes. She had bought a pig in a poke. After three years, she had but one desire left: that he might take off, disappear, leave her in peace. Of course, the more she told him this, the more he could discover excuses for hanging around. One day she jumped the omnibus for Plan de Cuques. She ranted and raved and played the kitten: she inveigled her ageing parents into agreeing to let her have a little from the stack of louis upon which they chose to sleep, in order to set up a business.

This was a bakery, just metres from the house, right in the middle of the Vieux-Port district, on a little square which lay at the top of a cobblestone ramp lost amid a warren of alleys. By agreement, the deeds were in her name. This final degradation he could not forgive. He concocted memories for himself: she set to work. She was the mistress. To reassert his crumbling authority he soon began to thrash her. On the first occasion he begged her forgiveness, weeping like a child. He was full of good resolutions.

The weeks passed. Mates sneered at his astounding sobriety. And then, in the final analysis, women are like doormats, there to be walked over. Alexandre-Marius grew up as best he could between this unsatisfied Amazon of a mother and this emasculated father. He was not really unhappy. Not really a martyred child. The forenames borrowed from the generals of antiquity, in memory of the Other One, the true Napoleon who would have spread the Revolution throughout the whole of Europe but for the interference of the Austrians and the British, surely destined him for higher things.

On different counts, they both had high hopes of him. Marie, who had inherited a scathing opinion of soutane-wearers from her days with the sisters, superciliously gave way to this latest act of renegadeship from her lord and master. Furthermore, Alexandre never roamed the streets. Marie would shrug her shoulders at such tales, which she knew by heart. But Alexandre would salt away their quasi-epics like so many treasures in his memory where they joined the likes of Ivanhoe, Ulysses, Jean Bart and the bailiff of Suffren.

From the day when he saw his father beat his mother and his yellow animal eyes flame with rage, he despised him. Not that that stopped Marie from contending that her husband was a fine fellow. His temper was short-lived. Once the crisis had passed, he would do anything to please. She strove in vain to paint him in an enchanting light for Alexandre. Alexandre merely heard her out without a word.

By the age of eight, he had a serious look about him, like children who have already seen too much. He would sit on her lap. He would put his arm around her neck. He would hug her. He would tell her how he would carve out an empire for her in China where she would be queen. He had difficulty seeing what benefits the blessed sacraments could have brought the pagan idolaters of Lao-tse, but could talk endlessly about junks, about the Great Wall besieged by the Manchu hordes and about emperors in palanquins.

He had built himself a heroic world on the far side of the ocean, where absolute beauty and the radiant perfection of golden days were within reach, contrary to conditions in Marseilles. Priest he never dreamed of becoming. A missionary rather: on account of the travel. Anyway, his vocation dried up at the time of his first communion.

That morning, in a provocative act and persuaded that a formidable hand was about to descend upon the back of his neck to the accompaniment of a roll of thunder, he bit down on the host. His disappointment was beyond measure: God did not intervene. So he did not exist. The Brothers had been telling lies.

The matter was settled once and for all: he had no supernatural soul. His mind turned more towards action—which did not rule out reflection—than contemplation. At the age of eleven and a half, he was awarded special permission to sit his school certificate which he sailed through. His teachers vaguely expected that he would carry on for his diploma, perhaps even take his baccalaureate. They confided as much to Marie.

Joseph went on a real binge. Every other batch was burned. Customers became rare. Money even rarer. This business of studies was doubtless yet another ploy by the Christian Brothers to recruit a long-stay customer and to grow fat on the backs of the poor.

Marie, who never failed to caw like a crow whenever she came across a priest in the street was quick to credit them with the most Machiavellian intentions. As for the obligation to attend school up to the age of 13, the law that had just been passed to that effect in remained, for the moment, a dead letter.

Consulted by Marie, Alexandre blushed. The insult hurled by his father still had him seething. Seminary school Given his air of discomfiture, she did not press the matter. In those days that stratum of society had not yet been touched by the craze for Great Schools.

As long as one can read, write and reckon one can always get by, provided that one is dependable. Diplomas are all very well for the offspring of the rich. Upon hearing the news Alexandre was relieved, just as any other child would have been in his place. Though an excellent student, he was too bored in class. The Masses every morning, the catechism lessons, the saints lives overwhelmed him with disgust.

For three months the weeks simply dragged by. He discovered Jules Verne and dockland. Thus when, one day, he caught sight of a suitcase-laden officer coming down the gangway of a freighter, he rushed to give him a helping hand. The man, in the belief that this was some down-and-out he was dealing with, made to give him a tip at the end of the trip. Alexandre refused it, his pride injured. Amused, the officer put some questions to him.

So you want to be a sailor? You must ask for Monsieur Martinaud, armoury captain. One of the most joyous experiences of his life. Breathlessly, he raced off to report his providential meeting. His mother began by squeezing him to her, sobbing His father on the other hand congratulated him, tottering, and made him toast the prospect with a glass of wine.

Freycinet was one of the biggest companies along with the Transatlantique line. And this Martinaud was a very fine sort. He had heard tell of him. A trip around the world is the university of life. Marie argued as best she could. Be it now or later, he would leave somehow; that was fate. He would see the landscapes of which she had dreamed. He would not be like her and go stale waiting for Sundays to arrive. Perhaps it was as well. Without a doubt, he was going to seize the tiller in the midst of storms and, thanks to the daring of his resolve, to rescue crews in peril.

Such dreams were to be dashed. He had to rise at 4. Swab the deck with huge pails of water and scrub it with a brush. Jules Verne had not told the whole story. The more deeply he got into the life, the more the aura of the exotic faded away with each time they put ashore along the African coastline. Scrofulous, club-footed, grinning, grimacing, eaten by flies: officers with switches smacking their boots: arrogant, bloated, good-for-nothing civilians.

The clouds over Africa were the same as the ones that hung over Marseilles in winter. The stench, the sweat, the ugliness: maybe Alexandre was not the stuff of which poets are made. But nor was he a first-class passenger aboard some liner. After three consecutive journeys aboard the Thibet, he now saw his father in his true light: a bar-room raconteur, a grog-shop braggart. There was no truth in any of the things he had said. At the age of twelve, he began to come alive to his responsibility as the head of the household: he realised that in a way his mother had determined that he should live life for them both.

That he would do what she had never dared do, because of her womanhood, and never been able to do, for want of opportunity. Housebound, she shared, at every port of call, his amazement, joy, resentment, suffering and judgement. She demanded but one undertaking of him: that he follow the prompting of his heart, not the calculation of his interest.

An old hangover from Catholicism, no doubt. From then on he would eke out every sou of his pay so as to take back the greatest possible sum to her. This he did from the moment he transferred to the Messageries Maritimes line where his good references earned him a place aboard the Ville de la Ciotat as a trainee helmsman on 45 francs a month.

To him that was a fortune. To Marie, it was worth all the nuggets in California, for quite apart from the fact that these tiny sums helped to restore the balance of her hugely overspent budget, she saw them as a token of priceless filial love.

Alexandre wanted a close look at them. He passed them tobacco. Got to talk with them. They were not wild beasts: unfortunates, rather. At least so they seemed to him. Criminals to be sure. But were not those who, from the comfort of their offices, reduced human beings to such abject degradation criminals also? When he got home, Marie was quite of this opinion. It was there, on Nou island, that he chanced to hear a reference to Louise Michel.

During her time of servitude, she had conceived the ludicrous notion of setting up schools for the Kanaks out in the bush. By then some of these savages had achieved baccalaureate level. A funny sort of a woman. Pity she was an anarchist. Marie might be entitled to a report about this as well. On the subject of anarchy she embroidered with thread a golden legend of unselfishness, liberty and fraternity, which Joseph came along and spoiled with his slurred assertions that folk who drink only water are not to be trusted.

Alexandre left the Ville de la Ciotat for the Alix. Off the Syrian coast, the Alix was holed by a freighter and sank. The whole crew was saved, including the apprentice, who had not had time to feel afraid. What struck him most about the episode was a bonus of francs. For Marie, of course. After that, it was the Suzanne-et-Marie.

But not for long. Indeed Jules Verne had overlooked one other essential feature of shipboard life. At no time had the prim novelist dwelt upon the morals of sailors. Alexandre resisted. The amateur invert swung a punch at him. Alexandre pounced on him and suffered the public humiliation of defeat.

He resolved to be avenged, clambered on to the roof of a shed and lay in wait for his tormentor, clutching a cobblestone. By some stroke of good luck, the target failed to show. His honour was safe. But the episode cost him his job. He had his work cut out to restrain Marie from heading out to avenge him. In any case, Marie had plenty on her plate. Her pleading and cajoling had succeeded in extracting a further sum of money from her parents—her last. Some weeks later, old man Berthou passed away.

Marie was desolated by this: her debts had been cleared completely, the bakery sold off and a grocery-hardware shop purchased in the rue Dragon: but here was her mother parading the streets like some down and out. Alexandre was entitled to inspect and be shown around the new premises. It occurred to him that, with no more dough to knead, his father would be less of a daunting prospect to customers among the green beans and vegetables.

As for himself, this was not for him: it would undoubtedly be a delicate task to coexist with Papa Jacob. So he set off again. During a further outward journey to Australia, the attempts at sodomy began again. Should he complain to the captain? That sort of carry-on was so commonplace in those days that most of the officers preferred to turn a blind eye to it.

They thought him a bit of a wally. Shipboard life became hell. He was forced into the worst drudgery. In Sydney, on an impulse and with two sous in his pocket, he jumped ship.

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