Sunday, December 11, 2016

France, Anatole.  The Shirt” In The Seven Wives of Bluebeard, p. 125-231 (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1924) 231 p. Translated by D.B. Stewart.
On a quest to find a happy man, the king's counselors consult with the Keeper of the King's Library, Monsieur Chaudesaigues. He describes how the eight hundred thousand books that surround him are constantly speaking and all saying different things.

Gentlemen, as a result of listening to this universal clatter I shall go mad, as all those have done who dwelt before me in this hall of innumerable voices, unless they were naturally idiots when they came, like my venerable colleague, Monsieur Froidefond, whom you see sitting opposite me, cataloguing with peaceful ardour. Simple he was born, and simple he remains.... Monsieur Froidefond has a simple mind and a pure soul. He lives catalogically.” (p. 166-7).

The librarian then arrives at the scholarly and logical conclusion that a happy man must be a lucky man.

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