Confessions of a Young Man

George Moore

EBook of Confessions of a Young Man, by George Moore

???The Project Gutenberg EBook of Confessions of a Young Man, by George Moore This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: Confessions of a Young Man
Author: George Moore
Release Date: May 6, 2004 [EBook #12278]
Language: English with French
Character set encoding: UTF-8

Produced by Jon Ingram, David Cavanagh and Distributed Proofreaders


Edited and Annotated by GEORGE MOORE, 1904,

Clifford's Inn--1904

L'?¢me de l'ancien ?‰gyptien s'??veillait en moi quand mourut ma jeunesse, et j'??tais inspir?? de conserver mon pass??, son esprit et sa forme, dans l'art.
Alors trempant le pinceau dans ma m??moire, j'ai peint ses joues pour qu'elles prissent l'exacte ressemblance de la vie, et j'ai envelopp?? le mort dans les plus fins linceuls. Rhamen?¨s le second n'a pas re?§u des soins plus pieux! Que ce livre soit aussi durable que sa pyramide!
Votre nom, cher ami, je voudrais l'inscrire ici comme ??pitaphe, car vous ?ates mon plus jeune et mon plus cher ami; et il se trouve en vous tout ce qui est gracieux et subtil dans ces mornes ann??es qui s'??gouttent dans le vase du vingti?¨me si?¨cle.


Dear little book, what shall I say about thee? Belated offspring of mine, out of print for twenty years, what shall I say in praise of thee? For twenty years I have only seen thee in French, and in this English text thou comest to me like an old love, at once a surprise and a recollection. Dear little book, I would say nothing about thee if I could help it, but a publisher pleads, and "No" is a churlish word. So for him I will say that I like thy prattle; that while travelling in a railway carriage on my way to the country of "Esther Waters," I passed my station by, and had to hire a carriage and drive across the downs.
Like a learned Abb?? I delighted in the confessions of this young man, a na?ˉf young man, a little vicious in his na?ˉvet??, who says that his soul must have been dipped in Lethe so deeply that he came into the world without remembrance of previous existence. He can find no other explanation for the fact that the world always seems to him more new, more wonderful than it did to anyone he ever met on his faring; every wayside acquaintance seemed old to this amazing young man, and himself seemed to himself the only young thing in the world. Am I imitating the style of these early writings? A man of letters who would parody his early style is no better than the ancient light-o'-love who wears a wig and reddens her cheeks. I must turn to the book to see how far this is true. The first thing I catch sight of is some French, an astonishing dedication written in the form of an epitaph, an epitaph upon myself, for it appears that part of me was dead even when I wrote "Confessions of a Young Man." The youngest have a past, and this epitaph dedication, printed in capital letters, informs me that I have embalmed my past, that I have wrapped the dead in the finest winding-sheet. It would seem I am a little more difficult to please to-day, for I perceived in the railway train a certain coarseness in its tissue, and here and there a tangled thread. I would have wished for more care, for un peu plus de toilette. There is something pathetic in the loving regard of the middle-aged man for the young man's coat (I will not say winding-sheet, that is a morbidity from which the middle-aged shrink). I would set his coat collar straighter, I would sweep some specks from it. But can I do aught for this youth, does he need my supervision? He was himself, that was his genius; and I sit at gaze. My melancholy is like her's--the ancient light-o'-love of whom I spoke just now, when she sits by the fire in the dusk, a miniature of her past self in her hand.

This edition has not been printed from old plates, no chicanery of that kind: it has been printed from new type, and it was brought about by Walter Pater's evocative letter. (It wasn't, but I like to think that it was). Off and on, his letter was sought for during many years, hunted for through all sorts of portfolios and bookcases, but never
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