The Choice of Life

Georgette Leblanc
The Choice of Life, by Georgette

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Leblanc, Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos
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Title: The Choice of Life
Author: Georgette Leblanc

Release Date: August 26, 2007 [eBook #22411]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos

[Illustration: Georgette Leblanc]

New York Dodd, Mead and Company 1914
Copyright, 1914, by Dodd, Mead and Company Published, March,

Women are ever divided by a miserable distrust, whereas all their
weaknesses intertwined might make for their lives a crown of love and
strength and beauty....
How one of them strove to deliver her unhappy friend, the words which
she spoke to her, the examples which she set before her, the joys which
she offered her: these are what I have tried to record in this book.


Here in the garden, close to the quiet house, I sit thinking of that
strange meeting in the village. A blackbird at regular intervals sings the
same refrain, which is taken up by others in the distance. The lily's
chalice gleams under the blazing sun; and the humbler flowers meekly
droop their heads. White butterflies are everywhere, flitting restlessly
hither and thither. So fierce is the splendour of the day that I cannot
raise my eyes to the summit of the trees; and my quivering lids show
me the whole sky through my lashes.
Thereupon it seems to me that the emotion which bursts from my heart,
like a too-brilliant light, compels me to close the shutters of my brain as
well. In my mind, even as before my eyes, distances are lessened and I
see stretched before me that more or less illusive goal which we would
all fain reach in the desires of our finer selves.
This idea is soothing to me, for, in my eagerness to act, I am tired of
demanding from my reason reasons which it cannot vouchsafe me.
Is there anything definite amid the uncertainty of these blind efforts,
these unaccountable impulses, which have so often, ever since the first
awakening of my unconsciousness, urged me towards other women?
What have I wanted hitherto? What was it that I hoped when I stretched
out my hands to them, when I looked upon their lives, when I searched
their hearts, when at times I changed the very nature of their strivings?
I did not know then; and even now I do not succeed in explaining to
myself the fever that makes my thoughts tingle and burn. I do not
understand, I do not know. How did that dream stand firm amid the
total annihilation of unprofitable illusions? Is there then an element of
reality, a definite truth that encourages me, though I do not discern it?
I see myself going forward recklessly, like a traveller who knows that
there is somewhere a goal and who makes for it blindly, with the same
assurance as though the goal stood bright and luminous on a

My only apology for these continual excursions is that I lay claim to no
rigidity of purpose; and I should almost be ashamed to come with
principles and axioms to those whom I am carrying away. Then why
alter the course of their destiny? Why appeal to their sympathy and
their confidence? What better lot have I to offer them and what can I
hope for even if they respond? Certainly I wish them fairer and more
perfect, freed from their childish dread of criticism, armed with a
prouder and more personal conception of honour than the code which is
laid upon them, respectful of their life and also encompassing it with
infinite indulgence and kindness. But is not that a wild ideal? In my
memory, I still see them smiling at it, those radiant faces which all my
sermons could not cloud, or which, vainly striving to understand them,
never reflected anything but their crudest and most extravagant
The newcomer with the grave countenance, the new soul divined
beneath a beauty that pleases me, will she at long last teach me how
much is possible and realisable in the vague ideal
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