Title: The Gospel of the Hour
Author: Paul Berthelot
Date: 1912
Source: Retrieved on August 6, 2009 from dodgytoad.6te.net
Notes: From Temps Nouveaux No. 54, Paris, 1912. Translated from the French by Michael Shreve.

      Chapter 1

      Chapter 2

      Chapter 3

      Chapter 4

      Chapter 5

      Chapter 6

      Chapter 7

      Chapter 8

      Chapter 9

      Chapter 10

      Biography of the Author

Chapter 1

  1. I saw, I listened to a man — who preached in the fields, towns and cities.

  2. And he said: ‘I am not the one who will signal the Hour, but I’ve come to announce the coming Hour.

  3. ‘He who will signal the Hour is coming after me — he is greater than I, he is stronger than I.

  4. ‘His name is PEOPLE — and right now he is sleeping.

  5. ‘But I know he is going to awake — and it’s then that he will signal the Hour.

  6. ‘He will not come to preach harmless words — his sign will be blood and fire.

  7. ‘He will cut the throats of the sterile cow — and the bad grain will be cast into the fire.

  8. ‘Then many things will be changed, from root to branch — and the first will be mixed up with the last.

  9. ‘Fortunate are those who will be ready at that time — for the day of their reign will have come.

  10. ‘Fortunate the poor, for they will have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Fortunate the servants, for they will taste the fresh air of freedom.

  11. ‘Fortunate those who are hungry now, for they will be filled. Fortunate those who cry today, for they will have reason to laugh.

  12. ‘But unfortunate will be those who are not ready — for they will groan, ‘It’s too late! It’s too late!’

  13. ‘And some will want to pretend — and try to say: Here I am, I’m ready.

  14. ‘But their voice will be shut up in their mouth — and Death will pass onto them.

  15. ‘Then unfortunate will be the rich, for they will lose everything. Unfortunate those who command, for no one will obey them.

  16. ‘Unfortunate those who stuff themselves to excess, for they will lack even the necessities. Unfortunate above all those who are laughing now, for they will have reason to cry.

  17. ‘So I say to you: Prepare yourselves today, for now the Hour is approaching.

  18. ‘So that your heart not tremble in your breast — and your mind not be troubled.

  19. ‘But that you will rejoice with happiness — and you will know what you have to do.

  20. ‘First unbind yourself from personal riches — and don’t dream of working for your profit alone.

  21. ‘For he who seeks his personal fortune will lose it — and he who renounces it will find himself rich.

  22. ‘For he who wants to be rich will become the enemy of all — and he who says, ‘I have nothing’ will be rich with everything in common.

  23. ‘He who wants to work for his profit alone — can do nothing good or lasting.

  24. ‘He doesn’t dare plant a tree or build a house — because many others will enjoy it after him, perhaps tomorrow.

  25. ‘But he who works for all — he benefits from the work of all.

  26. ‘For at that time, nothing will belong to anyone — but all will belong to all.

  27. ‘Suppress thoughts of pride and scorn as well — and of domination over your fellowmen.

  28. ‘For he who wants to be seated in the first place will be pushed back to the last and mixed with the crowd.

  29. ‘And he who wants to be raised above others and command will experience the insult of refusal to obey.

  30. ‘Because at that time no one will obey men anymore — but only reason alone.’

  31. Thus this man spoke — and the people gathered around him;

  32. And they asked, ‘What is his name, what is his country, and what is this Hour he speaks about?’

  33. And he said, ‘My name is: Someone; my country: the Earth; and the Hour is that of settling the accounts.’

Chapter 2

  1. When he was passing through a village, the peasants gathered around him.

  2. And they said to him, ‘You who announce the Hour — tell us what we should then.’

  3. And he told them, ‘When the Hour sounds — come together and rejoice together.

  4. ‘Kill the fat pork and the fat cow — and get the good wine from the cellar.

  5. ‘And set a large table in the common house — and sit down and enjoy yourselves all together.

  6. ‘That whoever lives in his house remain there — and whoever lives in a rented house no longer pay rent.

  7. And whoever has no house summon the others and say to them: Help me build my house.

  8. ‘That whoever has a field cultivate it, whoever has an occupation work at it — that the bee give as much as he can of wax and honey.

  9. ‘And in the Common House you will have two books wherein each shall come to write:

  10. ‘In the first, what he can give — in the second, of what he has need.

  11. ‘And give to each what he needs, as far as possible — without considering what he can supply.

  12. ‘For the strong don’t get credit for being strong — nor do the weak get blamed for being weak;

  13. ‘Nor do the skillful get credit for being skillful — nor are the clumsy at fault for being so.

  14. ‘But each ought to be judged according to his own goodwill — who has done what he can is even with all.

  15. ‘These things have already been said, but very few of them have been understood — Peace on earth to men of goodwill.

  16. ‘And if someone is accused of not doing what he can — or of asking for more than he needs,

  17. ‘Let all you mature men and women come together and examine the case with benevolence and charity.

  18. ‘And ask him if he wants to give his reasons for acting like that.

  19. ‘And if he can’t give any, let him alone — but give him only what is necessary.

  20. ‘But if he pretends to have the right to be idle — and to live at the expense of others;

  21. ‘Chase him away and let him not come back, as it was said: The idle shall go live elsewhere.’

  22. So the peasants said to him, ‘But our town doesn’t supply everything we need,

  23. ‘We need clothes and iron tools — and things that they make only in the city.’

  24. So he asked them, ‘Do you eat all the wheat that you harvest, all the oil that make?’

  25. They answered, ‘No, every year we sell so many sacks of wheat and so many measures of oil.’

  26. So he told them, ‘Therefore you will write to them in the city: Our town can dispose of this wheat and this oil.

  27. ‘And you need this and that, and we will make an arrangement.

  28. ‘And those from the city will make it possible to give you what you need — seeing that you do what you can to the best of your ability.

  29. ‘But in that time many men and women will come to you who will not want to stay in the city.

  30. ‘Some with their vain and sterile speech — others wanting to work with you.

  31. ‘But you will test them according to the fruits of their labor — observing what their works are.

  32. ‘And judging each not by what they say — but by what they do.’

  33. And the peasants talked among themselves — about this Hour that he announced.

Chapter 3

  1. While crossing a field he saw a man working with a heavy hoe.

  2. And this man had been laboring for three days — and the field was still not prepared.

  3. So he said to him, ‘Why not work with a plow? Your field would already be ready.’

  4. But the man answered, ‘My field is so small and I am so poor that I can’t work with a plow.’

  5. Now, there were also many other peasants there laboring with hoes;

  6. But some who were richer were working with plows.

  7. And he asked them, ‘Why do you work with this heavy old plow and not with the castle’s big one?’

  8. They answered him, ‘Our fields are so small and we are so poor that we can’t rent the castle’s.’

  9. So he told them, ‘When the Hour sounds, break down these walls.’

  10. ‘Fill in these ditches, uproot the hedges — and make one single field;

  11. ‘And take the big plow from the castle’s shed — and work the big field one time only.

  12. ‘And so a few of you will do the work of all — with less trouble.

  13. ‘And the others will not lack useful work — for there will be much to do.’

  14. But the peasants asked him, ‘And what will the master of the castle say?’

  15. And he said to them, ‘When the master of the castle hears the sounding of the Hour — his tongue will dry up in his mouth.

  16. ‘If he has an evil heart, he will try to flee — but he won’t go far.

  17. ‘If he is wise and can accept the inevitable — he will open his doors and lower the bridge of the moat.

  18. ‘He will tell his servants, ‘Go, I no longer have servants — I no longer pay wages.

  19. ‘Whoever wants to stay with me, stay, whoever wants to go his way, go — as for me, I am going to work at what I know and what I can.’

  20. ‘But unfortunate the man swollen with pride — for the lowest of his lackeys will be his equal.’

  21. And he told them this ‘parable’: ‘There was a poor man who was working — in the vineyard of a hard-hearted rich man.

  22. ‘And this rich man mistreated the poor man — calling him lazy and making his slaves beat him.

  23. ‘But the poor man accepted everything with resignation saying in his heart: How will I live if my master doesn’t let me work in his vineyard?

  24. ‘Now, there came an educated man who told him and showed him — that the vineyard didn’t belong only to the rich man.

  25. ‘But that winegrower had the same right over it as the rich man — and this right was: to work it and enjoy its fruits.

  26. ‘So the poor man rejoiced and began to eat the fruits of the vine — which he hadn’t dared to do until then.

  27. ‘But the rich man came up and was irate and yelled: Lazy bum! Who permitted you to stop working — and to eat the fruits of my vine?

  28. ‘The poor man answered: The vine is not yours alone — but we both have the same right over it.

  29. ‘If you want to eat its fruits, work it like me — for you have no other right than that, which is also mine.

  30. ‘Then the rich man became angry and said to his slaves: Whip this insolent bastard until he’s unconscious!

  31. ‘But don’t kill him — because I need someone to work my vineyard instead of me.

  32. ‘But the poor man seized his hoe and struck the rich man over the head — and he who was called master fell dead and his slaves fled in fear.

  33. ‘Now, this was just as well because for him who commands it is less bitter to die than to become equal to his serf.’

Chapter 4

  1. Towards evening he entered the city — and the craftsmen gathered around him.

  2. Now, he saw one who seemed very weary — and who walked barefoot in the mud.

  3. He asked him, ‘What is your trade?’ — and the craftsman answered, ‘I work ten hours a day making shoes.’

  4. And he saw a woman whose eyes were red — who was dressed in mended rags.

  5. He asked her, ‘And you, what do your do?’ — She answered, ‘Day and night I sew for the big clothes manufacturers.’

  6. Then he said to them, ‘When the Hour sounds, go from the suburbs to the center of the city;

  7. ‘Open the stores and clothe yourselves without fear — however you want, for your hands have created them.

  8. ‘But not like monkeys that they show in the circus — but how is suitable for reasonable men.’

  9. Now, since night was coming, the people dispersed — but the homeless stayed with him crossing through the streets.

  10. And they went through the large squares and the large avenues — full of monuments and grand palaces.

  11. He asked, ‘Who sleeps in these enormous residences?’ — and they answered, ‘No one,

  12. ‘Because this is a church, that’s a courthouse — this is a government building and that’s a bank.’

  13. So, he sat on a bench near the park and said, ‘Let’s sleep here’ — but they warned him, ‘Friend, it’s forbidden.’

  14. He repeated, ‘The foxes have their burrows and the crows their nests — but a man doesn’t know where to lay his head...

  15. ‘When you finally hear the sounding of the Hour — invade these luxurious districts,

  16. ‘Open these palaces and monuments — and come to live here without fear.

  17. ‘For, it’s fitting that those who are homeless today — then have the most beautiful homes.’

  18. But on the corner a prostitute called to him and said, ‘Come make love to me.’ And she wanted to drag him away.

  19. But he said to her, ‘Your voice sounds false and your face is not sincere — I don’t want this love that you’re selling.’

  20. Then the woman’s mask fell and she groaned, ‘I’m hungry and I have a young son whose father left — he’s hungry too...’

  21. But he asked her, ‘Why don’t you work like the others — to earn your living for yourself and your child?’

  22. She said, ‘Why?! They kicked me out of the factory when I became pregnant — and now I’m not used to working.

  23. ‘And if you knew how they paid women’s work — you wouldn’t say such things to me.

  24. ‘If you don’t want me, let me look for someone else — who will give me something to eat for tomorrow.’

  25. Then he told her, ‘Woman, the Hour is going to sound — when you and your child can live without you selling false love.

  26. ‘And moreover, no one will want false love — for true love will henceforth be free and open.’

  27. — And he stayed there alone and thoughtful on the corner of the street — when an armed man who was watching came up to him and tapped him on the shoulder,

  28. Saying to him, ‘You can’t stand here.’ — But he asked him, ‘And who are you?’

  29. The armed man answered, ‘I am the Night Watchman — and I’m doing my job, obeying the orders they gave me.

  30. ‘Because in these palaces there is enormous wealth — and if thieves entered on my shift, I’d be sorely punished.’

  31. But the man asked, ‘Is this wealth yours — or will they give you some of it?’

  32. The man laughed and said, ‘I have nothing — except a petty wage.’

  33. So the man said, ‘Thus a dog guards the wealth of its master — and he’s paid with a bone and lashing.’

Chapter 5

  1. In the temple there was a ceremony — and a great show of clerics and devotees.

  2. And someone asked him, ‘What will become of them?’ — He answered, ‘What do I know! But they have reason to fear.

  3. ‘For, it is said of them on that day: The Miserere is past, the death tolls are silent.’

  4. But the servant of the temple heard him and cried out, ‘This man blasphemes! Get him away form here!’

  5. And a crowd of clerics and devotees gathered around him — who wanted to chase from the square.

  6. But he said to them, ‘Woe unto you, clerics and devotees, who close earthly paradise to people — who do not enter and let no one enter.

  7. ‘Woe unto you, clerics and devotees, blank headstones, who seem clean on the outside — but on the inside you’re full of vermin and rot.

  8. ‘Woe unto you, clerics and devotees, who shake up the earth and sea to make converts — and who make them ten times more perverse than you yourselves.

  9. ‘Woe unto you, clerics and devotees, who devour the assets of widows and orphans — on the pretext of prayers and works of piety.

  10. ‘Woe unto you, clerics and devotees, who preach poverty and abstinence — and who amass riches and are greedy for honors and power!’

  11. Then a politician said to him, ‘Man, saying this you offend us as well!’

  12. But he answered, ‘Woe unto you too, lawmakers and moralists — you burden the world with heavy laws that don’t affect you at all.

  13. ‘Woe unto you who erect statues to those whom your fathers killed — and you who continue to kill those who say same the same things:

  14. ‘For, you will be held accountable for all the blood spilt — to maintain your power.

  15. ‘Of all who came to herald the truth — and whom you killed, burnt, strangled, beheaded, shot,

  16. ‘Of all those who died in prisons — under the Cayenne sun or in the Siberian snow.

  17. ‘Of all the blood and all the pain — you, I say, will be held accountable before this generation has passed!’

  18. And the people grouped around him, murmuring, ‘He’s too bold, he won’t talk for long.’

  19. But he told them this parable: A dying man left a rich orchard as an inheritance for his sons.

  20. ‘Now, the younger of his sons knew how to read and write — but was full of cunning and malice.

  21. ‘The other was simple and good, but had been able to learn nothing — for he worked constantly, every day doing his brother’s work as well as his own.

  22. ‘So, when the father died, the younger took a paper and wrote a bunch of foolishness and absurdity on it.

  23. ‘And presenting it to the one who didn’t know how to read, he said: This paper is the last will and testament of our father.

  24. ‘Here’s what he enjoined us to do: Me, I have to take care of the books, say prayers — and do mysterious things that you’re too simple to understand.

  25. ‘And you, you have to cultivate the orchard, trim the trees — get rid of the waste and graft the wild stock;

  26. ‘And you will pick the fruits when they are ripe, but you won’t eat them — because they are for our father who is dead, and this is a sacred mystery.

  27. ‘The uneducated one believed and obeyed like this for a long time — but one day he learned to read.

  28. ‘And he read the so-called testament of the father — and saw that it was only a bunch of foolishness that his brother had invented.

  29. ‘And he watched his brother and surprised him — while he was eating alone the fruits of the orchard.

  30. ‘And he was throwing away everything he couldn’t keep — so that his imposture wouldn’t be discovered.

  31. ‘So, he became outraged in his heart against his impostor brother — and violently chased him far from the orchard.’

  32. Now, the clerics and the politicians, hearing this, became enraged — for truth is a cruel thorn.

  33. And they began to ask him insidious questions — to catch him doing or saying something against the law and have him killed.

Chapter 6

  1. A law student came to him and asked, ‘Master, should we respect the Law?’

  2. But he answered, ‘Young snake — why do you call me master?

  3. ‘Truthfully there are no disciples nor masters — for the master himself can learn much from his own disciple.

  4. ‘As for respecting the Law, listen: Respect yourself, that’s enough, now as always.’

  5. Now, he was passing a troop of army recruits — and a man tried to tempt him asking,

  6. ‘Must the youth agree to be soldiers — or should they refuse the service and flee?’

  7. He answered, ‘Rotten plank, they might mistake you for a man, but you are a trap!

  8. ‘I come to say what must be done today — I announce the coming Hour so that everyone can be prepared.

  9. ‘Then those who are ready will know what they have to do — where they have to be.’

  10. But one of those who were dressed like everyone else — to not arouse suspicion asked him,

  11. ‘You who speaks so wisely, what do you suggest we do — if war breaks out between countries?’

  12. He told him, ‘Sinister mask, who am I to give advice? I have no country to defend: my country is not yet part of this world.

  13. ‘But know that if war even just threatens — believe that at that sound he who will signal the Hour will awaken.

  14. ‘And who can say what will happen from one country to another — when men hear the Hour sound?’

  15. And another asked him, ‘Must we pay taxes to the State?’ — He answered, ‘People with plugged up ears.

  16. ‘Now it’s been almost two thousand years since I told you: Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

  17. ‘Render the coins struck in his likeness — and the bills graven in his name, you won’t be losing much.’

  18. ‘Because all these things won’t be worth much to you — when the Hour of accounts has sounded!

  19. ‘Furthermore, today the poor pay taxes without wanting or being able to — and as for the rich: let the thieves make their own arrangements!’

  20. But another man asked him, ‘You say that the rich are thieves — but isn’t this coat that I bought mine?’

  21. And he answered, ‘What do I know? You alone know it in the depths of your conscience.

  22. ‘What you need to live and work, that is legitimately yours — for, need alone justifies possession.

  23. ‘But how many times have you heard — that he who keeps what he doesn’t need, steals what he needs?

  24. ‘Go away! When the Hour I announce has sounded — you will ask no one if the coat is yours.’

  25. And a woman came up to him and asked, ‘Mustn’t the children pay with love for the life they have been given?’

  26. But he answered, ‘The life you have given them — is it really worth them thanking you for it?’

  27. And he added, ‘You see this young girl riddled with sores — her life is nothing but a dreadful torment and an incessant martyrdom;

  28. ‘She owes this happy life to her mother who from the time of her conception tried to free her with illegal remedies.

  29. ‘So, today this young girl knows all this — Maybe to pay with love for a life like this that they have given her?

  30. ‘When the Hour has sounded there will be no more father and son according to the flesh — but father and son will earn their names by their works.’

  31. And everyone was confused and angry because of what he was saying — but they didn’t know how to answer him.

  32. And they dared to offend him publicly because of the crowd — that pressed in around him, eager to hear him.

  33. But they said amongst themselves, ‘This man blasphemes everything that’s most sacred.’ And they thought at least of bringing him down and hushing him up.

Chapter 7

  1. However, the words that he said spread throughout the city — and the students and scholars listened attentively.

  2. And one of them said, ‘The Hour that you announce to us — it’s Science and nothing else that will signal it.’

  3. But he said, ‘Your Science is a very beautiful light no doubt — but they have hidden it deeply away.

  4. ‘For, there are millions of brains worthy of knowing and helping in its progress — but they groan in ignorance.

  5. ‘Because they have bent them since their tender youth under wearying and mechanical burdens.’

  6. Another then said, ‘We must spread primary education — and through tests make higher education accessible to all.’

  7. But he said, ‘The education that you impose on children — is good for making them sick of learning anything forevermore;

  8. ‘For, everything is offensive to logic and healthy reason — starting with spelling and grammar.

  9. ‘And you require that a child prove himself through tests to be submitted to all this — before allowing him to tackle real science.’

  10. Now one headmaster said, ‘But mustn’t they learn the rules — to speak and write correctly?’

  11. But he said to them, ‘This man seems like a June bug at the end of a string — always turning in the same circle.

  12. ‘What indeed is it to write and speak correctly for him? — unless according to the rules that he teaches?’

  13. But a scholar said to him, ‘Mustn’t we piously preserve — the customs and traditions of our fathers?’

  14. He answered, ‘Embalm dead things, let them rot in peace — and don’t clutter us with mummies.’

  15. But a lawmaker came to him and said, ‘It’s true that the laws are often unjust — must we make new ones?’

  16. He said, ‘Every law that you make is pregnant with crimes — which wouldn’t exist without them.

  17. ‘For, the law pretends to prevent the effect that is produced — whose cause it cannot touch.

  18. ‘Search for the causes of offenses and crimes and destroy them — you will no longer need laws or punishments.’

  19. Then a moralist said to him, ‘Man suffers because he is eager for pleasure — and his nature tends to evil.’

  20. But he said, ‘His nature tends to live, to seek happiness and flee from suffering — and that is not evil.

  21. ‘Those who teach the contrary are blind guides — powerless to fight against the universal suffering.

  22. ‘Whoever denies pleasure so that man be willing to renounce it — glorifies suffering so that he resign to it, which is excellent for some.’

  23. But the moralist said, ‘According to you, then, there is no Good or Evil?’ He answered, ‘Come down from the clouds to earth.

  24. ‘In truth I tell you: Everything that is pleasurable is good — and everything that is painful is evil.

  25. ‘It is good to live intensely, satisfying all your needs, and to be in harmony with your fellowmen — because all this is pleasure and joy.

  26. ‘It is evil to waste away in the dark of a prison, mortifying the flesh, and to live in discord with other men — because all this is sadness and pain.

  27. ‘It is good to be happy; it is evil to suffer — every other law is only a lie.

  28. ‘What science ought to teach man is what is really good — and what is in the bad sense only the appearance of good.

  29. ‘For, men often fool themselves, mistaking poison for a productive remedy — and prepare themselves for a great pain instead of a little pleasure.

  30. ‘Or they seek happiness in ways that they know won’t lead there — and all this because that are ignorant.

  31. ‘But the time will come, I’m announcing it to you — when everyone will demand his share of knowledge and his share of happiness,

  32. ‘And when the prophets of resignation and death will be taken for their word and severely tried.

  33. ‘For, if it is wise to resign to inescapable evil — it is criminal and crazy to accept without rebelling the evil that can be combated.’

Chapter 8

  1. Then the factory workmen came to ask him, ‘And us, what will we do when the Hour sounds?’

  2. He said to them, ‘First rejoice, for the time of slavery will have passed — and the days of freedom will have come.’

  3. But they asked, ‘And then who will do everything we do now — and the other necessary things?’

  4. He said, ‘When things will be needed — you will certainly have to return to the factories and plants.

  5. ‘But everyone who is out of work today or employed in some useless and bad work — should return with you.

  6. ‘And you will choose the most expert and the most skilled in each branch — to study the conditions and needs of things.

  7. ‘In order to obtain the best possible results — with the least amount of labor;

  8. ‘For in those times, since no one will want to lack anything — it will be necessary to produce a lot more than today,

  9. ‘Manufacturing nothing of bad quality nor of false luxury — with which the merchants attract the naïve.

  10. ‘But making everything for the common good — for deceit will be fruitless and unforgivable.

  11. ‘The shoemaker sometimes puts bad leather on shoes — because times are hard and he’s afraid of not being paid;

  12. ‘The mason sometimes hides the frost-cracked stone in the mortar — because he is weary and his master hurries him;

  13. ‘But if, on the other hand, they work for themselves — they do the work with care and solidity because why deceive yourself?!

  14. ‘Likewise, everything will be made with attention and taste — for no one will be forced to do anything against his will.

  15. ‘But each will choose his job according to his aptitudes and forces — for the name of parasite will be detested.

  16. ‘As for those who pretend to live idly at the expense of others — you will chase them away from you.

  17. ‘You will no longer let anyone set up business — nor rent out land, house, tool or machine.

  18. ‘For no one will need to sell or rent what is needed — and only what is needed is legitimately yours.

  19. ‘If, then, anyone offers to rent or sell anything — anyone will have the right to take it if there is need.

  20. ‘You also have to know what you need — among things that come from the fields.

  21. ‘And what the people of the country need — among the things that you manufacture.

  22. ‘In order that neither the ones nor the others lack necessities — but all live happily and in good harmony.

  23. ‘And you won’t know how to do all these things unless you are united — to study and measure beforehand your needs and strengths.

  24. ‘So prepare yourselves today for all these things — to know what you will have to do when the moment comes.

  25. ‘For if you do not think of it in time, famine will come upon you — and this will be a great calamity.

  26. ‘But if that happens, don’t lose courage — but flee the cities and go live in the country.

  27. ‘For all food comes from the land — and working the land is the surest security.’

  28. Then someone asked him, ‘Tell us how it will work in those times: the post office and communication and the railroads and navigation.

  29. ‘And how bridges will be built, tunnels dug — machines and ships constructed?’

  30. He answered, ‘How will you do all these things and many others besides — in truth I know nothing about it.

  31. ‘And if I knew and told you — you would still not understand.

  32. ‘But what I do know is that man will not renounce anything useful — so that he will use more than ever.

  33. ‘So he will have to carry them out in accord with the new forms of life — and it is in this that he has to trust.’

Chapter 9

  1. When those who loved him were gathered around him he told them, ‘The Hour that I announce is the Hour of life,

  2. ‘When men will stop fighting one another and will work together — to guarantee the greatest amount of possible happiness to the greatest number of people.’

  3. Now one of them asked him, ‘Wouldn’t it be happiness — simply to live, like men in the golden age?’

  4. He answered, ‘The golden age is not behind us, but before us — and it is called the future society.’

  5. Then another asked, ‘Why has it taken so many centuries — to glimpse this golden age?’

  6. He answered, ‘The future society is like a luxuriant flower — growing in rich soil.

  7. ‘In this place there was once only barren rock — hard granite washed by rains.

  8. ‘But on this granite lichens first vegetated, which were content with little — then among them mosses and hepatica.

  9. ‘And there the first ones held rainwater — and seeds carried by the wind germinated on the rock and grew.

  10. ‘Until the surface of the rock crumbled and was covered with sand and soil — rich enough to feed the luxuriant flower.

  11. ‘Thus the future Society is possible only thanks to former forms — that have prepared the land where it will grow.’

  12. But someone then spoke to test him, ‘The future Society will be born of violence.’

  13. He said, ‘No woman gives birth without effort — but the child is born when its Hour has come.

  14. ‘The future Society is like a chick in its shell — it has to break it violently, or else it won’t be able to come out.

  15. ‘But it is not the violence that has given birth to the chick — like the seed and the food that was in the egg.

  16. ‘It is thanks to the shell that it could develop and get strong — but it is now an obstacle to the new form of life.

  17. ‘That’s why it breaks the shell that suffocates it — and scatters the useless debris.’

  18. He also said, ‘The future Society is again like a great river — when it starts to swell after the rains.

  19. ‘The trees and creepers of the islands obstruct its course — and sand forms barricades across its bed.

  20. ‘Then the water piles up behind this obstacle that stops it — and it seems that the river stops flowing.

  21. ‘But all of a sudden the dyke collapses, the trees break, the sand disperses — and the waters rush forth with impetuous violence.

  22. ‘And this violence is necessary because it can’t stop flowing — and it’s vain to try to stop the great waters.

  23. ‘But it’s not the violence that made the river grow and swell — but the great rains that fell and the barricade itself.’

  24. Then the listeners understood and pressed around him. And he continued to speak to them in parables:

  25. ‘But it happens that the waters break the barricade with violence — overflow their bed and ravage the fields and houses of men.

  26. ‘That’s why those who know how to foresee get axes and pitchforks — watching out that nothing obstruct the river’s course.

  27. ‘And if despite everything a barricade is formed, they rush to destroy it — in any way at all, with no eye to the danger.

  28. ‘And some of them die, but is it not better to die — than to live deprived of everything and under constant threat?

  29. ‘In truth I tell you: get yourselves everything you need — to not be taken by surprise when the Hour sounds.’

  30. And the listeners said, ‘He’s right. We live deprived of everything and under constant threat.

  31. ‘It’s better to confront everything than to live like this because we only have our chains to lose — and everything to gain.’

  32. And they dispersed to announce these things — and advise their brothers to prepare themselves for when the Hour comes.

  33. But someone denounced him saying, ‘He preaches violence and disorder.’ And those in power resolved to put him to death.

Chapter 10

  1. So, he saw that suspicious men were following him and spying on him — and he told those who stayed around him,

  2. ‘Now that my Hour is approaching I will speak no more to you because I am going to die — but announce what I have said throughout the land.

  3. ‘And to test men if they ask you what you are announcing — tell them: I announce anarchy.

  4. ‘And reject whoever is scared of this word — for a firm and unshakeable mind is not afraid of a word.

  5. ‘But now withdraw because one victim is enough.’ And they withdrew to do as he had said.

  6. And when he was alone a man came up to him and said with feigned gentleness, ‘Come with me, my master wishes to speak to you.’

  7. He thought, ‘I’m done for, but everything I had to say is said.’ And he followed the man to his master’s house.

  8. And when they entered, they seized him brutally and threw him in prison — laughing at him and at what he had announced.

  9. And the following day they brought him before a special court — made up of judges told to condemn him.

  10. And false witnesses came to accuse him of a hundred imaginary crimes — some absurd, others detestable.

  11. And the judges were hypocritically outraged against him — and in the crowd many said: He’s really a serious criminal.’

  12. But he, knowing he was condemned in advance, remained silent — and they sentenced him to death.

  13. And they threw him on death row — and staying alone, he meditated.

  14. Then he remembered an old woman who was all alone, far from there — and whose heart would be broken learning of his death.

  15. And he saw again a sweet little house in the mountains — surrounded by a nice, quiet garden,

  16. Where she whom he loved had told him, ‘I love you’, to hold him back — but whom he had fled without even kissing her,

  17. To announce the Hour in the country, towns and cities — knowing beforehand what would happen and how it would finish.

  18. For man does not do what he wants — but what the power of things imposes on him.

  19. And a cruel anguish came over him — and it was like the throes of death.

  20. But after he had wept bitterly over himself and those he loved — his spirit was calmed and his heart became quiet.

  21. And he thought, ‘Now everything is going to be accomplished — as the logic of things ordains and as I have foreseen.

  22. ‘As the fig tree gives only figs and no other fruits — he who feels it in himself to speak the truth can’t stay silent,

  23. ‘Nor be bound to any other thing but to announce it and publish it — without worrying about the dangers it incurs.

  24. ‘What seems to be happiness to others is to him dull and unattractive — he wouldn’t know how to take pleasure in it.

  25. ‘But his happiness is to follow the inclination of his spirit — even though he knows that he is preparing his ruin.

  26. ‘For the voice that announces menacing truths — disturbs and upsets the powerful, even from the bottom of death row.

  27. ‘If they can’t reduce it to silence, they suffocate it in blood — in order not to hear it and to be able to think themselves safe.

  28. ‘But this blood that they spill is a testimony they render of the truth — and the death of him who spoke becomes the pledge of his word.

  29. ‘Therefore, it is good that I die now that I have said everything that I had to say — so that my blood may seal my word.

  30. ‘And that those who have heard me think: He spoke the truth, seeing that those whom truth offends killed him to keep him quiet.’

  31. Having spoken thus, he dreamed of the wonderful order of things — and awaited his punishment with calmness and steadfastness.

  32. And the following day at sunrise they killed him — and threw his body in a mass grave.

  33. And because they killed him, they thought they had silenced his voice — but they are soon going to learn of their mistake.

Biography of the Author

Paul Berthelot, also known under the pseudonym Marcelo Verema among the Esperantists and Anarchists, appeared to us in Rio de Janeiro four years ago, coming from Montevideo, the verda stela on his hat.

His simplicity, sobriety, sometimes brutal frankness, intelligence, wide learning, especially in chemistry, botany and physiology, his knowledge of anarchy and his conversational charm soon earned him the esteem of his comrades and the admiration of many others.

He rarely spoke about himself. I think he was born in Paris; at least he was studying medicine there when he had to leave France to avoid the barracks, not having the physical strength to support a fight that he did, however, believe useful.

He then traveled a great deal. Orphaned a long time before, his legal guardian had mismanaged his inheritance and he gave up the rest of it to an elderly aunt. To live in a foreign country he became a printer. In Rio he got a position as a French and Esperanto professor at the Berlitz Academy, then director of the Petropolis branch, a summer residence of aristocrats and diplomats. He had to leave this place because of antimilitary propaganda.

After a period of destitution he was going to be able to return to Europe when a woman, a teacher for the Indians, spoke to him about the customs, qualities and gentleness of her savage students, as well as of the fertility of the land they lived on.

And so in agreement with a group of friends he decided to go study the primitives and their lands. Moreover, wouldn’t it be possible to take advantage of their communist tendencies to win their support and establish in their regions a free colony that would be able to remain open to those persecuted by oppressive regimes?

First he went to Leopoldina in the State of Goiás on the Araguaia River, a fifteen-day journey from Sãu Paulo. A comrade who went with him left him a few months afterwards. Later, after he had studied the Indians and learned their language, while collaborating with friendly newspapers in Sãu Paulo and writing ‘The Gospel of the Hour’, he continued his voyage to the North, wanting to reach Belém do Pará. He died at Conceição do Araguia in August of 1910, at the age of 30. The report he had written to me was finished, but unfortunately it never arrived. Kropotkin wrote, with regard to Élisée Reclus: ‘Anarchy has, at least, produced a number of characters of exquisite beauty.’ Berthelot was one of them. Like Reclus he was an anarchist to the very core of his being; like him he had none of that hypocrisy of the despot or ambitious. Death made a clean and final break with the hope that he represented for us.

— Neno Vasco