Collapse Volume III, 255–305


Another World


I am a native of Gelderland. Our inheritance had dwindled to a few acres of heather and yellow water. Pine trees lined its borders, quivering and rustling with a metallic sound. The farmhouse had hardly any habitable rooms, and was crumbling, stone by stone, in its solitude. We were a clerical family of old, once numerous, now reduced to my parents, my sister and myself.

My destiny, so dark to begin with, has become as wonderful as I could ever have dreamt of: I have met with those who understand me; they have learnt that which I alone amongst men know. But I suffered for such a long time, I despaired, prey to doubt, to the solitude of the soul, which ended up corroding even absolute certainties.

I came into the world with a unique constitution…