Friday, October 18, 2013

Many walk their last roads without knowing it

Hans, the husband of the unfortunate woman, had kept his promise all too well. Slowly he had made his way, stopping to contemplate every field, gazing after every bird, watching as the fish in the brook leapt up to catch little flies before the storm. Then he would lurch forward and pick up his pace, at times even breaking into a run; there was something in him that drove him forward, that made his hair stand on end: It was his conscience telling him what a father deserved who betrayed his wife and child, it was the love he still bore for his wife and the fruit of his loins. But then something else held him back, something stronger than the first thing: his fear of men, his fear of the devil, and his love of all the devil could take from him. Then he walked more slowly again, slowly as a man walking his last road to the gallows. And perhaps he really was walking toward the place where his life would end; many walk their last roads without knowing it, and if they did, how differently they might walk there.
— from The Black Spider, by Jeremias Gotthelf.

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