mardi 21 octobre 2008

Le retour de Don Quixotte (G. K. Chesterton)

Don Quixotte n'était pas fou, puisqu'il ne s'est pas trompé.
Qui le dit? Le bibliothécaire Michael Herne. A qui le di-t-il? A Douglas Murrel, un gentilhomme qui préfère la compagnie un peu marginale, voire folle. Temoin: il sauve un homme des psys, et Herne en et actuellement recherché aussi. Comme de la police. Pourquoi? Parce qu'il a trahi l'arrière-pensée des capitalistes qui avaient collaboré avec les jeunes gentilhommes pour le mettre en pouvoir: le premier litige où il doit juger comme un roi, il décide pour le travailleur syndicaliste John Braintree, amoureux de la soeur de Douglas. Contre les gentilhommes Lord Seawood et Lord Eden:

"In this matter," went on the Arbiter, "we must be careful to distinguish the intellectual principle involved from any emotional differences about the tone and terms of discussion. I will not refer to the language used here by the Leader of the Labour organisation, especially in its reference to myself. But if he states that the Craft should be controlled by those who completely and competently practise it, I have no hesitation in saying that he states the ancient medieval ideal and states it correctly."..."Of course," continued Herne, "it is open to Lord Eden and Lord Seawood to take advantage of this system and present a Masterpiece of this form of manual labour. I do not know whether they would be resuming a craft, with which they were occupied at some time of which I have no record; or whether it would be necessary for them to be entered under articles; and act as two apprentices to some existing labourer. . . ."

Evidemment, les capitalistes en question ne font pas partie des jurandes! Ayant dévoilé ça, il se voit obligé de prendre la fuite. Il a également perdu Mlle Seawood, en faisant allusion au fait que Seawood Abbey était bel et bien une Abbaye - volée de l'abbé ou de l'abesse pendant la réforme. Qui l'aide a fuire? Murrel, qui le qualifie comme Don Quixotte et qui se qualifie soi-même comme Sancho Panza. C'est sur la route assis sur son calèche qu'ils parlent du Chevalier de La Manche:

"They say I am behind the times," said Herne, "and living in the days that Don Quixote dreamed of. They seemed to forget that they themselves are at least three hundred years behind the times and living in the days when Cervantes dreamed of Don Quixote. They are still living in the Renaissance; in what Cervantes naturally regarded as the New Birth. But I say that a baby that is three hundred years old is already getting on in life. It is time he was born again."

"Is he to be born again," asked Murrel, "as a medieval knight-errant?"

"Why not?" asked the other, "if the Renaissance man was born again as an Ancient Greek? Cervantes thought that Romance was dying and that Reason might reasonably take its place. But I say that in our time Reason is dying, in that sense; and it is old age is really less respectable than the old romance. We want to recur to the more simple and direct attack. What we want now is somebody who does believe in tilting at giants."

"And who succeeds in tilting at windmills," answered Murrel.

"Have you ever reflected," said his friend, "what a good thing it would have been if he had smashed the windmills? From what I know now of medieval history, I should say his only mistake was in tilting at the mills instead of the millers. The miller was the middleman of the middle ages. He was the beginning of all the middlemen of the modern ages. His mills were the beginning of all the mills and manufactures that have darkened and degraded modern life. So that even Cervantes, in a way, chose an example against himself. And it's more so with the other examples. Don Quixote set free a lot of captives who were only convicts. Nowadays it's mostly those who have been beggared who are jailed and those who have robbed them who are free. I'm not sure the mistake would be quite so mistaken."

"Don't you think," asked Murrel, "that modern things are too complicated to be dealt with in such a simple way?"

"I think," replied Herne, "that modern things are too complicated to be dealt with except in a simple way."






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