It was the "hour of the aperitif" there were still enough people to fill cafe tables and since Sunday it had been the hour of the German aeroplane. It had come that afternoon, dropped a few bombs "quelques ordures" and sailed away to return next day at the same hour. "You have remarked," explained one of the papers, "that people who are without wit always repeat their jokes."
I only ask in all kindness that the man who wishes at this time to have my books will by no means let them be a hindrance to his own study of the Scriptures, but read them as I read the orders and the ordures of the pope and the books of the sophists.
Voltaire has not inaptly designated him "De l'or encroute de toutes les ordures de son siecle;" but the crust of superstition that enveloped his powerful mind, though it may have dimmed, could not obscure the brightness of his genius. To him, and apparently to him only, among all the inquiring spirits of the time, were known the properties of the concave and convex lens.
He had, in fact, lived in stormy times, agitated by frightful disorders, under Caracalla, under Macrinus, under the astonishing High Priest of Emesa, Elagabalus, and he tranquilly prepared his sermons, his dogmatic writings, his pleadings, his homelies, while the Roman Empire shook on its foundations, while the follies of Asia, while the ordures of paganism were full to the brim.
He cried out to the sky, invoked Lucifer, shouted his contempt of God, calling Him rogue and imbecile, spat upon the communion, endeavored to contaminate with vile ordures a Divinity who he prayed might damn him, the while he declared, to defy Him the more, that He did not exist. Barbey d'Aurevilly approached this psychic state.
For my own part, though I have been forced to hold my nose in picking my way through these ordures of Dryden, I am free to say that I think them far less morally mischievous than that corps-de-ballet literature in which the most animal of the passions is made more temptingly naked by a veil of French gauze.
For even to this present hour we undergo hunger and thirst and nakedness, and are buffeted about, and have no settled abode; and work hard, labouring with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being injuriously spoken of, we entreat; we are made as the ordures of the world, as the sweepings of all things unto this day.
Meanwhile consider it in pledge for what I owe you. But see that you are ready for the reckoning when I present it." With that, I swung on my heel, strode past the big-eyed girl, out of that foul kennel into God's sweet air, followed by the ordures of speech which that knave flung after me. I turned up the street, setting my face towards the mountains, and trudged amain.
A sudden shot rang out, and the bullet, striking the wall immediately above him, brought down a shower of plaster on his head. It had been fired by a demoniac who sat astride the great gates waving his discharged carbine and yelling such ordures of speech as it had never been the most noble Marquis's lot to have stood listening to. Bellecour never flinched.
Some journals, solely occupied with the political bearing of his life, took up his defence, and made loud complaints against his calumny. Manuel, his friend, who edited a vile journal, wrote thus, to console him: "These ordures of calumny, spread abroad at the moment of scrutiny, always end by leaving a dirty stain on those who scatter them.