Samuel Beckett

Mercier and Camier

The Journey of Mercier and Camier is one I can tell, if I will, for I was with them all the time. Physically it was fairly easy, without seas or frontiers to be crossed, through regions untormented on the whole, if desolate in parts. Mercier and Camier did not remove from home, they they had great good fortune. They did not have to face, with greater or less success, outlandish ways, tongues, laws, skies, foods, in surroundings little resembling those to which first childhood, than boyhood, than manhood had inured them. The weather, though often inclement (but they knew no better), never exceed the limits of the temperate, that is soy of what could still be borne, without danger if not without discomfort, by the average native fittingly clad and shod. With regard to money, if it did not run to first class transport or the palatial hotel, still there was enough to keep them going, to and fro, without recourse to alms. It may be said therefore that in this respect too they were fortunate, up to a point. They had to struggle, but less than many must, less perhaps than most of those who venture forth, driven by a need now clear and now obscure. They had consulted together at length, before embarking on this journey, weighing with all the calm at their command what benefits they might hope from it, what ills apprehend, maintaining turn about the dark side and the rosy. The only certitude they gained from these debated was that of not launching out, into the unknown.

translated by the author from French, London, Pan. 1988  

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