“CONSUELO, CONSUELO, I’m bored! I’m bored to death. I can’t sit in an armchair all day, or in a café. I have legs, I need to walk, to walk . . .”
“I know, Tonio, cities make you sick to your stomach. You love your fellowmen for their work. You don’t understood what we call the sweetness of life, those exquisite moments of sharing nothing more than good or bad weather. Unfortunately for me, and for you too sometimes, you’re the kind of man who is constantly in need of struggle, conquest. Leave, then. Leave.”
I sensed that Tonio was suffering for all mankind, that in some way he wanted to make them better. He was a man who chose his own destiny, but he had to pay a high price for his freedom, and he knew it. There were no more long dinners now, no more evenings of dancing, no more losing ourselves in parties. Not one spare second was granted him, for something almost divine had made him a kind of seed, destined to sow a better race of men on the earth. He had to be helped in his struggles, in the painful process of giving birth to himself and to his books, amid all the everyday cares that harried him and among all those who had not yet perceived that something in his heart was speaking with God.
I was still very young then, and I didn’t fully understand all these things. I observed my husband the way one watches a great tree grow, without ever being conscious of its transformation. I touched him as if I were touching a tree in his garden, a tree in whose shadow I would have liked, much later, to fall into my final sleep. I was used to my tree’s miracles. His detachment from material things had almost become natural to me. And we lived in expectation of discovering a better world that would not be unattainable.
—Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry, The Tale of the Rose, p. 137