The Torture Garden – Octave Mirbeau (Part 2)

Part two of quotes from ‘The Torture Garden’ by Octave Mirbeau. A couple of swears in these quotes I’m afraid, but we’re not into the torture garden itself yet.. so you needn’t be worried by any imagery!
Also, apologises for the lack of French accents on a couple of words or names, I can’t seem to find out how to do them.

“’For anyone amazed by the anonymity I have jealously guarded during this judicial and painful tale, I’ll say: “My name is of no consequence!.. It is the name of someone who brought considerable suffering on both others and himself – more on himself than others- and who, after many shocks, having descended one day into the depths of human  desire, is trying to recover his soul in solitude and obscurity. Peace on the ashes of his sin.’”

“Twelve years ago, no longer knowing what to do and condemned by a series of misfortunes to the harsh necessity of either hanging myself or throwing myself into the Seine as a final resort, I put myself forward at the parliamentary elections in a department where I knew no-one and had never before set foot.”

“I faithfully followed the programme outlined by my powerful friend, and I was wrong..  I didn’t get elected. I attribute the crushing majority my opponent enjoyed, apart from some underhand manipulations, to the fact that the confounded fellow knew even less than I did and was an even more notorious blackguard.”

“They hurled themselves on me. They grabbed me by throat, lifted me up and tossed me from hand to hand like a parcel.. Fortunately this excess of eloquence left me with only a swollen cheek, three bruised ribs and six broken teeth..”

“’….The only thing is, I do want my share, understand? My share. And what do I ask? Something absurd.. Nothing.. Just crumbs.. Although I could demand everything, yes everything! So don’t annoy me anymore.. Don’t push me any further..  Don’t force me to enact ludicrous dramas.. Because the day I’ve had enough of living, enough of that shit, your shit.. The intolerable stick of which I continually smell around me. Well that day, his Excellency Eugene Mortain won’t be laughing, old chap.. That I swear!’
Eugene then gave an embarrassed smile and the fold of his drooping lips gave his countenance an expression that mingled a vile fear with an ineffectual criminality, as he spoke to me: ‘You’re crazy to say that.. And what for? Have I refused you anything, you crazy fool?’
And gaily, in a multiplicity of gestures and affectations which startled me, he added comically: ‘Do you want a medal, then?’
Yes, he really was quite a charmer!”

“’You haven’t been around to see me’  he reproached me in that tone of indifferent respect which was merely the politeness of enmity… ‘Have you been ill?’
‘No, not at all…. Just travelling towards oblivion..’”

“A residue of fury rumbled within me… But I could only cry out lamely: ‘Shit!’
Eugene smiled. He realised my resistance had ended with that yelp.”

“At the same time the Minister, that bandit Eugene, could also barely contain his emotion. There was genuine enthusiasm in his look, a sincere trembling to his voice. Two small tears ran from his eyes… He look my hand so strongly that he might have broken it.
For a few moments, we were both the unconscious and ludicrous playthings of our own deception… Ah, when I think about it!”

“’Yes! In Tonkin there’s game a plenty… but especially peacocks. What shooting, sir! Anyway, it’s a dangerous sport… You need to have the knack for it.’
‘They must be ferocious peacocks..’”

“While I was speaking and weeping, Miss Clara was looking fixedly at me. Oh, that look! Never, no, never should I forget the look that adorable woman fixed me with, an extraordinary look in which amazement was mingled with joy, pity and love – yes, love – as well as malice and irony.. And everything.. A look which pierced me through, penetrating into me and overwhelming me body and soul.”

“A gleam passed across the green in her pupils. She spoke in a low, almost hoarse, voice:
‘I’ll show you terrific things… divine things. You’ll finally find out what love is! I promise that you’ll descend with me into the depths of the mystery of love.. And death!’”

Taken from ‘ The Torture Garden’ by Octave Mirbeau, translated by Michael Richardson
Available to Amazon UK:


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