The following passage comes from Isabelle Eberhardt’s novel Vagabond. It just arrived in the mail yesterday, and it is just what I need to read right now, as I stand on the brink of a new journey, both inside and out. Everything happens when it needs to happen, I thoroughly believe this. I have the suspicion that Isabelle Eberhardt’s Vagabond is going to me one of my great travel books.
Passage from Vagabond:
‘I love freedom, Gouriewa, and I didn’t find freedom among our libertarians.’
‘Well, of course not. We’re not free. We’re only humble workers for future freedom.’
‘I use to think that too, once upon a time, But now it seems to me that it would be far better if everyone just took all moral, intellectual and material liberties now, from today onwards, regardless of the sanctions of modern society. Let each individual emancipate him or herself! General emancipation won’t come any other way. . .’
Vera remained thoughtful. ‘But what do you call individual emancipation? Is it following your own lights without reference to other people? Is it living just as you will, turning your back resolutely on all convention, on all lies, and also on the co-operations of the old world? If that’s it, could it be that you thought you were living out this dream in the life you’ve been leading over the past six months?’
‘Oh no, certainly not! But the fact is I’ve still got too many sentimental attachments to my past life, I’m still too much of a student to set off for good, to become what I’d really like to be – a vagabond. Not the dismal, degraded vagrant that I am at the moment, but a vagabond ready to drink from every source of beauty, someone who travels through the vast universe radiant and free.’
For more information on Isabelle Eberhardt go to, The Desert Queen Essay: Isabelle Eberhardt.
To read an interview that I did about Isabelle Eberhardt please go to, Isabelle Eberhardt interview with Kathleen Modrowski.
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