…the presence of others has become even more intolerable to me, their conversation most of all. Oh, how it all annoys and exasperates me: their attitudes, their manners, their whole way of being! The people of my world, all my unhappy peers, have come to irritate, oppress and sadden me with their noisy and empty chatter, their monstrous and boundless vanity, their even more monstrous egotism, their club gossip… the endless repetition of opinions already formed and judgments already made; the automatic vomiting forth of articles read in those morning papers which are the recognised outlet of the hopeless wilderness of their ideas; the eternal daily meal of overfamiliar cliches concerning racing stables and the stalls of fillies of the human variety… the hutches of the ‘petites femmes’ – another worn out phrase in the dirty usury of shapeless expression!Oh my contemporaries, my dear contemporaries…Their idiotic self-satisfaction; their fat and full-blown self-sufficiency: the stupid display of their good fortune; the clink of fifty- and a hundred-franc coins forever sounding out their financial prowess, according their own reckoning; their hen-like clucking and their pig-like grunting, as they pronounce the names of certain women; the obesity of their minds, the obscenity of their eyes, and the toneless-ness of their laughter! They are, in truth, handsome puppets of amour, with all the exhausted despondency of their gestures and the slackness of their chic…Chic! A hideous word, which fits their manner like a new glove: as dejected as undertakers’ mutes, as full-blown as Falstaff…Oh my contemporaries: the ceusses of my circle, to put it in their own ignoble argot. They have all welcomed the moneylenders into their homes, and have been recruited as their clients, and they have likewise played host to the fat journalists who milk their conversations for the society columns. How I hate them; how I execrate them; how I would love to devour them liver and lights – and how well I understand the Anarchists and their bombs!