Monday, February 14, 2005


Alessandro's father is dying in an Italian hospital. De
Roos is his doctor. From "A Soldier of the Great War".

"You see, Alessandro, what it all comes to?" he asked,
"Papa," Alessandro said. "Forgive me."
"For what?" his father asked, as his head rested on Alessandro's
shoulder and Alessandro grasped him forcefully.
"For being young when I'm old?"
"I won't forgive you for that." His father took a breath as
the thermometer was withdrawn, fell back, and looked at his
"It's my salvation."

De Roos took Alessandro aside and they spoke in the
considered manner of young men who are given the task of
controlling events that they do not yet comprehend and that
they do not yet know are uncontrollable. The attorney
Giuliani understood this, and had seen it a dozen times
before. He didn't blame them for their efforts. To the
contrary, he was seduced by the hope that seemed to come to
them so easily. He knew that to guide themselves when they
couldn't see, to be firm in the face of the unknowable, and
to do what was right when they didn't know what it was, they
-- even the doctor -- had to posture. When he saw that
Alessandro was trying to do the impossible, he realized that
Alessandro was moved by love. He understood that Alessandro
knew, and yet did not know, that they would soon part
forever. Above all, the posturing alerted him. He
recognized the tone into which Alessandro had been forced,
for, once, a long time before, he had been forced into it

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