White and Respect

Any questions about this forum should be asked here.
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:52 pm

White and Respect

Postby Ravi_Resurgam » Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:06 pm

Dear All,

There is this beautiful paragraph in the book on color "white". It may be only a few (three, four) lines and not para. I am not able to locate it in my copy (I have Norman Denny's Penguin Classic). It's something that suggests "white is respectful". I think there is mention of the word "king" or "swan" in those lines as well.

Does somebody remember that para? Can you please help?

The thing is that there is this respectful person and her name means "white". I want to send these lines to her. I have been trying to find these lines for for some time now, and getting impatient. I have skimmed the entire book and have searched the soft copy as well but to no avail :(

User avatar
Posts: 4842
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:21 pm
Location: Toronto, ON

Re: White and Respect

Postby deHavilland » Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:36 pm

Are you thinking of Hugo's description of Sister Simplice?

Sister Simplice was white, with a waxen pallor. Beside Sister Perpetue, she was the taper beside the candle. Vincent de Paul has divinely traced the features of the Sister of Charity in these admirable words, in which he mingles as much freedom as servitude: "They shall have for their convent only the house of the sick; for cell only a hired room; for chapel only their parish church; for cloister only the streets of the town and the wards of the hospitals; for enclosure only obedience; for gratings only the fear of God; for veil only modesty." This ideal was realized in the living person of Sister Simplice: she had never been young, and it seemed as though she would never grow old. No one could have told Sister Simplice's age. She was a person-- we dare not say a woman--who was gentle, austere, well-bred, cold, and who had never lied. She was so gentle that she appeared fragile; but she was more solid than granite. She touched the unhappy with fingers that were charmingly pure and fine. There was, so to speak, silence in her speech; she said just what was necessary, and she possessed a tone of voice which would have equally edified a confessional or enchanted a drawing-room. This delicacy accommodated itself to the serge gown, finding in this harsh contact a continual reminder of heaven and of God. Let us emphasize one detail. Never to have lied, never to have said, for any interest whatever, even in indifference, any single thing which was not the truth, the sacred truth, was Sister Simplice's distinctive trait; it was the accent of her virtue. She was almost renowned in the congregation for this imperturbable veracity. The Abbe Sicard speaks of Sister Simplice in a letter to the deaf-mute Massieu. However pure and sincere we may be, we all bear upon our candor the crack of the little, innocent lie. She did not. Little lie, innocent lie--does such a thing exist? To lie is the absolute form of evil. To lie a little is not possible: he who lies, lies the whole lie. To lie is the very face of the demon. Satan has two names; he is called Satan and Lying. That is what she thought; and as she thought, so she did. The result was the whiteness which we have mentioned--a whiteness which covered even her lips and her eyes with radiance. Her smile was white, her glance was white. There was not a single spider's web, not a grain of dust, on the glass window of that conscience. On entering the order of Saint Vincent de Paul, she had taken the name of Simplice by special choice. Simplice of Sicily, as we know, is the saint who preferred to allow both her breasts to be torn off rather than to say that she had been born at Segesta when she had been born at Syracuse-- a lie which would have saved her. This patron saint suited this soul.
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:52 pm

Re: White and Respect

Postby Ravi_Resurgam » Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:05 pm

Dear deHavilland,

Thanks for your response. Unfortunately this is not the one I am looking for.

I continue the search; meanwhile if anybody could help, it will be greatly appreciated.

Return to “Questions and Answers”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest