"Marathe had settled back on his bottom in the chair. “Your USA word for fanatic, “fanatic” - do they teach you it comes from the Latin for “temple?” It is meaning, literally, “worshipper at the temple.”
"Oh jesus, here we go again," said Steeply.
Marathe: “As, if you will give the permission, does this love you speak of, Monsieur Tine’s grand love. It means only attachment. Tine is attached, fanatically. Our attachments are our temple, what we worship, no? What we give ourselves to, what we invest with faith.”
Steeply made motions of weary familiarity. “Herrrrre we go.”
Marathe ignored this. “Are we not all of us fanatics? I say only what you of the USA only pretend you do not know. Attachments are of great seriousness. Choose your attachments carefully. Choose your temple of fanaticism with great care. What you wish to sing of as tragic love… is nothing more than an attachment not carefully chosen. Die for one person? This is a craziness. Persons change, leave, die, become ill. They leave, lie, go mad, have sickness, betray you, die. Your nation? outlives you. A cause outlives you.”
“How are your wife and kids doing up there by the way?” Steeply asked.
Marathe: “You USA’s do not seem to believe you may each choose what to die for. Love of a woman, the sexual, it bends back in on the self, makes you narrow, maybe crazy. Choose with care. Love of your nation, your country and people… it enlarges the heart. Something bigger than the self.”
Steeply laid a hand between his misdirected breasts. “Ohh… Canada…”
Marathe: “Make amusement all you wish. But choose with care. You are what you love. No? You are, completely and only, what you would die for without, as you say, the thinking twice. (pause) You, M. Hugh Steeply: would die without thinking for what?”
AFR’s extensive file on Steeply included mention of his recent divorce. Marathe had already informed Steeply of the existence of this file… Steeply did not respond. His expression of boredom could be real, or tactical, either of these.
Marathe said: “This, is it not the choice of the most supreme importance? Who teaches your USA children how to choose their temple? What to love enough not to think two times?”
"This from a man who-" Steeply tried to retort. But Marathe was willing that his voice not rise.
"For this choice determines all else. No? All other of our, you say, free choices, follow from this: what is our temple. What is the temple, thus, for USA’s? What is it, when you fear that you must protect them from themselves, if wicked Quebecers conspire to bring the Entertainment into their warm homes?"
Steeply’s face had assumed the openly twisted sneering expression which he knew well that Quebecers found repellent on Americans.
Steeply: “But you assume it’s always choice, conscious, decision. This isn’t just a little naive, Remy. You sit down with your little accountant’s ledger and soberly decide what to love? Always?”
Marathe: “The alternatives are —-”
Steeply interrupted. “What if sometimes, there is no choice about what to love? What if the temple comes to Mohammed? What if you just love? without deciding? You just do: you see her and in that instant, are lost to sober account-keeping and cannot choose but to love?”
Marathe’s sniff held disdain. “Then in such a case, your temple is Self, and Sentiment. In such an instance, you are a fanatic of desire, a slave to your individual subjective narrow self’s sentiments; a citizen of Nothing. You become a citizen of nothing. You are by yourself and alone, kneeling to yourself.”
A silence ensued. Marathe shifted in his chair.
"In a case such as this, you become the slave who believes he is free. The most pathetic of bondage. Not tragic. No songs. You believe you would die twice for another but in truth would die only for your self alone, its sentiment."
Another silence. Marathe felt the ironies of his position… He eventually said:
"You in such a case have nothing. You stand on nothing. Nothing of ground or rock beneath your feet. You fall; you blow here and there. How does one say: ‘tragically, unvoluntarily, lost.’"
Another silence ensued.
Steeply farted mildly. Marathe shrugged.
…Marathe thought of his victory over the train that had taken his legs. He attempted in English to sing: “Oh say, land of the Freeee…”
Steeply was continuing saying nothing while he tamped down another of his long Belgian cigarettes. Marathe continued to hum the USA song, all over the map in terms of key.""