The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino:
It was a sad scene on that cloudy afternoon; I remember it as I watched, bewildered, from the window of my room, and I stopped studying the conjugation of the aorist, because there would not be a lesson. Old Father Fauchelafleur went down the avenue surrounded by those armed guards, and look up at the trees, and at a certain point he darted, as if he wished to run to an elm and climb it, but his legs failed him. Cosimo was hunting in the woods that day and knew nothing about it, so they didn’t say goodbye.
We could do nothing to help him. Our father shut himself in his room and wouldn’t taste food because he was afraid of being poisoned by the Jesuits. The abbé spent the rest of his days between prison and monastery in continual acts of abjuration, until he died, without having understood after an entire life dedicated to faith, what he believed in, but trying to believe firmly to the end.
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