The Arousing of Thought

“Then the barber-surgeon so infuriated by this that his hair, even beneath his armpits, stood on end, flung his net on the pavement and spitting over his left shoulder, loudly exclaimed:

“ ‘Oh, Hell! What a time to ring!’

“As soon as the exclamation of the barber-surgeon reached my reflecting apparatus, there began to swarm in it various thoughts which ultimately led, in my view, to the correct understanding of just why there proceeded in me the aforesaid instinctive uneasiness.

“The first moment after I had understood this there even arose a feeling of being offended at myself that such a simple and clear thought had not entered my head before.

“I sensed with the whole of my being that my effect on the general life could produce no other result than that process which had all along proceeded in me.

“And indeed, everyone awakened by the noise I make with the steam whistle, which disturbs his sweet morning slumbers, must without doubt curse me ‘by everything under the sun,’ just me, the cause of this hellish row, and thanks to this, there must of course certainly flow towards my person from all directions, vibrations of all kinds of malice.

“On that significant morning, when, after performing my duties, I, in my customary mood of depression, was sitting in a neighboring ‘Dukhan’ and eating ‘Hachi’ with garlic, I, continuing to ponder, came to the conclusion that if I should curse beforehand all those to whom my service for the benefit of certain among them might seem disturbing, then, according to the explanation of the book I had read the night before, however much all those, as they might be called, ‘who lie in the sphere of idiocy,’ that is, between sleep and drowsiness, might curse me, it would have—as explained in that same book—no effect on me at all.

“And in fact, since I began to do so, I no longer feel the said instinctive uneasiness.”