| Quote #10
Should I climb up to the pulpit, like many of my illustrious contemporaries, and curse humanity? Very dangerous, that is! One day, or one night, laughter bursts out without a warning. The judgment you are passing on others eventually snaps back in your face, causing some damage (6.18).
If Jean-Baptiste still fears laughter, it means that he still fears judgment. His whole claim to be a judge-penitent is therefore bogus. He may be willing to judge himself by confessing all to you, but he is certainly not ready for you to judge (i.e., laugh at) him.
| Quote #11
I can’t do without it or deny myself those moments when one of them collapses, with the help of alcohol, and beats his breast. Then I grow taller, très cher, I grow taller, I breathe freely, I am on the mountain, the plain stretches before my eyes. How intoxicating to feel like God the Father and to hand out definitive testimonials of bad character and habits. I sit enthroned among my bad angels at the summit of the Dutch heaven and I watch ascending toward me, as they issue from the fogs and the water, the multitude of the Last Judgment. […] And as for me, I pity without absolving, I understand without forgiving, and above all, I feel at last that I am being adored! (6.24).
This is a great reversal of Jean-Baptiste’s original point that Amsterdam is like Dante’s hell. It is through his judgment of you (which he pretends is a confession of his own crimes) that he turns his own hell into a heaven.