Suddenly, in the chair beside him, Nietzsche took off his spectacles, buried his face in his handkerchief, and burst into sobs.
Breuer was stunned. He must say something.
“I wept too when I knew I had to give up Bertha. So hard to give up that vision, that magic. You weep for Lou Salome?”
Nietzsche, his face still buried in the handkerchief, blew his nose and shook his head vigorously.
“Then, for your loneliness?”
Again, Nietzsche shook his head.
“Do you know why you weep, Friedrich?”
“Not certain,” came the muffled reply.
A fanciful idea occurred to Breuer. “Friedrich, please try an experiment with me. Can you imagine your tears having a voice?”
Lowering his handkerchief, Nietzsche looked at him, red-eyed and puzzled.
“Just try it for a minute or two,” Breuer urged gently. “Give your tears a voice. What would they say?”
“I feel too foolish.”
“I felt foolish, too, trying all the strange experiments you suggested. Indulge me. Try.”
Without looking at him, Nietzsche began, “If one of my tears were sentient, it would say – it would say”- here he spoke in a loud, hissing whisper”””Free at last! Bottled up all these years! This man, this tight dry man, has never let me flow before.” Is that what you mean?” he asked, reverting to his own voice.
“Yes, good, very good. Keep going. What else?”