Notably, all of our fellow citizens very quickly refrained, even in public, from calculating how long their exile would last, a habit they might have adopted. Why? Because, though the most pessimistic may have settled, for instance, on six months, suffering ahead of time all of the bitterness of the months to come, they struggled to raise their courage to meet this challenge, using their last reserves of strength to deal with such a long period of suffering. Yet, sometimes, an encounter with a friend, a notice in the newspaper, a fugitive suspicion or a sudden burst of foresight, led them to realize that, after all, there was no reason why the epidemic shouldn’t last more than six months – maybe a year, or longer still.
La Peste/The Plague, 1947