The hopes which are dear to youth, which bear it up and lead it on, I knew not and dared not know. If they knocked at my heart sometimes, an inhospit
The hopes which are dear to youth, which bear it up and lead it on, I knew not and dared not know. If they knocked at my heart sometimes, an inhospitable bar to admission must be inwardly drawn. When they turned away thus rejected, tears sad enough sometimes flowed; but it could not be helped: I dared not give such guests lodging... Religious reader, you will preach to me a long sermon about what I have just written, and so will you, moralist; and you, stern sage: you, stoic, will frown; you, cynic, sneer; you, epicure, laugh. Well, each and all, take it your own way. I accept the sermon, frown, sneer, and laugh; perhaps you are all right: and perhaps, cirumstanced like me, you would have been, like me, wrong.
The music of Richard Wagner, it is famously noted, is actually a lot better than it sounds. Something similar may be said of Charlotte Brontë's Villette, the romantic, sad, autobiographical novel of an innocent abroad, a coming-of-ager that refuses to fall into any one category. Did we miss any sub-genres there ? Oh, yes, of course, it is certainly a bit Gothic. For awhile. It is worth noting that Villette is a close contemporary of Collins' The Woman In White, with which it shares some of the same frisson-in-the-gloaming traits.
Truthfully, though, Villette looks better and better the further you get from it; and while it's a mixed-up read at any one given time, in retrospect there are a substantial group of breathless themes and styles, mounted within fainting-range of each other, often very appealingly ... eclectic. Ms B goes for the kaleidoscope viewpoint in Villette, and cares not to be held down or controlled by any patriarchalist power monger. Or reader's expectations.
Ah, nearly forgot this is a significant feminist text, there is true self empowerment, agency and control wrested within the novel from the status-quo keepers-- but half of that is innate to the fact that the protagonist is already orphaned and cast adrift in the best of Victorian tradition. Also, that she is in Belgium, which is code for exotic and anything-goes, in the staunch English imagination. Nevertheless, our heroine 'Lucy Snowe' steps out on her own with considerable nerve and panache. For 1853.
But back to what we have rather than what it may have foreshadowed. (Woolf! Woolf!) The resourceful Ms B has her highly-strung heroine speaking very candidly with the reader about the inner conflicts of a young woman whose perspective is much wider than is expected of her. As such, we drift from attraction and repulsion to misgivings, vexation, difficult or forced reappraisal, passion-enflamed and THEN.... well, back to earth again, every few chapters. We go from coming-of-age to picaresque autobio, then in and out of the set-pieces and self-improvement scenarios that are emblematic of the era. Eventually virtue and modesty, seasoned with boredom, get the better of every female character in this sort of story. She is the classic Victorian Orphan Savant, the hapless child who is also the scathingly precise social commentator.
If this were the Patty Duke show she'd be both identical cousins. Which brings us to one of the major theme-parks of the novel, Brontë's dichotomies, a good dozen lady/tiger situations which are simultaneously hopeless but do fairly well to illustrate the internal life of the heroine. Lucy Snowe is a working-class Protestant English girl who claws an education out of the cracks and crevices of Catholic Belgium, eventually reaching a kind of uncomfortable, undefined détente with her society there.
Impressive, at a distance anyway, is Ms B's ability to cover Continent-vs-Britain, acting-vs-learning, submission-vs-control, gender-vs-identity, isolation-vs-outreach, hot/cold, surface/depth, public/private, disguise/candor and profound versus superficial ... and there will be no letup. Brontë uses every narrative option she has, to make the dichotomies go down smoothly; diversions abound, there are true-hearted lovers and doting fathers, wily old academics and prying prioresses, there are a couple close encounters with paramours, and-- even a ghost. A portrait of whom hangs, uneasily, on the creepy wall of a creepy house on the creepy side of town, another of the regular way-stations, of every disconcerting romance of creepy Victoriana. Brontë also allows no plausible coincidence to remain un-coincided, even unfairly failing to recognize the occasional character she'd written into the main story a few chapters back. (In order to facilitate some upcoming coincidence she has contrived.)
It would appear that this novel was what Brontë wanted to be her 'White Album', a kaleidoscopic goose chase, falling apart at every seam but straggling back together, demanding attention in a kind of ragged glory. A hard-won vision. There are quibbles and failings, but they don't really obscure that Brontë was after a broad and uncontrollable mastery of wildly disparate themes in Villette, and at that she succeeds. But she loses the center, and the reader, I'm afraid, somewhere along the way. It sounds better than it is. ...more
Second Vargas novel I've read now, and this one doesn't quite reach the brittle, vaguely wifty heights of An Uncertain Place, a later excursion in theSecond Vargas novel I've read now, and this one doesn't quite reach the brittle, vaguely wifty heights of An Uncertain Place, a later excursion in the same series, with Commissaire Adamsberg, her lead dectective.
This one is clearly a station on the way to that, though, and is much more interested in character and exposition, which is probably only natural. Vargas is interested in implausibilities and random contortions ... which is something very central, if non-intuitive, for a genre that relies on reaching a plausible conclusion in the end.
Vargas doesn't care; she'd like to show that even in the pursuit of crystal clear logic, a solution to the mystery, that life is itself an exercise in absurdity. And to miss that is to distance any detective, any one at all from the central part of the endeavor.
Seeking Whom goes onstage with the regular elements, the usual suspects and the familiar start-up noises of any intriguing mystery. Once established, all that is packed into the trunk of the car and we're off on a picaresque tour of the countryside with little notice given. The author is determined to let her characters and their milieu stand well forward of the plot machinery. No real effort is made to cover for the insane collision of coincidence and absurdist/ meta story developments.
Occasionally the story itself hums with jabberwocky-style counterpoint; the Commissaire's non-method and free-floating approach perfectly match the non-organization of the story, and that's as planned. In some ways this early Vargas is better understood if you've seen where she's going, once she has her ensemble up and running-- the latter chapters here, or even the later novels. If you're looking for equivalents, a look into the work of Michael Innes, or Patrick McGinley will offer clues. Looking forward to others in this series. ...more
The world literature landmark Faust was first translated into English from Goethe's German original in 1821. Illustrious Brit prodigies Coleridge andThe world literature landmark Faust was first translated into English from Goethe's German original in 1821. Illustrious Brit prodigies Coleridge and Shelley both made attempts with varying degrees of success. In 1828 it was translated into French, by Gérard de Nerval, who by all accounts, Goethe's included, nailed it. At the age of twenty.
When it came to his own work, Nerval had a wrenchingly different arc; early success with poetry and plays led to important associations, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas amongst them. Heady times in France, the newly emerging Romantic movement, crisis of The Faith, and the July Revolution of 1830 spun the young man in several directions. The King Of Bedlam, 1839, finds him steeped in the echoey dissonances of the times; what would be the indelible Nerval themes of doubles, impersonation and deception come to the surface, fully formed.
An inheritance (squandered), an investment in a literary magazine (bankrupt), and some luckless stabs at love (failed) were to lead Nerval off the Parisian reservation. An insatiable curiosity toward exotic cultures, whether the Balkans or the Near East, led him to the unfamiliar. But from what gets written, nothing about, say, Cairo or Constantinople seemed to soothe the broken heart, and his involvement with absinthe, ether, and hashish probably didn't constitute a cure, either. The first of several nervous breakdowns occurred, just as Nerval was finding his subject. The off-world beauty of The Tale Of Caliph Hakim was emblematic of the fascination he found in 'the orient', where he was drawn to the themes of heresy, apostasy and the shadowy atmosphere where the far-off is directly, unknowably at hand.*
So what we have is the French sensualist, libertine, voluptuary and poet-- but unlucky in love and carrying a sizeable chip on his shoulder. His writing now took up the inevitable near-misses Nerval had observed, in identity and romance, the hearth/home-terroir thing versus the longing for the exotic other, the hallucination of finding his own opposite, his unknown twin. In female form. Beguiling, complex stories dealing in this paradox were written, always about a woman and her--safer or more dangerous, depending-- other self, all complete torture to the man of relentless visions. 'Angelique', 'Sylvie', 'Octavia' and 'Pandora' all materialized to confront the writer. Enigmas with an echo, touched by unreliable memory and sentiment. This is capital-R Romantic Lit, if wildly off its head and a little dizzy.
Here he was completely and wholly his own man, waging an ardent struggle with both the goddesses of antiquity and the comely mademoiselle at close range-- which is to say, absolutely lost in the stratosphere of his own imagination. Women must have been completely bewildered by his approaches. Nerval's signature theme is the intentional indecipherability of enchantment-- how it manifests, and flits away, having left the initiate clenching a fistful of deceitful clues. (Yes, hello Mr Nabokov). And often enough those clues came in dreams.
Time, and the times he lived in, were not kind to Nerval; they were a whirling extravaganza of bohemian allure, pure catnip to any young dreamer with an established way with the pen. He immersed himself in the mystic, threading his writing with allusions to the hermetic, the alchemical, the arcane interests of his age. Oneiromancy, (what a word!) or the practice of letting dreams predict the world, became an obsession, his day job on any day preceded by a night, of dreaming (and perhaps hallucinogens).
Well you can tell where this is going. Borderlines between embracing the exotic and socially taboo behavior were being questioned, and Nerval and his set were at the forefront. But there were real breakdowns, and friends would have to resort to committing him to asylums to try to help him cope, sometimes at the insistence of the police. In the asylum, Nerval did the only thing he knew, wrote and wrote, much of it raving, attempts to connect Norse foundation myths with Islamic ones, for example, reams of barely connected allusion, and macro referencing of myth & literature. The riddle-filled Gramont manuscripts and Les Chimeres appear to be the skeleton key to his whole oeuvre, sonnets addressed to an array of Nerval's femmes and his mystical touchstones. He also composed his hermetic masterpiece, 'Aurelia', the autobiography of a man encountering, then submitting to madness. A descent into Hell, he confides honestly enough.
Nerval seems to have been able to contain himself long enough to gain release from the sanitarium, and having done so is a free man when he hangs himself in a narrow lane in Paris. He left a note to a relative, "do not wait up for me this evening, for the night will be black and white." The final pages of Aurelia were found on the body.
This was a difficult group of readings, and only really takes final shape once you've gotten thru 'the girls' sections, and realize that this singular madman really means it, really sees dreams as continuous with reality (and isn't so completely wrong, at that), really has miraculous vision. Proust himself commented that to read Sylvie for the first time was to experience 'a disorientation verging on mild panic'. Nerval's influence would ripple far and wide, though, in a certain sense-- Gautier, Heine, Dumas, Proust would all feel his example simmering through their own pages. The Symbolists would cite his influence as a prime mover. Andre Breton and the Surrealists of the next century would count him with Baudelaire and Mallarme as the oracle of their conception of the world. It is impossible to get to Joyce, or Beckett, or Borges-- without first confronting Nerval. ________________________ * this disconcerting combination, 'heresy, apostasy and the shadowy atmosphere where the far-off is directly, unknowably at hand' would be exactly what Surrealism would embrace, sixty years later.. Breton & Apollinaire both would hold Nerval to be a patron saint. ...more
It may be that creatures of that sort love deception for deception's sake, as others love art for art's sake, or as the Poles love battles.
It may be that creatures of that sort love deception for deception's sake, as others love art for art's sake, or as the Poles love battles.
Ladies. First and foremost, d'Aurevilly is concerned, enchanted, and perhaps obsessed by les dames du salon, and the more clever and deceptive, the better appreciated. He will concede that his Royalist, Catholic codes are double-edged, double-sided, even, and can be reversed for interesting effect. And he knows that (for 1820) the gallant gentleman's heroic domain is still the field of battle, whilst for les femmes it is, as ever, the drawing room.
The tales of Les Diaboliques are themselves deceptive, though, and shouldn't be anticipated as reveling in decadence and the dark side. Rather, the author seems to be mining a hidden seam of pre-revolutionary morality tale, stories that are, with careful framing by d'Aurevilly, mounted in circumstances that only appear to imply that potential for decadence. In the end, the author is voluntarily, unapologetically still held in the sway of the ancien régime, and ready to counter very adult complexity with very humane outcome. These are romances, but play out tauntingly, as if directed by theater-of-cruelty practitioners.
...there isn't one among us who hasn't witnessed some of those mysterious workings of feeling or passion which ruin a whole career, some of those heartbreaks which give out only a muffled sound, like that of a body falling into the hidden abyss of an oubliette, and over which the world spreads its myriad voices or its silence... I myself, in my childhood, saw--no, saw isn't the right word--I guessed, I sensed one of those cruel, terrible dramas which are not staged in public, although the public sees the actors in them every day: one of those sanguinary comedies, as Pascal called them, but presented in secret, behind the curtain of private life... what you don't know multiplies a hundredfold the impression made by what you know...
Arranged sometimes like jewels around a perfumed neckline, but more often candle-lit around a grand dinner table, the ladies are the preoccupation, but there are also dandies, libertines, rakes, and warlords. Duchesses here may become whores in the course of the proceedings, true loves may become ghosts, and atheists may burn with the inner flame of the martyrs. M d'Aurevilly prepares the ground like a medieval siege, layering exposition and revelation in carefully patient steps, extreme at times. But when he throws the switch and lets his drama unfold, he soars. Like some gothic seer who has most certainly got a message to send, for d'Aurevilly it is a given that pride, loss, shame, sin, and guilt really never go away.
But there is something else. There is here, in Paris after midnight or in the windswept environs of provincial Cotentin, the flavor of the long-ago, the frisson of someone-else's world, not ours... though somehow familiar. It is the receding coastline of the Age Of Faith. Beneath his well composed equilibrium, the author can't escape the vexing sense that the Age Of Reason, newly arrived, has thrown some gorgeous white magic to the winds, a never-again state of grace now lost ...
Night was beginning to fall in the streets of ----, but in the church of that picturesque little town in Western France it was already dark. Night is almost always in advance in churches. It falls earlier there than anywhere else,, either on account of the stained-glass windows, when there are stained-glass windows, or on account of the number of pillars, so often compared with the trees in a forest, and the shadows cast by the arches. But scarcely anywhere are the doors closed because this night of the churches has slightly anticipated the death of the day outside. They generally remain open after the Angelus has rung--sometimes till a very late hour, as on the eve of the great feast-days in pious towns, where great numbers of people go to confession in preparation for communion the next day. Never, at any hour of the day, are churches in the provinces more frequented by churchgoers than at that twilight hour when work comes to an end, daylight fades, and the Christian soul prepares for the night--night which resembles death, and during which death may come. At that hour it is borne in on one that the Christian religion was born in the catacombs and that it still retains something of the melancholy of its cradle...
It isn't hard to see how this author is something of a forerunner to Mallarmé, to Baudelaire. While d'Aurevilly is an equal opportunity reporter, and will hurl a few anti-clericalisms with the best of them, at heart he longs, at one with his romantic sensibilities, for the days of a more profound certainty, a prior understanding.
Lovely book, probably best to buy it and savor each of these near-novella tales individually, rather than as a string of stories; they're similar but each has a unique quality. The last, called A Woman's Vengeance, is nothing short of devastating. ...more
Sooner or later words force one into a choice, a narrowing down, at some point the lustrous density of all the unexpressed possibilities must be att
Sooner or later words force one into a choice, a narrowing down, at some point the lustrous density of all the unexpressed possibilities must be attacked, pulverized, melted down, dissolved.
In the 1970 of the novel, that banner would have been proudly flown from the ramparts, an unapologetic rallying cry ... For the new fiction that would encircle and annihilate, revamp the norms-- essentially, meta would be the new orthodoxy. But what the author of "Arriving In Avignon" has done is very nearly the opposite.
The reader of this relatively short [150pp] work is thrown into a whirling blender of associations, implications, wild conjecture floating on a seething ocean of historical factoids ... In which the Flemish Old Masters, Thomas Aquinas, the Anti-Popes of the 11th through 13th century, the Demoiselles d'Avignon of Picasso .. all must figure. Nothing is melted down or dissolved.
Avignon is a walled medieval city that has twelve gates, Roman bridges, and the occasional knockout blonde girl; for Mr Robberechts, this is a metaphysical toss-up that cannot resolve itself. Not for want of trying, though-- an expanse of colonnaded classical stonework, or a pair of suntanned legs on a student --may indicate an immediate change of plan, and an abrupt change in the narrative as well.
But all this makes it sound like a lot of fun, which I have to confess that it wasn't; there is a lot to get through in this little book, much of it in the tedious what's-it-all-worth-really category, and I have to say somewhere in the middle the author almost lost me. Lost me as in closing the book only halfway there. But there is something ...
...what finally drives him to Avignon in the end is the feeling that he must be the last man on earth who refrains, regretfully, from sexual misconduct... He has forgotten now whether it's coincidental that he enters the narrow Rue Aubanel and Rue Bancasse, whether he goes just to enjoy the exciting propositions of the prostitutes; but both streets are empty, obviously the whores have left town along with the tourists. And the solitary shivering woman enveloped in a fur coat who in response to his--helpless? lecherous? crazed?--look slows down and smiles at him? At first he almost thinks her a fragment of his frantic, morbid desires; but then words and numbers are pronounced that remove all doubt: he has accosted the last whore in Avignon. It's with a kind of dull resignation that he follows her to a hotel, with a kind of fear of seeming impolite otherwise, ungrateful for the the fact that she has--after all--guessed at his misery.
There is something undeniably plaintive and lost about this solitary, immature voice, that keeps you on the tracks. He's really at risk of losing the big picture at most turns in the book. And you can't quite bring yourself to just leave him there.
She knew, or thought she knew, that Frenchwomen were hideously ugly, but with an ugliness redeemed by great vivacity and perfect taste in dress... So She knew, or thought she knew, that Frenchwomen were hideously ugly, but with an ugliness redeemed by great vivacity and perfect taste in dress... So all in all she was unprepared for the scene that met her eyes on entering...
This is Mitford's unapologetic memoir of her own romance with a charming but decidedly not monogamist Frenchman, and really, with the idea of France itself. What works here is the casual seduction of a really independent Englishwoman by the whole of French culture; maybe something that viewed in macro might also be about the unbreakable quality of French cultivation and polish, remarkably unbowed by the world wars.
The observations of the Narrator are what makes this book fly, always reasonable if not practical, and never too deeply indebted to settling scores or rooting for any specific side. What doesn't work is the daily-diary kind of structure, which relies too heavily on what happened on a given day. If you have a very unpremeditated, free-wheeling narrator telling the tale, it feels as if there must be, at a minimum, some backstage logic to tie things up.
Not to be to focused on this lack though, the book very nearly makes it along the casual lines of this structure-- which does good things for the pacing and drive-- until one of the set-pieces fails along the way. (And then the "oh, do have a look, darling" perspective goes wobbly. In my reading the central Famous Children Ball thrown by Mme. Marel goes flat, and sinks the arc of the book in so doing. Shame, really, since a Mitford-trademark wicked-humourous blowout there would have carried the whole thing).
Uneven, but still well worth the read, as the sacred-cow-puncturing and biting euphemism always manage to cover any soul-baring that might have been imminent; we are English here, after all. Having rushed back to London after one too many infidelities courtesy le husband, our Narrator expects a comforting wave of the home country to wash away all of that Continental nonsense; somehow, though, after France the English seem ridiculous too, not just stodgy but loopy and shallow. We watch as Mitford's vision clears, and the larger picture comes into focus.
In the Vintage edition's introduction to The Blessing, Caryn James mentions that Mitford had originally been commissioned by producer Alexander Korda to write this in screenplay form; as it happened the production never began, and Mitford rescued the material as a Novel. This reinvention may have something to do with the uneven structure and occasional lapses I found; what may have seemed impossible to sacrifice from the screen version, like the Children's Ball, might have been reconsidered one too many times. Other aspects, like the central positioning of Sigismond, (who is in fact the Blessing of the title) are neatly bundled and tied up at the end -- as if ready for the shooting script of the movie. Who knows, this probably could have been done a half a dozen different ways, and this, as we all must agree, is one of them. ...more
"... there is, in the ocean of generations, an Aphrodisian current whence every such Venus is born, all daughters of the same salt wave..."
Can't say I
"... there is, in the ocean of generations, an Aphrodisian current whence every such Venus is born, all daughters of the same salt wave..."
Can't say I'll be reading a long list of Balzac titles in my near-future. There is a longstanding tradition of the French bedroom farce out there, and while this is a close relation, that's not quite what it is. What's here, (and at some length), is a kind of mirthless, hectoring plot-loop, cautionary tales that vary little as they repeat, set in Paris, circa 1840. How exactly you take adulterous deception, multiple scandals, artists, nobles and courtesans-- and make them boring-- is beyond me, and kind of beyond my need to investigate.
Dearest to Honore de'Balzac's heart, and pen, is the enflamed descriptive passage outlining the merits of some bewitching, newly encountered femme, whether enfant, fatale, or somewhere in between. They are undeniably intriguing, and there are a string of them in this novel. Each beguiling ingenue outdoes the previous, which begins to pale a bit. So much so, that for me, the only real life in the 'character' column came with an unexpected Medusa, who turns up as a kind of archetype of vengeance, fifty pages before the end ... one Madame Nourrisson :
Victorin felt a sort of internal chill at the sight of this dreadful old woman. Though handsomely dressed, she was terrible to look upon, for her flat, colourless, strongly-marked face, furrowed with wrinkles, expressed a sort of cold malignity. Marat, as a woman of that age, might have been like this creature, a living embodiment of the Reign of Terror. "My dear sir," she began, with a patronising air...
Giving Balzac his due, this predates Madame DeFarge and so may be a truly original construction, this ghost of vengeance past & future. Giving him the rest of his due, this book is an obese excercise in listening to yourself talk; hardly a run-of-the-mill inheritance-absconding or cuckholding goes by, without our windbag author injecting some age-old wisdom he has just devised for the occasion. He's not a scold; he just wants to be the voice of wisdom. And given that those topics are basically the sum total of the book, that's a lot of lecture time, before and after each go-round.
A suitable antidote to this is the altogether more inventive Dangerous Liasons, better in every aspect, with characters who the reader learns with, and cares for, written well prior to this by Choderlos de Laclos. The astonishing thing, to this reader, is that M. Balzac has the nerve to name-check that very novel, here in Cousin Bette. As if to give the nod or wink that we're in very similar hands. When in fact, we are in generally absent-minded and uninspired hands.
Balzac's main character here, the Baron Hulot, is a shell of a man who has a fatal addiction to new mistresses and falls into every trap they set, which of course is pretty much the same trap every time. He's a kind of fold-out Quixote, who can only face up to a failure with another feckless stab at relevance. At the very end, when he and his Baroness are reunited once again, the accumulated deja vu made me wish they'd get hit by a bus on their way out. But they persevere, as does our author, who has got more lecturing to do before he lets us go.
Overall, this has its moments, but not enough of them to stick out the four hundred pages of long-form libertinism. The value is in the occasional moment such as this excerpt, another mind-numbingly beautiful nymph from the brow of he-who-lectures-us ....
At noon next day, after a capital breakfast, Hulot saw the arrival of one of those living masterpieces which Paris alone, of all the cities of the world, can produce, by means of the constant concubinage of luxury and poverty, of vice and decent honesty, of suppressed desire and renewed temptation, which makes the French capital the daughter of Nineveh, of Babylon, and of Imperial Rome. Mademoiselle Olympe Bijou, a child of sixteen, had the exquisite face which Raphael drew for his virgins; eyes of pathetic innocence, weary with overwork--black eyes, with long lashes, their moisture parched with the heat of laborious nights, and darkened with fatigue; a complexion like porcelain, almost too delicate; a mouth like a partly opened pomegranate; a heaving bosom, a full figure, pretty hands, the whitest teeth, and a mass of black hair; and the whole, meagerly set off by a cotton frock at seventy-five centimes the meter, leather shoes without heels, and the cheapest gloves... The Baron, gripped again by the clutch of profligacy, felt all his life concentrated in his eyes. He forgot everything on beholding this delightful creature. He was like a sportsman in sight of the game...
One gets the idea that there is a lot of Monsieur Balzac in these impressions, in particular these kind of feverish lines that render the object of desire. If only he could gather up the descriptions and make us care what happens to such beautiful mannequins, by making them human.
It was ten o’clock the following morning and Nana was still asleep. She occupied the second floor of a large new house i
*** review on its way soon ***
It was ten o’clock the following morning and Nana was still asleep. She occupied the second floor of a large new house in Boulevard Haussmann which the owner was letting to single ladies until the plaster had dried out. She’d been set up there by a Moscow business man who’d come to spend the winter in Paris and had paid six months’ rent in advance. The flat was far too big for her and had never been completely furnished; the flashy, opulent, gilt chairs and console tables formed a violent contrast to the second-hand junk, mahogany pedestal tables and zinc candelabra pretending to be Florentine bronze. The whole thing had the feel of a little tart who’d been abruptly dropped by her first genuine protector then left to fall back on lovers of dubious character; a tricky start with had gone off the rails, made worse by shortage of cash and threats of expulsion. Nana was lying on her stomach, her face pale with sleep buried in the pillow which she was clutching between her bare arms. The bedroom and dressing-room were the only two room decently decorated, by a local paper-hanger. There was a glimmer of light coming under the curtain, and you could pick out the Brazilian rosewood and the grey figured damask with the large blue floral design of the hangings and chairs. The atmosphere was stuffy and drowsy; Nana woke with a start, as if surprised to find an empty space beside her....more