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THE sale was due to be held on the 16th.

An interval1 of one day had been left between the viewing and the sale in order to give the upholsterers enough time to take down the hangings, curtains and so forth2.

I was at that time recently returned from my travels. It was quite natural that no one had told me about Marguerite's death, for it was hardly one of those momentous3 news-items which friends always rush to tell anybody who has just got back to the capital city of News. Marguerite had been pretty, but the greater the commotion4 that attends the sensational5 lives of these women, the smaller the stir once they are dead. They are like those dull suns which set as they have risen: they are unremarkable. News of their death, when they die young, reaches all their lovers at the same instant, for in Paris the lovers of any celebrated6 courtesan see each other every day. A few reminiscences are exchanged about her, and the lives of all and sundry7 continue as before without so much as a tear.

For a young man of twenty-five nowadays, tears have become so rare a thing that they are not to be wasted on the first girl who comes along. The most that may be expected is that the parents and relatives who pay for the privilege of being wept for are indeed mourned to the extent of their investment.

For my own part, though my monogram8 figured on none of Marguerite's dressing-cases, the instinctive9 forbearance and natural pity to which I have just admitted led me to dwell on her death for much longer than it perhaps warranted.

I recalled having come across Marguerite very frequently on the Champs-Elysees, where she appeared assiduously each day in a small blue brougham drawn10 by two magnificent bays, and I remembered having also remarked in her at that time an air of distinction rare in women of her kind and which was further enhanced by her truly exceptional beauty.

When these unfortunate creatures appear in public, they are invariably escorted by some companion or other.

Since no man would ever consent to flaunt11 by day the predilection12 he has for them by night, and because they abhor13 solitude14, they are usually attended either by less fortunate associates who have no carriages of their own, or else by elderly ladies of refinement15 who are not the least refined and to whom an interested party may apply without fear, should any information be required concerning the woman they are escorting.

It was not so with Marguerite. She always appeared alone on the Champs- Elysees, riding in her own carriage where she sat as unobtrusively as possible, enveloped16 on winter days in a large Indian shawl and, in summer, wearing the simplest dresses. And though there were many she knew along her favourite route, when she chanced to smile at them, her smile was visible to them alone. A Duchess could have smiled no differently.

She did not ride from the Rond- Point down to the entrance, to the Champs-Elysees as do ?and did ?all her sort. Her two horses whisked her off smartly to the Bois de Boulogne. There she alighted, walked for an hour, rejoined her brougham and returned home at a fast trot17.

These circumstances, which I had occasionally observed for myself, now came back to me and I sorrowed for this girl's death much as one might regret the total destruction of a beautiful work of art.

For it was impossible to behold18 beauty more captivating than Marguerite's.

Tall and slender almost to a fault, she possessed19 in the highest degree the art of concealing20 this oversight21 of nature simply by the way she arranged the clothes she wore. Her Indian shawl, with its point reaching down to the ground, gave free movement on either side to the flounced panels of her silk dress, while the thick muff, which hid her hands and which she kept pressed to her bosom22, was encompassed23 by folds so skillfully managed that even the most demanding eye would have found nothing wanting in the lines of her figure.

Her face, a marvel25, was the object of her most fastidious attentions. It was quite small and, as Musset might have said, her mother had surely made it so to ensure it was fashioned with care.

Upon an oval of indescribable loveliness, place two dark eyes beneath brows so cleanly arched that they might have been painted on; veil those eyes with lashes26 so long that, when lowered, they cast shadows over the pink flush of the cheeks; sketch27 a delicate, straight, spirited nose and nostrils28 slightly flared29 in a passionate30 aspiration31 towards sensuality; draw a regular mouth with lips parting gracefully32 over teeth as white as milk; tint33 the skin with the bloom of peaches which no hand has touched ?and you will have a comprehensive picture of her entrancing face.

Her jet-black hair, naturally or artfully waved, was parted over her forehead in two thick coils which vanished behind her head, just exposing the lobes34 of her ears from which hung two diamonds each worth four or five thousand francs.

Exactly how the torrid life she led could possibly have left on Marguerite's face the virginal, even childlike expression which made it distinctive35, is something which we are forced to record as a fact which we cannot comprehend.

Marguerite possessed a marvelous portrait of herself by Vidal, the only man whose pencil strokes could capture her to the life. After her death, this portrait came into my keeping for a few days and the likeness36 was so striking that it has helped me to furnish details for which memory alone might not have sufficed.

Some of the particulars contained in the present chapter did not become known to me until some time later, but I set them down here so as not to have to return to them once the narrative37 account of this woman's life has begun.

Marguerite was present at all first nights and spent each evening in the theatre or at the ball. Whenever a new play was performed, you could be sure of seeing her there with three things which she always had with her and which always occupied the ledge38 of her box in the stalls: her opera- glasses, a box of sweets and a bunch of camellias.

For twenty-five days in every month the camellias were white, and for five they were red. No one ever knew the reason for this variation in colour which I mention but cannot explain, and which those who frequented the theatres where she was seen most often, and her friends too, had noticed as I had.

Marguerite had never been seen with any flowers but camellias. Because of this, her florist39, Madame Barjon, had finally taken to calling her the Lady of the Camellias, and the name had remained with her.

Like all who move in certain social circles in Paris, I knew further that Marguerite had been the mistress of the most fashionable young men, that she admitted the fact openly, and that they themselves boasted of it. Which only went to show that loves and mistress were well pleased with each other.

However, for some three years previously40, ever since a visit she had made to Bagneres, she was said to be living with just one man, an elderly foreign duke who was fabulously41 wealthy and had attempted to detach her as far as possible form her old life. This she seems to have been happy enough to go along with.

Here is what I have been told of the matter.

In the spring of 1842, Marguerite was so weak, so altered in her looks, that the doctors had ordered her to take the waters. She accordingly set out for Bagneres.

Among the other sufferers there, was the Duke's daughter who not only had the same complaint but a face so like Marguerite's that they could have been taken for sisters. The fact was that the young Duchess was in the tertiary stage of consumption and, only days after Marguerite's arrival, she succumbed42.

One morning the Duke, who had remained at Bagneres just as people will remain on ground where a piece of their heart lies buried, caught sight of Marguerite as she turned a corner of a gravel43 walk.

It seemed as though he was seeing the spirit of his dead child and, going up to her, he took both her hands, embraced her tearfully and, without asking who she was, begged leave to call on her and to love in her person the living image of his dead daughter.

Marguerite, alone at Bagneres with her maid, and in any case having nothing to lose by compromising herself, granted the Duke what he asked.

Now there were a number of people at Bagneres who knew her, and they made a point of calling on the Duke to inform him of Mademoiselle Gautier's true situation. It was a terrible blow for the old man, for any resemblance with his daughter stopped there. But it was too late. The young woman had become an emotional necessity, his only pretext45 and his sole reason for living.

He did not reproach her, he had no right to, but he did ask her if she felt that she could change her way of life, and, in exchange for this sacrifice, offered all the compensations she could want. She agreed.

It should be said that at this juncture46 Marguerite, who was by nature somewhat highly strung, was seriously ill. Her past appeared to her to be one of the major causes of her illness, and a kind of superstition47 led her to hope that God would allow her to keep her beauty and her health in exchange for her repentance48 and conversion49.

And indeed the waters, the walks, healthy fatigue50 and sleep had almost restored her fully24 by the end of that summer.

The Duke accompanied Marguerite to Paris, where he continued to call on her as at Bagneres.

This liaison51, of which the true origin and true motive52 were known to no one, gave rise here to a great deal of talk, since the Duke, known hitherto as an enormously wealthy man, now began to acquire a name for the prodigality53.

The relationship between the old Duke and the young woman was put down to the salacity which is frequently found in rich old men. People imagined all manner of things, except the truth.

The truth was that the affection of this father for Marguerite was a feeling so chaste54, that anything more than a closeness of hearts would have seemed incestuous in his eyes. Never once had he said a single word to her that his daughter could not have heard.

The last thing we wish is to make our heroine seem anything other than what she was. We shall say therefore that, as long as she remained at Bagneres, the promise given to the Duke had not been difficult to keep, and she had kept it. But once she was back in Paris, it seemed to her, accustomed as she was to a life of dissipation, balls and even orgies, that her new-found solitude, broken only by the periodic visits of the Duke, would make her die of boredom55, and the scorching56 winds of her former life blew hot on both her head and her heart.

Add to this that Marguerite had returned from her travels more beautiful than she had ever been, that she was twenty years old and that her illness, subdued57 but far from conquered, continued to stir in her those feverish58 desires which are almost invariably a result of consumptive disorders59.

The Duke was therefore sadly grieved the day his friends, constantly on the watch for scandalous indiscretions on the part of the young woman with whom he was, they said, compromising himself, called to inform him, indeed to prove to him that at those times when she could count on his not appearing, she was in the habit of receiving other visitors, and that these visitors often stayed until the following morning.

When the Duke questioned her, Marguerite admitted everything, and, without a second thought, advised him not to concern himself with her any more, saying she did not have the strength to keep faith with the pledges she had given, and adding that she had no wish to go on receiving the liberalities of a man whom she was deceiving.

The Duke stayed away for a week, but this was as long as he could manage. One week later to the day, he came and implored60 Marguerite to take him back, promising44 to accept her as she was, provided that he could see her, and swearing that he would die before he uttered a single word of reproach.

This was how things stood three months after Marguerite's return, that is, in November or December 1842.

















































1 interval 85kxY     
  • The interval between the two trees measures 40 feet.这两棵树的间隔是40英尺。
  • There was a long interval before he anwsered the telephone.隔了好久他才回了电话。
2 forth Hzdz2     
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
3 momentous Zjay9     
  • I am deeply honoured to be invited to this momentous occasion.能应邀出席如此重要的场合,我深感荣幸。
  • The momentous news was that war had begun.重大的新闻是战争已经开始。
4 commotion 3X3yo     
  • They made a commotion by yelling at each other in the theatre.他们在剧院里相互争吵,引起了一阵骚乱。
  • Suddenly the whole street was in commotion.突然间,整条街道变得一片混乱。
5 sensational Szrwi     
  • Papers of this kind are full of sensational news reports.这类报纸满是耸人听闻的新闻报道。
  • Their performance was sensational.他们的演出妙极了。
6 celebrated iwLzpz     
  • He was soon one of the most celebrated young painters in England.不久他就成了英格兰最负盛名的年轻画家之一。
  • The celebrated violinist was mobbed by the audience.观众团团围住了这位著名的小提琴演奏家。
7 sundry CswwL     
  • This cream can be used to treat sundry minor injuries.这种药膏可用来治各种轻伤。
  • We can see the rich man on sundry occasions.我们能在各种场合见到那个富豪。
8 monogram zEWx4     
  • There was a monogram in the corner in which were the initials"R.K.B.".原来手帕角上有个图案,其中包含着RKB三个字母。
  • When we get married I don't have to change the monogram on my luggage.当我们结婚后,我连皮箱上的字母也不用改。
9 instinctive c6jxT     
  • He tried to conceal his instinctive revulsion at the idea.他试图饰盖自己对这一想法本能的厌恶。
  • Animals have an instinctive fear of fire.动物本能地怕火。
10 drawn MuXzIi     
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
11 flaunt 0gAz7     
  • His behavior was an outrageous flaunt.他的行为是一种无耻的炫耀。
  • Why would you flaunt that on a public forum?为什么你们会在公共论坛大肆炫耀?
12 predilection 61Dz9     
  • He has a predilection for rich food.他偏好油腻的食物。
  • Charles has always had a predilection for red-haired women.查尔斯对红头发女人一直有偏爱。
13 abhor 7y4z7     
  • They abhor all forms of racial discrimination.他们憎恶任何形式的种族歧视。
  • They abhor all the nations who have different ideology and regime.他们仇视所有意识形态和制度与他们不同的国家。
14 solitude xF9yw     
n. 孤独; 独居,荒僻之地,幽静的地方
  • People need a chance to reflect on spiritual matters in solitude. 人们需要独处的机会来反思精神上的事情。
  • They searched for a place where they could live in solitude. 他们寻找一个可以过隐居生活的地方。
15 refinement kinyX     
  • Sally is a woman of great refinement and beauty. 莎莉是个温文尔雅又很漂亮的女士。
  • Good manners and correct speech are marks of refinement.彬彬有礼和谈吐得体是文雅的标志。
16 enveloped 8006411f03656275ea778a3c3978ff7a     
v.包围,笼罩,包住( envelop的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She was enveloped in a huge white towel. 她裹在一条白色大毛巾里。
  • Smoke from the burning house enveloped the whole street. 燃烧着的房子冒出的浓烟笼罩了整条街。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 trot aKBzt     
n.疾走,慢跑;n.老太婆;现成译本;(复数)trots:腹泻(与the 连用);v.小跑,快步走,赶紧
  • They passed me at a trot.他们从我身边快步走过。
  • The horse broke into a brisk trot.马突然快步小跑起来。
18 behold jQKy9     
  • The industry of these little ants is wonderful to behold.这些小蚂蚁辛勤劳动的样子看上去真令人惊叹。
  • The sunrise at the seaside was quite a sight to behold.海滨日出真是个奇景。
19 possessed xuyyQ     
  • He flew out of the room like a man possessed.他像着了魔似地猛然冲出房门。
  • He behaved like someone possessed.他行为举止像是魔怔了。
20 concealing 0522a013e14e769c5852093b349fdc9d     
v.隐藏,隐瞒,遮住( conceal的现在分词 )
  • Despite his outward display of friendliness, I sensed he was concealing something. 尽管他表现得友善,我还是感觉到他有所隐瞒。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • SHE WAS BREAKING THE COMPACT, AND CONCEALING IT FROM HIM. 她违反了他们之间的约定,还把他蒙在鼓里。 来自英汉文学 - 三万元遗产
21 oversight WvgyJ     
  • I consider this a gross oversight on your part.我把这件事看作是你的一大疏忽。
  • Your essay was not marked through an oversight on my part.由于我的疏忽你的文章没有打分。
22 bosom Lt9zW     
  • She drew a little book from her bosom.她从怀里取出一本小册子。
  • A dark jealousy stirred in his bosom.他内心生出一阵恶毒的嫉妒。
23 encompassed b60aae3c1e37ac9601337ef2e96b6a0c     
v.围绕( encompass的过去式和过去分词 );包围;包含;包括
  • The enemy encompassed the city. 敌人包围了城市。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I have encompassed him with every protection. 我已经把他保护得严严实实。 来自英汉文学 - 双城记
24 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
25 marvel b2xyG     
  • The robot is a marvel of modern engineering.机器人是现代工程技术的奇迹。
  • The operation was a marvel of medical skill.这次手术是医术上的一个奇迹。
26 lashes e2e13f8d3a7c0021226bb2f94d6a15ec     
n.鞭挞( lash的名词复数 );鞭子;突然猛烈的一击;急速挥动v.鞭打( lash的第三人称单数 );煽动;紧系;怒斥
  • Mother always lashes out food for the children's party. 孩子们聚会时,母亲总是给他们许多吃的。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Never walk behind a horse in case it lashes out. 绝对不要跟在马后面,以防它突然猛踢。 来自《简明英汉词典》
27 sketch UEyyG     
  • My sister often goes into the country to sketch. 我姐姐常到乡间去写生。
  • I will send you a slight sketch of the house.我将给你寄去房屋的草图。
28 nostrils 23a65b62ec4d8a35d85125cdb1b4410e     
鼻孔( nostril的名词复数 )
  • Her nostrils flared with anger. 她气得两个鼻孔都鼓了起来。
  • The horse dilated its nostrils. 马张大鼻孔。
29 Flared Flared     
adj. 端部张开的, 爆发的, 加宽的, 漏斗式的 动词flare的过去式和过去分词
  • The match flared and went out. 火柴闪亮了一下就熄了。
  • The fire flared up when we thought it was out. 我们以为火已经熄灭,但它突然又燃烧起来。
30 passionate rLDxd     
  • He is said to be the most passionate man.据说他是最有激情的人。
  • He is very passionate about the project.他对那个项目非常热心。
31 aspiration ON6z4     
  • Man's aspiration should be as lofty as the stars.人的志气应当象天上的星星那么高。
  • Young Addison had a strong aspiration to be an inventor.年幼的爱迪生渴望成为一名发明家。
32 gracefully KfYxd     
  • She sank gracefully down onto a cushion at his feet. 她优雅地坐到他脚旁的垫子上。
  • The new coats blouse gracefully above the hip line. 新外套在臀围线上优美地打着褶皱。
33 tint ZJSzu     
  • You can't get up that naturalness and artless rosy tint in after days.你今后不再会有这种自然和朴实无华的红润脸色。
  • She gave me instructions on how to apply the tint.她告诉我如何使用染发剂。
34 lobes fe8c3178c8180f03dd0fc8ae16f13e3c     
n.耳垂( lobe的名词复数 );(器官的)叶;肺叶;脑叶
  • The rotor has recesses in its three faces between the lobes. 转子在其凸角之间的三个面上有凹槽。 来自辞典例句
  • The chalazal parts of the endosperm containing free nuclei forms several lobes. 包含游离核的合点端胚乳部分形成几个裂片。 来自辞典例句
35 distinctive Es5xr     
  • She has a very distinctive way of walking.她走路的样子与别人很不相同。
  • This bird has several distinctive features.这个鸟具有几种突出的特征。
36 likeness P1txX     
  • I think the painter has produced a very true likeness.我认为这位画家画得非常逼真。
  • She treasured the painted likeness of her son.她珍藏她儿子的画像。
37 narrative CFmxS     
  • He was a writer of great narrative power.他是一位颇有记述能力的作家。
  • Neither author was very strong on narrative.两个作者都不是很善于讲故事。
38 ledge o1Mxk     
  • They paid out the line to lower him to the ledge.他们放出绳子使他降到那块岩石的突出部分。
  • Suddenly he struck his toe on a rocky ledge and fell.突然他的脚趾绊在一块突出的岩石上,摔倒了。
39 florist vj3xB     
  • The florist bunched the flowers up.花匠把花捆成花束。
  • Could you stop at that florist shop over there?劳驾在那边花店停一下好不好?
40 previously bkzzzC     
  • The bicycle tyre blew out at a previously damaged point.自行车胎在以前损坏过的地方又爆开了。
  • Let me digress for a moment and explain what had happened previously.让我岔开一会儿,解释原先发生了什么。
41 fabulously 4161877a232b49d1803e1bea05514fd7     
  • The couple are said to be fabulously wealthy. 据说这对夫妇家财万贯。
  • I should say this shirt matches your trousers fabulously. 我得说这衬衫同你的裤子非常相配。
42 succumbed 625a9b57aef7b895b965fdca2019ba63     
不再抵抗(诱惑、疾病、攻击等)( succumb的过去式和过去分词 ); 屈从; 被压垮; 死
  • The town succumbed after a short siege. 该城被围困不久即告失守。
  • After an artillery bombardment lasting several days the town finally succumbed. 在持续炮轰数日后,该城终于屈服了。
43 gravel s6hyT     
  • We bought six bags of gravel for the garden path.我们购买了六袋碎石用来铺花园的小路。
  • More gravel is needed to fill the hollow in the drive.需要更多的砾石来填平车道上的坑洼。
44 promising BkQzsk     
  • The results of the experiments are very promising.实验的结果充满了希望。
  • We're trying to bring along one or two promising young swimmers.我们正设法培养出一两名有前途的年轻游泳选手。
45 pretext 1Qsxi     
  • He used his headache as a pretext for not going to school.他借口头疼而不去上学。
  • He didn't attend that meeting under the pretext of sickness.他以生病为借口,没参加那个会议。
46 juncture e3exI     
  • The project is situated at the juncture of the new and old urban districts.该项目位于新老城区交界处。
  • It is very difficult at this juncture to predict the company's future.此时很难预料公司的前景。
47 superstition VHbzg     
  • It's a common superstition that black cats are unlucky.认为黑猫不吉祥是一种很普遍的迷信。
  • Superstition results from ignorance.迷信产生于无知。
48 repentance ZCnyS     
  • He shows no repentance for what he has done.他对他的所作所为一点也不懊悔。
  • Christ is inviting sinners to repentance.基督正在敦请有罪的人悔悟。
49 conversion UZPyI     
  • He underwent quite a conversion.他彻底变了。
  • Waste conversion is a part of the production process.废物处理是生产过程的一个组成部分。
50 fatigue PhVzV     
  • The old lady can't bear the fatigue of a long journey.这位老妇人不能忍受长途旅行的疲劳。
  • I have got over my weakness and fatigue.我已从虚弱和疲劳中恢复过来了。
51 liaison C3lyE     
  • She acts as a liaison between patients and staff.她在病人与医护人员间充当沟通的桥梁。
  • She is responsible for liaison with researchers at other universities.她负责与其他大学的研究人员联系。
52 motive GFzxz     
  • The police could not find a motive for the murder.警察不能找到谋杀的动机。
  • He had some motive in telling this fable.他讲这寓言故事是有用意的。
53 prodigality f35869744d1ab165685c3bd77da499e1     
  • Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality. 笑声每时每刻都变得越来越容易,毫无节制地倾泻出来。 来自辞典例句
  • Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. 笑声每时每刻都变得越来越容易,毫无节制地倾泻出来,只要一句笑话就会引起哄然大笑。 来自英汉文学 - 盖茨比
54 chaste 8b6yt     
  • Comparatively speaking,I like chaste poetry better.相比较而言,我更喜欢朴实无华的诗。
  • Tess was a chaste young girl.苔丝是一个善良的少女。
55 boredom ynByy     
  • Unemployment can drive you mad with boredom.失业会让你无聊得发疯。
  • A walkman can relieve the boredom of running.跑步时带着随身听就不那么乏味了。
56 scorching xjqzPr     
adj. 灼热的
  • a scorching, pitiless sun 灼热的骄阳
  • a scorching critique of the government's economic policy 对政府经济政策的严厉批评
57 subdued 76419335ce506a486af8913f13b8981d     
adj. 屈服的,柔和的,减弱的 动词subdue的过去式和过去分词
  • He seemed a bit subdued to me. 我觉得他当时有点闷闷不乐。
  • I felt strangely subdued when it was all over. 一切都结束的时候,我却有一种奇怪的压抑感。
58 feverish gzsye     
  • He is too feverish to rest.他兴奋得安静不下来。
  • They worked with feverish haste to finish the job.为了完成此事他们以狂热的速度工作着。
59 disorders 6e49dcafe3638183c823d3aa5b12b010     
n.混乱( disorder的名词复数 );凌乱;骚乱;(身心、机能)失调
  • Reports of anorexia and other eating disorders are on the increase. 据报告,厌食症和其他饮食方面的功能紊乱发生率正在不断增长。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The announcement led to violent civil disorders. 这项宣布引起剧烈的骚乱。 来自《简明英汉词典》
60 implored 0b089ebf3591e554caa381773b194ff1     
恳求或乞求(某人)( implore的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She implored him to stay. 她恳求他留下。
  • She implored him with tears in her eyes to forgive her. 她含泪哀求他原谅她。
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