The Girl with the Golden Eyes is the third part of a trilogy. Part one is entitled Ferragus and part two is The Duchesse de Langeais. The three stories are frequently combined under the title The Thirteen. Translated by Ellen Marriage.
nd fits of creative energy. And then its pleasure, its repose, are an exhausting debauch, swarthy and black with blows, white with intoxication, or yellow with indigestion. It lasts but two days, but it steals to-morrow's bread, the week's soup, the wife's dress, the child's wretched rags. Men, born doubtless to be beautiful--for all creatures have a relative beauty--are enrolled from their childhood beneath the yoke of force, beneath the rule of the hammer, the chisel, the loom, and have been promptly vulcanized. Is not Vulcan, with his hideousness and his strength, the emblem of this strong and hideous nation--sublime in its mechanical intelligence, patient in its season, and once in a century terrible, inflammable as gunpowder, and ripe with brandy for the madness of revolution, with wits enough, in fine, to take fire at a captious word, which signifies to it always: Gold and Pleasure! If we comprise in it all those who hold out their hands for an alms, for lawful wages, or the five francs that are granted
Very poetic and artistic, which is unfortunately its biggest downfall. The daily lives of several Parisians are described in such a vague, prosaic way, making sweeping generalisations of every nature, that the whole blustering thrust of the story soon strikes the reader as utter claptrap. The Parisians lives are on the one hand, depicted as rushed, shallow, all hustle and bustle in their quest for gold. Then a Mairie's clerk is said to work from 9:45am - 4pm (and I assume the usual French 2hrs for lunch). To any modern Londoner, that isn't a hectic lifestyle! After about 15%, I gave up.
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