Monday, January 21, 2019

the last book I ever read (Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Delight) by Émile Zola, excerpt thirteen)

from Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Delight) by Émile Zola:

A large number of women were waiting at Saint-Roch, the small tradespeople of the neighbourhood who had been afraid they would overcrowd the bereaved house. The occasion was turning into a riot, and when after the service the procession set off once more, all the men followed again, even though it was a long walk from the Rue Saint-Honoré to the Montmartre cemetery. They had to go back up the Rue Saint-Roch and pass for a second time in front of Au Bonheur des Dames. It was like an obsession, the meager body of this young woman being carried around the store, like the first victim to fall in a time of revolution. At the door, red flannel cloths were flapping in the wind like flags and a display of carpets burst out in a blood-red flowering of huge roses and blossoming peonies.

Meanwhile, Denise had got into one of the carriages, racked by such burning doubts and with such sadness oppressing her that she no longer had the strength to walk. As it happened, they paused in the Rue du Dix-Décembre, by the scaffolding of the new façade which was still obstructing the traffic. She noticed old Bourras lagging behind, dragging his leg, right under the wheels of the carriage of which she was the only occupant. He would never get to the cemetery. He looked up and saw her, then got in.

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