Meaulnes was feeling his way towards further inquiries when a charming couple appeared in the doorway: a girl of sixteen in a velvet bodice and flounced skirt, and a young man in a coat with a high collar and trousers with foot-straps. They danced their way across the room; others followed them; then more came running, screaming, chased by a tall pierrot with whitened face in trailing sleeves, wearing a black cap, his toothless mouth stretched in a grin. He ran with long clumsy strides, half leaping, waving his empty sleeves. The girls seemed a little afraid of him, but the young men shook hands with him, while the younger children, thrilled ran ater him with piercing cries…
In the passages groups were forming for round dances and farandoles. Somewhere strings were playing a minuet…
observations: To mark France’s national day, Bastille Day, a French classic of the last century.
On a recent trip to Paris I came across something I had
You never know with these things: sometimes a book you loved in youth will be shockingly bad when re-read at an elderly age. I did not have very high hopes when I started it on my return from Paris. It has to be said that the CiB chief Guest Blogger, noted for his delicate touch with a literary phrase, has this to say about the book:
I read it about once a year for good while. Never read it again after the scales fell from my grown up eyes - over the course of two or three rereadings - and I realised the narrator's normal and Meaulnes is a selfish irresponsible dickhead, rather than Meaulnes being great and the narrator being a bit of a wimp, as one feels when one's a teenager.But I absolutely loved it (while still rather agreeing with the GB) – it completely entranced me and pulled me in, I couldn’t put it down, read the whole thing. It has such a strange and memorable atmosphere.
In fact, there’s so much to say about this book that it’s going to spill over into another entry…
With thanks to PW, the perfect Parisienne hostess, who took the modern photo.
The painting is by Jules-Alexandre Grun from the Athenaeum website.