Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Double Cooked Pork

Sun and warmth, of sorts, to start the work week. Busy again yesterday, but managed before lunch (Liberty View Chinese, with the Statue of Liberty view--France again) to reach the end of Book III. The day in the country had moved to a private room at Bombarda's overlooking the Champs Elysees. Tholomyes, Fantine's lover, had prepared a long-promised surprise for the four young women. I'd been thinking, last week, that perhaps all four young men would propose a group wedding, and that the afternoon might reach a climax in the entrance of a priest--or, I suppose, it's being Catholic France, in their all repairing to a chapel. I had forgotten--or not really forgotten, I'd just failed in understanding, really--that the book is called Les Miserables. The young men say they'll be right back, they're going to fetch the surprise. The four young women wave to them from the window and stay there looking out at the busy street where an old horse has just dropped dead and the stagecoaches keep rushing off from Paris in trails of dust made golden by the setting sun; and in an hour as had been arranged the waiter brings a letter which Favourite, the one who can, reads. The young men, four students, have returned to their respective homes in the provinces to take up their respectable future lives so as to make their parents happy; they will marry, others. But the meal is paid for. (In my own defense I would mention that I imagine marriage to be miserable and marriage to a balding 30-year old student, most so: grisly.) This denouement is hardest of all, or maybe only hard, on Fantine. She had been deeply in love with Tholomyes and--this revelation has been saved for the very last line of Book III, pinned like a medal to its gorgeous cruelty--she's had his child.

My fortune cookie fortune: "In dreams and in life, nothing is impossible." Well.

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