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Manon Lescaut (Oxford World's Classics) by Abbé Prévost, Angela Scholar

By Abbé Prévost, Angela Scholar

"The sweetness of her look, or fairly my evil famous person already in its ascendant and drawing me to my spoil, didn't permit me to hesitate for a moment." So starts off the tale of Manon Lescaut, a story of ardour and betrayal, of delinquency and misalliance, which strikes from early eighteenth-century Paris--with its theatres, assemblies, and gaming-houses-via felony and deportation to a sad denouement within the treeless wastes of Louisiana. it's one of many nice love tales, and in addition probably the most enigmatic: how trustworthy a witness is Des Grieux, Manon's lover, whose story he narrates? Is Manon a thief and a whore, identical to love itself, or a completely glossy lady? Pr�vost is cautious to depart the ambiguities unresolved, and to put naked the problems of ardour. This new translation comprises the vignette and 8 illustrations that have been authorized through Pr�vost and primary released within the variation of 1753.

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Sample text

Perhaps she would have told me about it if I had gone home as usual, instead of coming here to brood; at any rate, she will not try to hide it from me once I’ve brought the subject up. I argued this view so persuasively that it did a great deal to dispel my unhappiness. I went straight home. I embraced Manon with my usual tenderness. She responded with affection. I was tempted at first to tell her my conjectures, which now more than ever I thought were correct; but I held back in the hope she might perhaps forestall me by telling me everything that had happened.

I rose trembling to my feet; I implored her, with all the fervour of passionate love, to tell me the reason for her tears; I shed tears myself while drying hers; I was more dead than alive. A barbarian would have been moved by these signs of my anguish and fear. While I was thus wholly preoccupied with her, I heard the noise of several people coming up the stairs. There was a gentle tap at the door. Manon gave me a kiss and, escaping from my arms, slipped quickly into the dressing-room and shut herself in.

I was tempted at first to tell her my conjectures, which now more than ever I thought were correct; but I held back in the hope she might perhaps forestall me by telling me everything that had happened. Supper was served. I sat down at table with an air of great cheerfulness; but in the light Manon Lescaut 21 of the candle that stood between us I thought I saw signs of sorrow on the face and in the eyes of my beloved mistress. This thought filled me in turn with sadness. I noticed that her gaze was fixed on me, but not in a way it had ever been before.

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