The Desire to be a Man

The Desire to be a Man

by Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam

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Nature might stand up and say to all the world: 'This was a man.'
--Shakespeare: Julius Caesar

The Stock Exchange clock struck midnight, under a starry sky. At that
time the citizens were still subject to military law, and, in
accordance with the curfew regulations, the waiters of those
establishments which were still lit up were hurriedly closing their

Inside the boulevard cafés the gas butterflies of the chandeliers
fluttered quickly away, one by one, into the darkness. Outside could
be heard the noise of the chairs being arranged in quartets on the
marble-topped tables; it was the psychological moment when every cafe
proprietor thinks fit to show the last customers, with an arm ending
in a napkin, the Caudine Forks of the back door.

That Sunday the sad October wind was whistling through the streets. A
few yellow leaves, dusty and rustling, were blown along by the
squalls, touching the stones and skimming the asphalt, and then, like
bats, disappeared into the shadows, arousing the idea of commonplace
days lived through once for all. The theatres of the Boulevard du
Crime where, during the evening, all the Medicis, Salviatis, and
Montefeltres had been stabbing one another with the utmost fervour,
stood silent, their mute portals guarded by their caryatids. Carriages
and pedestrians became fewer from one moment to the next; here and
there, the sceptical lanterns of rag-pickers gleamed already,
phosphorescent glows given off by the rubbish-heaps over which they
were wandering.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013697478
Publisher: WDS Publishing
Publication date: 01/23/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 15 KB

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