Facultad de Ciencias y Artes
Escuela de Idiomas Modernos
Prof. Ana Gonzalez
Book Report: “The Love of Long Ago” by Guy de Maupassant
Maria Clara Vicentini
The Love of Long Ago
by Guy de Maupassant
The old-fashioned chateau was built on a wooded knoll in the midst of tall trees with dark-green foliage; the park extended to a greatdistance, in one direction to the edge of the forest, in another to the distant country. A few yards from the front of the house was a huge stone basin with marble ladies taking a bath; other, basins were seen at intervals down to the foot of the slope, and a stream of water fell in cascades from one basin to another.
From the manor house, which preserved the grace of a superannuated coquette,down to the grottos incrusted with shell-work, where slumbered the loves of a bygone age, everything in this antique demesne had retained the physiognomy of former days. Everything seemed to speak still of ancient customs, of the manners of long ago, of former gallantries, and of the elegant trivialities so dear to our grandmothers.
In a parlor in the style of Louis XV, whose walls were covered withshepherds paying court to shepherdesses, beautiful ladies in hoop-skirts, and gallant gentlemen in wigs, a very old woman, who seemed dead as soon as she ceased to move, was almost lying down in a large easy-chair, at each side of which hung a thin, mummy-like hand.
Her dim eyes were gazing dreamily toward the distant horizon as if they sought to follow through the park the visions of her youth.Through the open window every now and then came a breath of air laden with the odor of grass and the perfume of flowers. It made her white locks flutter around her wrinkled forehead and old memories float through her brain.
Beside her, on a tapestried stool, a young girl, with long fair hair hanging in braids down her back, was embroidering an altar-cloth. There was a pensive expression in hereyes, and it was easy to see that she was dreaming, while her agile fingers flew over her work.
But the old lady turned round her head, and said:
"Berthe, read me something out of the newspapers, that I may still know sometimes what is going on in the world."
The young girl took up a newspaper, and cast a rapid glance over it.
"There is a great deal about politics, grandmamma; shall I pass thatover?"
"Yes, yes, darling. Are there no love stories? Is gallantry, then, dead in France, that they no longer talk about abductions or adventures as they did formerly?"
The girl made a long search through the columns of the newspaper.
"Here is one," she said. "It is entitled 'A Love Drama!'"
The old woman smiled through her wrinkles. "Read that for me," she said.
And Berthe commenced. It wasa case of vitriol throwing. A wife, in order to avenge herself on her husband's mistress, had burned her face and eyes. She had left the Court of Assizes acquitted, declared to be innocent, amid the applause of the crowd.
The grandmother moved about excitedly in her chair, and exclaimed:
"This is horrible--why, it is perfectly horrible!
See whether you can find anything else to read to me,darling."
Berthe again made a search; and farther down among the reports of criminal cases, she read:
"'Gloomy Drama. A shop girl, no longer young, allowed herself to be led astray by a young man. Then, to avenge herself on her lover, whose heart proved fickle, she shot him with a revolver. The unhappy man is maimed for life. The jury, all men of moral character, condoning the illicit love of themurderess, honorably acquitted her.'"
This time the old grandmother appeared quite shocked, and, in a trembling voice, she said:
"Why, you people are mad nowadays. You are mad! The good God has given you love, the only enchantment in life. Man has added to this gallantry the only distraction of our dull hours, and here you are mixing up with it vitriol and revolvers, as if one were to put mud...